2023-11-02 09:16

Shortly after I did post last week my blog entry, the news came in that Army will join the American Athletics conference in 2024.
This will help to the conference to compensate the loss of SMU leaving for the ACC next season and Army will gain a home they might lack for seasons.
Since Navy is part of the AAC also, the Army-Navy-Game (last game of the season AFTER any Championship game, since years) did get a special treatment, which will be easy to understand.
The game will never be a conference game, except the teams would meet inside the Championship game. IF they would meet inside the Championship game, they would play twice in a row.
Interesting rule, but understandable. That last game is national television with high level attention.
You don't want to give that up.

Last year, until End of October, 7 coaches were already toast.
In 2021 it were 6 coaches, 2020 technically 2 change on 1 team, but that was Corona year.
2019 it was 1.

Right now, we have technically 1 coach fired during the season, but that was because of that harassment thing.
Now fired coaches so far, only several candidates.
East Carolina with a 1-7 season so far, last year 8-5.
Syracuse, which started 4-0, but lost 4 since then. Does the coach again safe his job with such a meltdown?
Indiana, 2-6, but lost that past 4 games. Last season 4-8, the year before 2-10.
Baylor with 3-5, last year 6-7 and the year before he won the conference. Hmmmm.
UTEP with 3-6, while 2022 it was 5-7 and the year before 7-6.

Those are just examples with coaches which team did fall in the past few seasons.
There are several other examples, but most of the time the coaches of those are not very long at the team, so might have time to get things right, or so long with a team, that you deal different with those.

So, for the field of contention did not shrink much, thanks to some major upsets.

Which brings directly to the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 9

Sat. Oct 28
#8 Oregon @ #13 Utah
I had picked Utah, but the decided not to show up and did send a different team.
That team did just roll over and decided to let Oregon have their way.
Utah did look like shit in the 1st half, scored only 6 points and trailed 6:21 at the half, and then they decided to become worse in the 2nd half and lost the game 6:35.
Oregon did look like a team, which would like to win a Championship, Utah did look at home like an old man, waiting for the season to be over.
Truth is, the Utah did shatter on the Oregon defense, even they had a lot of chances for trying.
Oregon on the other hand, made more yards, more plays and scored a lot more points.
The PAC-12 is far from decided, but Oregon gained a big win on that day and Utah did fall a bit behind, rightfully.
#8 Oregon 35 @ #13 Utah 6 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 20-8

#1 Georgia @ Florida
Oh, that must have hurt for Florida and I'm sure the HC of the Gators did feel at least for a day a bit more heat under his bum.
Because losing this rivalry game with 23 points is tough and it was 1 point more than last year.
Florida was supposed to become better over the seasons, and Georgia did play without one of their best playmakers, so why did Florida play so bad?
The Gators did score only in the 1st quarter and then more or less in garbage time in the 4th quarter.
Until then had Georgia already score 36 points.
Georgia is close to seal the division title, but a tough schedule period is coming with Mizzou, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Florida is out of contention, period.
#1 Georgia 43 @ Florida 20 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 21-8

#20 Duke @ #18 Louisville
This is one of the most surprising results.
Louisville’s defense did shut down Duke in any way and their offense did score enough and regularly to win not in a big way, but in a convincing way.
The ACC is also not decided yet, but that results did set back Duke big time and the Cardinals did more or less regain the favorite role to challenge FSU in the Championship game.
#20 Duke 0 @ #18 Louisville 23 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 21-9

And some other interesting games:

Sat. Oct 28
Miami (OH) @ Ohio
Until mid-2nd-quarter it did look like Ohio could win this.
After a great 1st quarter, where only Ohio did score, did Miami slowly gain speed and when they scored the 3rd time, unanswered and led at the half 13:9 it felt awkward.
The came the 3rd quarter and the hopes for a Bobcats win were gone, since Miami scored 2 more time, plus one more time in the 4th until finally Ohio did score again in garbage time.
That means, Miami regained the top of the division and Ohio has to hope for a meltdown of the Redhawks to still getting the ticket to the Championship game.
Miami won 30:16.
Jacks interesting games Score: 14-13

