RedZoneAction.org Blog
2022-11-16 07:44

Before we start, I have to say that I'm sorry to hear that a former Virginia Football player is the prime subject in a shooting, which did kill 3 current Virginia Football players and wounded 2 more.

I can't understand what brings anyone to such a crime, I can only hope that society will learn from it and that finally some steps are made to limit such things to happen.
Nobody can get to 100%, but we can try, and we should try.

How stupid does it seem to discuss the sport in all its drama, when THIS drama can happen.
Every shooting is one too much.

This weekend was from sport and competition point of view a great weekend, but those killings just make it so idiotic to be happy about it, that I'm almost willing to skip the blog.
But that would also not help, so I do my thing ...

So many teams did struggle and fall this weekend, it did have a quite heavy impact on the playoff picture and the conferences.
At least that way, that early confirmations did not happen often this weekend, many conferences became more open than before the week.

We start with the featured games.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 11

Sat. Nov 12
#4 TCU @ #18 Texas
That game was a statement, and it did prove that TCU is worth the consideration becoming the BIG 12 champ.
They did lead throughout the game and Texas had to play catch-up and scored only the last TD basically in garbage time, even it still was possible that Texas could tie the game later.
TCU did melt down the clock on the last drive and did close the game, without giving Texas the ball back.
The Horned Frogs are now a lock in the BIG 12 Championship game, the Longhorns do only have a very small chance to get the 2nd spot.
#4 TCU 17 @ #18 Texas 10 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 20-8

#9 Alabama @ #11 Ole Miss
Ole Miss did lead 17-14 at the half.
And until end of the 3rd quarter, it was quite OK, still the game was tied at 24, but in the 4th quarter it was all Alabama.
Thanks to a great defense, especially on the last Ole Miss drive, which forced Ole Miss to go for a TD and was stopped on 4th down on a 4th and long inside the Alabama redzone.
The consequences are, the LSU is the division title winner, Ole Miss and Alabama can only win a share on the last conference game (if LSU loses) but LSU will play for the SEC Championship.
#9 Alabama 30 @ #11 Ole Miss 24 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 20-9

#15 North Carolina @ Wake Forest
North Carolina had to play against a tougher team this week and did start in a good way.
The did lead at the half 27-21.
But Wake Forest had a good 3rd quarter and led 34-33 when the 4th quarter started.
They stopped UNC on the Deacons 1 yard line on 4th and goal and did play a long drive afterwards but were also stopped on 4th and 3 on the UNC 10-yard line.
So many points left on the board already.
UNC was stopped early and then .... did Wake Forest throw an INT and UNC got the ball at mid-field.
And this time they took the field goal.
Wake Forest was unable to counter that, and the game was over with UNC getting the division and playing Clemson for the ACC Title.
Wake Forest needs to win some more games to get away from a pity bowl spot.
#15 North Carolina 36 @ Wake Forest 34 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 20-10

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov 12
#22 UCF @ #17 Tulane
Tulane did not play like a favorite in the 1st half, they did trail early and were unable to catch-up.
When the 2 teams split, the score was 24-14 for UCF.
Late in the 4th did Tulane then wake up and scored a TD, still trailing 38-31.
With about 2 min. left to play, the did try and onside-kick and failed, and UCF did run down the clock.
The inside the conference unbeaten team got beaten and the American got a lot more open by that.
Jacks interesting games Score: 20-12

#19 Kansas State @ Baylor
I did pick the Bears and got heavily disappointed, but on the other hand was glad that Kansas State was able to get back on track.
There is not much to talk about, the Wildcats won 31-3!
Kansas State is now back in the driver seat for a BIG 12 Championship game spot and Baylor can concentrate on the bowl season, but to get a better spot, they still need to win against TCU and Texas.
With that performance, they will not get that done.
Jacks interesting games Score: 20-13

#7 LSU @ Arkansas
That was a very defense driven game, very boring from my point of view.
At the end did LSU win here in an unconvincing way 13-10.
LSU did get the Championship spot secured.
Jacks interesting games Score: 21-13

