Blog, tagged with Block of Granite
2021-09-22 15:59

I guess for some teams the alarm is ringing.

Here is my list of the teams which are in trouble:
Florida State - After losing against Notre Dame, Jacksonville State (FCS) and Wake Forest the heat is ON. They did fire their last HC in his 2nd season, when he did not deliver. The current one did not deliver also, except losses every FSU alumnus would like to forget, and he is in his 2nd season also. Not sure he will survive the season, regardless his great result he had in Memphis.
Indiana - I think the expectations were much higher than being right now 1-2 and losing to Cincinnati was not the plan, for sure. The good thing is, I think the HC is save, but the fans would have liked to see Indiana win, like last year, and I just don't see that happening.
Ohio - granted the team had a short-term transition when their HC did call it a career before the season. But the Bobcats were solid in BAD years and good in good years and now they are 0-3 with a loss against Syracuse, Duquesne (FCS) and against Louisiana. The good news is, the MAC season did not start for them so far, so in theory they can still cream every team from the MAC and dominate the conference, but I just doubt that. We will see, but right now I don't see the coach going far in Ohio.
Arizona - The Wildcats lost 3 games in a row now. BYU, SDSU and then Northern Arizona (FCS) did beat them. Arizonas HC is new, has no HC exp and is likely save this season, but for sure, nobody wanted the team to start 0-3. And the next weeks won't feature cupcakes. Hmmmm.

That's it for now. There are several teams I suspect to fall fast, once they are through with beating cupcakes (often in close games), but you never know, it might just be a bad start.

Let’s go to the reviews of last weekends games.


Sat. Sep 18
#1 Alabama @ #11 Florida
Florida came close. Very close.
It started like a typical game against Alabama.
You play, but you lose.
Florida was behind 3-21 after the 1st quarter, 9-21 at the half.
Then they had some fighting spirit and shorted the gap 23-28 after the 3rd quarter and held Alabama at a field goal afterwards.
The Gators scored and tried a 2-point-conversion to tie the game but failed.
Alabama got the ball with 3:10 left to play and were smart enough to run down the clock almost completely.
So, Alabama prevailed, but they did look beatable in this game.
#1 Alabama 31 @ #11 Florida 29 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 5-4

#22 Auburn @ #10 Penn State
Auburn look good, but Penn State, at home in front of over 100K people was too much.
The Tigers did stay in the game, came in the 4th almost to a tied game, but trailed by 1 and Penn State got the ball, scored and won it all by then playing good defense.
I think both teams will have a say this season, both will finish in the TOP 25.
Penn State might have the tools and the team to kick Ohio State of the BIG 10 thrown and get a ticket to the big dance, but only time will tell.
#22 Auburn 20 @ #10 Penn State 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 6-4

#19 Arizona State @ #23 BYU
At the start it was a quite defense driven game, but BYU was able to score, while ASU ... well, not so often.
The Sun Devils were behind at the half, 7-21.
Then came a good quarter for ASU in the 3rd, trailing afterward only 17-21, but they did fumble the ball away and allowed BYU to score again and that was that.
A turnover driven game, I hope both teams can overcome this.
#19 Arizona State 17 @ #23 BYU 27 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 7-4

Other interesting games:
Virginia @ #21 North Carolina
A very score happy game, but unfortunately the Tar Heels did score a lot of more points than the Cavaliers, winning 59-39.
I guess it will be a mixed season for Virginia, while UNC can still dream for the ACC Championship game.
Jacks interesting games Score: 7-3

Oklahoma State @ Boise State
What a strange game. Boise OK at the start, then lost some ground trailing by 1 point at the half.
Then only errors and no scores on both sides for the whole 2nd half, making the halftime score the final one, with OSU winning 21-20.
Not sure what to make out of this.
Jacks interesting games Score: 7-4

Fresno State @ #13 UCLA
A score happy game, with Fresno State starting better, leading at the half, 23-10. UCLA came back, took the lead in the 4th, twice, but was unable to stop Fresno State from scoring and the Bulldogs won 40-37.
I think both teams will have an interesting season, not necessarily a very successful one.
Jacks interesting games Score: 7-5

