RedZoneAction.org Blog, tagged with Block of Granite
2019-12-11 06:56

So that's it, almost.

The championship games are done and all favorites did win except 2 teams.

Before I go with the news and the College Football Playoffs, I cover the games.

Let's have a look at the results of the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 15

Sat. Dec. 7
DR PEPPER BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Baylor vs. #6 Oklahoma

Very interesting game.
Baylor did struggle in the 1st quarter, but had a good 2nd quarter and went into the halftime break with a lead.
Interesting was that Baylor had to take out their starting QB, who did hit the turf with his head during a sack.
That QB did play some more drives, but after a while the referees did call for a 2nd, now deeper, examination and the backup QB did turn the game before the half.
Then came Oklahoma strong out of the break and scored some points and took the lead again and when Baylor did trail 13-23 they brought in the 3rd stringer, who did create a comeback to force OT at 23-23.
Then in overtime did Oklahoma start 1st and scored a TD.
So now the 3rd stringer had to tie the game and that was too much.
Oklahoma defense was there, again at the right time, and did sack him for 10 yards and on 4th and 20 it was all or nothing and it did turn out it was nothing for Baylor and another BIG12 Championship for Oklahoma.
Baylor will play a high rated bowl game, for sure and has the chance to top the 11 wins right now, which ties the school record for most wins.
Their opponent will be a very high ranked SEC team.
Oklahoma did dream of a playoff spot, which did ... we will see later.
#7 Baylor 23 vs. #6 Oklahoma 30 (OT)-> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 27-19

Sat. Dec. 1
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#4 Georgia vs. #2 LSU

That was supposed to be a clash of almost equal teams, but it turned out, that LSU was too much for Georgia.
What I did not expect was that LSU would be able to score at any time.
At halftime we had a 17-3 game, which was OK, but after the 3rd quarter it was 34-3!
Georgia did play awful.
They had 2 missed field goals and 2 interceptions.
In garbage time did Georgia score again, but that was WAY too less to get this game turned around.
LSU wins the SEC, 1st time since 2011 (where they won the SEC Championship, but lost then the National Championship game against Alabama).
They will now play inside the College Football playoffs.
Georgia did on the other hand loss so clearly, that they have to hope for some major losses in other games to stick to their 4th place they had before the game.
#4 Georgia 10 vs. #2 LSU 37 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 28-19

Sat. Dec. 1
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#23 Virginia vs. #3 Clemson

This was awful.
The ACC has to do something, quickly, otherwise this is too much one-dimensional and only Clemson fans will watch this.
Poor Virginia had to swallow 62 points and Clemson was dominant on all sides of the ball.
Virginia did throw 3 INTs, which of cause did help Clemson even more.
I hope they level of quality did increase for some teams, because if Clemson does dominate further, this gets really boring.
With Florida State only a shadow of former strength, as is Miami and Virginia Tech, this might not happen fast.
The only hope right now is, that Virginia is getting better every season, so they get better recruits and maybe they can compete next season.
Well, Clemson will play inside the playoffs, Virginia will get a nice bowl spot.
#23 Virginia 17 vs. #3 Clemson 62 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 29-19

Sat. Dec. 1
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#1 Ohio State @ #8 Wisconsin

Until the halftime, this was an open game. No, Wisconsin was leading big time, so this might become an open game again, if Ohio State gets it done soon.
The Badgers lead 21-7 at the half and it did look like Ohio State would go down.
Then after the break Wisconsin was unable to score again, not on a single down.
There were 2 drives special in this scenario, 1st was the 1st drive of the Badgers after the break, where they lost a fumble.
The Buckeyes had scored a TD before and now got the ball back, and finally scored a field goal out of this gift.
21-17 now.
The next Badgers drive should have ended with a field goal, but the 48 yarder was missed and Ohio State did march over the field and scored a TD.
Now it was 24-21 for Ohio State and that did it.
The Badgers were unable to counter it, Ohio State did score further and at the end it was a clear Buckeyes win.
For Ohio State it means playoffs, for the Badgers it means Rose Bowl.
#1 Ohio State 34 @ #8 Wisconsin 21 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 30-19

Other interesting games:

Fri. Dec. 6
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Utah vs. #13 Oregon

