RedZoneAction.org Blog
2016-09-08 07:08

OK, the dust has settled and the next gameday can come.

Now comes the time to adjust and build on wins and losses.
For some teams the season got a major hit when they lost on gameday 1, but nothing is really lost, since a lot of stuff can happen in the next weeks until beginning of December.

Sure, it's hard to imagine the season will turn out much different regarding winning teams (eventually with a perfect record) and losing teams (also eventually with a perfect record, ouch!) compared to the last few seasons and we might see this happening again this season (might just be different teams), on the other hand there is no guarantee that this HAS to happen and it would be fun to see the committee and the polls voter sorting out a lot of 2-loss or even 3-loss teams for the playoffs and national championship.
Those teams which lost against a FCS team in week 1 will still have a hard time to overcome THAT one, especially if the committee has to choose between two 1-loss teams and one of them has lost to a FCS team and the other one lost to a top25 team.
In the last few years it showed that the last few weeks are much more important than the first few weeks to get a few spots higher.

Biggest winner from week 1 regarding the polls are Georgia (+9 AP), Houston (+9 AP) and Washington (+6 AP).
Georgia did profit from their great win over UNC and Houstons win over Oklahoma was so stunning that it's no surprise to see them skyrocket to #6 in AP and #7 in the coaches poll, but Washington, which was expected to be good this season, did just win against Rutgers, which was expected to be bad this season, and the Huskies did jump 6 spots to #8 in the AP poll and 7 spots to #11 in the coaches poll.
We will see, whether this was a bit early regarding the vote of confidence.

Biggest loser are LSU (-16 in both polls) and Oklahoma (-11 in AP and -10 in coaches).
LSUs loss to Wisconsin was not really shocking as event, just HOW they lost was quite shocking and resulted in a massive decline in confidence.
Oklahomas decline was obvious after their loss to Houston.
When a Big12 title candidate loses against the AAC title favorite you just drop.

Interesting is that Notre Dame did not sink too much in the AP poll (-8, which is still something), but they lost -12 in the coaches poll.
Looks like the coaches are not that high on the Irish any more.
Also very interesting is, that the win over the Irish did give Texas NO better ranking position at all. In both polls.

I will keep an eye on the rankings, for now they are not important.

