Monthly Archives: November 2015

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/28

Men, Georgie’s a fine football team, a very fine football team. Georgie’s bigger and faster than we are. Probably a little tougher, too.

That’s okay, because we’re smarter than they are.

Now, let me tell you what’s going to happen. That Georgie team’s going to come running out of the tunnel screaming and foaming at the mouth and smashing one another upside the head just to get warmed up.

We won’t do any of that. While they waste their energy, we’ll conserve ours. I’ve told you that they’re bigger, faster, and tougher than you. That’s true. But we do have that one big advantage.

We … are … smarter.

Think about what I teach you. Play field position. Play great defense. Make no mistakes on offense. Be great in the kicking game. Do that and we’ll keep it close.

As the game goes on, they’ll start to get tired because they wasted so much energy in the beginning. Because we’re smart, we’ll have plenty of energy left, and at some point in the fourth quarter they’ll make a mistake.

When they do make that mistake, we’ll get the football. And when that happens, I’ll think of something and we’ll win!

Coach Bobby Dodd, as told by Bill Curry

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

It’s the last full weekend of the year. Ready?

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Ohio State @ Michigan (ABC): Ohio State looks suddenly more vulnerable after the loss to Michigan State, where their offense was thoroughly dominated. However, I would think it unwise to bet those mistakes will be repeated again. Going with the Buckeyes.
  • Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN): The Tigers look to make it two in a row against their in-state rivals, and considering all the turmoil in Columbia that seems very likely.
  • Georgia @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2): To Hell With Georgia.
  • Iowa State @ West Virginia (FS1): Iowa State fired Paul Rhodes, which doesn’t really solve the fundamental problem of them being Iowa State. West Virginia should roll.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ESPNU): Okay, I think I got a little overenthusiastic last week, but this time, they should be able to win one for the Beamer.
  • Southern Methodist @ Memphis (ESPNEWS): Memphis is on the AAC West sidelines now, but they’re still have an extremely successful season. Will they be able to retain their coach? Either way, they’ll steamroll the Ponies.
  • Louisville @ Kentucky (SEC): Considering all the alternatives available, I have a hard time conceiving of a reason to watch this, but hey, it’s football, and it’ll all be gone too soon. Also, Louisville should roll.
  • Cincinnati @ East Carolina (CBSS): I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out what Cincinnati will do week-to-week in the AAC, considering that I still get hung up thinking they should be the best team in the conference. I’m still pretty sure they’re better than ECU, though. Kinda.
  • Indiana @ Purdue (BTN): Indiana should be able to cap-off a successful, by Indiana standards, with a win here.

12:30:

  • Duke @ Wake Forest (ACC): Duke has lost four straight since beating Virginia Tech, including a rather disappointing loss to Virginia last weekend. (Yes, Duke can have disappointing losses now.) Either way, they should still be able to beat Wake.
  • Boston College @ Syracuse (ACC/RSN): ‘Sup Big East? Anyway, BC’s offense is so bad that I can’t realistically predict them to win anything since they seem completely in capable of scoring points. I’ll bet if they win this one it’s because of multiple defensive scores.

2:30: Colorado @ Utah (Pac12): In a battle of the Pac-12’s neophytes, it’s still amazing how far ahead Utah is of Colorado now. Even though the Utes had a bit of a slide at the end of the year, eliminating them from Pac-12 South contention, they’re still favorites here.

3:30:

  • Alabama @ Auburn (CBS): Auburn apparently just needs to be rebooted every few years. Check back in for a competitive Iron Bowl in a year or two.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (ABC/ESPN2): The battle of the fancy uniforms (both teams wear their “home” jerseys in this game, because LA I guess?) is also the battle for the Pac-12 South this year. Both teams could have their seasons reasonably described as “uneven”. USC is fresh off a pasting by a suddenly resurgent Oregon, while UCLA got a crucial win in Salt Lake City to eliminate Utah from contention, but lost to Wazzou two weeks ago. So this one’s pretty much a toss-up in my mind. I’m giving the Bruins a slight edge.
  • North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN2): I’m not entirely sure who Wolfpack fans think is their greatest rival. Nonetheless, UNC should have this one unless their concentration slips.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan State (ESPN): I don’t… think Sparty will have a letdown after their huge win over Ohio State. Probably.
  • Northwestern vs. Illinois (@Chicago, IL; ESPNU): While Illinois is still better this year than they have any right to be, I like the Wildcats here.
  • Brigham Young @ Utah State (CBSS): BYU should be able to handle this.
  • Wisconsin @ Minnesota (BTN): Hey Wisconsin, didn’t see you sneaking up there, which is pretty humorous when you consider the typical build of their linemen. Regardless, this battle for the Axe may be close, but it’ll be the Badgers’ in the end.

4:00:

  • Kansas State @ Kansas (FS1): While it’s not K-State’s year, a blowout over KU should act as a nice salve.
  • Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (SEC): Vandy and Mizzou are having a content to see who can field the most awful offense in the SEC, and currently Missouri is “winning” by eight points. It’ll be a close race to the end.

    7:00: Connecticut @ Temple (ESPNU): Way mess things up, Huskies. I suspect as a result of last week’s upset over Houston they’ll get pasted here.

    7:15: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (ESPN2): After mostly disappointing seasons, these two teams enter their final game in a high note. I’m thinking they’re about even, so I’m giving an edge to the home Bulldogs.

