2023-10-25 09:11

Not all results as expected, but overall not so many surprising upsets.

UNCs loss at home against a 1-5 Virginia teams is one of those surprises, which will eventually cost the Tar Heals any ambition for any title this season. Thanks to the crazy ACC they still have a (quite good chance), but eventually the tie breaker will kill them.
Central Michigans loss against 1-6 Ball State did likely als destroy any hope for a division title for the Chippewas.
Most devasting loss was likely Clemsons OT loss to Miami, even it was not too unlikely and Clemsons chances on a championship spot were slim anyway at that time. Devasting it was (at least from my perspective) since Clemson was the proud, competitive and best team from the ACC since a decade or more and this season was supposed to be a small comback. Instead the season is already on it's way to become one of the worst season since over a decade. I would love to hear the discussions on campus.

So far still no changes on coaching positions, which is surprising, since in the past few seasons the programs did hit the button fast when a team is in early trouble.
Maybe they did learn something out of the past few years, or it's just the exception on the new rule book?
I'm sure the wave of firings will come, sooner or later, and justified or not.

And now, let's have a review on the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 8

Sat. Oct 21
#7 Penn State @ #3 Ohio State
The most anticipated game on that weekend.
A close game, which was likely one of those signature BIG10 games of the past.
A lot of defense, a lot of pressure, a few moments of breaktroughs and scoring opportunities.
The 1st half did look like Ohio State would have a few percentage more on the field and would slowly run away from the Lions.
Leading 10:6 the marching band stormed the field at the half to do their thing on national television, again.
When the teams came back on the field, it was more of the defense side of the game and the 3rd quarter was simply scoreless. So now running away in that time.
Then did OSU get the ball, after they lost a lot of field position by their own fault.
The team was able to get a decent drive together and scored another field goal.
And a few drives later, while Penn State was unable to do much, did OSU also score a Touchdown to lead 20:6.
Now the time and the score did force Penn State to open up.
They managed to get in scoring range, but some stupid penalties did end their chances on that drive, gave OSU the ball and they did ... miss a field goal try.
So, still a chance, the Lions on the way, and scored a Touchdown! 20:12 now, after a failed 2-pointer.
Under 30 ticks left, the onside kick did fail and the game was done.
Penn State was again the loser and Ohio State has a game ahead and the direct compare in that tough division.
Ohio State has now won 7 in a row and Franklin, the PSU HC, has only won once, since he became the HC in 2014.
#7 Penn State 12 @ #3 Ohio State 20 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 17-8

#17 Tennessee @ #11 Alabama
Oh man, if I would be a Tennessee fan .... I would drown in tears.
The fact is Alabama has wiped the field with Tennessees hope for 15 seasons, won year by year.
Then last season, the Vols did win, by 3, did spoil the Crimson Tide season. Wuhu!
Now you get back to the rival, on the road, with almost the same setup, so you believe in another win, right?
And then ... did the team start fantastic!
They had 3 unanswered scores in the 1st quarter, they did lead 20:7 at the half. Wuhu!
And then ... it turned all into shit and you allow 5 unanswered scores in the 2nd half and lose 34:20.
Alabama did turn that game big time and their defense did play great in the 2nd half.
THAT was championship caliber performance everyone did expect from the Tide through the season.
Not sure they have now found their spirit and Alabama will cruise to the SEC Championship game, but maybe ... maybe.
For sure Tennessee is now out of the Championship discussion, since they lost too much ground to Georgia and the others now ahead of them.
Only a meltdown of the SEC contenders could lift them back into contention.
#17 Tennessee 20 @ #11 Alabama 34 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 18-8

