2013-09-13 07:12

The first four gamedays is normally not very important, most teams do play against non-conference teams and those are most of the time meaningless.
Of cause there are exceptions, like this weeks’ matchup between Alabama and A&M, but the majority of all games are non-conference games, many against FCS teams.

But why do teams play a supposed to be weaker team or why do FCS teams play such strong teams from the FBS.
As most things in life the main reason behind this tradition is at least in modern days money.
Where is the money for the FBS team? Under NCAA rules you are allowed to play up to two FCS teams which results (normally wins) would count against the Bowl eligibility. So playing FCS teams will give a much easier way for a Bowl. And a Bowl means national television, money, better recruiting, more training, better future results, which means again ... well .... at the end money and fame.
The schools are willing to pay guarantee money to those FCS schools to cash in later.
Such a game is often agreed for about 400.000+ $ per game for the smaller school.
The smallest Bowl gives you 750.000$ minimum. It's easy to see, this is a win situation for the FBS school.

If you win.

Chances are good, since normally FBS schools do win and this with 20+ points margins in average (that includes all games, including the losses, so IF you win, in average you WIN by 30+ points easily). That's why around 80% of all FBS schools do at least schedule one FCS school.
The bigger the school, the HIGHER the odds for a FCS team on the schedule.
Those schools do need wins for the BIG Bowls, worth 7 figure money.

So why do those FCS teams get into the game?
Well, ONE game on the road against those FBS teams does bring in more money than several home games on FCS level.
The amount of money is sometimes worth 4-5% of the whole football budget of the team.
But there is also another catch.
Of cause does nobody remember the 70-3 loss against a big FBS school, but recruiting gets easier and better if you are willing to play FCS schools and MUCH easier and better if you were able to get that ONE crucial upset against a big dollar school.

Not many of you will remember the upset Appalachian State did handle Michigan in 2007.
But in the US that upset is still there, 6 seasons after it happened.
And it helped Appalachian State big time.
They were all over the news and since then Appalachian State earns more money than ever.
They will play FBS teams until they become an FBS team in 2014 by themself.
This season they will play Georgia.
Of cause not all FCS teams will go that path, but still they want to get a bit out of that big money chunks the FBS gets.
That's why more than 60% of all FCS schools do play at least one game a season, some even more.
This season there seem to be a lot of teams getting this crucial upset, and I like that.
Unfortunately you can't predict such upsets, that's why the never make my list.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 3

Saturday, September 14
#16 UCLA @ #23 Nebraska
You better believe there is hate in the mix here.
Last season the Huskers did travel to LA, playing a supposed to be rebuilding UCLA team and got send home with a 30-34 loss.
Lucky for them UCLA later showed that this was not a onetime thing, they won against many good teams, so Nebraska ranking did not suffer much from this loss at the end of the season.
At the end, the big loss against Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game did hurt more than this game against UCLA.
But still .... they will try to win this rematch. Big.
The question is will UCLA let them?

Unfortunately for Nebraska did UCLA only play against Nevada two weeks ago and had a bye week.
And they did win big against Nevada.

Nebraska on the other hand did win against Wyoming and Southern Miss. Not much so far, but OK.
So what are the odds?

The odds are two strong teams, one had a bye week to prepare, and the other had two games to adjust to new players and it plays at home.

In doubt I pick the home team, since it is always hard to win on the road.
I do believe UCLA is strong, but as do I believe of Nebraska.
It will be close and everything can happen.

The key will be the Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez. I think if he has a good day form, nobody from LA will stop the Huskers from winning.
I pick Nebraska.

Saturday, September 14
#1 Alabama @ #6 Texas A&M
This game is advertised as THE game of the season.
The Aggies did win against the later National Champion Alabama as the only team last season.
They have their Heisman QB Johnny Football still on the team and they play at home.
Alabama has Nick Saban. Period.

This game is hyped as much as it can be and some might even think the winner will win the National Championship.
Not in my book, there is a lot of season left to play.
I think it will be close game, maybe a good one (I hate defense battles) and maybe a game worth to remember.

