2013-10-12 11:56

Let's play some "What if" for the upcoming games of the TOP teams.

Let's get from the Bottom to the top and keep two goals in focus. First is conference results, second is national rankings.

At 25 we have the Missouri Tigers.
They are very interesting, since they are only at #25 as unbeaten team.
Beside Alabama (which is ranked #1) they are the only unbeaten team of the SEC, and beside Houston (of the American) they are the lowest ranked unbeaten team in the nation.
How so?
They did not play much competition so far, biggest opponents were Indiana and Vanderbilt.
The future looks cloudy, since they have to play basically all big schools of the SEC East in the next few weeks.
Are they able to beat all of them?
I don't think so.
They might be able to pull an upset or two but I'm sure they won't conquer the SEC East.
IF they win all those games, they will rise very fast national and they will of cause play for the SEC Championship.
IF they would win this one, against one very high ranked team from the SEC West, they do have a real chance for the BCS Championship game.
But I think they will stumble over at least two SEC teams and will not win the SEC East and won't have an impact on the BCS

At 24 we have the Virginia Tech Hokies.
They have to play some tough ACC teams remaining. Biggest opponent will be Miami.
The look like they will be in the mix for the ACC championship.
They lost against Alabama and will probably not have a chance for a BCS Championship even if they win all games, unless all other unbeaten teams take a dive.
Assuming a great season for them they will have to face Florida State or Clemson for the ACC Championship.
I doubt it will come down to this matchups, since I doubt a division title for VT, but if they play for the ACC, they will lose.
I don't see them that good, but if they win all, they will get a BCS Bowl, not more.

Number 23 are the Northern Illinois Huskies.
They have the muscles to win the MAC, they have to win against Ball State at home.
Very likely.
They would have to play for the MAC Championship against Bowling Green or Ohio, and they really have a chance to win that.
What will happen then?
No chance for a BCS Championship for sure, the schedule is way too weak. But they would climb to a rank of #10 to #15 probably, maybe even a bit higher.
And that might secure them a BCS Bowl appearance, again. Only problem is Fresno State.
If they win all, it's basically a slim decision between those two programs.
I doubt that both teams will make it to a BCS Bowl.

With number 22 are the Oklahoma State Cowboys waiting.
They did almost tank the season already.
The loss against West Virginia cost them big browny points with the voters and they will have to face stronger opponents in the future.
I doubt they will win it all, but IF they win all games, they can still win the Big 12.
A BCS Championship matchup will probably be NOT in the mix, since there are a lot of teams ahead, so they need them to stumble once or even twice.
My pick is not on the cowboys for the Big 12, but it might come down to a shared one and some rankings in the upper half of the TOP 25.

Number 21 are the Fresno State Bulldogs.
They need to win every game to stay in the mix for a BCS Bowl spot.
Forget any BCS Championship dreams, we would need a very odd season to get them there, but they are totally able to win the West Division and might even win against who ever shows up in the championship game.
I personally doubt that, but you never know.
IF they win all, the are in the lead for a BCS Bowl and a high ranking.
Still open is, if the have to play that postponed match against Colorado.
They might play it if they don't have to play in the MWC Championship game, otherwise there is no room for the date.

With Number 20 we have the Texas Tech Red Raiders which are one of the most surprising teams so far.
New coach, and still better!
So far at least.
IF they win against all the upcoming big Big 12 teams, they have a real shot for getting inside the TOP 5.
But first they have to win and second they have to win better big.
I doubt they will do that. They will win some, but they will also drop some.
Assuming they really win all games, they will get a BCS Bowl spot, not more.

The Northwestern Wildcats are at #19.
They already lost once, against Ohio State and that makes it very tough for them to win the Big 10.
They need not only an Ohio State loss, no they need at least two.
Unlikely. Since they already lost once, even if they would make it to the Big 10 championship game, and would win THIS, they will not crack the TOP 2 in the BCS.
So it's likely they will reach the Rose Bowl as Big 10 Champ as a Max, but realistically they will have to settle for a lower Bowl.

At #18 are the Michigan Wolverine. They did struggle almost in every game and I think they will fall at some point, but for now they are in the lead for the Big 10 championship game against Ohio State.
Assuming all will come to that and they win, they will have a nice chance to get into the BCS Championship mix.
But only if one of the other teams higher ranked will stumble.
It's not unlikely, but they have to play tough to get a chance.

