Monthly Archives: October 2016

Bowl Predictions 2016: Week 3

The latest predictions are now available (subject to change for anything completely unexpected on Tuesday).

At any rate, things are still pretty sketchy. Even for the CFP-controlled bowls, where I had to put in a 3-loss Auburn for lack of any other teams. Fortunately, second-half Auburn is looking like a pretty good team, but still, it doesn’t feel quite right to have a 3-loss team in these (supposedly) marquee matchups.

I’ll just hit some other thoughts in bullet points below:

  • Boise’s loss at Wyoming on Saturday may not put them out entirely. After all, they’ve still got a win over the probable Pac-12 North runner-up Washington State, which is still a better win than any of Western Michigan’s. Also, I think most would agree the Mountain West is stronger than the MAC. It will really depend on how the Committee ranks them going forward. Boise still has a pretty good chance to win their division, which would also let them face a pretty good San Diego State team in the Mountain West championship game. A win against the Aztecs would probably be better than any of Western Michigan’s wins except maybe the one over Northwestern.
  • I’m still short five teams. I even included a 6-6 Army team (with two wins over FCS teams) and a 5-7 Vanderbilt team (top-5 APR), so I’m really short seven. That’s really the entire potential pool of teams according to the rules. I’m not really sure what will happen if that comes to pass. Last year I still was missing five teams as late as Week 7, but things nevertheless worked out.
  • Suffice it to say, I think there are too many bowls. I’d guess the one likeliest to fold after this year is the Arizona Bowl, which still doesn’t have a real TV deal. Most of the other bowl games that you’d like are likely to fold are probably owned by ESPN. Given ESPN’s own troubles in terms of subscriber losses, that may spell doom for these games, but I’d guess not. Bowl games aren’t very expensive to put on, and there’s not much else going on during the holidays. If I had to hazard another guess, I’d go with the Cure Bowl, which was a game that took forever for the organizers to put together (it was on the “potential new bowl game” lists for years) and has a TV deal with the CBS Sports Network. I think 38 is more reasonable, but as a person who likes bowl games I’d say the ideal number is 30-35.
  • January 1st is a Sunday this year, so the traditional New Year’s Day bowls are split between New Year’s Eve and January 2nd. Nonetheless, putting 3 SEC teams in the CFP-controlled bowls really exposes the SEC’s weak underbelly this year, by which I mean there’s probably going to be 3 SEC East teams in New Year’s Day bowl games.
  • And yes, I did slot Georgia Tech over Miami because even though no one actually involved with the game would want it, I’m sure the Powers That Be (TM) would like the storylines around a Georgia Tech-Navy matchup.

That’s that for now. Hopefully we’ll know more next week!

This Weekend in College Football: Week 9

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • West Virginia @ Oklahoma State (FOX): How real are the Mountaineers? We’re about to find out, on this way where we’ve got a lot of road favorites. But they’re favorites for a reason.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Purdue (ABC/ESPN2): So Penn State did beat Ohio State last week, but of all teams to worry about a let-down against, Purdue isn’t one of them.
  • Louisville @ Virginia (ABC/ESPN2): Yeah, looks like Lamar Jackson is fully functional again. UVA doesn’t stand a chance.
  • Michigan @ Michigan State (ESPN): Speaking of not standing a chance, well, Michigan fans: stop reading now. So yeah, you think Harbaugh forgot what happened last year? Yeah, me neither.
  • Central Florida @ Houston (ESPNU): What, uh, happened to Houston? Navy, okay, sure, the Midshipmen look good this year. But SMU? Really guys? So, I’m still going to pick the Cougs here, but y’all are on notice.
  • Kansas State @ Iowa State (FSN): A fact I totally knew and did not just read 5 minutes ago: these two teams first met 100 years ago! I like K-State in the centennial.
  • Kentucky @ Missouri (SEC): Uh, Kentucky? Sure, why not.
  • Connecticut @ East Carolina (ESPNEWS): I have no idea. Seriously, stick to WVU-OSU if you want a good game, and Louisville-UVA or Michigan-Michigan State if you like watching car safety test videos.
  • Minnesota @ Illinois (BTN): Minnesota.
  • Duke @ Georgia Tech (ACC/RSN): Okay, so coming off the bye week, we have some work to do for the rest of the season. This is a good of a place as any to start, by which I mean, I’m trying to process the part where we’ve lost two straight to Duke. Then again, Duke’s been on a bit of a run themselves these past few years until, well, this year.
    On the balance so far, this Tech team has been tough to watch. Our blocking and line play is bad the second year in a row. However bad you think the defense looks, from everything I’ve read it’s actually worse. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a new defensive coordinator next year. I’m personally not ready to call for Paul Johnson’s head (and given our athletic department’s budget, I don’t think it’s likely regardless), but I’d like to see some improvement against the back half of our schedule.
  • Kent State @ Central Michigan (CBSS): Some Saturday MACTION for you, if you so desire. I like Cental Michigan here.

