2017-12-01 07:46

The end is near.

If you exclude the Navy-Army game, all other teams did already finish or will finish their regular season this weekend.
Then there will be a few days off and the Bowl season starts.

But let's focus on this weekend, featuring a few normal games and all Conference finals.
Many of those are only important for the conferences itself; some of them are on top of that relevant for the national championship playoffs.

What's up?

Right now the College Football Playoff ranking is that way:

1 Clemson 11-1
2 Auburn 10-2
3 Oklahoma 11-1
4 Wisconsin 12-0
5 Alabama 11-1
6 Georgia 11-1
7 Miami 10-1
8 Ohio State 10-2
9 Penn State 10-2
10 USC 10-2
11 TCU 10-2
12 Stanford 9-3
13 Washington 10-2
14 UCF 11-0

and so on, the rest if for the playoffs not really relevant, eventually for the non-power5-bowl-spot, but let's focus on the big fishes.

Clemson plays Miami in the ACC Championship game.
Auburn plays Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
Oklahoma plays TCU in the BIG12 Championship game.
Wisconsin plays Ohio State in the BIG10 Championship game.
Alabama can only sit and wait.
Penn State can only sit and wait, but is very likely not relevant anymore for the top 4 spots.
USC plays Stanford for the PAC12 Championship game.
Washington can only sit and wait, but I think they are eliminated.
UCF plays Memphis (ranked #20) in the American Championship game, but I think even if they slaughter the Tigers, they will not get a top 4 spot even as last undefeated team.
The rest is out of competition.

SO what could happen this season?

Scenario 1: Highest ranked teams win

That would mean Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin do claim the victories.
On top of that would USC win and UCF.
I think that would make it very easy for the Committee.
The top 4 would maybe change a bit in the sorting, but they would stay.

Scenario 2: Some might fall
Ohio State is favored to win their game, and Auburn-Georgia is also close in terms of betting line.
So if Clemson wins, Georgia wins, Oklahoma wins and Ohio State, who will get a spot.
Clemson and Oklahoma for sure.
Georgia would likely jump over Alabama and Wisconsin would drop, as would Auburn, but would Ohio State jump also over Alabama or not?
Some mentioned the strength of schedule, where Alabama is much worse than Ohio State, so likely Ohio State would get the job.

Could Alabama sneak in? Likely yes, if Wisconsin and Oklahoma lose. Maybe even an Oklahoma loss alone is enough.
Could Miami get a spot? Sure, if they win against Clemson, they should be in.
Could TCU or USC get a spot? I think the PAC12 is out, regardless the results and scores.
ACC and SEC are in, for sure. BIG10 also I think. The BIG12 has a hot candidate with Oklahoma, but they need to lose of cause to give TCU a boost.
But would this be enough to outjump Alabama, even if Auburn loses? Not sure, but my gut feeling is no.

Scenario 3: all favorites do fall
That's a highly unlikely scenario, but it could happen.
Miami and Georgia would get a spot, Ohio State also, TCU, as written, is unknown.
I guess Alabama could sneak in here.

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

Fri. Dec 1
#12 Stanford vs #10 USC

USC by 3.5 points is the betting line.
Honestly, this is a wild game.
Both teams did struggle and came back from the pit.
I like how Stanford did play in the last few weeks, but you cannot deny that USC did also good in the last few weeks.
So a close game is likely and I guess USC has more depth to win here.
Trojans win.

Sat. Dec 2
#11 TCU vs #3 Oklahoma

I don't like they idea of the BIG12 having a Championship game after playing a round robin regular season in that 1 conference.
Oklahoma won against TCU during regular season 38-20 and is now favored by 7.0 to win the game.
I think they will destroy TCU.
This team has so much momentum, I don't think TCU will have a real chance to win this.
Sure, things can happen and I would not even wonder much, if TCU really wins this, but given all the things happen so far, I think Oklahoma will win.
Sooners win.