Other funny results last weekend:
Clemson won against Georgia Tech 14-8. A very strange result and not good for all Tigers fans.
Cincinnati did win against Indiana 38-24. Looks more that it was, Cincinnati was lucky to profit of a clean Indiana meltdown in the 2nd half.
West Virginia did beat Virginia Tech 27-21. I can't make something out of the Hokies. Good team, bad team? Not sure.
Michigan State did beat Miami 38-17. This is non-conference, so only the national rankings are involved, but man ... Miami is in trouble, I think. And BIG 10 teams, better watch out, too.
Western Michigan did win against Pitt, 44-41. Surprising loss from Pitt. Crazy result.
Minnesota won against Colorado 30-0. Great win for Minnesota, I hope they can carry that over into their conference games.
USC under new coaching did crush Washington State 45-14. Will we see a turnaround under the interims coach (again)?
Memphis did beat Mississippi State 31-29. A great win for Memphis, against a SEC team.
Duke did beat Northwestern 30-23. Northwestern does not look good here.
Incarnated Word (FCS) did beat Texas State 42-34. Always fun to see a FCS team win.
San Diego State won against Utah 33-31 in 3 OT. Utah lost now 2 games as favorites and needs to get things done now.
Utah State did beat Air Force 49-45. Big win for the Aggies this season, being in some sort of rebuilding.
As mentioned, did Northern Arizona (FCS) beat Arizona 21-19.

That's it with last weekend.
Now, slowly I guess, we will see more and more conference games and the real fun starts.
I hope we will see some good games.
With the previous games sometimes hinting favorites not so strong, we might see some upsets and new teams emerging as leading candidates.
On the other hand, it also often happens that the teams did get the tiny missing things sorted out in the non-conference games and when the real games starting, the team is ready to take on the challenge.
We will see, what every team can bring to the matchups, my personal guess is, we might see some new faces in the playoffs, this year.


Sat. Sep 25
#12 Notre Dame @ #18 Wisconsin
Brian Kelly is the HC of Notre Dame since 2010 and has won till now 105 game, tying Knute Rockne for most wins with the program. Rockne has won 3 national championships in his time with Notre Dame, Kelly so far ZERO.
His official record is only 84 wins, since team had to vacate a lot of wins from 2 seasons, thanks to academical misconduct. That does not help, with this number of wins, he is the only coach that long at the school, with ZERO Championships.
I'm not sure, why Notre Dame can't bring it home again, the had the chances and likely also the recruits, they get favorable ranks, they just can't deliver it on the field.
Why I'm saying this?
They are again ranked at #12, while all they did was beating Florida State (which later lost to a FCS team and Wake Forest), Toledo and Purdue. Not really powerhouses.
Wisconsin lost 1 game, against Penn State (who did beat Auburn last week) by 6 and won against Eastern Michigan (well, ok, that's not a good argument), and they are ranked at #18.
Betting line for the game?
Wisconsin at -5.5.
So, the people believe in Wisconsin in compare to Notre Dame, but the press puts Notre Dame higher.
See, favorable rankings.
But this week, I think Notre Dame will suffer.
Except they do it as the past few weeks and get the team just strong enough to beat the opponent by a few points.
I want to see that.
My take, is, Notre Dame will NOT rise in strength and will lose, by more than the 5.5 points.
Badgers win.

#7 Texas A&M @ #16 Arkansas
Jimbo Fischer was hired to bring Texas A&M something the team did not have since the late 30s, a National Championship.
His success is good, if not great, if you keep in mind we are talking about A&M inside the SEC.
The team’s major problem is, they are usually not strong enough to go the whole way to the SEC Championship game, usually beaten by Alabama.
This season, they might have a chance.
But it won't be easy and so far, they did also not look like THE sure thing.
Sure, they won all 3 games so far, New Mexico, Colorado and Kent State. All home games, and in case of Colorado, a very close one.
Only that Colorado is not the dominating team from the PAC 12. Fine, could be, because of old rivalries, but that shouldn't stop a title contender from winning, big.
This week they face Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are surprisingly ranked at #16, after beating Georgia Southern, Texas and Rice. Especially the Texas win did give them a lot of credits, I guess.
They have already now the win total of last season.
I think most can't make something out of this matchup.
Is A&M strong this season? Stronger than the results so far do suggest?
Is Arkansas having a breakthrough season under the 2nd year coach? Already?
No wonder Vegas favors the Aggies only by 5.5 points.
That's not much.
I guess Alabama would get double digit, likely 2 scores or more.
Given the results, I doubt we will see an upset, but hopefully a close game.
My 'support the weaker team' part want Arkansas to deal A&M a loss, but the Aggies should be at least a few seasons ahead in recruiting and strength.
Of cause, some errors or a weak approach can make that advantage gone, but I think Fischer can overcome such stuff.
So, I think we will see a close one, but ...
Aggies win.

