2021-11-18 09:03

More upsets. Wohooooooo!

Last weekend we saw some great upsets, that kind of things I like the most.

Two upsets will be featured down below in the recaps of last weeks games, but one is not that spectacular, granted.
But this one here WAS spectacular.
Preconditions were, home team was a 31.0-point favorite, road team did not win against a conference rival since 2008, lost 56 of those games in a row.
We are talking about Kansas @ Texas.
First half? All Kansas, leading at the end of the half 35-14. BOOM!
Then Texas did re-think their priorities and how they look on TV and after the 3rd quarter it was 42-35, 1 score game.
And they did it, they tie the game with 22 seconds left to play. 49-49!
The 1st OT, Texas scores and gets the lead, the 1st since kickoff.
Kansas gets the ball and actually makes a TD, too. But they then line up for a 2-point-conversion to lose or win.
AND THEY WON! 57-56.
STORM THE FIELD YOU 2 or 3 KANSAS FANS IN LONGHORNS STADIUM! (better not, you get likely injured ;-) )
That must have hurt for Texas, who did set themselves some new record. Dropping 5 in a row, 1st time since 1956! (for those who see patters everywhere, Kansas won after 56 games, Texas has the longest losing streak since ’56)
Congratulation, for some nice conversations for the Texas-HC, I guess.

Another nice upset was Iowa State loss to Texas Tech.
The Cyclones have kicked a field goal with a minute left to tie the game at 38.
TTU gets the ball and somehow manages it to get to the ISU 44 yard line, when it came down to wait for OT, try a 62-yard-field-goal or to try a Hail Mary.
They selected the 62-yarder and MADE IT! Final score 41-38.
Only 12.5 points underdog, but a big impact in the BIG 12.

By the way, both teams, Kansas and Texas Tech, are under interims management.
TTU already knows their next HC, but he will start working after the season.

With this weekend, the conferences do get slowly decided, regarding conference championship participation.
But, of all conference, only 3 spots so far are set, Georgia (SEC), Houston (American) and Louisiana (Sun Belt).
The rest will be determined in the next 2 weeks.
Some teams are almost for sure in, some do need all their power and it still might not be enough, thanks to some tough schedule.

Here is an overview:
The American Athletic
This is a 2-team race with Houston already set for the Championship game and Cincinnati for 99.9% also set, but in theory still in jeopardy with games against SMU and East Carolina to come, both teams with 2 losses inside the conference and behind the Bearcats on #3 and #4.
To have one of the teams leapfrogging Cincinnati one of them needs to win all remaining games, with each of them having to play Cincinnati, AND Cincinnati hast to lose those 2 games also. Quite unrealistic.
Cincinnati and Houston have not played against each other this season and we might see a surprise in that game.
Would be a big stunner, if Houston would win the conference.

Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Division is Wake Forest to lose, having zero losses inside the conference so far, trailed by Clemson and NC State.
Wake Forest is at last Co-Champ NOW but could lose the right to play inside the conference championship game with 2 losses in the next 2 games, one of those is against Clemson. All they need to do is to win a game and it's secure.
Clemson and NC State need Wake Forest to lose all remaining games and have to win the remaining games.
At least for Clemson it's not that unrealistic, IF they beat Wake Forest (their last conference game), since Wake Forest also has to play Boston College on the road.
A 3-team-tie is possible, if NC State wins and then all would have beaten one of the 3, so deeper tie-breaker-rules would apply.
But realistic is, Wake Forest will manage to win at least a game.
The Coastal division is right now led by Pitt and they do look strong enough to secure the division title.
They have 1 loss inside the conference so far, next team has 2 losses, Virginia, and then 2 teams with 3 losses, Virginia Tech and Miami.
Pitt plays Virginia the upcoming weekend and that can eventually seal the deal, if Pitt wins it.
A Cavaliers win will make Virginia the leading team, still they need to win the last game also.
Overall, this might become the 1st season since 2015 that Clemson is NOT in the championship game and eventually the 1st since 2010 that the Coastal wins it all. We will see.

BIG 12 Conference
The last week did make the conference a bid more open, still the group of potential Championship game participants is quite small.
Leading team is Oklahoma, with now 1 loss, followed by Oklahoma State with 1 loss, also.
Next in line is Baylor with 2 losses and then we already are at the Hail Mary teams with 3 losses, Iowa State and Kansas State.
I leave the 3 loss teams out, they really need a cascade of things to get a spot.
The 2 Oklahoma teams will meet in the Bedlam Series at season end, it's safe to say, the winner is in the Championship game.
The loser might drop out, in favor of Baylor, if Baylor wins the remaining games (Texas Tech and Kansas State), which looks manageable.
Realistic is that we will see 2 Bedlam-games in 2 weeks.

