2021-10-29 09:20

The domino stones start to fall.

I did write about Texas and Oklahoma's leave of the BIG 12, anytime from end of the season to 2025.

The BIG 12 was left without the two most attractive and financially interesting teams, and with only 8 teams left to play football.

I did speculate about the other conferences and what will happen, right? The PAC 12, the ACC and the BIG 10 did basically form a non-attacking-alliance against each other to secure their status.

That left the BIG 12 and the Group of 5 conference to make their moves. I did always expect the American and the Big 12 to fusion in some way, but it did come a different way.
The BIG 12 did accept Cincinnati, Houston and UCF from the American to join latest until 2024/25 season, plus they got BYU to leave the independent status and join the BIG 12 as well in the same time frame. Some interesting stuff. First, I do guess that the BIG 12 contracts still running (usually very long term) were much better than the American, that's way the BIG 12 is in a better position. Then the conference is actually expanding their state footprint by 3 additional states, Ohio, Florida and Utah (with Ohio being a bid odd in that list, but they have West Virginia already, so not THAT odd). And a funny side fact is that Houston's coach did leave the BIG 12 some seasons ago and will now join the BIG 12 again with that move (if he survives that long).

OK, the BIG 12 looks OK right now, with then to be 12 teams.

Now the American will lose those 3 teams and did make their moves already, also. Since UConn left for the BIG EAST to play Basketball there and left their football team as Indy, the league featured only 11 teams. Now subtract the 3 soon to be BIG 12 teams, and they have only 8 teams left. No problem, there are some conferences you can raid for additional teams, right? Right. It was announced that the conference did accept UAB, Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice and UTSA as new teams, all from the Conference USA, for 2023.
The Conference USA did already have teams leaving for the American, in 2014 came ECU, Tulane and Tulsa.
A bold move which will likely soften the conference a bit in the beginning, but with the additional money the teams will likely catch up a bit.
With then 14 teams the American does look strong again, still they have lost most of their strong teams to the BIG 12.

Which leave the Conference USA as the losing conference right now.
This season they have 14 teams, but the loss of 6 teams to the American and the announcement that Southern Miss and Old Dominion will leave for the SUN BELT (and Marshall likely to follow them) the conference does face a shift of teams close to extinction level.
Right now, with the speculated additional leaves, the conference does only feature 5 teams somewhere at 2023 or 2024, which is less they are allowed to have.
Of course the conference does state they have a lot of interested teams to join, but honestly, beside some Indy-leftovers and eventually FCS additions, the future looks grim for the conference.

And there are still some rumors cooking, so I guess the end of the line is not reach, yet.

One HC was also let go during the weekend. Texas Tech did fire Matt Wells, he was let go after nearly 3 seasons, with a record of 13-17. Honestly, if the chemistry was not OK, fine, but the team did play OK and was on a winning record for the 1st time since he joined the team, 5-3. This does not look OK, but likely the schools thought to move fast and quick to get their hands on one of the hottest two candidates, Sonny Dykes of SMU or Jeff Traylor of UTSA. Not sure one of them would like to go to Lubbock, Texas, where no one was really successful since Mike Leach was fired (84-43 record). Ok, Sonny Dykes is the son of long time TTU HC Spike Dykes (82-67-1 record), so this might bring Sonny to Lubbock (while history showed that such sentimental moves do often backfire), and for Traylor this would mean serious more money, but likely he can pick his job anyway after the season with some better programs available, but you never know, I guess.

So TTU is going interim mode now with Sonny Cumbie, QB coach, coming from TCU this season for the remaining season.


Sat. Oct 23
Wisconsin @ #25 Purdue
Not much to tell here.
The game was quite open until halftime, 13-13, but after the break did Wisconsin's defense shut down the Boilermakers.
From my point of view the win by Wisconsin was not that convincing, overall they did just what was needed.
But the Badgers will need to do more to overcome the right now ahead listed Minnesota and Iowa teams.
Purdue on the other hand does look like a team which can do everything if the opponent does underestimate them or nothing, if the opponent knows how to shut down their offense.
So likely we will see some more upsets by them, but also some more losses.
Wisconsin 30 @ #25 Purdue 13 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 15-9

#8 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
A game of some great lead changes, but at the end did Iowa State bring the Cowboys down.
What's really interesting is this season, OSU seems to have some sort of defense, but lacks the explosiveness on their offense this season, which is the opposite of the past seasons.
And Iowa State does look good, if not great, if you think about their potential.
Just going back into the mid 90s the last few coaches had all losing record, most of the time big-time-losing-record.
Except Matt Campbell, so far 40-30 with one losing season in his first year 2016.
No wonder his name comes up regularly for some bigger and better paying programs (still he gets about 4 mio a season, not bad, right?).
Both teams are still in the hunt for a conference championship game spot.
#8 Oklahoma State 21 @ Iowa State 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 16-9

#10 Oregon @ UCLA
Here Oregon did their best in the 2nd half and pulled away after training at the half by a few points.
The 3rd quarter was all Ducks and the 4th was a great smash on the comeback try by the Bruins.
The Ducks are still the favorite to win the PAC 12 North, but they do look beatable.
I'm still wondering whether really the CIVIL WAR against Oregon State will determine the division title ...
I would have to research here, whether this ever happened and if so, when.
Can't remember such an event in the past 20 years.
The Bruins do look like they're getting better, but it looks also like they do lack something, which might click in the next game, or in the future.
I don't think Kelly is in any trouble, while I also think the expectations were higher, regarding the time horizon of fielding a winning team.
#10 Oregon 34 @ UCLA 31 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 17-9