#22 Tulane @ Rice
Well, the Green Wave wanted this to be a nailbiter.
They did lead 27:7 at the half. But to avoid all visitors leaving early, they did play stupid in the 3rd and allowed the Owls to gain ground.
The 4th quarter came, and Tulane did at some point kick a field goal, but the Owls still narrowed the gap by scoring a TD afterwards.
Now Tulane had the nailbiter when leading only by 2 and decided to run down the clock.
And they did march over the whole field, avoided to score, even on 1st and goal on the Rice 4 yard line, and won at the end 30:28.
Jacks interesting games Score: 15-13

#3 Ohio State @ Wisconsin
I think it's now clear, the BIG10-Championship game will be heavily in favor of the East Champ, since the West does not field a team, which can match them.
Wisconsin, until the weekend the best bet for a winner, did play hard, but Ohio State did win like a machine, 24:10.
I don't think Wisconsin was ever close a chance to win this game, beside prior the kickoff.
Jacks interesting games Score: 16-13

#6 Oklahoma @ Kansas
And this was the upset of the day.
I think as spectator, this must have been a blast, especially as Kansas fan, while Sooners fans had their high short the end and their low in time between that high and the final whistle.
Kansas started 14:0, then came Oklahoma with 3 unanswered scored and Kansas was only able to sink a field goal at the half. Sooners leading 21:17.
Then came Kansas and took the lead in the 3rd, Sooners got it back, Kansas answered, already in the 4th and Oklahoma did score to take the lead again with more than 5 mins to play.
Kansas? Was intercepted on the next drive, Sooners fans already on a high.
But the Sooners drive did suck, they had to give the ball back with 2 mins left. Still leading by 1 point.
Kansas made it to mid-field, had to play 4th down, MADE IT and more, and likely did then Oklahoma let them score with 47 ticks left.
Oklahoma now trailing by 5 points, made big play, but needed a TD, and on 3rd and 6 on Kansas 23 with time already gone (but you can't end a game on a penalty) the last pass felt incomplete and Kansas did upset the only unbeaten team left inside the BIG 12, 38:33.
Jacks interesting games Score: 16-14

What else?
Georgia Southern did beat Georgia State 44:27. That might be the deciding game inside the Sun Belt to determine the Championship participator from that division.
Arizona upset Oregon State 27:24. Arizona had several games in the past, where they did fall short an upset, but this time, on the road, it did happen.
Georgia Tech did win against North Carolina, 46:42. For UNC the 2nd loss in a row, both against not so good teams inside the ACC. Seems the team lost the stamina.
Northwestern did beat Maryland, 33:27. An important win for the Wildcats.
Western Michigan won against Eastern Michigan 45:21. The Michigan MAC trophy will by that be decided in the upcoming CMU @ WMU game and will switch the owner for sure, since EMU won last year.
North Carolina State did beat Clemson, 24:17. Now Clemson has 4 losses, the most since 2011 (which still was a 10-win season, including an ACC Championship and a bowl) and only 2010 and 2009 were worse.
Arizona State did win against Washington State, 28:27. 1st win for ASU inside the PAC-12.
Nevada won against New Mexico, 34:24. 2nd win for Nevada in a row.

In total the conferences are losing the for-sure-favorites on their conference titles, and it seems the playoff seats will be again become a big discussion.
Right now, we still have Ohio State and Michigan at #1 and #3 and one will lose for sure, but only against the likely BIG10 Champ and then the discussion can start, whether that team is better or worse than the 1-loss champ from the BIG 12 and so on.
Lucky us, there is still the November to be played, which means, this can all become much more complicated, or easier.

The 1st playoff rankings did come in and surprisingly Ohio State was named #1 in that one. Georgia only at #2. But this list is far from final, so just ignore it, until the conference championships are set.


Not much movement this week, but I think the next week will bring in some movement with several top games coming.

American Athletics

Tulane4-07-1#24The managed to win against Rice, now the toughest team coming is UTSA at season finale
SMU4-06-2SMU has a quite easy schedule, which might let them cash in a ticket, still road games to Rice and Memphis will show where they stand
UTSA4-05-3UTSA has several tough games against competitors, most deciding likely the season finale against Tulane
Memphis3-16-2 SMU is the next tough game, they need to win
Florida Atlantic3-14-4The toughest games do come at the last 2 weeks

Rice lost to Tulane and dropped out of direct contention.
Unlikely the team will present college football playoff team with the best team having 7-1. If they keep winning, they might sneak into a big bowl.

