2019-11-14 07:19

What a wild weekend.
Still very nice upsets, which do shred my picking record, but who cares ...

Biggest upset this week was Minnesota’s win over Penn State.
I'm not sure Minnesota had a great game, or Penn State a bad one.
Sure, Gophers fans will say it was a great game and it was at least great to watch it, but I'm not convinced Minnesota is really THAT strong.
They did win and they did deserve it for sure, but with Iowa and Wisconsin looming, there way to the BIG10 Championship game is just getting started.

Next big upset was Virginia Techs win over Wake Forest.
A result nobody had seen as upset at all, before the season, the Hokies were unranked, while Wake Forest was ranked and the only team which had in theory the chance to stop Clemson to win another time at least the division.
Hokies did play at home and won with a perfect 4th quarter, which did seal Clemson’s division title already.

The next Playoff list did come out and TOP10 did look this way:
RK Team Rec
1 LSU 9-0
2 Ohio State 9-0
3 Clemson 10-0
4 Georgia 8-1
5 Alabama 8-1
6 Oregon 8-1
7 Utah 8-1
8 Minnesota 9-0
9 Penn State 8-1
10 Oklahoma 8-1

So what happened?

LSU did jump to #1, over Ohio State.
Clemson made it into the TOP4 thanks to Alabama’s and Penn States losses.
Georgia did beat out Alabama for the #4 spot, likely because of strength of schedule.
Oregon gets closer, but if not some meltdowns happen, they do look like they won't get in.
Same for Utah, but maybe the PAC12 Championship game would elevate one of the two into TOP4, if played against each other with no losses from this point on?
Minnesota made a huge jump into TOP10.
Penn State did fall, but not too hard
And Oklahoma did suffer a spot, thanks to the internal competition inside the TOP25.

Now let's face it:
If all plays out as expected, Ohio State will play for the BIG10 as favorite, a win would secure a TOP4 spot.
LSU has to battle likely Georgia for the SEC, the winner is in. If both keep winning, Alabama will eventually profit from the Championship game, since the loser of LSU-Georgia would fall a bit. Georgia with 2 losses for sure deeper than 1-loss Alabama, LSU with 1-loss ... not so sure.
Clemson is in, if the keep on winning.
Utah-Oregon could elevate the winner into TOP4, but that will be tough, maybe too much.
If Minnesota wins against Ohio State, they would be TOP4, but will not swap places with Ohio State and Ohio State would fall out, I think.
I think the BIG12 would need a MAJOR shift to get a spot, even if Oklahoma wins now everything that comes up.

There are many ifs and thens in this, so let's wait and we will see ...

And by the way, Arkansas did fire their HC Chad Morris after 1 and 3/4 of a season with a record of 4-18.
Before he coached the Razorbacks he did coach SMU to a 14-22 record in 3 season with each season getting better.
I can understand they did take him at that time, but honestly a team like Arkansas should be able to get something ... different.
Since Bobby Petrino left the University had not much luck with their coaches.
Petrino was let go, because of that Motorcycle/Girlfriend incident, then John L. Smith was brought in as quick fix, since the season was about to start fast, then after that season Bret Bielema, the quite successful Wisconsin HC (3 conference titles in a row) was hired and did guide Arkansas through 5 quite OK seasons, but a bad season in his 5th year did cost him his job.
Now Chad Morris is gone and Arkansas can look for a new coach.
This is not a good situation, since it seems the expectations inside Arkansas are higher than they can usually deliver regarding environment and recruiting.
So they need a person willing to coach in that environment and who is a hidden gem.
It will be interesting to see, what kind of gamble they will make.
Rumors are, they try to get Auburns Malzahn, but he already said he loves Auburn ... That would be a stupid switch from the outside view I have.

