Wednesday, October 12, 2011

College Football Rewind - Week 6

After this week, we will reach the midway point of the College Football Season.  With very few unbeatens in serious danger this week, we will likely go into the 2nd half with over 10 unbeaten teams.  On top of that, the gap between the top teams and those in the next level appears to be larger than usual.  Case in point, Oklahoma over Texas, Wisconsin over Nebraska, LSU/Alabama over Florida.  Texas, Nebraska and Florida were all thought to be around the top 10 teams, but none were close in the aforementioned games.  So while Oklahoma still has quite a Big 12 gauntlet remaining and Wisconsin is sure to be tested with 3 tough Big Ten roadies, and of course the SEC is a weekly grind, the talent level might provide the difference as it has thus far in 2011.  Upset Saturday might not come.  Sure, Oklahoma State, Stanford or Clemson might meet their maker, but Boise State's undefeated journey may leave them short again.

ACC (6-4 for the week, 42-24 overall, 29-11 non-conference, 6-7 BCS non-conf)
  • Boston College is terrible!!
  • Welcome to projected bowl-eligibility Wake Forest!!   And the ACC Game of the Week too!!  When I said Maryland in my pre-season predictions, I meant Wake Forest.  Oh, and when I said Florida State, I meant Clemson.
  • Speaking of Florida State...never mind, I don't want to talk about them.
  • North Carolina is 5-1, but with a 2 point win over Rutgers and 7 point snoozer over Louisville, I am just not sure how good they are.
  • ACC Game of the Week - Virginia Tech at Wake Forest - Do you believe in the Demon Deacons?  I am still going with the Hokies here, but this one will really show if Wake Forest is a serious ACC Title contender.
Bowl Changes: Wake Forest and North Carolina State in, Maryland out.  My Current Bowl Order:  Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina State (tenuous).

My record: 37-16
This Week:  North Carolina over Miami, Florida State over Duke, Georgia Tech over Virginia, Clemson over Maryland, Virginia Tech over Wake Forest

Big East (3-3 for the week, 28-16 overall, 24-12 non-conference, 4-8 BCS non-conf)
  • Connecticut is just plain bad.  They might win one more game this year.
  • Pittsburgh took a step backwards.  Inconsistent quarterback play will do that to a team.  Its too bad, because Ray Graham is special. 
  • There might be some karma playing against Pitt and Syracuse now too.
  • Big East Game of the Week - Louisville at Cincinnati - No real great games in the Big East this week, so I will feature Cincinnati.  If the Bearcats are going to challenge West Virginia, they should have no problem with the offensively challenged Cardinals.
Bowl Changes:  My current Bowl Order:  West Virginia, South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Pittsburgh.

My Record: 25-9
This Week:  Pittsburgh over Utah, Cincinnati over Louisville, South Florida over Connecticut, Rutgers over Navy

Big 12 (5-5 for the week, 37-13 overall, 27-3 non-conference, 6-3 BCS non-conf)
  • A 27-3 finish in non-conference, with the losses coming to Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Arkansas.  Pretty impressive, but the measuring stick game of Texas A&M and Arkansas leaves the advantage still to the SEC.
  • I am going to continue to over-react to Kansas State.
  • Missouri is still in trouble, just sayin'.
  • Thank you Texas for supporting my upset pick.  I am picking Oklahoma now every week until the match-up in Stillwater.  The Sooner defense has been better than thought and I am late to the party.
  • Big 12 Game of the Week - Baylor at Texas A&M - If the over/under is below 80, take the over.  This one has old-fashioned Texas shoot-out written all over it.  The winner has the inside track to the Cotton Bowl.
Bowl Changes: My current Bowl Order:  Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Missouri.

My Record: 31-9
This Week:  Texas A&M over Baylor, Missouri over Iowa State, Oklahoma State over Texas, Oklahoma over Kansas, Kansas State over Texas Tech

Big Ten (5-5 for the week, 44-23 overall, 34-13 non-conference, 6-5 BCS non-conf)
  • Indiana and Minnesota are still awful.  They will both still go 0-8 in the Big 10.
  • Going to leave this one up - Take a look at Illinois schedule.  No Nebraska, Iowa or Michigan State.  Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State at home.  I re-iterate - sleeper for the Big 10 Title Game.
  • Ohio State will be 0-4 in Big Ten play.
  • Nebraska is learning quickly about life in the Big Ten.  They saved themselves against Ohio State, but they can't fall behind and expect to continue winning.  They get a few weeks before the schedule gets meaty again.
  • Iowa is one big quarter against Pitt away from a disastrous season.  This is a big week to know who Iowa really is.
  • Michigan State has given up 7 points or fewer in four of their five games.  The next two at home vs Michigan and Wisconsin will tell us exactly how good this defense is.
  • Big 10 Game of the Week - Michigan at Michigan State - The undefeated Wolverines invade East Lansing for a tasty match-up.  The winner gets a leg-up in the Legends Division.
Bowl Changes: Current Bowl Order:  Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State, Northwestern.