Purdue @ #21 Illinois
Oh my god, the Illini are melting away in the late season.
Purdue did beat them 31-24 and by that are now in good position to actually win the division, but several other teams are on their heels.
Illinois needs to win their games at least from now on to at least stay in the hunt.
Illinois was in prime position to win the division 2 weeks ago and now they need help.
Jacks interesting games Score: 21-14

Other scores:
Kent State did win against Bowling Green 40-6 and did limit Bowling Greens chances for the division title.
Washington did beat Oregon, on the road, 37-34. Big upset, which makes the playoff chances of the PAC 12 very slim and opens up the PAC 12 Championship spots a lot.
Also, because Arizona did beat UCLA, on the road, 34-28. Big win for Arizona, big loss for UCLA, who will face a do-or-die-game next weekend.
Boston College did beat NC State, on the road, 21-20. BC had lost 4 in a row, even against UConn, and then they won against ranked NC State. WTF!
Vanderbilt upset Kentucky, on the road, 24-21. The Commodores have lost 5 in a row this season and ... hold your breath ... 26 in a row against SEC-teams, and suddenly they win against ranked Kentucky.
West Virginia did beat Oklahoma, at home, 23-20. What a tough season for Sooners fans. They lost their HC last year (who does right now have USC in the race for a PAC 12 Championship and a playoff spot) and are now after several seasons (since 2015 only double-digit wins, Conference Championships and BIG Bowls or even playoff spots) of winning and winning they are 5-5. I guess the new HC has not many friends right now.
UConn did win against Liberty, 36-33. UConn by that bowl-eligible, first time since 2015. Liberty was favored by 13.5 points.
Iowa did beat Wisconsin, 24-10. By that both teams are still in the division title race, but it gets slim for Wisconsin.
Auburn won against Texas A&M, 13-10. A&M has really a bad season and I guess only the heavy contract does prevent a HC change.
San Diego State won against San Jose State, 43-27. SJSU was in good position to win the division, but now they have a lot of competition.

That's that for week 11.

Let's have a look at the playoff contenders.

For the rules on the list, please look at the blog entry for week 5-7.

I did mark the week 4 TOP 10 teams with a ‘*’.

The 3rd College Football Rankings did not change much to be fair, regarding the TOP teams. But Oregon did drop and some other teams.

CONTENDERS
#1 * Georgia Bulldogs - SEC (10-0, won against Mississippi State, next week against Kentucky on the road)
#2 * Ohio State Buckeyes - BIG10 (10-0, won against Indiana, next week against Maryland on the road)
#3 * Michigan Wolverines - BIG10 (10-0, won against Nebraska, next week against Illinois at home)
#4 TCU Horned Frogs - BIG 12 (10-0, won against Texas, next week against Baylor on the road)
#7 * USC Trojans - PAC12 (9-1, won Colorado, next week UCLA on the road)
#9 * Clemson Tigers - ACC (9-1, won against Louisville, next week against Miami at home)
#13 North Carolina Tar Heels - ACC (9-1, won against Wake Forest, next week against Georgia Tech at home)

HOPEFULL
#5 Tennessee Volunteers - SEC (9-1, won against Missouri, next week against South Carolina on the road)

ELIMINATED this week
Oregon Ducks - PAC12 (8-2, lost against Washington, now a 2-loss-team)
Ole Miss Rebels - SEC (8-2, lost against Alabama, now a 2-loss-team)
UCLA Bruins - PAC12 (8-2, lost against Arizona, now a 2-loss-team)

LSU is at #6 right now and is in prime position to beat the odds and get to the playoffs with 2 losses. (That's why they are not on the list, 2 losses -> eliminated from the list, but reality does right now beat my rules, until LSU loses again, I guess)

We have now only 8 teams on the List for 4 playoff spots and several will play against each other to make or break it.
LSU is the Joker, not on the list, but primed to play Georgia in the SEC-Title game. IF they win, they might rise high enough to make the TOP 4.
If Georgia wins, they will be in and LSU for sure out.
Ohio State and Michigan will play in less than 2 weeks for the division crown and the winner will play some other team to get the BIG 10 Title. For sure, if OSU or Michigan would lose THAT game, they are likely out, a win makes them TOP 2. Interesting will it get, if they really lose and the Not-playing in the title game team gets to ... which position then?
Could they sneak in? Likely not, but maybe, if OSU or Michigan wins the BIG 10 and then some other teams struggle.
TCU needs to win the BIG 12, 1 loss will mean doom for them.
Same for USC, PAC-12-Title or bust.
Same for Clemson, ACC-Title or bust.
North Carolina needs all prayers and then some, realistic they are already out and just by rule still on the list.

