2023-09-15 06:27

So, coming to the next Conference then. Last week I was unable to get the preview completed, which does mess up my schedule, but I will try to recover.

The question is, which one is the weakest of all power 5 conferences?
Based on last seasons results for me it's a close run between the PAC-12 and the ACC.
I do pick here the PAC-12, for 2 reasons. The 1st is, they had quite a lot teams in the TOP25 ranks at the end of the season, but overall did bring in the least teams to bowl games.
The 2nd is, they were picked apart now, which shows the respect the conference got from other conference. None.
And it shows how the conference is managed or was managed. Miserable.

So ....


This is very likely the last season for the PAC-12. All but 2 teams did decide to leave, and they will leave quickly.
UCLA and USC did decide to leave for the BIG10, as did later Oregon and Washington.
Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State will move to the BIG-12.
And Stanford and Cal will move to the ACC.
That leave Washington State and Oregon State, 2 of the smallest colleges regarding football, also not really the most winning teams.
Their fate is still open.

Last season did Utah win again the Conference, back-to-back. Some teams are rising in strength and will challenge the Utes for the crown this season.
As last year, no divisions, just a big pile of teams and the best 2 will play for the Championship.

It's hard to pick a really a favorite to win it all, since 4 to 5 teams are very likely to compete and at the end, injuries, consistency and a second wind in the late season could change the outcome dramatically. USC, Washington, Utah, Oregon and even Oregon State will play it out, and even surprises from the other teams can happen.

I start with USC, now in the 2nd season of Lincoln Rileys reign. Expect high scoring games in almost every competition, the offense is loaded and the Heisman Trophy winning QB Caleb Williams is also back to challenge Archie Griffin for his record 2 Heismans (1974 and 1975). But chances are high, the defense will also give up a lot of points and open for debate is, can the offense keep up with it (likely yes) and will the transfers coming in on defense improve the unit compared to last year (likely also yes). USC dreams of the conference championship and a playoff spot and maybe more. They have already 3 games in the box, all against not so good teams, all high wins.

Next, let's throw a coin, is Utah. Their QB of last season was seriously injured in the bowl last season and will return any time soon. Until then the backups have to deal with the job, which they did good, they won against Florida. Kyle Whittingham is in his 19th season with the team and did for sure a marvelous job to bring Utah to top level. But he had also down seasons, it will likely depend how the widespread departure are compensated. No unit did really get stripped too hard, so chances are high the next generation of talent comes in and performs. The schedule is tough, so maybe they will miss out on the championship game this season. What I learned over the past few seasons is, don't underestimate the Utes. They won 2 close games so far, both against quality teams.

Washington was taken over by Kalen DeBoer last year and the team won 11 games, including a bowl win. They missed the Championship game, and of course expectations are high to get that step done this season. Offense looks good with several returning starters, the defense still looks a bit prone to long passes, but if the front seven get the pressure done, and the incoming transfers do perform, the unit might be better than last year. The schedule is OK, inside the conference even a bit in their favor, having the hard games at home. Season opener against Boise was a big win, same on the game against Tulsa, so right now all signs do point towards the light.

Oregon is also very excited, since Dan Lanning in his 2nd year does also promise to have an improved team, which already won 10 games last year. Offense backfield and QB are back and OK, the offense line is reloaded, which might backfire a bit. Defense returns 7 starters, but lost the star LB. Since Oregon usually brings in tons of talent, likely the team will be strong. How strong, we will see. Season opener against a cupcake from FCS was a massacre. The game against Texas Tech was an OK win.

I'm surprised Jonathan Smith did not get any high-profile job offers (at least openly), since his work with the Beavers is outstanding. The Beavers are not a winning program and had some bad seasons in the past 2 decades. But Smith, now in his 6th season, did elevate the program from 2 wins in his 1st season to 10 wins last year, including a bowl win. Now they got the high-profile transfer QB from Clemson and more or less all units did improve on paper. The schedule is OK, they avoid USC, but whether this will be enough to challenge all the rising forces? Not sure, likely they will end up in a good bowl, but not in the championship game. The opener was a big win against a Mountain West team. The 2nd game was a win against a FCS-team.