Sat. Dec 2
#6 Georgia vs #2 Auburn

This is for me the toughest game.
Auburn did win against Georgia a few weeks ago 40-17, at home.
Now they play in the Georgia Dome, neutral site, and we have a boosted Auburn team and a Georgia team which won the last 2 games and which is angry.
Betting line is Auburn -2.5.
A close game?
Upset possible?
Many think Georgia will do it.
I'm not that convinced.
It could be that the Tigers are so exhausted from the Tide-game, that they cannot survive against the Bulldogs rage coming.
It could be that the confidence of the Tigers is too high and that they take the Bulldogs too easy.
But really?
I don't think Georgia is a bad team, but while Auburn did develop further and further I don't see that in Georgia.
So I think, Auburn will run the table in a much closer game than in the past.
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec 2
#7 Miami vs #1 Clemson

Also a tough one.
Miami has not played Clemson this season and Miami is very good, at least at defense.
Betting line favors Clemson by 9.5, I think it will be closer.
My only concern is, that Miami did lose against Pitt last week, but that might have been the right thing at the right time.
Sometime you just need that loss to focus and to take nothing for granted.
Clemson had shown a great recovery after their loss to Syracuse during the season and I for sure rightful favored to win the game.
Main question will be, whether the Miami defense will be able to stop that great Clemson offense and whether they can produce points.
Because otherwise they will lose.
I did underestimate the power of that defense often and I have the feeling I might do this here again.
For me, this will be close, but a Clemson team will survive.
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec 2
#8 Ohio State vs #4 Wisconsin

I'm in for the Badgers.
Yes they had no great schedule and they might be overrated, but I love how they play.
Ohio State will need a good day, likely a great day, to overcome this Badgers team.
Both teams can win here, Ohio State is favored, by almost a score, but I'm with the Badgers. Period.
Badgers win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Dec 2
Akron vs Toledo

That seems to be a quite one-sided matchup.
Toledo lost only on the road against Ohio inside the MAC, Akron lost to Miami (OH) and Toledo, both on the road.
Vegas line is -21.5 for Toledo, that's like playing a FCS team.
I don't think so.
But it could happen that Akron loses by that score or even higher, because Toledo is red hot on offense.
I don't think Akron can stop them often enough, but I think they will lose in a closer game than with 21 or 22 points.
Rockets win.

Sat. Dec 2
Troy @ Arkansas State
This game is important for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
The winner will get a share on the Championship at least. Appalachian State can also win a share, if they beat Louisiana Lafayette this weekend.
ASU is favored by a point in this game here, I think Troy will win by a good margin.
Troy has a really good team this year.
Funny thing is, both teams have lost to South Alabama this season, but South Alabama is out of contention.
I would not be surprised to see the Red Wolves winning, I only have the gut feeling that Troy can overcome ASU this weekend.
Trojans win.

Sat. Dec 2
#20 Memphis vs #14 UCF

Memphis does really impress me regarding their progress towards are reliable good football team.
When they applied for one of the BIG12-slots to fill up the conference with 12+ teams, I thought this would be a good idea and I still think that this would be a good idea.
But since the BIG12 did not reach a decision, likely because Oklahoma and Texas did not want to share some millions to a nobody, Memphis has to take the next best, which is to become one of the best teams outside the power 5 conferences.
They face arguably the best-coached non-power 5 team this season, Central Florida, and will have a hard time to get revenge on the regular season loss they had against the Knights.
The Knights are 7.5 points favorite, which is quite a small line, if you thing they won 40-13 during the season against Memphis.
A rematch is never easy and the Scot-Frost-leaves-for-Nebraska-talks won't help UCF to stay focused, but I just think UCF is the best team in the American and can overcome any problems they might face.
Knights win.

Sat. Dec 2
North Texas @ Florida Atlantic

FUA is favored by 11.5, a big margin.
If Lane Kiffin loses this game, the laughter will be big, since the did already start trolling again.
Interesting is, his name was not mentioned for any open coaching job in a serious way.
Well, at least they can focus on North Texas by that and this will be a tough test for them.
North Texas lost only once inside the CUSA, against Buffalo on the road.
The Mean Green are a good team from my point of view and will challenge the Owls.
I still picked FAU to win this, because North Texas Defense will get a lot of points and I think FAUs defense will be good enough to stop the Green from scoring often enough.
Owls win.

Sat. Dec 2
#25 Fresno State @ Boise State

Another rematch and this one is tricky.
Last week they have meet and the Bulldogs did win 28-17.
Now they meet again, but this time not in Fresno, but in Boise on the smurf-turf.
Boise has lost only 1 game at home this season, against resurrected Virginia Cavaliers.
To be fair did the Bulldogs lose on the road this season only to Washington and Alabama, so nothing to be ashamed of, and that the reason why this is tricky.
Can Boise State outplay the Bulldogs after a week at home?
Can Fresno stay focused and outplay the Broncos again?
Vegas favors the Broncos by almost 10 points, which is huge, given the loss last week.
I picked the Broncos to win it all, since I trust in the magic of the blue home field, but I would not be surprised to see them lose.
Broncos win.

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