Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bowl Games 2009: Party Like It's...

The massacre continues. While I may be above .500 for now, I'm not counting on that to hold up.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday, December 31
12:00: Air Force vs. Houston (Armed Forces Bowl @ Fort Worth, TX; ESPN): This edition of Air Force can definitely play some defense, while this edition of Houston can be wildly inconsistent. The will probably come down to whoever is most excited about being in Fort Worth again, but at least on my paper Houston's passing attack should carry the day.
Previous meetings: This is the 3rd meeting between the two teams since September 2008, which was also their first meeting. They also played in last year's Armed Forces bowl. Air Force won the regular season contest but lost the bowl.
Last bowl game: As mentioned above, both these teams played in last year's edition of the Armed Forces bowl, so I think this is pretty self-evident.

2:00: Stanford vs. Oklahoma (Sun Bowl @ El Paso, TX; CBS): Whatever happens in this game, it cannot possibly be worse than last year's 3-0 non-entity between Oregon State and Pittsburgh. (I don't even remember who go the field goal, but it's not really important because, let's face it, there were no winners there.) Again, on paper, I think the Sooners should win, especially coming off their upset victory over rivals Oklahoma State. Stanford certainly has a chance, but then again they certainly should have been able to beat Cal at home in the Big Game. (In fairness, they did win their game, against Notre Dame.) There's also this business about Andrew Luck's broken finger - while Oklahoma is also missing their ideal signal caller I'd say they're a lot more used to their backup at this point than the Cardinal are. Stanford still has Toby Gerhart, of course, so they're not completely out of it. I except a pretty high scoring contest here (of course, by recent Sun Bowl standards, that's not saying much) but Oklahoma to edge it out.
Previous meetings: Their last meeting was a 19-7 Oklahoma win, back in 1984. The had met three times before that, and OU holds a 3-1 series lead.
Last bowl game: Stanford hasn't appeared in a bowl since the 2001 Seattle Bowl which they lost 24-14 to Georgia Tech. Oklahoma lost last year's BCS Championship Game 24-14.

3:30: Missouri vs. Navy (Texas Bowl @ Houston, TX; ESPN): This Navy team has some serious issues, especially on defense. Missouri I think feels a bit shafted by their bowl selection and I think will be plenty motivated. I think Navy will have the edge in the first half, but provided Mizzou doesn't come out flat and recovered by the end they should be able to out-athlete Navy. Of course, almost every time I've said that so far it's turned out to be completely untrue, so take that (and everything else here) with a grain of salt.
Previous meetings: Mizzou holds a 2-0 series advantage, with their previous meetings coming in 1948 and the 1961 Orange bowl.
Last bowl game: Missouri won last year's Alamo Bowl contest against Northwestern, 30-23. Navy, meanwhile, lost the inaugural EagleBank Bowl to Wake Forest 29-19.

6:00: Iowa State vs. Minnesota (Insight Bowl @ Tempe, AZ; NFL Network): I wish I could tell you, nay, urge you to find out if you get NFL Network and tune into this game. Alas, in good conscience, I cannot. I mean, really, two 6-6 teams that don't really have a lot of offense but don't really play much defense either? My predictions is that the two teams run at each other for 60 minutes and at the end Minnesota is declared the winner. I mean, geez, at least in the Texas Bowl you get the novelty of watching Navy run their offense. The only novelty in the game is, "Hey, look, Iowa State is in a bowl game!" The only reason Iowa State is here is due to their massive 9-7 upset of Nebraska, in which the Cornhuskers turned the ball over eight times. Minnesota had to beat Syracuse in overtime and, er, upset (for lack of a better term) Northwestern.
Previous meetings: As with most things Iowa State, the Cyclones have a losing record against Minnesota: 2-22-1 to be exact. However, all but three of those games came before 1989, in fact, they all came up to 1924. The two teams met every year (except 1901) from 1895 to 1915, then the series came back briefly in 1923-24 and then promptly went away again. The result of all this is that Iowa State's only two wins came back in 1897 and 1898.
Last bowl game: Iowa State last appeared in a bowl in 2005, where they lost to TCU 27-24. UMN is in their second straight Insight Bowl, and will hopefully do better than last year's 42-21 loss to Kansas.

7:30: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee (Chick-fil-a Bowl @ Atlanta, GA; ESPN): Virginia Tech looks to improve upon their record in Atlanta so far their year (0-2) against a team in Tennessee that should, theoretically, be over matched. Both these teams sport very capable defenses, so I expect a tight, low-scoring game to wrap up the day, but for VPI to sneak in a win at the end.
Previous meetings: Here's another game you have to go back in the books for. Their last meeting was in 1994, which VPI lost 45-23 in the Gator Bowl. The other six games were played in 1896, 1897, 1899, 1911, 1933, and 1937. Basically, it was so long ago that people besides me and my late grandfather still called them VPI. Oh, and Virginia Tech has lost all of them except the 1899 and 1911 editions.
Last bowl game: Virginia Tech was the ACC representative in the Orange Bowl last year, where they beat Cincinnati 20-7. Tennessee, of course, missed a bowl game last year but was in the Outback Bowl back on New Year's Day, 2008. The beat Wisconsin 21-17.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bowl Games 2009: The Slaughter Continues

Merry Christmas! Anyway, this first set of games has proven exactly why I attach the following disclaimer to my posts:
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, December 26
1:00: Ohio vs. Marshall (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): Well, ordinarily I would say something about, "well, we're talking about a 6-6 C-USA team that barely got into a bowl" and use that as my logic for picking Ohio here. But I think SMU is thoroughly debunking that as I type this. So, well, I already picked Ohio, so let's hope they can pull it out.
Previous meetings: These former MAC foes have met 52 times, most recently in 2004 (a 16-13 Marshall win). The Bobcats hold a 29-17-6 series lead.
Last bowl game: Ohio's last game was the GMAC Bowl back in the 2006 season, where they lost to Southern Miss 28-7. It was Ohio's first bowl game since the 60's, and the Bobcats are 0-3 in bowl games. Marshall went to plenty of bowls after moving back to Division I-A in 1997. In fact, their first four appearances were with this very bowl, but their last appearance was in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, where they lost 32-14 to Cincinnati.

4:30: North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh (Car Care Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): I hate pick Pitt in anything, but though they last their lost game to Cincy in the de facto Big East title game, they certainly ended on a higher note than UNC, who lost to a very bad NC State team in their last game. So, despite all my instincts, I'm going with Pitt.
Previous meetings: The schools have only met 6 times, all since 1974. Their last meeting was in 200, which UNC won 20-17. UNC also holds a 4-2 series lead.
Last bowl game: UNC appeared last year in this bowl, losing to Pat White and West Virginia 31-30. Pitt supposedly was at last year's disaster of a Sun Bowl, where they supposedly lost 3-0 to Oregon State.

8:00: Boston College vs. Southern California (Emerald Bowl @ San Francisco, CA; ESPN): These are both hard teams to read at this point, and it was very difficult to go with USC here. I can't imagine either of these teams are terribly motivated here. BC partisans are, of course, not excited about getting the ACC bowl shaft again, and I can't imagine USC planned out a trip to San Francisco back in August. However, it's hard to ignore the talent advange USC should have, but then again USC should've out-talented Stanford and Arizona as well.
Previous meetings: These teams have only met twice, in 1987 and 1988. BC lost both games, 23-17 and 34-7.
Last bowl game: BC landed in last year's Music City Bowl, where they inexplicably lost 16-14 to Vanderbilt. USC was in some sort of Rose Bowl thing? Apparently they beat Penn State 38-24.

Sunday, December 27
8:15: Kentucky vs. Clemson (Music City Bowl @ Nashville, TN; ESPN): Speaking of unmotivated teams, Clemson fans are really unexcited about landing in Nashville after their ACC title game loss. Hopefully their team doesn't share those feelings, as I still like C.J. Spiller and friends over a mediocre-seeming Kentucky team.
Previous meetings: Kentucky leads the all-time series, 8-4. The last two matchups have been in bowl games, the latest 2006's Music City Bowl, a 28-20 Kentucky victory.
Last bowl game: Kentucky beat ECU 25-19 in last year's Liberty Bowl, while Clemson fell 26-21 to Nebraska in the Gator last year.

Monday, December 28
5:00: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical vs. Georgia (Independence Bowl @ Shreveport, LA; ESPN2): Well, A&M flashed some competence in their last game against Texas, but (unfortunately) so did UGA. I begrudgingly like Georgia here, which usually means they'll lose by 30.
Previous meetings: While TAMU is 3-1 against UGA, the last meeting in 1980 was a 42-0 rout in favor of Georgia.
Last bowl game: TAMU's last bowl game was the 2007 Alamo Bowl, where the lost 24-17 to Penn State. UGA beat Michigan State in last year's Capital One Bowl, 24-12.

