2016-11-17 08:26

We are almost finished and the chances to win a division or conference are getting thinner for most teams, if they are not already gone.

Here is the current standing regarding the title races:

American Athletic Conference
American Athletic - East
Temple 5-1
South Florida 5-1
UCF 3-2
Temple is here controlling their own destiny. They won against South Florida and UCF.
South Florida has to hope for a Temple loss and has to win all remaining games.
UCF needs wins and luck. They will be likely eliminated next week.

American Athletic - West
Navy 5-1
Houston 4-2
Tulsa 4-2
Navy needs to win the remaining games and can win the division by that.
Tulsa and Houston need the leading team to lose and have to win all remaining games to have a chance.
All other teams might have a chance in quite unrealistic scenarios that I did skip them.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Clemson 6-1
Louisville 6-1
Clemson needs to win their last game against Wake Forest.
Louisville needs hope for a Clemson loss.

Virginia Tech 5-2
North Carolina 5-2
Miami 3-3
Pittsburgh 3-3
Virginia Tech needs to win against rival Virginia and they win the division.
UNC has to wish for VT losses and has to win against NC State.
Miami and Pitt do need VT and UNC to lose and a win in all remaining games and then they might have a chance.

Big 12 Conference
Oklahoma 7-0
Oklahoma State 6-1
West Virginia 5-1
Oklahoma is has 2 games left and needs to win at least the rival game against Oklahoma State to win a share of the conference.
If they win all games, they do win the BIG12 alone.
Oklahoma State needs to win all games and would by that get the direct advantage over the Sooners for a better bowl spot.
Or they hope for 2 Oklahoma losses and at least 1 West Virginia loss to secure the conference alone.
West Virginia needs to win all remaining games and has to hope for at least an Oklahoma loss for a share of the title.
They can only win the conference as single team if both Oklahoma teams get 2 losses, which would mean Oklahoma losing both games and Oklahoma State losing next week at TCU and West Virginia wins all remaining games.

Big Ten Conference
Big Ten - East
Michigan 6-1
Ohio State 5-1
Penn State 5-1
If Michigan wins all remaining games, they win the division.
Ohio State and Penn State have to hope for a Michigan loss and Ohio State could win the division by winning against Michigan and winning all other games.
Penn State needs some wins and some extra luck regarding losses by the leading teams to win the division.
Still a share of the division is more likely between at least 2 teams.

Big Ten - West
Wisconsin 5-2
Nebraska 5-2
Minnesota 4-3
Iowa 4-3
Northwestern 4-3
A very close division, with Wisconsin in the position to win it.
They have a favorable tie breaker scenario and a quite easy remaining schedule to win all games.
Nebraska needs a Wisconsin loss and a win in all remaining games to win the division.
Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern would need some Wisconsin and Nebraska losses and a lot of wins to climb over the 2 leading teams.
Still all 5 teams do have a chance here.

Conference USA
Western Kentucky 6-1
Old Dominion 5-1
If Western Kentucky wins the last conference game at Marshall, they will win the division.
Old Dominion needs a WKU loss to jump over the Hilltoppers and wins in all remaining games (FIU and FAU).

Louisiana Tech 6-1
Louisiana Tech secured the division already.

Mid-American Conference
Mid-American - East
Ohio 5-2
Miami (OH) 5-2
Ohio is almost the division winner, they need to win the last game and they win it.
Miami (OH) lost against Ohio, so they need to win all remaining games and hope for a Ohio loss the last game.

Mid-American - West
Western Michigan 6-0
Toledo 6-1
Basically this division will be decide when both teams will meet on the last gameday, when both teams do play against each other.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain West - Mountain
Wyoming 5-1
Boise State 5-1
New Mexico 5-1
With 2 games left to play it looks like Wyoming is in the lead and has the direct compare against Boise State right now and will face New Mexico in 2 weeks.
Right now it looks like 2 teams will end up with the same record, which means a shared title, but the leading team would play for the conference.
If Boise State and Wyoming come through, Wyoming would be the team, Wyoming and New Mexico would be decide on the last gameday and if Boise State and New Mexico would be the best teams, Boise State would be the final participant.

Mountain West - West
San Diego State 6-0
SDSU secured the division already.

Pac-12 Conference
Pac 12 - North
Washington State 7-0
Washington 6-1
The rival game between both Washington teams will decide very likely the division title.
WSU can afford to lose 1 game, while a Huskies loss would make that game irrelevant, if WSU would win next week.

