2019-01-02 07:36

Big news just after I did send the last blog, West Virginias HC Dana Holgorsen will leave the team to become the next Houston HC.
It seems the University did wait until New Year to finalize the deal, since the buy out did drop from 2.5 mio to 1 mio.

The interesting thing on this is, that West Virginia did pay him so far about 3.5 mio as BIG12 team and there he had the chance to win it all, BIG12 and even National Championships, if things go good.

Now he will get 4.0 mio in average and will have only then a chance to win it all if EVERYTHING goes perfect for the team and likely some other teams (plural!) do not have a good season. Means, the motivation to leave a power 5 team to coach a non-power-5 team most be more than 500.000 $ more in money.

Personally I like the move, since it did look he needs a new start at some point, even he was respected at Morgantown but got also some heat there, because of his bowl record and the results he made during the season, which did include some crucial losses.

West Virginia is known to be high on winning, the university had some great coaches in the past and had won a lot of championship but never a national championship. It will be interesting to see, to whom they will turn to win at least the same amount of games Holgorsen did win.

For Houston this is a big deal and Holgorsen was their OC for 2 seasons in 2008 and 2009, so he is familiar with the area.
We will see, whether he can turn the ship around again.


Tues. Jan. 1
#18 Mississippi State vs Iowa

Iowa did start strong in the 1st half and went into the locker room at the half with a 17-6 lead.
Then came Mississippi State and it looked like my pick would be a good one.
The Bulldogs took the 19-17 lead early in the 3rd, but became then error prone and lost the game consequently.
On their final drive with 4th and 5 on Iowas 32 they had to go for it, trailing by 5 and with 25 ticks left to play and the pass was incomplete.
A great finish for the Hawkeyes, while the Bulldogs have to build upon that loss for next season.
#18 Mississippi State 22 - Iowa 27 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 21-13

Tues. Jan. 1
#11 LSU vs #8 UCF

That was a rollercoaster drive with this game.
UCF started hot and lead 14-3 early, then did LSU start playing and turned the game leading up to 24-14 until UCF did score again for 24-21, which was the score at halftime.
LSU did pull away 34-21, later 40-24 and I thought 'OK, done', but UCF did start playing better again (or LSU worse) and scored a TD (+ 2 point conversion) and suddenly we had a 1 score game.
UCF got the ball back with 35 seconds to play tried to do some magic, but LSUs defense did pick them off and won the game by that.
I think LSU did play worse than they could.
#11 LSU 40 - #8 UCF 32 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 22-13

Tues. Jan. 1
#14 Kentucky vs #12 Penn State

Sometimes you just don't get it (well, I don't get it).
The weaker BIG10 team (named Iowa) did win against the from my point of view stronger SEC team (named MSU), while the stronger BIG10 team (named PSU) did lose against the Cinderella, but weaker SEC team (named Kentucky).
Penn State did play just bad, allowed a Punt return TD, missed 2 field goals and were basically almost unable to move the ball in the 1st half.
At that point did Kentucky lead only 10-7.
The beginning of the 3rd quarter did bring on to 17 more points for Kentucky and a turnover for PSU.
Down 27-7 suddenly Penn State did decide to play and started a comeback in the 4th quarter.
With 4 minutes left to play Penn State had to settle for a field goal on Kentuckys 14 yard line to trail only by 3 with 27-24.
Kentucky got the ball and did run down the clock and won the game.
For me the worst game of Penn State of the season.
Congratulation to Kentucky having that great season, I personally think it was not 100% all your doing, but nobody will ask about that later.
#14 Kentucky 27 - #12 Penn State 24 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 22-14

Tues. Jan. 1
#9 Washington vs #6 Ohio State

It did look perfect until the end of the 3rd quarter.
Ohio State did lead 28-3 at that point against highly ranked Washington.
A great finish for Meyer.
But Washington was not done, while it seems Ohio State was already.
The Huskies did score 20 unanswered points but failed the last 2-point conversion to bring them within 3 points behind.
So trailing 28-23 and 40 seconds left to play they did try an onside kick and OSU did recover it to secure the win.
Of cause at the end all people will only see the win and Meyers perfect finish.
We will see, whether Meyer will coach again, right now he seems to quit coaching.
#9 Washington 23 - #6 Ohio State 28 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-14

Tues. Jan. 1
#15 Texas vs #5 Georgia

Another SEC team which did fail to play.
Texas did start very strong, leading 17-0 until Georgia did start to find ways in Texas defense.
Still the Bulldogs only started to play seriously for the win in the 4th quarter, still trailing 28-7.
With a little Texas help (they missed a field goal) did Georgia score a TD with 14 ticks left to play to a 28-21 score.
Still a chance to play the needed a perfect onside kick, but it failed and Texas took home the win.
Great season for Texas, while Georgia basically had a down season.
Smart was hired to NOT repeat Richt results and at least this season he did.
#15 Texas 28 - #5 Georgia 21 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-15

And with that there is only 1 game left to play.


Mon. Jan. 7
#2 Clemson vs #1 Alabama

Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
This season we have the game of the year in the San Francisco 49's home stadium.
A fitting final, since both teams were from my point of view the best teams and did make it to the final unscratched.
Both teams have a 14-0 record, both teams did win their conference, even the SEC to win was a bit tougher than the ACC.
No wonder Alabama is favored here, right now with 6.0 points.
Both teams do know each other well, they met several times during the last few seasons.
The modern rivalry did start in 2015/2016 season when they met the 1st time for the National Championship final and Alabama won by 5.
The next season did Clemson win the rematch in the final by 4.
And the 2017/18 season they met in a Semi-final to see Alabama winning by 18.
This season, the 2018/19 season we have them back in the final.
There is not much to say here, since this is getting more into the area of believe and faith than analytics.
I think both teams are able to win this game, say play it 100 times and we see both teams winning this multiple times.
How often?
My guess would be something of 60-40 in favor of Alabama.
Maybe more for Alabama.
I think the Crimson Tide do field one of their best teams ever this season, and even Clemson did find their QB for the next few seasons already in a freshman, he is not ready to pick this Alabama defense apart at will.
If Alabama plays perfect, I think Clemson will lose, for sure.
The question is, whether they can play 100% perfect for all 4 quarters.
Tough to say.
My pick is this will go in favor of Alabama and by more than 6 points. But I can live with any winner.
Crimson Tide wins.

Don't forget your final pick!

'Til next time

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