2019-10-24 06:26

Some big upsets this weekend, the biggest one, likely the win by the Illinois Fighting Illini against the Wisconsin Badgers.
And honestly, I still don't get it.
The Badgers did lead with less than 10 minutes in the last quarter after a field goal 23-14.
Illini had a drive but were stopped with about 8 minutes left to play.
Wisconsin got the ball and fumbled the ball on the 3rd play, lost it and Illinois got the ball with about 7 minutes left to play.
With some magic they scored within a minute and something a TD. 23-21 now.
And then Wisconsin got the ball back and went slowly over the field, but intercepted it on 3rd and 5, with 2:30 left to play.
It was clear the momentum was on Illinois side, so why call that play? Why throw that ball into an area of the field with 3 defenders?
Because of a 1st down?
They would have punted the ball and Illinois would need to do some magic AGAIN to get into scoring range.
Well, they got the ball with that INT, made some plays and hit the game winning field goal.
Wisconsin did take a severe hit in the ranking, are now 1 game behind Minnesota in the division and might need some help to get even into the Conference Championship game.
On the other hand did Illinois get their 1st BIG10 win of the season.

Last year on that gameday did Ohio State lose against Purdue.
It resulted in a major loss on the rankings, and they did not make the playoffs, even when they won the conference.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 8

Sat. Oct. 19

#12 Oregon @ #25 Washington
Oh my god I was let down by Washington, again.
Washington did lead by 14 shortly after the break, by 10 after some Ducks TD and a Huskies field goal and suddenly only by 3 when the Ducks did score again when the 3rd quarter did run out.
Then a lot of stops, but Oregon did get another scoring drive and got the lead with 5 minutes left to play.
Then did Washington try to score, needed a TD and got some bad plays at the end, had to play out the 4th down and failed.
Losing that way at home ....
Washington can bury their conference title ambitions, the need 1 more win for bowl and they might win some more games, but that division title is out of reach now.
Oregon has the best chance to win the division, with so many other teams struggling.
I think they need some help for the playoff spot, but maybe they are lucky.
#12 Oregon 35 @ #25 Washington 31 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 13-11

#17 Arizona State @ #13 Utah
Well, at the end it was far from close.
The Sun Devils were held to just 3 points and Utah did score 3 touchdowns to win this game in style.
Now there is only Utah and USC with 1 loss each in the division.
And Utah lost to USC, so Utah needs to win and some help to get the division title.
Still some tough games for them ahead, including a road trip to Washington, so this might become a problem.
With the current results inside the PAC12, this is far from over.
Arizona State can still hope, since there are a lot of games left and they are just a game behind Utah and USC.
For them there are also tough games ahead, including USC and Oregon.
#17 Arizona State 3 @ #13 Utah 21 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 14-11

#16 Michigan @ #7 Penn State
This did turn out to be a nice BIG10 battle with the expected result.
Even if this simplifies the game, the difference was the QB position.
Michigans QB had 276 yards and an INT, plus 34 yards on the ground and a score.
Penn State had 182 yards, 3 TDs here, plus 17 yards on the ground and a score on top.
Well ... Michigan did stay in the game only because of the runners they have, but that was not enough.
Their general was not in the office and it showed.
Penn State is now the leading candidate to challenge Ohio State, (to get likely slapped around when they play against each other) and Michigan can focus on playing spoiler or to hope for a major Buckeyes and Nittany Lions meltdown in November.
#16 Michigan 21 @ #7 Penn State 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 15-11

Other interesting games:

Sat. Oct. 20
#3 Clemson @ Louisville
The 1st half was OK, but then did Louisville just give up and Clemson did take over.
Louisville might look much better next season, when their true freshman QB has some more experience, but this season they can only play for a bowl spot.
Clemson did win 45-10.
Jacks interesting games Score: 19-6

#9 Florida @ South Carolina
The Gators did need a very strong 4th quarter to get this win, but they were able to do it and won 38-27.
South Carolina was not able to stop the Gators, while a turnover and some problems on offense did basically turn the game.
Next up for them is the deciding game against Georgia in 2 weeks.
Jacks interesting games Score: 19-6

Temple @ #19 SMU
The Cinderrella story of the Mustangs does continue with the 45-21 win.
They won against Temple and are now entering a very tough remaining schedule, starting with a tough one against Houston next week on the road.
Temple can still win their division, but they do also face tough opponent, like UCF next week.
Jacks interesting games Score: 20-6