Other interesting games:
Sat. Oct 23
#16 Wake Forest @ Army
With 126 points scored in the game, there was a lot of entertainment, right?
Still, Wake Forest was able to win this 70-56 and kept their winning streak alive, while Army lost now 3 in a row.
Jacks interesting games Score: 14-11

Clemson @ #23 Pittsburgh
Clemson did really look bad on offense and lost rightfully (or better Pitt did win rightfully).
The final score was Pitt winning 27-17. Pitt now leading their conference big time.
Jacks interesting games Score: 15-11

Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan
Great game by NIU, trailing at the half 18-28 and after the 3rd quarter still by 6.
But they kept fighting and won by a field goal shot (about 1 min left to play) and some luck (when CMU did try THEIR FG, the snap was low, and it destroyed the kicking try).
NIU won 39-38 and leads their division now with some comfort.
Jacks interesting games Score: 15-12

Other funny scores:
Ranked Coastal Carolina lost to Appalachian State 30-27. That did put a big dent into their season, but some games are left to play.
Highly ranked Penn State did lose against Illinois in 9! OTs 20-18. The rules for OTs were changed this season, now in the 2nd OT a 2-point-conversion is a must and already in the 3rd OT onward only a 2-point-play is allowed as a whole drive, so no TDs from that point onward.
I don't like this, since it takes away the options, but OK.
Miami did upset ranked NC State 31-30. Not sure if this will save the Miamis HC job, but at least this week he was not let go.
Kansas State won against Texas Tech 25-24, which led to the TTUs HCs pink slip.
Syracuse did win against Virginia Tech on the road 41-36. I think the Hokies fans are getting angry, since their former HC did have better results.
Rice won against UAB 30-24. UABs championship ambitions did get a hit.
Oregon State won against Utah 42-34. The North do look like a favorite for the PAC 12 in general right now.

And that's it for the past weekend. Now let's jump into the upcoming weekend.
Some very important games coming up.


Sat. Oct 30
#6 Michigan @ #8 Michigan State
I was curious to see, when the last time this rivalry game did feature both teams being ranked (2018, #6 Michigan won against #24 MSU), or better both being ranked inside the TOP 10 (1964, #4 Michigan won against #9 MSU).
So, it does not happen that often having these teams clashing against each other ranked so high.
But granted the rankings are not 100% a great measure. Beside MSU fans, you could easily argue that Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Kentucky should be ranked higher than MSU, since they did lose only to very high ranked teams, while MSU did beat so far only 1 ranked team, which is right now at the bottom of the ACC.
But it is as it is, and we will see the 114th meeting of those teams, playing for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
Michigan leads the series by many games, but in the past 10 seasons the record is 6-4 for MSU, with a win last season also.
Vegas line is Michigan at -4.0, so it seems they expect a Michigan win.
But Michigan's wins are also not that convincing and the best win they have is against Wisconsin on the road, from my point of view.
I'm not sure which team is really the better one this season.
MSU did surprise with a toughness in their games nobody had expected them to show in THIS season, and it seems Michigan did surprise also by playing better than expected.
This game is played in East Lansing, which gives MSU a small boost, but the game is SO energized, it could be played anywhere, and both teams would try to crush the opponent anyway.
I expect a close game, with the Spartans showing a bit more stamina than the Wolverines.
But honestly, this can go any way.
Spartans win.

#20 Penn State @ #5 Ohio State
A few weeks back, this game did look like the deciding game for the division title.
Now Penn State lost 2 in a row (including the last week 9 OT thriller against Illinois, being the 24.5 point favorite) and suddenly Ohio State is an 18.5 favorite.
If Ohio State loses or wins, it will not change much, beside the global rankings. The Michigan games will decide their fate anyway.
If Penn State wins, they can still hope for some miracle, if they lose, the division title is gone for sure.
It seems Penn State lacks something on offense, so likely we will see a tough game, but an Ohio State win by more than a score.
Played in the horseshoe, this will be a very hostile environment for the Lions.
Since they were not even able to win at home ....
Buckeyes win.

#1 Georgia vs Florida
Georgia is leading the series roughly by 10 wins and the overall count is reaching close the 100th matchup, but both team do disagree in the games played by 1 game.
Florida won last year.
Played on neutral site in Jacksonville, the so-called "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" will feature a so far a bit disappointing Florida team against the team which is believed to get the national championship.
No wonder the Georgia Bulldogs are favored by 14.0 points.
For the division, this is almost irrelevant, nationally the ranking of Georgia would suffer a bit with a loss.
Florida can only play for pride and to gain some traction on a bigger Bowl bid.
With Florida playing a bit poorly this season, I don't see them winning here, except Georgia does let them by producing large errors.
Bulldogs win.

Other interesting games:
Texas @ #16 Baylor
A very interesting game. Baylor needs the win to stay in the conference race ahead, while Texas needs the win to get back into the race. Baylor is favored by just 2.5, but played in Waco and with Texas having trouble closing out games, this is Baylor game to lose.
Bears win.

#10 Ole Miss @ #18 Auburn
Auburn is favored by 3.0 points, and this could actually end any way. Ole Miss has some very strong offense, while Auburn has both sides on good shape. Unfortunately is Auburn right now running straight into the same situation as Washington State, since the HC, Harsin, does refuse to state his vaccination status, which seems to be only logic, if he did not get a shot so far. They still have a month to go, so he can turn this around, but so far .... Again, I think, 'religion' is the factor here. Idiots.
Still, I think the Tigers will win.
Tigers win.

#19 SMU @ Houston
The battle for the AAC lead is on. SMU does look good, as does Houston, but just not THAT good. Played in Houston the betting line is EVEN, so no favorite right now.
With the strong SMU offense I see them a bit ahead, but likely the last team with the ball will win.
Mustangs win.

'Til next time

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