But it can also be a game like that LSU - Alabama game two seasons ago ending 9-6 and nobody is much talking about that LSU win, since they sucked big at the end of the season.

Here is my take: It's hard to to Nick Saban twice. Period.
Not impossible, but give Saban time to adjust and material to study, his team will be ready. I think Kevin Sumlin is a very good coach, but I'm not sure he can overcome Sabans Crimson Tide again.
That's why I pick the Tide to win. (to be honest I would love to see A&M win, but .... it is as I described it ...)

Saturday, September 14
#25 Ole Miss @ Texas
Oh boy, Mack Brown must have got a lot of shit in his face after that loss against BYU.
Texas got 40 points against them and Mack Brown did fire his DC after that second gameday. Boom.

Hugh Freeze did his homework for sure for Texas, but know the Longhorns might look totally different on defense than expected.
That's very fascinating.
It makes this game very interesting.

Ole Miss is on the rise, for sure. Texas is at best sinking slowly, as far as we can see now.
It's not they don't have the talent to turn things around, no; they usually have some of the best talents of Texas, which is one of the states, filling the majority of any roster in college and pro football.
Texas only sucks at the moment for unknown reasons. Maybe it's Mack Brown, maybe it's the characters of the players, maybe bad luck ...
Fact is, Ole Miss has a real chance to win in Austin.
And I do believe they will.

With this situation going on in Texas, they have anything far from having a stable situation.
Ole Miss IS stable and they are getting better every gameday.
So in my head there is a circus team vs. a united team.
I go for the united team, Ole Miss.

Saturday, September 14
#20 Wisconsin @ Arizona State
This one is at least for me not easy.
Wisconsin is a strong team, but Arizona State is also one.

Both teams did so far only punish cupcake teams, so nothing is known seriously.
For what every reason is Wisconsin the favourite and the Sun Devils are not even close of getting the love of anyone for an upset.
I think it will be a much closer game than some might expect.

And I'm not convinced the coaching change at Wisconsin is 100% without some adjusting time.
Arizona State is much better suited in this area.
And they play at home.
Cold weather team coming into the desert?
With a new coach?
For me this is far from being decided.

The Badgers might win this, for sure. But as could the Sun Devils.
I pick Arizona State for an upset.

Saturday, September 14
Fresno State @ Colorado
Why did I pick this one?
To be honest, I never thought of having Colorado in my top games this season.
But they are 2-0 and did win against two teams (not that nice, but OK) and they face a dangerous Fresno State team.
The Bulldogs did win against Rutgers in OT and another team, so they will give Colorado a serious challenge.

If the Buffaloes win this one, the PAC 12 games will get more exciting.
If they lose, well, at least then I don't have to worry about them in my top games any more.
But it looks like Colorado did adjust quite well to the new Headcoach and will at least fight.
So who will win?

I give the edge to the Bulldogs.
I think they are better equipped for this battle.

But I do believe, if this game would have happen at the end of the season, I would have picked Colorado, as far as I can see the progress for the Buffaloes so far and as far as I trust Mike MacIntrye as a coach.
But ironing out errors and getting teams in synch needs time and you can't expect this on the third gameday on every team.
That's why I pick the Bulldogs.

Saturday, September 14
Tennessee @ #2 Oregon
The game might be over at halftime.
I only picked this, because Tennessee is 2-0 and did surprise so far.
Oregon is still in high speed mode and will give the Vols very much to think about (if they find the time for that), but I at least expect the Vols to try.
Nobody is expecting an upset here.
I included.

Oregon is an offensive powerhouse, which beats you by scoring more points than you might get.
They have a defense which does slow down opponents long enough to get them behind and then they let them make errors by trying to catch up.
What we saw last week against Western Kentucky was, that the Tennessee defense was able to make plays.

If they can at least do some of those against the ducks, they might get a close game.
Anyway ... Ducks will win.

‘Til next time

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