2019-11-07 07:15

Some shakeups this weekend with some upsets and some changes.

Biggest change is that Florida State did fire their HC Willie Taggart after a very bad 10-27 loss against instate-rival Miami.
Taggart had a fast rise in the coaching ranks, once he became a HC.
2010 he took over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and managed after a bad season to get 2 7-5 seasons done. He departed before a bowl game.
In 2013 he took over South Florida and had 2 losing seasons and then got a 8-5 and 10-2 season done with a bowl loss. He departed again before the 2nd bowl game.
In 2017 he took over the Oregon Ducks and had just 1 season there for 7-5 and departed before the bowl game to get to FSU.
There he had 5-7 and now before the pink slip 4-5.
He is only 43, so he will get his career moving again, if he likes to, but obviously was FSU not the right place for him.

I expect FSU to make a bolt move, the college has a great name and a lot of money, so either a well-established name will get a call, like Urban Meyer maybe (but I don't think he would take it), or some new hot candidate will get a call, maybe even familiar with the conference (like Mario Cristobal of Oregon).

Not sure what they want, beside a winner. The funny part is, the coaching tree under Dabo Swinney of Clemson is quite short and not very successful, so getting an infusion from that side of the field will likely be not very helpful, if they don't get some of the coordinators Swinney has right now, who are there for some time already.

Syracuse did also fire someone, their DC.
Boston College did almost score 60 points in their game against the Orange, and that was a Syracuse home game.

Let's tackle the prime games 1st.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 2
#8 Georgia vs #6 Florida
I did pick the Gators, but overall was Georgia just the better team on that day.
UGA lead 16-3 when the last quarter started and Florida was at that time on their way towards the Georgia endzone.
They scored but were unable to stop Georgia to counter that and score to lead 24-10 (with a 2 points conversion).
Florida did hurry and needed almost 7 minutes to get into the Bulldogs endzone again to make it a 1-score game, but with 3 minutes left to play did the Gators just kick off regularly and ... failed to stop the Bulldogs to get 1st downs, hence they lost.
That way is Georgia the leading candidate, again, to play for the SEC Championship game, while Florida would need some major Bulldogs losing streak to have a chance.
They are 1 game behind, and the direct compare is also against them.
But Georgia will play Auburn and Texas A&M in the next weeks, so it's not impossible.
Florida has a more relaxed remaining schedule, so they need to win, sure, but will not play major contenders.
#8 Georgia 24 vs #6 Florida 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-12

##9 Utah @ Washington
OK, the Huskies suck this season.
Not only did they lose again, at home, while I did pick them as winner, no, they did it in stile.
They did lead 14-13 at the half and were lucky the Utes did not score more than 3 points after a Washington Turnover.
But in the 2nd half, the Huskies did just ... well ... suck.
Opening drive: INT.
Then after a Utes 3-and-out a Huskies TD and the whole crowd was hoping.
A Utes fumble was not translated into points, the 2nd Utes fumble did at least got a descend Huskies drive afterwards, but capped with a PICK SIX.
Utes now close.
Huskies 3-and-out, Utes got a descend drive and scored to get the lead.
Huskies 3-and-out, Utes got a descend drive and scored to extend the lead.
Now the Huskies got of their mind back on track and made an effort and scored with 1 minute left to play.
The onside-kick failed and the Huskies season is in the books.
As is my picking season as it seems. Haha.
Seriously, the Huskie, now 5-4, will win at least 1 more game to get a bowl spot, but that's likely it.
Utah is, thanks to the USC loss to Oregon, the leading team to play in the PAC12-Championship game, but only by an inch.
They have 3 games left to play and those are not easy.
#9 Utah 33 @ Washington 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-13