My Record: 46-11
This Week: Michigan State over Michigan, Penn State over Purdue, Wisconsin over Indiana, Illinois over Ohio State, Northwestern over Iowa

PAC-12 (5-5 for the week, 36-28 overall, 20-12 non-conference, 5-8 BCS non-conf)
  • Leave this one up - Oregon State will go winless in 2011.  Congrats to the Beavers!!
  • Leaving this one too - Washington and USC have many flaws, but one will play a big spoiler for Oregon or Stanford.
  • Utah.  The Mountain West just sent you a sympathy card.
  • Mike Stoops got a raw deal.  The Oregon State loss not withstanding, look at who they lost to at the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011.
  • PAC-12 Game of the Week - Arizona State at Oregon - The Ducks will be without LaMichael James, but there is still a lot of firepower in that offense.  The Sun Devils can take a step toward the elite with an upset victory.  USC at California will be a telling game as well.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Washington, California, Utah.

My Record: 41-7
This Week: California over USC, Pittsburgh over Utah, Washington over Colorado, BYU over Oregon State, Stanford over Washington State, Oregon over Arizona State

SEC (6-5 for the week, 47-22overall, 29-4 non-conference, 6-2 BCS non-conf)
  • Still leaving this one - LSU or Alabama will lose to someone other than LSU or Alabama.  Only because how juicy would it be if they both had one loss and Boise State was one of two unbeatens?
  • Kentucky is not good.  Not good at all. 
  • Boise State, Clemson, BYU and Louisville remain the 4 non-conference losses for the SEC.
  • I think LSU is better than Alabama, but they play in Alabama November 5th.  And Alabama is out for revenge from last year.  That is why I stick with the Tide in the National Championship Game.
  • Where would South Carolina be if Stephen Garcia would have been dismissed when he should have been?
  • Florida has all this speed.  Maybe they should race 'Bama and LSU instead of play football against them.
  • SEC Game of the Week - Florida at Auburn - Florida is desparate.  Auburn is close.  The loser is in huge barney...rubble...trouble.  Should be some good ol' SEC fun this week.
Bowl Changes: Current Bowl Order:  Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State

My Record: 42-9
This Week:  Alabama over Mississippi, Georgia over Vanderbilt, LSU over Tennessee, Auburn over Florida, Mississippi State over South Carolina

Conference USA (4-5 this week, 30-35 overall, 19-24 non-conference, 5-16 BCS non-conf)
  • The 5 BCS wins is currently tops of any non-BCS conference.  No one can fault them if the victims have been UCLA, Virginia, Boston College, Purdue and Louisville.
  • Houston has the best offense in the league, but SMU appears to be the most complete team.
  • Don't sleep on Southern Mississippi.  The Marshall loss isn't a bad loss and the offense appears to be on all cylinders now.
  • UAB is staring at 0-9 and will thank Memphis for being in the conference this year.
  • C-USA Game of the Week - Central Florida at SMU - A potential Conference Championship Game preview.  Central looked great early in the year, SMU looks great now. 
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  SMU, Houston, Central Florida, Tulsa, Southern Mississippi, Marshall.

My Record: 45-9
This Week:  Marshall over Rice, SMU over Central Florida, East Carolina over Memphis, Tulsa over UAB, UTEP over Tulane

Mountain West (2-4 for the week, 22-19 overall, 19-16 non-conference, 2-7 BCS non-conf)
  • New Mexico is hands down the worst team in FBS, although that game November 12th against UNLV is my Hide-the-Women-and-Children Game of the Year.
  • At 19-16 in non-conference, the Mountain West is by far the best Non-BCS league overall, with two BCS wins vs Georgia and Washington State.
  • I am 2-4 in picking TCU games.  Note to self, don't pick them to lose 2 in a row anymore. 
  • Colorado State and Wyoming will each be 5-6 heading into their finale against one another, with the winner getting the bowl bid.
  • I continue to leave Boise State in my BCS Title Game, but that may change by the end of October.  The odds of two BCS-league unbeatens keeps increasing by the week.
  • MWC Game of the Week - San Diego State at Air Force - Both teams had TCU coming off losses and both couldn't take advantage.  This appears to be the 3rd place game in the MWC this year.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Boise State, TCU, San Diego State, Air Force, Colorado State (tenuous)

My Record: 29-9
This Week: San Diego State over Air Force, Wyoming over UNLV, Nevada over New Mexico, Boise State over Colorado State

