2018-11-22 06:52

Interesting that after one of the most boring gamedays often a lot of coaches do get the pink slip.
This season it did happen to Colorados HC Mike MacIntyre, who was fired after 6 losses in a row and a 5-6 record.
He did coach Colorado for almost 6 full seasons with a record of 30-44 including 1 bowl loss.
Overall from my point of view a bad move, since Colorado had major issues before he became the HC and he did make them better and stronger, won the division in 2016 and sure had some setbacks lately, but that's normal in Football.
Firing 1 game prior the season end and an eventually 6th win and a bowl bid is not nice.
Kurt Roper, the QB-coach, will serve as interims coach for that last game against Cal and maybe for the bowl.
It is very likely he will not become the next HC.

Also fired was Everett Withers, HC of Texas State, after a 3-8 season and a almost 3 season career with a 7-28 record.
Hard to tell, whether this was OK or not, Texas State has a lot of potential, but did not play good (but a bid better) before Withers came in and it will take likely some good coaching and recruiting to get the team better.
Interims coach for the last game against Arkansas State is Chris Woods, the DC.

And UMass did also part ways with their HC, Mark Whipple after 6 seasons. It was his 2nd stint with the team, but that one was quite unsuccessful with 14-44 record and this season a 4-8 record.
The team had played their last game last weekend, so the season is over for them.

But while one door closes another one opens up.
Kansas did announce the service of former Oklahoma State and LSU HC Les Miles as new HC for the next season.
That's quite a big splash, the big question will be, whether Miles can turn the Basketball university into a winning football team.
The last coach who did that was Mark Mangino, who did fall from grace based on some reports on players and was fired in 2009.
Since then the program was one of the worst in the NCAA FBS.

The selected 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov. 17
#13 Syracuse vs #3 Notre Dame
Very one-dimensional, maybe because Syracuse lost their starting QB early.
The Orange were held scoreless until the 4th quarter and overall they only scored 3 points, while Notre Dame was able to score 36.
This game did help the Irish quite a lot in terms of rankings and playoff spots, since it did show that they still can take on ranked teams.
Next game is against USC on the road, which is tainted by the fact that USC does have a down season.
Losing that will hurt a lot, winning will make them a sure playoff team.
Syracuse travels to Boston next weekend to close the regular season.
#13 Syracuse 3 - #3 Notre Dame 36 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 26-17

Sat. Nov. 17
#22 Iowa State @ #19 Texas
Iowa State was not able to play to their full potential and lost this one quite big.
For Texas this is a big step towards the BIG12 Championship game, Iowa State is now out of contention based on tie-breaker rules.
Still the Cyclones can accomplish some more this season, so they will not bow down against Kansas State for sure.
Texas has to play last place Kansas next week, a win is expected.
I think there will be a lot Longhorns fans rooting for Oklahoma next week, because that would mean West Virginia would fall out of the 2nd place and Texas can play Oklahoma for the Championship.
#22 Iowa State 10 - #19 Texas 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 27-17

Sat. Nov. 17
Cincinnati @ #12 UCF
UCF did destroy Cincinnati to make a statement.
The Knights are for real and should be in contention.
Likely they will not be in contention, even if they win the AAC, but they can claim another national title by self-declaration and might push for a playoff extension, which would be a good thing.
UCF will play either Houston or Memphis for the Championship, depended on their game against each other next week.
Cincinnati can only boost their record next week.
Cincinnati 13 - #12 UCF 38 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 28-17

other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 17
Pittsburgh @ Wake Forest
Pitt took care of business and won 34-13.
Next week against Miami on the road, while Wake Forest will try to get the 6th win against Duke on the road.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-13

Sat. Nov. 17
San Diego State @ #23 Fresno State
Fresno State won 23-14 and will play in the Mountain West Championship game against the winner of Boise State against Utah State.
San Diego State can only boost the record against San Jose State next week.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-13

Sat. Nov. 17
#9 West Virginia @ Oklahoma State
Surprise for me and the whole Pick'em group of RZA.
The Cowboys did win 45-41 with a strong 4th quarter.
Now West Virginia has to win against Oklahoma next week to secure a spot in the title game.
The Cowboys to win against TCU next week on the road to rise in the ranks and a better bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-14

