Tuesday, October 9, 2012

College Football 2012 - Week 6 Recap

Predominant thought:  UCLA's hot start is all but forgotten and their neighbors in Los Angeles continue to search for themselves.  The Bruins momentum has screeched to a halt, first with a home loss to Oregon State and now a road stinker at Cal.  The PAC-12 is deep in 2012 and UCLA better watch out if the current funk continues.  Meanwhile, USC tried a new strategy by falling behind 14-0 before anyone broke a sweat.  They showed some composure in coming back, but every week seems to have a new problem and against better teams, that is going to get the Trojans beat.

National Title Contenders:  Oregon (6-0), Oregon State (4-0), USC (4-1).  Oregon has separated itself as the #2 team in the country and lost a serious contender for that spot in Florida State.  Oregon State is behind the Big 12 leaders and Notre Dame, but is finally being taken seriously.  USC, despite the issues noted above, had a great weekend watching FSU, LSU and Georgia fall.

Bowl Bubble Teams: (New analysis on Bubble Teams, including projected wins and losses on the remaining schedule.)  
Arizona (3-3) - Washington (W), USC (L), at UCLA (L), Colorado (W), at Utah (W), Arizona State (L), projected record 6-6

California (2-4) - at Washington State (W), Stanford (L), at Utah (W), Washington (W), Oregon (L), at Oregon State (L), projected record 5-7 (Stanford at home or at Oregon State best chances to get to 6-6)

Utah (2-3) - at UCLA (L), at Oregon State (L), California (L), Washington State (W), at Washington (L), Arizona (L), at Colorado (W), projected record 4-8 (can get to 6-6 if they play better and beat Cal and Arizona at home)

PAC-12 Reset:
1.  Oregon Ducks (BCS National Title Game)
2.  USC Trojans (Rose Bowl)
3.  Oregon State Beavers (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Stanford Cardinal (Holiday Bowl)
5.  Arizona State Sun Devils (Sun Bowl)
6.  UCLA Bruins (Las Vegas Bowl)
7.  Washington Huskies (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)
8.  Arizona Wildcats (New Mexico Bowl)
9.  California Golden Bears
10. Utah Utes
11. Washington State Cougars
12. Colorado Buffaloes

Big 10
Predominant thought:  With Ohio State and Penn State's "situations", it really is the Big 10 this year.  And Michigan is the team of the week, silencing the Purdue enthusiasts and taking advantage of Nebraska's failure in Columbus to regain the perceived top spot.  With Illinois this week, that mantle should last more than a week this time.  In Leaders news, Wisconsin now has the only win out of the Indy-eligible teams, but the winner of this weeks Wisconsin-Purdue tussle will have the upper-hand going forward.  Finally, I have been harsh on Penn State, but the current coaches and players have already exceeded expectations and should be commended.

National Title Contenders:  That's funny.

Bowl Bubble Teams:  
Minnesota (4-1) - Northwestern (W), at Wisconsin (L), Purdue (L), Michigan (L), at Illinois (W), at Nebraska (L), Michigan State (L), projected record 6-6

Iowa (3-2) - at Michigan State (L), Penn State (W), at Northwestern (L), at Indiana (W), Purdue (W), at Michigan (L), Nebraska (L), projected record 6-6

Big 10 Reset:
1.  Ohio State Buckeyes
2.  Michigan Wolverines (Rose Bowl)
3.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (Capital One Bowl)
4.  Penn State Nittany Lions
5.  Michigan State Spartans (Outback Bowl)
6.  Northwestern Wildcats (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
7.  Wisconsin Badgers (Texas Bowl)
8.  Purdue Boilermakers (Gator Bowl)
9.  Iowa Hawkeyes (TicketCity Bowl)
10. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Little Caesars Bowl)
11. Indiana Hoosiers
12. Illinois Fighting Illini

Predominant thought: Alright, I was wrong about Georgia (which I knew weeks ago, but stuck by my pre-season pick).  Oh, and South Carolina is really, really good and may, yes may, be better than Alabama.  We will find out a lot the next two weeks with trips to LSU and Florida.  What?  Yes, the Georgia/LSU/Florida triumvirate three weeks in a row.  If they emerge unscathed, they will receive my #1 vote.

National Title Contenders:  Alabama (5-0), South Carolina (6-0), Florida (5-0), Mississippi State (5-0), LSU (5-1).  Out of the two that lost last week, LSU has the better chance than Georgia to fight back to the National Title Game.  That being said, they better hope their offense has some home-field magic against the likes of South Carolina and Alabama.