Let's make this short, this was Utahs worst game of the season.
They did score only in the 3rd quarter and Oregon was unstoppable and won 37-15.
This was the worst case scenario for the PAC-12 regarding the playoffs and it did happen.
Good for Oregon, who will go for the Rose Bowl, bad for the rest of the conference, they lost again some reputation.
The last time the PAC-12 champ was in the playoffs was 2016 (Washington).
Jacks interesting games Score: 39-13

Fri. Nov. 30
MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan

It looked like Miami had some tricks left, they won against CMU 26-21.
The Chippewas led at the half by 4, but were unable to stop Miami after the break and before CMU did score again did Miami lead 23-14.
Both teams will go bowling.
Jacks interesting games Score: 39-14

Sat. Dec. 1
SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Louisiana @ #21 Appalachian State

Appalachian State led 35-17 at the half and Louisiana did play catchup for the rest of the high scoring game, but lost at the end 45-38.
Still a great accomplishment for both teams.
The Mountaineers did win again the Sun Belt, with a new HC and will go to a bowl. Unfortune for them their HC was hired away after just 1 season to become the next Missouri HC.
Louisiana did improve from 7-7 last year under a new HC to 10-3 so far and will go bowling again.
Maybe we have a rematch again next year with different results.
Jacks interesting games Score: 40-14

Sat. Dec. 1
AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#20 Cincinnati @ #17 Memphis

Hmmm. The Bearcats did lead at the half 14-10, but Memphis played hard and from that point on did the lead swap between the teams, until Memphis won 29-24.
The Tigers will now play in the BIG BOWL at new year as non-power-5-reprensentive (this year it's the Cotton Bowl) and will face Penn State.
The problem is, they will do this with out their HC Mike Norvell, who got the call from Florida State to become their new HC.
So Memphis will be guided into this very important game by their AHC/Co-OC Ryan Silverfield, with Norvell being allowed to assist, as it seems.
Not the best case, but could be worse.
Silverfield is also leading candidate to become the next HC of Memphis.
Cincinnati will go also to a bowl of course.
Jacks interesting games Score: 41-14

Sat. Dec. 1
CONFERENCE USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
UAB @ Florida Atlantic

UAB got smoked by the Owls and FAU did win 49-6.
Both teams got a bowl call, so they will play again.
FAU did lose their HC on the way.
I did ask myself whether some team would pick Lane Kiffin as their new HC and Ole Miss was so wise or so dumb to do this.
Whether it was wise of dumb can only future tell.
DC Glenn Spencer will take over for the bowl game, and who knows who will be the next HC.
Kiffin was very successful at FAU, and almost no noise there, and did win the conference 2 times in 3 seasons.
Not bad. Ole Miss would be happy to get that.
Jacks interesting games Score: 42-14

Sat. Dec. 1
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Hawai'i @ #19 Boise State

Also here a clear result.
As expected, did play Hawaii not their best game and Boise State won 31-10 at home.
Hawaii will play at home their bowl game, while Boise State gets a great matchup against Washington in Las Vegas. Washington will be coached for the last time by former Boise State HC Chris Petersen, under which current Broncos coach did work at that time. Family reunion, I guess.
Jacks interesting games Score: 43-14

So that's it.

After the weekend of cause the chatter was all about the next College Football playoffs rankings and whether Georgia or Oklahoma should get the #4 spot.
But honestly, after the gameday it was, for me at least, quite clear that it would be really tough to put Georgia with 2 losses (1 against South Carolina at home, 1 bad one against LSU on the Championship game) ahead of Oklahoma with 1 loss (against Kansas State, on the road).

And they did put Oklahoma ahead.
They did also decide to put LSU ahead of OSU, which might be symbolic, or they wanted to send a message. Don't know.
Here are the final standing (not sure what will happen if Navy wins or loses against Army, likely they stay at that point in the rankings, at the end only AP-polls and Coaches polls do matter anyway. And the bowls are fixed also.

