2018-09-20 14:31

Week 3 did deliver some nice upsets and that make me hope for more.

With Week 4 coming the season starts getting into regular conference games mode (which starts full in week 5 for most teams) and we will see some great matchups already.

But before we tackle week 4, let's have a look back to week 3.

Here are the 3 games I had selected as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 3

Sat. Sep. 15
#12 LSU @ #7 Auburn
The Tiger Bowl was simply great, it had all the fun you want from a game, especially on that level.
It was close and became a nail biter.
Auburn did lead by 4 at halftime, and extended it to 11 in the third.
From that point on, LSU did fight back and scored 12 points to get the win.
Between that Auburn had a missed FG starting of the 4th quarter and we also saw a missed 2-point-conversion.
But of cause the best was the winning FG with time expiring. EAT THIS!
LSU did jump in the ranks and is now ranked 6th, while Auburn did drop a bit and is ranked 9th (AP) and 11th (coaches).
Whether one of them can really stop Alabama is a question which we only can answer in the future.
#12 LSU 22 - #7 Auburn 21 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 7-5

#17 Boise State @ #24 Oklahoma State
Oh man that was hard for me.
Boise played good, but they were unable to stop Oklahoma State from scoring.
That means first that Boise will now have to care only for their conference and if they are lucky they get the ticket for the highest ranked non-power5-team, but right now they are not even ranked (well, they are at 24 in the coaches ..)
Second, the Cowboys got a good boost in the ranks and will have to justify that one against the other BIG12 contenders soon.
#17 Boise State 21 - #24 Oklahoma State 42 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 7-6

#4 Ohio State vs #15 TCU
That went as expected, only it was not that close.
Ohio State did basically pull away in the 2nd half and did win a big one here.
Now Urban Meyer can take over again and will likely build on top of that.
For TCU that was a downer, putting the team not completely out of playoff contention, but almost.
No margin for errors left.
#4 Ohio State 40 - #15 TCU 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 8-6

Other interesting games:

#22 USC @ Texas
After the first Quarter did USC get nothing done and Texas won this game 37-14.
Big loss for USC, big win for Texas.
Jacks interesting games Score: 8-2

#10 Washington @ Utah
Not really a great game, but the Huskies did win it 21-7, which is the result needed for them.
But Utah did not look that bad, except that they were unable to score after the 1st quarter.
Jacks interesting games Score: 9-2

#1 Alabama @ Ole Miss
Oh man, Alabama looks unstoppable right now. They won 62-7 against Ole Miss .... 62-7!
Jacks interesting games Score: 10-2

Other interesting stuff from last week:
BYU won against Wisconsin 24-21. Big win for the Cougars and needed, while Wisconsin now needs to win all games to have a chance for the playoffs.
Army won against Hawaii 28-21. First loss for Hawaii this season.
Troy did beat Nebraska 24-19. Nebraska to a 0-2 start first since 1957. But to be fair, they did not have their game against Akron, which could have been a win.
Still a disappointing start for Huskers fans.
Syracuse did win against FSU 30-7. This doesn't look good for Seminoles fans this season.
Kansas won against Rutgers 55-14 and are now 2-1. Wohooooo!
Temple did best Maryland 35-14. Is that the same Maryland which did beat Texas?
South Florida did beat Illinois 25-19 and are off to a 3-0 start.
Duke won against Baylor 40-27. This don't look like Baylor gets much better this season.
North Texas won against Arkansas 44-17, which is a mayor upset. Arkansas off to a 1-2 start, while North Texas has 3-0.
San Diego State won against Arizona State 28-21. Seems like the flying Sun Devils did crash.
Akron won against Northwestern 39-34. Great win for Akron.
Fresno State did upset UCLA 38-14. The Kelly magic did not spark so far in LA.

And we continue with the preview for week 4.

