2021-11-05 06:33

The first College Football Playoff ranking was released and it's already time for all teams inside the TOP10 of the AP-Polls to cry or laugh, since the committee did rank the teams differently than the AP-Polls did rank them.

But the committee ranking will be the most relevant one, since the TOP4 will be the teams playing for the national championship, the rest can play only in high value bowls, but their chance to win the national championship is slim, expect you do it as Central Florida a few seasons ago and declare yourselves national champion.

A small history lesson for this topic, first.

In 2017 UCF did play a perfect season, won all games until the final CFP-Rankings came out and was ranked at #12, behind Ohio State (2 losses), Clemson (1 loss), Oklahoma (1 loss), Georgia (1 loss), Alabama (1 loss) and some other teams, including 3-loss-Team Auburn at #7. The brackets do show the losses BEFORE the playoffs.
As you can see, the Knights won all games, but were put behind 1-loss-, 2-losses- and 3-losses Teams.
They later won the Bowl against #7 Auburn and stayed perfect and declared themselves National Champion, since ALL teams above them, including National Champion Alabama, had at least 1 loss and granted they had a great season. Many still were not OK with this, but it is as it is, most schools do have self-declared National Championships, but those are usually from the stone age of college football, where no polls and no bowl series existed.
The AP-Poll did rank UCF finally at #6 with 4 1st-place-votes and the coaches did put them at #7.

With that season in their pocket, they did almost repeat that perfect season in 2018, was unbeaten after the last regular season game and got a CFP-Ranking at #8, behind unbeaten, 1-loss and one 2-loss-Team.
Granted a lot of the big names were unbeaten also, only Oklahoma as 1-loss team made the playoffs.
UCF did play in a big bowl and lost there against #11 LSU and dropped in the final rankings to #11 (AP) and #12 (Coaches).

Since then, teams from Group of Five Conferences were not THAT great.
In 2019 Memphis and Boise were close but had each 1 loss and made only TOP20 CFP ranking spots.
In 2020 the season was all crazy, still Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati stayed unbeaten and were ranked at #12 and #8, behind a bunch of other teams having zero to three losses.
Both teams lost their bowls, so the situation was also a bit solved by that.

The difference between the past situations and the situation this time is, in the past the denial of the strength of a Group of 5 team was done already in the regular polls until the end of the season, since none of the mentioned teams got into the TOP4 ranked of AP or Coaches, prior or after the CFP-ranks were release.
When the CFP-ranks were release the standings were compared and - no-wonder - no big difference were seen.
'how can you expect UCF in the playoffs, if all major polls see them outside?' Something like this.

Now we jump to this season.

AP poll sees Georgia, Cincinnati, Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan and Wake Forest as TOP10, in that sorting with Georgia at #1 and Wake Forest as #10.
The Coaches poll sees Georgia, Cincinnati, Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Michigan inside the TOP10.
All for the polls released after last weeks games, prior the CFP-ranks release.

Remember the poll are made that way, that a bunch of people, press people for AP and HCs for the coaches, are asked for their rankings and then all is aggregated and sorted by the received points.

Now the CFP-ranks came out Tuesday.
It's Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, Oregon, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and Notre Dame.

Biggest difference here are of course Cincinnati dropping from a consensus #2 to #6, that way out of the playoffs, and Oklahoma from #4 to #8, also out. Biggest winner is Michigan State jumping a few spots into the playoffs and also Oregon jumping also a few spots into the playoffs.

Ok, this is only the 1st draft, but wow, Cincinnati is *peeep*ed already, since all they can do is winning against not-so-high-ranked- or better not-even-ranked-at-all-teams and win the conference. That will likely never be enough to jump 2 spots minimum, since a) the ahead ranked teams will play at least a higher profile conference championship game and b) lower ranked teams will jump them if they win against some of the higher ranked teams, since they got a very high-quality win (and Cincinnati not).

It's a bit strange that the press and the coaches do value Cincinnati at #2 and the committee does rank them at #6, as unbeaten team, while Oregon and Ohio State each lost a game already.