12:30: Boston College @ North Carolina State (ACC): Boston College still lacks any sort of offense, so…

3:30:

  • Baylor @ Texas (ABC): Baylor.
  • Miami @ Notre Dame (NBC): After the past few weeks, whatever shine was remaining on this game has completely clouded up. I still like Miami, though.
  • Georgia vs. Florida (@Jacksonville, FL; CBS): Well, this game will probably be nice and bludgeon-y, but I still expect Florida to win.
  • Northwestern @ Ohio State (ESPN): Ohio State.
  • Texas Tech @ Texas Christian (ESPN2): My favorite reaction to last week’s Texas Tech-Oklahoma game:
    Having watched that absurd TTech/Oklahoma game, Kliff Kingsbury should really consider onside kicking every time for the rest of the year.

    — Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) October 24, 2016

    Going with TCU.

  • Washington @ Utah (FS1): East Coast-types: watch this one, seriously. I think Washington is going to win, but all the same, you need to see the Huskies.
  • Maryland @ Indiana (ESPNU): The Terps are 5-2 out of what feels like nowhere. I’m not ready to give up on the Hoosiers, though.
  • Cincinnati @ Temple (CBSS): I am giving up on Cincy, though. Ugh.
  • Army @ Wake Forest (ACC/RSN): One of Army’s last winnable games. They’ll need to pick up an upset on the way to make a bowl.

4:00: Southern Methodist @ Tulane (ESPNEWS): Now this game has “let down” written all over it.

5:00: Arizona State @ Oregon (Pac12): In two weeks, Oregon will be mathematically eliminated from bowl eligibility. Book it.

7:00:

  • Nebraska @ Wisconsin (ESPN): Nebraska is undefeated and Wisconsin is 5-2. But you need to consider that Nebraska would also have a loss or two if their two Big Ten East opponents this year had been Ohio State and Michigan. I think the Badgers are seriously good, and Nebraska doesn’t have the firepower to overcome that defense.
  • Kansas @ Oklahoma (FS1): Oklahoma.
  • Boise State @ Wyoming (CBSS): Boise.

7:15:

  • Tennessee @ South Carolina (ESPN2): The Vols should be able to make some hay, back in the cozy confines of the SEC East.
  • Auburn @ Mississippi (SEC): So… did Auburn get good when no one was looking, or what? Last week’s 56-3 pasting of Arkansas just came out of pretty much nowhere, and if Gus has this thing fully cranked up, well, it doesn’t look good for Ole Miss.

7:30: New Mexico State @ Texas A&M (ESPNU): TAMU. (Still annoyed that the “A&M” part doesn’t stand for anything.)

8:00:

  • Clemson @ Florida State (ABC): I think this will be a good game, but Florida State this year just has too many flaws and, well, Clemson has to look like Clemson again at some point this season, right?
  • Tulsa @ Memphis (ESPNEWS): Maybe Tulsa was on to something about Houston a few weeks ago, when they only lost by 7. I like them here to win outright.

10:30: Nevada-Las Vegas @ San Jose State (CBSS): This is sure a football game on TV, yep. Uh, UNLV?

10:45: Washington State @ Oregon State (ESPN2): I have the feeling, just a gut feeling, that Washington St will trip up again before the end of the season. Where? Well, probably not here, but with the Cougs anything is possible, man.