Some other interesting results of week 8:
UCLA did upset the 4.0-point favorite Stanford on the road 34-16. I would be upset, if I would be the HC of the Cardinals. The offense was basically not in the building.
Marshall won the crucial game against Florida Atlantic 36-31 on the road. They need to win the next game, too. That's against leading Western Kentucky.
Baylor keep on winning. They won on the road against Oklahoma State 45-27. Looks like a bad season for OSU. I'm wondering whether the on-off-relationship between the program and Gundy, their HC, will end at season end, or even before that.
Next big upset with Vanderbilt winning against ranked Missouri 21-14. Missouri missed the chance to stay in the hunt inside the division as only unbeaten team. Now Florida, Georgia and Missouri all have 1 loss.
Ohio won against Kent State 45-38. Miami (OH), Kent State and Ohio now with 1 loss each inside the division.
Georgia Tech finally got something inside the ACC and won against Miami, on the road, 28-21. Miami now 3-4 overall under the new HC.
Kansas State did beat TCU 24-17. TCU with one of the worst seasons so far under Pattersons watch, which is now 18+ seasons. It's only halfway through and 3-3 right now, but with Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia the remaining schedule is brutal for an obviously not so good playing team this season.
And another upset here with Oregon State winning against Cal 21-17, on the road. Attention: Beavers now 2nd inside the division! Still 5 games to play.
Virginia Tech finally showed some juice against North Carolina winning in 6!OTs 43-41 with a 2-point-conversion try.
Boise State was a 7.0 point favorite to win against BYU on the road, but lost 28-25. Not relevant for the MWC standings, but the Broncos chance to get the New Years Bowl spot as best non-power-5-team did get a major blow.
Texas almost lost (so they won) against Kansas 50-48. Kansas still without a win against a BIG12 team, but this looks promising.
Memphis did beat Tulane 47-17. Big win for the Tigers inside the hard-fought division.
Eastern Michigan won against Western Michigan 34-27. The Michigan MAC Trophy stays still at Western Michigan, because EMU lost against CMU and all games are that way tied in which case the trophy stays with the previous winner, WMU.
Washington State won their 1st PAC12 game with a win over Colorado. Wazzu obviously in a down year.
Wake Forest won against Florida State 22-20. Wake Forest got their 6th win that way.
And Air Force won against Hawaii on the road 56-26. The Warriors now with 2 MWC-losses, which means they are likely out of contention in the MWC.

The end of October is coming.
Some good games this week, watch out.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 9

Sat. Oct. 26
#13 Wisconsin @ #3 Ohio State
Maybe the preview of the BIG10 Championship game, or maybe just another stepping stone for the Buckeyes to the BIG10 Championship while Wisconsin gets eliminated from the contention?
The facts are clear, Ohio State is 7-0 overall right now, leads their division with the also unbeaten Penn State and are the 14.5 points favorite in this game, while Wisconsin is 6-1, including 1 conference loss (last week) and are sandwiched between the leading Minnesota and 2 2-loss teams inside their division.
So, a Buckeye loss will hurt Ohio State a bit, but since the Penn State vs Ohio State battle is still in the future, they could rebound and would meet likely the winner of Wisconsin vs Minnesota (pending some stupid losses like last week against Illinois).
A Badgers loss would just keep Ohio State on the same level and Wisconsin would be 2 wins behind Minnesota (pending Minnesota wins at home against Maryland this week).
For the conference the best result would be actually a Buckeyes win, since a loss would push Ohio State a bit down in the rankings and would eventually leave the conference out of the TOP 4.
Overall I take it that way in this game: Ohio State did so far play very good, Michigan State and Florida Atlantic were the teams which had the smallest margin in their losses against OSU and that was 24 points.
Now comes Wisconsin who lost to Illinois last week and had also a closer game (9 points difference) against Northwestern.
This is played in the Horseshoe, so max hostility against the Badgers.
A Badgers win would be epic, but who really believes in that?
Buckeyes win.

#9 Auburn @ #2 LSU
The SEC West gets a small final here.
Auburn is 6-1, thanks to a road loss to Florida 2 games ago and is behind perfect LSU and Alabama (both 7-0) inside the division.
Still pending is the game between Alabama and LSU (in 2 weeks) and Alabama and Auburn (Iron Bowl on season final).
A LSU loss would put Auburn in a very good position here, since they could win the division with a win over Alabama.
A Auburn loss would put LSU in the same position, but would give them even some margin or error on top.
This is played in Baton Rouge in a stadium which is not by accident called Death Valley or Deaf Valley.
It's a very loud and scary place, which gives you an instant bonus.
LSU is favored by 11.5 points, which is huge.
The Tigers will battle it out and I hope we will see a high scoring game, but at the end will this incredible LSU offense score more often than anyone else.
(LSU) Tigers win.