The 3 games selected as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 10

Sat. Nov. 9
#4 Penn State @ #17 Minnesota
As written did Minnesota win this one, thanks to a good playing Gophers team I guess.
But ... Penn State did play bad football, too.
I think Minnesota is happy there is no best of 5 or best of 7, because I think they would lose such a series.
Overall did Minnesota capitalize the most out of the Lions mistakes, so they did play better than Penn State.
A great win for the Gophers, who are now 9-0 the 1st time since 1904!
It's the 1st win over a TOP5 team at home since 1977.
The Gophers country is wild right now.
Next up is Iowa on the road, then Northwestern on the road and then Wisconsin at home.
I think they have a good chance to reach the BIG10 championship game, since they are 2 games ahead of Wisconsin, the only team with 2 losses, the rest has more.
But they need to win at least 1 more and a Wisconsin loss, or they need 2 more wins, which won't be easy.
What I don't believe will happen is, that they will go unbeaten.
It's not impossible, but those 2 games against Iowa and Wisconsin will be very tough and also Minnesota can have a bad day.
Penn State did drop a bit inside the division, now 1 game behind Ohio State and followed by 2 loss teams from Indiana and Michigan.
They can eliminate Indiana on the next game, played at home, and they need to win against Ohio State to have a chance for the Championship game spot.
The Rutgers game at last should be more easy, but that is of cause also a must win situation.
With all the upsets happening over the current season, there is a lot of room left.
#4 Penn State 26 @ #17 Minnesota 31 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-15

#2 LSU @ #3 Alabama
I did pick Alabama and I was wrong.
The Crimson Tide had a very bad 1st half and needed basically the 2nd half to get back into the game, but it was too late to turn the tide.
Must have been a shock for the Tide fans when their team did commit turnover over turnover and LSU did score and Alabama did not, at least not often.
LSU did lead 33-13 at the half.
That's a lot.
The 3rd quarter was OK from Alabama point of view, they did held LSU scoreless, but did score too few points to shrink the losing margin.
Then in 4th quarter did LSU return to form and Alabama did play catchup with a game they can not win.
The Tide did score fast, at the end to get behind only by 5 points, but failed the onside-kick and LSU did run the ball out.
LSU has Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M as remaining teams to play. Their chances to lose are very slim.
Alabama needs basically 2 LSU losses to get into the SEC Championship game, thanks to the direct compare.
That will not happen.
The Tide will play Mississippi State and Auburn as remaining games, as an FCS team in between.
The Iron Bowl lost the spice a bit, but still this will be a great game,
And don't forget the 2011 season, when Alabama lost to LSU during the season and was still selected to play in the BCS Championship game and won.
Alabama is by far not eliminated from the playoffs.
They lost a close game against the 2nd ranked team in the country, now ranked #1.
If they win all remaining games, the 4th spot could be theirs.
#2 LSU 46 @ #3 Alabama 41 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-16

#18 Iowa @ #13 Wisconsin
I would say, Wisconsin did enough to stay in the hunt, but they did not look like the team to beat.
This looked like a classic BIG10 game, with few points and a close finish.
Iowa can still play spoiler and will try to improve their record against Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska.
Chances are good they can do that.
Wisconsin needs some help, but they still can win the division, especially if they win against Minnesota.
But that one is on the road and before that is Nebraska and Purdue.
#18 Iowa 22 @ #13 Wisconsin 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 19-16

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 9
#12 Baylor @ TCU
Baylor did good and won 29-23 in 3 OT. So I was not sooooo wrong with the coin flip, it just fell to the wrong side.
Baylor still has to face Oklahoma and Texas, which will determine their fate.
TCU needs 2 more wins for a bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 23-10

#5 Clemson @ NC State
A landslide win for the Tigers (55-10) which gave them also the division title, thanks to the Wake Forest loss to Virginia Tech.
Clemson still has to win all remaining games to get for sure into the playoffs.
A loss would eventually push them too deep down the rankings.
They have to play Wake Forest and South Carolina, so in theory all good.
NC State also looks for 2 more wins for a bowl spot.
Jacks interesting games Score: 24-10

#15 Notre Dame @ Duke
OK, Duke did have a black day and lost 7-38.
That's a lot and did not help them or Notre Dame.
I'm really disappointed by that performance, but fine, can happen.
Jacks interesting games Score: 24-11