BIG TEN Conference
The East Division is a 3-team-game, which will get a massive killing in the next 2 weeks. Ohio State is leading with zip losses, followed by Michigan and Michigan State having 1 loss each. Ohio State will play them in the next 2 weeks and is favored to win in each of them.
If they win, they are in, obviously. If they lose 1 game, the tie-breaking starts and it depends on who wins which game.
The Michigans also have to win their remaining games to stay in the hunt, of course.
MSU will play tough Penn State, Wolverines play Maryland, which looks easier.
But bottom line is, OSU can win the East, a loss in any game will likely give the winner the division.
The West Division is a mess, with Wisconsin and Iowa in the lead with 2 conference-losses. Followed by Minnesota and Purdue with 3 losses.
Iowa has from my point of view the best chance, having the easiest schedule, but Wisconsin has the edge over Iowa in direct compare if they have the same win amount.
But this can still go anyway, with 2 games remaining and 1 loss between the best 4 teams.
Whoever will win it will be 2-digit-underdog in the championship game.

Conference USA
The East Division is a 2-team race, between Western Kentucky (1 loss) and Marshall (2 losses).
They will play against each other at season finale, so this will likely be the deciding game.
Then there are many 3-loss-teams, which do have in theory a case, if WKU and Marshall would lose, but realistically this is over.
In the West Division it's also a 2-team race, led by the perfect UTSA, followed by the 1-loss-UAB.
Alabama-Birmingham will play UTSA on the road the upcoming weekend, which will likely set the things straight.
If UTSA wins, they are in, if UAB wins, UAB still needs to win the last game.

The East Division is wide open, in theory even the 4-loss Buffalo Bulls could still make it.
But more likely is that either the 2-loss Miami (OH) Redhawks or the 2-loss Kent State Golden Flashes will win the division. They do meet each other on season final and the result will likely determine the Conference Final participant.
The 3-loss Ohio Bobcats could actually sneak into it, if the wins and losses of Miami and Kent State would happen in the right way, so Ohio would win the tiebreaker.
In the West Division it is NIU in the lead with 1-loss so far and the direct compare advantage against 2-loss CMU behind them. That means NIU would need to lose actually 2 games to have CMU (if they win), leapfrogging them.
3-loss teams do line up until the bottom of the division after that and most of them might even have a chance, if the wins and losses of the others do fall into the right place, but with a quite easy remaining schedule is NIU the favorite to win the division.

Mountain West Conference
The Mountain Division is in control of Utah State, having so far only 1 loss inside the conference.
They do play 2 quite easy games in the last 2 weeks, so likely they will get this done.
If they drop a game, it is heavily depended on who will win and how many have to check in the tiebreaker.
The Aggies lost to 2-loss Boise State and won to 2-loss Air Force.
Those 2 teams have a tougher remaining schedule, so the Aggies might even be OK to drop a game and still win this.
The West Conference is all San Diego State, with 1 loss so far.
Fresno State and Nevada are behind with 2-losses.
Quite similar situation regarding tiebreaker, SDSU won against Nevada and lost to Fresno State, except they play Boise State at season finale, which will have eventually an impact here.
Fresno State has the easiest remaining schedule, so with some help, they are in good position to win the division, if SDSU drops a game.

PAC 12
The North Division is Oregons, 99% sure. They have 2 games ahead (1-loss vs 3-losses) and need only 1 win out of the remaining games against Utah and Oregon State or some more losses by the other teams, Washington State or Oregon State.
Best chance likely has Oregon State, since if they win all and Oregon loses all, they will gain the advantage against Oregon.
But that sounds quite unlikely.
The South Division is right now Utah country.
They have just 1 loss and Arizona State at 2nd place have 2 losses and one of those was against Utah.
So, Utah would need to lose 2 games, which is unlikely and ASU would need to win all, which in total looks unrealistic.

The East Division is done, Georgia won it.
The West Division is almost done, with 1-loss Alabama having also the direct advantage against 2-loss-Ole Miss.
So, Alabama would need to lose 2 and Ole Miss needs to win 2 to get this switched, which is not realistic.
In theory the 3-loss teams could get eventually a spot, but that would mean even more strange results.