#8 Notre Dame @ #19 Michigan
Even if this might look like a poor man’s version of the past epic battles, this game will be fun.
Notre Dame is 5-1 and they lost so far only against strong Georgia in a close one.
Michigan is 5-2 and lost against Wisconsin and Penn State. Not too shabby but far from acceptable given the expectations regarding program and coach.
Playoff significance? Medium I would guess.
Notre Dame needs already help to get a spot, Michigan needs a wonder.
A Fighting Irish win would boost their campaign a bit, but as long as the power-5-conference are won by unbeaten teams or also just 1-loss teams, they are out, I guess. A Wolverines win would boost just the ego, since they would need MUCH more to get back into the TOP 4.
No conference impacts, so just the rivalry game.
Michigan is favored by just 1.0 point, which is really not much given the fact that it is played in the Big House behind roughly 105.000 mostly Michigan fans.
The last 2 games were won by Notre Dame, both were in South Bend (2014 and 2018) and the overall record is Michigans with 24-17-1.
The winner will take just home the smile for the win, but who cares here.
I hope it will be a close game and will end with something special.
I think Notre Dame is the better team this season, but only by a small portion and that might be eaten up by the home field advantage.
I guess in doubt for the home team, right?
Wolverines win.

Other interesting games:
Sat. Oct. 26
UCF @ Temple
Temple and UCF are in the same division and that was dominated by UCF in the past years.
This season both teams are behind Cincinnati with 1 loss and the winner of this game will drop to 2-losses. In case of UCF there is also the negative direct compare to the Bearcats, which means a loss in this game would mean that they need some major losing streak by Cincinnati and Temple to get back on top.
In case of Temple it would be only 2 losses, but still a lot to catch up. Including the direct compare to UCF, which would also be in front of them.
Bottom line, losing is bad in this game, big time.
UCF is favored by 10.5 points, thanks to their reputation and their results so far.
Temple is maybe a bit underrated here, they did play well and they did lose on the road to SMU and Buffalo. Fine, the Buffalo game was a booboo, but beside that, they should stay in the game against UCF, at home.
UCF did also lose only on the road, against Cincinnati and Pitt, so also not that shabby.
Expect a high scoring game!
I do expect a close game and I wouldn't be surprised to see Temple winning this.
But ... I still think UCF will find a way to win here.
Knights win.

Duke @ North Carolina
Someone will take the VICTORY BELL home.
Right now, it is painted in dark blue since 3 seasons and the Tar Heels want to change that.
105 meetings were played so far, 71 with that trophy and the rivalry is ongoing.
Both teams cannot agree on the overall record because 1889 there was a game set at UNC and both teams do claim that as a victory because it was never played. If I understand the issue right, Duke says the game had to be played until mid-January and was not played until then, because UNC did not schedule a game and therefore the game was won by Duke, since they were willing to play, while UNC says the mid-January date was not final and they would have played of Duke would have showed up, but they did decline to do so (since they though the season was over mid-January) and so those guys did lose the game, so UNC won.
Until today they cannot agree on it.
There is no doubt about this week’s game.
UNC is favored at home by 3.5 points, which is not much.
I believe 2 thinks can happen.
The 1st is, we will see a UNC teams which does slowly get formed into a contender by Mack Brown.
Most of the games they lost were lost by a few points and it only need some extra confidence to get from a current 3-4 record to a 7-0 record.
Can they do that? At home? Now, after several games, I think they can get better, every week.
The 2nd thing is, that Duke is capable to play and if they play 100% to their strength, they can beat almost everyone inside the conference, maybe everyone.
Now the tricky part, whether they can win, on the road against the rival, the arch-rival.
64.8% of the ESPN users do believe the Tar Heels will win.
I don't think that's based on analysis, it's based on gut-feeling.
UNC did play until the end, every game.
Now, in this game here, they will do the same, with their fans behind them, at home. I guess I'm one of 64.8% then.
Tar Heels win.

Utah State @ Air Force
This might not look like a good one, but I think it will be one.
Utah State is perfect inside the conference and 4-2 overall, Air Force is 3-1 inside the conference and 5-2 overall.
They are in the same division of the Mountain West and are in pack with Boise State (also perfect inside the conference) and Wyoming (1-loss team inside the conference).
So losing is again no option, if you want to be a contender.
The Aggies lost twice on the road, so this is not the best precondition here.
No wonder Air Force is favored by 3.5, which is on the other side not much.
I think Utah State needs a bit more to get back into championship shape under returning coach Gary Anderson, who did coach the team already from 2009 to 2012, then went to Wisconsin and Oregon State, then back to Utah State.
On the other side is Troy Calhoun, the Falcons coach on this 13th season and this one does not look like a down season.
Let's make it short, I think Utah State will lose against the high-flying offense of the Falcons.
Falcons win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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