2016-10-13 10:05

Is it just me, or are there this weekend not so many really interesting games set up?

I'm really having a hard time selecting 10 games.
Sure there are some ranked vs ranked games, but overall not so many OTHER good games to talk about.

Well, I selected 10 games, with 3 ranked vs ranked, but many are quite heavily favored by 1 team.

First news for this week, Charlie Strong is still the HC of Texas, so the AD is sticking for now to his words.

Second, the season starts shaping the winners and losers, but at the moment I'm not convinced on every team which is right now a winner and on every team which is right now a loser.



Take West Virginia playing Texas Tech this weekend, in Lubbock, Not-West-Virginia.
The Mountaineers are 4-0 so far and do at the moment swim on top of the BIG12, thanks to that perfect record (together with Baylor).
Texas Tech is 3-2.
West Virginia is a 1 point favorite in this game, at best, some say even.
Is WV good, really good or did they just had an easy schedule so far?
From the games so far I would like to say they are good, but for me it would be a surprise if they would win the BIG12.
I can see them lose this weekend.

Another team I can't see on top is Wake Forest, facing Florida State this weekend, in Tallahassee, and the Demon Deacons are 5-1 right now, while FSU is 4-2.
The Seminoles are 21 point favorite.
So much for the record.

An example for a bad start could be San Jose State, which do play Nevada this weekend.
SJSU is 1-5, while Nevada is 3-3. Still Vegas sees hope for the Spartans and made them a favorite at home with 2 points.

Of cause Vegas can be wrong, but overall I already did see some "The dust does settle on the playoff-picture" and "the contenders are emerging" and stuff like that and I think "Bold prediction".
Of cause did we learn stuff from the past 6 weeks, and many teams did already lose their, let's call it "direct ticket to the playoffs" when they lost once, twice or even more.
But those teams remaining might include the conference champs and the playoff teams, but it's not automatically the case.
Playoff teams ... likely yes.
Conference Champs, not for sure.
Many conference do have conference title games and you need just ONE bad game at that time as playoff contender and conference title favorite and that other team does have a party and that other teams might come out of that group which are “out” of the playoff race.

I'm always having trouble to accept the mathematical chances teams do have to win the conference, even when they lost already a few games.
Sure, the teams with less losses do have better chances, but sometimes only an injury has just to happen to throw a team off balance and some other team gets into position.
Stanford for example did lose their star running back and do now face a quite grim remaining season, if he does not heal up fast.
From contenders to mid-level at best by an injury. ONE injury.
That does not make Oregon the sure winner (they are last in that division with Stanford and are already 0-3 in conference games), but they could rise fast if they start winning and the other teams start losing.
Still 6 games to play and the leading team, Washington, in that division might start losing.
I tend to put the so far bad performing teams fast into the "Better luck next time" drawer, but that might be wrong.
The reality is, that almost every team is still in the mix, it's just not really likely for most as realistic season outcome.

Biggest surprise so far beside Oregon with a losing record is for me Northern Illinois, 1-5 so far and likely not winning the MAC, but mathematically they are just 1 game behind the division leader.
Another big surprise for me is Cincinnati, at 3-3 right now, but 0-3 in conference games.
They are also not likely to win the American anymore, but with 6 games to go and an easier schedule remaining, they will likely rise fast.
But with no help on the leading teams of South Florida and UCF, they will not win the division.

Summary of that is, nothing is fix and we will have to wait until the season gets further to see the REAL contenders emerging.

Here are the 'remaining' teams for the playoffs. As said, it's not a final IN-list and all other teams not on that list are for sure not 100% out, it's just unlikely that teams not on that list will get a playoff spot out of the 4 possible spots.
If you ask me, which of the "Ahead" teams really have a chance I would say 4 teams, the ACC champ (Clemson), the BIG10 Champ (likely Michigan or Ohio State), the PAC12 Champ (Washington) and the SEC Champ (Alabama) IF they stay unbeaten until they get to the conference finals and win it.
If not, things will start to get complicated.
For all other teams I see bigger chances losing at least 1 game than marching unbeaten to a title and a playoff spot.
Especially the 2 BIG12 teams in the current mix (West Virginia and Baylor) will likely lose at some point.

