2017-10-20 05:53

For some teams week 8 will be crucial regarding playoff chances.
The most pressure is for sure on the USC @ Notre Dame game.
Whoever loses here will have only an outside chance to get a spot, if a complete meltdown at the top of the team spectrum is avoided.

But also Michigan has a do or be done game against Penn State. At least Penn State could live with a loss, even it would limit their option inside the BIG10 and the playoffs.

Also some coaching changes could happen after the weekend.
Butch Jones of Tennessee could be the one, if his team loses against Alabama, or maybe Bret Bielema of Arkansas, if they lose against Auburn.
Both teams are 0-3 in the SEC and that is not the result they are expected to deliver.

Of cause I could be wrong and everyone is having a good reason for playing that bad, injuries, rebuilding, bad karma, what ever fits.
But in a system where coaches are changed like socks and where new guys do come in and win with that former loser team, it's hard to argue with any reason beside injuries.

Remember that even coaches with a high winning record were axed, because they did not win the crucial games.

And regarding crucial games ....
The list of unbeaten teams did shrink dramatically last week and will eventually do also this week.

From the so called Power 5 conferences and leading candidates for a playoff spot are:

Miami Hurricanes

Big 12
Texas Christian (TCU) Horned Frogs

Big 10
Penn State Nittany Lions
Wisconsin Badgers

Georgia Bulldogs
Alabama Crimson Tide

From the other conferences are these teams left, with an outsider chance to get a playoff spot, if they stay unbeaten:

The American
South Florida Bulls
Central Florida (UCF) Knights

The PAC12 lost all their perfect contenders as did the Mountain West as dark horse.
For the PAC12, this could become a problem.
A 1-loss champ could sneak into the playoffs, if they rest does lose also a little but.
Some did mention that the BIG12 is so competitive that the teams might eliminate themselves in the next few weeks.

I would love to see more upsets!

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP 3 GAMES FOR WEEK 8

Sat, Oct. 21
#11 USC @ #13 Notre Dame
The line is ND -3.5, which is not much.
I have to admit that Notre Dame does play much better than last season and did show good team spirit so far.
I'm not convinced they have a playoff worthy team together, but they are a TOP 25 team for sure.
Playing this rivalry game at South Bend is a bonus.
USC did only lose against Washington State so far, while Notre Dame lost against UGA.
Both games were close.
I'm also not convinced that USC will win the PAC12 as some do see as their destiny this season.
The PAC12 is quite good packed and every team can lose against almost every other team.
USC is for sure a TOP 25 team also, but playoff caliber? Not really, as it seems.
So I say, enjoy the game, expect a rivalry game fought hard and hopefully close.
I pick Notre Dame as the winner here, just because of the home bonus and I see them a bit more stable than USC.
Fighting Irish win.

Sat, Oct. 21
#19 Michigan @ #2 Penn State
I think the people in Happy Valley are happy again, with Penn State almost at the top again after the shocking end of the Paterno era and the consequences, which came in the aftermath of that.
James Franklin has made the Nittany Lions a contender again and beside the rumors of him leaving for a job at an SEC college it's all fun again.
The team has even a Heisman contender.
Now enter the very extroverted Michigan Wolverines, which do make a lot of noise, but did already lose one game and do now face one of the toughest teams inside their division, conference and nationally on the road.
If Michigan loses this game, the BIG10 championship is no longer in reach.
Vegas sees Penn State ahead with 9.5 points, which is a lot on that level.
Can their defense hold of that powerful Penn State running game?
Can they on the other side score enough?
I think the team is in rebuilding mode, Jimmy at the side line or not and Penn State is a more matured team, this season.
I expect an open game, a close one, but also a Penn State win.
Nittany Lions win.

Sat, Oct. 21
Syracuse @ #8 Miami
This is a great one ... at least it could become one.
Syracuse just defeated the reigning national champion Clemson at home and do now face the only unbeaten team left of the ACC, Miami.
But this time on the road.
Vegas pick? Miami by 17!
That's a lot.
I love what Mark Richt has done in Miami and I still can't understand why Georgia did fire him, but OK, Miami is thankful and does try to restore the "U" image.
Syracuse is having a good season so far, compared to former ones, but is only 4-3 and if there wouldn't be that Clemson upset, we would not talk about this here.
Did they find a rhythm to play and will no push forward?
Could be.
I think Miami will win, but I also think that Syracuse will make it hard for them, harder than the 17 points margin of Vegas does suggest.
Hurricanes win.

Other interesting games:

Sat, Oct. 21
#20 UCF @ Navy
Navy lost last week and do now face one of the best teams inside their conference. I'm pretty sure that the game USF vs UCF will decide the division, but this game here will either help Navy to get a step forward winning their division, or it will eliminate them.
UCF is favored by 7.5 points. If UCF can control that option offense they will dominate, otherwise it's a game of scoring.
I pick Florida to win this.
Knights win.

Sat, Oct. 21
#10 Oklahoma State @ Texas
And the next team out of Oklahoma to beat Texas, right?
The Pokes are favored by 7 points, I think it will be more.
Oklahoma State is on the run and will show the Longhorns that there is still work to do.
But honestly, I would not be surprised to see something different happening.
I think the Longhorns fans will be happy in future seasons, but this season it will likely be only a Bowl they can win.
Cowboys win.

Sat, Oct. 21
Akron @ Toledo
And just for fun a top game out of the MAC.
Yes the MAC, which is a fun conference, even if the teams are not that competitive as the power 5 teams.
Akron is sitting on top of their division after that win over Western Michigan and Toledo is sharing the top spot in their division (with NIU).
Both are perfect inside the MAC, so one team will fall.
The line is Toledo -16, which means there is not much confidence than Akron can win at Toledo.
Hard to imagine, but Akron is not that old days Akron anymore.
I expect a close battle and we might see Toledo pulling away late in the 4th.
Rockets win. (would have loved to say 'Zips win', but you know ....)

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