Tuesday, December 29
4:30: Temple vs. California-Los Angeles (Eaglebank Bowl @ Washington, D.C.; ESPN): Well, I mean, UCLA isn't a very good football team. Nonetheless, I can't really take Temple over them. If this were during the season, this would be even easier, but as I've learned so far, any team has a chance in during the bowls.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: If you guessed that Temple's last bowl was "a while" ago, you're absolutely correct. Their last post-season appearance was the 1979 Garden State Bowl, where they beat California 28-17. UCLA last appeared in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl, where they lost 17-16 to BYU.

8:00: University of Miami vs. Wisconsin (Champs Sports Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ESPN): Wisconsin was embarrassed by a much faster team in last year's edition of this bowl. Provided Jacory Harris gets his mojo back in time for the game, I think Miami should beat the Badgers. Not easily, perhaps, but beat them nonetheless.
Previous meetings: Miami is 2-1 against the Badgers, the last two coming in decisive (51-3, 23-3) victories back in 1988 and 1989. Wisconsin's lone win dates from a 20-0 shutout back in 1958.
Last bowl game: "Da U" lost last year's Emerald Bowl, 24-17, to Cal. Wisconsin played in last year's Champs Sports Bowl where they got downright beat (42-13) by Florida State.

Wednesday, December 30
4:30: Idaho vs. Bowling Green (Humanitarian Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): Well... um... I'm not really sure what to write about this WAC-MAC battle. I guess BGSU is going to win? Idaho did lose four of its last five games, including a blowout loss to Boise State in their last blue turf appearance.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: This is Idaho's first appearance since a 42-35 loss to Southern Miss in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl. Bowling Green was last seen getting blown out (63-7) by Tulsa in the 2007-2008 GMAC Bowl.

8:00: Arizona vs. Nebraska (Holiday Bowl @ San Diego, CA; ESPN): The Wildcats got here thanks to their upset (are they really upsets at this point, though?) of USC in their last Pac-10 outing, while Nebraska got here due to losing the Big 12 title game. Despite that, however, Nebraska certainly has the best defense Arizona has faced all year, so provided the Cornhuskers show up and can manage to score a TD (or, just maybe, two touchdowns) I think they can eke this out.
Previous meetings: These teams have met twice. The first was a 14-14 tie back in 1961, while the last was the 1998 Holiday bowl, which Arizona won 23-20.
Last bowl game: Arizona won last year's Las Vegas Bowl, which was their first bowl appearance since 1998. Nebraska, meanwhile, beat Clemson in last year's Gator Bowl (as mentioned previously).

I'll do separate posts for the 31st, 1st, and 2nd most likely. Until then, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bowl Games 2009: Opening Slate

In this opening post of bowl season, we'll go over all the pre-Christmas games. So get your TV watching area set up and get ready to go. For reference, the full set of predictions is located here, with a smaller "mobile" version available as well.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, December 19
4:30: Wyoming vs. Fresno State (New Mexico Bowl @ Albuquerque, NM; ESPN): While Wyoming was reasonably consistent this season, Fresno gave several good teams all they wanted (see: Wisconsin, Cincinnati), did their usual thing in the WAC, and then beat Illinois thanks to a Fat Guy two point conversion two weeks ago. I like the Bulldogs here.
Previous meetings: Last meeting was in 1997, when Fresno defeated Wyoming 24-7. The overall record between the two is 3-3.
Last bowl game: Wyoming's last bowl game was in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl, where they lost 24-21 to UCLA. Fresno lost last year's New Mexico Bowl 40-35 to Colorado State.

8:00: Central Florida vs. Rutgers (St. Petersburg Bowl @ St. Petersburg, FL; ESPN): I know little about Beef O'Brady's except I'm reasonably sure I never want to go there. At any rate, while I fully support George O'Leary's team and their late-90's Georgia Tech replica uniforms, I have to like the State University of New Jersey here. Rutgers wasn't great this year or anything, but it was solid enough and they should generally roll in with more talent than the non-Scarlet Knights can match. (Also, when did UCF go from the "Golden Knights" to just "Knights"?)
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: This is UCF's 3rd bowl in the program's short football history (their first year of Division I-A ball was 1996), and were last seen losing 10-3 in the 2007 Liberty Bowl against Mississippi State. This is Rutger's 5th straight bowl appearance. Last year they beat NC State 29-23 in the Bowl.

Sunday, December 20
8:15: Middle Tennessee State vs. Southern Mississippi (New Orleans Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): It's not like USM automatically outclasses their Sun Belt opponent in this bowl, but I still like them to win against their fellow bottom-of-the-barrel ACC team beaters. I also a expect plenty of points.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: Now in their 11th season at DI-A, MTSU last went bowling in Detroit, where they lost the then-Motor City Bowl 31-14 to Central Michigan. USM makes their 7th straight bowl appearance and the 2nd year in a row at the New Orleans Bowl. Last year they beat Troy 30-27.

Tuesday, December 22 
8:00: Brigham Young vs. Oregon State (Las Vegas Bowl @ Las Vegas, NV; ESPN): I just don't like BYU that much this year - something about giving up 55 points to FSU just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. (They also pretty much rolled over and died against TCU.) Oregon State should be able to just outclass them, starting with the Rodgers brothers on the ground.
Previous meetings: BYU and Oregon State have played 8 times, however, they have not faced one another since 1986. Oregon State won that meeting 10-7 and the Beavers lead the overall series 5-3.
Last bowl game: BYU's been in a bowl game every year since 2005, and they've all been appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. (I guess either Mormons really like traveling to Vegas or the organizers think it's really funny to keep inviting them.) They lost 31-21 to Arizona last year. This will be Oregon State's 4th straight bowl game and they currently sport a 5 game bowl winning streak. Last year they walked into the Sun Bowl and then stumbled out a few hours later with a 3-0 victory in terrible game that later gets called a "defensive battle" because that doesn't sound as bad as saying "neither offense bothered to show up".

Wednesday, December 23
8:00: Utah vs. California (Poinsettia Bowl @ San Diego, CA; ESPN): Both these teams come off not-so-great losses in their previous games. Utah lost to its rival in OT, while Cal followed their victory over Stanford with a blowout loss to Washington. It's hard to gauge this one - I like Utah in a reasonably close contest.
Previous meetings: Cal leads the overall series 4-2. The first meeting was in 1920 and a 63-0 rout by Cal. Their last meeting was in 2003, when Utah won 31-24 in Berkeley.
Last bowl game: Utah's played in a bowl game every year since 2003, and won each of those contests, most notably the 35-7 beatdown of Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and last year's 31-17 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Cal has also appeared in a bowl every year since 2003, and beat Miami (FL) 24-17 in last year's Emerald Bowl.

Thursday, December 24
8:00: Southern Methodist vs. Nevada (Hawaii Bowl @ Honolulu, HI; ESPN): SMU's had a decent year (especially compared to last year's campaign), but I think they will have trouble keeping up with Nevada and their bevy of 1,000 yard rushers (though they'll be missing one of them for this game). SMU may still get a touchdown or three, but I think Nevada is plenty capable of just running all over the Mustangs.
Previous meetings: This is the 5th meeting between these two schools - the previous 5 took place after Nevada joined the WAC for the 2000 season. SMU left for C-USA in 2005. Nevada is 3-2 in the series but lost the last game in 2004 38-20.
Last bowl game: This is SMU's first bowl game since the 1984 Aloha Bowl, where they beat Notre Dame 27-20. Incidentally, the Hawaii Bowl is played in the same stadium as the Aloha was. This will be Nevada's 5th straight bowl game. They lost last year to Maryland in the Humanitarian Bowl, 42-35.

Don't forget about the actual championships happening today and tomorrow, as well:
8:00: Montana vs. Villanova (@ Chattanooga, TN; ESPN2): Last weekend's games were thrilling in their own right. I especially enjoyed Montana's thrilling back-and-forth game with Appalachian State in freezing, snowy weather up in Montana. Had Villanova lost, I'd probably actually be at this game, but they didn't so I'll see it on TV.

11:00 AM: Mount Union vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater (@ Salem, VA; ESPN2): It's the Stagg Bowl, otherwise known as the Division III title game. A fine way to kick off your Saturday morning before taking advantage of hte last weekend of Christmas shopping, no?

At any rate, I'll be back on Christmas day with my next set of picks and trivia. Until then...

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 15

With one DI-A game this weekend various sorts of playoffs, I figured I would go ahead and write up a post for this weekend.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

8:00: William & Mary @ Villanova (ESPN2): I'll still refrain from making predictions about the DI-AA playoffs because, again, I don't really know enough. At any rate, this semi-final is a rematch of two CAA divisional foes. Villanova won the first meeting in October 18-17, and both teams sport DI-A victories this season. And, hey, it's Friday night - it's not like anything else is on.

1:00: Grand Valley State vs. Northwest Missouri State (@Florence, AL; ESPN2): This is for all the Division II marbles, folks. NW Missouri State is, from what I can tell, the Buffalo Bills of Division II - they've reached the title game four straight years and lost each time. This game is also a rematch of the 2005 and 2006 games.

2:00: Alabama A&M vs. Priarie View A&M (@Birmingham, AL; ESPN Classic): It's the SWAC title game! Why the SWAC has a title game, I have no idea, but there you go!