Deion Sanders was hired as new coach of the Colorado Buffalos and he brought some trusted players from his former gig with him, including his son as QB. At Jackson State he had great results and progress, won the conference back to back in his last 2 seasons. Realistic the Buffalos are a rebuilding team, but Sanders will transform the team fast, and we might see some surprises. I put them here, since I think they will land in mid field. The opener was a stunning victory against ranked TCU. Could be one-off-wonder, could be the start of a great turnaround. The 2nd game was not that surprising, but still a win against Nebraska was another piece on the hype.

Jake Dickert took over a good team at Washington State and started to transform it into HIS good team. Last year, his 1st full season, the team did win 7 games, including a bowl loss. This season the team is more or less intact on defense, on offense the QB returns and should be better, the rest needs some work. The opener was won big time against Colorado State, but the team needs to do more to get back into a bowl. That win against Wisconsin did point towards the right direction.

When Chip Kelly was hired at UCLA, I think all fans did think that he would replicate his Oregon times and UCLA would compete for a Championship every season and win a few. Now in his 6th season the record is good, but now very good. The team was elevated from the cellar of the PAC-12 and had winning seasons in the past 2 seasons, but far from the expectations I had described. This season likely the rise will halt, the offense needs rebuilding, the defense still improvements. The biggest concern for me, if I would be in charge at UCLA, would be that the recruiting pipeline seems to be not as good as Kellys pipeline was at Oregon. THAT was the key for his success and even he did upgrade the roster, I'm not sure he will win enough games to get to a bowl this season. The opener against Coastal Carolina was an OK win, but not more. The win against San Diego State looked more convincing.

Arizona made a big jump last season in Jedd Fisch 2nd year as HC, from 1 win in his 1st season to 5 wins. Of course, the people want more, it may just not be that easy to achieve 6 wins or more this season. The offense, even with an outgoing WR to USC, will likely be quite intact, thanks to a returning QB and some other returning starters. The pain-or-gain-factor will be the defense, which does hold all the risk and chances for a successful season. Last year the defense was not the best, did allow too many points. Most starters are gone, which means, backups and incoming transfers have the chance to improve the unit, or it fails. The team did win the 1st game against a FCS team, but lost to Mississippi State in OT last week, so I guess we have to see. But all signs to point towards improvement, but the schedule might spoil the fun.

Cal seems to be a project since ages. A can't remember when Cal was a real force, a contender (just for info, the team won the conference last in 2006 with total of 10 wins). Justin Wilcox is in his 7th season and so far, he did guide the team to 2 bowls, in his 2nd and 3rd season, which had in total 7 and 8 wins. Since then, only bust. Last year the team went down to 4 wins. The good news is, the defense returns almost intact with 10 starters, the main concern at Cal is the miserable O-line, an incoming transfer QB, who is not very experienced, and a new OC. This all can become a good unit, since changes can be chances, but it can also become a unit out of synch, which needs time to grow. The team won their 1st game against North Texas big time and lost to Auburn in a close one. Might point into the right direction.

Last season the HC of Arizona State was on the hot seat and was let go after 3 games. The interim HC did his best and the team finished with 3 wins total. Kenny Dillingham was hired to turn the Sun Devils around again. He was the OC at Oregon last year. The team went through an major change already on the roster with roughly 30 players coming in. New coach, lots of changes on the roster and depth chart, what can go wrong, right? Their offense will be likely OK, the defense will hopefully improve. The Sun Devils had an image of not giving up, so we might see a lot of close games. They might win some of them. The won the 1st game against a FCS team, but lost the 2nd one against Oklahoma State, but quite close.