#15 SMU @ #24 Memphis
And another bad pick.
The hype is over.
But this was a very entertaining game, where defense was just not an option.
The Mustangs got their 1st loss of the season on a road game against a high-flying Tigers team.
Both teams did score a lot of points and at the end did Memphis just score a bit more.
SMU tried a good comeback when there were down by 22 points but scored not fast enough and had to make an onside kick try, which failed.
The Tigers did run the time out and are now in the leading pack of the division.
The problem for them is, they have to play Cincinnati on season finale, before an eventual Championship game (likely again against Cincinnati).
This will be crucial, since a loss will likely put them out of contention.
SMU must rebound and win to stay in the hunt and need likely some help.
#15 SMU 48 @ #24 Memphis 54 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-14

Other interesting games:
Sat. Nov. 2
#7 Oregon @ USC
A very important game for both teams and Oregon did it all right and USC did seal Clay Heltons (HC of USC) fate on that day.
I think there is only a VERY little chance Helton will return for a 6th season (including his interims season).
He did have basically only 2 good seasons (2016 10-3 with a bowl win, but only 2nd in the division and 2017 11-3 with a conference title and a bowl loss).
Since 2018 the team did decline and it's ongoing.
The fans call for Urban Meyer, I think USC will make a move at some point, but who they will s e l e c t ... don't know.
Oregon is now almost a fix for the Conference Championship game after this 56-24 win over USC.
They are 2 games before 2nd place (hold your breath) Oregon State and have to play 3 more games, both Arizona teams and the Civil War against the Beavers.
In theory they could fall apart, but after that win and an 8-game-winning-streak they are unlikely to lose 2 games.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-7

Florida Atlantic @ Western Kentucky
FAU did beat WKU 35-24.
The Hilltoppers are now very unlikely to win the division, since they lost to both leading teams, Marshall and FAU.
The Owls are right now behind Marshall based on direct compare, but Marshall will play the other division leading team Louisiana Tech soon and that way FAU might get some help.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-8

Virginia @ North Carolina
Looks like Virginia got the best out of their team and wins this 38-31, which gives them a great leap inside the division.
North Carolina will be an interesting team for the remaining season and I'm hoping they will gain more next season.
Right now, Virginia has the best chances to get into the ACC Championship game, but they need to win.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-9

Oh my god, all picks were wrong ... Bad week.
But not my fault, the teams did play bad. ;-)

Most stunning results of week 10:
Georgia Southern did upset ranked Appalachian State 24-21. That way the Sun Belt got some competition back and there are 3 teams now inside their division which can get into the Championship game.
Purdue won against Nebraska 31-27. The Huskers now 4-5 and lost 3 in a row. I guess Frost has to be renamed into Heat now, since expectations were much higher this year. Remember when the Huskers did fire Pelini because he could only deliver a 9-3 season ... well ...
Liberty won their 6th game this season, against UMass 63-21, but are NOT Bowl eligible right now, since they played 2 FCS teams this season and only 1 of those games does count. So they need to win at least 1 more. Best bet is against New Mexico State at season finale.
Air Force won against Army 17-13. Since Navy won against Air Force the winner of the Army-Navy game will get the Commander in Chief-Trophy. If Army wins, all teams have won 1 game and the trophy stays with the current owner, which is Army, and if Navy wins, the trophy goes to Navy, who then won 2 games.
Oregon State won against Arizona 56-38, in the desert. That way the Beavers are now 2nd place inside their division and Arizona is toast in their own division. I'm asking myself whether the Wildcats HC Sumlin is feeling more heat inside the desert.
UCLA won at home against Colorado 31-14. Believe it or not, but if UCLA wins all remaining games, they will win the division.
BYU did win against Utah State in the rivalry game 'Old Wagon Wheel' 42-14. Since there is now game between Utah and Utah State, the 3-team-trophy is again not awarded since 2016.
Fresno State won against Hawaii on the road 41-38. Hawaii still needs a win for a bowl game. I think Fresno State still has the chance to win the division if they keep on winning, especially against SDSU in 2 weeks.

