2016-11-03 15:20

The first College Football Playoff ranking was released and the press is going nuts over the sorting, especially the first 5 teams.


Because the unbeaten Washington team from the PAC12 is ranked 5th behind the 1-loss Texas A&M team from the SEC, ranked 4th, unbeaten Michigan from the BIG10 at 3rd, unbeaten Clemson from the ACC ranked 2nd and the leading team Alabama, unbeaten from the SEC.

Now all the chatter regarding strength of schedule and the SEC dominance and whatever happening and I don't really want to know how many "What that means" article were written in the last few hours.

I simply inform you about the ranking, but I will not comment them, since they are just the first version and the season has still 4 to 5 games coming.

Just this: Last seasons list at this point did feature Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame.
The final standing was Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma. LSU dropped to 20 (the lost some games after the initial rankings, in a row) and Notre Dame to 8 (the lost to Stanford late in the season).
So this ranking is a nice flash of opinion by the playoff committee, but there is a lot of room to improve and to fall from grace.

For me, the real importance is, who MIGHT be still in the mix.
For it is just this: Lose and you drop.
The sorting at the TOP is personal preference and of cause this will cause controversies if that sorting does support one conference above the others.
With the current setup under given conditions, 2 SEC teams, the college football world would go nuts.

But every team has still 4 to 5 games to play and every conference will produce a conference champion.
It's easy to imagine an upset in the conference championship games and it's easy to imagine other crazy stuff.
At the end we just have to wait the next few weeks until the dust did settle itself.

My pick here: The final 4 teams will NOT be the current top 4 teams.

My wish: lots of upsets.


Because it will keep the season exciting and will show the powers in charge that the current 4 teams playoff system can only be a compromise to a more stable and fair solution.

Here are the 'remaining' teams for the playoffs, based on my easy system:

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

Michigan Big Ten Conference
Now leading favorite to win the Big10

Washington Pac-12 Conference
Favorite to win the PAC12

Alabama Southeastern Conference
Favorite to win the SEC

"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

Baylor Big 12 Conference
Lost to Texas, now the Big12 is wide open and the Big12 is in trouble regarding playoffs

West Virginia Big 12 Conference
Lost to Oklahoma State, now the Big12 is wide open and the Big12 is in trouble regarding playoffs

Nebraska Big Ten Conference
Lost to Wisconsin and will need to win the rest of the games to secure the division

Ohio State Big Ten Conference
Lost to Penn State and needs a win against Michigan

Western Michigan Mid-American Conference
Lone unbeaten non-power5-team left, primed for a new years bowl spot

Florida Southeastern Conference
Contender for the SEC East division, needs to play an additional game against LSU

Texas A&M
Southeastern Conference Did lose to Alabama, needs help to win the division

"In need of a Hail Mary"
North Carolina Atlantic Coast Conference
Still contender for the Coastal division of the ACC, but outsider

Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast Conference
Has the Coastal division up for grab, but needs to win, still outsider

Oklahoma Big 12 Conference
Is now the leading team in the Big12, but outsider for the playoffs

Oklahoma State Big 12 Conference
Also contender for the BIG12, but due 2 losses outsider

Minnesota Big Ten Conference
Also still in the mix, but outsider

Penn State Big Ten Conference
Won against Ohio State, which brought them on the map, but still outsider with 2 losses

Wisconsin Big Ten Conference
Lost now two tough games, outsider

Boise State Mountain West Conference
After an upset loss against Wyoming might not even win the division

San Diego State Mountain West Conference
Might win their division in the MWC or more, still outsider

Colorado Pac-12 Conference
Right now leading team in the PAC12 South, but outsider

Utah Pac-12 Conference
Needs to win all remaining games to win the division, playoff outsider

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

Auburn Southeastern Conference
Is not done yet, but outsider

LSU Southeastern Conference
Is not done yet, but outsider

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

Now we are down to 27 teams and reduced that pool of teams compared to last week by 7 teams.