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 4

Fri. Sep. 21
Washington State @ USC
When Mike Leach did take over Washington State the Cougars were in a bad shape. Really bad. Last-place-in-the-division-and-almost-no-wins-in-total-bad-shape.
Now, 6 season coached, recruited and guided later he enters the 7th season with a good team behind him.
His record with the team is finally positive and will likely expand further to the plus side.
Coming of a 9-4 season, including a bowl loss, the team did start so far 3-0 and is at least again in the mix for the division title.
They are not favored to win it, for sure not, but they are capable to spoil the fun for each of the contenders, especially rival Washington and Stanford.
If you look into the PAC12 North team landscape you find in addition to the Washington teams and Stanford the Oregon teams and Cal.
Some of those teams will make a jump forward, like likely Cal and Oregon, some will have to adjust and prepare, like Oregon State, which might become better under the new coach, but that takes time.
WSU will finish TOP4 inside the division I would guess, eventually pushing for TOP2, but it will all come down how they play against the better teams.
This week they face one of the better teams, from PAC12 South, and they will play on the road.
This is important, because if they lose this, they lose one of the inter-division-games, which some of the other PAC12-North teams might have only against much easier teams.
USC has struggled so far a bit and did not play as expected.
They won against UNLV, Lost to Stanford in a defense battle and played Texas on the road and lost there again.
Now at home they face a fast playing, pass happy, Cougars team.
I would say, USC will have trouble to stop that Air Raid offense of WSU, so expect some scoring drives, the main focus should be on USCs offense which will need to step up and make plays.
If they play like they did against Stanford and Texas, the Trojans will lose this.
For whatever reason is USC still favored to win this, Vegas line is -4.0.
I say Washington State will win here.
Could be close but they win.
Cougars win.

Sat. Sep. 22
#22 Texas A&M @ #1 Alabama
There is not much to say here.
Fisher vs Saban is a nice matchup and now we will get it every season at least once.
With Fisher new at A&M and Alabama playing at home, this might not be the fun it could be, but since the Aggies almost topped Clemson, everything seems to be possible.
I will not pick against Alabama here, they are too good at home over the last seasons, but I think this will also not be a blowout win by the Tide.
A&M will become better over time and they have already a lot of talent, so Fisher might just need to put all pieces at the right place and he might produce a winner, but in week 4 already against the highest ranked team?
I doubt that.
I expect a closer match, but at the end will the Tide win.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Sep. 22
#2 Georgia @ Missouri
It looks like the Georgia administration was right to let Mark Richt after 15 seasons go, right? Could be, but better wait with the final judgement.
Kirby Smart did adjust in his first year and did deliver in the seconds season a conference title and a loss in the National Title game.
Now in his 3rd season the expectations are as high as last season so everything less than the SEC title will be a downer.
Georgia is clearly the favorite to win the SEC East and will challenge every team coming to the SEC title game from the West.
Before dreaming of the playoffs and the SEC title, they need to win the games during the season and this upcoming game has potential.
Missouri is coming of a good start so far, but had only some mid level to low level teams as opponents.
THIS game here will be their first test.
Barry Odom is also in his 3rd season with the team and guided the Tigers from a bottom dweller in the division to a bowl participant in season 2 (which they lost).
All hopes for a better season do lean on their senior QB Drew Lock, who might get some NFL attention, and the fact that Mizzou got better and better.
Playing at home will help, whether this will be enough is open.
Georgia is a tough team and they won already against a SEC team (Gamecocks) big time, so this will be a very hard test for Missouri.
I expect an open game until halftime.
Then it will be a matter of sustainability. I think Georgia has just more in the tank, but I might underestimate the Tigers.
I can see a small window for an upset here, but not enough for me to pick against the SEC champ, who is favored by 14 points.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Sep. 22
#17 TCU @ Texas
Tom Herman is in his 2nd season with the Longhorns and it is clear he will not deliver a national title right away.
The team might become a national powerhouse again, but that seems to take some time.
They already lost to Maryland surprisingly in the opener and they did win against Tulsa only by a score, which is basically not enough, comparing the programs status and power.
Against USC they did win good, but how much that's worth will only time tell.
Now they face the very potent TCU Horned Frogs, but lucky them, on Longhorns ground.
For Texas, this a fight for live. A win would spark them eventually to take on the remaining games with more confidence, a loss would send them to the pit, at least for a short period, and would destroy already a lot of hopes regarding BIG12 contention.
This will be a tough game and I'm willing to give the Longhorns some bonus here, because of home field advantage.
But that only sets them on the same level as TCU and makes this for me an open game.
So, at the end, this might come down to the last drive and who can score.
TCU is favored by only 3.0 points.
I'm willing to pick the Longhorns here, but this is the most shaky pick this week.
Longhorns win.