Florida State6-08-0#4Miami is mid-November the most crucial game. Gators at season finale could destroy their playoff ambitions
Louisville4-17-1#13UNCs downfall and the win over Duke did lift them high. The game against VT might decide the spot in the championship game.
Virginia Tech3-14-4The game against Louisville will likely decide their fate
Georgia Tech3-24-4They did lose, but thanks to other losses, the 2-loss-teams are still in the mix and right now the best bet inside the 2-loss-field
North Carolina3-26-2They did lose now 2 in a row, which does almost completely eliminate from the Championship spot race. Duke, Clemson and NC State are left.
Duke2-25-3It seems they did lose some steam in mid-season, now dropped 2 in a row. Likely no chance left, but losing won't help for sure.
Miami (FL)2-26-2A tough win against Virginia, but 3 tougher teams are coming now
Boston College2-25-3A non-conference win added, but still it does not look good for their future
NC State2-25-3That win over Clemson was big, now they have to keep on winning to keep at least the dream of a chance alive

Virginia got into the mix last week by UNCs loss and this week they drop already out.
FSU is still the best bet for a Playoff spot, but they need to win the ACC. A 1-loss Louisville champ could maybe make it, but I doubt it right now. Depends on the other conferences.

East Division
Michigan5-08-0#2Penn State and Ohio State are left as potential tough games. Those will decide the division
Ohio State5-08-0#1Did jump to #1, thanks to the 1st playoff standing ranking! THE GAME is likely the only game left on the schedule which will mean something, but that will be big.
Penn State4-17-1#11A win against Michigan would potentially open up the conference between the 3 leading teams again.

West Division
Minnesota3-25-3I doubt they will secure the top spot here with games against Ohio State and Wisconsin in November.
Iowa3-26-2The got their chances back and do only face mid-level to low-level opponents remaining.
Wisconsin3-25-3The loss against Ohio State did hurt in conference standings, but if they beat Minnesota, there is still a chance to get back to the top.
Nebraska3-25-3Slowly the team builds some sort of momentum and is back in the contenders mix, but the last 2 games are against tougher teams.
Northwestern2-34-4And back in the mix, thanks to Wisconsin’s loss. Hard to believe they will get to the top.

Northwestern is back in, nobody did drop out. Again, this division is a pity.
Whoever wins the East is expected to win the conference and getting a playoff spot. We might see a 2nd team from the BIG10 to emerge, if the only loss was against the later BIG10-Champ in a close game.

BIG 12
Oklahoma4-17-1#9And the BIG 12 lost their last remaining unbeaten team, which means, the conference did open up a bit and might not be part of the playoffs in return.
Iowa State4-15-3They play 3 currently ranked teams in November. If they survive that, they for sure deserve a shot at the title.
Oklahoma State4-16-2#22The toughest game left on the schedule is the rivalry game against Oklahoma.
Texas4-17-1#7Iowa State and Kansas State will be the toughest opponents left.
Kansas State4-16-2#23Back in the ranks the team will face a lot of tough teams in November.
Kansas3-26-2#21The win against Oklahoma did lift them back into the ranks and did let them leap frog the Wildcats. I don't think they will be able to get into the Championship game, but they might push a team or 2 out of it.
West Virginia3-25-3The team has one of the easiest remaining schedule, but likely that won't be enough to get to the top.

Baylor and BYU did drop out this week. But we might see some revival, since now both spots do already 1-loss teams and the competition will be tough in November.
Oklahoma has a good chance for the playoffs, the remaining BIG12-teams, even if they would win the conference, would likely stay out of the playoffs, if all other teams competing perform well. Texas night sneak in, under certain conditions.

