2019-11-27 13:37

The last weekend was so clear that almost everyone did pick the same team in the College Football Pick'em game.
I was the only one picking Utah State in the Boise State / Utah State game and a person known for creating an online football game did pick Penn State in the Ohio State / Penn State game.
The rest was all the same.
We, the exception did not fare well with the upset picks, all others did only suffer from the Oregon loss against Arizona State, but since ALL did have that wrong it did basically mean nothing.

Of course, there were other games and some nice upsets, but overall did the top level remain the same (except Oregon).

The next week will feature the last week of regular season (except the Army / Navy game) and all the matchups for the conference finals will be set afterwards.

Right now, only a few games are already set.
Boise State will play Hawaii for the Mountain West title.
That's a huge step for Hawaii, which did start strong into the season, had some bad games and then finished strong again.

Baylor will face Oklahoma again for the BIG12 Title, which is also a big step for Baylor. First time ever they will play in that Championship game.

Georgia will face LSU in the SEC Championship game and that's really big, since LSU did play in the shadow of Alabama for more or less a decade.

And Appalachian State will play Louisiana (Lafayette) for the SUN BELT title.

First let's recap the last games.

Here the 3 games selected as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 13

Sat. Nov. 23
#8 Penn State @ #2 Ohio State
That one did start as usual; Ohio State did dominate and went for the halftime break with 14-0 ahead.
Then did something happening Ohio State was not familiar with, the opponent did start scoring, more than the home team.
It was 21-0 Ohio State, then 21-7, after a fumble 21-14, and later 21-17.
We had a ball game.
But both sides of the ball of the Buckeyes did come together again and did close the comeback try for good.
Ohio State will play in the BIG10 Championship game, while Penn State can only try to boost their record a bit to get a better bowl spot.
#8 Penn State 17 @ #2 Ohio State 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 21-18

Texas @ #14 Baylor
Baylor did beat Texas and got their ticket to the BIG12 Championship game.
My guess is, they will get a big hit again by Oklahoma, but you never know.
Baylor had their way with Texas and I'm pretty sure the Longhorns community is not happy with the Longhorns HC and the team.
I mean, Mack Brown had to go because he went 5-7, 8-5, 9-4 and 8-5 after the last Conference Championship.
Charlie Strong went 6-7, 5-7 and 5-7, so that's understandable, but Tom Herman came in a the big savior and went 7-6, 10-4 and now 6-5.
OK, they will likely win the last game and will go to a bowl, but the max is 8-5 then.
Well, that's Longhorns business.
Baylor did prolong their HC Rhule and will eventually win the conference, but for sure will go to a nice bowl.
Texas 10 @ #14 Baylor 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 22-18

Temple @ #19 Cincinnati
A very close game and the Bearcats did secure their spot in the American Athletic Championship game, but might fall short overall then.
First the game itself was defense driven and did look like a Cincinnati win, until Temple did start scoring in the 4th.
They came close, but failed to get a good drive together for that last effort and the Bearcats won, even with a missed field goal try.
Now Cincinnati will face Memphis next week and they are the leading team to play in the Championship game.
Now if Memphis wins, we get a rematch, if Cincinnati wins, they will play a different team.
We will have to see, how this will turn out.
Temple 13 @ #19 Cincinnati 15 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 23-18

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 23
Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech
Well, Pitt did eliminate themselves with a game which did feature no scoring on their side at all.
The Hokies did blank them and won 28-0, with a chance to win now the division next week.
Jacks interesting games Score: 29-11

THE BATTLE OF L.A. (but doesn't want to be named like that, but doesn't have a cool name neither)
UCLA @ #23 USC
Interesting game, but USC was just too much for UCLA to win this.
USC won 52-35 and did sink UCLA into the no-bowl-pit.
USC has to hope for a Utah loss to get into the Championship game, they can only wait, since they did already play their last regular season game.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-11

#20 Boise State @ Utah State
I did pick Utah State and Utah did suck major.
At the start it did look Ok, but at the half it was basically over and at the end did Boise State win 56-21.
Not sure Hawaii can counter that.
Utah State can only play for 1 more win, the bowl spot is secured.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-12

More astonishing results from the weekend:
Miami (OH) won against Akron 20-17 and secured that way a spot in the MAC Championship game. Akron still winless this season.
Buffalo won against Toledo 49-30 to get the 6th win. They can now hope for a Bowl game.
Georgia Tech did upset NC State 28-26. But both teams don't have a chance for a bowl spot.
Navy won against SMU 35-28. Navy is still in the hunt for the division tile and a championship game spot.
Charlotte did win against Marshall 24-13. Conference USA is still wide open regarding both championship spots.
UAB won against Louisiana Tech 20-14. Both teams try to win the division.
Rice won against North Texas 20-14. For Rice this was the 2nd win of the season.
Cal won the rival game against Stanford 24-20. This is the worst season of the Cardinals since a long time.
UNLV won their 1st conference game this season against San Jose State 38-35.
Arizona State did upset Oregon 31-28. This did almost for sure close out the PAC12 from the playoffs. ASU got their 6th win that way.
Florida International did upset Miami 30-24. This is a huge upset for the cross-town rivals. FIU is normally 2 classes worse than THE U. Not this season.
Tennessee won against Missouri 24-20. The Volunteers got their 6th win that way. Missouri is still at 5 wins.
Washington State won the shootout with Oregon State 54-53. The Beavers still need a 6th win. WSU did secure their bowl ticket with that win here.
Colorado did win against Washington 20-14. The Buffalos do also need 1 more win for a bowl spot.
And Hawaii did secure the Championship game spot with a win over San Diego State 14-11.