RK Team Rec
1 LSU 13-0
2 Ohio State 13-0
3 Clemson 13-0
4 Oklahoma 12-1
5 Georgia 11-2
6 Oregon 11-2
7 Baylor 11-2
8 Wisconsin 10-3
9 Florida 10-2
10 Penn State 10-2
11 Utah 11-2
12 Auburn 9-3
13 Alabama 10-2
14 Michigan 9-3
15 Notre Dame 10-2
16 Iowa 9-3
17 Memphis 12-1
18 Minnesota 10-2
19 Boise State 12-1
20 Appalachian State 12-1
21 Cincinnati 10-3
22 USC 8-4
23 Navy 9-2
24 Virginia 9-4
25 Oklahoma State 8-4

So the playoff matchups are LSU against Oklahoma and Ohio State against Clemson. I like that.

Some more news:
QB Joe Burrow of LSU, QB Justin Fields of Ohio State, QB Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma and DE Chase Young of Ohio State are finalists for Heisman Trophy.
Right now it is expected that Joe Burrow is the favorite, but you never know.

South Florida did hire Clemsons OC Jeff Scott as new HC. Scott was for 12 years on the Clemson coaches roster, since 2015 the Co-OC.
He will coach for the playoffs, so he is not gone immediately. But of cause his work at USF starts now.

As mentioned did Missouri hire Eliah Drinkwitz away from Appalachian State after just 1 season there. Before that was Drinkwitz the OC of NC State.

Also as mentioned did Ole Miss hire Lane Kiffin to become their new HC. Kiffin had 1 season inside the SEC as HC of Tennessee and was for some seasons the OC of Alabama.

And also named in the reviews was the new Florida State HC Mike Norvell from Memphis. He did guide Memphis for 4 seasons and was very successful there.

Another hire comes from Rutgers, who had a very bad season and thought it would be good to get their former successful HC back. Greg Schiano did lead Rutgers for 11 seasons from 2001 to 2011 and was quite successful when the team was in the Big East at that time.
He then went to the NFL, become the HC of Tampa Bay, but was fired after 2 seasons and did then work as assistant in college and the NFL.
He gets a major contract, I hope he is worth it. Rutgers has great potential but is a big piece of work.

UTSA did hire Jeff Traylor, the AHC/RB coach of Arkansas as next HC. It's his 1st HC gig.

Old Dominion did name Ricky Rahne, the OC of Penn State, as new HC. Also his 1st HC gig.

And Arkansas did hire Georgias AHC/OL coach as new HC, Sam Pittman. He is a long time assistant, did serve as HC for 2 seasons on a junior college a long time ago, but did see a lot of stuff during his career. Eventually a very smart hire for Arkansas.

Open spots at HC are still at Boston College, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Appalachian State, New Mexico, UNLV, Colorado State and Fresno State.
Still very few new spots, last season (at the end) 27 schools had new coaches, so far I can only see 13 schools.
But maybe after the bowls some stuff will happen.
Especially the NFL did not call so far, so there still might some changes at top level schools, which would then cascade into the lower levels.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAME FOR WEEK 16

Sat. Dec. 14
Army vs #23 Navy
Like so many seasons the only game on this weekend and a very important one for the US people.
The president did announce again he will attend the game, which of cause will cause some more attention.
Usually the president is bound to sit one half at Army and one half at Navy.
Trump did something for the academy graduates recently, he did allow them to go pro instantly.
Before that they had to fulfill their military service or repay their education.
Of cause did that lower their draft value in the past.
Not sure this is a good thing, but likely this will help the academies to recruit more talented players to them.
Army is driving a 3 game winning streak, but this season was not that good as the past few and they are now a 10.5 point underdog.
Army did win so far only 5 games, 2 of those are against FCS teams.
Navy on the other side won 9 games so far.
The teams had played 120 times so far and started this in 1890.
Navy leads by 8 wins now.
The Commander-In-Chief-Trophy, the Trophy played for between all 3 service academies, can be won by Navy with a win.
If Army wins, they keep the Trophy, since they won it last season and with a win against Navy all games would be split, in which case the previous year winner does keep the hardware.
I give Navy here the pick of the week, since they did play very will this season and Army did not really convince me.
They had some bad losses, could be easily 2 or 3 wins better, but at the end this just shows the team need some more experience to overcome such deficits.
Last season I thought Army coach Monken would be recruited, but he is still there and I heard no buzz ar all about any of the service academy coaches.
Seems like they all are happy and will stay, which is good for the teams.
I do expect a game where Navy outscores Army by at least 2 TDs.
Enjoy the game.