Stanford did part ways with longtime HC David Shaw and made a (for me) strange hire by getting Troy Taylor, former Sacramento State (FCS) HC. Granted, Taylor won in all of his seasons the conference, so he is a winner on FCS level, but the transition might be harsh. We will see, I would have guessed they s e l e c t an OC or a former HC on FBS level. Well, doesn't matter, at the end it counts what results he gets and that is open on his 1st season. The team needs some rebuilding, the competitive Stanford team of the past is long gone, and the past few seasons were all a mess. The roster will need a massive renewal, but maybe the good news is, most starters are gone, so we might see a fresh start and some success early. I doubt they will have much success this season, but maybe a good groundwork for upcoming seasons. So far, they won a close game against Hawaii and got smashed by USC.

Overall, the PAC-12 does right now look healthy and competitive, so maybe the 5th place was not OK, but since the conference will likely be gone next season, it might be OK.
I think this season we will see a playoff team from the PAC-12, if not some strange meltdown happens.


The ACC had over the past seasons the only team which was able to break into the dominance of the SEC National Championship winners. Clemson won 2016 and 2018, but since then only SEC champs, often even a SEC-only Championship game.
The point is, Clemson was the symbol of staying in touch with the big teams and even winning.
But right now, it looks like Clemson is declining, they did not made it to the ACC Championship game in 2021 and they won the ACC-Championship again in 2022, but lost the bowl afterwards.
There was a big change in the starting lineup with the starting QB being benched and now playing at Oregon State, something which did not happen so far.
Bottom line, Clemson is under pressure, and it is unclear some other team will take their place. Maybe FSU. The problem with the ACC is, they have good teams, but not often TOP-teams.
They do battle it out inside the conference, but inter-conference most of the time they did suck when it was needed most.
This season we might see another Clemson drop, we might see the rise of FSU back to the top and we might see some other teams making some noise.
If that is enough to be nationally relevant is to be seen.
New is, the conference has given up on their division system and does now, as many other conferences relay on the big conference model with the 2 strongest teams playing in the championship game. This way we might see actually Clemson playing FSU, which would have been impossible last season (last year we still would have seen Clemson - UNC based on the results).

The favorites to win the conference are Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina. The rest has some separation to the top, but that means nothing.

Let's start with Mike Norvells Florida State. Now in his 4th season it did look beginning of last year like he would be on a very hot seat, but that went cold fast, heated a bit up, when the team lost 3 in a row during the middle of the season and got ice cold when the team finished with only wins for the rest of the season. The talent is there, most pieces are in place, the lines do look good on defense and great on offense, so all signs to point towards a very successful season. Whether this will be enough to win the conference, or more is open. The team started with a jaw-dropping win against LSU and a strong win against Southern Miss and is now ranked at #3. Now they only have to keep that level.

Next in line is Clemson with Dabo Swinney in his 15th season. He has won everything you can win, so for sure he can coach. As written above in the past few seasons the team did drop a bit in that important category of stubbornness on not giving up. The team had won many games in the past by last efforts and comebacks and that spirit was missed a bit. The change on QB did help last year, for sure, but this season did already start with a loss against Duke, which was a jaw-dropper, too, but in a negative way. Duke (sorry Duke fans) is a must win. Every year. If you lose against such a team, you are in trouble. Clemson won the next game against a FCS team, but the real test will come and even if the team on paper looks great, they might face problems playing FSU early (at home at least), Wake Forest, NC State and North Carolina. Remember the best 2 teams will play for the Championship game and Clemson has a tough schedule, which might let them slide too deep. I keep them on #2, but only on probation.

North Carolina is on a good level since Mack Brown took over again 5 years ago. They went to a bowl every year (but lost 3 of 4) and did play for the Championship last season (but lost). UNCs biggest problem is their consistency. They do lose games, which they should not, and they do lose often the important ones. The offense this season should be good, the defense needs some tweaks, but 8 returning starters should help to get that unit out of the ACC-cellar. The season opener win against South Carolina was big, the OT win against Appalachian State, even if that team has juice, did look like a lucky win. They need more of those big wins to get to the championship game again.

