Wednesday, October 19, 2011

College Football Rewind - Week 7

We have hit the half-way point of the College Football Season.  After losing three unbeaten teams last week in Georgia Tech, Illinois, and Michigan, it has become pretty clear who the contenders and pretenders are.  I talked last week about the gap between teams.  I could argue there is a clear Top 10 teams right now.  Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Stanford, Boise State, Clemson, Oregon and Arkansas.  The latter two have losses to LSU and Alabama, respectively, but have shown the talent level in other games to be included in this group.  In other years, the lines may have been more blurred.  Maybe Upset Saturday will hit us soon.  For one last week I am leaving Boise State in the Title Game.  If the unbeatens continue to prevail (mainly Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Stanford and Clemson), a change will be necessary next week.

Overall Pick Record:  331-93, 78% (36-14 Last Week)

ACC (5-5 for the week, 47-29 overall, 29-11 non-conference, 6-7 BCS non-conf)
  • Boston College is terrible!!
  • Who is going to beat Clemson?  The trips to Georgia Tech (exposed) and South Carolina (Lattimore injury) got a lot less daunting after last week.  It might be the looming re-match with Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Maryland, Florida State
  • ACC Game of the Week - Georgia Tech at Miami - What a difference a week makes.  The Jackets come off their first loss and head to Miami for a match-up with a Hurricane team playing better football.
Bowl Changes: Virginia in, North Carolina State out.  My Current Bowl Order:  Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia (tenuous).

My record: 40-18
This Week:  Clemson over North Carolina, Wake Forest over Duke, Virginia Tech over Boston College, Florida State over Maryland, Virginia over North Carolina State (Military Bowl Battle), Miami over Georgia Tech

Big East (3-3 for the week, 31-19 overall, 25-13 non-conference, 4-9 BCS non-conf)
  • Connecticut is just plain bad.  They might win one more game this year.  OK, I guess they have to lose the rest now.
  • How do you figure South Florida?  I am sure now that they are falling off the radar, they will prove me wrong once again.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Rutgers, Cincinnati
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Connecticut
  • Big East Game of the Week - Cincinnati at South Florida - A chance for the Bulls to right the ship while the Bearcats try to keep up with Rutgers and West Virginia.
Bowl Changes:  My current Bowl Order:  West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, South Florida.

My Record: 27-11
This Week:  Rutgers over Louisville, West Virginia over Syracuse, Cincinnati over South Florida

Big 12 (5-5 for the week, 42-18 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.
  • Missouri is still in trouble, just sayin'.  They will have to work to get to 6-6.
  • The previous being said, I think this is a dangerous game for Oklahoma State at Missouri this week.  Missouri has played spoiler more than once before.
  • Texas A&M blew two games against Oklahoma State and Arkansas.  Those are two really good teams.  The Aggies have recovered nicely against Texas Tech and Baylor to show they are also really good.  Oklahoma beware?
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Kansas State
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Missouri
  • Big 12 Game of the Week - Oklahoma State at Missouri - National Championship implications pending.
Bowl Changes: My current Bowl Order:  Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Missouri.

My Record: 36-9
This Week:  Oklahoma State over Missouri (Unbeaten Watch), Kansas State over Kansas, Texas A&M over Iowa State, Oklahoma over Texas Tech

Big Ten (5-5 for the week, 49-28 overall, 34-13 non-conference, 6-5 BCS non-conf)
  • Indiana and Minnesota are 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.  Still a sleeper if that game was their oops.
  • Ohio State will be 0-4 in Big Ten play.  Good Job Buckeyes!!
  • 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.
  • How do you win a game in 2011 while completing one pass if you are not a Service Academy??
  • Penn State is about to get exposed.
  • Since last year's loss at Michigan State, Wisconsin is 13-1 and has outscored their opponents in the 13 wins by a score of 639-213, an average of 49-16.  They scored over 30 points in every game except for the Rose Bowl loss to TCU.  In the 9 conference games, the average score is 49-20.  The Spartans held Wisconsin to 24 last year and will need a repeat performance this year.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Michigan, Illinois
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Ohio State
  • Big 10 Game of the Week - Wisconsin at Michigan State - On paper, this looks like the toughest test for Wisconsin, although there are others that will not be a cakewalk. 
Bowl Changes: Current Bowl Order:  Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern.

My Record: 49-13
This Week:  Illinois over Purdue, Iowa over Indiana, Nebraska over Minnesota, Penn State over Northwestern, Wisconsin over Michigan State

PAC-12 (5-5 for the week, 41-33 overall, 21-13 non-conference, 6-8 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.
  • If there was any question, Chip Kelly has a darn good offensive system.  Except in the SEC.
  • The schedule hasn't allowed for much of a "wow-factor" in Andrew Luck's Heisman run.  That changes starting this week.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Washington State
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  California, Oregon State
  • PAC-12 Game of the Week - Washington at Stanford - Opportunity for Washington to show they belong in a 3-way discussion with Oregon and Stanford.  First real test for the Cardinal.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Washington, Utah, UCLA.