That's that.
Two coaches became the info they will be gone after the last regular season game.
Bob Davie of New Mexico will finish his 8th season with the Lobos and then will make room for another coach.
He had so far a 35-63 record with the last 3 season 3-9, 3-9 and 2-9 this season (and facing Utah State as season final will likely not help to get more wins).
He had only 2 winning seasons with the Lobos, 2015 and 2016, with 2016 being the best with 9-4 and a bowl win and a shared division title.

The other coach is Tony Sanchez from UNLV. He was a successful high school coach and won State Championship in each of his seasons with a Las Vegas High School and did become the job with the Rebels in 2015 when he was hired by the board responsible for UNLV.
He took over the program which did have 6 wins or better only in 2013 (7-6) and 2003 (6-6).
The last time the program had 2 seasons in a row with 6+ wins was 1983 and 1984.
Sanchez managed to get as best 5 wins in 2017, in total so far 19-40 and this season they are 3-8 with the rival game (Battle for Nevada) against Nevada (7-4) coming. So likely another loss there.
He will make also room for a new coach. I'm curious who they will select.


I selected these 4 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 14

#24 Virginia Tech @ Virginia
The 101st meeting this season and VT is riding a 15 game winning streak with an OT win last season.
This season both teams are 8-5 so far and 5-2 in conference games.
The winner will take the Coastal division and will face Clemson for the conference title.
Virginia Tech is favored as guest with 3.0 points, which I personally find quite odd.
Virginia had for sure some bad games, but with the same record and playing at home ...
The ESPN power index predictor sees the Cavaliers ahead, which fits more my feelings, but OK at the end we have to see what's coming.
For sure both teams will play tough and we will see a great game.
Since Virginia did splash into the coaches market and got coach Mendenhall from BYU the team did improve and got MUCH better since ages.
So I go here with Virginia (again, I did also pick them last year and failed) and I'm curious to see them playing Clemson.
Cavaliers win.

#19 Cincinnati @ #18 Memphis
No rivalry here, but a very important game.
Cincinnati did already get the ticket to the American Athletic Conference title game and plays now Memphis on the road.
If they lose, they would play Memphis again for the title, which would be psychologically quite tough.
If they win, they would play a different team, likely Navy.
The conference can still hope for the big Bowl spot as best non-power5-team, since the winner will get some boost and the title game might boost them further.
Of cause Boise State is right next to them, and this might come down, who wins their conference title games against whom.
Interesting is, that in this game here Memphis is a 11.0 point favorite, despite the Bearcats 10-1 record and perfect record inside the conference, while Memphis is also 10-1, but lost inside the conference to Temple.
I'm torn between both teams, but have to admit that Memphis did become better over the season and I favor them over the Bearcats.
But 11.0 points is too much from my point of view.
Expect a great game and a close one.
Tigers win.

Sat. Nov. 30 THE GAME
#1 Ohio State @ #13 Michigan
The game is this season eventually a coach decider, but likely not.
If Ohio State loses here, only their playoff standings will get worse (a bit), but they have the ticket already for the conference title game, so that's done.
If Michigan loses, the HC did not win this VERY IMPORTANT game since he did took over the program.
His team did win some game (many games, actually), but was ALWAYS in the shadow of the rival.
I think the Wolverines community did hope for a meltdown when the Buckeyes coach did quit and they did promote their OC to HC, so Jimmy H could finally take over, but it did not happen.
Instead does Michigan again look significantly smaller then Ohio State and given his major salary, that's not what the school did expect.
The Buckeyes are 11-0 and 8-0 in conference play, Michigan is 9-2 and 6-2 in conference games.
Fine, they did not lose against bad team, but they lost, while champions don't do that.
So no wonder OSU is 8.0 point favorite to win this ON THE ROAD.
I go with the Buckeyes, which did look terrific this season.
Buckeyes win.

#12 Wisconsin @ #8 Minnesota
It long ago, that this had a big impact on the national rankings or the BIG10 division race.
The last time both were ranked was 2014, the last time both were ranked in TOP15 was 1962 (Wisconsin won as #3 team, Minnesota was #5).
This season it does determine the BIG10 Championship participant.
Last season did Minnesota break a long streak of wins by Wisconsin and won the game.
This season they play at home and are 3.0 points underdog.
I expect a big game and a close one.
Both teams can win here.
Minnesota did show much heart this season, so don't underestimate their home advantage.
They did lose only on the road, once.
I'm willing to give them the momentum here, even my gut says Wisconsin will seal the deal.
Gophers win.