2:30: Navy vs. Army (@Philadelphia, PA; CBS): Before the start of the UGA game a few weeks ago, my Dad said to my brother and I, "I guess I should be as nervous about Army-Navy as you guys are about this game," or something to that effect. And indeed, Army fans haven't had a whole to to cheer about lately. This is the first year they've even sniffed .500 since 1996, and they haven't beaten Navy since 2001. And it's not just to the losing to Navy over that span - the games haven't really even been competitive, with an average score of Navy 39.14 and Army 10.14. Even though Navy is in a relative "down year" by their recently lofty standards, it's difficult to pick against them.

4:00: Appalachian State @ Montana (ESPN): It's the last game of the day, and it's more DI-AA semi-final action. Montana is the number one overall seed and hasn't lost since last year's DI-AA title game, while Appy State has won three of the last four championships. This should be a good one.

Coming up next week, bowl predictions!

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Bowl Predictions: Final

I did upload a final set of predictions, but thanks to my obligations in Tampa and flying back I didn't have time to do a write-up. Instead, I'll talk about the final deal.

Keep in mind, I saw almost none of yesterday's games except for the ACC title game and the end of the Pitt-Cincy game.
  •  On the title game: Well, Texas ran into by far the best defense they've played and floundered as Colt McCoy got sacked approximately a million times. The Horns still won, but nonetheless it makes you wonder - especially as Alabama rolled to a SECCG victory. Alabama also features a suffocating defense and, unlike Nebraska, has some semblance of an offense. That said, Texas still has Colt McCoy and, therefore, still has a chance - and of course, I'd prefer they win. However, the hype machine for 'Bama is already well underway, almost reminiscent of the hype train USC rode into the 2006 Rose Bowl, and we know how that went.
  • As for the Fiesta, I don't really have anything to add since SI's Andy Staples summed it up already: "Welcome to Glendale, home of the Separate but Equal Bowl."
  • That said, this has been one of the most unpredictable years for the bowls that I can remember. I think the weirdness started last week when the Outback took Auburn and just went from there. USC falling to the Emerald? The Sun willingly taking Stanford? Mizzou falling as far as they did - i.e., getting picked after Iowa State and Texas A&M? The whole stupid Florida State thing (that I talked about last week)? USF going to Toronto? Ugh.
  • Iowa over Penn State was probably the "right" thing to do, in the sense that Iowa did beat Penn State earlier this year. I was still surprised it happened, though.
  • Michigan State went a lot higher than I would've expected (the Alamo has the 3rd selection after the BCS), considering their recent legal troubles. Texas Tech was also a surprise there.
That's it from now, as I'm exhausted from my adventure. More later.

Friday, December 04, 2009

My ACC Championship Game Adventure

Well, someone has to liveblog the ACC title game, right? While all the cool kids are off with their "undefeated teams" and "national title implications" I'll be at the throbbing, vibrant heart of ACC football: Tampa, Florida.

Okay, perhaps not so much. But still, I'll be there and updating - not this blog directly, but on those newfangled Twitter and Facebook things. If you already read this on FB, well, you're good to go. If not, or you really like Twitter, you can follow me at asimsports.

Edit: Twitter updates will now also appear on the sidebar to the right.

Bowl Predictions: Week 7 Update (In Which Bobby Bowden Screws Half the ACC Over)

With a flurry of "unconfirmed" reports throughout the week, we have a semi-complete picture of the bowls heading into the weekend. As such, I've updated the predictions with any reports I felt were reasonably reliable. Note I have not otherwise changed anything that didn't relate to a confirmation (for instance, with Auburn's surprise Outback bid, I was able to put Tennessee in their likely destination, the Chick-fil-a, but I haven't taken Notre Dame off the board despite most reports saying they're not going bowling).

Let's hit the high points of the changes, though you'll have to do without links (for the most part):
  • As the headline might indicate, I'm as unhappy as everyone else in the ACC outside of Tallahassee about the Gator Bowl's proposal to take 6-6 (4-4 in the ACC) FSU over basically anyone else. As you might recall from my post about the ACC's bowl situation next year, one of the reasons for the Gator dropping the ACC was the conference's bowl order selection rules, and apparently they've decided to stick it to the rest of the conference a year early. Articles over the past week have introduced a hitherto unknown rule that the bowls can opt out of the championship game loser 3 out of every 4 years, but I have yet to see any confirmation that this supersedes the conference's one-loss rule. The Gator is arguing that it does, and thus they would probably banish the GT-Clemson loser to Nashville (perhaps "banish" is too strong, if there weren't bowl "prestige" involved I'd rather go to Nashville over Jacksonville any day) as the Champs Sports will also take Miami using the same rule. I guess the Gator figures they'll sell a lot of tickets, but if they do get their FSU-West Virginia matchup, any TV audience will be gone by the half. At any rate, I figured that next year's mediocre SEC versus mediocre Big Ten matchup would make the Gator irrelevant, but it appears they want to get a head start on that.
  • Because of the chaos surrounding the Gator situation, very little is known about the rest of the ACC's bowl situation, except that everyone still has the potential to get screwed. If Clemson loses the ACC title game, there is an outside chance the Chick-fil-a will grab them to set up a Clemson-Georgia matchup (as that is a minor rivalry game for both school that hasn't been played since 2003), otherwise, we'll probably get Virginia Tech and Tennessee. If the ACC title game loser doesn't go to the Chick-fil-a (which, if Tech loses, they almost certainly won't), they will fall all the way to the Music City, as described above. UNC is probably sitting the prettiest in this situation with a virtual lock on their customary Car Care Bowl bid (though I read at least one article that said they wanted to go to Florida this year, but thanks to FSU they probably won't). The most screwed of all is perennial ACC bowl matchup loser Boston College, whose pretty good season will be rewarded with a trip to the Emerald Bowl. (I still don't understand why, with no fewer than five actual football stadiums in the Bay Area they need to have a game in a baseball stadium, but that shows what I know.)
  • The Big 12 has no truly confirmed bids so far except Oklahoma State going to the Cotton. As a result, I've slotted Nebraska in the Holiday. Everything else is still up in the air, or at least I haven't seen anything terribly reliable.
  • The Big East is also waiting for the results of its games Saturday, most of the guesses seem to be as good as mine.
  • The Big Ten also isn't set, as they need to wait to make sure either Iowa or Penn State gets into the BCS. This also affects the Little Ceasars Bowl, because if neither get in (somehow) then they will pick up a Big Ten team. The only thing I know for sure is that Michigan State will not be going to Orlando.
  • The Pac-10's bowls are waiting to see what happens this weekend, with most of the conference playing. It looks pretty likely the USC-Arizona winner will go to the Holiday, though.
  • The SEC, assured of two BCS bids, is pretty well set at this point. The Outback stunned everyone by taking Auburn, which caused a shakeup among the other teams in the middle of the SEC. I know for sure that Ole Miss will return to the Cotton, LSU will go to the Capital One. Less sure, but still pretty sure is that Arkansas will head to the Liberty Bowl and South Carolina will head to the Bowl. This leaves Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. They will probably head to the Independence, Chick-fil-a, and Music City bowls, respectively, but I haven't seen anything firm enough to really call it.
  • As for everyone else, well, the MWC and WAC will probably the break they way I see it, though Utah and BYU could possibly switch places. I haven't really seen anything regarding the destination of the various Sun Belt and MAC teams, as their fates will probably be determined which bowls end up needing at-large teams.
Anyway, I'll update again tomorrow if anything changes. Otherwise, I will try to post my last set of destination predictions before the final BCS standings are released Sunday night. As for my trip to Tampa? Well, hopefully Houston doesn't get snowed on too badly.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

9:00: Oregon State @ Oregon (ESPN): The Civil War is back. On the line? A berth against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Cross-state rivalries don't get much bigger than that. Add to the mix that this game is in Eugene, which is normally crazy but gets even crazier after dark. All year, I've felt that Oregon is one of the best teams in the Pac-10, with Oregon State in the echelon just slightly below the Ducks. I'll stick to my guns here, but it could still be close. Worth watching, that's for sure.

8:00: Central Michigan vs. Ohio (@Detroit, MI; ESPN2): (Author's note: I just added the phrase "upset Temple" to my vocabulary so I can type the following sentence.) Ohio upset Temple Saturday to earn a berth in this game against everyone's favorite mid-major Tebow, Dan LeFevour, as Central Michigan hopes to avoid being upset themselves a la Ball State in last year's game. I don't see that happening though.

  • Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (ABC): It's the de facto Big East title game featuring the guy Notre Dame should hire (Brian Kelly of Cincy) and the guy whoever Notre Dame hires is likely to resemble (Dave Wannstadt). Which is to say, I just don't see how Cincy loses here, as has been foretold by numerous message board pundits. Cincy plays decent enough defense and is light-years ahead of Pitt offensively.
  • West Virginia @ Rutgers (ESPN): Despite Bill Stewart's best efforts to the contrary, West Virginia will probably win this game.
  • Houston @ East Carolina (ESPN2): This (the Conference USA title game) may be the most exciting of the noon games, in all honestly. ECU is probably one of the more mature teams in C-USA, while we know Houston's going to score a lot of points and not play a lot of defense. This one is hard to figure, though note that the game is at East Carolina. In the end, I'll take the flashy Houston offense, and if I were a betting man (as you might guess from the quality of my predictions, I'm not) I'd take the over on this one, whatever it is.
12:30: Fresno State @ Illinois (BTN): Fresno should be able to put the Illni out of their misery.