There is also a high chance that less than 4 unbeaten teams will stay "Ahead" and then things will get really ugly as it was already last season and the season before.
Interesting is, that the demand for an 8 team playoff system with 5 power 5 conference champs and 3 at-large teams is not really an issue so far.

Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference
Is now leading favorite to win the ACC

Baylor Big 12 Conference
At the moment with West Virginia the only hope for the Big12

West Virginia Big 12 Conference
At the moment with Baylor the only hope for the Big12

Michigan Big Ten Conference
Believed to be a favorite for the Big10

Nebraska Big Ten Conference
Is now in the driver seat to win their division

Ohio State Big Ten Conference
Believed to be a favorite for the Big10

Washington Pac-12 Conference
Now favorite for the PAC12

Alabama Southeastern Conference
Favorite to win the SEC

Texas A&M Southeastern Conference
Did play themselves into the leading contender against Alabama

"In needs of a great goalline stand"
Louisville Atlantic Coast Conference
Needs now some help to win the division or conference, but has a quite easy remaining schedule

Miami Atlantic Coast Conference
Lost against FSU, now needs some help to win the ACC Coastal

NC State Atlantic Coast Conference
So far better than expected, but an outsider

Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast Conference
Surprisingly good so far, but believed to be an outsider

Wake Forest Atlantic Coast Conference
Got now 1 loss, believed to be an outsider

Maryland Big Ten Conference
Lost against Penn State, outsider

Wisconsin Big Ten Conference
Lost a tough game and needed now some help for the division

Western Michigan Mid-American Conference
Played good so far, could crash the party, at least for the Bowl spot as MAC Champ

Boise State Mountain West Conference
Did win some bigger games, favorite to win the MWC

Arizona State Pac-12 Conference
For now the leader of the South division

Utah Pac-12 Conference
Lost a game and needs help to win the division

Florida Southeastern Conference
Did struggle against Tennessee, will contend for the SEC East

Tennessee Southeastern Conference
Lost against A&M, now the SEC East is wide open

"In need of a Hail Mary"
Houston American Athletic
Lost against Navy, now has to wait for some help to get back on track

Memphis American Athletic
Lost their first game, outsider

Navy American Athletic
Lost their game against Air Force, outsider

South Florida American Athletic
Will compete for the AAC

Tulsa American Athletic
Surprisingly lost so far only 1 time, outsider

Florida State Atlantic Coast Conference
Now almost for sure eliminated, only outsider chances left, but can play major spoiler for other teams

North Carolina Atlantic Coast Conference
Will play for the Coastal division

Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast Conference
Will challenge UNC and Miami for the coastal division

Kansas State Big 12 Conference
Not really a contender, outsider

Oklahoma Big 12 Conference
Lost 2 crucial games, might be toast sooner than later

Oklahoma State Big 12 Conference
Lost 1 against a MAC team on a bad call, might slip back, but likely outsider

TCU Big 12 Conference
Is now in a worse position than last week, still not done yet

Texas Tech Big 12 Conference
Not really a contender, outsider

Indiana Big Ten Conference
Lost another game, outsider

Iowa Big Ten Conference
Lost surprisingly and is only an outsider now

Minnesota Big Ten Conference
Lost their second game, outsider

Penn State Big Ten Conference
Lost some close ones, will likely not survive against the favorites

Purdue Big Ten Conference
So far not really tested, outsider

Middle Tennessee Conference USA
Will compete for the CUSA

Toledo Mid-American Conference
So far not really tested, outsider

Air Force Mountain West Conference
Lost against Wyoming, outsider

San Diego State Mountain West Conference
Will challenge Boise for the MWC

Colorado Pac-12 Conference
Lost twice now, outsider

Stanford Pac-12 Conference
Lost against Washington State, outsider

Washington State Pac-12 Conference
Is not done yet, but outsider

Arkansas Southeastern Conference
Lost against Texas A&M, is still in the mix for the SEC West

Auburn Southeastern Conference
Is not done yet, but outsider

Georgia Southeastern Conference
Lost a hearbreaker against Tennessee, outsider

LSU Southeastern Conference
Is not done yet, but outsider

Ole Miss Southeastern Conference
Is still in the mix for the SEC West, but only outsider

Troy Sun Belt Conference
A Sun Belt team as playoff candidate is VERY unlikely, outsider

Added up this are 53 teams, 9 less than last week.