    7:30:

    • Notre Dame @ Stanford (FOX): I have no idea who is going to win this game. I’ve watched a lot of both these teams this year and I think that the Cardinal are more than capable of handing Notre Dame their second loss. This game is right up there with Bedlam for game of the day, and I would advise to find some way of watching both at once. As for the winner here, I’m going with the Domers, by a smidge.
    • Florida State @ Florida (ESPN): Florida sure looks bad without their quarterback, huh? That said, I think they’re still capable of beating FSU like 12-10, but if FSU scores 17 or more I don’t think the Gators will be able to match.
    • Texas A&M @ Louisiana State (SEC): LSU is going to win this game, and then Les Miles is going to get fired. The world is dumb.

    8:00: Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (ABC): Bedlam. After a weirdly long Sooner winning streak, these teams are 2-2 against each other with two of those games going to overtime. This rivalry has always struck me as more fun and weird than most, and under the lights in Stillwater with everything on the line I’m sure we’ll have both. I’m leaning toward the Sooners, but I have zero confidence in that pick.

    9:00: Colorado State @ Fresno State (CBSS): This is not, as far as I know, a rivalry, but will put to rest an unfun season for Fresno State.

    10:00: Arizona State @ California (FS1): Arizona State beat Arizona, Cal lost to Stanford. Will there be a hangover here from last weekend, and if so, in which direction? Hard to say. Going with the Sun Devils.

    10:15: Air Force @ New Mexico (ESPNU): Hope you like the option in this one. I like the Falcons here.

    10:45: Nevada @ San Diego State (ESPN2): And finally, the end. I hope by the time you get here, you’re decompressing from however you enjoyed (or didn’t) your rivalry game and are treating the last full day of college football appropriately. Have fun, stay safe, and the Aztecs probably have this one.

    This Week in College Football: Week 13

    As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

    Thursday
    7:30:

    • South Florida @ Central Florida (ESPN): UCF continues its quest to become one of the worst teams in the history of college football with a visit from a surging USF squad. I’d stick to the other game.
    • Texas Tech @ Texas (FS1): At 4-6, Texas isn’t out of the bowl picture yet (especially with the “being short of teams” business) but time is running out for the ‘Horns. The Fighting Kingsburys recently got back into form after a 3-game losing streak by putting up 56 on K-State, so they figure to have the advantage here.

    Friday
    Noon:

    • Navy @ Houston (ABC): This one’s tough to judge. These are both solid teams with potent offenses. Navy did beat Memphis by a larger margin, so I’m giving a slight edge to the Midshipmen.
    • Miami @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2): I like Pitt a lot in this late season ACC tilt. Miami’s “mailing it in” status seems to vary based on the opponent, so we’ll see.
    • Marshall @ Western Kentucky (FS1): If last year’s contest is any indication, then this will be one of the most exciting games of the weekend. Western Kentucky’s looked slightly better on the year, so I’ll go with them.
    • Western Michigan @ Toledo (CBSS): Toledo should have this one.

    2:30: Missouri @ Arkansas (CBS): Well, Mizzou has no offense basically, which makes this an apparently easy pick for the ‘Hogs, but you never know with the Fightin’ Berts.

    3:30:

    • Washington State @ Washington (FOX): It’s a bit of an inversion in the Apple Cup this year, eh? Three months after everyone was writing off Mike Leach and Co., they’re one of the mot improved teams of the year. I suspect coaches would take that sort of result against Portland State if it meant more seasons like this. So, yeah, I like the Cougs here.
    • Iowa @ Nebraska (ABC): Someone, please, help? Anyone? I have to go with the Hawkeyes, though.
    • Boise State @ San Jose State (CBSS): Boise’s down this year, but that happens sometimes. They should be able to beat the Spartans.

    4:00: Oregon State @ Oregon (FS1): Oregon’s looked more like, well, themselves the past few weeks, which does not bode well for Oregon State at all.

    4:30: Massachusetts @ Buffalo (ESPNU): Buffalo is mediocre. UMass is terrible. Easy pick!

    7:30: Baylor @ Texas Christian (ESPN): Game of the day, except that everyone’s hurt. However, Baylor seems to have the much, much better Plan B, so I’m giving them a slight edge.

    8:00: Tulsa @ Tulane (ESPNU): Well, Tulane just fired their coach, so… Tulsa?

    Bowl Predictions 2015: Week 6

    They’ve been up for a few days, at the usual place. I was just holding off on posting for two reasons. First, I was hoping to hear what the NCAA might say about their 5-7 eligibility policy, considering that I’m four teams short this week. The mainstream media has started to pick up on there not being enough teams this year, so it was in the news, but I haven’t heard an update. Second, I wanted to look for some bowl news but I hadn’t had the chance. I finally checked earlier tonight, and it was not exactly a bumper crop of updates. Hopefully, we’ll get more information after most teams wrap up their regular seasons this weekend.

    At this point, most of the non-CFP bowls are still pretty much somewhat educated guesses, but the CFP picture is hardly clearer. These are the teams I view as contenders, based on my projections through the end of the season:

    The top two are obvious in these projections: Clemson and Alabama. After that? I have no idea. My gut is to go with Oklahoma and Michigan State in this scenario, but they each have flaws. Here are the arguments for and against Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Notre Dame:

    • Notre Dame
      • For: Tough schedule
      • Against: Lost to Clemson already, no “signature” win (with a loss to Notre Dame, Stanford might well still be Pac-12 champs but also have 3 losses)
    • Oklahoma
      • For: Tough schedule, wins over all the other Big 12 contenders (true champion), came on strong the past few weeks
      • Against: By far the worst loss in the table
    • Michigan State
      • For: Defeated two previously unbeaten teams (again: my projections), Big Ten Champs
      • Against: Not exactly dominant (led zero minutes in wins against Ohio State and Michigan), Nebraska isn’t the worst loss here but it’s not good

    Of course, this is all off the table if any of these teams lose this weekend or next, but hey, that’s the fun part of all this. Stay tuned!