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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2019-12-06 07:14

Yeah, Rivalry Week is in the books and of cause some great games did happen on that weekend.

First, some news:
After this weekend all bowl eligible teams are fixed, in total 79 teams did get the required 6+ wins (while only 1 FCS win does count, that's why Liberty needed 7 wins total, 5 against FBS teams and they had 2 against FCS teams, of which only 1 count against the bowls; and that's the reason also for Army not going for a bowl game, since they did win so far 5 games, but 2 against FCS teams, so the Army-Navy game will give them only 5 countable wins max, which is not enough) and there are 78 spots. So likely a SUN BELT-, a MAC-, a CUSA-team or Liberty as independent will not get a bowl spot.

Also did happen some coaches changes so far, which are
Chris Petersen will step down as HC of the Washington Huskies after the bowl game. He is 55 and has no health issues and also he had the support of the University. Jimmy Lake will become the next HC of Washington, he was so far the DC of the Huskies.
Petersen did made himself a name when he did push Boise State to great heights and when he took over Washington in 2014, some did think he might bring in even a National Championship after some years.
He did win the Conference 2 times, the division on top once in a tie and his record with Washington is so far 54-26 and a bowl is coming.

Also did step down Bobby Wilder of Old Dominion. He was their HC since 2007, when he did restart the program and their 1st season was 2009.
He did help the team to get into the FBS in 2013 and did win the division inside the CUSA once in a tie and in that season the program went to a bowl 1st time.
After this gruesome season with a 1-11 record and so many seasons he did step down.
Overall his record with the team is 77-56.

Barry Odom of Missouri was fired after the last game. The team went 6-6 this season, but has a bowl-ban. His overall record with the team is 25-25 in 4 seasons.
I think he did OK with Missouri, inside the tough division and conference, but of cause the expectations are always higher.

Also fired was Frank Wilson of UTSA. He did get a 4-8 season this year and overall in 4 seasons he had 19-29.

The next on the chop block is Charlie Strong of USF. South Florida had a bad season this year, unacceptable for a team which had often 10+ win seasons in the past. Strong had 3 seasons with the team and took over a winner, but went 10-2, 7-6 and now 4-8.
That's not the progress you want.
Will be interesting to see, where Strong will land next, but with 2 short lived HC gigs he will likely has to serve as coordinator if he wants to coach again.

Ole Miss did fire their interims HC Matt Luke who was later promoted to full HC. He served 3 seasons, but managed only 15-21 overall.
I guess Ole Miss has to look for some more sexy name, or better quality, if they want to become a force inside the SEC again.

We have also the info that Steve Addazio, who got the pink slip from Boston College after 7 seasons and before a bowl game.
He led BC this season to a 6-6 record and overall to a 44-44 record.
I think the expectations this season were way higher than the 6 wins, so likely the AD got tiered of this mediocre performance over the years and pushed the button.

And here a positive info regarding job security on a HC, Clay Helton will be the HC of USC in 2020. There were a lot of unrest and speculations over the season with a new AD and not so good performance this season that USC might skip the remaining years until 2023 and will let Helton go, but obviously they came to the conclusion that Helton is the best option for 2020. But since this is only for 2020, this will not end good, if Helton not brings in a great season with a conference championship and a playoff participation. In college football you need to recruit and WHO does sign basically a 4 year commitment with a coach who has a 1-year job security? Not as many as you get with a coach who has the full support, that's for sure.
So, I think this will bite USC.

And there was also the news that Mike Bobo and Colorado State did agree on parting ways. Bobo was CSUs HC for 5 seasons and has a record of 28-35 and 4-7 this season. Likely the university wanted to save some of the 5 mio penalty Bobo would have gotten, if fired before 1st of January and Bobo wanted to find something new as fast as possible.
From my point of view did Bobo NOT bring the success the university wanted and had in the past.

And at last there is the info that Fresno States HC Jeff Tedford will step down after this 4-8 season, he was 26-14 in his 3 seasons with the Bulldogs.
Why he steps down is not known yet, I think after the 2 great seasons with bowl wins, division titles and conference title, this 4-8 season was likely not the reason, so maybe he got tired or burned out? Don't know.

Now the games.