  • Arizona @ Southern California (ABC): Perhaps USC has its mojo back after Pete Carroll did everything but literally flip the bird to Rick Neuheisel last weekend? Can Arizona shake off the excitement from its own rivalry game (which they won on a last second FG)? I think USC will come out on top and salvage a Holiday Bowl bid in the process.
  • Carson-Newman @ Grand Valley State (ESPN): More playoffs (playoffs?!?), this time brought to you by Division II. If nothing else, they'll give you something to watch until...
4:00: Florida vs. Alabama (@Atlanta, GA; CBS): And so it has come to pass. Florida versus Alabama. Atlanta. SEC title game. Is there anything that I can say about this game that hasn't been said already? Those of you who've tracked my bowl predictions throughout the year have no doubt noted that I've projected Alabama to the title game in most of them. For most of the season, this made sense. My perception has been that Alabama has sort of cooly and professionally sailed through their SEC schedule while Florida has looked vulnerable several times and was willed to win by a stingy defense and Tebow-ian moxie. Of course, then rivalry weekend happened, and Alabama found itself trailing to Auburn most of the game while Florida took Bobby Bowden and FSU out behind the woodshed.
The funny thing about perceptions, though, is sometimes (read: most of the time) they're not always accurate. In SEC play, Florida outscored its opponents by 15.625 points per game. Alabama outscored its opponents by 15.375 points per game. Both are in the top quarter of the conference in scoring and are, by far, the two stingiest defenses (10.625 pts/game for Alabama 12 pts/game for Florida) in the SEC.
So what does this mean? This means the game will probably live up to its billing: tight, low-scoring, yet exciting. And, somehow, writing this is making me renege on my bowl predictions. I'm picking the Gators.

  • Nebraska vs. Texas (@Arlington, TX; ABC): I think we all know the expected result. Colt McCoy goes out there, completes 75% of his passes and runs for a bunch of yards. Yet while I'm fully aware of the disclaimers surrounding rivalry games (you might say I'm acutely aware of such things this year), Texas did struggle to put away Texas A&M and didn't play that great of a defense. And, indeed, if there is any team in the Big 12 that can actually slow down Texas it would have to be Nebraska. The problem for Nebraska, of course, is that they themselves cannot score against Big 12 defense, which is pretty bad when you consider that they don't get to play themselves. It's hard to for me to go against the grain here.
  • Georgia Tech vs. Clemson (@Tampla, FL; ESPN): So, as you may or may not know, I am actually leaving SFO at 12:30 AM to go to Tampa for this game. I'll try to update as I go along.
    At any rate, when Clemson lost to (and by "lost to", I mean "got shellacked by") South Carolina on Saturday I was ecstatic. With a victory over Georgia, Tech would have all the advantages going into the ACC title game and could be reasonably expected to win.
    Yeah, well, so much for that.
    So instead we have two teams coming off losses to bitter rivals (though at least Tech's offense showed up, unlike Clemson's) playing for a berth to the Orange Bowl. So you have to assume both teams are going to be ready to play. Tech won the first meeting, 30-27, by building up an early lead (24-7 at the half), squandering it, and then kicked a late field goal to win it in regulation. Since then, both teams have an appropriate number of all-conference players (Tech has the 1st team QB, RB, WR, and DE, Clemson has the ACC Player of the Year) and so there doesn't figure to be a lack of offense for this game, especially given Tech's major issues on defense.
    Speaking of said defense, so far the wisdom in Tech circles what used to be a decent rush defense (the pass defense has been a known liability all year, and indeed that was mechanism for Clemson's rally in the first game) relates to mostly two things. The first is overpersuit by the linebackers, and the second is our defensive tackles just got manhandled. Suffice it to say, both have been known issues all year, but they really manifested themselves last weekend. So what can Tech do to counter Clemson's weapons? Well, keep them off the field, for starters. Secondly, this means doing whatever South Carolina did to limit CJ Spiller to 18 yards on 9 carries (and 19 yards on 3 receptions). Tech was able to "contain" Spiller on the ground (87 yards on 20 carries), but got gashed through the air (4 receptions for 69 yards) the first time.
    At any rate, we'll see how it goes. This weekend promises to be crazy, regardless of the result.
  • South Florida @ Connecticut (ESPN2): I'm as glad as anyone that UConn beat Notre Dame last weekend. (Indeed, if anyone deserved to get a win last weekend, it was UConn.) Unfortunately for them, they have to play USF this weekend, and I have to say I like the Bulls here.
8:30: California (PA) @ Northwest Missouri State (CBSCS): Just pushing more DII playoffs here, folks.

11:30: Wisconsin @ Hawaii (ESPN2): Hawaii could throw a spanner into the WAC bowl works by pulling off the upset here to get bowl eligible, but they probably won't as long as Wisconsin takes their vacation at least somewhat seriously.

Like I said, I will be in Tampa this weekend! I may do a series of posts on my weekend, or maybe sign up on Twitter or something. We'll see!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bowl Predictions: Week 7

Well, this is the final week before the conference title games. I expect some bids to be announced this week, especially for bowls that more than likely know they're going to need at-large teams.

With that said, let's hit the last round of purely speculative predictions. You can find them in the usual place.
  • I could probably write a whole article on rivalry game upsets and my disappointment therein, but outside of our own blown chance the biggest loser from last weekend has to be Oklahoma State. Providing the best chance of the Big 12 getting two BCS bids this year (outside of a truly shocking upset Saturday), the Stillwater Cowboys fell flat on their face, losing 27-0 to the Sooners. With that upset, I had to relent and finally put Boise State into a BCS game, and I have a feeling the BCS may have to do the same.
  • Outside of that, the BCS selections are pretty standard. Alabama/Florida vs. Texas, the loser for the former going to the Sugar. The only really viable major at-large teams at this point are probably Iowa and Penn State, and though it pains me that either one will make it in, I have to go with the Team JoePa. I think the Fiesta will take one of those, the Orange will take Cincy, the Fieta picks up Boise and TCU is forced into the Sugar's hands.
  • Thanks to Miss State's upset of Ole Miss, I've put LSU back up at the Capital One slot. After that I really have no clue how the SEC shakes out, so what you see are reasonable guesses, I think.
  • The MAC will have two 7-5 teams, which will get slotted. MTSU is 9-3 and will have to grab an at-large spot as well. Notre Dame and UCLA are 6-6, so they will get whatver's left, most likely.
  • I wonder if the Car Care bowl is cool with having the same matchup as last year? I don't think any of the alternative are that palatable (i.e., FSU or BC from the ACC side or Rutgers instead of WVU).
  • Game I'd Rather See on the Hardwood: Connecticut versus Kentucky ( Bowl).
  • Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: Well, there's the UCF-USF game, but I also like USC-Oklahoma State. I'm not sure either are all that non-obvious, though.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

i can haz defence?

I mean, really? :(

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN): Much was made over the past month of Clemson's propensity of blowing late-season divisional leads, but they avoided any disappointment and clinched a trip to Tampa. South Carolina, meanwhile, has continued their own streak of November swoons, having not won since Oct. 24 against Vandy. Clemson, meanwhile, has won six straight and has found their offense while South Carolina hasn't shown anything resembling one all season. Tigers win.
  • North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN2): This NC State team is just awful. Nothing embodies this more than the fortunes of QB Russell Wilson, who went into the season with a nearly year-long streak of interception-free games. After this and his other qualities were beginning to be noticed nationally, he's been, well, less good—since Oct. 3, he's thrown 11 picks. UNC has really rallied to get to 8-3 over the past couple of months, and I think they'll go to 9-3.
  • Mississippi @ Mississippi State (SEC/Gameplan): Ole Miss behind Dexter McCluster has put themselves firmly in control of 2nd place in the SEC West, and I don't see this changing barring a huge upset by Miss State.
  • Wake Forest @ Duke (Raycom/Gameplan): This is a tough game to pick. Neither of these teams have athletes that are necessarily superior to the other. Both are relatively close, losing consecutive games to mostly superior competition. I still like Duke's offense overall, but Wake should be smarter defensively and Riley Skinner is probably the superior QB. I'll take the Deacs.
  • South Carolina State @ Appalachian State (ESPNU): Yes that's right folks, we're going to talk about the Division I-AA playoffs. Appy State has one of the most prolific offenses in all of I-AA, averaging 6.75 yards per play, against SC State's highly ranked defense. No pick on this since I don't really know enough, but I think these I-AA can be worth watching.
12:30: Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (FSN): It's bedlam! Though for the first time since I can remember, OSU will be favored. It feels a little bizarre, but it's hard to dispute, especially after Oklahoma's flop against Texas Tech.

