Bowl Predictions 2019: Week 5

They’re up and they’re good! Okay, maybe they’re not good. Heck last week apparently forgot to upload the picks. Whoops!

At any rate, I’m not going to get into an in depth analysis of these picks (expect that for next week’s picks on Sunday and the final picks after Championship Saturday), other than I had to put frickin’ Liberty in there because I ran out of otherwise eligible teams. Oh, and I have Ohio State at #1 now.

This Week in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday

6:00: Ohio @ Akron (ESPN+)

7:00: Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): NIU is kind of bad this year, but it’s not surprising that this is the game that made it to TV. I like WMU though.

Thursday

7:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (“The Egg Bowl”; ESPN): If it makes any sense, this rivalry is possible overrated as an underrated rivalry. Okay, so that probably doesn’t make sense, but there’s a reason why college football people always talk about this game. If you’re not from Mississippi (and I’m not), then the ferocity of this game is not generally going to be known. And let’s face it, ferocity is not a word often thrown around when it comes to the Turkey Day NFL games. (Of course, I say this and the NFL game it’s going up against is Saints-Falcons, so…) Anyway, Ole Miss is terrible this year, so yeah the Bulldogs should be able to secure the win in Starkville.

Friday

Noon:

  • Texas Tech @ Texas (“Battle for the Chancellor’s Spurs”; FOX): It turns out Texas is as mediocre as we thought they’d be before they beat the pants off Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last season. Who knew? Anyway, I’m still going to take them to beat Texas Tech because, well, I’m not sure really.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (“The Commonwealth Cup”; ABC): We all thought last year would be the year that UVA could finally do it and beat VPI for the first time since 2003, but nope, they went out and blew it. That was in Blacksburg, at least, this time they have to be considered favorites with the Coastal on the line, right? (Note: “Coastal favorites” is synonymous with “the right to demolished by Clemson next week”.) I think they can do it this time. Maybe.
  • Toledo @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): I’ve given up on trying to figure out what’s up with Toledo, so for the sake of my sanity I’ll go with CMU.
  • Miami @ Ball State (CBSS): Miami is 7-4, and Ball State is 4-7, yet the ESPN FPI matchup predictor gives the Cardinals a 64% chance of winning. Yeah, I’ll disagree.
  • Bowling Green @ Buffalo (ESPN+)
  • Kent State @ Eastern Michigan (ESPN+)

2:30:

  • Missouri @ Arkansas (“Battle Line Rivalry”; CBS): Arkansas: the Rutgers of the SEC. Everyone’s “get right” game. The wonder of how a SEC team could be this bad. It’s truly mind-boggling, and this is the last time you’ll get to see it in 2019.
  • Iowa @ Nebraska (“The Heroes Game”; BTN): Iowa is presumably going to do Iowa things and get out of Lincoln with an Iowa win. I have no desire to watch any of it.

3:30:

  • Cincinnati @ Memphis (ABC): Now then, this could be fun. Cincy already as the AAC East secured, but the West is still up for grabs, but Memphis hold the reins. They also figure to be a better team in the end, and put themselves in prime position to a) beat Cincy again next week and b) become the top G5 team in the College Football Playoff rankings.
  • Boise State @ Colorado State (CBSS): The main question about this game is probably whether or not Colorado State coach Mike Bobo will retire afterward. Boise shouldn’t have an issue.

4:00: Washington State @ Washington (“The Apple Cup”; FOX): This Apple Cup looks like a complete coin flip. UDub absolutely looks… bad on offense, but Wazzu’s defense is an excellent salve for offensive woes. Combine that with Wazzu’s penchant for offense, and we could potentially have some fireworks in Seattle. Just because of Wazzu’s unpredictability, I like UDub in the end.

4:15: West Virginia @ Texas Christian (ESPN): WVU lost 5 straight, beat Kansas State, and then lost again. I’m going to go with TCU here.

