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2019-09-05 06:12

The 1st week is over and we already have the first fallouts.

USC and Northwestern did lose their starting QBs to injuries and they likely won't return this season.
Several other players did suffer injuries and will take time to heal.

Doesn't have to be related, but it might be interesting for you in that context.

I did read some time ago an article which did feature a phenomenon which does happen often and more often with each year going by.
It was within basketball, but I don't see a reason why it should not also at least partial hit football.

The topic was that many players do suffer severe injuries in their 1st few seasons playing college or pro basketball, and the numbers are going up.
After some research the author did find as one reason the more and more happening specialization of young and very young sports talents to a single sport.
In the past it was the case that a talented player did play several different sports until he did decide to focus, mostly during his college career.
Now it happens that players do focus already in high school or even middle school on a single sport.

This does according to the article result in very 1-dimensional growth and strengthen of bones and muscles.
Once the structure becomes under enormous pressure, like extensive training and game-schedules, the structures are more prone to break or give up.
The generalist approach of the past did help the bones and muscles to build a better structure and therefore less injuries did happen.

This could be a good reason, but I'm wondering what to do, if this is true.
Will we see, eventually, some sort of must-have-compliment-sport to keep on one hand the focus on the designated direction and to avoid with the least effort the potential risk?
Or will we see some sort of survival-of-the-fittest-approach, where the teams just sort out the 'weak'?

We will see.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 1

Thur. Aug. 29
UCLA @ Cincinnati
I'm asking myself, how many people now exist, thinking 'That Chip Kelly hire was a mistake'?
So far did UCLA not show anything of the trademarks Chip Kelly did sell during his time at Oregon or in the NFL.
Cincinnati did play good football, but far from perfect, especially in the 1st half.
But UCLA was basically not able to cash in on turnovers and opportunities.
In the 2nd half then did UCLA start making errors on top of it.
And if someone hears that a Chip Kelly offense did score only 14 points ... tststststs.
I guess life in LA did not become easier for the 2nd year coach, while Luke Fickell can add a non-conference-power5-win on his win column and move on.
The Bearcats will at least play a good game this year in the American.
UCLA 14 @ Cincinnati 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 2-1

Sat. Aug. 31
#11 Oregon vs #16 Auburn
I'm pretty sure this will hunt the Ducks for some time.
They had all the tools and the score to win this game and did allow in the 4th Auburn to come back and take this win away.
They did not score enough against Auburn, for sure and they did not score anything in the 4th quarter, so no wonder they lost.
But most frightening was, they did suddenly allow 2 scores in a short period of time with no turnovers, so they just bended to much, become weak.
For a team on a contender mission, this was a weak showing and a bad game for the PAC12 in total.
Auburn did secure a win which will help them for a bowl spot, I still don't believe they will play a big role inside the SEC.
#11 Oregon 21 vs #16 Auburn 27 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 2-2

Virginia @ Pittsburg
The 1st half was even with both teams. Pitt was leading by 1 points when they entered the locker room, 14-13.
Both teams had their drives stuffed at some point and both did score, obviously.
Then did the 3rd quarter start and Pitts luck ran out and never returned.
Or did Virginia find all the right tools to stop Pitt for good?
Whatever changed, it did result in Pitt turnovers and mistakes, which did lead to Virginia advantages and points, while the Panthers got nothing.
At the end did Virginia win this conference game 30-14 and got a great start into the season with a road win against a conference opponent which is not easy to beat.
For Pittsburgh this means they have to adjust quickly and play better than that to become anything than a potential spoiler this season.
Virginia 30 @ Pittsburg 14 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 3-2


Other interesting games:

Thur. Aug. 29
#14 Utah @ BYU
Utah did win it again. BYU was unable to contain Utah at any time in the game and lost 12-30.
For Utah that is now a 9 game winning streak against their rival.
Jacks interesting games Score: 1-0

Sat. Aug. 31
Ole Miss @ Memphis
I would like to say, 'told you so', but in this case the game was so low scoring and bad, any team could have won this and at the end it was Memphis running game and defense securing the 15-10 win over Ole Miss.
Jacks interesting games Score: 2-0

South Carolina vs North Carolina
North Carolina was beaten after the 3rd quarter. They did trail 9-20.
The did the Gamecocks stop to play good football and switched to bad football and gave the game away, UNC scored 17 points in the 4th quarter, while SC did score zip.
Bad idea and bad game.
UNC has at least for 1 game the savior story rolling with Mack Brown winning his 1st game of the season and returning HC of UNC.
Jacks interesting games Score: 2-1