1:30: Southern Mississippi @ East Carolina (CBSCS): This is for all the C-USA East marbles right here, and the winner will most likely face Houston next week in the C-USA title game. I think at this point ECU's the slightly better team, though USM can probably put up the points to keep it interesting.

  • Florida State @ Florida (CBS): Florida.
  • Arizona @ Arizona State (Gameplan/ABC): Last I checked, Arizona state's straight-from-10th-grade freshman QBs are still terrible. So I'll go with Arizona here.
  • Missouri vs. Kansas (@Kansas City, MO; Gameplan/ABC): There is just no way Kansas wins this game, with the blowout last week and all the chaos surrounding the program. No way.
  • University of Miami @ South Florida (ABC/ESPN/Gameplan): I think USF may be able hang in there, but overall Miami should take care of business.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ESPN/ABC): Well, I'm 0-1 in my "so fired" pool, with Dan Hawkins inexplicably coming back next year. So what able Al Groh? UVA has to get rid of him notwithstanding the result of this game (where UVA is going to lose), right? Right?
  • Boston College @ Maryland (ESPNU): Will the Fridge get fired? My 8-ball says "reply hazy, try again" so I'm not sure. I don't need a magic 8-ball to tell me that Boston College should win this game, though.
5:00: Utah @ Brigham Young (CBSCS): It's the MWC Runner-Up game! I like Utah here, personally.

6:00: Texas Tech vs. Baylor (@Arlington, TX; FSN): Well, Baylor gave it a good effort this year, but they still have at least another year or two of Robert Griffin. Texas Tech should take care of business over in Jerry Jone's Intergalactic Space Palace.

  • Arkansas @ Louisiana State (ESPN): It's the battle for the boot! I still think LSU is the better team, just not necessarily the better coach. They should win, but it may be interesting.
  • Tennessee @ Kentucky (ESPNU): Hey, this Kentucky team is (very quietly) not terrible! Kiffin gets to bowl eligibility in his first year, but probably not much more.
  • Notre Dame @ Stanford (ESPN2/ABC): Completing the possible "so fired" trifecta is a one Charlie Weis. I feel pretty confident that he's going to get canned, but perhaps the Domers should consider this is the best they can do? At any rate, Stanford should be able to blow them off the ball and control this game.
  • Georgia @ Georgia Tech (ABC/ESPN2): To Hell With Georgia.
10:00: California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (FSN): UCLA got on a nice little 3-game win streak to get to bowl eligibility against the three worst teams in the conference. Despite USC's recent efforts, they're still better than the Wazzou's and U-Dub's of the world.

10:30: Navy @ Hawaii (ESPNU): Hawaii's trying to make a late season push to be invited to their own bowl game, but I don't like their odds. Especially since they should probably lose to Navy here.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/27

Like Wake Forest or Maryland or somebody...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/26

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Now, onto the hate.
"We may not make a university student out of him, but if we can teach him to read and write, maybe he can work at the post office rather than as a garbage man when he gets through with his athletic career." --- UGA defense attorney Hale Almand
Yes, remember folks, being functionally illiterate is A-OK as long as you can play football for the University of Georgia (where, last I checked, remedial classes count towards credit).
It takes absolutely no courage or conviction to be a [UGA] fan. All it takes is $10 and a trip to Wal-Mart. --- "GTDad", on StingTalk
This is from a message board post from last year, but I think it still applies.

Also, finally, remember UGA fans hate America:
Original caption: Children cheer after singing "Happy Birthday" to Cuba's leader Fidel Castro while standing around a birthday cake at the Pioneer's Palace in Havana, August 13, 2007.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/25

Well, a little late. I have a little video for you all, though.

I can hardly think of a more important quarter in my football watching experience. We were down 16 and we just went out there and everything went right. Others have written about the game and that quarter at greather length.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Ball State @ Western Michigan (ESPN2): This game has already started, so I'll just say I was going to pick Western Michigan anyway.

8:00: Texas @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Even with their improved play as of late, it's not really working out terribly well for TAMU (though they will, improbably, make a bowl). Texas should win by at least a few scores.

  • Rutgers @ Louisville (ESPN2): So Rutgers inexplicably lost to Syracuse last week. That may faze some people but not me! Rutgers should still win.
  • Temple @ Ohio (ESPNU): This is for all the MAC East marbles! Fear the Owl, I say.
12:00: Illinois @ Cincinnati (ABC): I think Cincy can safely handle the Illini, despite them going 2-1 the last three weeks.

2:30: Alabama @ Auburn (CBS): Can you imagine the chaos if Auburn can pull this off? Because I can't - it's hard to imagine Bama or Florida even losing a game at this point would make any difference at all, so big are their leads in the BCS. Do I want Auburn to win though? Of course. Will they? Probably not.

  • Nebraska @ Colorado (ABC): How fired is Dan Hawkins? So fired. They should also probably lose to Nebraska, but it's the Big 12 North, so you never know.
  • Memphis @ Tulsa (CBSCS): Man, what happened to Tulsa? After a 4-1 start it looked like an average year in the C-USA East for them, but since they've lost six straight. They haven't exactly gotten beatdown, either, including close losses to Boise State, UTEP, and that wacky 1-point loss to Houston. Well, okay, they got blown out by ECU, but still. It's hard to say which team is more moribund, but I'll take the one that hasn't fired their coach (hint: Tulsa).
7:00: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (ESPN2): It's the backyards brawl! Considering the coaches involved, except rare moments of brilliance with bad clock management and nonsensical trick plays in attempt to break out of their conservative norms. I'll take the Wannastache.

10:15: Nevada @ Boise State (ESPN2): STAY UP FOR THIS GAME, unless it quickly becomes a blowout in favor of one of the teams. Nevada features not one, not two, but three 1000-yard rushers on the year and Boise has yet to face a significant obstacle in their tear through the WAC. Will a competent opponent faze them? Perhaps, but I'm still taking the Broncos.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bowl Predictions: Week 6

Predictions are up.

Some notes:
  • With most seasons wrapped up, hopefully we'll start seeing some confirmations, especially for bowls that will probably not have their primary tenants.
  • What to do with Boise? I still feel its entirely possible they are left-out by the powers-that-be. For the past two weeks, I used this to put them in the Poinsettia, but with the Pac-10 only getting 1 team into the BCS and having some surprise qualifiers (like, say, Stanford) they will actually fulfill their obligations this year. Result: if Boise doesn't get picked by the BCS, they're probably going to the Humanitarian.
  • My BCS picks remained the same, reflecting the stability at the top after last weekend. You can switch Florida and Alabama around however you like.
  • The Sun may be too optimistic for USC at this point.
  • On second thought, Virginia Tech going to the Peach over Clemson may not be all that great - VPI has already been to Atlanta twice this year.
  • With their loss to Ole Miss, LSU slides all the way down to... the Cotton. I don't think anyone over there is panicking about this part.
  • Other that than, there are a bevy of MAC teams that qualified with winning records (i.e., 7-5). It got to the point where it was difficult to produce matchups that didn't involve MAC vs. MAC games. We'll see how all that shapes up after this weekend.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/22

Continuing last year's grand tradition, it's To Hell with Georgia Week here at asimsports.

Tomorrow, we start a series of posts relating to the game and our hated rival. For now, though, we rest and travel.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Ohio State @ Michigan (ABC): Bright and early, the way they like it up and Big Ten country. Or perhaps they just want to get it over with? Ohio State should be able to roll against this defense.
  • Minnesota @ Iowa (ESPN): While I'm sure we'd all like Iowa to lose again, they should manage to beat a now-hapless (but bowl eligible!) Minnesota squad. 13-9 sounds about right.
  • North Carolina @ Boston College (ESPN2): It's been erroneously reported Clemson has already clinched the ACC Atlantic. Not quite true, as BC should win out, but they would need Clemson to lose to have a shot. I like BC's odds of winning out, but not so much the odds of Clemson winning.
  • Duke @ University of Miami (ESPNU): After last week's game, I'm okay with saying that this Duke team is better than years past. That's also not saying much, but it's a start. Miami should still win, though.
  • Mississippi State @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): Speaking of improved squads, Miss State is a lot better than years past, but again it says a lot about how bad they were that they're still 4-6 and probably going to lose to Arkansas.
  • Maryland @ Florida State (Raycom/Gameplan): FSU can get bowl eligible as long as they avoid falling to an utterly dreadful Maryland team. Since the rumors of the death of FSU's offense seemed to be greatly exaggerated, they should be able to get it.

12:30: Oklahoma @ Texas Tech (FSN): Well, Oklahoma probably won't win 65-21 this time around. Heck, they may even not win overall. It's hard to tell at this point. I think I'll take OU.

2:30: Connecticut @ Notre Dame (NBC): Ahahahahahaha. Anyway, ND should actually still win, as loathe as I am to admit. If there's a team that deserves a break, it's UConn.