That's that.
The 1st College Football Playoff Standings were released and right now they are still quite early, since some big games are still to come.
TOP 10 are right now:
RK Team Rec
1 Ohio State 8-0
2 LSU 8-0
3 Alabama 8-0
4 Penn State 8-0
5 Clemson 9-0
6 Georgia 7-1
7 Oregon 8-1
8 Utah 8-1
9 Oklahoma 7-1
10 Florida 7-2

That's quite interesting, since it does discount Clemsons season a bit, likely because of their quite soft schedule, and it does also put Florida inside the TOP10 beside 2 losses, while other teams with just 1 loss or even perfect teams are lower ranked.
Florida did get that rank likely because of their schedule and the losses were against highly ranked teams, named Georgia and LSU.

A lot of games are left to play to shake things up and if you look at the teams right now inside that TOP10 you see that many of them will play against each other in a few days or weeks.

That leaves some room for the contenders below the TOP 10, but history is not very supportive for teams inside that category.

2014: Only Ohio State was below TOP10 and got into the playoffs (and won it all at the end). In that season only 2 teams in TOP25 were unbeaten and a lot of teams had 1 loss, including the Buckeyes, which explains the wide spread rankings a bit.
2015: Only Oklahoma was below TOP10 and got into the playoffs (lost in 1st round). This time a lot of teams were unbeaten and some more with just 1 loss, including Oklahoma.
2016: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.
2017: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.
2018: No teams from below TOP10 got a playoff spot.

So either the committee got it better over the years, or the committee got stubborn over the years and did support more the TOP10 teams.
I think they got better by ranking the stronger teams, who then did win out for the remaining season.
That does not mean they did s e l e c t really the 4 strongest teams at the end, just the teams they thought to be strongest and kept winning.

There are several teams which might have a chance to jump into the TOP4, like Baylor (#12), if they win the BIG12 unbeaten, which means they likely have to beat Oklahoma twice.

Or Minnesota (#17), if they win the remaining games and the BIG10.

The upcoming week does feature one of the biggest games so far, so don't miss it.

I selected there 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 9
#4 Penn State @ #17 Minnesota
The Gophers HC just got his contract extension done, so if not someone comes up with a major buyout, Minnesotas future looks quite bright right now with P.J. Flecks results so far and having him until 2026.
The Gophers do have 1 of the best starts into the season since ages (8-0 is best since 1941!).
And now comes the toughest test the team had so far in the season.
Penn State did not start the season in a convincing style, had some close games (especially the Pitt game was not very convincing to me), but so far, they won every game and are surprisingly for me ranked #4 in the playoff rankings.
They are a 7.0-point favorite in this game against the Gophers on the road, so there is a lot of confidence they will win it.
If you look at the Minnesota schedule you just don't find a lot of winning teams, so their record is a bit polished right now and the tough ones will come until season finale.
THIS here will likely be a big road block, the biggest, I guess.
I don't think they will stand a chance against a 100% playing Penn State team, but since it is in Minnesota, we might get a ball game.
It will be cold and bad inside the open Gophers stadium and that might help them.
I guess not much, but maybe.
I think Penn States defense will put a plug on the Gophers offense and the Lions will win here with some bonus points.
Nittany Lions win.

#2 LSU @ #3 Alabama
Before the Playoff-rankings got posted this was #1 @ #2 regarding AP-poll ranks and it feels that way.
LSU did surprise everyone this season and did play fantastic on offense against a lot of tough teams.
On top came a defense which did stand their ground.
On the other side it's Alabama, period.
No teams is that consistent and strong as the Tide in the past 10 seasons, thanks to their coach and the environment.
It's a home game for the Tide, so LSU gets the toughest games they can play.
This feels like the old Les-Miles/Nick-Saban game, when the outcome of this game was not only the deciding game for the SEC, but it got a rematch in the BCS-Championship game and decided the National Championship. (Tigers won the SEC in 2011 and Alabama won the National Championship game for that season)
We are not that far right now, but there is a chance history does repeat.
Vegas sees Alabama ahead by 6.5 points.
Not sure about it, but I also favor Alabama over LSU here, because ... well ... let's say, LSU has from my point of view still to prove whether they did really reach that level as Alabama has.
I can see win both teams, no doubt, but my gut feeling is, that LSU will lose a close one.
Crimson Tide win.