More astonishing results from the weekend:
Ohio did beat Buffalo 52-17, which made the division race a bit more open, instead of sealing it for Buffalo.
Memphis did beat SMU 28-18 to keep their chance for the AAC title game spot.
Ohio State almost lost to Maryland, winning 52-51.
FSU did beat Boston College 22-21. FSU need 1 more win for a bowl spot.
Nebraska won against Michigan State 9-6. Bad season for both teams as it seems.
TCU won against Baylor 16-9 and both teams do need 1 more win for a bowl spot.
Southern Miss won again Louisiana Tech 21-20. Southern Miss has now 5 wins.
Wisconsin did beat Purdue 47-44 in OT. Purdue still 1 win shy a bowl spot.
UCLA won the Battle for LA against USC 34-27. USC might pull the trigger on their HC next week.
The game between Cal and Stanford was moved to the championship game week because of the fires in California and the bad air conditions. Both teams are out of contention, so they can play that game for sure.

So the upcoming week will seal the regular season for almost every team and does reveal the division champs and the Championship matchups.
For sure is right now:

Clemson (Atlantic) vs Pittsburgh (Coastal)

Georgia (East) vs Alabama (West)

Open is still:

UCF (East) vs Houston–Memphis winner (West)

Big 12
Very open, possible are Oklahoma vs Texas, Oklahoma vs West Virginia or West Virginia vs Texas

Big Ten
Michigan–Ohio State winner (East) vs Northwestern (West)

FIU or Middle Tennessee (East) vs UAB (West)

Buffalo, Miami (OH) or Ohio (East) vs Northern Illinois (West)

Mountain West
Boise State–Utah State winner (Mountain) vs Fresno State (West)

Washington–Washington State winner (North) vs Utah (South)

Sun Belt
Appalachian State–Troy winner (East) vs Arkansas State or Louisiana–Louisiana Monroe winner (West)

Therefore the main games are set and I selected these 4 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 13

Fri. Nov. 23
#6 Oklahoma @ #13 West Virginia
No rivalry here, just good old do-or-die-setup with a small chance that even the loser can still play for the Big12 Championship game.
To get the picture, Texas is playing Kansas and is highly favored (-14.5). If they would lose, the result of Oklahoma-West Virginia is for Texas irrelevant, because Oklahoma would still have 1 win more or West Virginia would win the direct compare.
So that's the small chance for both teams here to survive this game and still meet again next week.
More likely is that Texas beats Kansas and gets a spot in the title game, because then either Oklahoma loses the direct compare with Texas or West Virginia has 1 win less then Texas.
Which makes this game a do-or-die-game.
Oklahoma is favored by 2.0 points, which is not much.
On offense this is all fine, on defense it is open for debate whether both teams can stop the opponent often enough.
West Virginia did look not that capable against OSU, but that was a road game, eventually does the home crowd push the defense to a better result.
And Oklahoma did allow the opponent to score 40+ points in the last 3 games, including Kansas.
Sure you win if you score more points than the opponent, but that is a bad gamble, stumble once and you are in a bad situation.
Do I believe in Oklahoma or West Virginia?
I like both, but lost a bit of faith in West Virginia after their OSU game.
I would like to see them rebound against Oklahoma, but I have a bit of doubt, which I would like to describe as "The Patriots will find some way to spoil the fun"-feeling, with a hint to the Ne England Patriots luck/strength in the past.
Oklahoma is also such a team, often.
But every streak does break and every team has a chance.
I hope the Mountaineers will come out motivated to the bones and will rock the house.
Mountaineers win.

Fri. Nov. 23 THE APPLE CUP
#16 Washington @ #8 Washington State
110 Meetings so far, Washington is riding a 5 game winning streak. Of cause they would like to extend the streak this season to win the division and of cause to jump the Cougars in the Polls.
Must be a picture or terror seeing Wazzu ranked ahead of the Huskies since a fee weeks.
Of cause Washington State wants to have that game to snap the streak, get the division, hopefully winning the conference afterwards and keep the chance for the national playoffs.
WSU is favored to win by 2.5 points this season, which is not much.
It could come down to a game like 2012 when WSU won the last time (also at home) when the game was decided in OT.
I think the Cougars are ready to make a splash and win this one.
I would not be surprised to see the Huskies win, but right now it looks like the Cougars do have the momentum, the strength and the home advantage.
Should be enough.
Cougars win.