Number 17 are at the moment the Florida Gators.
They have a good chance to win the SEC East, but since they lost against Miami so far, they would have an outside chance for a national championship.
Many pieces would have to fall in line to get that spot.
More likely is a BCS Bowl spot.
I doubt they will win the SEC, but you never know.

The Washington Huskies are at Number 16 at the moment and they will have to fight very hard to stay in the mix.
They lost against Stanford and would have to win all remaining games to even have a chance for a PAC 12 championship game spot.
Then has Stanford and Oregon better lose not once but twice.
hard to tell if such is possible, but assuming that, they would face UCLA or Arizona State for the PAC 12 Championship.
And even IF they win THAT, they would not climb to #1 or #2 if not all others stumble a few times.
They can still aim for a Rose Bowl spot as Max, but even that is unlikely this season, as it seems.

With Number 15 we have the Baylor Bears. Very interesting team this season.
unbeaten so far and they have to play the big boys still.
IF they beat them all, they win the Big 12.
THAT would mean ... at least TOP 5. Not more.
If some of the other teams do stumble, they might even rise higher.
National title is a long shot.
More likely is a BCS Bowl in that case.
Still, they do have chance to win it all.

At Number 14 we have the South Carolina Gamecocks.
They are still in the mix for the SEC East, but they are one game behind.
Means, they have not only to win, but they have to hope for a Georgia loss or even two.
IF this all happens, they will play the SEC West champ and IF they win that game, they might rise to somewhere near the TOP.
But I doubt they will reach the BCS Championship game without some help in the PAC 12, Big 10 and ACC.
They can play for a BCS Bowl, but not much more.

The Miami (FL) Hurricanes are at #13 and they are cruising so far.
Biggest threat down the schedule is Florida State and Virginia Tech.
They need to win both to stay in the mix for the BCS Bowls, but at least against VT to play for the ACC championship.
Assuming the best they will face as unbeaten team Clemson or Florida State and assuming a win there they might have a chance for the BCS Championship game.
I doubt it would be enough, if all other teams higher ranked win their conferences, but you never know.
Beating Florida State for example twice would bring some extra points.

We have at Number 12 the Oklahoma Sooners.
They managed to stay unbeaten so far and will have to face the big teams of the Big 12 in the next weeks.
They do have a chance to win it all.
Still the Big 12 is very lowly ranked so far and would need all the help from the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12 and even the ACC to get into the BCS Championship mix.
I think they have to settle for a BCS Bowl this season.
Toughest games might be against Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Number 11 are the UCLA Bruins.
They are some kind under the radar so far.
They are unbeaten and will have to face Stanford, Oregon and Washington from the North.
Assuming a South team sweep, if they win all those games against the North they will be the favorites in the PAC 12 championship game and IF they win that one two, they will play for National Championship.
Those are too many ranked teams to ignore.
Most likely they will drop one of those games, but they can win the PAC 12 and get into a Rose Bowl.

With Number 10 we have the LSU Tigers.
They did somehow emerge as real competitive team, but their close loss to Georgia does put them into the not-unbeaten-club and that means, even if they now beat all the remaining opponents, they need some help.
They are still in the mix for the SEC West division and for the SEC Championship. A BCS Championship game participation is quite unlikely if not some other conferences do have some upsets and surprises.
IF all this happens, they would easily be in the front seat for a national championship as SEC champs.
Games against Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M will show how far they can go.

At Number 9 does rank the Texas A&M Aggies.
With Johnny Football at the helm they are also still in the mix to win it all.
But they need help from the inside.
They lost against Alabama and that means, to win the SEC West they need some losses by Alabama.
After that they would need some losses by other conferences like Clemson or Oregon and Ohio State to crack the TOP 2 ranks.
I'm sure they will get some nice rankings in the end, but I doubt a BCS Championship participation.
But you never know.
IF all pieces fall in place, they might get to the big game.
Biggest problems in the future are Missouri and LSU.

The Number 8 team are the Louisville Cardinals.
Boy, this team needs a crazy season 2013 to have any chance for a BCS Championship spot.
They already played Rutgers on Thursday and won, they will play as biggest games left on the schedule UCF and Houston. That's it.
They won't go up in the rankings unless some higher teams suck big times.
There is even a one-loss team higher ranked then them and even if they keep on winning, they would not jump that team, unless it loses again.
A BCS Bowl is waiting, if everything goes right, but no national championship. Sorry.