Sun Belt Conference
The East Division is led by Appalachian State, who did lose so far only to Louisiana. That means they have already the advantage against all 2-loss teams, Georgia State and Coastal Carolina.
Means they need to lose 2 games and one of the teams need to win all games to get the championship spot.
Appalachian State has 2 quite easy games, so after next weekend this might be secured already.
The West Division is already won by Louisiana.

That it with the conferences. Overall, some interesting developments and even many of the scenarios do look unrealistic, we might see some surprises. Covid still has some impact on the season and all scenarios do not anticipate eventually covid-protocol-victims.

Some coaching news also this week.

There is Washington firing 2-year-HC Jimmy Lake after a 4-5 record this season and 7-6 overall and a loss this week, where he was not in the stadium, thanks to a scene on the sidelines 2 weeks ago, where he did hit and shove a player, which caused a 1-game suspension.
Not sure he really had a chance to do his thing, since last season was a short season and chaotic and then picking up the pieces and do it right this season was for sure not an easy task, but there were several reports regarding player handling, so maybe it's the best here.
What's strange is, he was a longtime assistant with his predecessor, Chris Petersen, and as far as I could find it, there were no hints of that kind of behavior during that time. Which is odd, since you don't change that much, don't you? Washington is right now in deep trouble missing a bowl bid, so maybe the interims HC, former DC Bob Gregory, will win the last 2 games (against Colorado and Wazzu).

Next coaching news is also interesting regarding behavior and how to treat people.
Last month a job description did show up for the HC job at Florida International.
The problem was, at that time the school still had a HC, Butch Davis, whos contract will run out in mid-December, still on the job and not informed, that he will not be prolonged. Davis had 3 good seasons with FIU in his first 3 seasons but won zip last year and just 1 game so far this season.
So, fine the school does look for a new guy, but talking prior to that to the HC would be appropriate, right?
On top the AD will step down, too, which was announced last week, and therefore the new AD will likely want his new HC installed anyway, so why posting for a HC last month?
Well, anyway, Davis is mad and it's not clear he will serve as HC the last 2 games or not, and he is out after the last season game for sure.

And another change on Tuesday, Justin Fuente was axed from his HC job at Virginia Tech. Fuente did inherit the Hokies from the man who made them relevant for decades, Frank Beamer, and came with a winner image. His first few seasons were fine, but then the Hokies results did decline, with last season having only 5 wins and a negative record, and this season having a 5-5 record. His total at VT is 43-31.
There were rumors he is on the list for some other job openings, so likely he will not stay off the market for long.
Overall, I did not see the punch the Hokies had under Beamer with him in the past few years.
It is said that recruiting is not easy, but honestly, the university has a quite good reputation, so the team should get talent.
Maybe the resurrection of the Virginia Cavaliers in the past few seasons did hurt them, but coaches have to work against this.
Will be interesting to see, who will coach the Hokies next season.

But there is also news regarding hiring.
UConn found their new guy and it is a surprising hire. Former NFL-HC and former UCLA-HC Jim Mora will coach the team after the season ends and will serve as consultant until then.
Not sure it's a good hire, Mora never had any big success, still had some great win totals with teams, but most of the time his teams did decline with years of service, and he never left a team for making the next step upward, he was always fired after disappointing seasons and got the next gig then (however he did get it) after some time in between. His last HC gig was 2017.

Let's have a look on the recaps of last weeks game, where I had some more previews than usually.


Sat. Nov. 13
#8 Oklahoma @ #13 Baylor
A crazy game with a very crazy ending.
After the 1st half, this game was even, 7-7.
The 3rd quarter did only feature a Baylor field goal and then Baylor found the key to score against the Sooners and pulled away.
Oklahoma did score late, to make a cosmetic score adjustment, but Baylor did play not run down the clock, they wanted to score again. The reason for this is the BIG 12 tie-breaker-rule, which also takes the points scored into account.
Which lead to some strange scene.
Baylor did run the ball with 30 ticks left and the time did run down, the crowd did storm the field to celebrate the upset win and the zebras did indicate that Baylor had called for a timeout to kick a field goal with 3 ticks left to drive up the score.
So, all people had to leave the field again, Baylor kicked the ball (without any penalty for delay of game or something) and scored.
The crowd stormed the field again and all were happy, except Oklahoma, of course.
#8 Oklahoma 14 @ #13 Baylor 27 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 23-10