Many of teams will play against each other the next few weeks and it's likely the amount of teams will get down to 5 to 10 REAL contenders and 10 to 15 teams waiting for the last-last-chance.
That's the reason I did put again 10 games on the "other interesting games" section. So many games will now clear the field a bit more or will in case of upsets turn the division or conference title race upside down.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov 5 12:00 PM ET
#8 Wisconsin @ Northwestern
This is a great game, even if it was not clear at the start of the season.
Wisconsin and Northwestern do both have a chance to win the division Big10 West and the winner will take a step forward to that, the loser will lose more than a step in that race.
The betting industry does see Wisconsin ahead with a score (7 points).
That's plausible, but not a given thing.
Northwestern did lose only to Nebraska and Ohio State and did stand their ground, so it is possible we will see a close game.
On top this is a road trip for Wisconsin after a tough game (they won against Nebraska) and they have to play a quite competitive Northwestern team (which has also a tough road game last week against Ohio State).
This could be a trap game for the Badgers.
Wildcats for an upset?
Hmmm .... I'm not so sure.
I think Wisconsin has a better momentum right now and can win this.
Badgers win.

Sat. Nov 5 3:30 PM ET
#11 Florida @ Arkansas
This is Floridas first big test regarding their division title ambitions in November (the next one will be LSU).
They have to play on the road against a team which can play spoiler in any game.
Florida did somehow just lose 1 game so far, against Tennessee, but they might get bested in this game today.
Arkansas was not often out of their league in any so far played games and they lost only against the now emerging contenders of the SEC West, but last week they lost big against Auburn, so maybe they did get weaker over the weeks.
Vegas says Florida is a 5.5 point favorite, but honestly I'm divided.
I do respect that Florida did lose only once so far, but on the other hand did they not really win against high profile teams, especially not on the road.
I pick Arkansas in this one, because I think they can play spoiler in this on a high enough level to win.
Razorbacks win.

Sat. Nov 5 3:30 PM ET
#18 Oklahoma State @ Kansas State
Interesting game here, Kansas State is according to Vegas the favorite by 2.5 points, which is a bit surprising since they did not win against the contenders so far and can only show a home win against Texas as signature win, if that one counts as such a win.
Oklahoma State did beat popular West Virginia last week and also against Texas, but lost inside the BIG12 against Baylor so far.
I can understand that there are doubts regarding Oklahoma States strength, but Kansas State did not prove to be THAT good, so I'm not on the same page here.
I think the Cowboys do have a slightly better chance to win, even on the road, with their explosive offense.
If Kansas State can stop that, they can win, but I doubt it.
Cowboys win.

Sat. Nov 5 8:00 PM ET
#10 Nebraska Cornhuskers @ #6 Ohio State
This looks like a good match and it might even become one, but maybe for the wrong reason.
Nebraska was unbeaten until last week and did lose against Wisconsin which is for me a sign that the Huskers are not the best team in the division.
Ohio State had lost against Penn State on the road, which did put them in a weaker position in their division and they need that win over Nebraska to stay in the hunt.
It might happen that we will see a dominating Buckeyes team, like Vegas (-17.0) does suggest, but we might still see a close game, since the Huskers are not THAT bad and the Buckeyes are having some trouble lately.
My take here: Ohio State does it, at home, with some margin, but not the 17 points Vegas does expect.
Buckeyes win.

Sat. Nov 5 8:00 PM ET
#1 Alabama @ #13 LSU
This might be the hottest game of the weak.
LSU did change their style since their interim coach did take over and they might be able to stop Alabama often enough to win this game on the ground.
Their running game is good.
Their defense is also good.
Alabama can win against any team, their team seems to be perfect right now, but if LSU can avoid Special Team and Defense TDs, they have a chance, at home.
Vegas says Alabama ahead 7.5 points.
My head says Alabama by 15, my gut says LSU by 3 as upset win.
I go with my gut this week.
Tigers win.