Other interesting games:
Sat. Sep. 22
#14 Mississippi State @ Kentucky
MSU is favored by 10 points, which seems a bit much, given the way Kentucky did play so far. I'm tended to pick the Wildcats, because I like underdogs to win and I like their spirit so far, but realistically it should be a close Bulldogs win.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Sep. 22
#7 Stanford @ #20 Oregon
Stanford is coming of a good start so far, as does Oregon. Great start actually for the Ducks under new HC Mario Cristobal, former OC of Oregon.
The question will be, whether the defense will be enough against Stanford.
Stanford is only favored, by 1.5 points!
I pick the Cardinals by a few points more.
Cardinals win.

Sat. Sep. 22
#18 Wisconsin @ Iowa
Wisconsin is favored by 3.0 points against the Hawkeyes. As always playing against the Hawkeyes is tough to pick. If Wisconsin plays like last week, Iowa will win. But if they play as the usual Badgers, they will win.
I pick the Badgers.

Arizona State @ #10 Washington
Whatever it was they saw in Herm Edwards to bring him in as Sun Devils HC after he was out of coaching for 10 years, so far it did pay off.
The team is 2-1 and gets some respect for their results so far.
Now they face another contender for the PAC title, so they will have a hard time again.
Vegas has the team as 17.0 points underdog, which means, they expect a big loss. I'm not sure whether the Huskies will really destroy the Sun Devils, but I doubt an upset.
Huskies win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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Tags: Block of GraniteNews


2018-09-12 05:42

A quite intense weekend despite the lack of high profile games.

What concerns me are the injuries happening, like Oklahomas RB out for the season or Dukes QB out for some time.
Those are injuries which could change the outcome of the next games or even season.
Injuries are part of the game, but for me it looks like those injuries do get more series from season to season.
That's not surprising since the players do get bigger and faster from season to season, so the impact and forces at work in traffic are increasing and bones and ligaments do not get stronger in the same rate.
It will be interesting to see, whether our beloved sport will develop over the next decades.

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Sat. Sep 8
#2 Clemson @ Texas A&M
By far one or the best games this weekend.
And Texas A&M did challenge the Tigers to the last.
At the end it came down to one referee decision regarding a fumble falling into the endzone which did basically eliminate a scoring drive for A&M and a failed 2-point-conversion with all hopes put into 1 pass.
With that performance the Aggies fans can maybe not hope for a great season this year, but next season could be a great one.
This season at least they have the potential to play spoiler for some or the competitors and who knowns, maybe they can even become a competitor themselves.
The Tigers did get a great win and can now concentrate on the ACC games (after they do beat Georgia Southern).
#2 Clemson 28 - Texas A&M 26 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 6-3

Sat. Sep 8
#15 USC @ #13 Stanford
Not the kind of game I like, since it went all defense.
USC was held to 3 points, which is never a good thing and Stanford was also not able to score as many points as we all expect them to score.
Still they managed to outscore USC in the first half and secured the win in the second half.
Not sure what to make out of that result for the upcoming games.
But since every game is different, we might see both teams lighten up the scoreboard again next week.
#15 USC 3 - #13 Stanford 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 7-3

Sat. Sep 8
Colorado @ Nebraska
Nebraska did start with some errors, but came through and went into the half with a lead.
They were able to secure that until late in the game.
But Colorado did get the momentum (likely when the Huskers QB went down) and scored a TD for the lead.
Nebraska had one last drive to get back on the board, but only managed to get to the Colorado 20 and since a FG wouldn't have been enough, they blew it.
Bad start for the Huskers in their own stadium to lose that way, but it's just the first game under Frost.
Colorado has now a great start into the season and we might see more of them in the PAC12 than expected.
Colorado 33 - Nebraska 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 7-4

Other interesting games:

Sat. Sep 8
#3 Georgia @ South Carolina
Georgia did kill and eat the Gamecocks alive, winning 41-17.
It's clear Georgia is the team to beat in the SEC East.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-1

