2022-09-07 07:36

Before we start with the reviews of last week, I had again my mind on some stats.

I did a blog on how a national champion is determined and how the preseason rankings and the rankings later (in the article the barrier was at week 4) are a good indication on which team will very likely win it all. That was 2012 (yes, I know, it's 10 years ago. Uff)

In the article I did look into the chances of a team becoming National Champion and found only 1,5 team (there was a split in 2003) which were not in the TOP 10 in week 4. Still ALL teams were in preseason ranked.

I did check the years later and found another interesting case in 2014, when Ohio State won it all and was ranked in preseason at #5/#6 (AP/Coaches). But they lost a game in week 2 against Virginia Tech and dropped to #22/#18 afterwards and in Week 4 they were still at #22/#20.
They kept winning and did make the playoffs as 4th seat by leapfrogging Baylor in the final regular season week, by winning the BIG10 (Baylor won the Big12 as Co-Champ without a Championship game in that week, which led to the change that you don't need divisions for such a game).
The Buckeyes did win the National Championship game and finished #1.

And that's that. No more other exceptions.

The teams were ranked in preseason, they were top 10 in week 4 and won the Championship. That mean I did check initially 20 years in 2012 and now I checked the last 10-year on top and found 2,5 teams beating the odds in 20 years.

If you play 'what could have been', then the field is wide open.
Last season did Arkansas rise fast, NOT ranked in preseason, but a 4-0 start did bring then to #8/#11 in week 4 and then they start losing some games. Dang.
Ole Miss was not ranked and did reach in week 12 with 2 losses their highest ranking at #8/#8. A win against Alabama would have brought then higher. Dang.
More realistic was Michigan. Not ranked in the preseason did they rise quickly, but still at #14/#14 in week 4. They did get a playoff spot by winning the BIG10 but lost to Georgia in the Semis. If they would have won (and then against Alabama), they would have been the next exception. Still, they are the 1st team ever getting into the playoffs as unranked preseason team.
Michigan State had almost the same chances until week 9, not ranked at the start, but at that point unbeaten at #5/#6. Then they lost and since they were unable to win the BIG10, no playoffs.
Same for Oklahoma State, rising fast as not ranked team (in AP, in coaches they were) in preseason to week 7 at #8/#9, lost, rebounded and if they would have won the Big12 against Baylor, maybe they would have leapfrogged Cincinnati.
At almost last, Baylor was not on the list by anyone and if they wouldn't have lost to Oklahoma State and TCU during the season, they could have made the playoffs. They were close to the playoffs at #5/#5 before the seating, but 2 losses were too much.
And last is Wake Forest, who had all the chances to also make it into the playoffs, in case of an unbeaten season, but they also lost on the way, too often.

Summary of that talk is, I'm surprised that over so many season the polls, AP and Coaches, are actually a quite good indication on who will get it done.
The problem is, there are also a lot of missed guesses and only at the end it's clear, whether a team was guessed in a good or bad way.

I will keep an eye on it and after week 4 I will post the most likely teams to succeed.

Let's have a look at the games of last week.


Sat. Sep 3
#11 Oregon @ #3 Georgia
Oh man, that was not even close.
Georgia did spank Oregon left and right and by that do 2 things.
The 1st is, Georgia did not lose much, if any, compared to last season.
The 2nd was, Oregon needs now a GREAT season to get to the playoffs as PAC-12-Team.
I have already doubts, they would have a chance by now winning all games and the PAC-12, but you never know.
Chances are high, Oregon will drop another one during the season.
#11 Oregon 3 @ #3 Georgia 49 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 1-3

#23 Cincinnati @ #19 Arkansas
Not a big win by Arkansas, still a good win.
Cincinnati did play hard football and if Arkansas is really a force inside the SEC-West, the American Conference has one sure competitor.
But they need to get the turnovers under control, which did likely cost them the game.
Arkansas led at the half 14-0, but Cincinnati came close to a comeback, but fumbled it away.
I'm curious to see both teams playing additional games.
#23 Cincinnati 24 @ #19 Arkansas 31 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 2-3

#5 Notre Dame @ #2 Ohio State
Fun fact, Notre Dame did not beat Ohio State since before WWII.
And the series is still intact.
Granted, the Irish did not play too bad in the 1st half, but the 2nd half was all Ohio State.
Notre Dame was leading at the half 10-7, thanks to a missed FG by OSU.
Then in the 3rd and 4th, Ohio State had some chances and used them, Notre Dame was just stopped and stopped again.
This game might still help Notre Dame in the long run, if Ohio State emerges as playoff candidate, such a close game on day 1 will not count too much against the Irish.
I still don't see Notre Dame as TOP5, but that's a discussion for later.
#5 Notre Dame 10 @ #2 Ohio State 21 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 3-3

Other interesting games:

