Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Football Rewind - Week 11

With three weekends left, the picture is becoming clearer.  That is, unless Oklahoma State or LSU loses, and then the picture becomes a mess (I for one, don't believe Alabama should be a lock to take one of those spots).  This week, I offer up some observations/predictions that I am not necessarily seeing out there.  Call me crazy...

Observation #1:  Boise State lost, so Houston now projects in a BCS Bowl.  Prediction #1: Not so fast.  Houston has SMU, Tulsa and potentially Southern Mississippi on the remaining schedule.  I say they will lose one of those and will not be in the BCS.  Prediction #2:  Guess who will crash the BCS instead?  The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, who will crack the Top 16 and be rated ahead of the Big East champion and TCU.

Observation #2:  West Virginia's BCS hopes were lost after losing to Louisville.  Prediction #3:  Cincinnati will lose at Rutgers and West Virginia will get the Big East BCS bid by virtue of their season sweep over the Bearcats and Scarlett Knights.

Observation #3:  Clemson dominated Virginia Tech and should win the ACC Championship Game easily.  Prediction #4:  Clemson is not playing as well lately, and although Virginia Tech has not been overly consistent, the Hokies will take the re-match and go to the BCS.

Observation #4:  Texas Tech was a shoe-in for a bowl after beating Oklahoma.  Prediction #5:  Texas Tech will lose their final two games and miss out on the bowls.

Observation #5:  With a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, Mark Dantonio will be pleased with the Spartans bowl destination.  Prediction #6:  After losing the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan State will be passed over by both Michigan and Nebraska in the Big Ten bowl selection order and Dantonio will cry.

Observation #6:  Even at 8-4, Penn State is an attractive Big Ten bowl squad.  Prediction #7:  With the controversy swirling around Happy Valley, the Board will decide to decline a bowl invitation (if any) after losing their final three games.

Overall Pick Record:  478-162, 75% (42-15 Last Week)

Conference Race:  Clemson has clinched the ACC Atlantic and will play either Virginia Tech or Virginia if the Cavaliers can win their final two games vs Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  NC State's (2 more wins due to two FCS wins) route to bowl-eligibility is 2 home win vs Clemson and Maryland.  Miami (1 more win) has a very winnable home game vs Boston College, plus a road game at South Florida.  Wake Forest (1 more win) has to beat either Maryland or Vanderbilt at home.
My Current Bowl Order:  Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina.
My record: 56-25, 69%
This Week:  Virginia Tech over North Carolina, Georgia Tech over Duke, Wake Forest over Maryland, South Florida over Miami(FL), Clemson over NC State, Notre Dame over Boston College, Florida State over Virginia

Big East
Conference Race:  Cincinnati still has a one-game lead over 5 teams in the loss column.  A loss to Rutgers this week will further scramble the picture and could put West Virginia back in the driver's seat.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  South Florida (1 more win) must beat either Miami(FL), Louisville or West Virginia to achieve bowl-eligibility.  Syracuse (1 more win) must win vs Cincinnati or at Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh (1 more win) needs to win at either West Virginia or in their home finale vs Syracuse for bowl-eligibility.  Louisville (1 more win) has two road tilts at Connecticut and South Florida.  Connecticut (2 more wins) hosts Louisville and Rutgers before finishing at Cincinnati.
My current Bowl Order:  West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Louisville, South Florida.
My Record: 38-20, 66%
This Week:  Louisville over Connecticut, Rutgers over Cincinnati, South Florida over Miami(FL)

Big 12
Conference Race:  The Big 12 race will come down to December 3rd when Oklahoma visits Oklahoma State.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  Texas Tech (one more win) needs a road win at  Missouri or a neutral field win vs Baylor.  Iowa State (1 more win) must beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Kansas State to get 6 (ouch).
My current Bowl Order:  Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas, Baylor, Missouri, Texas A&M.
My Record: 50-13, 79%
This Week:  Oklahoma State over Iowa State, Texas A&M over Kansas, Missouri over Texas Tech, Oklahoma over Baylor, Kansas State over Texas

Big Ten
Conference Race:  Michigan State is the front-runner in the Legends and will play in the Inaugural Big Ten Championship Game with two wins or a Nebraska loss.  The Leaders Division will come down to the November 26th game with Penn State at Wisconsin.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  Purdue (1 more win) finishes at Indiana or could do it by defeating Iowa at home this week.  Northwestern (1 more win) has a 2 home games with Minnesota and Michigan State to gain bowl-eligibility.
Current Bowl Order:  Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Penn State.
My Record: 62-22, 74%
This Week:  Northwestern over Minnesota, Michigan State over Indiana, Michigan over Nebraska, Wisconsin over Illinois, Purdue over Iowa, Ohio State over Penn State