Do I believe in the Bearcats? No, not as National Championship.
But inside the playoffs? Why not.

The good thing is, it seems the playoffs WILL get an update, it's just not clear how this will look like and when it will happen.

Next big news this weekend was the departure of Gary Patterson as HC from TCU.
He had almost 21 seasons with TCU, did win several conference championships and did basically build that program to the level it has now as BIG12 team.
He started inside the WAC, which was basically a weaker conference at that time, made the transition to the Conference USA (not much better in strength, but he won it in his 2nd season), made the transition to the Mountain West Conference (better strength, he won it 4 times and the highest ranking he got there in AP was #2!).
Then the team was shifted to the BIG12 (and he won that conference in 2014 also as co-champs) and Patterson did keep the team up in wins and strength, most of the time.
His last great season was 2017 with 11 wins, since then a decline in strength or at last in results did happen.
This season, after a 3-5 start, he was asked to leave after the season, but instead he did leave after that meeting for good.
Jerry Kill will coach the remaining game, the former HC of Minnesota, who served as Assistant HC at TCU this season.

Honestly an understandable move from both sides, since the school had to react and the coach was likely pissed with the request, not able to convince the board of being able to turn things around again.
TCU needed to start the search for a new coach now, since the competition will be high.

A strange move also is that Georgia Southern did find their replacement HC for 2022.
Clay Helton, former USC HC, fired this season after a slow start, was name the new HC.
As it seems he will not take over the remaining games, but maybe I was just not able to get the right note.
Always tough to understand such moves, this is by far a drop in the level he was coaches so far, at least as HC.
But several power 5 coaches did reload in a group of 5 college and gained a power 5 programs spot after a few seasons. So, maybe a smart move.

And on short notice did Akron fire their HC.
Tom Arth was in his 3rd season and had so far won 3 games, zero in year 1, 1 in year 2 and this season so far 2 games. This university must be nuts. First of all, the team did improve, and the season is not finished yet. Second the team did aim for sure for better results, but Akron is Akron and to make this a winning team, is hard.
I never understood they did fire Terry Bowden, the Arth predecessor, after a 4-8 season, while he had Akron in 2 bowls some seasons before and was obviously willing to stay. Now Bowden is in another hard to win place, Louisiana-Monroe and has turned a team around from zero wins last year (under a different coach) to 4 wins so far.
Akron wanted Arth and he did turn the program upside down, but 2 years plus (including the COVID-19-season) is not really enough to judge a turnaround.
Well, for sure Arth will get a new job, somewhere, and Akron can try to look for a new HC in Dumb-As-Dumb-Can-Be, Ohio.


Sat. Oct 30
#6 Michigan @ #8 Michigan State
Well, Wolverines fans likely want this game to be erased from the record, but Spartans fans will rub that game under the Michigan fans again and again.
Michigan started fast, lead 10-0 and 23-14 at the half.
The Wolverines came out of the half on a slightly better foot and extended the lead to 30-14, when MSU started to recover.
The Spartans did score 16 points in a row with 2 TDs and Michigan was only able to get the lead back at 33-30 with a field goal.
And then ... Michigan got the ball after a 3-and-out-Spartans drive (following the Michigan field goal) and fumbled the ball away. MSU recovered.
The Spartans were in good field position and scored the 37-33 end game score.
Michigan sucked at the next drive, unable to score a needed TD and did throw an INT a bit later on a desperate pass.
The Spartans did get a great ranking out of that game and can actually dream of the conference title game and more, if they beat Ohio State soon.
#6 Michigan 33 @ #8 Michigan State 37 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 18-9

#20 Penn State @ #5 Ohio State
Ohio State won against Penn State by 9 points, but it did never look like PSU had really a chance, even the margin was not high throughout the game.
The Buckeyes just did look capable enough to grind this game home as a win.
For the Buckeyes the win did help them and left them in the hunt for the division title, Penn State need at least 1 more win for a bowl, out of 4, but 2 of those are against Michigan teams.
#20 Penn State 24 @ #5 Ohio State 33 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 19-9

