2013-11-27 10:50

The Division Champions are almost set; the last open spots will be filled this weekend.

Sun Belt Conference
Leading team are still the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, unbeaten inside the SBC. They had a bye week to go into the rival matchup against ULM. Playing at home they have the advantage here. Tough game at the end, against South Alabama on the road a week later.
Right behind them with 1 loss are the Arkansas State Red Wolves. They have to play Western Kentucky as final game this weekend. On the road.
It might happen that the conference is able crown its champion this weekend.
Arkansas State has to prove they can win that game against the Hilltoppers.
If ULL wins, they have at least a share of the title in their pocket.

Mid American Conference
The East Division is led by the Bowling Green Falcons and the Buffalo Bulls.
Both with 1 loss inside the conference.
They play their deciding match on Saturday and the winner will face NIU in the Championship game a week later.
The West Division is of cause won by Northern Illinois.

Conference USA
The East Division is led by East Carolina and Marshall, both teams have 1 loss each.
They play their deciding game against each other on Friday.
West Division is led by Rice with 1 loss.
UTSA, Tulane and North Texas do have 2 losses and the division is still very open.
It looks like the tie breaker rules can only let Rice or Tulane win the division.
Good thing they play their deciding match against each other on Saturday.
Whoever wins the divisions will play for the CUSA Championship one week later.

Mountain West Conference
The West Division is won by Fresno State, having not lost inside the conference.
They have to play San Jose State, but can't lose the division by a loss.
Since they will play in the championship game, it's pretty clear the postponed Colorado game won't be played this season.
The Mountain Division is a competition between Utah State and Boise State. Utah State has 1 loss, Boise has now 2 losses.
Utah State has to play Wyoming, Boise State faces New Mexico.
Boise has to hope for an Aggies loss to win the division.
Whoever wins has to play Fresno State a week later in the Championship game.

American Athletic Conference
2 games still to play for some of the teams.
Leading team is still UCF, unbeaten inside the conference.
They have to face South Florida and SMU. If they win 1 of those, they have a share of the conference title save.
Right behind are Louisville and Cincinnati with 1 loss.
They have to play against each other next week.
Whoever wins that game has to hope for a UCF loss to get a share of the title.

Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Division is won by the Florida State Seminoles.
The Coastal Division is wide open.
Duke is still surprisingly leading the division with 2 losses and can clinch the Division by winning against North Carolina on the road.
Right behind with 3 losses are Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami.
Yes, 4 of 7 division member do still have a chance.
North Carolina has no chance because of tie breaker rules.
They all have to hope for a Duke loss.
GT is finished with conference games, VT plays Virginia, Miami plays Pitt.
Whoever wins faces Florida State for the conference championship a week later.

Big Ten Conference
The Legends Division is won by the inside the conference unbeaten Michigan State.
The Leaders Division is won by the unbeaten Ohio State.
They will play against each other next week for the conference championship game.

Pacific 12 Conference
The North Division is won by Stanford, thanks to Oregons loss last week.
The South Division is won by Arizona State.
They will face each other next week, in a rematch of a regular season game which was won by Stanford.
This time it’s for the PAC 12 championship.

Big 12 Conference
Oklahoma State can win the conference all by their own. They are leading, but have to hope for Texas AND Baylor losses in the next 2 weeks.
The Cowboys play Oklahoma as their last conference game, if they win; a share of the conference title is a minimum.
Texas and Baylor are right behind Oklahoma State and have to play each other next week. Before that they have to play Texas Tech and TCU.

Southeastern Conference
The Eastern Division is led by Missouri, having lost only once (against South Carolina).
Right behind Mizzou IS South Carolina with 2 losses.
Missouri has to play Texas A&M on season finale; South Carolina has to hope for a Mizzou loss to win the division.
The Western Division is Alabama territory, being unbeaten.
Next in line is Auburn, with 1 loss.
Auburn hosts the Iron Bowl vs. Alabama in Tigers stadium.
Whoever wins will play in the SEC Championship game next week.

Alabama is leading, of cause.
Right behind are Florida State and Ohio State.
Next in line then are Auburn, Missouri, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Baylor, South Carolina, Michigan State and Arizona State.
All further down ranked teams are meaningless for the next two weeks.
If Alabama wins all games, they are in. Same probably for Florida State, if that Big 10 Championship game is not weighted too much or the ACC Championship game isn't discounted too much. Ohio State would get the loser card as 3rd placed.
But if someone stumbles it gets messy.
Assuming Auburn wins, it's not clear if they would jump Ohio State. Maybe.
If they would THEN win the SEC, they probably would jump Ohio State or maybe not.
Mizzou could win the SEC championship against Auburn or Alabama. Would they jump Ohio State?
I think Clemson (play only against South Carolina one more game), Oklahoma State (plays only against Oklahoma one more time), Baylor (plays Texas and TCU, but both not highly ranked), Stanford (plays Notre Dame and the PAC 12 Championship game), Arizona State (plays Arizona and the PAC 12 Championship game) and Michigan State (plays Minnesota and Big 10 Championship game) wouldn’t get into the big game, even if they win all needed games and all others do lose at some point.
South Carolina might get a chance if they win the SEC (they play Clemson and maybe the SEC Championship game).
So I assume we will see in the final Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Mizzou or South Carolina.
I think the worst case scenario for the BCS people would be Alabama losing against Auburn, Florida State losing against Florida, Ohio State losing against Michigan, Missouri losing against Texas A&M and South Carolina losing against Clemson. All this weekend.
Then it would get really interesting regarding the BCS final. But we all know, this worst case won't happen, aren't we?

