2019-08-29 06:31

I like the way the season started.
Both games did deliver great moments and the games were open until the final plays.

The impact of the games are not that great, but overall they might become more relevant.
More in the reviews.


Sat. Aug 24
Miami vs #8 Florida
The first half was almost all Miami, except the 1st drive by Florida where we saw a fake punt deep inside Florida territory and on the next play a screen pass on the right which gained yardage over yardage until the man was inside the endzone.
Miami got the major part in this half thanks to 2 Florida fumbles and honestly Florida can thank their defense that they were only 13:7 behind when the teams went to the locker rooms.
The 3rd quarter became then all Florida, with a highlight having a fumble on a Miami punt return and getting the ball that way near Miamis endzone.
When the 4th quarter did start, Miami had the ball and was behind by 4, 17:13.
They managed to get to midfield and got then a great run out of the wildcat with several broken tackles and a speedy finish for the lead. 20:17 now.
It became then a quite confusing game.
Florida did throw an interception on the next drive, Miami missed a FG on the drive afterwards, and Florida did bomb on the next play for a long gain, finishing the drive a few plays later with a keeper through the middle to lead 24:20.
What a swing of emotions that must have been.
But it's not over.
Miami didn't get much done on the next drive, Florida gets the ball back and throws an interception on the 1st play of that drive!
The Hurricanes fans must have been crazy for joy, only to see it all going to hell on the next 2 plays with 2 15 yards penalties.
Miami needed basically the rest of the game to gain those 30 yards back and Florida won this by playing good enough to beat the rival.
The impact is not clear right now.
Florida needs to play better, if they want to challenge Alabama in a potential SEC Championship game (they do not play Alabama during the season), and the same is valid for Miami with Clemson (they also don't play Clemson during the season).
Whether this were 2 teams on top level of more on mid-level will only time tell.
But it was an exciting game, which is great for the fans and the sport.
Miami 20 vs #8 Florida 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 1-0

Arizona @ Hawaii
My prediction was that Arizona does beat Hawaii basically on all scenarios, except Arizona would play sloppy.
Guess what happened?
Spoiler, we saw 83 points combined, so defense was not an option as it seems.
The funny part is, Hawaii did play also not good football, it was not like they had this once in a season perfect game.
Hawaii opened with an INT, Arizona didn't want to stay behind and made also one.
Then did Hawaii score 2 TDs in a row, while Arizona was still searching for their offense.
Hawaii thought it would be not very interesting just smoking the Wildcats, so they made another INT.
Arizona found their offense and scored, Hawaii did answer with a score and Arizona did the same.
Did you count it?
It's 21:14 Hawaii right now.
Hawaii is still not convinced they are playing fair, so they made another INT.
Arizona tied the game, but Hawaii did score again and saved that 28:21 lead into the half.
The Rainbow Warriors came better out of the locker room and score a TD on their drive, while Arizona did still think about some break.
But on the next Hawaii drive the Arizona defense was awake and recovered a fumble.
Only to see the offense still being in siesta mode.
No problem, Arizona recovered another fumble and that was enough to wake also the offense up and get a score. 35:28 by the way now.
Hawaii did look inside and found it still to tough for Arizona, so they made another INT.
Arizona did tie the game at 35 and Hawaii was able to play a bit more open and made a field goal to gain the lead back. 38:35.
Now Arizona came to the conclusion that they did somehow play too good so far, so they made an IT and Hawaii did say 'Aloha' and scored for the 45:35 lead.
Likely at that point all parties did realize that this is a regular game and there is something to win or lose here.
Arizona did start playing a bit, but so did Hawaii and kept Arizona to a field goal. 45:38.
The Wildcats in full 'How could we end here in that situation'-mode stopped Hawaii and got the ball back on their 16 yard line with 45 ticks left.
No problem when you have one of the most dynamic QBs behind center, right?
Last play, Hawaii 31 yard line, 10 ticks left.
Khalil Tate (that QB) gets the ball and has to make something happen, and does it, almost.
Time ran down when he was tackled on the 1 yard line!
Absolut thrilling game, but I guess the coaches have tons of material to make the teams better.
My guess here, if Sumlin does not get this team right, his seat will get a LOT hotter, in a very short period of time.
Both teams did look like they could score anytime anywhere, but whether they can play defense is still open.
For Arizona this might be the right thing to get their head straight for the PAC12 games coming, while for Hawaii eventually the season goal got raised a bit higher and they might be capable to attack the contenders inside their division.
Arizona 38 @ Hawaii 45 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 1-1

