2018-11-29 06:52

I think rivalry week did not disappoint you, if your team did not suffer a loss.

Some of the results are understandable, possible, but some results did look like one or two totally different teams did play.

Let's go through the games first.

The selected 4 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 13

Fri. Nov. 23
#6 Oklahoma @ #13 West Virginia
I did see many missed tackles and bad decisions on that game by West Virginia that at the end I was OK with the result.
Not really sure Oklahoma will stand a chance against the best teams in the country, but inside their BIG12-bubble they did outplay the Mountaineers and will be the favorites against Texas in the BIG12-Championship game.
West Virginia will wait idling for their Bowl destination next week.
#6 Oklahoma 59 - #13 West Virginia 56 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 28-18

Fri. Nov. 23 THE APPLE CUP
#16 Washington @ #8 Washington State
That was one of the stranger games.
You play at home, you play for the division title and so on and you start with 3 and out, you commit errors over errors, don't uses you advantages and basically let that hated rival strip you naked?
The QB of the Huskies did proudly announce that he never lost to the Cougars in his career with the Huskies and that shows the problem Wazzu has, that they can not finish the job needed.
Well, congratulation to Washington and good luck in the PAC12-Championship game.
#16 Washington 28 - #8 Washington State 15 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 28-19

Sat. Nov. 24 THE GAME
#4 Michigan @ #10 Ohio State
Which brings us to one of the most stunning games of the season and another team which can not finish the job.
If I would be Wolverine fan, I would be torn between the wish letting that coach go, because he did so for not once time win against that hated rival, and the fear that the next coach will be even worse.
But back to the start.
The first quarter did look like an OK game, a lot of punches were thrown, with Michigan having some problems, which did look manageable when they left for the half trailing 24-19.
Then they came out of the locker room and just sucked big time.
Block punt through the middle returned for a TD? Yes Sir.
Interception in your own red-zone to give Ohio a perfect position? Yes Sir.
The 3rd quarter went 17-0 for Ohio State and did basically close the game.
Ohio State did play much better than last week, and Michigan did play MUCH worse than in any game this season.
How. The. Hell. Can. That. Be?
Well, anyway, Ohio State did win the game, won the division and will face a quite weak Northwestern Wildcats team for the BIG12-Championship game.
Michigan will likely play in a big Bowl, but which is open until next week.
#4 Michigan 39 - #10 Ohio State 62 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 28-20

Sat. Nov. 24
#21 Utah State @ #23 Boise State
That one did go as expected.
It was close and it was exciting until the end, but basically with every play did Boise deliver a few inches more, so that Utah State was unable to keep Boise from scoring when it mattered the most.
Boise State advances to the Mountain West Championship game against Fresno State next week.
Utah State will get a nice Bowl I guess.
#21 Utah State 24 - #23 Boise State 33 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 29-20

Other interesting games:

Thur. Nov. 22 THE EGG BOWL
#18 Mississippi State @ Ole Miss
Total Bulldogs dominance resulted in a 35-3 victory.
A good season for the Bulldogs under a new HC, while Ole Miss might need to rethink their HC decision next year.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-13

Fri. Nov. 23
Houston @ Memphis
A great 4th quarter did deliver a very clear winner with Memphis winning 52-31.
The Tigers will face UCF in the American Championship game, while Houston will wait for the Bowl scheduling.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-13

Virginia @ Virginia Tech
I have to say, I was impressed of Virginia Techs games when they won 34-31 in OT. They had punch and they had luck to win this.
Next week they play Marshall at home to eventually getting the 6th win for a bowl spot. The Cavaliers have to wait for the Bowl matchups.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-14

Fri. Nov. 23 THE CIVIL WAR
Oregon @ Oregon State
With a score of 55-15 there is no doubt who did dominate the game.
Oregon won in an one-dimensional game with an error-prone opponent.
Oregon will go bowling later in the season, for the Beavers the season is over.
Jacks interesting games Score: 32-14