#9 Clemson @ NC State
Right now, Clemson lives on borrowed time, granted by their defense.
Because their offense did so far suck, big time.
Not sure what the problem is, but they did almost lose to one of the worst teams inside the ACC.
Now they play North Carolina State, a team which did made them some trouble in the past seasons, when Clemson was in its prime.
Clemson lost their opener to Georgia, which did look like 'OK, they are in good shape, just lost to a slightly better team' and won against a FCS team by the usually high margin but then won only by 6 against Georgia Tech.
NC State won big time against South Florida, lost to Mississippi State and won against big time against a FCS team.
This looks OK for Clemson, but I'm just not sure, which team will show up, on the road, this week?
Vegas has the Tigers favored by 10 points.
If the old Tigers come up, this can be beaten by a mile.
But if the GT-Tigers come to play, the Wolfpack will eat them up.
I did through a coin and then did throw the coin away; I think Clemson will lose. Period.
Wolfpack win

Other interesting games:
Nebraska @ #20 Michigan State
If you are the HC of Nebraska, right now, you sit on one of the hottest seats in the country.
Some say, it's the hottest.
Scott Frost has to prove the Cornhuskers are moving into the right direction and a 2-2 record so far is, likely not good.
The team lost to Illinois in week zero and against Oklahoma last week.
Now they travel to unbeaten Michigan State, who did best ranked Miami last week.
I expect a close game, Vegas, too, with MSU being favored by 5 points.
There is not much to say about Nebraska’s strength, they seem to still search for something to click.
The Spartans play likely a team which wants to have a say inside their division and conference and they might get that right, fast.
I think the Huskers have to play smart and have to use their chances, whenever they come up.
Errors will help likely MSU more than Nebraska.
As this is a home game for the Spartans, I doubt Nebraska can do this.
IF they win here, the hot seat will cool a bit down, I guess. I just think they will lose.
Spartans win.

UAB @ Tulane
I like both teams and both were to shy of competition, which did turn out to be too much for such small schools.
But now they play against each other and for me surprisingly Tulane is favored by 4 points.
UAB did prove they can play and win in the past, while Tulane did prove in the past few seasons they are on the rise.
I'm torn between the UAB Blazers dominance of the past and that almost upset of Oklahoma by the Green Wave.
In doubt for the home team?
Green Wave win.

#24 UCLA @ Stanford
UCLA did look like the hottest thing out of California since breast implants on Hollywood starlets, but then they lost to Fresno State.
Man, what a shocker.
Likely Stanford lost to Kansas State, right?
Now they face each other, and I don't know what to do with that.
The betting line is UCLA -5.5, so UCLA is favored.
But will they win, on the road?
It's their 1st road game of the season, while Stanford had only one home game so far and lost that one.
I expect a high scoring game and at the end to see that team winning, which does commit the least errors.
Still I have to make a pick here and I pick the home team.
Cardinals win.

When I look at the previews I see that my plan to make 3 long previews and 3 short did so far not work.
Damn it.
Well, I hope it's worth it and you like it. ;-)

Weather on my vacation spot at the Baltic sea is OK, but could be better.
Still I enjoy walking at the shore with my wife.

'Til next time

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2021-09-16 08:09

Oh my god the end is near!

That would be eventually the reaction of Florida State fan, or an Ohio State fan, or some other teams, which had a really bad weekend.
You will see some of them in my reviews.