  • Louisiana State @ Mississippi (CBS): I'm comfortable with saying LSU is probably a little better with this defense thing than Tennessee is. I refuse to be fooled by Ole Miss's and McCluster's sudden display of competence, or the fact that LSU at one point was losing to Louisiana Tech. LSU.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN): It's pretty bad when you reasons is over because you lost to the only decent games you played. Michigan State made a late charge to bowl eligibilty, but I think PSU can pull this one out, as they have been all year.
  • Virginia @ Clemson (ESPN/ABC): If BC loses to UNC in the early game, this game is moot. Otherwise, Clemson needs only to avoid a terrible loss to clinch the ACC Atlantic and meet us for a re-match in Tampa. They should be able to take care of business.
  • North Carolina State @ Virginia Tech (ESPNU): Though VPI fans may be off the bandwagon, they should still beat NCSU.
  • Air Force @ Brigham Young (CBSCS): This is pretty much a battle for bowl pecking order in the Mountain West. It's hard to judge because these teams have both lost to TCU and BYU will probably lose to Utah (as AF already has). I like BYU better, I think AF will give them all they can handle.
  • Wisconsin @ Northwestern (BTN): Mike Kafka says he wants the elusive 8th win, but deep inside the ennui of existence in the face of the world triumphs. Wisconsin keeps on doing what they do, which is win 9-10 games but not the Big Ten.


  • Arizona State @ California-Los Angeles (FSN): So Arizona State's starting their 3rd string QB this weekend. I still think both of their backups look like they stepped out of a JV high school game and onto the field, but hey, whatever works for them. Well, except it's not working terribly well. Meanwhile, UCLA is on a 2-game roll... against the two worst teams in the conference. So this could be good, in a sad sort of way. I'll go with UCLA at this point.
  • San Diego State @ Utah (Versus): Utah rolls.

7:00: Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (ESPNU): Sigh, I wish Vandy could win this game. It would be so great to see the calls for Kiffin's head after a loss to Vandy. Sadly, Vandy just can't score points this year. UT rolls.


  • California @ Stanford (Versus): It's the Big Game! Cal put forth a valiant effort in the win against Arizona last weekend, but how can you pick against Stanford at this point? I sure can't.
  • Tulsa @ Southern Mississippi (CBSCS): Don't look, but Tulsa has lost five straight. Hard to believe. But they just got absolute owned by ECU last weekend, and while USM probably won't do the same, I have to like the dudes from Hattiesburg this weekend.


  • Kansas State @ Nebraska (ESPN): I apologize to the entirety of my Mom's side of the family (including two cousins of mine who are alums, including one who was on K-State's football team) and the state of my birth but I have to hope Nebraska wins this to even make the Big 12 Title Game remotely interesting. Also, if K-State loses they won't be bowl eligible at 6-6 thanks to the Bill Synder scheduling philosophy.
  • Kentucky @ Georgia (ESPN2): I promise I won't make any jokes about UGA VII dying. At any rate, Kentucky is on a roll, but this "roll" consists of victories over Auburn, UL-Monroe, EKU, and Vandy (and includes a loss to Miss State). Georgia's trajectory is similar, which is pretty consistent with the rest of the mediocre center of the SEC. Also, Georgia managed to pull it out last week, which ruined the chance of us making them 5-7. So I'll take UGA here.


  • Kansas @ Texas (ABC/Gameplan): Texas rolls.
  • Oregon @ Arizona (Gameplan/ABC): Well, this is the de facto Pac-10 title game here. Oregon already kind of hurt their changes in that loss to Stanford but unless Masoli pulls a Dennis Dixon (sigh) they should be able to take care of business.

10:30: Nevada @ New Mexico State (ESPNU): Nevada. Now, sleep!

Bowl Predictions: Week 5

Let's just pretend I wrote this on Sunday.

At any rate, the predictions have been up since then. Not much to say this late in the week. Things will probably stay fairly static at the top, but hey, every week is a playoff, right guys?

I'm traveling on Sunday, but I'll make an effort to get the week 6 predictions updated as soon as I can.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Was Making Fun of the BCS Propaganda Machine Before It Was Cool

So apparently someone at the BCS office decided it'd be a great idea to get their propaganda message out there via Facebook and Twitter. Well, as various other sites have reported, it's going about as well as you think.

So I just wanted to say I was making fun of the BCS's original propanda machine ( as early as last year:

As for the bowl predictions and the TV guide, well, I'm really busy at work right now. Rolling a giant stone up a hill is bad enough as-is, but then I have to do something else and the damn thing rolls back down. I'll try to get to each, though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 12

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


6:00: Buffalo @ Miami University (ESPNU): This game is going on right now and I can't see it because I'm at work. Buffalo should win, I guess?

8:00: Central Michigan @ Ball State (ESPN2): I originally made bad jokes involving the MAC and Dan LeFevour. Now you'll just have to take my word for it. CMU should walk through this.


7:30: Colorado @ Oklahoma State (ESPN): Oklahoma State will likely be starting their backup QB. Colorado will likely start a QB. Will it matter? No.


5:30: Akron @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): Bowling Green needs a win to get to the magical land of bowl eligibility. Akron, well, their mascot is a kangaroo.

9:30: Boise State @ Utah State (ESPN2): Four wins would match Utah State's highest win total since 2002. Note I didn't say "five wins".

Also, I know bowl predictions haven't been posted yet. They're up but I haven't time to do the writeup yet. Patience.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hindsight is 20/20: An Apology to Vegas

While I was correct about the ridiculousness of the Florida-South Carolina line, Boise actually covered the 31.5 points against Idaho and TCU darn near doubled the 20 points on TCU in their 55-28 drubbing of the Utes.

Let’s see what else I was horrendously wrong about (I say “all predictions wrong” every week for a reason), along with some other observations.

  • Dexter McCluster has Ole Miss going the right way after their 42-17 drubbing of Tennessee.
  • Purdue made it interesting for awhile, but ultimately Sparty prevailed in West Lafayette.
  • FSU’s offense was pretty much not toast as Ponder’s replacement, E.J. Manuel, went 15 for 20 and 220 yards passing and the FSU ground game racked up 217 on a very deflated looking Wake squad.
  • It looked like Miami was headed right to BCS-ville for awhile today, but ultimately suffered the letdown in Chapel Hill that will likely mean the ACC’s chances of getting that elusive 2nd BCS bid are shot.
  • Oh, Stanford made it interesting all right.
  • Why do all of Arizona State’s backup quarterbacks look like they’re 15 or 16 years old? They just look so wirey and thin out there, I’m surprised they haven’t gotten snapped in half yet.

As for GT-Duke, man, I woke up and turned the game on just in time for kick off. And then I saw my worst nightmare come true – Duke came out throwing, and the defense came out flat and they scored right off the bat. Then we went 3 and out and screwed up the snap on the punt, putting the Blue Devils in great position to go up 14-0. Instead, we forced them to kick a field goal and then returned the kickoff to the Duke 1 yard line, and after that scored 49 unanswered.

The result? Well, I seem to have booked a flight to Tampa for some reason….

Bowl predictions go up later today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 11

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Tennessee @ Mississippi (CBS): It's a noon CBS game, so I guess this is their two-game package of the year. These are two teams going in opposite directions right now, so as weird as it feels I have to pick the Vols.
  • Michigan State @ Purdue (ESPN): Since their upset of Ohio State and subsequent drubbing by Wisconsin Purdue is 2-0, and I have to say, if you'd told me they'd be tied with Michigan State in Big Ten play, well, I'd be pretty surprised. In fact, in terms of their actual Big Ten resumes, I'd say they're pretty even. Still going with Sparty, though.
  • Georgia Tech @ Duke (ESPN2): I think this is the most stressed out I've ever been for a Duke game. With a win, Tech clinches the ACC Coastal title. With a loss, well, I have no idea what happens because there would be a 4-way tie for first (but I think Miami wins the tiebreaker).
    Now, the reason for the stress is this. Duke can throw the ball. Tech cannot defend passing offenses worth a damn. Tech has to do whatever Carolina did last week in limiting Duke to 11 first downs on 125 yards passing. Carolina was able to move the ball, though had trouble getting touchdowns, so if Tech cannot defend the pass we could very easily get into a shootout. Last week the pass defense was bad, and even downright horrible throughout the first half - being done in by a bad combination of playing very far off the WRs and then defending their routes incorrectly. UNC sacked Thad Lewis 4 times and picked him off twice - Tech will need to generate pressure while rushing four. One thing in most defense's advantage when facing Duke is their extreme difficulty in running the ball, which we need to take advantage of by perhaps switching to a 2 LB set to help defend the pass.
    As for Tech on offense, it looked, well, bad at times in the first half but recovered in the second. That said, we must press our athletic advantage over Duke and not put the ball on the ground.
    I honestly don't know what to expect. Most observers, of course, expect an easy Tech win. However, there is nothing easy about GT football. I still recall our last divisional title, 3 years ago, when we came out flat against a bad Carolina team. We won 7-0, but as I saw later, that was the downfall of that 2006 team. We avoided a huge let down last week, and I hope we realize that avoid some of the mistakes that almost cost us.
  • Texas @ Baylor (FSN): Baylor scored the surprise win at Missouri last week, but Texas should be able to take care of business.
  • Florida State @ Wake Forest (ESPNU): So much for FSU getting to a bowl - I agree with the conventional wisdom that FSU without Christian Ponder (a.k.a., the FSU offense) is pretty much toast.
  • Houston @ Central Florida (CBSCS): Houston should win, but expect lots o' points. Might be worth your while - Houst @ Tulsa last weekend was certainly worth mine!
  • Northwestern @ Illinois (ESPN Classic): I don't care what happened the last two weeks, Illinois still sucks.
  • Michigan @ Wisconsin (BTN): With the loss to Purdue, Michigan is in very bad shape at 5-5. I'm not projecting them to win either of their two remaining games.
  • Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (SEC/Gameplan): Neither of these football teams is what you might call "good" but Kentucky does display a certain competence Vandy lacks. Should probably be close and low-scoring, though.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): As long as Clemson shows up for this one, they should have a field day.