My Record: 45-9
This Week: UCLA over Arizona, Oregon over Colorado, Utah over California, Notre Dame over USC, Washington State over Oregon State, Washington over Stanford (Unbeaten Watch III)

SEC (5-5 for the week, 52-27 overall, 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.
  • The Vanderbilt/Tennessee game is shaping up to be a bowl-eligible playoff.
  • I am not counting Arkansas out of the BCS.  The Hogs always give LSU trouble.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Auburn
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Mississippi State, Florida, Kentucky
  • SEC Game of the Week - Auburn at LSU - Will the Tigers of Auburn officially pass the torch to the Tigers of LSU?  What will two big suspensions mean for LSU?
Bowl Changes: Current Bowl Order:  Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State

My Record: 46-10
This Week:  Jacksonville State over Kentucky, Arkansas over Mississippi, LSU over Auburn, Vanderbilt over Army, Alabama over Tennessee

Conference USA (5-5 this week, 35-40 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.
  • UAB is staring at 0-9 and will thank Memphis for being in the conference this year.
  • Tulsa is quietly lurking in the C-USA race after 3 losses to Top 10 teams in non-conference.  SMU and Houston beware.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Marshall
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  UAB, East Carolina
  • C-USA Game of the Week - SMU at Southern Mississippi - The 2 hottest teams in C-USA go at it.  Houston may be unbeaten, but these two teams have shown improvement each week. 
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  SMU, Houston, Southern Mississippi, Tulsa, Central Florida, Marshall, UTEP.

My Record: 50-9
This Week:  Central Florida over UAB, Navy over East Carolina, Tulane over Memphis, Houston over Marshall, Tulsa over Rice, UTEP over Colorado State, SMU over Southern Mississippi

Mountain West (3-4 for the week, 25-23 overall, 19-17 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 19-17 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 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.
  • The conference pecking order 2 to 4 has played itself out.  Now everyone gets a crack at Boise State and it doesn't look like it will be pretty.  I am hoping for one close one from the bunch.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Colorado State
  • MWC Game of the Week - Air Force at Boise State - Not much on the docket this week, so the Falcons get their chance to stun the Broncos on the Blue Turf.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Boise State, TCU, San Diego State, Air Force, Wyoming(tenuous)

My Record: 33-9
This Week: TCU over New Mexico, Boise State over Air Force, UTEP over Colorado State

MAC (6-6 for the week, 40-49 overall, 21-30 non-conference, 3-26 BCS non-conf)
  • 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.
  • It took Northern Illinois six weeks to play up to expectation.  Now the big question is whether this will be a trend or not.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Temple, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Miami(OH), Ohio
  • MAC Game of the Week - Temple at Bowling Green - after playing Toledo well, the Falcons get a crack at another league favorite on their turf.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Toledo, Temple, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan.  Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Ohio (alternates).

My Record: 53-17
This Week:  Northern Illinois over Buffalo, Western Michigan over Eastern Michigan, Ball State over Central Michigan, Temple over Bowling Green, Ohio over Akron, Toledo over Miami(OH)

WAC (4-3 for the week, 20-31 overall, 12-23 non-conference, 2-12 BCS non-conf)
  • The 3 WAC favorites (Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State) are a combined 9-10.  One lost by 20 to UNLV and the other two have each lost a game by at least 49 points.
  • After looking at it, Fresno State might go 5-2 in the WAC, but a 13th game might leave them at 6-7 and out of the bowls.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Utah State, San Jose State
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Louisiana Tech, Hawaii
  • WAC Game of the Week - Fresno State at Nevada - Two league favorites go at it to give us some indication how the WAC might play out.
Bowl Changes:  Fresno State out.  Current Bowl Order:  Nevada, Hawaii, Utah State.

My Record: 31-12
This week:  Utah State over Louisiana Tech, Nevada over Fresno State, Hawaii over New Mexico State

Sun Belt (3-3 for the week, 23-32 overall, 11-20 non-conf, 2-15 BCS non-conf)
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Up:  Louisian-Lafayette, Arkansas State
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Troy
  • Sun Belt Game of the Week -  Arkansas State defeated Florida International Tuesday night in the Game of the Week.  Arkansas State is the #1 challenger to Louisiana-Lafayette.
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State.  Florida International, Louisiana-Monroe and Troy (alternates).

My Record: 33-10
This Week:  Arkansas State over Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette over Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe over North Texas, Middle Tennessee over Florida Atlantic

Independents (1-1 for the week, 13-12 overall, 5-5 BCS)
  • Notre Dame should be 9-2 heading to Stanford for the season finale and a BCS bowl on the line.
  • Mid-Season Thumbs Down:  Army
  • Independent Game of the Week - USC at Notre Dame - Both teams have had their ups and downs, but it appears as though Notre Dame is closer to rounding into Top 10 form.
Bowl Changes: Notre Dame, BYU and Navy all remain projected bowl-eligible.

My Record: 19-6
This Week: Navy over East Carolina, BYU over Idaho State, Vanderbilt over Army, Notre Dame over USC

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:  Florida vs Michigan
Cotton:  Texas A&M vs Georgia
Alamo: Kansas State vs Arizona State
Outback:  South Carolina vs Michigan State
Chick Fil-A:  Virginia Tech vs Auburn
Sun:  Miami(FL) vs Utah
Holiday:  Baylor vs Washington
Champs:  Notre Dame vs Florida State
Liberty:  Mississippi State vs SMU
Belk:  Georgia Tech vs Cincinnati
Independence:  Wake Forest vs Air Force
Music City:  Tennessee vs North Carolina
Pinstripe:  Rutgers vs Missouri
Kraft Fight Hunger:  UTEP vs Northwestern
Meineke Car Care:  Ohio State vs Texas Tech
Insight:  Texas vs Illinois
Ticket City:  Penn State vs Houston
Little Caesars:  Iowa vs Temple
Humanitarian: Northern Illinois vs Utah State
Hawaii:  Hawaii vs Marshall
Beef O'Bradys:  Pittsburgh vs Southern Mississippi
Armed Forces:  BYU vs Tulsa
Las Vegas:  UCLA vs TCU
Poinsettia:  San Diego State vs Nevada  Toledo vs Arkansas State
New Orleans:  Central Florida vs Louisiana-Lafayette
BBVA Compass:  South Florida vs Florida International
New Mexico:  Wyoming vs Western Michigan
Military:  Navy vs Virginia

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