Wyoming @ #22 Boise State
Boise needed OT to win their home game, thanks to a missed field goal by Wyoming (which would have tied the game again).
So Boise won 20-17 in OT and will now face New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State to get into the Championship game.
Biggest rival will be Utah State, who are right now 1 game behind.
Wyoming can only play the best they can and hope for a miracle, they are 2 games behind Boise and would need a major Boise meltdown to win the division.
Likely they will end up in a nice bowl game.
Jacks interesting games Score: 25-11

More astonishing results from the weekend:
Western Michigan won against Ball State and opens up the MAC West that way. 4 Teams with 2 losses now leading.
In the MAC East did Miami (OH) win against Ohio and got that way the lone 1st place in the division.
UCF lost their 3rd game this season, this time against Tulsa, which is a surprise, since Tulsa did play bad so far this season and UCF was a 16.5 favorite.
Washington won against 2nd place Oregon State on the road, but the Beavers could still win the division, if they win all games and Oregon loses all games from now on.
Texas did beat ranked Kansas State 27-24. The Wildcats will likely fall from the ranks or at least will drop several places after that.
As mentioned did Virginia Tech win against ranked Wake Forest 36-17. I hope Clemson did send some 'Thank you!' card to the Hokies, Clemson has clinched the division for the 5th time in a row since 2015.
Western Kentucky won against Arkansas 45-19 on the road, which led to the mentioned firing of Chad Morris, the HC of the Razorbacks.
Colorado won against Stanford 16-13. The Cardinals really in a bad season this year. Still 2 wins shy from making a bowl spot.
Troy did beat Georgia Southern 49-28. A gift for Appalachian State as it seems, who now are in 1st place in the division as only team.
Illinois won against Michigan State 37-34 on the road. The Spartans are also still 2 wins shy a bowl spot and Illinois is playing like they want to save Lovie Smith, their HC, in his 4th year. So far his results were 9 wins in 3 seasons and he has right now already 6 wins this season and the Fighting Illini will go for a bowl!
Louisiana Monroe won against Georgia State 45-31, which is also a reason why Appalachian State is now 1st in the division.
Appalachian State on their side did win against South Carolina, on the road, 20-15. That Gamecocks win against Georgia does more and more look like a miracle.
Nevada did win against San Diego State 17-13, which makes the West division a bit more open. SDSU is leading with 2 losses, while 3 teams are behind with 3 losses.

That's it. I will go on a vacation on Friday, so I'm not sure I will be able to come up with an edition in week 13 and week 14, but I will do my best.

Overall I did s e l e c t 6 games to have a look at, divided by 3 and 3 regarding top games and other games.

I selected these 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov. 16
#4 Georgia @ #12 Auburn
That's the biggest test for Georgia for the remaining season.
They are favored, on the road, by 2.5 points, so a close game is expected.
Not sure what we will see, here, both teams had their ups and downs so far this season and it felt the teams did adjust their play to the level of competition.
So hopefully we will see a good one here.
Auburn won all home games so far, Georgia all road games.
I think both teams are more or less on the same level, Auburn lost to Florida in a close one, and against LSU.
Georgia made that booboo against South Carolina and won everything else.
It will come down to the last quarter I guess and both teams did not often show a great last-drive-to-win-spirit.
Most of their closer games were won by grinding the team down over the game, or lost by the same spirit from the Opponent.
In doubt for the home team, right?
Tigers win.

#8 Minnesota @ #20 Iowa
Who will get the 'Floyd of Rosedale'-trophy? That's a pig-shaped trophy granted to the winner of this rivalry.
Iowa won the last 4 games, but Minnesota is leading the rivalry and the trophy series (which started a bit later).
Vegas is favoring Iowa by 3.0 points.
Not a bad line, since Iowa did play tough in almost every game and Minnesota did beat Penn State at home last week, but did so far not prove whether that was a booboo by Penn State or a display of strength by Minnesota.
The surprising fact is, Minnesota is unbeaten so far, Iowa lost 3 (Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan, all ranked at that point, all close).
I expect a close game, again, but this time I think will Minnesota win.
The momentum is high right now for the Gophers and their offense did look really good.
A tough defense is coming up against them, but as was Penn States defense, so we might see a classic BIG10 game here, or not.
I could imagine the Hawkeyes lose on a higher margin than a score.
Golden Gophers win.