Virginia Tech @ Boston College
Virginia Tech did allow themselves 1 bad quarter and Boston College did use that perfectly to shift the momentum on their side and were then clever enough to secure the win over the 2nd half.
Not the best start for the Hokies which had some ambitions inside their division.
No they are already 0-1 in conference game, which they will likely curse later in the season.
For BC this was a perfect start and I'm curious to see, how they will do this season. Maybe they can at least play spoiler sometimes.
But I still doubt they will content.
Jacks interesting games Score: 2-2

Northwestern @ #25 Stanford
This game was basically over at the half and then did Stanford fumble the ball and Northwestern came back into the game with a TD, trailing 7-10.
Lucky Stanford did get a recovered fumble on their own and won this 17-7 in a boring match.
Jacks interesting games Score: 3-2

Boise State @ Florida State
This was meant to happen in Jacksonville but was moved to Tallahassee thanks to the hurricane.
Boise State got bad into the game and trailed 19-31 at the half.
I thought they will drop it, but thanks to a unconcentrated FSU team they did score 17 unanswered points in the 2nd half and won 36-31.
The heat is on at Tallahassee.
Jacks interesting games Score: 4-2

Other interesting results:
UConn did barely beat FCS opponent Wagner 24-21. UConn last year in the American did almost start with a downer.
Western Kentucky lost against FCS opponent Central Arkansas 35-28. Planned to be a cupcake-win-bringer this is a bad start for Tyson Heltons 1st game as a HC.
Tulane did destroy Florida International 42-14. Why is that interesting? Tulanes record since 1999 is 82-163 (with big improvements in the last 2 years with 7-6 incl. a Bowl win last season) while FIU had a some winning seasons lately (8-5 and 9-4 incl. Bowl win) and under Butch Davis are meant to contend in the Conference USA this season. This is not over, but it looks like Tulane did improve further.
Nevada did upset Purdue 34-31 with game winning field goal. The kicker did instantly got a scholarship after the game.
Colorado did win now the 5th time in a row the Rocky Mountain Showdown against rival Colorado State, this time 52-31. Good start for the Buffaloes under the new HC.
Kansas barely won against FCS team Indiana State, 24-17. Not really a good start for Les Miles, but at least a win.
Georgia State won against Tennessee 38-30. This is hugh, since Tennessee is a very respected SEC program, while Georgia State is a Sun Belt program which had a 2-10 season last year. UPSET OF THE WEEK!
Arkansas had a hard time winning against FCS team Portland State with 20-13. Chad Morris is in his 2nd season and HC and won so far 3 games.
Wyoming did upset Missouri 37-31. Great start for the Cowboys, a major setback for the Tigers.
And at last the game which gets the title MOST BORING GAME OF THE WEEK, Weber State (FCS) @ San Diego State with SDSU winning 6-0. Unbelievable. The Azteks were known for great offense and scoring and they get a cupcake game and score 2 field goals? YEAH!

So that's that for week 1.

Now let's get to week 2. Unfortunately the games scheduled are not the best of the best.
I had a hard time to find anything worth a 2nd thought. Of cause many of the scheduled games will result in good or even great games, because the favorites do handle the opponents the same way as I did the matchups, with disrespect, but it's not clear which of those will this be.

I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Sat. Sep 7
#12 Texas A&M @ #1 Clemson
The Tigers are the reigning National Champion and have all the tools to repeat. Most prominent they have Trevor Lawrence, who won the starting QB spot in his true freshman year and now in his 2nd season is expected to even add something more than being one of the best QBs in the nation.
His 1st game last week was not the best, but Georgia Tech did not stand a chance against a well loaded Tigers team, so this did not matter much.
Dabo Swinney, in his 11th full season at the program is respected and will look for the return to the playoffs, for sure.
And this game here can become a major factor when it comes down to playoff spots and seatings.
Texas A&M is in the 2nd year of the Jeff Fisher era. Fisher had won the national championship with Florida State a few seasons ago, but was unable to keep the Seminoles on top in the following years and bolted to A&M when the opportunity came up.
Now the Aggies do have all the tools they ever wanted to become national powerhouse again. At least that's what they hope.
A&M won 9-4 last season, including a bowl win, and are expected to gain a bit more strength in Fishers 2nd year.
The Aggies players are confident to win this early showdown between this 2 teams and for both teams this is crucial regarding the playoffs.
A win will add a major boost to the campaign, while a loss will likely not let them fall not too deep, but will hurt, for sure.
Unfortune for the Aggies players, Vegas does treat their team like a non-power5-team, not like a contender in the SEC.
Clemsons line is -17.5!
I hope we will see an open match at a great show, but I'm not so confident as the Aggies players regarding an upset.
On top of all the strength the Tigers have, they also play at home, where they are a force.
Last season this game did happen also on gameday 2 at College Station (so A&M homefield) and Clemson won by 2.
Now they play at home and have a Heisman-Candidate QB with a National Championship experience behind center.
Nope, I think the Aggies will have to gain their reputation inside the SEC by beating their opponents there and have to hope for a rematch in the playoffs.
Tigers win.