#16 Duke @ #4 Florida State
Duke has left more than chance to win in Tallahassee.
They were on the same level as Florida State for 3 quarters, leading 20:17 at the half and held the Seminoles scoreless in the 3rd quarter.
Problematic was, they also did not score in the 3rd quarter and then in the 4th, the Blue Devils were suddenly unable to contain FSU, while also being unable to move the ball.
Florida State did score 21 points and won the game by that to secure the 1st place, while Duke now has to see, how the rest will play.
Duke has still a chance inside the ACC, thanks to the crazy other results, but that loss still does hurt.
#16 Duke 20 @ #4 Florida State 38 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 19-8

And some other interesting games:

Sat. Oct 21
#14 Utah @ #18 USC
Both teams did play almost equal, which was a bit surprising, since Utah is not a scoring machine as USC.
But the the Utes defense did contain the Trojans good enough to stay on the same level.
Tied at the half did then Utah pull away and led 28:17 starting the 4th quarter.
A pick six did then bring USC back into the game, and a few drives later did USC then actually getting the lead with a Touchdown. 32:31, 1:46 left in the game.
The Utes got the ball and made a good drive, with good clock management, a big run with 16 ticks left to play did bring them in scoring range and a 38 yarder did lift the Utes to a 34:32 win over USC on the road.
Jacks interesting games Score: 12-11

Minnesota @ #24 Iowa
Another of those limited-in-scoring-BIG10 games, which ended with a upset by Minnesota, winning for the 1st time since 1999 in Iowa 12:10.
Minnesota won by 4 field goal, and Iowa did basically lose, since their returner on a punt play did signal illigal fair catch signals (he did made waving signes with his left hand, likely some sort of deligating signs for his teammates, but you never know ...), which did annihilate the return touchdown he made, once the ball was in his hands.
Of course the house was angry, but the ref was right. Sorry Iowa. Better teach your players.
Jacks interesting games Score: 13-11

Toledo @ Miami (OH)
It did look like Miami would be able to comeback from behind, when they did shorten the deficit in the 3rd quarter by scoring 2 Touchdowns, while keeping Toledo in check, but it was not enough.
The Rockets did control the 4th quarter, did not score, but did also not allow any scoring and by that won the top game of the MAC 21:17.
Jacks interesting games Score: 13-12

Colorado State @ UNLV
CSU did lead at the half 13:3.
Then did UNLV turn on the boost and scored 16 points in more than 1 quarter, until CSU did score again.
After that did CSU lead 20:19.
UNLV scored a field goal with 1:27 left.
CSU did score a field goal (from 55 yards) with 44 ticks left.
And UNLV tried a field goal with 3 ticks left and ... made it.
The Rebels did win a close game 25:23.
Jacks interesting games Score: 14-12

Any other crazy results?
Jacksonville State did win against Western Kentucky 20:17. A setback for WKU, but since JVST is not eligable for the post season, WKU is still in contention.
Washington had a hard time against Arizona State, but won at home 15:7. A lot of close games by the contention teams, not sure what to make out of that.
Same here, Oklahoma needed all they had to win against UCF 31:29 at home. UCF so far winless inside the BIG 12.
As already spoilered, UNC did lose against Virginia 31:27, at home. The Cavaliers were until that game winless inside the ACC and the Tar Heels had hopes for the Championship. Thanks to the other results inside the conference the setback is not that bad, just ... bad.
Air Force won the Academy game against Navy 17:6. It's surprising how those games do turn out, I would have expected a blow out win by Air Force, but it was much closer.
Mississippi State won against Arkansas 7:3. A battle in the pit of the SEC West, now the Bulldogs have their 1st SEC win, Arkansas still winless.
Charlotte did win against East Carolina, 10:7. Charlottes 1st win inside the American, the Pirates still winless inside the conference.
Wake Forest got their 1st win inside the conference against Pitt, by a score of 21:17. Obviously did Pitt not find a turnaround after last weeks win.
Ball State got their 1st MAC win against CMU (as said above), by 24:17. CMU by that very likely out of contention, but the season canbring some surprises, still.
A bad loss by Eastern Michigan against Northern Illinois, 13:20. NIU is by that right now the only team trailing Toledo by only 1 game.
And as hintend, Miami did win against Clemson in 2 OT 28:20. Miami has still a small chance to get into the ACC Championship game, but Clemson is from my point of view out for good.
And as last game mentioned did Nevada end their 16 game losing streak by winning against San Diego State 6:0. Whether that does help the coach to keep his job is unknown.