Now let's get to the Week 1 and the upcoming games.
Most games are not really interesting, since many power 5 teams got a cupcake game scheduled as opener, or at least the difference in expected strength of the teams are very high.
Even games like Clemson (National Champion) - Georgia Tech (new HC, last season mid level ACC) do not look great and the line here is Clemson -36.5!
So I picked games which might become close and are eventually interesting.


Thur. Aug. 29
UCLA @ Cincinnati
Very interesting game, since the so much anticipated Chip Kelly return to college did result last season in a 3-9 record of UCLA.
Sure Kelly needs his tools setup to be effective, but I think there were not a few people thinking 'Ha, told you so', when Kellys team did struggle.
Looks like Vegas is also not to confident in the 2nd season of the Bruins, because Cincinnati is favored by 2.5 points.
Funny is, only 40% of the ESPN users do see the Bearcats winning.
Many UCLA fans there or they all are a lot more confident in the big name.
The Bearcats had a very successful season last year, finishing 11-2, including a bowl win over Virginia Tech.
They are expected to contend for the division at least.
In total this will likely come down to Kellys offense and whether it will click on the 1st day of the 2nd season.
I think they are better prepared then last season, but whether this will be enough, not sure.
Honestly I need to see more of UCLA than what I saw so far to be more confident in them against such a team as Cincinnati under HC Luke Fickell in his 3rd season.
Cincinnati win.

Sat. Aug. 31
#11 Oregon vs #16 Auburn
This will be a great match.
Starting with Auburn, Gus Malzahn is in his 6th season with the team and he did accomplish more than I did expect, but overall not that much.
Last season they finished 8-5, including a bowl win.
Malzahns best season was his 1st, winning the SEC, only to lose the National Championship game against FSU.
Since then they did OK, but his Iron Bowl balance against rival Alabama is 1-4 and we all know how many National Championships Alabama won during the last 5 seasons, while Auburn did win zero.
You think this is not that important?
For Auburn it is.
Malzahns clock is ticking here and he knows it. A good season might save him, a great of cause will save him for sure.
But with so many teams in the SEC West on top level ... we will see.
Oregon on the other side got last season a new HC, Mario Cristobal, who was a long period at Alabama as offense line coach and assistant HC, before going to Oregon and getting a year later the promotion to HC.
The Ducks finished 9-4 last season, including a bowl win, and are expected to challenge the Washington teams and Stanford for the PAC12 division or even the conference.
The matchup is on neutral site in the Dallas Cowboys stadium, so no home field advantage for both teams.
Auburn is favored by 3.5 points, which might be a SEC bonus or a confidence I don't have.
I believe in Oregon, so I pick them as a winner.
I was not really impressed by Malzahns Tigers most of the seasons and I think Cristobal gets the Ducks motor running this season, likely too fast for the Tigers.
Ducks win.