Sat. Nov. 24 THE GAME
#4 Michigan @ #10 Ohio State
This season this game has significance it did not have for seasons. Sure THE GAME was often a division decider, but the record of the past few seasons speaks for itself.
Ohio State won 6 in a row. Sometimes it was close, sometimes not, but Jimmy did not win against Ohio State since he got to Ann Arbor and THIS season the travel to Columbus and are favored by 4.0 points.
The Buckeyes were favored for the past 51 games in the row, but this season, not.
Is this a good sign?
Maybe, or maybe not.
Face the facts, Michigan did start slow, lost to Notre Dame, and won since then all games, got better from game to game and are now quite in top of their game.
Ohio State did start good, but since the loss against Purdue they did struggle and almost fell last week against Maryland.
In this 115th meeting we will likely see a hard fought game, with an open end.
The winner takes the division title and will be heavily favored in the BIG10 title game.
I think overall should Michigan get this done, but the open question, which will be only answered after the game, is whether the home game AND the rivalry will mobilize additional will power for the Buckeyes and they are really able to outplay Michigan.
Because on paper Michigan looks more suited to stop Ohio State than the other way around, so if not something unexpected happens, Michigan should score more often, eventually also on defense.
Nothing I can predict, I can just make a pick here, believing that the Wolverines can actually outplay the Buckeyes this season I pick Michigan.
Wolverines win.

Sat. Nov. 24
#21 Utah State @ #23 Boise State
Also no rivalry, but a very important game for the involved teams. Do-or-die at it's best, the winner can play Fresno State for the Mountain West Conference title.
Utah State won all games except the season opener against Michigan State (lost by 7).
Boise State did play a good season, but lost to Oklahoma State and worse against San Diego State at home.
The Broncos do have the benefit to play at home on the smurf turf, favored by 2.5 points.
If Boise State can defend the enemy, they are likely to win this, but a good margin.
If Utah State can play fast and strong, they might overpower Boise State, because even if the Broncos do have a good offense, they are not that good in playing catchup.
Not easy to pick this, Utah State will likely play good enough to keep the game open, but I have faith in the home strength of the Broncos to overcome the Aggies.
This might not be the Broncos from the past, unbeatable at home, but they are a very good team.
Broncos win.

Other interesting games:

Thur. Nov. 22 THE EGG BOWL
#18 Mississippi State @ Ole Miss
Not really relevant this season except for the instate rivals. 115th meeting, Ole Miss won last season.
Mississippi State is favored by 10.5 points, which is a lot as away game.
Bulldogs are not that successful this season to win on the road, so this could become a close one.
Ole Miss did ban themselves from a bowl participation, so they will not fight for the 6th win to get a bowl spot, only to win this against those other university from Mississippi.
Overall I think the Bulldogs can win this and will win this.
Bulldogs win.

Fri. Nov. 23
Houston @ Memphis
No rivalry here, just another do-or-die-game. Houston lost 2 crucial games inside the conference and no faces a game on the road which they have to win.
Memphis did lose already 3 games inside the conference but won 3 straight now incuding a crucial one on the road last week to stay in contention.
They are rewarded with a -7.0 point spread.
Both teams can do this and both teams can beat the other one if playing 100%.
The winner will play UCF for the American title as heavily underdog.
Based on momentum and the home factor I favor Memphis to get to the championship game, but in a closer game than the line.
Tigers win.