Other interesting games:

Thu. Nov 3 11:00 PM ET
UCLA @ #15 Colorado
UCLA is basically in a bad shape, losing their starting QB for the season. Colorado is right now leading team in the PAC12 South, but I'm waiting for the breakdown every week.
Will it happen this week?
I don't think so.
Vegas says -13 for Colorado.
That's maybe too much, but the right direction.
Buffalos win.

Sat. Nov 5 11:30 AM ET
Navy @ Notre Dame
Rivalry games are always fun and this one was for a long time one dimensional, with Notre Dame winning big every season.
The last few seasons this status was secured again after a few upsets and close games, but this year is Notre Dame a bit hurting and this might give Navy a chance.
Vegas line is -7.0, so they also do not see both teams far apart.
I say Notre Dame does win this, at home, based on 2 factors. First they seem to get better lately, second they play at home.
But I would not be surprised to see them lose, also.
Anyway, Fighting Irish win.

Sat. Nov 5 12:00 PM ET
Air Force @ Army
Yeah, this could be fun. Army is playing much better than in recent years and they play against a weaker Air Force team.
That sounds like a ball game.
Vegas line is -1, so Army is the favorite.
Don't know when that was last time the case, probably 10 seasons or more ago.
Wo will win.
Black Knights win!

Sat. Nov 5 12:30 PM ET
Georgia Tech @ #21 North Carolina
A crucial game in the ACC Coastal. UNC is the favorite with -10.5 and a win would help them in the division title contention.
A loss would not automatically eliminate them, but almost, and GT would get a Bowl ticket.
UNC at home will be a tough cookie, so I expect them to win.
Tar Heels win.

Sat. Nov 5 3:30 PM ET
TCU @ #17 Baylor
TCU is hurting a bit, but Baylor is not unbeatable.
The line is -8, which is OK I think.
TCU can win this, but I doubt it.
Baylor needs the win to stay in the conference title hunt.
TCU needs the win to get near the bowl eligibility.
I think Baylor will win here big.
Bears win.

Sat. Nov 5 3:30 PM ET
#19 Virginia Tech @ Duke
Interesting game.
Duke did not win a conference game so far and do need wins, badly, to get a bowl spot.
VT needs a win to get near the division title.
The Hokies are 10.5 point favorite, I think they can beat that.
Hokies win.

Sat. Nov 5 7:00 PM ET
#22 Florida State @ North Carolina State
What NC State team will we see?
The one losing to Clemson by just 7 or the one losing to BC, also by 7?
I think they can beat FSU in a 100% game.
Vegas sees the Seminoles only 5.5 points ahead.
I pick an upset win by the Wolfpack.
Wolfpack win.

Sat. Nov 5 7:30 PM ET
Iowa @ #12 Penn State
Crucial game for both teams.
Iowa would lose a step in the division hunt if they lose this one, Penn State the same in their division, if they lose.
Well, one team has to lose and Penn State has shown great home spirit in the past and Iowa has not shown much lately.
Vegas sees Penn State 7.5 points ahead.
I say they can beat that.
Nittany Lions win.

Sat. Nov 5 7:30 PM ET
Georgia @ Kentucky
If Kentucky win here, the Wildcats do have a big chance to win the SEC East. They still would need help, but it's there.
If Georgia wins, they get the chance to get back into the winning column and might save their season in the long run.
Georgia is a 2.0 favorite by Vegas.
I'm not convinced here.
The Wildcats did fight strong in the past few weeks, Georgia not really.
Upset by the Wildcats possible?
My pick?
Still Wildcats win!

Sat. Nov 5 10:30 PM ET
#5 Washington @ California
Washington got a punch from the playoff committee this week, as mentioned above.
So they better win against Cal here.
The line for them is -16.5, so a big win.
I'm not that convinced they can win THAT big, but I still believe they will win.
Huskies win.

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