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14

Saturday, November 23 12:00 PM ET
#3 Ohio State @ Michigan
THE GAME is a bit tarnished this year, since Michigan is way worse than expected and this COULD be quite boring.
Ohio State won last season in a close game at home, this year it might get not that close, even in the Big House.
The home field of Michigan is my only hope for that game.
You don't win that easy in that monster of a stadium.
Hoke better win this, if he wants to get some credits back on his job.
Image you did fire Rich Rodriguez because he was not that successful and hired Hoke to win big and now he is 7-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big 10.
When Rodriguez was fired he was 7-6 (after the Bowl) overall and 3-5 in Big 10 games in that season. If Michigan loses this week, they are 7-5 and 3-5 in big 10 games … sound familiar?
For the Buckeyes it's winning all the way to stay in the hunt for the National Championship. Being at the #3 spot and with not much room to get further if all teams above keep on winning they have to win and hope.
Who will win here at Michigan?
It's hard to see any other winner than the Buckeyes.
Give the Wolverines credit for playing at home and tough and whatever you like, Ohio State is still the better team.
If no real strange things happen, Ohio State wins.

Saturday, November 23 12:00 PM ET
#24 Duke @ North Carolina
Normally, if someone is mentioning this rivalry, it’s meant in the context of basketball.
This year the football match has a quite important note. If Duke wins, it wins the division title.
For North Carolina there is nothing it, only to beat those damn Blue Devils kids from that private school 10 miles away from their campus.
Don't you think this isn't enough?
This game is important, this win is important, for the students.
The winners get the Victory Bell.
I'm still stunned that Duke won 9 games and I'm waiting for the next loss, just to say "still Duke".
Not sure it will happen this week.
Duke plays good, the Tar Heels not.
But they have home field advantage and the rivalry will let them play at 100%+.
I pick Duke and hope for the Blue Devils the dream ends maybe next week against FSU, not against those damn public students, 10 miles away on this weekend ...

Saturday, November 23 3:30 PM ET
#1 Alabama @ #5 Auburn
I think nobody did anticipate the impact the Iron Bowl would have at the start of the season.
I did set two warning signs saying "Interesting will also become the Iron Bowl against Auburn on the road at the end of the season. It might happen that Auburn gets better over the season and we will see at least a nice game there." in the Alabama preview and "I don't expect the Iron Bowl against Alabama to be a game against equal teams, but since it is in Tigers territory, it might get closer than expected." in the Auburn preview.
I was hoping for a pumped up Tide-team marching into a trap, but now the Tides WILL for sure play 100% and more. You don’t play a #5 ranked team under 100%.
To be honest I don't see Auburn winning this.
Giving the elephants a very tough game? Yes.
But winning?
I would be surprised.
But I was surprised the whole season, so it might happen.
Never less I give Alabama my pick. They will win the division and a week later the SEC.

Saturday, November 23 7:00 PM ET
#6 Clemson @ #10 South Carolina
This game has no real impact on a short term regarding the BCS.
South Carolina is a long shot for a final participation, if they have any chance at all. Clemson is closer, but can't play a conference final, so they have to hope for losses by the leading teams and some luck.
Still, this is an old rivalry (2nd oldest in the country), I like to see.
The Battle of the Palmetto State.
South Carolina is on a 4 game winning streak in this but Clemson is leading the rivalry with over 65 wins against 41 losses and 4 ties.
The Gamecocks do have home field advantage, but Clemson is very good this season.
Expect a crushing matchup.
I give South Carolina the pick.
Clemson is beatable and the blue prints for that are there.
Of cause the same is valid for SC, but they lost most of the time because playing sloppy.
I thing Spurrier will not let that happen in THIS game.

Saturday, November 23 7:45 PM ET
#21 Texas A&M @ #5 Missouri"
This a not a real rivalry (yet). Still, this game has enormous impact on the BCS and the SEC.
If the Tigers lose this, South Carolina will win the division, Missouri will drop and with them will all those losses AGAINST Missouri get a small discount by the computer rankings.
So Missouri will be motivated, now that they are very close to the top (again this season).
Texas A&M on the other hand wants to close the season on a high note, right?
They lost big last week against LSU and they won't let this game go by and letting Mizzou taking the W with them without a fight.
For me, this is hard to pick.
I think A&M will be hot. They lost last week.

Saturday, November 23 8:00 PM ET
#22 UCLA @ #23 USC
Funny how things did turn out.
UCLA was destined to win the PAC 12 South, USC looked like a sure team on a down path, yet they meet for their annual rivalry matchup and both are ranked in the lower 20s.
Call it the "Battle for L.A." or any other name, non-really is THE name for that game.
Never less both teams will fight hard for the win.
Last season did UCLA win that game at home and snapped a long time losing streak.
This year is special, since for both teams it's nothing more in it. No division title, no major Bowl, nothing.
OK, the USC interim coach will try to win this also to keep his job, but the main reason for the game is the game.
Who will win?
Open for debate.
USC made real progress during the weeks and UCLA should better be prepared. They might lose this.
In fact I will give USC the pick here, because they are on such a high momentum.
I'm expecting a close game and an entertaining one.

‘Til next time

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