Pac 12 - South
Colorado 6-1
Utah 5-2
USC 6-2
A close division, which is Colorados to lose.
With tough games coming the next few weeks, it's quite likely that the Utah - Colorado game on season final will decide the division winner.
Colorado needs to win next week to keep the advantage alive, a loss would be bad, since they lost to USC and they are waiting behind them.
USC needs to hope for a Buffalo and Utah loss and has to win against UCLA next week.
Utah needs to win all games.

Southeastern Conference
SEC - East
Florida 5-2
Tennessee 3-3
Tennessee is waiting behind Florida. Florida can secure the division by winning at LSU next week or a Vols loss in the next 2 weeks.
Tennessee needs to win all games and has to hope for a LSU win next week.
The Vols do have an easy schedule remaining, so this is not unlikely.

SEC - West
Alabama 7-0
Alabama did secure the division.

Sun Belt Conference
Troy 5-0
Arkansas State 5-0
Appalachian State 5-1
Idaho 4-2
Louisiana Lafayette 3-3
Georgia Southern 3-3
Louisiana Monroe 3-3
A lot of teams still in the mix with 3 games left to play for most of them.
Troy can secure the Conference with wins, they face Arkansas State next week and that win would open the door for a non-shared conference title.
Arkansas State has to win next week to hope for a shared conference title.
Appalachian State has to hope for a Try loss at some point and all other teams need to win and to hope for many losses of the teams in front.
All pending some major meltdowns in the next few weeks.
This conference is still wide open, but will close quickly I think.

So a lot of stuff open, but most of the divisions will be decided by just 2 teams and it could happen that this weekend some of them get a clear winner already.

Based on last weeks upsets did the playoff field change a bit and many teams can hope for a second chance.
Especially now with only 1 major team left as unbeaten, the 2-loss teams can hope for some more upsets and a wide spread competition between them.
For example can the BIG12 dream of a playoff spot again, if West Virginia (1 loss) or Oklahoma (high ranked 2-loss team) wins the conference.

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

Alabama Southeastern Conference
Alabama won the division and is favored in all remaining games, including the conference championship game.

"In needs of a great goalline stand"
Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference
Clemson is close to win the division, but they can't afford to stumble.

Louisville Atlantic Coast Conference
Needs to win all remaining games and has to hope that many of the teams do stumble over the next few weeks.

West Virginia Big 12 Conference
Did drop quite deep and would need to win all remaining games to boost their reputation.

Michigan Big Ten Conference
The game against Ohio State will likely seal the deal.

Ohio State Big Ten Conference
Needs to win against Michigan as highest priority.

Washington Pac-12 Conference
Washington will need to win against Washington State to win the division.

"In need of a Hail Mary"
Oklahoma Big 12 Conference
Needs to win the BIG12 and has to hope for a meltdown of the leading other teams of the other conferences, outsider.

Oklahoma State Big 12 Conference
Is more or less done. They can win the BIG12, but would need even more luck than Oklahoma to get a spot. Outsider.

Nebraska Big Ten Conference
Are also almost done, can win the division, but outsider.

Penn State Big Ten Conference
Needs to win all remaining game and has to hope for some other teams upsets Ohio State and Michigan.

Wisconsin Big Ten Conference
Is now again back in the division race as favorite, but outsider.

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

Boise State Mountain West Conference
Has now again the chance to win the division, but needs help, outsider.

San Diego State Mountain West Conference
Won their division and needs to win the conference.

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
Needs to win all remaining games, the conference and has still to pray for a lot of upsets in other conferences, outsider.

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

A sum of 6 teams did drop from my list (North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Minnesota, Auburn, Texas A&M) and it can happen that this week do again as many teams fall from grace, thanks to tough conference schedule.
For me as fan, the best outcome would be to have a lot of upsets, opening up the competition between teams and making the remaining weeks exciting.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov 19 1:00 PM ET
#23 Florida @ #16 LSU
For Florida it's win and you are in, lose and your destiny hangs on the wins and losses of Tennessee.
For LSU, this is only pride and honor, with likely the wish to proof Orgeron is the current and future coach of the Tigers.
After LSU tough battle against Alabama is LSU highly ranked and this is also honored by Vegas, giving them a 13.5 point favorite role in this game.
I think Florida will curse that damn hurricane Matthew very often, since it did force them to move the game in time and place, making it a LSU home game now, instead of the planned Gators home game.
LSU is from my point of view way ahead of this and will likely even beat the spread.
Tigers win.