Miami is now in the 2nd season of Mario Cristobal, and did haul in the best recruiting class of the whole ACC. That is promising for the future. The team got 2 new coordinators, so that might have direct impact, negative or positive, and several transfers are also brought in to get improvements. The win against Miami (OH) was OK, the win against Texas A&M last week was big. We might see some surprises this season from that Miami team.

Oh man, the world might have just ended, when Duke is 5th on the list of the ACC. I mean Duke is not really the powerhouse, as said above, Duke is the secure-win-to-get-here-team for most of the other ACC-teams and now they are at 5th place? Mike Elko did take over the team last season and got 9 wins, including a bowl win. Duke did not win many seasons with 9 wins or more. 2013 and 2014 were good seasons, with 10 and 9 wins, before that? 1941! So ... no surprise the expectations are that the new coach will solidify the results and might even improve it, which would make Duke a real contender. Elko has 17 starters back, but one of the toughest, if not THE toughest schedule of all ACC teams, which might set their ambitious a bit back. But they won already against Clemson and they won against a FCS team, so 2 wins are in the box and more to come.

Pitt will have likely have some sort of come together period this season, until it might click and win more games. Pat Narduzzi lost some starters and the next in line will have to be found. The HC is in his 9th season, won the conference in 2021, got a bit down in production last year with 9 wins and is now really to get back into contention, but those departures might hurt too much to have in synch playing units from the start onward. The team won against a FCS team on 1st week and lost to Cincinnati last week. The schedule is also quite tough, so don't expect too many wins, a bowl should be minimum, the rest is likely bonus.

Jeff Brohm is the new HC of Louisville. The former HC of Purdue did fantastic things with the Boilermakers and we might see a really good Cardinals teams soon. I doubt a major turnaround in terms of strength in the 1st season, but mid- and long-term, this team will likely become much better. A super-soft schedule will help the team to get more wins than the team might be worth, but that's how business is. They have 2 wins already, against Georgia Tech and a FCS team. Expect more, biggest tests might be against Notre Dame mid-season and the rivalry game against Kentucky at season finale.

North Carolina State is since a few seasons a major spoiler for almost every program in the ACC. Dave Doeren has build a team, which does not give up and which often is in the game for a very long time, winning more often than losing and often finding ways to trip a favorite on his supposed to be championship run. What's missing since his arrival at 2013 is a championship, but to be fair, the program has won the ACC last time 1979, so expectations are not high in the fan base on that Championship, but of course the hope and the wish for one is there. The defense should stay as one of the best of the ACC, the offense needs improvement and might found it with a transfer QB. UConn at opening weekend was a win, Notre Dame on the 2nd gameday was a big loss. So don't expect a Championship this season, but maybe they can again spoil a few teams the fun.

Wake Forest was close 2 years ago to win the conference. But in the Championship game they lost to Pitt, means the big wonder did not happen, just the little one, winning the division and the bow for 11 wins total. Last season did Dave Clawsons team then take s step back still won a lot of games. Now in his 10th season, Clawson has to find a new QB and has to strengthen the defense, which was one of the worst of the ACC last year. The start of the season was great, a win against a FCS team and Vanderbilt, means the team might get back into the mix of contenders, but likely they will stay mid-level and go bowling.

Dino Babers was on a hot seat last year, but he did cool that down with a 6-0 win-steak at season start, the team skyrocket into the ranks and stayed there, until the team then lost 3 in a row and did then lose 2 more, only to finish with win in regular season and to lose the bowl. Now in his 8th season Baber is for sure again on the hot seat, since his Orangemen did not deliver good progress. It's his last contract year and I think he will need a big season to get an extension. Departures and leaving coordinators will not help to get the team back on last seasons level and even that, my opinion, will not be enough. The schedule is OK, but overall will the team likely not match last seasons results. But they won the 1st 2 games, a FCS team and Western Michigan, but the real test will come with Clemson end of September.

Last year Brent Key had to take over the management of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and he did surpass the expectations, I think. He got the job permanently and will now face a rebuilding effort of the program. The defense lost some key players, which might not be filled by the recruits and incoming players. Offense got some additions; it will likely be important how all those pieces did click together. It's unlikely this will all become a perfect unit in 1 season, so expect wins and losses. They lost to Louisville in a close one on opener, they won against a FCS team a week later. A bowl could happen, but I doubt it.