Thur. Sep 1
West Virginia @ 17 Pittsburgh
I'm not sure what to take out of this game. Pitt win 38-31, means, they can score against such a defense as West Virginia, but whether that's a prove of quality is open.
Both teams were quite equal and if not for a pick-six late in the 4th, the Mountaineers could have upset Pitt here.
But that play did change the tide and Pitt was able to stop the last effort by West Virginia on time, in need of a TD at that time.
Not sure what both teams will learn out of this.
Jacks interesting games Score: 5-0

Sat. Sep 3
#24 Houston @ UTSA
UTSA lead at the half by 1 score, 14-7.
Then both teams did play hard, and no team was able to pull away.
The 4th quarter ended basically with a game tying field goal by UTSA for 24-24 after a wild drive.
Then in the 3rd OT did the Houston QB scramble and found the endzone on a spectacular Vince-Young-John-Elway-Like-Dive and won the game for the Cougars 37-35 (3OT).
Is Houston good? Likely. But it seems UTSA is also.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-0

#7 Utah @ Florida
Well, I guess the Florida fans are quite happy right now.
The Gators led by 1 point at the half.
Late in the 3rd did Utah score a TD and failed on a 2-point-conversion-try.
Florida and Utah did punch in scores until Florida led by 3 and 1:25 left on the clock.
Utah did try to counter and was at the 6-yard line.
On 2nd and goal did Utahs QB throw a pass into the endzone and that was a BAD decision, the receiver had slipped and fall and a defender did intercept the ball.
Florida won 29-26.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-1

Utah State @ #1 Alabama
Oh man, that was a beating for Utah State.
They had no chance; they were unable to score and were unable to stop the Alabama offense.
The Crimson Tide won 55-0.
Jacks interesting games Score: 7-1

Other scores:
Oklahoma State had some trouble winning against Central Michigan and won 58-44. It seems Oklahoma State is back on score-as-much-as-you-can-since-your-defense-will-give-up-points. It will be interesting to see, if that's enough in the BIG-12.
Akron needed OT to beat FCS-team St. Francis, 30-23 (OT). At least they were not upset.
Same for Florida International, who needed OT to beat Bryant 38-37 (OT).
Penn State did beat Purdue 35-31. A good result for Penn State, likely, for a road game on day 1.
A big upset happened at Old Dominion playing Virginia Tech. VT lead 17-13 with roughly 7 mins left. The had the ball and cruised down the field, when the ball was intercepted on 3rd and 13. Old Dominion used the momentum and scored for 20-17, with 30 seconds left. 3 plays later another INT did seal the upset. Could be a long season for VT.
William & Mary (FCS) did get the 1st FCS-upset of the season, by beating Charlotte 41-24. Not a good start for Charlotte, now 0-2 already.
Indiana did beat Illinois 23-20. Not sure what to make of this, but overall, I guess both teams have adjustments to make.
North Carolina State barely escaped an upset by East Carolina, winning 21-20. ECU did comeback late in the 4th, scored and then failed badly on the extra point kick. A drive later they had the chance to win by a field goal and the kicker DID MISS AGAIN, on a 42-yard-try. Also here not sure what to take from that. NC State with a lot of turnovers and errors and ECU seems to need a better kicker.
Iowa won 7-3 against South Dakota State (FCS). THAT was a shocker, since Iowa did show NO offense at all. Hope they find some, somewhere.
Rutgers won 22-21 against Boston College. An ugly game and both teams need to analyze the stuff they did produce during the games wisely. Highlight was likely a 4th and goal on the BC 43-yard line, forcing Rutgers to punt.
Less than 3 mins to play were enough for UNC and Appalachian State to produce a wild finish. UNC led 56-49. The Mountaineers did made 1st down after 1st down and score, but a slightly overthrown pass did prevent a 2-point-conversion. 56-55. Then the onside kick FAILED so bad that UNC did run the ball to the house. 63-55. But a long return and 2 long passes and Appalachian State did score again! The QB tried a 2-point-conversion to tie the game, but was stopped short, so UNC won 63-61. WILD FINISH!
Delaware (FCS) won against Navy 14-7. I don't have a good feeling for Navy this season.
James Madison, 1st-season-FBS team had their 1st FBS game and won 44-7 against Middle Tennessee. That's great start.
Oregon State did beat Boise State 34-17 at home, and all do wonder, whether Boise sucks or the Beavers did find their teeth.
And Florida State won against LSU, on the road, 24-23. LSU was down 24-10, scored, then stopped FSU. The punt went over the whole field, the fair catch was muffed, and FSU recovered it. Over? Not yet. FSU fumbled on their drive on the 4th yard line of LSU and LSU did recover, drove over the field, SCORED and FSU did BLOCK the XP. BAM! Nice debut of Brian Kelly at LSU.

That was a rough week for some teams.
But we had some really great games and finishes.
As you all know the real season will start when the first 3 to 5 weeks are gone, and the conference games do happen on a regular basis.
After Week Zero and Week One some teams are at least in deep trouble already compared to the expectations, but it's still a lot of football left.