5:00: Arkansas State @ South Alabama (ESPN+)

6:00: Appalachian State @ Troy (ESPN+)

8:00: South Florida @ Central Florida (“The War on I-4”; ESPN): I had to check real quick, and yep, Charlie Strong isn’t fired yet. That said, it’s hard to imagine who would do better in USF, really. UCF figures to run away with this one.

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

Note: despite the SEC-SoCon Challenge this weekend, we will maintain our policy of listing only FBS vs. FBS games.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (FOX): This game might be the first indication on the season that Ohio State isn’t invincible, but they could still easily win by 20.
  • Minnesota @ Northwestern (ABC): Minnesota figures to get their groove back against a punchless Northwestern offense.
  • Oklahoma State @ West Virginia (ESPN2): Well, the ‘Neers managed to knock-off a different Big 12 team ranked in the 20’s last week, can they turn the trick twice? Well, maybe, but probably not.
  • Michigan State @ Rutgers (FS1): Even Michigan State can probably score, and win, against Rutgers.
  • Illinois @ Iowa (BTN): Will Illinois win this game? No, probably not, though if you’re going to roll into Kinnick hoping to keep the momentum going, the noon slot is the time to do it.
  • Central Florida @ Tulane (CBSS): Tulane’s slipped a bit over the past few weeks, but UCF just lost to Tulsa, so I’ll ride the Green Wave.
  • Kansas @ Iowa State (FSN): Iowa State is on the verge of going 8-4, which means it’s party time! in Ames.
  • Liberty @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): UVA. (Reminder: Liberty is a full-fledged FBS team this year!)
  • Ball State @ Kent State (ESPN+)

2:30:

  • Boston College @ Notre Dame (NBC): Yeah, ND is better than anyone wants to admit, especially me.
  • Texas State @ Appalachian State (ESPN+)

3:00: Georgia Southern @ Arkansas State (ESPN+)

3:30:

  • California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (ABC): There’s apparently no settled name for this rivalry game, so I’ll ask around. Until then, I like a rapidly improving (and newly-ranked!) USC here. Oh, and also a shout to the home vs. home uniforms, that had better still be a thing.
  • Texas A&M @ Georgia (CBS): This game will be close, but also boring as hell and never in doubt. Yeah, that’s Georgia (most of the time) this year for you.
  • Michigan @ Indiana (ESPN): #Ninewindiana and all, but yeah, no, Michigan has to keep winning to set up for the Ultimate Disappointment of getting obliterated by Ohio State next weekend.
  • Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech (ESPN2): I guess it would the most #ACCCoastal thing for VPI to lose this game beat UVA anyway next week, but for now, I’ll take VPI.
  • Texas @ Baylor (FS1): I don’t think Texas will win, but I’d really like it if they did.
  • North Texas @ Rice (NFL): This is definitely a game that will be on TV, unlike one of the games below that is far more deserving.
  • Nebraska @ Maryland (BTN): Like, for instance, this game. This isn’t even the one I was thinking of! But yeah, Nebraska gets an easy one, probably.
  • Western Kentucky @ Southern Mississippi (ESPN+)
  • Louisiana Tech @ Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN+): I meant this one. This should be good. Also, Go Blazers.

4:00:

  • Purdue @ Wisconsin (FOX): Wisky figures to roll.
  • Memphis @ South Florida (ESPNU): Memphis figures to roll.
  • Syracuse @ Louisville (ACCN): … Louisville? figures to roll? I mean, they actually kinda do? What in the world happened to Syracuse? The only thing odder than the blowout they suffered to Syracuse lately as the beatdown they put on Duke last week. That’s the ACC in 2019 for you, I guess.
  • California @ Stanford (Pac12): THE BIG GAME. I mean, I won’t be there, but I will definitely be watching from my apartment mere tens of miles away. At any rate, I think I still favor Cal here, as they seem to be getting healthier again and Stanford is just the “meh”-iest team in the world right now.