12:30: Missouri @ Kansas State (Versus): Yeah... so.... Mizzou. You lost to Baylor last weekend. Yeah. You just violated my trust! Though I don't think that Kansas State is really that much, if at all, better, I can't really pick you at this point. I'm sorry.


  • Florida @ South Carolina (CBS): And now, let's begin a segment I call "ridiculous lines of the day". I think Vegas phoned it in for this weekend. I mean, 17.5 point favorites? I mean, yeah, UF will win, but probably by more like 7-10. Sheesh.
  • Iowa @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): Without QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa could well lose this game and against Minnesota. And I won't mind at all. Freaking Iowa. Ugh.
  • Nebraska @ Kansas (Gameplan/ESPN/ABC): Nebraska, please win this game. I would like the Big 12 title game to be at least competitive. Hopefully Kansas's offense remains hidden for one more game.
  • University of Miami @ North Carolina (ESPN/Gameplan/ABC): While Miami probably won't put 52 on UNC, the home team most certainly will not. Da U should win easily.
  • Stanford @ Southern California (FSN): Speaking of lost offenses, anyone seen USC's lately? Or their defense, for that matter? While they did hold ASU to 9 points ASU had offensive issues of their own. I think USC will win, but I fully expect Stanford to make it interesting.
  • Idaho @ Boise State (ESPNU): THIRTY ONE AND A HALF POINTS? REALLY VEGAS? Boise only put up 45 against a very moribund bunch at Louisiana Tech and you're saying that they'll win by 5 scores against an in-state rival in the midst of their best year ever? This is crazy. Oh, and yeah, Boise still wins, but I mean, really?
  • Delaware @ Navy (CBSCS): First off, you owe it to yourself to read this. Secondly, Delaware is a pretty competent DI-AA team and has given Navy fits in the past, but the Middies should pull it out. (You should also read the other posts on that blog, because it's by far the best breakdown our (and Navy's) offense that I've ever seen.)


  • Alabama @ Mississippi State (ESPN): I wouldn't call Miss State "bad", but I wouldn't say they're good either. Alabama's defense should be able to stuff their only offensive weapon (RB Anthony Dixon) while Mark Ingram improves his Heisman stats.
  • Auburn @ Georgia (ESPN2): Okay, it probably won't happen (since they still play Kentucky) but I am giddy that there is even the possibility that Georgia could be 5-6 heading into our game. Awww yeah, savor the flavor - of schadenfreude! In addition to the heaping amount of bias I already have against Georgia, I also grew up an Auburn fan and generally prefer them to not suck, especially against UGA. And all that said, I'm also picking Auburn straight up. Hopefully the 38 points against Tennessee Tech wasn't a fluke.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Oklahoma (FSN): TAMU, you rolled off two straight wins and then you lost to... Colorado? How? Why? I mean, you should still beat Baylor to get bowl eligible but still. At any rate, they should also still lose to Oklahoma.
  • Arizona @ California (Versus): I was having my customary celebratory burger last weekend after our game against Wake Forest. I looked up at the monitors and it happened right then and there in real time. Jahvid Best, one of the best and most exciting players in college football, was floating in the air, got hit, and lay on the ground motionless. Scary. I drove home, had a half-dozen messages from my friends and turned on the TV. He was still on the ground. He was released from the hospital earlier this week, but to give you an idea of the magnitude it's never good when some has "just" a concussion. (The alternative being the initially feared spinal cord injury.)
    As for the game, Arizona's a pretty decent team this year. (Apparently nowawadays all Mike Stoops does is win football games.) I expect them to win.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): LSU. Next!


  • Utah @ Texas Christian (CBSCS): While Utah has only played one good team (Oregon) and lost, I don't really understand how TCU is 20 point favorite. I'll take TCU to win, yeah, but I mean, 20? Really?
  • Troy @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): Ar-kansas. Next!


  • Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh (ABC/Gameplan): Taking Pitt and the Wannstache to win anything is painful for me, but I must do so here. I just don't like ND is that good.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State (Gameplan/ABC): A win here allows TTU to salvage a measure of respect from a season marked by losses to Houston and Texas A&M. Will they? Probably not, but forecasts call for a storm of points with a chain of hail (marys).

10:15: Arizona State @ Oregon (ESPN): If that guy ASU trotted out there in the 4th quarter of the USC game as their QB is playing in this game, Oregon wins easily. Oregon's drop below USC in the polls last week defies all logic, especially since, last I checked, the Ducks are still on track to win the conference. Madness.

8:15: East Carolina @ Tulsa (ESPN): It's late, I'm tired, and our game is in less than 6 hours. ECU.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 11

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Ohio @ Buffalo (ESPN2): Lots of games this week, so let's kick it off with some MAC-tion. Buffalo no doubt wishes it were last year again, but at 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the MAC, well, it's not looking good against MAC East front-runner Ohio, who look like they have the best chance to knock off Temple's lead.

8:00: Toledo @ Central Michigan (ESPN2): Toledo has the 96th ranked pass defense in the country, so I would expect a big day from everyone's favorite MAC QB, Dan LeFevour.

6:00: Ball State @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): Ball State is terrible, NIU less so.

7:30: South Florida @ Rutgers (ESPN): USF is coming off that huge win against WVU, while Rutgers has been plodding along with winning the games they're supposed to. New USF B.J. Daniels has played well for a freshman so far, and overall it looks as though these two teams are about even. I think USF's offense is a little more dynamic, though, and should be able to outscore Rutgers in the end.

8:00: West Virginia @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): Even with the upset last week, WVU has a big chance to influence the Big East race as well as the national title picture. That said, I'll take the team that isn't coached by Bill Stewart.

8:30: Temple @ Akron (ESPNU): Akron was zipping along (pun intended) to a 1-11 season until they sprung (also intended) a huge upset over Kent State last weekend. The Owls, meanwhile, needed a last minute field goal to keep their own streak alive and beat one of the worst teams in the country in Miami (OH). So, Temple should win, but I expect it to be close again.

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 4

As usual, you can find the predictions here. I’ll eschew the conference breakdowns and just hit the high points this week.

  • First, let’s start with the BCS. Despite the debacle again Stanford, Oregon should still win the Pac-10 (despite the delusions of the pollsters). Meanwhile, Iowa and Penn State combined to really hurt the Big Ten’s chances of being a two bid league. (Last time the Big Ten didn’t send two? 2004-2005.) Now, of course, they still have a shot, especially for lack of other BCS-desirable options. But I came up with an alternate scenario. Alabama beats Florida, Florida gets taken by the Sugar. The Fiesta takes USC, and the Orange takes Cincy to face the ACC winner. With the Fiesta and Sugar remaining, the Sugar does whatever it needs to do get their Florida dream opponent: Miami. Yes, don’t look, but Miami is ranked 14th in the latest standings and, provided they don’t lose again, should be eligible.
  • I still don’t think it’s very likely that both TCU and Boise will be BCS teams unless they are ranked 3 and 4 in the final standings (which would make both of them auto-qualifiers).
  • I still hate projecting GT to win the rest of their games.
  • I’ve finally read in enough places that Duke’s win against NC Central will not count towards bowl eligibility, which I still wasn’t sure about when I did the predictions Sunday night.
  • That said, that’s less of a big deal with this week, with the MAC breaking the right way so that it’s possible we’ll have some extra teams. Also, the Big East and Big 12 may have enough provided Missouri can get to 6-6. Crisis averted, for now.
  • Oh, as usual Navy is the first confirmed team, as their win over Notre Dame makes them eligible and thus they go to their partner for this year, the Texas Bowl, nominally to face a Big 12 opponent. The odds of this occurring right now are somewhat decent, since I’m currently not projecting Oklahoma State to make it to the BCS.
  • Outside of Alabama, Florida, and LSU is the SEC is exceedingly mediocre this year. When I was doing the individual teams this weekend it was a lot harder than it usually is this time of year, as no one in the SEC actually played each other this past weekend. So outside of the best and worst teams, I had no idea where to put anyone, which is how you get Auburn in the Cotton and Tennessee in the Outback, and Ole Miss still in the Chick-fil-a. It’s entirely possible none of those teams will have 9 wins.
  • Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: Central vs. South Florida, I guess.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

This Weekend in College Football: Week 10

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPN): Can Northwestern end our long, national nightmare championship game scenario? Probably not! Iowa wins 15-11.
  • Central Florida @ Texas (FSN): This is the Priceline of football games. Congratulations Colt McCoy, you can name your own score!
  • Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (ESPNU): Should I even bother waking up at 9 for these games? I mean, I usually sleep through the first half anyway, but this is ridiculous.
  • Purdue @ Michigan (BTN): I'm willing to chalk up the loss UIUC as a fluke. If Michigan loses to Purdue they've got problems.
  • Virginia @ University of Miami (Raycom/Gameplan): You know, I almost want UVA to win this game, because it would make it that much more difficult to fire Al Groh. (Now that GT has the UVA monkey off it's back, I can go back to treating UVA as the terrible team they are.)
  • South Carolina @ Arkansas (SEC/Gameplan): I bet the Visor is playing lots of golf these days. Hitting drives, chipping on to greens, making putts. Trying to figure out exactly what he did to deserve this. Sure, South Carolina is 6-3, but they have no offense. How does a man, know for such a thing, deal with that? Whatever the case, they can still beat Arkansas.