Virginia @ Pittsburg
Virginia was great last season and that is something I did not write since a long time.
Bronco Mendenhall got the team 2016, when coming from a successful BYU career, and I was skeptical he would be able to turn the Cavaliers around who were so long so bad.
This could have been a system problem, not a coaching problem.
But now in his 4th season the Cavaliers do look back on track and they might challenge all other teams inside the division for a title spot.
Last year they did fall late in the season with 2 losses in a row to finish 8-5 (with a bowl win) and far from getting a division title, but this season ... I think they will eventually not improve much, but a bit.
Now they face on the opener Pittsburgh, a team which is known to be a tough cookie.
Pat Narduzzi is in his 5th season and his non-nonsense-style did bring him some respect inside the state and in the nation.
Last year they finished only 7-7, but did almost beat Notre Dame and almost Stanford.
This year I expect them to be a bit less effective, but with Narduzzi you never know.
It's a home game for the Panthers, so expect a great start.
Virginia is favored by 2.5 points, but ESPN users do favor Pitt by 53%.
I think Virginia has all the tools to start with a win, if they are ready.
Since I don't have an influence on that, I need to believe it.
Cavaliers win.

Other interesting games:

Thur. Aug. 29
#14 Utah @ BYU
Called 'The Holy War', a rivalry game inside the state of Utah.
In 99 meetings so far Utah is leading by 27 wins and won the last 8 games. Will this change this season?
Could be, BYU plays at home and the line is not that high against them. Utah is favored by 6.0 points.
But I go with Kyle Whittingham, HC of Utah since 15 seasons and he did bring this program really forward.
He won almost 2 of 3 games since he started.
Kalani Sitake on the BYU side had a rough start at BYU and he is likely still on a hot seat, had a 7-6 season with a bowl win last year.
Utah is a well oiled machine and if not something big comes up, they Utes will do this here, again.
Utes win.

Sat. Aug. 31
Ole Miss @ Memphis
Very interesting matchup with a struggling Ole Miss team from the SEC going against an up and coming team from Tennessee.
The Tigers had a down season last year, still tied for a division title.
They should be better this year.
Ole Miss had a rough year last season and are expected to get a bit better, but inside the SEC with all the stuff going on, they might still need time to recover from the ban they got from the NCAA (this season it's off finally).
Memphis is favored by 5.5, while the ESPN users are almost split 50/50, with a slightly tendency towards Ole Miss.
I see it this way. Memphis, at home, in good shape, should win this.
If Ole Miss got their team in 100% ready mode, we might see an upset, or if Memphis takes this too easy (which would be a major error of coaches and players) we also see an upset.
But I like Memphis in this, so ...
Memphis win.

South Carolina vs North Carolina
Sometimes called 'The Battle of the Carolinas', a rivalry game between both schools.
57 meetings, UNC leads by 15 wins, but South Carolina won the last 3.
South Carolina is favored by 10.0 points this year, which is not much, if you think of a new HC at UNC and they were awful last year.
I think they will get hammered, if South Carolina plays 100%.
South Carolina win.

Virginia Tech @ Boston College
Here we have 2 established coaches leading their teams into the season opener.
Virginia Tech had a down season last year finishing 6-7 (thanks to a lot of injuries), while BC finished 7-5 (and did not play their bowl game, because of bad weather).
But VT should be back while BC has some questions marks on defense, which makes Vegas having VT favored by 4.0.
Not sure we will see a close game here, but I pick VT on the opener in any case.
Virginia Tech win.

Northwestern @ #25 Stanford
Stanford at home on season opener against Northwestern, hmmm.
The Cardinals are expected to be in an upper level battle against Oregon and the 2 Washington teams for their division, while Northwestern is projected to finish mid level inside a not so strong Big10 West (behind Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin).
Don't get me wrong, both teams can win here and if the Wildcats really take the win home, that would set a statement.
But I can understand that Stanford is favored by 6.5 points. Hmmmm. Or not, I would have give them 7.0+
Stanford win.

Boise State @ Florida State
Very interesting game and it would have been even more interesting, if this would have been in Idaho, instead of Florida I would see Boise clearly as favorite.
The Seminoles still only got a line of -5.0, so also Vegas is not sure what to do with this FSU team.
I think Boise State will challenge them, and given FSUs QB nonsense, I think Boise State will get them.
Boise State win.

If you do play the Pick'em game with me, don't forget to make your picks!

'Til next time

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