Bowl Bubble Teams:
Vanderbilt (2-3) - Florida (L), Auburn (W), Massachusetts (W), at Kentucky (W), at Ole Miss (L), Tennessee (L), at Wake Forest (W) - projected record 6-6

Missouri (3-3) - Alabama (L), Kentucky (W), at Florida (L), at Tennessee (L), Syracuse (W), at Texas A&M (L), projected record 5-7 (at Tennessee or at Texas A&M best chances to get to 6-6)

Arkansas (2-4) - Kentucky (W), Ole Miss (W), Tulsa (W), at South Carolina (L), at Mississippi State (L), LSU (L), projected record 5-7 (at Mississippi State best chance to get to 6-6)

Ole Miss (3-3) - Auburn (W), at Arkansas (L), at Georgia (L), Vanderbilt (W), at LSU (L), Mississippi State (L), projected record 5-7 (at Arkansas or home vs Miss State best chance to get to 6-6)

SEC Reset:
1.  Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS National Title Game)
2.  South Carolina Gamecocks (Sugar Bowl)
3.  Florida Gators (Capital One Bowl)
4.  LSU Tigers (Cotton Bowl)
5.  Mississippi State Bulldogs (Outback Bowl)
6.  Georgia Bulldogs (Chick Fil-A Bowl)
7.  Texas A&M Aggies (Gator Bowl)
8.  Tennessee Volunteers (Music City Bowl)
9.  Vanderbilt Commodores (Liberty Bowl)
10. Missouri Tigers
11. Arkansas Razorbacks
12. Ole Miss Rebels
13. Auburn Tigers
14. Kentucky Wildcats
(currently not filling Independence or BBVA Compass bowl slots)

Big 12
Predominant thought:  As the Big 12 teams start to beat-up on each other, Texas or Oklahoma is going to take a second loss this weekend.  The Red River Rivalry will likely knock one team out of Big 12 Title contention, while the other will have to hope that the machines that are West Virginia and Kansas State get tripped up along the line.  Oklahoma still has their crack at West Virginia and Texas at Kansas State.  By the way, is any team flying more under the radar than Kansas State?  Maybe, but it seems they are not considered a serious threat because there is an inherent assumption that this team is going to lose. 

National Title Contenders:  West Virginia (5-0), Kansas State (5-0). Only two remain undefeated in the Big 12, but if one of these two can run the table the computers should favor them based on the strength of the top 9 in the conference.

Bowl Bubble Teams:  
Texas Tech (4-1) - West Virginia (L), at TCU (L), at Kansas State (L), Texas (L), Kansas (W), at Oklahoma State (L), vs Baylor (W) - projected record 6-6

TCU (4-1) - at Baylor (L), Texas Tech (W), at Oklahoma State (L), at West Virginia (L), Kansas State (L), at Texas (L), Oklahoma (L), projected record 5-7 (no one game stands out, TCU must improve their play to get to 6-6)

Iowa State (4-1) - Kansas State (L), at Oklahoma State (L), Baylor (L), Oklahoma (L), at Texas (L), at Kansas (W), West Virginia (L), projected record 5-7 (with Kansas still on the schedule, only one upset is needed over the Big 12 upper tier, and Baylor at home is the place to make it happen)

Big 12 Reset:
1.  West Virginia Mountaineers (Fiesta Bowl)
2.  Kansas State Wildcats (Sugar Bowl)
3.  Oklahoma Sooners (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Texas Longhorns (Cotton Bowl)
5.  Baylor Bears (Texas Bowl)
6.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (Holiday Bowl)
7.  Texas Tech Red Raiders (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
8.  Iowa State Cyclones
9.  TCU Horned Frogs
10. Kansas Jayhawks
(currently not filling Pinstripe Bowl slot)

Predominant thought:  Florida State should petition for NC State to switch divisions because the Seminoles struggle against the Wolfpack more than any other team.  You would have thought they knew that and would have realized that that was the game, the one that was most likely to trip them up.  Last year when FSU lost, it sent them in a mini-tailspin.  This season, they at least get Boston College as therapy, but it will be interesting to see how the motivation changes in later tests down the road.  This should still be a dominant football team.  Just one with only Orange Bowl aspirations now.

National Title Contenders:  None.  The weak ACC will not help support a one-loss Clemson or Florida State.  Thanks for playing ACC.

Bowl Bubble Teams: 
Duke (5-1) - at Virginia Tech (L), North Carolina (L), at Florida State (L), Clemson (L), at Georgia Tech (L), Miami FL (W), projected record 6-6 (not really sure which one they will win, but they have six chances to get one)

Virginia Tech (3-3) - Duke (W), at Clemson (L), at Miami FL (L), Florida State (L), at Boston College (W), Virginia (W), projected record 6-6

Maryland (3-2) - at Virginia (W), NC State (L), at Boston College (W), Georgia Tech (W), at Clemson (L), Florida State (L), at North Carolina (L), projected record 6-6 (would behoove the Terps to win 3 of the next four)

Georgia Tech (2-4) - Boston College (W), BYU (L), at Maryland (L), at North Carolina (L), Duke (W), at Georgia (L), projected record 4-8 (a 3-game winning streak would be very helpful to Tech, who is capable of turning it around after playing well at Clemson)