Conference Race:  Oregon needs one win to secure the PAC-12 North.  The PAC-12 South is messy, but Arizona State should still prevail if they can win out.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  UCLA (one more win) needs to take care of Colorado at home or upset USC on the road.
Current Bowl Order:  Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, Utah, UCLA, California.
My Record: 58-20, 74%
This Week:  Washington over Oregon State, Washington State over Utah, UCLA over Colorado, Oregon over USC, Arizona State over Arizona, Stanford over California

Conference Race:  LSU wins the SEC West with a win at home vs Arkansas November 25th (assuming they beat Ole Miss).  Georgia has a home game with Kentucky to finish with one conference loss and the SEC East Championship.  If Georgia loses, South Carolina wins the East.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  Mississippi State (1 more win) has a home game vs Ole Miss to get to bowl-eligibility (or win at Arkansas).  Florida (1 more win) should get there with a victory over Furman.  Vanderbilt (1 more win) must win at Tennessee or Wake Forest.  Tennessee (2 more wins) has to win vs Vandy and at Kentucky to get to 6. 
Current Bowl Order:  LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State.
My Record: 66-14, 83%
This Week:  South Carolina over The Citadel, Alabama over Georgia Southern, Florida over Furman, Auburn over Samford, Georgia over Kentucky, Arkansas over Mississippi State, LSU over Ole Miss, Vanderbilt over Tennessee

Conference USA
Conference Race:  Southern Miss has all but locked-up a spot in the C-USA Championship Game and are now thinking BCS.  The West comes down to a season finale showdown on November 25th when Houston visits Tulsa.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  UCF (2 more wins) is 4-1 at home, and has UTEP visiting, while they are 0-5 away from home and need to win at East Carolina to qualify for a bowl.  East Carolina (2 more wins) has one game remaining at home with UCF and a trip to Marshall, two other Bowl Bubble Squads.  Marshall (2 more wins) needs a road win at Memphis to set-up a Bowl Showdown with East Carolina at home in their finale.  UTEP (1 more win) has a potential showdown in the finale at UCF.
Current Bowl Order:  Southern Mississippi, Houston, Tulsa, SMU, Marshall.
My Record: 67-17, 80%
This Week:  Southern Miss over UAB, Marshall over Memphis, Tulsa over UTEP, Rice over Tulane, Houston over SMU, UCF over East Carolina
Mountain West
Conference Race:  TCU needs to beat inferior opponents in Colorado State and UNLV to win the Mountain West.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  None.
Current Bowl Order:  TCU, Boise State, San Diego State, Wyoming, Air Force.
My Record: 43-14, 75%
This Week:  Wyoming over New Mexico, TCU over Colorado State, Air Force over UNLV, Boise State over San Diego State

Conference Race:  Northern Illinois controls the MAC West, while Ohio controls the MAC East.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  With only 3 guaranteed spots, the MAC will fill their quota.  They should also qualify at least 4 other teams for any unfilled spots.
Current Bowl Order:  Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio.  Temple, Eastern Michigan, Ball State and Western Michigan (alternates).
My Record: 68-23, 75%
This Week:  Northern Illinois over Ball State, Ohio over Bowling Green, Western Michigan over Miami(OH), Toledo over Central Michigan, Buffalo over Akron, Temple over Army, Kent State over Eastern Michigan

Conference Race:  Nevada hosts Louisiana Tech on November 19th to likely decide the WAC.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  Hawaii (2 more wins) has home games with Fresno State, Tulane and BYU and appears squarely on the bubble.  Utah State (2 more wins) needs to beat Idaho and New Mexico State on the road or upset Nevada at home. 
Bowl Changes:  Current Bowl Order:  Nevada, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Utah State.
My Record: 41-17, 71%
This week:  Navy over San Jose State, Nevada over Louisiana Tech, Utah State over Idaho, BYU over New Mexico State, Hawaii over Fresno State

Sun Belt
Conference Race:  Arkansas State needs one more win to clinch the Sun Belt.
Bowl Bubble Teams:  With only 2 guaranteed spots, the Sun Belt will fill their quota.  An additional  2 teams should be available for any unfilled openings.
Current Bowl Order:  Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette.  Florida International and Western Kentucky (alternates).
My Record: 47-14, 77%
This Week:  Arkansas State over Middle Tennessee, Troy over Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky over North Texas, Louisiana-Monroe over Florida International

Bowl Order:  Notre Dame and BYU all remain projected bowl-eligible.  Navy (2 more wins) must beat San Jose State and Army, which I currently project they will do.
My Record: 30-9, 77%
This Week:  Notre Dame over Boston College, Navy over San Jose State, BYU over New Mexico State, Temple over Army

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

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