5:00: Troy @ Louisiana-Lafayette (ESPN+)

6:00: Florida Atlantic @ Texas-San Antonio (ESPN+)

7:00:

  • Arkansas @ Louisiana State (ESPN): LSU can play “name your score!” this week.
  • Temple @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): Cincy is good, but they still have plenty of question marks in their quest to get that AAC crown. Temple will provide their latest challenge in that persuit, and while think they can win this one, I’m not sure how I feel about the next couple of weeks.
  • Kansas State @ Texas Tech (FS1): K-State? Sure, let’s do it.
  • Miami vs. Florida International (@Miami, FL; CBSS): Miami.

7:30:

  • Oregon @ Arizona State (ABC): If there’s a spoiler for Oregon season, and it’s before the Pac-12 title game, then it should be the Beavers next week and not the Sun Devils now. Of course, things don’t really go according to plan like that, but I prefer it because the most fun outcomes are either Oregon winning the Pac-12 or the Beavers grabbing the upset in Eugene.
  • Houston @ Tulsa (ESPNU): Tulsa beat UCF last week, which feels a little bit like the dog that finally caught the car, and Houston is kinda-sorta-actively tanking this year, but yeah no, I’m taking Tulsa over Houston.
  • Tennessee @ Missouri (SEC): These teams are on completely opposite trajectories right now. It feels weird, but yeah, I’m taking the Volunteers here.
  • Duke @ Wake Forest (ACCN): This is certainly an ACC conference game. Yep. Wake? Sure, let’s go with Wake.

8:00: Texas Christian @ Oklahoma (FOX): OU survived Waco last week, which yeah, can be intimidating. All they gotta do now, though, is not blow it against TCU. I’ll predict the Sooners to do that, but that defense inspires little confidence.

9:00: Oregon State @ Washington State (Pac12): Wazzu’s unpredictability is almost become rote at this point, so I’ll sidestep that predict a comfortable Cougar win.

10:00:

  • Washington @ Colorado (ESPN): This evening slate is kind of dire, but it’s that sort of week. UDub should have no trouble with the Buffs.
  • Utah @ Arizona (FS1): Same with the Utes and ‘Zona.

10:30:

  • Nevada @ Fresno State (ESPN2): This could be fun. Fresno is a little down this year, and Nevada seems to be relatively game. I like the Bulldogs down in the Valley, but I think I like these MWC games more than the late Pac-12 games available.
  • Boise State @ Utah State (CBSS): And we close with a test for Boise down in Logan. It’ll be 24 degrees over there, but no snow unfortunately. Regardless, I think this could be a fair bit of fun, and so don’t give up on this late slate too early. I like Boise here.

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday

7:30:

  • Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPN2): Well, there’s a whole week of games afoot, starting off with two solid blocks of MACtion. NIU needs a win here badly to get bowl eligible, but in my projects I have EMU winning.
  • Ohio @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): The Bobcats have been pretty uneven this year, but they should be able to prevail over the Falcons.

Wednesday

7:30:

  • Toledo @ Buffalo (ESPN2): Toledo has had one of the strangest trajectories of any team this season. To wit: they lost to Kentucky to open the season, as one would expect. They then reeled off four straight, including winning at Colorado State and beating BYU. They then lost to Bowling Green, which wasn’t great, and then they got absolutely slobberknocked by Ball State. They then two more before losing again last week. I have no idea what to make of them or this game. I’ll go with the Rockets, I guess.
  • Akron @ Miami (ESPNU): Akron is… not good. Miami all the way here.

Thursday

8:00: North Carolina State @ Georgia Tech (ESPN): Two steps forward, one huge step back. That’s how this season feels so far. I was expecting it to be pretty rough, but it’s hard to be encouraged when you get blown out by a team you blew out last season. Of course, it’s hard to have high expectations when you’ve got two walk-ons taking a lot of snaps on the defensive line. I hope we can resolve these depth issues over the winter. About the best thing I can think of to say about this immediate game is, um, the Midtown skyline is really pretty at night.

Friday

9:30: Colorado State @ Wyoming (ESPN2): Well, it’s safe to say Wyoming is no longer the luckiest team in football, a title bestowed upon them after they won their first three games in the most random manner possible. They then lost a weird game to Tulsa, but since then they’ve otherwise done a solid of beating the teams they should and losing to the teams that are better to them. They should be able to continue that trend and beat Colorado State.