Georgia Tech @ #5 Georgia
Closer than expected did Georgia win 45-21.
Especially the 2nd quarter went 24-0 for the Bulldogs.
If not for the 4th in which Georgia did stop scoring and Georgia Tech was able to score, the margin would have been higher.
Georgia will face the best team they can play this season in Atlanta for the SEC final with Alabama, while Georgia Tech waits for their bowl destination.
Jacks interesting games Score: 33-14

#11 Florida @ Florida State
My upset pick and it backfired heavily.
Florida State did look not like the team which did improve over the past few weeks, they looked like the team which opened the season. Bad.
Florida won 41-14.
I'm giving every coach chance, but if he does not have the team playing better next season, I'm not sure he will survive a 2nd season.
FSU fans are prone to win, not to lose.
Jacks interesting games Score: 33-15

Sat. Nov. 24 THE IRON BOWL
Auburn @ #1 Alabama
The 1st half was OK, then did Alabama just pull away and Auburn just had to accept their fate.
The Tide won 52-21 and are now favored to win the SEC next week.
Auburn will play in a bowl to be determined next week.
Jacks interesting games Score: 34-15

Arizona State @ Arizona
One of the best games of the week did ASU win 41-40.
The Wildcats did lead most of the game when the Sun Devils did create a comeback in the 4th, scored 20 unanswered points and did capitalize from Arizona turnovers and a missed field goal from 45 yards out with 11 ticks left to play.
Sometimes you need luck.
ASU will play a bowl, Arizonas season is over.
Jacks interesting games Score: 35-15

South Carolina @ #2 Clemson
With 56-35 the winner was clear. Clemson had a great 3rd quarter to extend the lead by 14 points and never looked back.
Clemson will face Pitt as favorite to win the ACC next week, South Carolina will play in some bowl.
Jacks interesting games Score: 36-15

#15 Kentucky @ Louisville
Another clear game, with Kentucky winning 56-10.
Louisville never had a chance and will take a deep look into the coaches market to find a winner in their offseason.
Kentucky is playing a high level bowl.
Jacks interesting games Score: 37-15

Louisiana @ UL Monroe
One of the more open games did Louisiana win 31-28 in this rivalry game.
They will play Appalachian State for the Sun Belt Crown, while ULM might get a bowl spot, depended on the teams and invitations.
Jacks interesting games Score: 37-16

Sat. Nov. 24
#7 LSU @ #22 Texas A&M
The most interesting game of the week? At least in rear view.
LSU did already Gatorade shower their HC when late in the 4th the team caught an INT and they thought they won it.
But the A&M QB had his knee down when recovering a bad snap and therefore no pass and no INT.
Texas did play the next down, got what they wanted, tied the game, went in OT and won the game after 7OTs by converting a 2-point-conversion 74-72.
Both teams wil play in a bowl.
Jacks interesting games Score: 38-16

#3 Notre Dame @ USC
Close game, but a clear win for Notre Dame.
The Irish will now have to wait for the playoff rankings AFTER the championship weekend.
Depended on the game results they might drop out of their current 3rd place to 5th or worse, but honestly that is unlikely.
So very likely they will play a #3 or #4 in the playoffs.
USC did already announce that they will keep Clay Helton as coach and with 5-7 their season is over.
Jacks interesting games Score: 39-16

Sat. Nov. 24 THE HOLY WAR
BYU @ #17 Utah
Utah did play hard in the 4th and came back to win this 35-27.
The Utes will now face Washington for the PAC12-title, while BYU will get a bowl invitation.
Jacks interesting games Score: 40-16

Other stunning results of week 13:
Baylor won against Texas Tech on the road 35-24, which did bring Baylor a bowl bid and Texas Tech a fired HC, see a few lines blow.
Purdue won against Indiana 28-21 to get a bowl bid on the road. Their HC did turn down the Louisville job, so the future might be bright for Purdue.
Tulane won against Navy 29-28 to get the 6th win. Not sure they will get a Bowl invitation, but they could.
Wake Forest did destroy Duke on the road 59-7 and got that way also a Bowl spot.
Also for a bowl bid did win Wyoming against New Mexico 31-3 on the road.
And Minnesota did win again Wisconsin 37-15 on the road to get the bowl qualification.
TCU did beat Oklahoma State to save the season and getting a bowl spot with 31-24.
And at last did Vanderbilt win at home against Tennessee to get a bowl spot 38-13.