#16 NC State @ #12 Wake Forest
A high scoring game, already at 24-20 at the half in favor of Wake Forest.
It was an open game, until the end, both teams sometimes in the lead.
Slowly in the 2nd half did Wake Forest get some points between them and NC State and the Wolfpack was unable to score as much as the Demons.
So, when the time was over, after a last onside-kick-try by NC State, Wake Forest had again won a crucial game against a conference rival and is now in position to win the division.
#16 NC State 42 @ #12 Wake Forest 45 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 24-10

#19 Purdue @ #4 Ohio State
Ohio State did not leave much room for imagination on that game.
They did dominate the 1st half, leading 45-17 already and did then slowing bring home the game, letting Purdue score a bit more, but far from enough to make this any way open again.
No wonder Ohio State is the big favorite to win the division and conference right now.
Purdues wishes for a win were denied big time and it did limit their chance for their division title race quite a lot.
Still they can of cause play spoiler for some other teams.
#19 Purdue 31 @ #4 Ohio State 59 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 25-10

Other interesting games:
#6 Michigan @ Penn State
A hard-fought game, but Penn State was unable to stop the Wolverines, after they shot the field goal to take the lead.
Michigan scored a TD on a big play and then the Lions main weakness, their offense, did show.
Michigan won 21-17 and can still dream of the division title or more.
Penn State can still plan for a bowl, but if the rumors are true, maybe without their HC. But there is only chatter right now.
Jacks interesting games Score: 17-17

Minnesota @ #20 Iowa
Iowa did win here 27-22 and Minnesota was always just a bit less efficient than Iowa, not that strong, not that tough.
The Hawkeyes have a good chance to win the West, but will need help, since they lost to Wisconsin.
Jacks interesting games Score: 18-17

#11 Texas A&M @ #15 Ole Miss
Oh dear, A&M did suck here.
The dream of winning the division did vanish with a bad game against Ole Miss.
The Rebels led at the half 15-0 and won at the end 29-19.
For both teams, beside winning games, the bowls are basically the only post season action they can aim for.
Jacks interesting games Score: 18-18

Washington State @ #3 Oregon
The Ducks won 38-24 and the Cougars never really had a chance.
Right now, the Ducks do look like the best bet for the PAC 12 title and eventually a playoff spot, but they do have still some tough games ahead.
Jacks interesting games Score: 19-18

Nevada @ #22 San Diego State
Nevada stayed in the game and went even ahead late in the game, but the Aztecs were able to move the ball and kicked a field goal with 1:30 left for the final score of 23-21.
So, SDSU stayed in the lead for the division title and with that quite impressive win, they actually look like the favorite for the MWC.
Jacks interesting games Score: 20-18

Other funny scores:
CMU did beat Kent State 54-30, which did hurt Kent State a bit regarding the division title hunt. CMU get the 6th win by that, so a bowl is possible.
Mississippi State did beat Auburn 43-34, which is a major setback for Auburns record. They are basically out of competition with that.
Arkansas did beat LSU in OT 16-13. LSU lost now 3 in a row and still needs 2 wins for a bowl bid.
Florida won against Samford (FCS) 70-52. Of course the win is not a big deal, but that Floridas defense did give up 52 points against a FCS opponent is almost like a loss from my point of view. There are rumors that the Gators HC is on a hot seat.
Maine (FCS) won against UMass 35-10, which is a major thing in that region.
East Carolina did beat Memphis in OT, 30-29. ECU now bowl eligible, while Memphis still needs a win to be eligible.
Georgia State did beat Coastal Carolina 42-40. CCU lost their QB 2 weeks ago, which might explain their decline a bit.
Oregon State did win against Stanford 35-14. The Beavers are now bowl eligible, while Stanford has lost 5 in a row, which is quite unusual. But no rumor regarding a coaching change.
Arizona State did beat Washington 35-30. The Huskies did fire their coach after that game and do still need 2 more wins for a bowl bid.
And something unusual, the game USC @ Cal was postponed, thanks to COVID-19-protocol. Plan is to play in the championship game week as far as I know.

That's it for the week.
Now we can have a look at the upcoming week.