Virginia @ Virginia Tech
The 100th meeting this season, VT is riding a 14 game winning streak, but are struggling this season and are in need to win this to keep the hope for a bowl bid alive.
They are 4-6 and if they win this they will play Marshall a week after, if they lose, they will down in tears and did lose their bowl streak.
Of cause that should be motivation enough for Virginia to win this, unfortunately this is on the road.
Still the Cavaliers are favored by 4.5 points.
I don't think VT is a bad team, but they are struggling heavily this season and lost now 4 in a row.
Can they win this, against all odds?
Honestly I have doubts.
Virginia did almost play for the division title and did improve a lot this season, they seemed to be well coached and should play this with calm and should win this, with a higher margin than expected.
Cavaliers win.

Fri. Nov. 23 THE CIVIL WAR
Oregon @ Oregon State
One of the most played rivalries overall with 121 meetings so far 67 won by Oregon, including last season.
This year it's in Corvallis, still the Ducks are favored by 14.5 points.
Granted, the Beavers are not really a good team this season, but Oregon did struggle a bit this season, especially on the road.
Will they lose here?
Likely not.
Will the Beavers win?
Likely not.
All signs do point to a big margin win for the Ducks to close the regular season.
Ducks win.

Georgia Tech @ #5 Georgia
It's a bit unfortunate that this rivalry was lately quite irrelevant thanks to the very good teams Georgia had and the rollercoaster teams GT did bring to the table.
113th meeting this season and Georgia has really only a 1-game streak here to protect.
Last 17 games were 14-3, but GT won 2016 and 2014, both on the road.
But even that GT has an up-year, the line is -17.0 for the home team.
It would be a very big upset, if GT really win this, so keep fingers crossed of you like some chaos, otherwise expect a clean old-fashioned-massacre.
Bulldogs win.

#11 Florida @ Florida State
In some years this game was important for the national championship consideration like in 1996/1997 when this game was played TWICE, once in regular season and once in a BCS-bowl for the national champion.
Those times are gone for now, but still both teams hate each other and want a win here.
FSU had won 5 in a row, but are 6.0 points underdogs here.
They need a win here to get a bowl spot, which would be a pleasure for the Gators to deny it to the Seminoles.
The Gators are quite good this season and did not struggle like FSU, but FSU did recover a bit and did play quite good in the last few games.
Gators or Seminoles?
I'm willing to pick the underdog here.
I have the feeling Florida will likely win, but I think FSU will do their best to prevent that and combined with the home field advantage we might see an upset.
Seminoles win.

Sat. Nov. 24 THE IRON BOWL
Auburn @ #1 Alabama
Another rivalry which has to national relevance this season.
There were times in recent years that the winner here would play for a national title with almost 100% certainty.
Last season did Auburn win this, only to lose against Georgia and surprisingly did Alabama get a playoff spot and won the national title.
But this season does Auburn struggle and Alabama plays like a pro-team decided to test the amateur level again.
Alabama is perfect so far and Auburn is 7-4. Add the fact it is played on Crimson Tide home field and you get the picture.
Alabama is 24.0 points favorite and my guess is that we will see a very impressive defense keeping Auburns offense in check.
Whether really 24.0 is the margin at the end is not relevant, only that Alabama will control the game 100% and win this.
Crimson Tide wins.

Arizona State @ Arizona
In the past few seasons this was a very open game and I expect a good one this season, featuring 2 new coaches and both teams did not play very good, but good enough I guess.
ASU is favored by 2.0 points and has a record of 6-5, while the Wildcats do need another win to get into a bowl.
The home team will have a hard time playing that ASU team and eventually only the home field will help them.
ASU is for me clearly the leading team, I did at some point expect them to win the division, but they did have some close games they did lose and fell out of contention.
The Wildcats will need a perfect game to win here, which I don't think will happen.
Sun Devils win.

South Carolina @ #2 Clemson
The battle for the leader in South Carolina was the past few seasons quite one-dimensional.
The 116th meeting will be likely not much more fun.
Clemson won the last 4 games, the period where they did rise to national power and won the national championship once.
The betting line is -26.5, which means that nobody expects the Gamecocks to win, except some hardcore superfans.
Can they win?
I doubt it, but it is possible. All they need to do is stop the Clemson offense.
Unfortunate for South Carolina is this a home game for the Tigers and Clemson seems to get better every game.
I see no end of that winning streak of the Tigers.
Tigers win.