MAC (6-7 for the week, 34-43 overall, 21-30 non-conference, 3-26 BCS non-conf)
  • I over-reacted to Temple, but they are back-on-track.  With the Ohio loss last week, they are still my MAC East favorites.
  • The MAC is 18-4 in games against non-BCS opponents.
  • Connecticut, Maryland and Indiana are the BCS victims for the MAC.  Those 26 losses show they are not afraid to play the big boys.
  • Welcome to 2011 Miami(OH) Redhawks!!
  • MAC Game of the Week - Western Michigan at Northern Illinois - This is a huge game for the Huskies, who I had among my pre-season favorites in the MAC.  The Broncos are playing great football and the momentum with a win here could vault them into the MAC Title game.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Toledo, Temple, Western Michigan, Ohio (alternate)

My Record: 50-14
This Week:  Toledo over Bowling Green, Temple over Buffalo, Central Michigan over Eastern Michigan, Ohio over Ball State, Miami(OH) over Kent State, Western Michigan over Northern Illinois

WAC (3-3 for the week, 16-28 overall, 11-23 non-conference, 2-12 BCS non-conf)
  • The 3 WAC favorites (Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State) are a combined 7-9.  One lost by 20 to UNLV and the other two have each lost a game by at least 49 points.
  • WAC Game of the Week - Utah State at Fresno State - The WAC is wide-open, and this will tell whether one of the teams who has played well (Utah State) is part of the contending group with the pre-season favortie (Fresno State).
Bowl Changes:  Utah State in, Louisiana Tech out.  Current Bowl Order:  Nevada, Hawaii, Utah State, Fresno State

My Record: 29-10
This week:  Hawaii over San Jose State, Nevada over New Mexico, New Mexico State over Idaho, Utah State over Fresno State

Sun Belt (5-4 for the week, 20-29 overall, 11-20 non-conf, 2-15 BCS non-conf)
  • Louisiana-Lafayette is why College Football is great and pre-season predictions are nonsensical in many cases.  Predicted for a last or 2nd to last place finish, they have notched wins over the two pre-season favorites and now are the favorites themselves.  A victory over North Texas this week makes them bowl-eligible.
  • Sun Belt Game of the Week -  Louisiana-Monroe at Troy - just because I needed to pick a game.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Lousiana-Lafayette, Florida International,  Arkansas State (alternate), Troy (alternate)

My Record: 31-9
This Week:  Western Kentucky over Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette over North Texas, Troy over Louisiana-Monroe

Independents (2-2 for the week, 12-11 overall, 5-5 BCS)
  • Notre Dame should be 9-2 heading to Stanford for the season finale and a BCS bowl on the line.
  • Independent Game of the Week - Navy at Rutgers - Navy is teetering on bowl-eligibility, so a win at Rutgers would make them more comfortable.
Bowl Changes: Notre Dame, BYU and Navy all remain projected bowl-eligible.

My Record: 17-6
This Week: Rutgers over Navy, BYU over Oregon State

Updated Bowl Predictions
National Championship Game:  Boise State vs Alabama
Rose:  Wisconsin vs Oregon
Sugar:  Oklahoma vs LSU
Fiesta:  Oklahoma State vs Stanford
Orange:  West Virginia vs Clemson
Capitol One:  Arkansas vs Nebraska
Gator:  Illinois vs Auburn
Cotton:  Texas A&M vs South Carolina
Alamo:  Texas vs Arizona State
Outback:  Georgia vs Michigan
Chick Fil-A:  Virginia Tech vs Florida
Sun:  North Carolina vs California
Holiday:  Baylor vs Washington
Champs:  Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech
Liberty:  Mississippi State vs SMU
Belk:  South Florida vs Florida State
Independence:  Wake Forest vs Air Force
Music City:  Tennessee vs Miami(FL)
Pinstripe:  Cincinnati vs Missouri
Kraft Fight Hunger:  Utah State vs Northwestern
Meineke Car Care:  Penn State vs Texas Tech
Insight:  Kansas State vs Michigan State
Ticket City:  Iowa vs Houston
Little Caesars:  Ohio State vs Temple
Humanitarian: Western Michigan vs Fresno State
Hawaii:  Hawaii vs Marshall
Beef O'Bradys:  Pittsburgh vs Central Florida
Armed Forces:  BYU vs Tulsa
Las Vegas:  Utah vs TCU
Poinsettia:  San Diego State vs Nevada  Toledo vs Florida International
New Orleans:  Southern Mississippi vs Louisiana-Lafayette
BBVA Compass:  Rutgers vs Arkansas State
New Mexico:  Troy vs Colorado State
Military:  Navy vs North Carolina State

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