The offense of Virginia Tech needs a lot of work to get better compared to last season, where the team fielded one of the worst in the ACC. Brent Pry did add in his 2nd season with the team a lot of backfield players on offense through the transfer portal. Whether that will help, is open. The defense returns only 5 starters, so also here is work to do. The schedule is quite soft, so maybe a few more wins than last season (3) might come in. The won the opener against Old Dominion but lost to Purdue on the 2nd gameday.

When Jeff Hafley came to Boston College, the team started with 2 6-win seasons, but last year it went downhill, and the team did win only 3 games. A lot of that downfall was based on injuries, especially on the o-line, and a bad defense, both has to addressed this season, otherwise the team will not get the most out of a promising QB. But the depth chart lost a lot of starters, and the new starters have to be found quickly. The team lost to NIU in OT on season opener and won against a FCS team in a close one. This indicates the strength of the team, or maybe just the synch, is weak, which does not make me hopeful for this season to get back into bowl regions.

And as last team the so often miserable Virginia Cavaliers. Under Mike London did the team struggle most of the time, then the team did hire Bronco Mendenhall away from BYU and the team did rise in strength up to a 9-5 season with a division title, but then dropped to 5 and 6 wins afterwards. He left the team on his own will (and did not coach so far since then) and Tony Elliott was hired away from Clemson, where he was for a very long time the OC. His 1st season result was 3-7, but a shooting at the school did end the season with 2 games canceled. The campus was traumatized, but of course the team will resume playing football this season. The roster is a mess, a lot of positions need upgrades, which will be hard to accomplish with that environment. The team lost the opener against Tennessee, which is no surprise, but also lost to James Madison in a close one, which is a bit of a surprise. The schedule is quite soft, one of the easiest in the ACC, so maybe they can build on that and find a core for next season.

In total it looks like the team will have 3-4 teams which play for the title, out of those likely only 2 or less will have national importance.

Let's have a look at the results of last week. Some really interesting developments, so far no HC was fired, but some results might already push the coach on the hot seat so hard that only a wonder might save him. Of course there are more things to put into the calculation than winning and losing, but as I have mentioned last year at some point, there is roughly 500 million in dead money on fired coaches, so the schools at least think they can do the red-button-push fast and faster, so it would not be a surprise to see a coach let go after next week, if the results are miserable.


Sat. Sept 9
#11 Texas @ #3 Alabama
And they did proof me wrong!
Wow, that was an impressive win by the Longhorns.
Alabama had now really offense, managed only to score a single field goal during the 1st half and a 2nd then with end of that half.
Texas led 13:6 at halftime, still the game was open.
Then the 3rd quarter did look quite convincing for Alabama, they scored 10 unanswered points and led 16:13 when the 4th quarter started.
But Texas was not down, they scored a Touchdown after the last Alabama Touchdown to reclaim the lead, intercepted the Tide and score another TD afterwards.
Alabama had to catch up and managed to score, but was unable to prevent another Texas TD, so no gain.
And then Alabama did suck, was stopped after 3 plays and Texas used their offense to run down the clock and win the game.
Huge win, even it has no conference impact.
Texas did rise to TOP 4 on the rankings, Alabama did drop significant.
Best case for both teams would be, that both teams will win a lot of games during the season, so that game will be a clash of titans in the aftermath.
#11 Texas 34 @ #3 Alabama 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-3

#20 Ole Miss @ #24 Tulane
Tulane was not shy to play the Rebels at home, even without their starting QB, who was injured a week before.
They played bold, they played good, they did lead at the half 17:10.
Then their offense did sputter a bit and Ole Miss did catch up in the 3rd to tie the game at 17.
Both teams did exchange INTs, but from that point forward, it was clear that Ole Miss had the deeper resources and the Rebels did score points after points and Tulane did not.
At the end did Ole Miss win in an OK manner, would have been interesting, what the starting QB had brought in as extra, but we will never know.
A dent in Tulanes ambitions to get back into a high profile bowl, a nice win for Ole Miss to boost a bit their rankings.
Sure the rivalry win will help. but since the series is dominated by Ole Miss, only a Tulane win would have made that game rememberable.
#20 Ole Miss 37 @ #24 Tulane 20 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 5-3