11:00: Stanford @ Arizona (FS1): A reprieve for Stanford’s slide awaits in the desert.

Bowl Predictions 2016: Week 2

Hey y’all, Civilization VI is a pretty good game. On an unrelated note, sorry about the bowl predictions being so late this week. I got an assist from ESPN’s FPI and I have to say… I’m not terribly happy with the results. Like, there is no way Stanford is going to win 9 games this year, I’m sorry.

Expect a better set of predictions early next week.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 8

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • North Carolina State @ Louisville (ABC): Both Clemson and Louisville seem to be in a bit of a funk after their game against the other, with Clemson struggling against NC State just last week. To their credit, the Wolfpack have made themselves a pain to play, but I think the Cardinals are ready to step back on to the stage. Nonetheless, this should be a fun one to watch.
  • Wisconsin @ Iowa (ESPN): Wisconsin 12, Iowa 5, book it.
  • Texas @ Kansas State (ESPN2): This game could well get Charlie Strong fired (if not now, later). But I still have a hard time picking against Texas here.
  • Oklahoma State @ Kansas (FS1): In these ever changing times, this world of chaos, there is one constant. And that constant is that the Kansas Jayhawks are not very good at football.
  • Rutgers @ Minnesota (ESPNU): But goodness me they’re still better than Rutgers. Can someone run the numbers and see if there’s been a worse “major” Division I team since, say, 1950?
  • Central Florida @ Connecticut (ESPNU): Some teams are content to ignore or forget about their rivalries, but UCF straight up hates that UConn more-or-less unilaterally declared this a rivalry (the Civil ConfliCT or some nonsene). Heck, they hate it so much that it may just warp all the way around into… being a rivalry. Just food for thought there. (I also like the Knights here.)
  • Massachusetts @ South Carolina (SEC): Gamecocks.
  • Indiana @ Northwestern (BTN): This won’t be the best game in this time slot, no. But it could be one of the most interesting, especially given the role-reversal that’s taken place among the Big Ten’s lower-tier of teams this year. (As in, “wait, Indiana plays defense now?”)

12:30: Syracuse @ Boston College (ACC): In three ACC games so far, Boston College has twenty-four points. 24! Syracuse is going to romp.

3:00:

  • North Carolina @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): Okay, so UVA is finally not awful again, but Carolina is still probably better.
  • Colorado @ Stanford (Pac12): The revolution in the Pac-12 will, in fact, be televised. Well, if you live in the Pac-12 footprint and get Comcast or DISH Network, anyway. What I’m trying to say is the Buffs are going to stampede down on the farm. By the way, the Pac-12’s complaints about their TV schedule bore some fruit: this is Stanford’s first Noon (Pacific Time) kick in like four years.

3:30

  • Texas A&M @ Alabama (CBS): It’s the SEC game of the week, and Alabama is favored by… 19 points. Oof. TAMU is the #6 team in the country, even! Now, of course, this is where we remind you that the lines set by our friends in arid regions are not really predictive and intended to stimulate the action, as it were. So you just know that the books are sizzling with people taking TAMU here. But then, as you walk to the next available window at your favorite sportsbook and think one last time about the possibilities, you think about how Alabama has scored a defensive touchdown in every game this season, and how they actually have a mobile quarterback now and a dynamic offense. This is an Alabama team that scores in bunches. By the time you’ve started talking, you realize you just said “Alabama to cover”. That’s how they get you, folks.
  • Purdue @ Nebraska (ABC/ESPN2): Meanwhile, Purdue football is a thing that exists, for some reason. Seriously, can we just relegate Purdue and Rutgers and promote, like, Western Michigan? Hell, the Broncos will probably finish with more Big Ten wins than those two teams. Combined.
  • Texas Christian @ West Virginia (ABC/ESPN2): I try not to curse (too much) on this blog, so I won’t post a picture of my favorite West Virginia thing: a t-shirt from like 5 years ago spotted at a WVU basketball game that said “WEST [effin’] VIRGINIA” and I think of it every time I see them now. On a related note, did you know the Mountaineers are 5-0? I mean, they still haven’t really played anyone and beat BYU and Kansas State by a combined 4 points, but still, it’s more fun when Holgo is operating his offense at full blast. So, yeah, expect points here. (And a WFV victory.)
  • Illinois @ Michigan (BTN): Illinois is right there in the awful zone of Big Ten teams, setting up a nice little 3-way tie with themselves, Purdue, and Rutgers (seriously). So, yeah, Michigan’s going to win by, well, however much they want, really.
  • Memphis @ Navy (CBSS): Okay, full disclosure: I’m going to be sipping wine while most of today’s games happen. (Well, in this case, probably eating lunch.) Seriously, though, if/when the Tide go up by 30 on the Aggies, find the CBS Sports Network channel and settle in for this.