This week several teams got new into the list, thanks to some unbeaten teams got their ass handed to them.
We are closing in to the end of the October and that means the final month, November, is coming and the list will shrink fast.

Accoring to ESPN only 14 teams have a chance for the playoffs.
I'm not so sure about that, but it is not worth the chatter regading this, since it's only relevant in November and for sure then the list will be much smaller.
Since many conferences did shift to the one-list-for-the-conference-no-divisions-model, the teams will have a much better record then before reaching the conference finals.
In some years we had really bad teams winning a division, thanks to the lack of strength overall inside the division and at the same time a strong team was left out, since it has only lost to the other division winner. That won't happen in the PAC-12, BIG 12 and the ACC anymore. SEC and BIG10 did keep the divisions, at least this season.

American Athletics

Tulane3-06-1#22Tulane seems to be the best bet right now, Rice and UTSA are likely the toughest games coming
SMU3-05-2SMU has a quite easy schedule, which might let them cash in a ticket
UTSA3-04-3UTSA has several tough games against competitors, most deciding likely the season finale against Tulane
Memphis2-15-2 Memphis lost already a crucial game, against SMU for sure is another crucial one, which they need to win
Rice2-14-3 Rice has a tough schedule, one of the toughest, it seems unlikely they will survive this
Florida Atlantic2-13-4Several tough games against competitors will either let them rise or fall fast

North Texas and Tulsa did drop out by losses. Unlikely the team will present college football playoff team with the best team having 6-1. If they keep winning, they might sneak into a big bowl.

Florida State5-07-0#4Miami is the toughest team on the schedule left inside the conference, but the season did show so far, any game could become a problem.
Louisville3-16-1#18The loss last week did push them back, beside Duke the rest looks manageable, but they need help
North Carolina3-16-1#17The loss against Virginia is a tough blow, they need to win, NOW
Duke2-15-2#20A tough loss against FSU does limit their chances
Virginia Tech2-13-4A quite easy remaining schedule might keep the in the mix for a longer period, but overall, I doubt they will survive here
Boston College2-24-3Suddenly the 2-loss-teams do have some chances again, which brings in BC and other. I don't think they will survive long on the list
Georgia Tech2-23-4They did lose, but thanks to other losses, the 2-loss-teams are still in the mix.
NC State1-24-3The team does not play as expected, but thanks to UNC, they are back in contention, even it is a long shot.
Miami (FL)1-25-2The Clemson win does show, the team has potential and the still can make it. Out of all 2-loss-teams, Miami has likely the best chance to stay in the hunt
Virginia1-22-5That win against UNC did earn them a contenders spot at least for the week. It's unlikely they will keep it

A lot of teams did jump into the table, thanks to UNCs and Dukes losses. Boston College, NC State, Miami (FL) and Virginia are now back with a slim chance to make it to the ACC Championship game.
The weekend results did most likely eliminate all teams from playoff considerations, except Florida State. But granted, a 1-loss ACC champ, might have a chance, if the other teams do drop a game also.

East Division
Michigan5-08-0#2Right now the team looks most complete inside the BIG10, but November is the crucial month to see the truth
Ohio State4-07-0#3The close game against PSU was a win, now they need a win against Michigan at season end
Penn State3-16-1#10The loss against OSU did set them back. A win against Michigan might lift them back, if Michigan win against OSU afterwards.