#23 Texas A&M @ Miami
Oh man, I smell bad press for Jimbo Fisher this season.
I mean, the team was favored, the team was supposed to be on the level of the TOP teams and then they lose against a rebuilding Miami team?
At least that will be the text in A&M country.
In Miami they will praise the strength of the Hurricanes and that they did beat a good SEC team.
Both could be wrong, only the season progress will show, how good the teams really are.
Fact is, A&M did play catchup for almost the whole game and was unable to take control of it.
Miami was able to keep the Aggies in check and did score when needed.
I fear A&M fans will be more disappointed than Hurricanes fans after the season.
Good news for all Fisher fans is, his contract is so bad for the school, he will likely be kept until it runs out.
#23 Texas A&M 33 @ Miami 48 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 5-4

And some other interesting games:

Sat. Sept 9
#13 Oregon @ Texas Tech
Oregon needed a big 4th quarter to turn the game in their favor and win it 38:30.
Not sure what to make out of this.
Jacks interesting games Score: 4-4

#19 Wisconsin @ Washington State
The Cougars were in early lead, which was only in the 3rd quarter in the line, when Wisconsin came close (2 points) and it did look like Wazzu was unable to score.
But the Cougars did get their defense under control and scored a TD on their side, too, to win the game 31:22.
Jacks interesting games Score: 5-4

Iowa @ Iowa State
Oh man, Iowa State did look bad.
The Hawkeyes did lead 17:0 at some point, when finally, the Cyclones started to score.
But overall, they were too soft, too fluffy to really challenge the Hawkeyes defense, so they lost that rivalry game at home 20:13.
Jacks interesting games Score: 5-5

What else? (only the 'odd' results)

UNC needed 2 OT to beat Appalachian State 40:34. Was that the same team, which did beat South Carolina last week easily?
Purdue did beat Virginia Tech on the road 24:17. It will be interesting to see, how Purdue will play this season. This game looks promising.
Southern Illinois (FCS) has beaten Northern Illinois 14:11. Well, that has no impact on conference plays, but man ... that's not a way to make an impression.
Marshall has beaten East Carolina on the road 31:13. ECU does not look good so far.
Ohio has beaten Florida Atlantic 17:10. Is it just me, or do the new American Athletic teams not play well right now?
Fordham (FCS) did beat Buffalo 40:37. Fordham is by the way the team, which did feature the well known 'Seven Blocks of Granite' in 1936, which was the inspiration of the name of my little play field here.
Florida International won against North Texas 46:39. FIU now already with 2 wins, which is already half of the total wins of last season.
UCF won against Boise State 18:16. A rough start for the Broncos this season. It will be interesting to see, whether they will play better in conference games.
Rice won against Houston in 2 OT 43:41. There is rumor that the HC of Houston is under pressure. Well, this result will not help to cool down the hot seat.
Idaho (former FBS, now FCS team) did win against Nevada 33:6. Bad game for Nevada ... Bad game.
Fresno State needed an OT to win against Eastern Washington (FCS) 34:31. Eastern Washington is not a bad FCS team, still expectations are always a bigger margin win.

With the 2nd week of college football regular season in the book, we do approach the 3rd week, which is usually the 'boring'-week.
Most of the cupcake-games, no real big names facing off against each other, just high betting line games between 'big team' against 'wants to be tortured team'.
I did pick the most interesting ones, from my point of view.