Sat. Sep 8
Iowa State @ Iowa
I-OH-AH State did manage to get 3 points in the 1st quarter and that's that.
The Hawkeyes did not score many points more, winning 13-3, but were able to move the ball and score from time to time.
The trophy stays with a Hawkeyes, again.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-2

Sat. Sep 8
#10 Penn State @ Pittsburgh
Pitt did lose big time.
In fact so big that I was asking myself what went wrong with that strong team.
It's not really clear whether Penn State is that good in that 51-6 win, or Pitt so bad.
Jacks interesting games Score: 7-2

And some other results and info which might be interesting:
Oklahoma won against UCLA 49-21, but lost their star RB for the season.
Arizona State won against Michigan State 16-13. Big win for the Sun Devils who are on some kind of rebuilding path.
Kentucky has beaten Florida 27-16 to end a 31-games-losing-streak against Florida.
Eastern Michigan did beat Purdue on the road 20-19. Big win for Eastern Michigan who were a long time one of the worst teams in football. Since a few seasons they are getting better.
Houston won against Arizona 45-18.
Duke won against Northwestern 21-7, but lost their QB to a broken leg.
South Florida had a great day against Georgia Tech, winning 49-38.
Florida Atlantic did rebound from last weeks loss and won against Air Force 33-27.
Kansas won on the road against Central Michigan 31-7 and ended a 46 game road-losing streak.
Buffalo did beat Temple 36-29
East Carolina did best North Carolina 41-19
UL Monroe won against Southern Miss 21-20. Big win for ULM.
Colorado State did beat Arkansas 34-27. Big win for CSU after their failed season start to win against a SEC team.
Maine (FCS) did win against Western Kentucky 31-28.
California won against BYU 21-18.

This week we have heavy effects by Hurricane Florence.
North Carolina (would have played UCF), NC State (would have played West Virginia) and Virginia Tech (would have played East Carolina, which declined travel) will not host their games, and that's just the known ones now.
Could be that short term also others will cancel as well.
Old Dominion playing Charlotte and Coastal Carolina playing Campbell are other candidates, but those games are still scheduled.
Liberty playing Norfolk State was moved to December, if Norfolk does not make the FCS-playoffs.

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 3

Sat. Sep. 15
#12 LSU @ #7 Auburn
Some call this the Tiger Bowl.
Since Ed Orgeron became the HC of the LSU Tigers as interims coach in 2016 he is under fire.
The remaining of 2016 was hard, because all people said, he will be fired and of the season for the NEW one and LSU does suck anyhow (the team did finish 8-4, his record was 6-2 and that includes a bowl win).
2017 was all about that he is not the right guy earning the interims tag being removed and that he will not make LSU a winning team (in terms if LSU wins, it’s a winning team since a long time) and anyway with Saban at Alabama LSU needs a much better coach (Team finished 9-4, including a bowl loss).
This season so far was all about to upcoming collapse of the Tigers under him and that they will suck anyhow.
Well, they did start so far 2-0 including a signature win over Miami.
Now they visit Auburn and that’s something different.
Not the first real test, since Miami is still not a bad team, but Auburn is a little bit tougher than Miami I guess and the margin for errors is slim.
Last week did LSU handle the FCS opponent well, but not convincing, winning only by 31 points and held them scoreless.
Auburn is 10 point favorite, which is a lot.
Can LSU get their offense going against that strong defense?
Auburn did handle their FCS opponent much more points and scored over 60, but does that mean anything?
Crucial for me is, that Auburn is very tough at home, they have likely the better team and know they lost the game last season.
I think Auburn WILL win this one, but I guess it will be a tougher battle than the 10 points do suggest.
Or maybe the haters will get their LSU-does-suck-anyhow-game?
We will see, but I doubt a LSU collapse.
Tigers (Auburn) win.