Sat. Sep 11
#12 Oregon @ #3 Ohio State
I did write '...I hope the Ducks can make this an interesting game.'
Boy, that became an interesting game.
After a scoreless 1st quarter, the Ducks lead 14-7 at the half.
They did increase the lead in the 3rd to 28-14 and then slowly did Ohio State get the Ducks offense under control.
But too, late.
After a TD to cut the Ducks lead to 7 points did Ohio State try too much and an INT did end their hopes.
Oregon did look much sharper than the week before and Ohio State is lucky to have the big shots inside their conference only later in the season.
#12 Oregon 35 @ #3 Ohio State 28 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 3-3

#10 Iowa @ #9 Iowa State
Iowa State did score 1st, but Iowa did score the most until the final peep.
The Cyclones had not really a chance, trailing at the half only 10-14, but then lost the 3rd quarter scoreless and had to play catchup then.
Iowa looks really good this season, while Iowa State might not be good enough to challenge the Big 12 elite for a conference championship.
#10 Iowa 27 @ #9 Iowa State 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-3

#21 Utah @ BYU
Autsch, that must have hurt.
The game did look open until BYU did score at the end of the half for the 16-7 lead.
The 3rd quarter was all BYU and when Utah got back into the game, it was too late and likely garbage time.
The Utes streak of 9 wins is over and I'm wondering whether this was just one of those rivalry games, which will just look odd at the end of the season or whether this will be marked as 'the Utes meltdown started here'.
Only time will tell.
#21 Utah 17 @ BYU 26 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Score: 4-4

Other interesting games:
Washington @ Michigan
Michigan won 31-10 and Washington is definitely not going into the right direction. With the past few coaches the results were much better, so I wonder, how much time the coach will get? I think it depends on the results, but this season will be a hot one, for sure.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-1

Stanford @ #14 USC
Stanford did play strong and won 42-28, which is a huge win, if you have the betting line in your head with USC -17.0.
A major setback for the Trojans and right now it looks like it is Oregon or bust for the PAC 12 playoff hopes.
USC is in trouble, but the coaching change, see below, will eventually change the direction instantly.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-2

Pittsburgh @ Tennessee
Pitt was not shy and DID play and won 41-34, thanks to 27 points in the 2nd quarter.
That means the favorite won, which seems to me still like a miracle.
The ACC could be interesting this season.
Jacks interesting games Score: 6-3

Other interesting or funny scores:
Coastal Carolina won against Kansas 49-22. Whoever did thing this BIG 12 team would maybe win against a Sun Belt team. Think again.
Texas A&M barely won against Colorado 10-7. Great game by the Buffalos, if A&M is really a favorite for the SEC. Still of course a loss.
Notre Dame had problems but won against Toledo 32-29. Will the Irish do this in every game now, play a good as the opponent, but never much better?
Arkansas won 40-21 against Texas. Looks like Texas has a lot of issues to solve.
Miami did hopefully not their best, but enough to beat Appalachian State 25-23. They should play better against other, better teams, or they will lose some important games.
Virginia did beat Illinois 42-14. It looks like the Illini will need a lot of patient this season.
Army won 38-35 against Western Kentucky. Not their best game, but a win.
South Carolina had luck and won 20-17 against East Carolina. Gamecocks do also look like a team, which needs a LOT of rework.
Minnesota got their 1st win, beating Miami (Ohio) 31-26. A win is a win, but boy that does not look convincing.
As the win of Oklahoma State against Tulsa does also not look good, just 28-23. Either the quality of the teams become much more equal the past season, or the boys have problems to concentrate.
Duquesne (FCS) won against Ohio 28-26. Ohio just looks odd this season. I’m wondering whether the short term named new HC will survive the season.
Air Force won against Navy 23-3. Navy did not look good so far in the season.
Liberty won against Troy, 21-13. Liberty had great results last season as independent, and it starts good again this season.
Jacksonville State did beat Florida State 20-17. THIS is a very bad game for FSU. Very bad.
San Diego State won against Arizona 38-14. Tough loss for Arizona.

What does that mean now for the season?

Well, for some teams and their coaches it is already 2 Minutes to Midnight. Or even 2 minutes PAST Midnight.
For some this was just a small setback, but the season is long, and nobody can say, whether all now unbeaten teams will stay unbeaten.
No, likely most of them lose also games, maybe even more than once.
In the year 20217, the last time a 1-loss team became national champion (Alabama).
And 2007 even a 2-loss team got the national championship (LSU).

So, it's far from over, but granted, as a fan, the results of some teams in the past 2 weekends do not look promising.
Likely some are already out of the playoff debate, but honestly, the most were already eliminated anyway.
Since most teams did play non-conference games so far, the damage done so far is quite limited.
Every team can still win their conference, but of course the teams who did already dump a game INSIDE the conference do have a small disadvantage.