3:45: Tulane @ Tulsa (ESPNU): You might be wondering how I can be flippant about a game where the teams involved are 4-2 and 3-3, but trust me on this: Tulsa.

4:00:

  • Utah @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): I mean, my instinct was to pick UCLA here, but… Utah is 6-1 and suffered their only loss in the weird vortex that is California Memorial Stadium. The Bruins meanwhile have lost two straight to Arizona State and Wazzou, and their starting QB is hurt. It doesn’t really look good for them, at all.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Missouri (SEC): Mizzou isn’t even one of those teams that’s awful on offense but really good on defense, they’re just… kinda bad. I like the Blue Raiders here.

5:30: Charlotte @ Marshall (beIN): Herd.

6:00: Arkansas @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn has been better than I think anyone expected and I think Gus Malzahn saved his job, but I still like the Razorbacks here.

6:30: Oregon State @ Washington (Pac12): UDub is basically the Michigan of the Pac-12, and, well, Oregon State is like the, uh, Minnesota?

7:00:

  • Houston @ Southern Methodist (ESPN2): Houston’s looked shaky the past couple of weeks, so a trip up to Dallas could be just what the doctor ordered.
  • East Carolina @ Cincinnati (CBSS): Elsewhere in the American Athletic Conference, the bottom two teams in their Eastern division. Uh, ECU, I guess? (Seriously, who saw Cincy being this bad this year?)

7:30:

  • Mississippi State @ Kentucky (SEC): Kentucky’s poached two SEC wins so far this season (seriously, what the hell, Vandy?), but I don’t think they’ll make it three.
  • Michigan State @ Maryland (BTN): Maryland: slightly less awful than anyone thought. Michigan State: much, much more awful than anyone thought. This one might just be bad, folks. And I like the Terps.

8:00

  • Ohio State @ Pennsylvania State (ABC): Well, Michigan beat Penn State 49-10, so… I’m thinking the Buckeyes win by at least 40.
  • Oklahoma @ Texas Tech (FOX): Whatever mojo Kliff Kingsbury had when he first arrived in Lubbock, well, it seems to be gone now. Sooners.

9:00: Mississippi @ Louisiana State (ESPN): One of the reasons cited for DACOACHO’s success as an interim coach at USC and so far at LSU has been the lessons he learned at Ole Miss. Basically, he did a complete 180 from a tough-guy type coach to a player’s coach. And it seems to be working. With the way the Tigers are playing on offense now, and at night, in Baton Rouge… yeah, I think LSU here.

10:00: Washington State @ Arizona State (Pac12): Eh, the Cougars gotta drop another one at some point. Keeps things interesting, people on their toes, that sort of thing.

10:30:

  • Wyoming @ Nevada (ESPN2): Still not a Wyoming home game. Come on ESPN, don’t hold off those wonderful brown home jerseys.
  • Fresno State @ Utah State (CBSS): Uh, the teams in this game are a combined 1-10. You have my permission to skip this one, it’s cool. (I also like the Aggies.)

Bowl Predictions 2016: Week 1

Taking a brief break from work (Monday through Thursday) Civilization VI (tonight) to let y’all know that I uploaded Week 1 of the bowl predictions. I’m hoping to have more time to elaborate on the process here later, but for now, I need to get the preview up.

Quickly though, as per usual it’s still hard tell to anything when there’s still teams that haven’t played six games yet. Right now I’m short 6 teams, even. The bowl predictions page is also a fully updated and correct bowl schedule. The only thing I haven’t pulled yet is the APR standings, which, well, look like they’re going to come into play this year.