West Division
Wisconsin3-15-2Wisconsin is right now the leader, but their schedule is tougher than the one of the others, so they might fall short. Ohio State is next
Iowa3-26-2That stupid loss against Minnesota did cost them the lead. Now they need to win and hope for a Wisconsin loss, which will likely come against Ohio State
Minnesota2-24-3If the win, they could jump all teams, but a tough schedule might prevent that
Nebraska2-24-3The team seems to have a small turnaround, but I doubt they will at the end stand on top

Northwestern did drop out, the rest of the West do still look like a class less than the top teams of the East.
Whoever wins the East is expected to win the conference and getting a playoff spot. We might see a 2nd team from the BIG10 to emerge, if the only loss was against the later BIG10-Champ in a close game.

BIG 12
Oklahoma4-07-0#6The win over Texas did lift the program this season to the 1st place. Last week was almost an upset. They need to play better than that
Iowa State3-14-3The Cyclones did start in a bad way, from my point of view, but did recover lately. Not sure they can keep that up
Oklahoma State3-15-2Almost the same for the Cowboys, bad start, but lately some good results
Texas3-16-1#7Did also almost lose last weekend, need to play better, if they want to stay in the hunt
Kansas State3-15-2A sightly tougher schedule might limit them to mid-level. If the beat Texas, they might reach the top
Kansas2-25-2Had a BYE, but Oklahoma comes next and might already bury the championship hopes
BYU2-25-2The win against Texas Tech was helpful, but the remaining schedule is brutal, starting with Texas
West Virginia2-24-3Lost now 2 in a row, which is not a good sign. With Oklahoma in a few weeks the team is now likely out of contention
Baylor2-23-4The road win against Cincinnati helped them to stay in the hunt, but tougher teams are coming

TCU, Texas Tech and Houston did drop out.
Oklahoma has a good chance for the playoffs, the remaining BIG12-teams, even if they would win the conference, would likely stay out of the playoffs, if all other teams competing perform well. Texas night sneak in, under certain conditions.

Conference USA
Liberty5-07-0Now the only unranked unbeaten team left. They look like a sure thing for the Championship game
Jacksonville State4-16-2They are not eligible to get into the post season. I kept them in to show they are there, and the direct compare or other tie breaker might include them
New Mexico State3-15-3The did start a bit slow, but so far I like what I see. Most crucial game is likely against WKU in November
Western Kentucky2-14-3They did lose against Jacksonville State last weekend and did that way drop from the unbeaten list inside the conference. With that loss the game against NMSU might become some sort of semi-finale
Louisiana Tech2-23-5Suddenly the Bulldogs are again in a far reach for a championship game spot, thanks to WKUs loss. Realistically they will drop from the list again fast

Louisiana Tech did come in, thanks to the WKU performance.
No Chance on a playoff spot, even as unbeaten team.

East Division
Miami (OH)3-16-2The loss to Toledo is not that bad, since they have the tie breaker so far. But Ohio on the road is next and if they lose that also, they are in trouble
Ohio3-16-2Miami or bust is the claim
Buffalo3-13-5A very mix result bag so far from this team, but inside the conference so far still in the mix. But Miami and Ohio are coming in November
Bowling Green2-24-4Since Miami did lose the unbeaten status, Bowling Green has a small chance to get back in the division race. But the need to win big now onwards

West Division
Toledo4-07-1That win against Miami, in sum with the losses by CMU and EMU did almost give them the division. If they keep winning all is good, they can even allow a loss, since they have the direct compare to NIO, but that is nit recommended
Northern Illinois3-14-4The win against EMU last week did keep them in the race, but they need a massive losing period by Toledo to overcome the Rockets

The East did bring in Bowling Green, the West lost EMU and CMU.
Even a perfect MAC team would need a prayer to make the playoffs and they have already 1 loss on the best team.