The only team ranked that high with one loss are the Georgia Bulldogs at #7.
Some think they will fall, since they lost key players to injuries.
I'm not sure, but it's possible.
IF they stay in the game, until the SEC championship game, they would need a lot of help to jump the higher ranked teams.
Those teams have to lose, some even more than once.
Not unlikely, but the Bulldogs, as high ranked as they are, might have one of the smallest chances of all SEC teams to get into the biggest game.
They key team is Clemson. The Clemson loss means, if Clemson wins everything and Georgia wins everything, Clemson will be ranked higher.
So Clemson has to lose, maybe even more than once.

At Number 6 is ranked the team of the Florida State Seminoles.
The 'Noles are unbeaten and they will battle it out against Clemson for the ACC Atlantic and then the winner will probably win the ACC.
It's very likely IF Alabama drops a game, than the ACC champ plays in the BCS Championship game.
Unless Virginia Tech does surprise everyone, I think then they voters will not rank them at TOP 2.
Florida State has it all in their own hands and they can easily get to the big game by their own, if something happens to the PAC 12 teams, the SEC teams or the BIG 10 teams.
Sound unlikely? Everything is possible here and did happen in the past.

Number 5 are the Stanford Cardinals.
They do have their fate in their own hands for sure.
The path is clear: Beat all PAC 12 teams, including Oregon and UCLA (maybe twice) and win against Notre Dame.
THEN they will for sure be TOP 2.
I have no doubts about that.
There are two teams ahead, Ohio State and Clemson, non of them do have such a tough remaining schedule as Stanford.
Those teams can only stay ahead by not beating teams, they have to dominate.

With Number 4 is ranked the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Their biggest threat is Michigan. Probably the have to play them twice in a row, on last regular season gameday and in the Big 10 Championship game.
It's not unlikely they win both, but as will everybody agree, it's hard to beat a team twice a season.
IF they do that, Ohio State still needs some help I think.
Clemson or Florida State are in the mix and Oregon or Stanford.
Except Florida State all of those do have a schedule worth a higher ranking.
The Buckeyes do need upsets and big wins to jump those teams.
Before the season I was sure they will play easily for a national championship but if all teams keep on winning, they will be left out.
IF they are lucky they are in.

The Clemson Tigers are at #3.
They need to win and might even jump Oregon. But that's a tough call.
My guts are saying, if Oregon (at #2) keeps on winning, Clemson needs help.
They need an Alabama loss.
They need first to win against Florida State and they need to win the ACC.
They need also a Crimson Tide loss and even better a nice PAC 12 upset roundup of all teams, so the voters will downgrade Oregon AND Stanford.
Only then they will have a real chance.
IF all this happens, the Tigers play for the Big Game.

At Number 2 we have the Oregon Ducks and they do only need to win.
Win against Stanford, Washington, UCLA (also probably twice) and they play for the national championship.
Nothing easier than this, right?

At last at Number 1 are still the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Nick Sabans team did struggle only once so far, but they did not fall.
Texas A&M did not win and so are the Tide still the #1 team in the country.
Biggest threat on their way to a triple national championship?
LSU and I like to but Auburn in the mix.
LSU for obvious reasons, and Auburn did basically grow from game to game and we are still 6 games short of the Iron Bowl which is played in Tigers stadium this season.
IF Alabama wins those games, they have to win against any SEC East champ and THEN they are worth #1 for sure.
Triple national Championship is possible for sure.

Those are the teams.
Now let's play ALL THE BEST (top to bottom):
ALABAMA wins it all, they will be #1 for sure.
Oregon wins it all, they are #2 and the BCS Championship game will be Alabama vs Oregon.
Clemson would be left out, because Oregon would have a much tougher schedule as Ohio State will be also left out for the same reason.
Both teams will be #3 or #4.
Stanford would sink a bit, because they lost against Oregon.
Florida State would sink, because they lost against Clemson.
Georgia would sink, because they lost against Alabama.
And so it might happen that Louisville emerges in the top 5. But it could also happen that some of the at the moment ranked higher teams might not fall THAT deep.
Texas A&M would might even jump Louisville, because they won all remaining games.
LSU on the other hand lost twice and did sink quite deep.
UCLA did lose 3 times (Oregon twice and Stanford) and would drop deep.
Oklahoma would emerge as Big 12 champ in the TOP 10 probably.
Miami would drop a bit because of the lost ACC and the loss against Florida State.
And so on. ....
Lot of movement, just by simply winning as a favorite.