Wake Forest (3-3) - at Virginia (L), Clemson (L), Boston College (W), at NC State (L), at Notre Dame (L), Vanderbilt (L), projected record 4-8 (a loss at Virginia in two weeks would be devastating)

ACC Reset
1.  Florida State Seminoles (Orange Bowl)
2.  Clemson Tigers (Chick Fil-A Bowl)
3.  Miami Hurricanes (Russell Athletic Bowl)
4.  North Carolina State Wolfpack (Belk Bowl)
5.  North Carolina Tar Heels (Probation Bowl)
6.  Virginia Tech Hokies (Sun Bowl)
7.  Duke Blue Devils (Music City Bowl)
8.  Maryland Terrapins (Independence Bowl)
9.  Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
11. Virginia Cavaliers
12. Boston College Eagles
(currently not filling Military Bowl slot)

Big East
Predominant thought:  The Big East is getting no respect in the polls, as there undefeated teams continue to wallow behind one-loss teams from other BCS conferences.  So the question is...if the Big East is considered a BCS conference and produces the only undefeated team in the country, how can that team be kept out of the National Championship game?  If everyone thinks the Big East is so cruddy, why weren't they removed from the BCS?  The conference benefits from the big payouts, so I guess that is the trade-off of being considered the ugly step-sister.  Maybe it is treated that way because I am projecting a 50% fill of their bowl slots.  Ouch!!

National Title Contenders:  Rutgers Scarlett Knights (5-0), Louisville Cardinals (5-0), Cincinnati Bearcats (4-0).  Only the SEC has more undefeated teams.

Bowl Bubble Teams:
Pittsburgh (2-3) - Louisville (L), at Buffalo (W), Temple (W), at Notre Dame (L), at Connecticut (L), Rutgers (L), at South Florida (W), projected record 5-7 (need to upset Louisville or Rutgers at home or sweep UConn and South Florida on the road)

Connecticut (3-3) - Temple (W), at Syracuse (L), at South Florida (L), Pittsburgh (W), at Louisville (L), Cincinnati (L), projected record 5-7 (2-game road trip to Syracuse and South Florida will determine bowl-eligibility)

South Florida (2-4) - at Louisville (L), Syracuse (W), Connecticut (W), at Miami FL (L), at Cincinnati (L), Pittsburgh (L), projected record 4-8 (Some still think the Bulls have the talent to win 4, I don't think so)

Big East Reset:
1.  Rutgers Scarlett Knights (Orange Bowl)
2.  Louisville Cardinals (Russell Athletic Bowl)
3.  Cincinnati Bearcats (Belk Bowl)
4.  Pittsburgh Panthers
5.  Connecticut Huskies
6.  Syracuse Orange
7.  Temple Owls
8.  South Florida Bulls
(currently not filling Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl or Beef O'Brady's Bowl slots)

Other Conferences/Independents
National Title Contenders:  Notre Dame (5-0).  The Fighting Irish keep on proving everyone wrong and the schedule lines up so that an undefeated season is going to look pretty strong if they can run the table.

Bowl Bubble Teams:  Houston and SMU from C-USA, Kent State, Miami(OH), Bowling Green, Ball State, Central Michigan and Western Michigan from the MAC, Air Force, San Diego State and Wyoming from the Mountain West, and Troy and Arkansas State from the Sun Belt.  UCF has appealed their bowl ban, and the appeal will likely be heard late enough to keep UCF bowl-eligible this season.

Other Conferences/Independents Reset:
1.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Fiesta Bowl)
2.  Ohio Bobcats (Little Caesars Bowl)
3.  Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
4.  Boise State Broncos (Las Vegas Bowl)
5.  BYU Cougars (Poinsettia Bowl)
6.  Nevada Wolfpack (Poinsettia Bowl)
7.  Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Liberty Bowl)
8.  Northern Illinois Huskies (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
9. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (New Orleans Bowl)
10. Toledo Rockets (GoDaddy.com Bowl)

Other Projected Bowl Eligible Teams:
SMU Mustangs (Armed Forces Bowl)
UCF Golden Knights (Beef O'Brady's Bowl)
Marshall Thundering Herd (Ticket City Bowl)
East Carolina Pirates (New Orleans Bowl)
Houston Cougars (Hawaii Bowl)
Western Michigan Broncos (Beef O'Brady's Bowl**)
Kent State Golden Flash (Military Bowl**)
Miami (OH) Redhawks (Pinstripe Bowl**)
Bowling Green Falcons (BBVA Compass Bowl**)
Fresno State Bulldogs (Hawaii Bowl)
San Diego State Aztecs (Armed Forces Bowl)
Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (BBVA Compass Bowl**)
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (GoDaddy.com Bowl)
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (Independence Bowl**)
Arkansas State Red Wolves (Pinstripe Bowl**)
Troy Trojans (Military Bowl**)
Utah State Aggies (New Mexico Bowl**)
San Jose State Spartans (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl**)

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