Sat. Nov 19 3:30 PM ET
San Diego State @ Wyoming
Until last weekend, this game was eventually a preview of the MWC Championship game, but after Wyomings loss, this could be the Cowboys last chance to even reach the Championship game.
San Diego State did win their conference already, so for them it's only a matter of winning or losing in pride, so we might see some backups coming in, but I doubt it, since the highest ranked non-power5 champ gets a new years bowl spot and the MWC Champ has a good chance to be exactly that.
Losing on the way would mean San Diego State would get less ranking votes or even none and that would make that bowl spot out of reach.
Wyoming needs the win, a loss would likely mean they would fall behind Boise State and would not win the division.
Vegas sees the Aztecs in the lead by 9.5 points, I think they will have a tough time, since the Cowboys are a force at home, but I also think they can win, since the Aztecs did so far prove to be a very good team.
Aztecs win.

Sat. Nov 19 3:30 PM ET
#22 Washington State @ #10 Colorado
A very crucial game for the PAC12.
Washington State could afford a loss, but that would slim their chance for a playoff spot in case of a conference title, which is low already.
Colorado needs to win this game to keep the one game advantage against the other contenders in the PAC12 South, Utah and USC.
The Buffalos are 4.5 favorite at home, I think the Cougars can win this in a close one, thanks to their dynamic offense.
The key to the game will be Colorados defense.
If they can stop that Cougars offense, Colorado will win this.
If not, Washington will score enough to win.
Cougars win.

Sat. Nov 19 8:00 PM ET
#9 Oklahoma @ #14 West Virginia
For Oklahoma this game is one of the toughest of the season and they need to win this, not only for the conference title race, but also for a playoff spot.
West Virginia does also need that win, since a loss would let them fall 2 games behind the then unbeaten Oklahoma Sooners and that would mean the conference title hopes are gone.
The Sooners are a 3.0 point favorite, which means nothing.
I think West Virginia has the tools to win this, at home and Oklahoma might fall in this game, thanks to a long traveling distance and a hard to judge opponent and a rival game coming soon.
I would not be surprised to see the Sooners wins, but my gut says, the Sooners lose against a tough Mountaineers team, which likes to prove they are worth a second chance.
I don't think the Mountaineers are playoff material, but conference champs in the Big12 is possible.
Mountaineers win.

Sat. Nov 19 10:30 PM ET
#13 USC @ UCLA
The not so called Battle-For-LA is on. This rival games did try to have a crunchy name and none did stick, but USC-UCLA-game is also quite boring.
Regardless the name, this can become a one-sided game.
UCLA lacks a proven QB and did lose several games in the last few weeks, while USC did win and win.
Vegas sees USC ahead, 13.5 points, and I think they can beat that.
USC is just too hot for UCLA this season, especially that Bruins team which is so banged up.
Trojans win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov 19 12:00 PM ET
#11 Oklahoma State @ TCU Horned Frogs
TCU is the favorite, which is a bit odd, given the record of both teams.
OSU is 8-1, while TCU is 5-4.
But OSU did not play many really tough teams and TCU is a tough one, and they have a home game, which could seal a bowl spot, if they win.
I don't see the Horned Frogs winning here, but they will force a close game.
At the end will OSUs offense make the difference and will win the game.
Cowboys win.

Sat. Nov 19 12:00 PM ET
#2 Ohio State @ Michigan State
Ohio State is a huge favorite in this and I can only hope for a last remaining piece of pride inside the Spartans to make this interesting.
If Ohio States loses this, they would have a huge disadvantage in the division race, a likely win would keep them on track.
Buckeyes win.

Sat. Nov 19 3:30 PM ET
Northwestern @ Minnesota
Same situation here, with both teams looking to not get out of the division title race.
Northwestern is the favorite, but I think Minnesota will defend their home and will win this.
I count on the Minnesota weather and the home factor.
Golden Gophers win.

Sat. Nov 19 3:30 PM ET
Missouri @ #19 Tennessee
For Tennessee it's win and you are still in the race, lose and you are out.
With Florida playing at LSU, the door for Tennessee to win the division is wide open, if they can win the last 2 conference games and Florida really loses this weekend.
Missouri is not that strong this season and they have to play on the road, which leads to a -16.0 spread for Tennessee.
I'm not sure it will be that clear, but I think Tennessee will win.
Volunteers win.

Sat. Nov 19 7:30 PM ET
Arizona State @ #6 Washington
I did pick this one because it has big implications if Washington would lose again.
That loss last week was a stunner and now they face a tough Sun Devils team, at home, which is not the best of the PAC12, but one of the best to spoil the fun.
Vegas sees Washington with over 20 points ahead here, and this can happen, but on the other hand it can happen that ASU stays in the game and eventually upsets the Huskies.
A loss would almost for sure doom them regarding the playoffs and the conference title game, a win keeps them on track.
I think Washington will rebound from last week and will win this, but in a closer game than Vegas thinks.
Huskies win.

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