I selected these 4 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE GAMES FOR WEEK 15

Fri. Nov. 29 THE COMMONWEALTH CUP
#24 Virginia Tech @ Virginia
The curse is broken and after 15 years the Cavaliers fans did storm the field and celebrated the win and the division title.
Virginia did have a great 4th quarter and did turn the game around with some great defense.
The match winner was a tackle inside the Hokies endzone with a forced fumble which led to a TD.
Virginia will now face Clemson, which will be a BIG match and the Cavaliers will be a major underdog.
The Hokies will have to wait for the bowl setup.
#24 Virginia Tech 30 @ Virginia 39 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 24-18

#19 Cincinnati @ #18 Memphis
So, this did not go well for the Bearcats and hopefully they did learn something out of this, because they will play the Tigers again next week.
The game itself was closer than your might have expected them to play and Cincinanti did lose only by 10, but still, this does not look so well for the future.
Right now Memphis is the team to beat for the big Bowl spot out of the non-power5-teams, so motivation for Cincinnati to avenge this loss here should be very high.
#19 Cincinnati 24 @ #18 Memphis 34 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 25-18

Sat. Nov. 30 THE GAME
#1 Ohio State @ #13 Michigan
Sorry to say, but Michigan did play BAD.
Especially their defense, and of that their secondary was awful.
Ohio State was unstoppable and Jimmy H. has to ask himself, what they did there and whether the preparation and motivation was really there.
To get a beating like that inside their own building is bad.
#1 Ohio State 56 @ #13 Michigan 27 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 26-18

PAUL BUNYAN'S AXE
#12 Wisconsin @ #8 Minnesota
I thought the Gophers would win here with heart and passion, but their momentum went down and Wisconsin won this one easily.
At halftime it was still OK, but after that it was all Wisconsin.
So goodbye to the conference championship spot, all what's left of the season is a dream and a tied division title.
The Gophers will play in a good bowl, while Wisconsin will try to make it better than Michigan.
#12 Wisconsin 38 @ #8 Minnesota 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 26-19


Other interesting games:

Thur. Nov. 28 THE EGG BOWL
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State
Imagine you did just hit the TD with seconds left to play to tie the game up, but all what is missing is the extra-point.
Your WR, getting that TD, does the celebration in form of a peeing dog and gets a 15-yard-penalty for that.
The 20-yard extra-point becomes a 35-yarder and you miss the extra-point and lose the rivalry game against the Bulldogs 20-21.
Bye bye Matt Luke, your service is no longer needed!
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-12

Fri. Nov. 29 THE APPLE CUP
Washington State @ Washington
I'm sure the world was not all good after this game for the Huskies fans after that bad season compared to last years great one, but beating the instate-rival is likely a good finish.
The Huskies won 31-13.
I guess the step down of the HC is a much bigger shock than the 7-5 record so far.
Jacks interesting games Score: 32-12

Sat. Nov. 30 THE PALMETTO BOWL
#3 Clemson @ South Carolina
Clemson won 38-3, so it's clear who is the team to beat inside the South Carolina borders.
For Clemson this means they can play easily the conference championship game now, while the Gamecocks season is over.
Jacks interesting games Score: 33-12

CLEAN, OLD-FASHIONED HATE
#4 Georgia @ Georgia Tech
The Bulldogs won 52-7, on the road.
I hope Georgia Tech will get things done under their new coach, so far the impression is not so good.
But think about the fact they had to chance EVERYTHING.
Take time.
Georgia will face LSU for the SEC next week.
Jacks interesting games Score: 34-12

THE GOVERNORS'S CUP
Louisville @ Kentucky
I think Louisville needs some time to get into the dimension the Wildcats do have right now.
Kentucky won 45-13.
Both teams will play a bowl next.
Jacks interesting games Score: 35-12

THE IRON BOWL
#5 Alabama @ #15 Auburn
Nice game and a bit of a laugh.
The game went back and forth, really great football.
Saban was after the game upset because they got an 'unfair' penalty which allowed a FG for Auburn.
The penalty was because Alabama had 12 man on the field.
Saban did call it unfair, because Auburn did some substitution trickery (or did quickly change their mind, who knows) and Alabama did not send their best package on the field fast enough. A man extra was not fast enough to leave and the team got a penalty.
Bama lost 48-45 and is now officially out of the playoffs.
Jacks interesting games Score: 36-12