This weeks some heavy hitters do meet, so this list will be for sure smaller next week, but as mentioned there are not many interesting games, so pending some upsets, the change will not be THAT big to next week.
Still some nice games are coming.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 7

Sat. Oct 15 - 3:30 PM ET
#1 Alabama @ #9 Tennessee
This game is one of the 2 BIG games this weekend.
Yes, there are other good games and games between strong teams as can be seen below, but seriously all the hype is this game here and the Ohio State - Wisconsin game, period.
Alabama is for some people THE favorite for the national championship.
Those people sometimes even think that Alabama just have to get bye their schedule and can basically already change the lines next to Nick Sabans statue standing at Bryant-Denny Stadium, adding another national title.
Not so fast, please.
Almost every team is only a few key injuries away from falling apart and there are so many games left to play.
And every team can have a bad game, at some point in the season and if that one is a crucial one, the course of the season does change dramatically.
Next week could be such a game for Alabama, playing Texas A&M, or already this week against Tennessee.
The Vols are not that toothless they might look like after their loss against A&M on the road.
They did almost win this game, on the road, and this week they play at home.
Alabama is for sure the favorite, in fact Vegas does give them a 13 points margin, which is huge, still it's not really clear, whether Alabama can stop Tennessee often enough and whether Alabama on the other hand can score themselves often enough.
The Crimson Tide defense is sharp, they did score many points and got many turnovers, which did help the team very often, but the offense did show some problems and if we do not see a 100% Alabama offense, this game might become an interesting close one.
Do I believe Tennessee CAN win?
Do I pick them as a winner?
The decision is quite easy, Alabama did so far look just as one of the best teams in the nation, while Tennessee did win by some last efforts, often.
Granted, sometime that's a skill you need to win championships, but very often you run out of luck at some point and then it’s quality that does help to win such games.
And Alabama does simply look like the have that quality.
Crimson Tide win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 7:00 PM ET
#12 Ole Miss @ #22 Arkansas
With all the talk about Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State and Wisconsin is this game here a bit second tier, even if it features a ranked vs ranked matchup and is very important for the SEC West standings.
The reason for that is, that both teams did lose twice already.
Ole Miss is the highest ranked team with 2 losses (lost against FSU and Alabama) and Arkansas did drop some spots after they lost last week the second time (lost against Texas A&M and last week against Alabama).
It's not really rational explainable why Ole Miss is ranked so high, while Arkansas dropped to 22, since the quality of games are a bit comparable.
Anyway, one team will drop into the pit called "unranked" after this game (no 3 loss team has so far get any ranking points until last weekend) and according to the betting industry that will be the Razorbacks, being the 7.5 points underdog.
The key to win this and upset Ole Miss will be to destroy the Ole Miss offense.
I really like the Rebels and how they developed themselves over the years, but so far the team did not find a stable, reliable QB.
Yes, Chad Kelly is a good QB, but in certain games he seems to vanish from the scene and doesn't help his team at all.
If Arkansas can create such an environment and Kelly does take a step backwards, Ole Miss is toast.
The chances for that are slim, since Ole Miss had a bye week, prior that game.
So unless Arkansas became very creative or Chad Kelly just wakes up and is for whatever reason the "vanished Kelly", Ole Miss should be well prepared and should be able to overcome Arkansas.
Rebels win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 8:00 PM ET
#2 Ohio State @ #8 Wisconsin
And here is the next hyped game.
This could become a major BIG10 game with little points.
Remember, Ohio State did struggle on offense against Indiana (They scored less than 40 points) and did at the same time got 17 points from Indiana, which is really not a football powerhouse.
Wisconsin on the other side did lose their only game against high scoring Michigan by 7 points and allowed only 14 in total (The same offense did burn Rutgers with 70+ points last week) and did on the other hand only score 7 by themselves.
So the Badgers might be able to stop Ohio from scoring and it will come down to the big question whether the low scoring Badgers offense can score enough against the Buckeyes?
Funny fact is, Vegas gives Ohio State 10 points as favorite in this game.
Played in Wisconsin, this is a big spread and I would say, Wisconsin will beat that.