#10 Oklahoma @ #13 Baylor
Is this the point where Baylors season gets very special, or where it is brought back to the ground.
Imagine the Baylor fans, after those great years under Art Briles, cut to an end with the revelations of the sexual crimes and the environment of ignorance and cover up mentality.
The university’s image ruined, the football team in general a bunch of sexual crime committers (which was in general not true, there were those guys on the team, which was hard enough) and of cause the success did decline (not that a winning team would somehow make up for those crimes, don't get me wrong).
Then Matt Rhule came (after a 1 year interims coach) from Temple and started from scratch with 1-11 in 2017 and 7-6 last year.
Now the team is 9-0 and could actually win the BIG12. Great for the fans, for sure.
This game here is likely the toughest test Baylor will face beside a potential BIG12 Championship game.
Oklahoma did play great so far but lost to Kansas State.
Still they are 10.0-point favorite in this road game.
And I'm willing to believe that they will actually beat them even on a higher margin.
Baylor lost almost against TCU last week, they did win, but TCU is not the type of team as Oklahoma is.
Can Baylor win?
Will they win?
I don't think so.
Sooners win.

other interesting games:

Sat. Nov. 16
Michigan State @ #15 Michigan
Both teams are not in the best shape to battle it out for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
That does of cause not limit the intensity on the field, just the shockwave the result might produce.
The Spartans are not in their worst season under Mark Dantonio (that was 2016) but with 4-5 so far they are on the brink to miss a bowl spot, which did happen only in 2016 once.
The good news for the Spartans is, the last 2 games are against Rutgers and Maryland, so the chance to get 6 wins are not that bad as they seem.
They lost 4 in a row and of cause they want to break that streak against their rival.
That rival won last years game and is so far 7-2, which is worse than they wanted at that time of the season, but not as bad as it could have been.
They can thank this to good games against Notre Dame and a lucky win against Army in OT.
Coach Jim Harbaugh does not get that kind of money he gets to lose in Michigan, especially not against the rivals.
This season it looks a bit grim, since they lost already to Penn State, but won the Notre Dame game and are also favored to win here with 13.5 points.
The biggest streak he has to break is still the Ohio State game, but that's for another preview.
The betting line does indicate that there is not much hope for the Spartans to get this, but since this game is always special, this can go any way.
The last 4 games were all won by the visiting team.
Do I believe this will continue this week?
No. But it could.
But the losing streak on the green side and the winning streak on the blue side, combined with the big house ... tough to think the Spartans will overcome all this.
Wolverines win.

#23 Navy @ #16 Notre Dame
When I played football in the 90s this game was a classic, but always won by Notre Dame.
In fact Notre Dame won every game from 1964 to 2006, that's 43 games.
Then Navy did break the curse and won it 4 times since.
This season could be a season where Navy has a chance to win it.
Navy is playing good football, Notre Dame is playing not as good as in recent years and might get trapped here.
It's played in South Bend, so home field is all Notre Dame and that will for sure help.
Navy will need a perfect game, or a sloppy Notre Dame team.
I'm not willing to bet against the home team here, but watch out, there might come an upset.
Fighting Irish win.

Wake Forest @ #3 Clemson
This is likely the last big test for the Tigers before a playoff game.
And they are ... hold your breath ... 34.5-point favorite.
Before the last weekend was Wake Forest ranked and this game had a bit more spice, but they lost to Virginia Tech and did give that way already the division to Clemson.
Now all Wake Forest can do is, play the best they can and eventually spoil the Tigers season.
A win here would mean a lot of damage for the Tigers.
But that would be one of the biggest upsets ever done.
Tigers win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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