But if all need to win to be in, what happens if all fail (which is unlikely).
Assuming Georgia and say Ohio State run the table and win their conferences, TOP 2 are set.
Now everybody else fails.
Then we have a Michigan team, which did only lose to the BIG 10 champ and a Tennessee team, only losing to the SEC Champ.
I think they would be then the 2 other teams.

But still 2 weeks of games ahead and things will change, for sure.
Remember I expected for the past week no big changes and we lost 3 teams from the list ...
That might make me a bad picking writer, or it shows the games are more open than expected.

Now to the conferences, for the rules of tracking see blog entry of week 9.

THE AMERICAN
UCF 5–1
Cincinnati 5-1
Tulane 5–1
SMU 4-2
Houston 4-2

With Tulane losing the perfection, SMU and Houston are back in the mix and with 2 games left to play, all can get a spot in the Championship game.

ACC
Atlantic
Clemson 7-0

Now Clemson is lone division champ and will face for sure North Carolina in the Championship game.

Coastal
North Carolina 6-0

UNC is set as at least sharing the division title. But they are fixed to play in the Championship game. Duke could win a division title share but would need to win all games and UNC needs to lose all games.

BIG10
East
Michigan 7-0
Ohio State 7-0

THE GAME will decide the division title. Period.

West
Purdue 4-3
Illinois 4-3
Iowa 4-3
Minnesota 4-3
Wisconsin 3-4

Wow, still 5 in the mix and 2 games left to play. Purdue has the best remaining schedule, so they are primed to actually win the division.

BIG 12
TCU 7-0
Kansas State 5-2
Oklahoma State 4-3
Baylor 4-3
Texas 4-3

Thanks to some results, Kansas State is in the driver season for the 2nd spot. But the other teams do still have a chance. TCU is set.

CUSA
UTSA 6-0
North Texas 5-2
Western Kentucky 5-2
Florida Atlantic 4-2
Rice 3-3

UTSA is not set so far, but of course they are primed to secure a spot. The 2nd spot is quite open and even Rice could make it.

MAC
East
Ohio 5-1
Buffalo 4-2
Bowling Green 4-2

Buffalo and Bowling Green lost their games, giving Ohio the edge right now. It seems that Bowling Green is the key, they have to play Ohio and Toledo. If they can win both, they can actually win the division. A loss in either of the games will make Ohio the division champ.

West
Toledo 5-1

Ball State lost their 3rd game, so they are out for now. Toledo is set for the MAC Championship game.

MWC
Mountain
Boise State 6-0
Wyoming 5-1

No change, but the upcoming week does feature Boise State vs Wyoming.

West
Fresno State 5-1
San Diego State 4-2
San Jose State 4-2

SJSU lost and is now, as SDSU, behind Fresno State, who has the direct compare to both teams and a loss less. They are likely to win the division.

PAC 12
USC 7-1
Oregon 6-1
Utah 6-1
UCLA 5-2
Washington 5-2

Now that Oregon and UCLA lost, the race for the 2 spots are now wider open than last week. But I think this will sorted out fast. USC and Oregon will play some teams from that list in the next 2 weeks and then the finalists will be set.

SEC
East
Georgia 7-0

Georgia is set for the SEC Title game, but could have to share the division title, if they lose the last SEC game and Tennessee wins.

West
LSU 6-1

LSU is set for the SEC-Title game, but could also be forced to share the division, if they lose and Ole Mis and/or Alabama wins.

SUN BELT
East
Coastal Carolina 6-1

Coastal Carolina is set for the Sun Belt Championship game, not sure, whether James Madison, who are ineligible for a bowl game, could share the division title, if they win their game against CCU. It seems regardless the result, James Madison can't play in the title game.