Other interesting games:

Thur. Nov. 28 THE EGG BOWL
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State
Ole Miss did win only 2 SEC games this season, against Vanderbilt and Arkansas and are 4-7 overall. So a bowl is not coming.
Now they face MSU on the road in the Egg Bowl, with MSU looking for the 6th win total and to extend then winning 'streak' from 1 to 2.
Still the 116th meeting this season and Ole Miss is still leading this by many games.
The Bulldogs are only 3.0 points favorites, but honestly, I expect more points here.
Bulldogs win.

Fri. Nov. 29 THE APPLE CUP
Washington State @ Washington
This season this game has only academical relevance.
No division title is on the line like last year, only pride.
111 Meetings so far, and Washington is riding a 6 game winning streak.
Both teams are 6-5 overall and 3-5 inside the conference.
Both teams do have experienced coaches and want of cause the win here.
The Huskies are favored by 7.0 points and I'm willing to give them the last time my confidence, even while they failed me 3 times this season.
Huskies win.

#3 Clemson @ South Carolina
The battle for the leader in South Carolina is since the past few seasons quite one-dimensional.
The 117th meeting will be likely even more one-dimensional.
Clemson won the last 5 games, the period where they did rise to national power and won the national championship once.
The betting line is -27.5, which is even -1.0 more than last year.
Clemson is not unbeatable, but got better over the past few week and the Gamecocks had their signature upset against Georgia, but since then did play awful.
A Clemson loss would end all playoff hopes for the team, regardless whether they win the conference. Their schedule is so weak, they will lose the compare to any other 1-loss team. But I expect them to dominate, again.
So ...
Tigers win.

#4 Georgia @ Georgia Tech
114th meeting this season and Georgia has really only a 2-game streak here to protect.
Last 18 games were 15-3, but GT won 2016 and 2014, both on the road.
This season is Georgia Tech under a new coach and that is not clicking so far.
But ... never underestimate the rivalries.
The betting line is Georgia -28.5!
A loss here would also bury Georgia playoff hopes, even if they win the SEC I guess.
They do have already a loss.
If everything goes as expected this will be no fun.
Bulldogs win.

Louisville @ Kentucky
The rivalry not really do have a fancy name, the Governor's Cup is just awarded to the winner (there are several rivalries with trophies called 'Governor's Cup').
This season the game has only instate significance.
Kentucky is favored by 2.5 points, which is of cause not much.
The series is lead by Kentucky 16-15, thanks to last seasons win.
I'm not sure what to expect here, both teams seems to struggle under pressure and this seems to be totally open.
In doubt I pick the home team.
Wildcats win.

#5 Alabama @ #15 Auburn
This is not THAT important this season, but has some fallout for the losing team.
If Alabama loses, they can skip the playoff hopes.
Right now they sit there at #5 and hope for some of the other 4 teams ahead of them to make something stupid.
If they win, they increase their chance, or at least keep their chances.
A loss would send them downwards the rankings for good.
Of course would Auburn do this with a smile, but 1st they need to win.
A loss will send them also down the rankings and would likely expell them from the bigger and better bowls.
A win would almost for sure secure a big one.
Alabama won last season, before that Auburn.
Auburn is not bad this season, but they lack something to play with the BIG boys, as it seems.
But they play at home and Alabama not only does not play as in recent years, they also lost their star QB.
The betting line is Alabama -3.5, so it is expected to be close.
I'm willing to bet against that and pick Auburn.
Tigers win.

Oregon State @ #14 Oregon
One of the most played rivalries overall with 122 meetings so far 65 won by Oregon, including last season.
The Ducks are favored by 19.0 points.
The Beavers did start quite good this season, but lost some steam lately.
They need a win to get a bowl spot.
But I guess they will have to wait until next year, since the Ducks do now play against a rival, are clearly better and lost last week, so they need every won possible to get the best bowl available.
Ducks win.

#16 Notre Dame @ Stanford
The rivalry also has no real name, but awards a trophy called the Jeweled Shillelagh to the winner.
The tradition is quite nice, even if the trophy itself is not that nice to view.
Notre Dame is favored against a weak Cardinals teams by 16.5 points.
I guess even the home advantage will not save the Cardinals.
Fighting Irish win.

#7 Oklahoma @ #21 Oklahoma State
This year the game has some significance to the playoff rankings.
Oklahoma does look right now from the outside into the playoff race, but has this game and the Championship game against Baylor.
A loss here would send them down the rankings, a win here might give them the boost to get under the TOP4, with some help of other teams.
Oklahoma State has as motivation to stop the 4 game losing streak.
But the line is 13.5 and even if Oklahoma did not play perfect this season, they are very good.
They play in Stillwater, so hostile environment.
I guess that's not enough to derail the Sooners this season.
Sooners win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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