#1 Georgia vs Florida
There was not much Florida was able to do. This season is a mess for them, and they need to find some answers for next season.
The Gators did only score 7 points and Georgia 34.
That's a tough loss, for a game where everyone expects a close rivalry matchup and hopes for some great entertainment.
But Florida was held scoreless in the 1st 3 quarters and Georgia was already leading by a mile when Florida did finally score in the 4th.
For Georgia the path to glory is untarnished and they got the #1 spot for the playoffs in the 1st released ranking and are set for the SEC Championship game, Florida needs at least 2 more wins for a bowl spot, but with the remaining schedule, including a FCS opponent, this looks achievable.
#1 Georgia 34 vs Florida 7 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 20-9

Other interesting games:
Texas @ #16 Baylor
Baylor won against Texas 31-24. As I expected it, Texas lost the game in the 4th and somehow the stamina is not enough for the Longhorns to bring such games home as a win this season.
Baylor can dream of the BIG12 Championship, Texas needs at least 2 more wins for the bowl bid from a quite easy remaining schedule.
Jacks interesting games Score: 16-12

#10 Ole Miss @ #18 Auburn
Auburn won against Ole Miss, with less points than I expected them together to score.
31-20 is not much with the Rebels offense in mind. But their star QB was injured and therefore the result was different from then onwards.
Auburn can dream of the SEC West, but will have several tough games coming up.
Ole Miss need only more wins to get a better bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 17-12

#19 SMU @ Houston
A crazy game with a crazy finish. Houston won against SMU 44-37, featuring 2! 100+ yard return TDs. Unfortune for the Mustangs the 2nd return happened after SMU had scored the tying TD with under 30 ticks left in the game.
Houston got the ball, returned it for the TD and SMU was unable to land the last pass (from a good field position, still, incomplete) to eventually turn that game with another miracle.
Houston is now primed to play in the conference title game, SMU has to play some tougher teams and has to win especially the game against Cincinnati.
Jacks interesting games Score: 17-13

Other funny scores:
Wisconsin won against Iowa 27-7. A very bad game by Iowa. Shame on you, Hawkeyes.
Mississippi State won against #12 Kentucky 31-17. Looks like the dream season of Kentucky got a blind side hit here.
Miami won against Pitt 38-34. Miami was hot (or Pitt was not) in the 1st half and Pitt was unable to get their comeback fulfilled. Pitt has some room left to secure the division, but a loss is a loss. Miami looks like they want to save their HC job by some extra effort. Could work out.
Fresno State won against San Diego State 30-20. The Bulldogs are hot right now.
West Virginia won against Iowa State 38-31, which shows against that Iowa State lacks somehow the consistency.
Maryland won against Indiana 38-35. Indiana has really a down season after last seasons surprising success.
Washington State won against Arizona State 30-24 in OT. The PAC 12 is totally mixed in results and almost every team can still hope for a conference championship spot.
Utah State won against Hawai'i 51-31, which makes right now Utah State the prime candidate for the Mountain West Conference title.
Marshall won against Florida International 38-0 and did accept the SUN BELT invitation, so this is also confirmed.
Purdue did beat Nebraska 28-23, which is another close game the Huskers did lose. It seems they are close of turning things around, but so far now luck (or skill, whatever you think).
Cal won against Oregon State 39-25, which dumps the Beavers a bit deeper from the top spots inside the division, still everything is open there.
Utah won against UCLA 44-24, making right now Utah the most probable PAC12-South winner.

Now to next weeks games.