#18 Iowa @ #13 Wisconsin
This is Wisconsins game to lose, I guess.
They are favored by 9.5 points, thanks to a better performance so far and a home game in frost city. (Likely the temperature will be above frozen water temperature at 2° Celsius and likely even sunny, but you never know in Wisconsin)
Iowa lost so far 2 games, Wisconsin lost 2 games.
IF Wisconsin gets their thing together after losing 2 in a row, they will beat Iowa, but if they did give up already, because their season goals got stomped, they will lose.
Iowa did play very solid so far and I honestly don't get the Vegas line, since the Hawkeyes did lose only close games against good teams, but it is as it is.
I expect a low scoring game and a close one.
Since it might come down to a last drive, I think Wisconsin has a better chance to get this one done in a last effort at home.
Badgers win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 9
#12 Baylor @ TCU
Is this the beginning of the Baylor decline?
Let's face it, Baylor did play so far not the best teams, but did win against Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, to name the highest ranked teams inside the BIG12 they did play so far.
Missing is Oklahoma and Texas.
That's were Championships are made inside the BIG12.
And against TCU.
The Horned Frogs do have an uncommon bad season so far, only 4-4 so far and inside the BIG12 they lost 3 until today.
The Frogs did play often for the BIG12 Championship in the past, but did have a 7-6 season last year and this season doesn't look better.
But ... they can win against every team, if things work out.
They are not a team which just is on a specific level and lose all games above that level.
No, they can play spoiler on every single gameday.
Baylor is favored by 2.0 points, which is not much difference if you think about an 8-0 team playing a 4-4 team, so Vegas is concerned I guess.
And I'm also concerned.
I think Baylor has some momentum and Rhule, the HC, did some great stuff so far, on the other hand has TCU a coach who can motivate the team after last weeks loss.
For me, this is a coin flip and it says ...
Horned Frogs win.

#5 Clemson @ NC State
Another perfect team meets a 4-4 team, on the road.
This time the betting line is Clemson at -31.5!
Why did I s e l e c t the game at all?
Because NC State did challenge Clemson in the so-called ‘Textile Bowl’ in 2016 and 2017. They did not win, but they were close (lost by 7 points each, 2016 in OT).
This season does the Clemson QB create more errors than last season, so the chances are better than last year, when Clemson won 41-7.
It CAN happen again, but maybe we get something this weekend.
You never know.
IF NC State wins, this would be a MAJOR upset.
Of course, I still go with Clemson.
Tigers win.

#15 Notre Dame @ Duke
Notre Dame is favored here by 8.0 points.
This might be OK, but don't underestimate the Blue Devils.
They are just 4-4, but did lose at home only on season opener against Alabama (by a mile, granted) and against Pitt by 3 points.
The other 2 losses were on the road against Virginia and North Carolina (by just 3 points).
And now comes the struggling Fighting Irish who won against Virginia Tech at home by just 1.
You should not compare results, but VT lost at home to Duke by 35.
So I think the potential is there to challenge Notre Dame and shove them the 8.0 points betting line into their 'Play like a Champion mouth'.
Coach Cutcliffe should get a statue for what he did with the program anyway, but I think he will surprise us some more time.
Maybe this week. I'm willing to go there.
Blue Devils win.

Wyoming @ #22 Boise State
And 1 extra this week with this game here on the smurf turf.
Boise State is favored by 12.5 points and play at home.
Done deal, right?
Likely it is, since Wyoming has to play with their backup QB, but sometimes you never know.
Boise is not as invincible as they seemed to be in the past and Wyoming did only lose inside the conference against other-division-leader San Diego State by 4 on the road.
A Wyoming win would open up the division again very wide, while a Boise State win would eliminate another contender.
Boise at home is a tough opponent, they are perfect so far.
Together with the QB-situation, I go with the blue guys, but watch out, we might see a surprise here.
Broncos win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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