THE CIVIL WAR
Oregon State @ #14 Oregon
Oregon won 24-10, which is not the dominance which was expected.
Especially at home.
The PAC12 has to hope for Utah, since of Oregon wins the PAC12, I think the conference will not participate in the playoffs.
Jacks interesting games Score: 37-12

THE JEWELED SHILLELAGH
#16 Notre Dame @ Stanford
Notre Dame did dominate the game against a weak playing Cardinals team, won 45-24.
It will be interesting to see, how Shaw, the HC of Stanford will adjust for next season.
This was a BAD season for the Cardinals, in fact the worst since Harbaugh took over in 2007, where they had the same record and Shaw never had such a season before.
I don't think the Irish will change something after the bowl, but you never know.
My 2 cents are, Brian Kelly is NOT a coach the Irish need to get back into the National Championship ranks.
He is good one, for sure, but the team is NOT on the level the TOP10 teams have.
Jacks interesting games Score: 38-12

THE BEDLAM
#7 Oklahoma @ #21 Oklahoma State
The Sooners won 34-16 and did once again sink the Cowboys into the middle field of the BIG12.
Of cause that makes every win every now and than for Cowboys fans even bigger, but honestly, I would get angry with that kind of dominance.
Not sure what will happen, since 2 or 3 seasons there are always rumors of a coaching chance in Stillwater, but it never happens.
This season there was no chatter at all, so maybe they can concentrate on football?
Jacks interesting games Score: 39-12

Other stunning results of week 14:
Ohio won against Akron 52-3, which gives Ohio 6 wins and Akron has the honor to be the only team with ZERO wins.
Iowa won the rivalry game against Nebraska 27-24 and has now a 5 game winning streak on the Heroes Trophy.
Kent State won 34-26 against Eastern Michigan to get also a 6th win.
West Virginia won against TCU on the road 20-17. Both teams do finish with 5 wins only.
South Alabama did upset Arkansas State 34-30. That was the 1st win for the Jaguars inside the Sun Belt this season.
Northwestern won against Illinois 29-10. The Wildcats got that way their 1st BIG10 win of the season, but finish 3-9.
Syracuse won against Wake Forest 39-30. The Orange still only have 5 wins.
Liberty won against New Mexico State 49-28 and got that way their 7th win, but since they had 2 FCS wins, by the 7th win they got bowl eligible.
UNLV won the rivalry game 'Battle for Nevada' against Nevada 33-30 in OT. The Rebels will send their HC packing, but he does leave now with 4 wins this season.
Boston College win against Pitt 26-19 and got their bowl game ticket that way, but still send their coach packing, now.
Duke won the game against Miami 27-17, but finishes only with 5 wins.
Michigan State got also the bowl ticket with a win over Maryland 19-16.
UAB Blazers win their division with a win over North Texas 26-21. UAB will play FAU for the Championship.
North Carolina got also the bowl spot with a win over rival NC State 41-10. NC State lost 6 game in a row at the end of this season.

Let's move on and focus on the Championship weekend.

If you exclude the Navy-Army game, all other teams did already finish or will finish their regular season this weekend.
Then the bowl season will start and will end beginning of January with the National Championship game.

The bowls matchups will be determined after this weekends game result.

The Army-Navy is not relevant for that. Army is ineligible and Navy is already eligible.

Current Playoff standings are:

1 Ohio State 12-0
2 LSU 12-0
3 Clemson 12-0
4 Georgia 11-1
5 Utah 11-1
6 Oklahoma 11-1
7 Baylor 11-1
8 Wisconsin 10-2
9 Florida 10-2
10 Penn State 10-2
11 Auburn 9-3
12 Alabama 10-2
13 Oregon 10-2
14 Michigan 9-3
15 Notre Dame 10-2
16 Iowa 9-3
17 Memphis 11-1
18 Minnesota 10-2
19 Boise State 11-1
20 Cincinnati 10-2
21 Appalachian State 11-1
22 USC 8-4
23 Virginia 9-3
24 Navy 9-2
25 Oklahoma State 8-4

Now let's see:

LSU will play Georgia for the SEC. The winner is of cause TOP4, the loser ... if LSU loses, they might stay in, if Georgia loses, they are likely out, except some major shifts happen.
Ohio State will play Wisconsin for the BIG10. The winner is likely in, Ohio State for sure, Wisconsin, not 100% sure I guess, but very likely.
Clemson will play Virginia for the ACC and that is a major do or die game. If Clemson wins, they are in, sure. If they lose, both are out, for sure. Clemsons schedule is so soft that they can't afford 1 loss. And Virginia is now #23, that will not get to TOP4 with a win.
Utah will play Oregon for the PAC12, which means of Utah wins, they are likely in, but only if Georgia loses I guess. If LSU loses, they Utes might be not good enough. If Oregon wins, they are not in, I think.
Oklahoma play against Baylor for the BIG12 and I think they can only get into TOP 4 with some major shifts. I think Clemson has to lose and also Utah, LSU has to win and Ohio State also.
Best Non-Power5 is Memphis. If they win, they get the BIG BOWL spot, if they lose, this comes down between Cincinnati and Boise State.

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 14

Sat. Dec. 7
DR PEPPER BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#7 Baylor vs. #6 Oklahoma

This shows again how stupid the idea of #1 vs. #2 is.
We get not only a rematch, no we get a rematch in short time (fine this can also happen with division, but that happens not THAT often), which will not only be quite unmotivating, but also will bring nothing new on the table regarding strength of a team.
Assuming Oklahoma wins again, they did only prove they are stronger than Baylor for sure.
Will this elevate them to TOP4? I don't think so, if not Oregon and Virginia wins.
Assuming Baylor wins, it only proves both teams are more or less on the same level and deserve a spot close, but not in the TOP4.
Oklahoma won the Conference since 2015, since 2017 as winner of the Championship game.
Baylor won the Conference last 2014.
The Sooners are 9.0 point favorite and right now I don't see them losing this.
Baylor did play good this season for sure, but I think they lack the last bit of strength to win against Oklahoma.
The regular season game was lost by 3 points, I think this time they will lose with a higher margin.
Sooners win.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#4 Georgia vs. #2 LSU

LSU is favored by 7.0 points and for sure they deserve this.
They won every game and did win against all big opponents with a lot of points, except Texas (by 7), Alabama (by 5) and Auburn (by 3).
Now they meet Georgia in a semi-road-game, since this is in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia did drop 1 game, against South Carolina, at home.
Why that happened ... I don't know, but it did not help them.
Still they won all other big games, including Auburn and Florida.
I think both do have a fair chance to win this, but Georgia is a bit tarnished, not only because of the Gamecocks game, but also because they did not dominate the weaker opponents as other teams did.
They win against Notre Dame only by 7 and Texas A&M only by 6.
Fine that might be picky, but if you want to be the best ...
For me, LSU is the favorite, and I give them a 60% chance to win this.
But this is football and some stupid stuff can happen.
Expect a great game, I expect not so many points, and I expect LSU to take this.
Tigers win.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#23 Virginia vs. #3 Clemson

They did not meet so far during the season but that doesn't matter.
Last season was Clemson favored by 27.5, this season they are favored by 28.5!
There is a big gap in quality inside the ACC and even if I would like to see Virginia winning this, the chances are slim.
Clemson did start slow, did almost lose, but since 4 to 6 weeks they do look like their last season self.
Virginia needs everything they have to stay in the game and the Tigers did show they are prepared for games like this.
Tiger win.

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#1 Ohio State @ #8 Wisconsin

Ohio State did play a fantastic season.
It was so dominant, that they did push the normally dominating SEC teams from the top spot, under a new HC and with a perfect LSU team playing also a great season.
Now they play Wisconsin for the title.
They are favored by 16.5.
That's a lot, but they did win basically every game with a high margin.
Closed game was against Penn State with 11 points and the regular season game against Wisconsin was 38-7.
I think Wisconsin will play better than that now, but they can only win, if Ohio State does something stupid.
So far they did not do such stuff, so I guess the Buckeyes will get this.
Buckeyes win.