I fear the matchups of week 2 are not that great, at least for me, still some expected-to-be-close-games.


Sat. Sep 10
South Carolina @ #16 Arkansas
A clash of the upcoming coaches.
Shane Beamer of South Carolina has a lot of hopes and expectations on his shoulders. His predecessor did run the team into the ground in the last 2 seasons of his 5 seasons with the team.
Beamer took over and won 6 games during the season and on top a bowl win against rival North Carolina. No wonder this season the fans long for more.
Sam Pittman took over a struggling Arkansas team and after a 3 wins season in 2020 his team did win 9 games in 2021, including a bowl win. His team did come also close to win against Alabama and Ole Miss. That was the best season for Arkansas since Bobby Petrinos 2011 season.
Arkansas is favored by 8.5, Arkansas did win a close game last week against ranked Cincinnati, while the Gamecocks did win in an OK-way against Georgia State, a Sun Belt team.
Based on that and the preseason rankings it's no wonder the Razorbacks are favored to win this game at home.
My feeling is, the game will not be that close.
Razorbacks win.

#24 Tennessee @ #17 Pittsburgh
Tennessee had also a rebound season under 1st year HC Josh Heupel last season. With a very convincing result against Ball State, they are now ranked.
Pittsburgh won the ACC last year and are expected to have a setback-season this year. They won a close game against West Virginia last week.
Tennessee is favored here, by 6.5 points.
I'm not sure this is as simple, like Tennessee as SEC team against a supposed to be weaker ACC team.
Pittsburgh is quite good at home and not easy to flip over.
The fans do favor Pitt here by 2% more than Tennessee, which likely comes from the home factor and the Pitt defense legacy.
I'm willing to follow that path, since it comes down to, how Tennessee will perform under hostile pressure after a cupcake win.
They will likely not take Pitt lightly, but it's hard to NOT be over-confident as SEC team after such a win.
So, I think they will struggle a bit. I expect a close and ugly game, which does help Pitt I think.
Panthers win.

#9 Baylor @ #21 BYU
This is a great matchup from my point of view.
Baylor is hot and wants to repeat as Big 12 Champ and do face a team which will soon become a Big 12 team. BYU as Indy team has nothing to prove except playing a strong season and to get a good bowl invite.
Both teams are expected to play a good, if not great season.
A loss will only hurt them in pride and reputation, so this is a pure game of win or lose.
BYU is favored by 3.5, but I pick Baylor.
This is fueled by the passion and strength the team did show last season.
I'm a bit worried regarding the road game scenario, but I have the feeling that will only make this a close game, not a sure thing.
Overall, I'm not willing to bet on BYU here.
Bears win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Sep 10
#20 Kentucky @ #12 Florida
That's a tough cookie. Florida did win that close game against Utah and are now suddenly ranked at #12, while Kentucky did not make a jump at all, after winning an OK-game against Miami (Ohio).
Florida is favored by 5.0 points, at home.
Kentucky did show in the past they can win such games and did progress the past few seasons big time, so we will see, if that Utah game was just luck or the start of the resurrection of Gators football.
The outcome will likely influence the SEC East standings heavily, maybe having a tie-breaker role.
I picked the Gators to win in that for Wildcats hostile environment with the help of many many crazy fans now hoping for the SEC title already.
Gators win.

Iowa State @ Iowa
The Cy-Hawk-Trophy is on the line again and Iowa is cruising on a 6-game-winning streak in a rivalry which is dominated by the Hawkeyes since 1894.
They are also favored by 3.5, which is likely a respect on the home field and the hope that Iowa is better than their close win against a FCS opponent last week.
Granted the FCS team did lose the Semis last year, so they are not a bad team, still a BIG10 team in the mix for the Championship should have had better results, right?
On the other hand, we have Iowa State with an OK-like-win against an FCS team, and the hope that they do get things done better THIS season.
I pick the Cyclones, for 2 reasons.
The 1st is, every streak breaks and Iowa State did play good in the past few seasons, they lost this rivalry game only big time many seasons ago, and 2nd is, that Iowa did show so far, NO offense. So, the chances are quite good.
Expect a low scoring game.
Cyclone win.

#25 Houston @ Texas Tech
And another soon-to-be-Big 12-team against a Big 12 team.
Here we have Houston as soon-to-be after a very close win against a Conference USA team against a rebuilding TTU team, which did beat the shit out of a FCS team last week.
Even Houston is barely ranked at #25 against a non-ranked team, they are not favored here.
TTU is favored by 3.0 points, which is a bit surprising even as home team.
They have a new HC and did play not a strong opponent.
Granted, Houston did not look good against UTSA, but my feeling is many other teams will also not look good against them.
So ... I think Houston will win this.
Cougars win.

'Til next time

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