Mountain West
Air Force4-07-0#19The best start of an Academy team since ages. If they keep on winning, the MWC could send the best ranked team to a BIG bowl
UNLV3-06-1They did struggle a bit but won. Wyoming and Air Force did wait for November
Wyoming2-15-2The next 3 games will decide their fate, since it's against strong teams
Fresno State2-16-1The people lost a bit their faith after the team did lose against Wyoming. Now wins are needed
Boise State2-13-4The loss against Colorado State was a setback, they need to win now onwards to stay in the hunt

Colorado State did drop out of the contender list.
Right now, Air Force looks like the real deal for a BIG bowl, but a playoff spot is not realistic right now

Washington4-07-0#5The only unbeaten team left in the PAC12. November will be very challenging
USC4-16-2#24They lost to Utah, which opens up the conference for a lot teams
Oregon State3-16-1#11They could slip into the Championship game, thanks to their schedule, but more likely they will drop in November
Oregon3-16-1#8With USC struggling, Oregon is back in business. But USC, Utah and Oregon State are in the schedule remaining
Utah3-16-1#13That win against USC on the road was big for them and it looks like they are not done
UCLA2-25-2#23UCLA has again a slim chance, thanks to USCs meltdown against Utah. Remaining schedule is mot as hard as of other contenders, but still … not easy
Arizona2-24-3Their chances for a spot are slim at best, they have a tough schedule, so don’t expect them to win all, but expect them to spoil the fun whenever possible

UCLA and Arizona did jump into the mix, thanks to USCs errors.
The teams with a chance to make the playoffs get lower in numbers, but as the conference did play out so far, the teams will beat each other out of playoff contention in November.

East Division
Georgia4-07-0#1So far not spectacular, but they won and all games coming do look manageable, so right now the best bet for the division title
Missouri3-17-1#16The next 2 games are the toughest, Georgia and Tennessee. After that they are done or king, I guess
Florida3-15-2Needs to win against Georgia in 2 weeks and then has to hope for a bit more, since they do not look as complete as needed

West Division
Alabama5-07-1#9That comeback was impressive and now they have to get the game against LSU in the box, then the division is more or less save
LSU4-16-2#15They will play Alabama and that is a game they need to win. If not, the division is done, I think. If they win, it opens up and everything is possible
Ole Miss3-16-1#12Some tough games left on the schedule, but overall they need also to hope for an Alabama loss against LSU
Tennessee is right now out of contention after the loss against Alabama.
Georgia vs Alabama is great, but maybe a bit overdone. It seems unlikely the division will send 2 this season to playoffs.

Sun Belt
East Division
James Madison4-07-0#25Got into the ranks now, after beating Marshall. But are not eligible for a post season something
Georgia State3-16-1The Panthers do play good if not great and if they keep winning they can reach the Championship game on their own term
Old Dominion3-14-3The remaining games are a nightmare
Georgia Southern2-15-2They will likely battle it out against GSU End of October
Coastal Carolina2-24-3CCU is still in the mix, thanks to JMU not being eligible. But so far, the team did underperform, and it is open it will do better in 2 half of the season
Marshall1-24-3A tough schedule will likely send them packing soon
Appalachian State1-23-4The November will decide their fate, but right now I think they will fail to qualify for the Championship game, maybe even for a bowl

West Division
Texas State2-15-2A hop-or-flop-team, likely to drop fast in the next few weeks
Troy2-15-2Might get into the Championship game thanks to an easier schedule and toughness
South Alabama2-14-3I had more hopes on the team in pre-season, but the team did underperform from my point of view too often
Louisiana1-24-3The team is really not bad and might come up big at the end of regular season
Arkansas State1-23-4The Red Wolves do not look like a consistent team. Will likely drop fast

The amount of contenders will shrink in the next 2-3 weeks fast I think, but so far no big changes.
I think no chance for a playoff spot.