Fri. Sep 15
Utah State @ Air Force
Air Force has won so far 2 games, against a FCS team and a FBS-transition-team.
Utah State lost to Iowa and won against a FCS team.
The field is open, I think.
Vegas has Air Force at home by 9.5, not sure that seems OK.
Likely yes, since Air Force should have some juice, but that 2nd game so far was very poor.
I think we will see a rough game, likely quite open.
In doubt the home team, but I think it will be close.
Falcons win.

Sat. Sep 16
#15 Kansas State @ Missouri
Oh man, when was the last time Kansas State was a favorite in an early season game against an SEC team?
Well, not under Chris Klieman, who does enter his 5th season with the team.
Granted they were the favorite also last year against Missouri and won but were not ranked. They entered the ranks last year on the 5th gameday and never left.
Now they are at #15 and have won so far against a FCS team and Troy, so not really the signature wins.
No wonder they are only favorited by -5.0 points, this season on the road.
Missouri won so far also both games, now in Eliah Drinkwitz 4th season, but also not really against tough opponents and against Middle Tennessee it was not really convincing and close.
So no wonder the Wildcats are favored in this dual of the kitties.
If KSU has brought over the juice of last year, Missouri will be in trouble.
Right now I don't see any reason to believe different.
Wildcats win.

James Madison @ Troy
It's a pity James Madison is not allowed to win the Sun Belt, since they are still in transition mode.
Otherwise, we would see this game here as a prequel for the Sun Belt Championship game.
A win here will mean a lot for the winner, since the winner has beaten one of the toughest games of the conference schedule and many others might drop dead on that opponent.
Vegas has Troy ahead by 2.5 points.
Not much.
JMU has beaten a FCS team and a weak ACC team already, Troy won also against a FCS team, but lost to a strong BIG 12 team.
This looks quite open; the home factor might become a killer here.
It's almost a coin toss. With the tough win in the bones on the road for JMU and an agenda to win at home for Troy I think the Trojans might win here by an inch.
Trojans win.

And some other interesting games:

Fri. Sep 15
Army @ UTSA
The picture of UTSA is right now still sketchy. They lost against Houston, in a close one and won against Texas State, also a close one.
Now what to make out of this, since Houston might be strong, and Texas State might be not. Or they are, since they won against Baylor already ...
Army did so far play ULM and lost (in a close one). And that team is for sure not a powerhouse. And they played a FCS team, which they won by a mile. But that team was a mid-field-losing-team last season. No real insides here.
It's a home game, and Vegas has UTSA ahead by 9.0 points.
That seems to be a lot.
I do not bet against UTSA here, but this might be another close one.
Roadrunners win.

Sat. Sep 16
Minnesota @ #20 North Carolina
Let's make this short, UNC is favored at home by 7.5 points.
There is reason to believe they can do this, but Minnesota can play tough and won a lot of games the past 2 seasons, so the Tar Heels need to be focused.
I have some doubts on the consistency of UNC, but not really an argument, why they should suck against Minnesota.
They will or they will not.
Tar Heels win.

#11 Tennessee @ Florida
Josh Heupel did elevate Tennessee in the past 2 seasons, since he came in as new HC, into contender spheres. They were beaten by Georgia and South Carolina last year only and all signs do at least point to keep-up-that-level.
Florida on the other side is led by Billy Napier in his 2nd season and is still searching for some answers on the roster, especially on QB.
No wonder Tennessee is favored in this game, on the road, by 6.5 points.
I personally think they will beat Florida by more, since the Gators did not look good so far, especially on offense, and Tennessee looks more in synch already.
Volunteers win.

New Mexico State @ New Mexico
Just for fun as 4th game of the interesting ones.
It's a rivalry game, the 'Rio Grande Rivalry'.
New Mexico leads the series 73–34–5, but lost last year.
This season they are favored at home by 1.0 point. Just ONE POINT. As Mountain West Team against a Sun Belt Team.....
For me, this is the fluffy-pillow-bowl between 2 not so good teams. I did pick this, since it's will be close and it's a rivalry.
I have no faith in both teams, maybe a bit more in the Aggies than in the Lobos, even at home.
Aggies win.

'Til next time

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Tags: Block of GraniteNews

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