Conference USA
Liberty6-08-0Still not ranked, but gets more and more points, so if they continue to win, they will get into the ranks, sooner or later. Inside the conference so far the best.
Jacksonville State5-17-2They are not eligible to get into the post season. I kept them in to show they are there and the direct compare or other tie breaker might include them
New Mexico State4-16-3The did start a bit slow, but so far I like what I see. Most crucial game is likely against WKU in November
Western Kentucky2-24-4Another loss, now against Liberty, did push them deeper into the pit. But the game against New Mexico State might be all they need to get back into the driver seat.

Louisiana Tech did fall out again, but thanks to the strange setup and set of teams, they might get back into it, next week.
No Chance on a playoff spot, even as unbeaten team.

East Division
Miami (OH)4-17-2The win against Ohio was crucial, now they need 'only' to beat the remaining teams, of which Buffalo will be the toughest.
Buffalo3-13-5A very tough remaining game series in November. I doubt they will survive this.
Ohio3-26-3That loss against Miami did hurt, big time. Now they need to hope for a Miami loss and likely some additional help.
Bowling Green2-24-4A BYE did give them time to prepare. The last 2 games in November will be hard and likely their downfall.

West Division
Toledo4-07-1A BYE before playing some mid-level teams in November. Only a meltdown could prevent their Championship participation.
Northern Illinois3-14-4Also with a BYE, the team has one of the easiest remaining schedule of all contenders. Still need more than 1 Toledo loss to get to the top.

No changes to last week.
Even a perfect MAC team would need a prayer to make the playoffs and they have already 1 loss on the best team.

Mountain West
Air Force5-08-0#25Army next for the Commander-In-Chief-Trophy.
Fresno State3-17-1They won against UNLV, which lifts them right to #2. Remaining schedule is mixed.
UNLV3-16-2A surprising loss to Fresno State does make the remaining games very tough.
Boise State3-14-4They did win, but play a lot of contenders in November.
San Jose State3-24-5The loss of UNLV did open up the conference again a bit. But realistically they have no chance.
Wyoming2-25-3They did lose already one crucial game, several more are coming.
Nevada2-22-6Nevada did so far suck and won now 2 in a row, which makes then on paper a contender. But I think they will fall out again fast.

San Jose and Nevada did get a small chance, thanks to UNLVs loss. I don't think they will stay for long.
Right now, Air Force looks like the real deal for a BIG bowl, but a playoff spot is not realistic right now.

Washington5-08-0#5The only unbeaten team left in the PAC12. November will be very challenging
USC5-17-2#20The won a very close game against Cal and now Washington, Oregon and UCLA will come.
Oregon4-17-1#6They won against Utah and their remaining schedule is quite mixed, so good chances to get to the top.
Oregon State3-26-2#16The loss against Arizona is bad, but they can turn the tide with the last 2 games in November against Washington and Oregon.
Utah3-26-2#18The loss against Oregon did show their weakness. The remaining schedule is quite soft, so maybe they can sneak back in contention with some help by other teams.
Arizona3-25-3They won against Oregon State, which kept them in the hunt, but I doubt they will turn the season around. More they will spoil the fun for some other team.
UCLA3-26-2#19They need to win now, a quite soft schedule might help.

No changes, thanks to some upsets.
The teams with a chance to make the playoffs get lower in numbers, but as the conference did play out so far, the teams will beat each other out of playoff contention in November.

East Division
Georgia5-08-0#2So far not spectacular, but they won and all games coming do look manageable, so right now the best bet for the division title
Missouri3-17-1#12A BYE week, but now Georgia is next.

West Division
Alabama5-07-1#8A BYE week, before they face LSU.
Ole Miss4-17-1#10Some tough games left on the schedule, but overall they need also to hope for an Alabama loss against LSU
LSU4-16-2#14They will play Alabama and that is a game they need to win. If not, the division is done, I think. If they win, it opens up and everything is possible

Florida did leave the building, by losing against Georgia.
Georgia vs Alabama is great, but maybe a bit overdone. It seems unlikely the division will send 2 this season to playoffs.