Bowl Predictions 2019: Week 4

They’re hot and fresh right here.

We’re probably going hear plenty about this, but the biggest question come December 8th is almost certainly going to be: “Who’s Number 4?” And that’s certainly the thorniest issue when I was trying to project this. Here are the teams I perceive to be the candidates:

  • Alabama: the committee ranked them 5th last week, but that was before they lost their all-everything QB for the season. Their best win on the season is projected to be Auburn. Their loss is to the projected CFP #1, LSU.
  • Oregon: the committee ranked them 6th last week. I currently project them to win the Pac-12 by defeating Utah in the championship game, which would give them a top 10 win. Their loss was to Auburn back in Week 1.
  • Georgia: ranked 4th last week, I currently have them losing to LSU in the SEC championship game. Their best win on the season is over Florida, who will probably play in a New Year’s Six bowl. They lost to South Carolina, a team that will probably finish 4-8.
  • Utah: I don’t think they have as strong of a resume as Oregon does, but their loss to Southern Cal looks less awful now. Their best win would be beating Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.
  • Oklahoma: ranked 10th last week, they lost to K-State earlier this season. Their best wins are projected to be a win over Baylor on the road and a neutral site win over the Bears in the Big 12 championship game.

Obviously, Minnesota and Penn State are in if they win their conference. Baylor is tricky, as I’m not sure a season-split with Oklahoma would get them in.

I think Alabama and Oregon have the best chances given my projections. I think that if Georgia loses in the SECCG, they will have a too-recent loss, no conference title, and a loss to a bad team at home. In my current projections, I have Oregon in, because I think a conference title will put them over the top. I could honestly put together a set of projections with Bama in, and the thing about this is that reality has a way of messing with my predictions. We’ll see how the committee ranks these teams on Tuesday and try to read the tea leaves.

Elsewhere:

  • The SEC is extremely top heavy, and I have four of their teams going to New Year’s Six bowls. (The last at-large spot will probably come down to Florida or Penn State.) The two best teams after Georgia, Florida, LSU, and Bama are probably Texas A&M and Auburn. Mizzou may not be bowl eligible (the NCAA still hasn’t said), which makes some of the situations in the lower-tier SEC bowls somewhat dire.
  • The Pac-12 was tough to project this week, as it’s a nest of 5-5 and 4-6 teams. Outside of the teams that are already eligible, I feel like it’s basically random which of the rest will get in.
  • The Big 12’s championship game is still dumb, but if Oklahoma beats Baylor again it’ll probably work out.
  • The CFP hasn’t said yet what will happen with regards to the Orange Bowl if no ACC team is ranked in the final standings other than Clemson. I’m assuming they’ll still take an ACC team of some sort. Wake Forest was an early favorite, but they’ve dropped 3 games now, which probably makes Virginia the favorite if they win the Coastal. Other candidates are a better-than-anyone-expected Louisville and a Coastal-winning Virginia Tech. Watching Georgia crush one of these teams is going to be incredibly depressing for me.
  • The favorites for the G5 At-Large bid are the AAC winner and Boise State.
  • The “Power Six” thing by the AAC maybe dumb, but looking at the AAC’s bowl games, well, there could be a lot of blowouts. It’s hard to see how their games against the MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference USA will be competitive. The AAC tried to remedy this by getting games like the Birmingham Bowl, where they would play lower-tier major conference teams, but the major conferences don’t have enough teams for those bowl slots anymore.
  • Your Internet College Football Hipster Projected Bowl of the Week is the New Orleans Bowl, which I have as Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Tech. I have App State going 11-1 and winning the Sun Belt, and LT is quietly tearing up C-USA, where I have them going 10-2. Oh, and App State doesn’t win the Sun Belt, then Louisiana(-Lafayette) probably will. Dear New Orleans Bowl Committee: if you can match these conference champions in your game, do it. DO IT NOW.