Sat. Oct 30
#13 Auburn @ #14 Texas A&M
This game is a big thing for both teams, not in terms of rivalry, but in terms of standings.
Auburn has already 1 loss inside the conference (against Georgia) and is right behind Alabama in the SEC West standings. A loss in any SEC game would be quite a blow for them, but not the end, IF they would be able to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl on the last gameday and win the tiebreaker.
And exactly that tiebreaker would be much favorable if they would just win all games, since then no tiebreaker would be needed.
But they face Texas A&M, the team which did already beat Alabama, but lost surprisingly 2 other SEC games (against Mississippi State and Arkansas). The Aggies do sit behind the 1-loss teams (Alabama and Auburn) with 2 other 2-loss teams (Mississippi State and Ole Miss) and do wait for their chance.
This game here is such a chance, since a win would give them not only a win more, it would also give one of 1-loss teams another loss. Then they would still need some luck and help, but a loss would basically end the hunt for the division title.
The betting line is Texas A&M -4.5, which I find quite big, compared to the results the teams had.
Both teams can win this, but I do lean towards the Aggies because of the 12th man.
Aggies win.

LSU @ #2 Alabama
This looks like a big insult for LSU.
Alabamas line is -28.5, which is huge, so huge you could think the Tigers are not a SEC team, but from Conference USA, Sun Belt or even a FCS team.
Of cause the results of both teams do lead to that kind of betting line, with LSU playing poorly and having won only 2 SEC games and 4 in total, while Alabama won everything except the game against Texas A&M.
The Tide won against Mississippi State by 40 and Tennessee by 28 in the last 2 games.
And this is played at home, so no hostile environment and therefore not bonus for LSU, I guess.
I'm still not convinced LSU will lose THAT high, but a loss seems to be inevitable.
If LSU wins here, the college football world will not be the same.
Crimson Tide win.

#4 Oregon @ Washington
The Ducks are handled as the favorites to win the PAC 12, but they dropped already 1 game (against Stanford), so they are beatable.
Washington is a team which could make them lose again. The Huskies have already lost twice inside the Conference (against Oregon State and UCLA) and their coach is at least on a quite warm seat, if not already a quite hot one, thanks to 4 total losses in the season, including a loss against a FCS team.
Still, they won the last 2 games, all on the road, and are only 7.0 points underdog in this game.
That's a lot, but this season it seems the odd makers are not that good and we have seen several upsets with higher betting line numbers already.
I still pick the Ducks to win, simple for the reason that Oregon did so far play very good and Washington did not.
Yes, they did win some games, but did also lose some games and most of those were games I did expect Washington to win.
If they win, they might win the division, if they lose, the Ducks are primed to win the division.
I don't believe in an upset, with Oregon being able to play both side of the ball in a good way.
Ducks win.

Other interesting games:
#9 Wake Forest @ North Carolina
Wake Forest has the highest ranking in the polls since EVER.
Wake Forest is not really a winning university, it's one of those having the academical side of the college football business higher rated than the sport side.
Still the team is right now leading the division and could actually win it and get a spot inside the conference championship game and would be eventually the favorite.
Still, Vegas does not believe overall in the Demon Deacons and picked UNC as 2.5points favorite, with UNC being 4-4 and Wake Forest 8-0.
I think Wake Forest can win here, and picked them as the winner.
But ... UNC in 100% mode is absolutely able to win this at home.
Only that UNC did not look 100% most of the time.
Demon Deacons win.

#3 Michigan State @ Purdue
This looks like a perfect trap game for Michigan State.
Tough game last week? Check.
Likely easy team this week? Check.
Tough opponents after the easy games ahead? Check.
So if MSU has their mind already in the games against Ohio State or Penn State and do take the quite good playing Purdue team too lightly, the might fall.
Pro for Purdue is the home field advantage.
Con for Purdue is, that MSU is very capable to score.
Their losses inside the conference were all at home by the way.
MSU is only favored by 3.0 points, so everyone expects a close game.
I do expect either a close Purdue win or a 2 score Spartans win, with much more likely the Spartans to win.
Spartans win.

Boise State @ #23 Fresno State
This is a top game inside the Mountain West.
Fresno States line is -5.0, but this can go any way.
I do believe Fresno State wins here, since Boise did show some weak performance, especially on offense and that means the Bulldogs might flip the game and does something usually Boise was known for, outscoring the opponent by offense power.
I actually hope the new HC at Boise gets the things turn around soon, right now the team look bad, which was not the case since a long time.
Bulldogs win.

'Til next time

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