Overall there are 81 teams now eligible for a bowl spot, with Virginia Tech the only team able to still qualify by winning next weekend.
There are only 78 spots available (while 'only' is a bit weak to describe the amount or spots) so 3 to 4 teams will not get a bowl invitation, likely teams from MAC, C-USA or Sun Belt.

The weekend did also seal some coaches career, at least short term.

Texas Tech did fire Kliff Kingsbury after 6 seasons. He had a record of 35-40, which is not that bad with that team.
Still he had 3 losing seasons in a row.

Charlotte did announce that they would not retain Brad Lambert, the 1st and only HC they ever had so far.
He was 6 seasons with the team, with a 22-48 record.

Central Michigan did fire John Bonamego after 4 seasons with the team including a 1-11 season this year, the worst the school ever had.
Overall he had a 22-29 record.

North Carolina fired Larry Fedora after 7 seasons and a 45-43 record. This season was his worst with 2-9.
They already did announce the successor, former Texas and UNC HC Mack Brown, who did fall out of Texas a few seasons ago and did since then do TV-analysis.
He was 10 seasons UNC HC and after 2 1-10 seasons he did them to winning seasons for the remaining 8 years, until he was hired by Texas, where he won the National Championship in 2005.

And Western Kentucky did let go Mike Sanford after just 2 seasons and a 9-16 record. This season they had a 3-9 record.
Not the right direction as it seems.
The team did announce the service of Tyson Helton, until then Tennessee OC, as new HC for Western Kentucky. He is also quite young (41) and this will be his first HC gig.

And one coach did announce his retirement, or at least a break. Georgia Techs HC Paul Johnson will step down after the bowl game coming.
He was 11 years with the Yellow Jackets. His record there is 82-59. He was also HC of Navy and Georgia Southern.
He is 61 years old.

Let's move on and focus on the Championship weekend.

If you exclude the Navy-Army game, all other teams did already finish or will finish their regular season this weekend.
After some time of thinking and training we will see the bowls starting.

The bowls matchups will be determined after this weekends game result (Army-Navy is not relevant for that, since Army is already eligible, but will not play a big role in the TOP25 and Navy is ineligable).

Current Playoff standings are:

RK Team Rec
1 Alabama 12-0
2 Clemson 12-0
3 Notre Dame 12-0
4 Georgia 11-1
5 Oklahoma 11-1
6 Ohio State 11-1
7 Michigan 10-2
8 UCF 11-0
9 Florida 9-3
10 LSU 9-3
11 Washington 9-3
12 Penn State 9-3
13 Washington State 10-2
14 Texas 9-3
15 Kentucky 9-3
16 West Virginia 8-3
17 Utah 9-3
18 Mississippi State 8-4
19 Texas A&M 8-4
20 Syracuse 9-3
21 Northwestern 8-4
22 Boise State 10-2
23 Iowa State 7-4
24 Missouri 8-4
25 Fresno State 10-2

Now let's see:

Alabama play Georgia for the SEC. The winner is clearly in the TOP 4, if Alabama loses the discussions will be great to see, because it could be they stay in the TOP4.
Clemson play Pitt (not ranked) for the ACC. If Clemson wins, they are in, if they lose, very likely out.
Notre Dame is waiting, if not some very strange things happen, they should be in.
Oklahoma plays Texas for the BIG12. If they win and Georgia loses, they should be in, but you never know. A loss means they are out.
Ohio State plays Northwestern for the BIG10. A win would improve their chances, but it's not sure they will get a spot, likely they would need some magic. A loss means they are out.
Michigan is waiting. It's very unlikely they will still make it. Clemson loses, Georgia loses, Oklahoma loses, Ohio State loses, maybe even UCF has to lose. Then? Maybe.
UCF plays Memphis (not ranked) for the AAC. A win is the only option, a loss will send them down. Eventually they could even lose the big bowl spot with a loss. See Michigan regarding a playoff spot.
Washington plays Utah for the PAC12. A win will grant a big bowl spot, a loss will send them down. I doubt any chance for a playoff spot.
Boise State plays Fresno State for the Mountain West. A win is the only option to keep the chance on a big bowl spot. Same for Fresno. But both would need a UCF loss and then some luck.
The other teams are waiting and do have no chance to improve much, beside eventually getting a big bowl spot.

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

Sat. Dec. 1
#14 Texas vs #5 Oklahoma

I still hate that #1 vs #2 game approach, because you always get a rematch, in other conference there is at least a bigger chance that no rematch happens, even if this season the rematches are spawning everywhere.
In this case here Texas won the Bedlam rivalry game against Oklahoma 48-45 in Dallas beginning of October.
Since then did both teams play good football, did survive some scares and did prevail to stay at #1 and #2.
Now Oklahoma is favored to win the rematch by 7.5 points in Arlington.
They have only 1 game, against Texas, while Texas lost 3 times so far.
As the results of the first meeting shows, defense will likely be the factor, since offense will be plenty.
Whoever gets their defense up and stopping the opponent regularly will win this game.
In total does Oklahoma look like the more complete package, but don't underestimate the Longhorns.
I think this is a 60-40 game, but of cause it will be either win or lose for both.
My pick is based on the great offense Oklahoma does field and which Texas is likely not able to match this time.
Sooners win.

Sat. Dec. 1
#1 Alabama vs #4 Georgia

This could be the most important game of the season.
Alabama did looks so far fantastic and did play like a team from a different level.
Georgia is likely the only team inside the SEC which might be able to beat them.
The stunning truth is, betting line is Alabama -13.0!
The most interesting thing here is, that lost only 1 game during the season and is #4 right now and Alabama still gets that much.
Let's face it, if Georgia pulls this off and wins the SEC (again), they will eventually face Alabama again in the playoffs.
I can not imagine that Alabama, if they lose, get thrown down the pit to #5 or worse of they lose the 1st time of the season against THAT Georgia team.
If Alabama wins, which is likely, they will be the favorite in the playoffs.
No need to make that interesting here, Alabama will very likely dominate here.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Dec. 1
#2 Clemson vs Pittsburgh

No rematch (seems to be an exception this season) but the most boring one of all matchups, at least according the betting line.
Clemsons line is -27.5.
That's like they would play a good FCS team or so.
Pitt did play some good games and some bad games, especially last week against Miami.
But -27.5?
I think Pitt can play great defense, if they want.
Now will they want to play in this match or not?
We will see.
Regardless whether close or with a high margin, Clemson is very likely to win here and if Pitt pulls an upset, it would be a stunner which will be discussed for years.
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec. 1
#21 Northwestern vs #6 Ohio State

Also a big game and this can become a great one or a great boredom.
The thing is, Northwestern did play some great games and did win their division rightfully as best team and will now face an Ohio State team which did on one hand beat Michigan with a very high margin, and on the other hand they lost to Purdue and had their issues with other teams and survived barely.
All bets are on Ohio State, sure. The line is -14.0.
Northwestern is not that known, and has not the same reputation as Ohio State.
If the Buckeyes do play like last week, they will win, if they play like against Maryland or Purdue, they will lose.
Make your guess.
Urban Meyer is known for prepping his team very well, so I guess Ohio State will play focused.
Northwestern needs every luck they can get to win here.
Buckeyes win.