I just don't pick Wisconsin as a winner for one reason.
Ohio State might have some problems with their passing game, but Wisconsin had not shown huge offense capabilities at all and when the time runs out and the game is on the line, I just trust Ohio State more to march over the field in little time to score and win the game.
Buckeyes win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 3:30 PM ET
North Carolina @ #16 Miami
This is a game about the chance to stay in the hunt.
Both teams are 1 loss behind the leading team in the division, Virginia Tech.
Another loss will make it much harder to stay in the hunt for the division title.
For North Carolina this is even harder, because they lost already against the Hokies, so they would need 3 Hokies losses or a 3 way tie to have chance, if they lose.
Played in Florida this is Miamis game to lose.
Mark Richts has forged the team already into a good team and North Carolina is struggling, especially on defense.
Miami is a 7.5 point favorite by Vegas, which I think will not reflect the final margin of their win.
I'm quite confident they will win against North Carolina and with more than 7.5 points.
Good news for UNC fans is, that their RB Hood will be back, so we might see a better offense performance than last week and we might see a close game.
Still, Miami at home ...
Hurricanes win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 8:00 PM ET
Arizona State @ Colorado
I did write the Sun Devils and Colorado off in this seasons preview article about the PAC12 and now we have THAT game as a crucial game in the PAC12 standings and the winner will be in a much better position to win the PAC12 South than the loser.
Both teams have 1 conference loss (as does Utah).
Right now are the Sun Devils the leading South team and they had some surprising games so far.
Interesting is, they did struggle a bit on the road, which should make ASU fans nervous regarding this game against the Buffalos, in Colorado.
It looks like both teams are almost on the same level, but with the home field added to that equation you have to respect the changes Colorado made from last season to this season and it make me think about them as the favorite team here.
Vegas is even more far out, saying the Buffalos are a 13.5 point favorite in this. 13.5 points!
I expect a close game here, but I also expect the Sun Devils to freeze cold and lose this game in the Rocky Mountains.
Buffalos win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Oct 15 - 12:00 PM ET
#20 West Virginia @ Texas Tech
This is from Vegas point of view an even game with no favorite, believe it or not.
My view on this is, that West Virginia had so far now real big test and had won some close games.
Now, on the road, they face a fast paced offense and I think their luck will run out this week.
Red Raiders win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 12:00 PM ET
North Carolina State @ #3 Clemson
On paper this is a done deal. Clemson is so much higher on terms of power and strength that NC State just can only lose. Vegas sees Clemson as 18 point favorite, playing at home I expect an even higher margin.
NC State is one of those teams which will get some losses the next few weeks, since the quality opponents will come playing.
Tigers win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 3:30 PM ET
Wake Forest @ #14 Florida State
This could be much more interesting. Vegas does see 21 points as margin for FSU, but the Demon Deacons can play, it's just a question whether they do it like they did against Indiana (won) or like they did against NC State (loss).
FSU can be beaten, especially if Wake Forest can stop the run.
It does not help that this is played in Tallahassee, so overall I think FSU will win this, but Wake Forest will beat the spread.
Seminoles win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 7:00 PM ET
Tulsa @ #13 Houston
Can Houston rebound, at home, against a so far good playing Tulsa team?
Also Houston is a 21.0 point favorite and that might be right, but how much more interesting would it be, if that Golden Hurricanes team from Oklahoma would upset Houston, while Houston had won against the Sooners from Oklahoma.
A dream you say?
That might be.
I don't believe in that scenario, too, but I also don't see Tulsa losing by 21 points. Just ... mmmhhh ... 20?
Seriously, on paper this is done, but nobody did see the Navy upset coming, so hopefully the game will be interesting.
Cougars win.

Sat. Oct 15 - 10:30 PM ET
UCLA @ Washington State
And the last game of the preview.
UCLA is struggling and Washington State did recover FROM struggling as it seems.
For UCLA this is the season on the line, since another loss will likely end any dreams of a division title or more with then 4 losses and 3 of them conference losses.
For Washington State a loss would shrink the chance for a division title a bit, a win would boost their reputation.
The Cougars are 5 point favorite and given the fact they play at home, I back that.
Cougars win.

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