#6 LSU @ #9 Texas
This is for me the most interesting game of the gameday.
LSU is under control of Coach Orgeron since mid season 2016 and he had last year his best season with 10-3, including a bowl win.
He is still not overall loved, since he was so far not able to beat rival Alabama and that other thing, called championship.
But he is improving the team and overall I think LSU is in good hands.
On the other end of the field we have the Texas Longhorns under management of Tom Herman, now in his 3rd season.
You can hear the Longhorns fans calling for the crucial results, ignoring the 10-4 season of last year, including a Championship game participation (lost to Oklahoma) and a bowl win, because the team did not win the BIG12 and of cause not something more, which is the expectation in Austin.
So both coaches are under pressure, which they knew when they did decide to take the job.
And they do face off against each other.
You might think that Texas should get the nod here, because they play at home and LSU coming to town, but the people are so happy with LSUs development and coaching staff, that Vegas has LSU as 6.0 point favorite here.
Which is of cause not acceptable for the Longhorns.
Both teams had cupcake games as season opener, which they won with a big margin, so nothing from that side.
Overall this comes down to Texas ego vs LSU pride I guess.
I find this hard to predict, but I'm leaning towards Texas, because of the home field advantage.
Both teams can win here and maybe Texas will get a beating here, but Herman did beat the odds often enough to be at least skeptical.
Texas win.

#25 Nebraska @ Colorado
The rematch of last years game at Nebraska, which did started the record 6-game-season-start-losing-streak which did put at that time new HC Scott Frost in a very bad situation.
The team did later win 4 game, including a game against Michigan State which did show that the team got some juice during the season.
Now we are in Frost 2nd year and it's rivalry game again.
Huskers-Buffaloes did meet so far 70 times and Nebraska leads 49-19-2, but lost of cause last season, which ended a 3-game-winning-streak.
The Buffaloes are under new management with Mel Tucker, former DC of Georgia, and the team won last week the rivalry game against Colorado State.
With this game played in Boulder, Colorado, this could become interesting.
The Huskers are favored by just 4.0 points, so everyone is either expecting a close game, or they are not sure who will actually win.
I'm also not sure.
I think Frost will have the Huskers advancing further to become a good team again, but for one did Tucker not get a cupcake team under his watch to work with, for two he will set up a good defense and for three this is played on the road.
In total I'm not sure this does outweigh the progress the Huskers should have made.
Overall I'm leaning towards the Huskers and ignoring the homefield-doubts itching in the back of my head.
The Buffaloes did finish 5-7 last year, which did cost the HC his job after several good, if not great seasons, so Colorado might bounce back this season or we will see a total makeover like Frost did with Nebraska last year and the Huskers will dominate this season.
Looks like I'm taking myself in taking the Huskers regardless, so let's stop it here.
Huskers win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Sep 8
Miami @ North Carolina
With the win against South Carolina did UNC become a bit more interesting and this game here got more weight.
Miami is 4.0 point favorite and lost against Florida in week zero and had a bye week last week.
Time to heal, time to adjust and time to focus on the new look Tar Heels.
I think UNC is not ready to take the ACC by storm, so the Hurricanes should be able to win this.
Hurricanes win.

#23 Stanford @ USC
This seems to become some kind of poor mans version of what could have been. USC lost their QB in week 1 and now Stanfords QB is also questionable.
Played in L.A. this should be a bit favor the Trojans, but my feeling says Stanford.
USC leads the rivalry 61-33-3, with Stanford winning the last meeting at home.
USC is also 2.5 point favorite and Stanford has not won in L.A. against USC since 2015.
The Cardinals QBs status make this tough, but likely we will see a conservative game and USC has a lot of tools to compensate their loss at the QB position (including mores QBs ...).
So ...
Trojans win.

#21 Syracuse @ Maryland
Maryland is favored by 2.0 points, so more or less an open game.
Likely based on Marylands big win against a FCS team last week, while Syracuse did only win by 24 points against Liberty.
Mike Locksley is the new HC at Maryland and we will see, whether this will work fast or not.
On the other hand is Dino Babers in his 4th season and had last year a great season with 10 wins, including a bowl win.
It's expected to have them a bit in a down year this season, but how much less they win, is open.
I think Barbers will have his team playing hard and we will see a close game.
I pick the Orange, since I expect Barbers to exploit some weak spots inside the Terrapins formations which are usually there with a new HC on the team.
Orange win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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