Other interesting games:

Fri. Nov. 30
#17 Utah vs #11 Washington

Washington is 5.5 point favorite here and Utah has to rely on their backup QB to win this.
Not unlikely, but this gives them a disadvantage.
Washington comes from a stunning win on the road against rival WSU, while Utah did win at home against rival BYU.
The difference is obvious, the Huskies did play great on the road, while Utah did play good at home.
Now sum this up with a game on neutral ground in California.
I'm a bit surprised to see Washington only 5.0 points ahead in the betting lines.
I would have give them more.
Utah will for sure play the best they can but I see the Huskies more than a bit ahead and winning this.
Huskies win.

Fri. Nov. 30
Northern Illinois vs Buffalo

For very long did Buffalo unbeatable this season inside the MAC and then came Ohio and did beat them by a lot of points.
Previous to that and afterwards all games very clear. Their only loss inside the MAC.
Now they have to face NIU, which had a good season inside the MAC until they played Miami (OH) and Western Michigan in the last 2 games.
They lost both games and did almost lose the division title race.
I think this game can become a great one, or a boring one.
It's unclear why NIU did lose the last 2 games beside playing sloppy.
So if they play sloppy again, I'm sure Buffalo will prevail here with a big margin and will win the MAC title.
But if NIU plays smart and 100% concentrated we might have a game.
Both teams are the best teams inside their divisions and I hope for a good one.
Buffalo is favored with a line of -3.5 which is not much.
For me is this a coin flip, almost. I do honor the losing streak of NIU and their weak offense so I pick Buffalo.
Bulls win.

Sat. Dec. 1
Louisiana at Appalachian State

The 10 team Sun Belt did create divisions and therefore we have a championship game between the division champions the first time this season.
It is played at the home stadium of the team with the better record.
The 2 teams are quite different, the Mountaineers did only lose 1 game inside the Sun Belt, while Louisiana did lose 3.
Because of that is Appalachian State favored by 16.5 points.
They lost only to Georgia Southern, a runner-up for the division title, while Louisiana did lose against Coastal Carolina, Troy and the Mountaineers (by 10 points on the road).
I think Appalachian State will play at least as good as they did in the first match, likely better.
Expect a one-sided game.
Mountaineers win.

Sat. Dec. 1
Memphis at #8 UCF

UCF did almost stumble against Memphis on the road and won 31-30 this season.
Now we have a rematch and UCF is only favored by 3.0 points, not much if you think about both teams and how high UCF is ranked with ambitions to get into the playoffs, while Memphis is unranked.
And this is played in Florida.
Does Memphis have a chance? Sure, Memphis has some great weapons and can play good football.
Do I expect them to win? Not really, but an upset would not surprise me.
Overall I'm not willing tp bet against the home team here, riding a very long winning streak.
Knights win.

Sat. Dec. 1
UAB at Middle Tennessee

This is as close as it can get.
MTSU is favored by 1.5 points.
They won last week against UAB 27-3, both teams did only lose once, UAB against MTSU on the road and MTSU did lose against FIU on the road.
Both teams can play and did get into this position by playing good football when it matters most.
Everyone did expect FIU sitting at the spot of MTSU right now, but FIU did stumble late in the season and left the Blue Raiders with the opportunity to play for the Championship.
I think they will say thank you and will take this home.
Of cause it is hard to win twice against a team in a season, or in 2 weeks, but I think they will carry the momentum into the game and will win, somehow.
Blue Raiders win.

Sat. Dec. 1
#25 Fresno State @ #22 Boise State

And another rematch and Boise won the first meeting, at home, 24-17.
Now they play again on the smurf turf and are favored by 2.5 points.
Not much.
I always think that Boise has a huge home advantage with their home field, so I think they will win this.
But ... Fresno State is a good team and small corrections might give them the chance to stop the Broncos offense, which is not that dominant this season.
I would not be surprised to see them winning against the Broncos, but I'm not willing to pick an upset.
Broncos win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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