Sun Belt
East Division
James Madison5-08-0They keep winning, while they are not eligible to play for the championship.
Georgia Southern3-16-2Right now they have the best chance to get a ticket.
Georgia State3-26-2The loss against Georgia Southern did likely end their contention. They need help and more wins.
Coastal Carolina3-25-3CCU is still in the mix, thanks to JMU not being eligible. Slowly the season turns into the right direction, but likely too late
Old Dominion3-24-4A loss more and they are out. With the remaining games coming, this is very likely.
Appalachian State2-24-4The November will decide their fate, but right now I think they will fail to qualify for the Championship game, maybe even for a bowl

West Division
Troy3-16-2Might get into the Championship game thanks to an easier schedule and toughness
Louisiana2-25-3The team is really not bad and might come up big at the end of regular season
Texas State2-25-3A hop-or-flop-team, likely to drop fast in the next few weeks
Arkansas State2-24-4The Red Wolves do not look like a consistent team. Will likely drop fast
South Alabama2-24-4I had more hopes on the team in pre-season, but the team did underperform from my point of view too often

Finally, Marshall did drop out of contention, but the rest remains stubborn and stays in the list.
I think no chance for a playoff spot.

Now the upcoming week is needed. The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov 4
#14 LSU @ #8 Alabama
Looks like a game, which will decide the SEC West.
Alabama needs to win, to secure the division, LSU needs the win to open up the division again by a 3-team tiebreaker.
The Crimson Tide is only favored by 3.0 points, so expectation is a close game.
Alabama did look beatable most of the season, the home advantage might save them in this game.
LSU lost twice so far, the opener against FSU at home and the loss against Ole Miss on the road.
Alabama lost once, against Texas at home.
I'm not giving up on Saban at home, but everything can happen on this game.
Crimson Tide win.

#12 Missouri @ #2 Georgia
I guess not many did see this game as deciding game for the SEC division lead in the East.
Missouri had so far, a great season, but is here a 15.5 point underdog on the road.
Likely this is based on the Mizzou loss against LSU a few weeks ago at home and the Georgia dominance as unbeaten team, best shown last week by destroying Florida big time.
It's hard to say, whether Georgia is really THAT good, the had many issues in the beginning of the season but stayed unbeaten.
They lost one of their playmakers a few weeks ago and Missouri CAN play, they did show it, but did not play Tennessee and Florida so far.
I hope the Tigers can stay in the game and make it a good one, but overall, I would be nuts to bet against Georgia at home.
Bulldogs win.

#9 Oklahoma @ #22 Oklahoma State
It's the annual Bedlam-Series-Time in Oklahoma.
The 2 universities do play almost yearly against each other, and Oklahoma is usually the winner.
The series is 91–19–7 for Oklahoma, but from time to time does OSU just spoil the fun and wins.
That happened 2 years ago the last time.
The Sooners are favored to win by 5.5 points, I think it will be more.
They lost last week against Kansas, which should motive the team to play better, and they play against the hated Cowboys, who did so far lose twice, against ... South Alabama AT HOME and against Iowa State on the road.
Honestly, the Cowboys are beatable and only Oklahoma can lose here by playing stupid.
Sooners win.

And some other interesting games:

Sat. Nov 4
#23 Kansas State @ #7 Texas
It's do or die for Texas, who are favored in this game by 4.0 points.
Kansas State did show great potential this season but lost to Missouri and Kansas State so far.
Texas was destined to play for the Championship but lost to Oklahoma and has not played a team like Kansas State since then.
In a perfect world, Texas should win this, with their talent and their strength.
But KSU did show in the past, they are stubborn and like to make it not easy, so any Texas error might be exploit and might lead to the downfall of the Longhorns.
Do I pick against Texas? No.
But I could imagine an upset here, for sure.
Longhorns win.

#5 Washington @ #20 USC
Last chance for USC, who did lose 2 in a row and escaped Cal by a single point.
Washington is so far flawless, even they also had some close games.
They are favored by 3.0 points and if their defense can stop USC, they will lose by a mile.
Huskies win.

#21 Kansas @ Iowa State
Tough matchup.
Iowa State did win the past few weeks and did show they are a team you don't like to play.
And Kansas did do more or less the same, but won against Oklahoma, a team ISU did lose to by 30 points.
Still the Cyclones are favored by 2.5 points, which is fair, I think.
I expect a hard match, a close match and I throw a coin .....
Cyclones win.

That's it for this week.

'Til next time

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