Week 2 is traditionally not flooded with games between two high ranked teams, since most high ranked teams have pushovers or at least second tier teams scheduled in that time frame.
However I tried to get the 11 most interesting games out of it.
I picked as TOP games the probably closest ones on the day, the rest are expected to have higher margins, but can still be entertaining and as last week did prove, Vegas is not always right.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Sat. Sept. 10 - 7:00 PM ET
Arkansas @ #15 TCU
Arkansas won a close one against Louisiana Tech last week and will have to prove that they can play against the big boys.
TCU in the other hand did destroy San Dakota State, of which they can't be too proud of, since that team is a FCS team.
This week both team will now face officially the first real test and it might become an interesting game.
Arkansas should be better than their outcome against the Bulldogs has shown us and TCU took 41 points from the Jackrabbits, which might give all TCU fans something to worry about on defense.
Vegas does have TCU up front 7.5 points and honestly I don't know what to make out of this game.
We might see Arkansas putting up points and keeping the Frogs in check, we might see the opposite or we might see an open game decided in the last few seconds.
I wish for the last.
My pick is on TCU for two simple reasons.
They play at home and they have a good offense.
That means, Arkansas will play catch up in a hostile environment.
They might manage that, but I doubt that.
TCU wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 12:00 AM ET
Penn State @ Pittsburgh
The last time these teams did meet was in 2000 and if that matters, Pitt has won it.
For a very long time this rivalry, which doesnā€™t carry a fancy name, was an annual event.
It started 1893 and Penn State leads 50-42-4.
Penn State has beaten Kent State in an uninspiring way last week, leaving a bit of a question mark on offense and Pitt has beaten Villanova, a FCS team, with a 3 TD margin, which is also not that convincing.
The Vegas line of -6 does reflect my gut feeling quite good.
Penn State has good players and should be good enough to score some points, but lacks something so far what Pitt definitely has at the moment, attitude.
We might see this growing inside Penn State this season, but Pitt is way ahead and should have a small advantage by that and by the fact that it's a home game.
I pick Pittsburgh in a close game as the winner.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 7:30 PM ET
BYU @ Utah
It's HOLY WAR time again.
BYU, which won against Arizona in a low scoring game will face Utah, which won a lame game against FCS team Southern Utah.
Both teams need to grow up a bit to keep the season expectations alive.
Of both week 1 wins, BYUs game is more impressive, since they did win not only against a PAC12 team, they also did win against a Rich Rod offense and held them to 16 points.
So is BYU my favorite?
No.
The reason for that is, that a) a rivalry game will challenge all players to give their best, b) Utah did not lose, they just stopped playing after leading 24-0 and c) BYU is still a team under a new coach while Utah is a well-oiled machine regarding coaching.
You can give also BYU credit with a) also, but b) and c) are my main reasons to have Utah here as my pick.
I expect a close game, a game fought to the teeth.
The rivalry is also old, starting in 1896 and Utah leads the series 58ā€“34ā€“4 and won the last 5 meetings.
This is also played on Utes ground, which will give the Cougars another thing to worry about.
For info: Vegas line is -3.5 for this game.
Utah wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 7:30 PM ET
North Carolina @ Illinois
This one I did choose for 2 reasons.
Reason 1 is, North Carolina has something to prove after their loss against Georgia last week.
Reason 2 is, Illinois is under prominent new management in person of Lovie Smith and their team did stomp FCS team Murry State last week.
To be fair, I wouldn't have chosen that game for my TOP games, if not for Lovie Smith.
I still expect Illinois to lose here, since such a turnaround of a team does not happen overnight and UNC is in a well better state than Illinois is so far. At least I think they are.
An upset by the Illini would be huge.
The betting line is +9 for that game, so it's expected to have the Tar Heels winning this, the big question for me is, whether they will dominate or not.
I expect UNC to beat the spread and win with a high margin, but I hope for a close one.
UNC wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 10:00 PM
Texas Tech @ Arizona State
Also a more second tier game, with Arizona State not in top form and Texas Tech not as good as it was a few seasons ago.
Both teams did beat their FCS opponent in a big way last weekend, which does give almost nothing to work with for this week.
Arizona State should be a bit better than Texas Tech, but I have some question marks on them which might get some answers on this game.
Especially their defense looks not that good as in the past, combined with a pass heavy offense from the Red Raiders with a good QB this might get ugly.
I'm willing to bet against the Vegas spread, which is -3, and pick Texas Tech as winner here.
I expect a shootout and I think Texas Tech can score faster than the Sun Devils, which comes in handy if only a few minutes are left in the game.
Texas Tech wins.

Other interesting games:

Fri. Sept. 9 - 8:00 PM ET
#13 Louisville @ Syracuse
Vegas spread is +14.5, so Syracuse is not the favorite to win this. I hope we will see something entertaining from Dino Babers Orangemen, but I fear the Cardinals will beat Syracuse with a bigger margin than Vegas expects.
Louisville wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 7:30 PM ET
Iowa State @ #16 Iowa
I'm surprise the line is only -15.0. I did pick that game only into this group, because the Cy-Hawk-Series is a rivalry lasting since 1894. Iowa leads 41ā€“22, but the current streak is only 1 game in favor of Iowa. This year I expect a monster beating on Iowa State.
Iowa wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 7:00 PM ET
Northern Illinois @ South Florida
Northern Illinois lost their opener against Wyoming in OT and will face a South Florida team, which solved their FCS season start game successfully. Vegas line is -15, but if the Huskies can rebound, they have all the tools to give the Bulls a lot of trouble. Overall I think they will likely lose this game.
South Florida wins.


Sat. Sept. 10 - 8:00 PM ET
Virginia Tech @ #17 Tennessee
Virginia Tech started the Fuente era with a win against Liberty (FCS) and will face a supposed to be contending Volunteers team, which almost lost to Appalachian State last week. Vegas still has Tennessee up 11.5 points, I expect a closer game.
Still, Tennessee wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 8:00 PM ET
New Mexico @ New Mexico State
This is a more or less cellar team matchup as rivalry. New Mexico State lost their rivalry game against UTEP last week (Battle of I-10) and will face now New Mexico in the Rio Grande Rivalry. The rivalry itself is also old, first meeting 1894, Lobos leading 70-31-5. Vegas sees the Lobos up front 12.5 points, I think they will win BIG.
New Mexico wins.

Sat. Sept. 10 - 10:15 PM
Washington State @ Boise State
This sounds like fun and if Washington State can rebound from their season opener loss against Eastern Washington (FCS) this might become entertaining. Played on the smurf turf this will be a high scoring game and I think Boise State will out score the Cougars more than the 11.5 points Vegas does set as margin.
Boise wins.

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