If we would play ALL THE WORST, which would mean, all the crucial games would be lost by the favorites, the season would be very odd.
Hard to imagine the outcome but my guess would be that some of the one or two loss teams of the BCS conferences would make the Championship games.

Everything is still possible, but that's hard to see, since most of the times it goes on as in all the years before.
But remember, last season it looked like the SEC was out of the mix, until the leading teams of the Big 12 and the PAC 12 did suck at the SAME weekend.
Alabama jumped back into the mix and the rest is history.

So it will stay an exciting season and there are plenty of nice games ahead.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 7

Saturday, October 12 12:00 PM ET
#25 Missouri @ #7 Georgia
This game might get very interesting.
Why do I say "might"?
Because Mizzou did not play any relevant team so far.
It could happen they do not only stay in the game against a injury cursed Georgia team, they might even win this one.
Many others do see the Tigers in a perfect position to do this.
I'm not sold yet.
Yes they have a good offense and Georgia has some problems with injuries and especially with fast paced offenses, but they play at home against a not tested team, while they survived (or simply beat) South Carolina, LSU and Tennessee.
As written, I'm not sold on the upset, I give still the Bulldogs some credit at home.
In a close game they will win.

Saturday, October 12 12:00 PM ET
#12 Oklahoma vs. Texas played in the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TeXas
Some do say, this could cost Mack Brown the HC job at Texas.
The Longhorns did lose against Oklahoma, the so called Red River Rivalry, since 3 seasons.
The Longhorns fans will go crazy, if the Sooners would win again.
And guess what?
I think they will.
And this is not because of a very good Oklahoma team, it's because of a not so good Texas defense.
Rivalries are always special, so it might happen, that Texas stays in the game and even wins this, but I pick the Sooners in a nice game which stays open until the fourth quarter.

Saturday, October 12 3:30 PM ET
#17 Florida @ #10 LSU
At the end, I think this game will be decided by more than 1 TD.
LSU looks very good this season and Florida has some problems on offense.
It's played at LSU, so the chances to win this for Florida are very slim.
Floridas only hope is their defense, which is one of the best in the nation so far.
But they did not face many offenses like that LSU team.
I go with LSU, no doubt.
Florida gets a bit deeper into the Not-Division-Champ-Territory after this game.

Saturday, October 12 3:30 PM ET
#19 Northwestern @ Wisconsin
This matchup looks like a very good one.
Even if Wisconsin is not ranked with 2 losses, they are one of the best teams with such record.
Maybe THE best team.
Now they will meet Northwestern which lost against Ohio State last week.
The Badgers had a bye week, after THEIR loss to the Buckeyes 2 weeks ago.
So what will happen in Wisconsin?
I'm very confident in a Wildcats win.
Northwestern looks so good against Ohio State, I think they can get that win against the Badgers.
Only problem with that is a rested team playing at home.
In a very close game, the Badgers will fall to 3 losses, because Northwestern will simple play tough through out the 4 quarters.

Saturday, October 12 4:00 PM ET
#2 Oregon @ #16 Washington
I'm afraid the game will be not deliver the excitement we expect from it.
Yes, the Huskies are good this season, yes they play at home.
But the Ducks look like at the peak of their existence.
This offense is so quick and good, it's hard to believe Washington will slow them down much and it's even harder to believe they will keep on scoring to stay in the game.
I go with Oregon for a win.

Saturday, October 12 3:30 PM ET
East Carolina @ Tulane
This is an odd selection for a TOP game, but both teams are at the moment leaders of their division in the CUSA and Tulane surprised a bit this season, so they earned a spot here with a lot of decided games on the day which involve maybe better teams, but not so much better opponents.
I'm curious to see Tulane at home against East Carolina.
I'm hoping for a close game, which could end in a Green Wave win.
The key will be the defense of Tulane which did some good stuff in the past but I'm not sure they meet an offense like the Pirates one yet.
I pick Tulane anyway, since I like their development and I think they have much potential left.

‘Til next time

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