West
Troy 5-1
South Alabama 5-1

Troy is not set so far but has a much easier remaining schedule.

The next week has some crucial games inside the BIG 12 and the PAC 12.
Unfortune many games do feature quite uninteresting matchups, who will only become interesting, if the favorite stumbles.
But such games are tough to predict.

The BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 12

Sat. Nov 19
#4 TCU @ Baylor
TCU is set for the Championship game, but Baylor NEEDs the win to stay in the hunt.
A loss is very likely the end of the championship spot hunt.
Of course, all competitors could also lose, but that's quite unlikely.
Surprisingly is TCU only favored by 3.0 points, which is for me really a surprise, given the fact that Baylor lost last weekend big time at home against Kansas State.
For me this is clear, Baylor needs to play almost perfect to win here, which I just doubt.
The gut feeling says that TCU HAS to stumble at least once in the season, but I can't see them losing here.
Horned Frogs win.

#7 USC @ #16 UCLA
Another small final, this time say 50% for USC, 100% for UCLA.
With the surprising loss last week against Arizona is UCLA in a bad position. They are 1 loss behind the leading teams (USC, Oregon and Utah) and need to win both games to stay in the hunt.
If they lose here, the direct compare will limit them, regardless the last game results.
And for USC, this is also important, because of that direct compare and of course they should not fall behind Oregon or Utah in wins.
USC is favored by 2.5 points in that 'Battle for LA' and will try to get the Victory Bell back from last year’s winner UCLA.
Is there really a home field advantage, I'm not sure here.
With the loss last week, it's hard to predict which team will show up.
The Arizona-UCLA, or the Utah-UCLA.
I think USC will win here, likely in a close game.
Trojans win.

#10 Utah @ #12 Oregon
And the next finale inside the PAC 12.
Utah is 1 game behind Oregon and needs the win. A loss will send them down into the Pit with other teams, like the Arizonas or the North-California-teams.
A win will lift them up and will send Oregon down.
But Oregon would still have a small chance to recover, Utah has not that luxury position.
Played in Eugene, the Ducks are favored by 3.0 points, but I think all people are confused, how and why the Ducks did lose to Washington at home.
That was not foreseen.
Well, the winner will get a lift in the championship spot hunt, the loser gets a downer.
Taken both PAC 12 games together the Championship matchup can be fixed after this weekend, or very wide open for the season finale.
For this game here, I expect Oregon to rebound and to win, a close game.
Ducks win.

Other interesting games:

Sat. Nov 19
#15 Kansas State @ West Virginia
This looks almost ridiculous, but the game will eventually fix the BIG 12 Championship game setup.
Only Kansas State has to win, having a game ahead of all other competitors.
A win will keep them separated from Texas and depended on their game, will make the direct compare in case of a season finale loss for KSU still in favor or KSU.
West Virginia did win surprisingly against Oklahoma and do now host KSU.
The Wildcats are favored by 7.5 points, so everyone does expect a KSU win here.
Me too, I think they will destroy West Virginia, but you never know.
Wildcats win.

Iowa @ Minnesota
It's rivalry time here.
The trophy 'Floyd of Rosedale' (a big pig) is awarded to the winner and Iowa host that trophy since 2015, 7 games in a row.
This season the winner will take the trophy and the last shot for the division title, the loser won't get anything of that.
Minnesota is favored by 2.5 points, which looks OK.
If Minnesota can score early and a bid more often, the Hawkeyes are in big trouble.
I see that Iowa did improve over the past few games, but I think Minnesota will play their guts out and win this in a close one.
Golden Gophers win.

#1 Georgia @ Kentucky
Likely a done deal, but I thought let's have it at least in.
Kentucky is the last big game Georgia has, prior the SEC Championship game and eventually playoffs.
They are favored by 22.5 points, which is a mile.
Kentucky CAN win this, but not in many tries out of 100.
Georgia does look very good, and Kentucky did not do themselves a favor losing last week against Vanderbilt, one of the worst, if not THE worst SEC teams of all.
So, Georgia it is also in my prediction, but I HOPE that we will see a close game.
Bulldogs win.

That's it for the upcoming weekend.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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