Which brings us to the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 9

Sat. Oct 28
#8 Oregon @ #13 Utah
Let's start with the facts, the Vegas line has Oregon favored by 7.0 points, which is a lot, from my point of view.
It's in Salt Lake City, where the Utes are unbeaten so far.
Oregon has lost one game on the road, against Washington in a shoutout, Utah lost also on the road against Oregon State, which was more a defense battle.
Can Oregon find ways to score against Utah? Likely, but the question is, how often.
Can Utah get their offense going to score against Oregon? Well, they found a way against USC and won, on the road.
For me this is tough to pick, since Utah had so far play under expectation, still managed to win games I did think they drop and lost against the Beaver, which I saw as easier win.
Oregon had only Washington as tough team, and Colorado as hype team, as oppoenents and this game will likely answer several questions.
But only AFTER the game.
I believe the teams will play a close one, and I think Utah will do their best to control the game.
Neither winner would surprise me, but at the end I have to pick a winner and that is
Utes win.

#1 Georgia @ Florida
Played on neutral site in Jacksonville, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is on it's way again.
Georgia won the last 2 meetings in that long lasting rivalry and this season it looks like a three-peat is on the line.
Vegas favores Georgia by 14.5 points, which is a lot.
The reason is clear, Florida has worse stats on both sides of the football and did lose already 2 times, while Georgia won everything.
The Bulldogs did not look invinceable, but hard to stop and Florida did slip against Kentucky and Utah (both strong teams, but also both not TOP-TOP-teams).
A Florida win would be a surprise and a nice change in the line of power inside the division, but I fear that's just a dream.
Georgia has build themselves a winner and Florida is at least a season way to compete.
Bulldogs win.

#20 Duke @ #18 Louisville
The winner of this game will have made a big step closer to the ACC Championship game, the loser will need luck and help to get back into serious contention.
Duke looks OK, their losses against FSU and Notre Dame explainable. Louisville on the other hand looks like mystery.
They did win against Notre Dame, but lost to Pitt a week later.
Played at Louisville, this is likely the best help Louisville will get.
They are favored by 4.0 points.
Major question will be, can the Cardinals stop the run?
If not, Duke will run over them.
If yes, Fuke will have a hard time.
Since Pitt was able to beat the Cardinals I believe Duke has a good chance to win here.
Blue Devils win.

And some other interesting games:

Sat. Oct 28
Miami (OH) @ Ohio
The winner will take the advantage over the division.
Believe it or not, Ohio is favored by 7.0 points against a team which did only lose in a close one against the other hotshot from the MAC (Toledo) and the other Miami (FL).
Ohio lost to San Diego State and NIU, both on the road.
It seems Ohio is better suited in this game, but don't underestimate the Redhawks.
In doubt the home team I guess.
The home team has a great defense, the road team fields a good offense, so this dual will decide it.
Bobcats win.

#22 Tulane @ Rice
This could become a trap game for Tulane. They are the best team so far inside the American, but on the road against a quite easy opponent can become a trick thing.
Tulane is favored by 11.0 points, on the road. They have won all games since they lost against Ole Miss, but not many in a very dominant way.
Rice has lost 3 times so far, against Texas, South Florida and UConn. That UConn loss was the most concerning, since it was at home against a not so good opponent being favored by 10.0.
Not saying Tulane will lose, in fact I will pick them as a winner, but the setting and the timing could be right for a surprise.
Green Wave win.

#3 Ohio State @ Wisconsin
For both teams crucial. Ohio State can't affort the loss, since it would limit their playoff hopes and will also mean something inside the confernce, for Wisconsin a loss will mean to open up the competition inside their division again.
The Buckeyes are favored by 14.5 points, which is quite a lot.
If the Badgers can somehow contain the offense of Ohio State, they have a chance, but I think that is unlikely.
Buckeyes win.

#6 Oklahoma @ Kansas
And this one can also be a trap game, here for Oklahoma.
They are so far unbeaten, king of the BIG 12 this season so far and play at Kansas, a team which did show they can compete since 2 seasons.
The Sooners are favored by 10.0 points, they will play against a motivated team, they might underestimate.
I'm not giving the pick to Kansas, but if they win, I'm not surprised.
Sooners win.

That's it for this week.

'Til next time

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