Sat. Nov 20
#7 Michigan State @ #4 Ohio State
It's playoff time in the BIG 10 East. This week and the next week Ohio State have to play the two other remaining contenders inside the division, right now with the 1 loss behind the Buckeyes, who did not lose inside the conference so far.
All 3 teams are right now ranked inside the TOP 10, so whoever come out of this phase as a winner will be likely playoff bound, except we see some round robin losing and then whoever gets the spot inside the conference title game loses to the team send from the West, which will have 2 losses or more.
Best case scenario for the conference would be Ohio State wins out, since then eventually 2 if not 3 teams will enter the high-profile bowl games.
A round robin losing would result in a total drop of all teams, means less high-profile bowls.
The good news for the BIG 10 is, right now Ohio State does look like the team to beat.
They are 19.0-point favorite against the Spartans, which is realistic a mile apart.
But ... we have seen 30+ points upsets this season, which means the betting industry is quite off and can't really compare the teams enough to find good betting lines.
The teams might not be so far apart.
The Buckeyes do have a lot of positive things on their side, no losses, strong games against the strong teams, homefield advantage.
The only thing that the Spartans can bring to Columbus is their great season and they can build on that.
I personally think the game will be intensive, likely with less scoring than we have seen before in Buckeyes games, but I doubt the Spartans will be able to stop the Buckeyes often enough.
IF the Spartans win this, they have 2 problems, the 1st is, they need to stay focused for the next games, not dreaming instantly of the playoffs, and the 2nd is that their HC will be in discussion for several highest profile job openings, like LSU or USC. Try to stay focused under that condition.
Buckeyes win.

#10 Wake Forest @ Clemson
Wake Forests season does look like a Cinderella season, the ugly duckling becoming a beautiful swan.
They are unbeaten inside the ACC, with a small footnote beside that, since they lost to UNC, but that was outside the conference games.
They do lead inside the conference by the next team having 2 losses.
One of those teams is Clemson, which has one of the worst seasons they had in the Dabo Swinney era, which is right now with 7-3 still quite impressive and they still can finish with 10 wins or even more if they make the conference final somehow.
Clemson has some issues on offense, which does not help here of cause.
They play at home, which does switch the advantage quite heavily from my point of view.
Death Valley is a very hostile environment and Wake Forest will have some problems with that, for sure.
Can they win here? Yes, I think they can.
IF they win, they play for the Championship, which should motivate them.
If they lose, they must win against Boston College next week to avoid some tie-breaker-stuff.
Clemson on the other hand needs to win, everything and hope.
In worst case a 3-team-2-losses-tiebreaker could happen, with each team have beaten the other one, once.
The perfect Demons are 4.5-point underdogs, which shows how the betting people do value the home field advantage here.
I think it will be close and Clemson will need all they have to fend off the Demons, but I also thing the Tigers can build on their audience and win this.
Tigers win.

Virginia @ #18 Pittsburgh
The other small final inside the ACC.
Pitt did play so far a quite good season, only those losses Western Michigan (non-conference, still a mystery) and Miami (inside the conference, a small mystery) do hurt them a bit.
They play against Virginia, who did lose so far 2 times inside the conference and who need a win here, to get the direct compare advantage and to stay in the hunt.
A Pitt win will send the Panthers to the big ACC dance, if Virginia wins, Pitts chances did shrink heavily.
So much for motivation.
Pitt as home team is favored by 14.5 points, a bit much from my point of view, but it fits to say Pitt will win.
Virginia had some off games and did not play strong against good teams, that's why a Cavaliers win here does look like a long reach.
I like it, how Virginia was resurrected, but this season looks like Pitt season.
Panthers win.

Other interesting games:
#21 Arkansas @ #2 Alabama
This can be put simple and short. Arkansas did play a good season, played well over expectations, but do now face likely the 2nd best team in the country on the road as 21.0-point underdog.
IF the Razorbacks win, the SEC West is suddenly much more open. If they lose is Alabama bound for the SEC Championship game.
Crimson Tide win.

UAB @ #22 UTSA
The battle for the Conference USA West. UTSA needs that win to seal the spot inside the Championship game, UAB needs the win to leapfrog the Roadrunners.
UTSA is only 4.5-point favorite, I think they will beat UAB by a higher margin to win the division.
Roadrunners win.

#3 Oregon @ #23 Utah
The likely preview of the PAC 12 Championship game. If Oregon wins, they win their division and Utah needs to win their last game to seal their spot.
If Utah wins, Oregon needs to win their last game to seal the spot and Utah is already in.
Surprisingly Utah is favored by 3.0 points.
I did pick Oregon, since they really look as best well rounded team. Only con here is, it's a road game.
Expect a close one.
Ducks win.

'Til next time

Rating (2 users):

Tags: Block of GraniteNews

 Share on Facebook  Share on Twitter