Regarding coaches did USC run out of patients and did fire Clay Helton. He did survive 5 full seasons and got the job as interims coach before that.
Now Donte Williams will coach for the remaining season, with the chatter already running hot who will come to southern California to get things done last time Pete Carroll did last in 2009.
They did choose poorly since then, taking coaches with issues and a big bag of problems (granted sometimes only be seen afterwards) or just not the big shots the program needs.
The list of possible new ones is long and includes some interesting people, funny most would be coaches from somewhere else to be bought from, some coaches are basically in retirement and work as TV analyst.
Good luck.

Something odd did happen after the Navy game. The OC Ivin Jasper was fired by the AD Chet Gladchuk, likely unsatisfied with the offense production. But HC Ken Niumatalolo, who is with the team since 14! Seasons, was NOT involved and totally not OK with the move. Ivin Jasper was then hired again but demoted to QB coach and the HC will call plays now. Honestly, how on earth can that happen? We are not talking about some misbehavior / program threatening events, when the AD has to protect the program. No, we are talking about an employee who did his job (obviously not to the satisfaction of the AD) who is also with the team since 14 seasons and the AD does this, without consulting with the OCs superior, the HC? Man that man must have been angry, but this is totally unprofessional.

Let’s go to the forecasts for next weekend.


Sat. Sep 18
#1 Alabama @ #11 Florida
If your betting line against one of the TOP 4 teams inside the SEC is -15.5 it means either you play in another, higher league, or the betters are way too confident.
Alabama is very high favored here, as away team.
Granted I do also pick Alabama to win this, but with a 15.5 point or more margin?
Dan Mullen did wonders in Mississippi State, so I do expect him to prepare the team the best he can.
Alabama has some advantages in overall coaching staff and recruiting, but nothing a good game plan at Florida cannot equalize.
I think Florida has a chance, if they play good, very good.
If they can stop the Alabama offense, they can do this.
The problem for me is, I doubt they can do this often enough to stop Alabama from winning.
Watch out for a close game.
Crimson Tide win.

#22 Auburn @ #10 Penn State
Auburn is very interesting this season.
The program has Bryan Harsin from Boise State as new HC and it will be interesting to see, whether this guy can do something his predecessor was unable to do, do better than Alabama regularly and win the National Championship.
The predecessor won the SEC in his 1st season and then only was able to win the division one more time in those 7 seasons.
Harsin did start good so far in Auburn and won all game, but now faces the so far also unbeaten Penn State.
Their HC is on every list for an upgrade on job level and with USC now open, the chatter won't stop.
But will he let this one distract his team, I guess not.
Penn State is favored by 6 points to win this.
I'm willing to follow that, since Auburn did so far only beat cupcakes, while Penn State did beat Wisconsin already.
Nittany Lions win.

#19 Arizona State @ #23 BYU
A bit of a surprising ranked vs ranked game here with ASU favored by 3.5 points.
Which is a bit surprising, since the Sun Devils did only win against some weaker teams, while BYU did crush Utah last week and they play at home.
I'm willing to give the Cougars a bit credit for that and see them ahead here.
If Herm Edwards team does get out with the defense sharp and dominant, this will get close and with just a few points, but I trust BYU to get something done at home.
Cougars win.

Other interesting games:
Virginia @ #21 North Carolina
This is tough for me, because I'm happy both teams did get things sorted out better than way in the past and (like every year) they meet here.
UNC is favored by 9 and that's likely fair.
But the Tar Heels did also suck in week 1 and Virginia was great last week but played not a team like UNC so far.
Tough. I hope for a close one.
Tar Heels win.

Oklahoma State @ Boise State
Something is wrong, if a team, even Boise State, is favored against a quality Big 12 team. At least I would think that, if I would be a Cowboys fan.
Boise is favored by 4.5 points on the smurf turf. They have lost against UCF on week 1.
Oklahoma State is perfect but had in 2 meaningless games against way weaker teams a lot of problems to secure the win.
So ... I think Boise can do this and likely will crush the Cowboys.
Broncos win.

Fresno State @ #13 UCLA
I make it short here. UCLAs betting line is -11.5.
They did beat Hawai'i and LSU, while the Bulldogs lost (close) against Oregon and won against a FCS team.
This is UCLA all over.
Bruins win.

Enjoy the weekend. I will go on vacation the next 2 weeks, but will try to cover the stuff.

'Til next time

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