#15 Kentucky @ Louisville
The rivalry not really do have a fancy name, the Governor's Cup is just awarded to the winner (there are several rivalries with trophies called 'Governor's Cup').
In Basketball this is a HOT game, in football usually not that important.
It became a regular meeting since mid 90s and the series is actually tied at 15, with Louisville winning last season.
This season Louisville looks awful, lost their coach already and is playing a high flying Kentucky team.
The line is -17.0 for Kentucky, which does reflect both teams success so far.
I don't expect a close game here, but rivalries are always special, so who knows.
Wildcats win.

Louisiana @ UL Monroe
This season this game got some special meaning, because the winner might play for the conference championship.
The situation is that Arkansas State, Louisiana and ULM do have the same conference record right now and Arkansas State plays Texas State on the road, while the two Louisiana teams do play their rivalry games.
Texas State is likely to lose, but if they win, the winner of this game here will play Troy for the conference.
If Arkansas State wins, there will be 2 teams with same record and direct compare will count.
Arkansas State did win against ULM, but lost to Louisiana.
So, ULM can only get to the title game if Arkansas State loses and they win here, while Louisiana controls their own destiny.
ULM won last year and is favored by 3.0 points to win this year, too.
I do expect a close game and I'm not sure who will win.
Louisiana did play well the past few games, while ULM lost last week against Arkansas State.
In doubt I pick the home team, but I would not be surprised to see ULM going down.
If I'm right, this will not help ULM, since Arkansas State will likely get the ticket to the championship game, but you never know.
Warhawks win.

Sat. Nov. 24
#7 LSU @ #22 Texas A&M
A rivalry which doesn't have a fancy name and no trophy .... how can that happen?
No creative people are fans of one of the teams?
And they play this unregularly since 1899 and regularly since 2011 again when the Aggies did join the SEC.
A&M is favored by 2.5, so expect a close game.
It will be interesting to see, who the teams will clash, with Fisher now almost 1 season with the team and Orgeron having the same win amount as end of last season with this year 1 game left to play and a bowl coming.
The Aggies did only lose once this season at home against Clemson, so this will be tough for LSU.
Both teams can win, I'm sure, but who I pick ....
I like how LSU did play so far, except the Florida game, but the Aggies did also play very well and with this being a home game I think the edge is on Texas A&M.
Aggies win.

#3 Notre Dame @ USC
The rivalry also has no real name, but awards a trophy called the Jeweled Shillelagh to the winner.
The tradition is quite nice, even if the trophy itself is not that nice to view.
Last year did Notre Dame win and this season is seems they are destined to win again to start a winning streak, the first since 2013.
The Irish are favored by 10.5 points, and this game has some impact.
First and most important a loss for Notre Dame would send them likely down the pit in the playoff rankings, destroying their hopes of getting a title.
That would be of cause fun for the Trojans.
Second, if USC loses, it is likely the Trojans will get a new HC next season. It's not clear whether a win here and eventually a bowl win or loss would change that fate.
Third, USC needs a win to get a bowl spot.
I pick Notre Dame to win here, likely even with double digit margin.
USC is too shaky right now and Notre Dame plays the best game since seasons, so an upset by USC would be a miracle.
Fighting Irish win.

Sat. Nov. 24 THE HOLY WAR
BYU @ #17 Utah
This is the 99th meeting between both schools and Utah is dominating the series since 2010, now on a 7 game winning streak.
There is also an instate rivalry in combination with Utah State, but since many times not all 3 teams do play a game against each other each, this rivalry is not played very often.
This season for example there is no game between Utah State and Utah (called then 'Battle of the Brothers') while BYU did play Utah State (called The Old Wagon Wheel, which Utah State won this year).
Utah is a 12.0 point favorite in this game against BYU and likely we might only then a good game if BYU does play great football and Utah does play sloppy.
BYU did play not on their best strength the whole season and I would not be surprised to see the coach go after the season, but likely he will be kept.
Utah is qualified to play the PAC12 Championship game already, so maybe they will sit some starters early to give them some rest, but usually that's not the way they do it at Utah.
I think Utah as home team will dominate this season and win this, eventually with even more points than 17.0.
Utes win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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