Other interesting games:

Fri. Dec. 6
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#5 Utah vs. #13 Oregon

Last season Utah did enter the game for the 1st time and lost to Washington.
This season they do face Oregon, who had a great season and the have a 10-2 record with losses to Auburn and Arizona State.
Utah on the other hand has 11-1 record with the only loss against USC.
The Utes schedule was a tiny bit softer than the Oregon one but are 6.0 points favorite.
Both teams did play great football lately, with Oregon having their booboo against the Sun Devils.
I'm sure the team would have been the favorite if the have won against the Sun Devils on a close one, but they lost and that way Utah looks like the team to beat.
The key factors will be each defense front.
If Oregon can play their defense as in mid season, Utah will lose, of the play like on the past 2 games, they will lose.
If Oregon wins, the team will have a hard time getting into the playoffs, while Utah has a good chance to get into the playoffs with a win.
Maybe they need some help, but it's not that much. Worst case for Utah (beside a loss) would be a Ohio State loss OR a LSU loss.
Both teams are strong enough to stay in the TOP4, so they might block an addition spot.
Best case would be a Buckeyes AND LSU win. Likely Georgia and Wisconsin will be ranked below Utah then.
Utah is a great team, and right now they have the momentum.
I'm willing to pick them as the winner, but I think it will be close one.
Utes win.

Sat. Dec. 7
MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan

Miami is 7-5, CMU is 8-4.
Central Michigan is favored by 6.5 points, which is quite OK from my point of view, since Miami did not really convince me of a dominant team.
Their last game was against the (now) 5-7 Ball State Cardinals on the road and they lost, big time.
Not the best bridge to the Championship game.
The Chippewas won their last 3 (including a close one against Ball State on the road) and did get a good turnaround under new HC Jim McElwain (former Florida Gators HC) with 1-11 last season.
Remarkable is, they won 6 of the last 7 games, so the tendency is going up.
That loss was on the road against Buffalo.
So I guess this will be quite 1-dimensional, which CMU dominating the game and winning by more than the spread suggest.
Chippewas win.

SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Louisiana @ #21 Appalachian State

This is the exact matchup we had last season when the Championship game was played for the 1st time.
The Mountaineers did win.
The only difference this season is, that Appalachian State is ranked, but not so high favored as last season.
The Mountaineers are 11-1, Louisiana 10-2.
The betting line is in favor of Appalachian State at -6.5.
I think the Mountaineers will destroy the Ragin' Cajuns for good.
Louisiana was barely able to win against their rival last week, the 5-7 ULM, will Appalachian State did win by 45 points. Sure you should not compare results that way, but that's not the only difference.
There is a reason why the Mountaineers are ranked and Louisiana not.
Appalachian State won against UNC and they did also win the regular season match against Louisiana by 10 points on the road.
Now they play at home against Louisiana again, who might have their biggest win against a Sun Belt team from Georgia.
Mountaineers win.

AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#20 Cincinnati @ #17 Memphis

So Memphis won last week and play the same game again.
They won by 10 and are now 9.5 point favorites.
Sure it is harder to play the same team again, since they know some of the tricks you have now, but Memphis is (I think) the better team, so barring some bad plays, Memphis will grind the Bearcats down, again, and will win.
Tigers win.

CONFERENCE USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
UAB @ Florida Atlantic

FAU is a 7.5 point favorite and while UAB does for sure deserve to be in the game, FAU did their best to be there.
UAB is 9-3 and lost 2 conference games, FAU is 9-3 and lost only 1 game inside the conference.
FAU lost only 1 game against Marshall mid season and won basically all games after staring 0-2 at season start against Ohio State and UCF.
UAB did play a good season and got the ticket here with a win over Louisiana Tech, but lost to WKU which FAU did win against on the road.
It will be interesting, whether some universities will try to get Lane Kiffin away from FAU if he wins out.
He did show on that level he can coach and can turn things around, but for sure did the teams also remember his stunts of the past.
Maybe he did mature and is now ready to take over a high-level team, but we will see.
UAB, by the way, won last year the championship game and is really a special program after their re-ignition, and their HC Clark does deserve to get a shot elsewhere, if he would like to do that.
But this season ...
I think they will lose.
Owls win.

MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Hawai'i @ #19 Boise State

I make this quick.
Boise State is favored by 14.0 points.
What counts here is, that this is a home game, against Hawaii, who had a shorter time for preparations (they played a late game against Army at home), who had to fly the many miles to Idaho and who do face a great playing team.
Hawaii did have a great season and of cause winning this would be even greater, but all odds do count against them.
Broncos win.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time
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