#17 Boise State @ #24 Oklahoma State
When I read that one of the games will be THIS, I was very excited, and I still am.
The only negative on that is that it’s not on the Smurf Turf in Idaho.
Still a great offense matchup and since Boise is clicking so far, Oklahoma State will have a great opponent here.
Bryan Harsin is in his 5th season with the Broncos and has so far won 2 Conference Championships and also 1 Division title on top.
The goal for this season is clear, win the division, win the conference and if possible get into the playoffs.
So far they won against Troy and UConn by a mile each and will now face a very strong opponent on the road.
If they win this one, they will jump a bit further in the rankings.
Likely not enough to get at the end of the season under the TOP 4, but that will not let them lose the game.
The Cowboys are guided by Mike Gundy since 2005 and he made the Cowboys a winner, won the Big 12 once and also the division once (when the Big12 still had 12 teams).
In the last 3 seasons the team did win 10 games each year and only one or two crucial games did prevent a glorious conference title and more.
Most of the time it was their rival Oklahoma.
Some think the team is great scoring against open defenses, but when the real threats coming, the team sputters and loses.
Well, this week, it’s not the Sooners, but it’s also a good team.
Vegas has the Pokes 3 points ahead, which is not much, if you think that the Cowboys are a winning Big12 team and Boise is ‘only’ a Mountain West team.
I expect a wild game, a lot of points and at the end … Not sure.
It looks the Broncos are in good shape this season, which means they can actually take on almost every team.
The Cowboys are good so far against an FCS team and South Alabama, but can their defense stop that team?
My feeling is the Cowboys offense will score, often, and so will the Broncos offense.
But the Broncos defense will step up at some point and will make either crucial stops or crucial turnovers.
Broncos win.

#4 Ohio State vs #15 TCU
Great matchup here.
TCU is one of the most underrated programs in FBS.
Gary Patterson is the HC of the Horned Frogs since the year 2000 (interims coach for the Bowl, got appointed regular HC afterwards).
Since then did TCU win Conference titles in the WAC (2000, so Patterson was DC on that team), the CUSA (2002), the Mountain West (2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011) and the BIG12 (2014) and they made it to the new created Championship game last season (and lost to Oklahoma).
Patterson did all this and is one of the best protected HC in FBS.
This season they are equipped to get another trip to the BIG12 Championship game and maybe more.
So far they won against a FCS team and SMU, both big time, and will now face an Ohio State team which is under interim guide for the first 3 games.
Urban Meyer is the regular HC of the Buckeyes, but because of the issues with domestic violence inside his staff and the actions or not made actions on that matter he was suspended for 3 games.
He is in his 7th season and did so far win at least a share of the division title of the BIG10 each year, won the conference in 2014 and 2017 and a national title also in 2014. They also got into the playoffs in 2016.
He is a very successful coach (won also national championships with Florida) and will be not on the sideline against one of the toughest teams they will meet this season.
OC Ryan Day did guide the team so far to 2 wins against Oregon State and Rutgers, both not really challenges.
Vegas sees OSU ahead by 12 points, which is too much from my point of view.
TCU is a tough team and played in Texas on neutral ground this will be almost like a home game for them.
I think the Buckeyes are better than anticipated (at least by me), but winning by 12+ points against the Frogs?
This can go both ways and I expect a heavy fought game.
My only concern is that TCU will have some problems with the Buckeyes defense and therefore might score not enough points to stay in the game lately.
I pick Ohio State in a close one.
Buckeyes win.

Other interesting games:

#22 USC @ Texas
Which Texas team will be see? The Texas-Texas or the team beaten by Maryland? USC did not look that good against Stanford, so this might become a good game not on top level.
I think the Longhorns will come out more motivated and will win here. Vegas sees them 3.5 points head, I give them a bit more, thanks to the sputtering USC offense.
Longhorns win.

#10 Washington @ Utah
Great game here. Washington will need this and playing Utah at Utah is always a tough one. The line is in favor of Washington (-6.5) and I hope we will see a closer game as expected.
Huskies win.

#1 Alabama @ Ole Miss
If this would be in Alabama, this would be very one-dimensional, but played in Mississippi, we might see a better game than the Vegas line of -21.0 for Alabama does hint. Ole Miss did play good against Texas Tech and the FCS team, but of cause is Alabama a different caliber. Not many will pick against Alabama here, except Ole Miss die-hard-fans. Matt Luke will have the team in better shape in his 2nd season and we will not see such a disaster like last year, but a clear Alabama win.
Crimson Tide win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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