12:30: Kansas @ Kansas State (Versus): Both of these teams are so bad, but I'll go with the team that managed to beat Colorado.

2:30: Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC): Notre Dame isn't great, but has begun an unfortunate rise in the polls. Hopefully Navy keeps it close.


  • Louisiana State @ Alabama (CBS): I'm actually willing to accept that Alabama is a good football team at this point. In fact, they're damn good, and I'm willing to downgrade my hatred to "loathing" to set up a match against Florida in the Georgia Dome next month. Okay, I still hat them, but I want to see that game.
  • Ohio State @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2):I've already heard several times this week that this game will "decide the Big Ten". That should tell you how much everyone hates Iowa. At any rate, if Ohio State calls this game like they did their other big game this season (against USC) they will lose. Of course, we still don't really know anything about Penn State. I still like them to win, though.
  • Oklahoma State @ Iowa State (ABC/Gameplan): Somehow, I don't see Iowa State holding OSU to 14 points.
  • Wake Forest @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2/ABC/Gameplan): Having expectations placed on your team is weird.
    At any rate, last week we did exactly what I said we couldn't do (allow Vandy to stay in the game) but then Vandy started to play like, well, Vandy and we pulled away to a 56-31 win. Wake, however, will not rollover so easily. While Vandy isn't incompetent, Wake probably does have slightly better players and are led by 50th year senior Riley Skinner. (Despite suffering a concussion last week against Miami, he will be starting.) Wake is always a tough assignment for Tech - our last meeting was in the 2006 ACC title game, which Wake won 9-6. (Though it did get Patrick Nix fired and then hired (for some reason) by Miami, which worked out great for us over the next two years.) And with the way the defense is playing, no doubt older Tech fans (and by "older", I mean "a few years older than me") are having PTSD-flashbacks to 1999, where the offense scored 38 points a game and still lost 4 time. The 3rd loss was to Wake Forest, dropping Tech to 7-3 and likely ruining any chances Joe Hamilton had of winning the Heisman.
    So, suffice it to say, Tech will need to do all it can to avoid a repeat of history.
    By the way, the other three losses that year? @FSU, @UVA, and to Miami in the Gator Bowl.
  • Oregon @ Stanford (FSN): Well, Stanford, you've had a good year so far. 5-3 overall, 4-2 in the Pac-10. Not bad, especially by Stanford standards. The problem with this rosy outlook? This game, @USC, vs. Cal, vs. Notre Dame. That 6th win may prove to be elusive, and they probably won't find it here.
  • Duke @ North Carolina (ESPNU): Fun fact: even if Duke loses, they can still beat Tech next week and have a shot at the ACC title. That's said, there's little about this UNC team on defense or offense that has particularly impresses me. They still allowed nearly 400 yards passing to FSU. If Duke puts up similar numbers - and they should - they have a pretty good shot to win here.
  • Army @ Air Force (CBSCS): The battle for the Commander-in-Chief's trophy continues in Colorado. Unfortunately, it's hard to pick an Army team that was outscored 56-23 by Temple and Rutgers to win here.
  • Washington State @ Arizona (FCS Central): Why did I list this? I have no idea. Arizona.
  • Washington @ California-Los Angeles (FCS Pacific): (see above) U-dub.

4:00: Texas Christian @ San Diego State (Versus): SDSU is on a roll, by their standards, but TCU should still be able to take care of business here.


  • Oregon State @ California (FSN): Cal's rolled off 3 straight against the worst of the Pac-10, while Oregon State has pretty much lost when they were supposed to and win when they were supposed. That said, Cal is still having issues getting the ball to its best player and needed a last minute FG to get past Arizona State. I actually kind of like the Beavers here.
  • Memphis @ Tennessee (ESPNU): Mmm, delicious cupcakes.

7:15: Vanderbilt @ Florida (ESPN2): Too detailed prediction: Vandy hangs tough through the first quarter to make everyone go, "Hey, Florida's only leading Vandy by 3 points" but the Tebow gets on track and is out of the game by the end of the 3rd quarter.


  • Houston @ Tulsa (CBSCS): This game was supposed to be for the C-USA West title, but Tulsa's sort of fallen off the wagon and has lost 3 straight, including losses to completely schizophrenic UTEP and also to SMU. Since their inexplicable loss to UTEP, Houston has won 4 straight mostly via a way we'd entirely expect: offense. I expect a lot of points in this game (akin to Houston's shootout last weekend with Southern Miss) but the Cougars to prevail in the end.
  • Northern Arizona @ Mississippi (SEC/Gameplan): Ole Miss. Next.

7:45: Florida State @ Clemson (ESPN): It's the Bowden--- oh, right. At any rate, FSU really needs this to make itself relevant in the ACC Atlantic race again, while Clemson controls its own destiny, and in terms of that destiny FSU represents the last major hurdle (Clemson's remaining ACC games are @NCSU and at home against UVA). We could see a reenactment of the Clemson-Miami game (if it's half as exciting as that game was, well, this will be a pretty exciting game), but I don't see a different outcome.


  • Southern California @ Arizona State (ABC/Gameplan): Okay, so our illusions have been shattered, USC is mortal, blah blah. But let's face it, USC should still be favored to win all their remaining bids and get themselves to a BCS game, and that process starts here.
  • Connecticut @ Cincinnati (Gameplan/ABC):Although this will almost certainly doom them, I really do think Cincy is "that good", at least against their Big East compatriots. And this is the home stretch for the Bearcats, a win here and next week against WVU sets up the de-facto Big East championship game December 5th at Pittsburgh.
  • Oklahoma @ Nebraska (Gameplan/ABC): I'm not sure why, but the Big 12 doesn't have a fix-opponent system for its divisions, and it really hurts here. (Of course, this is probably the only major intra-divisional rivalry in the Big 12, so that's probably why.) At any rate, while Oklahoma probably won't put up 68 (that's not an exaggeration) like they did in last year's beatdown, they'll probably still win handily.

10:30: Fresno State @ Idaho (ESPNU): Ah, the late WAC game. You know you love it. At any rate, Idaho is bowl eligible for the first time since 1999 (as well as guaranteed their first winning season since 1999) versus usual suspect Fresno State, which sits at 5-3. This is at least worth watching for a bit because it's in THE KIBBIE DOME. That said, I like Fresno to win.

8:30: Nevada @ San Jose State (ESPN): I wonder how cheap I could get tickets to what will most likely be the Colin Kaepernik show? Nevada should win easily.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week 10

Introducing "This Week in College Football". With the proliferation of conferences desperate for ESPN's money and exposure, we now have college ball on practically every day of the week. So each week, I'll write up a short post about this week's weekday games in the same vein as my weekend column.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Bowling Green @ Buffalo (ESPN2): This is probably an elimination game for getting 6-6, in this battle of 3-5 MAC teams. Though both sport negative scoring margins in MAC play, Buffalo has allowed its collegues to outscore them by over a touchdown per game and has one less conference win. I'll go with BGSU here.

  • Virginia Tech @ East Carolina (ESPN): This ECU team certainly isn't terrible, but in their other BCS-conference matchups versus WVU and UNC, they lost by a combined 29 points. VPI should be able to take care of business here.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): Northern Illinois sits at 5-3 and needs only a win against the second worst team in major college football to get it. And they should.
8:00: Boise State @ Louisiana Tech (ESPN2): Well, LaTech almost beat Idaho last weekend but fell a point short. Of course, they also fell two points short of Utah State, which provided the Aggie's first win over a DI-A team this year. So, uh, I have to say I like Boise here.

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 3

Predictions here! Get your predictions here!

Before I do my usual thing, let me just say that for starters, this is every bowl eligible team. Keep in mind that there will be 2 or 3 new games next year. (Though with some of the matchups that are currently scheduled, and the current state of the economy, I think a few games may fold after this year.) When I started doing this shindig back in 1999, there were "only" 23 games. Now there are 34, which well over half the teams in Division I-A today, and right now I see only 68 teams getting eligible. Think about that for a second. While, yes, I don't slavishly predict the record of every 3-5 MAC team to see if they'll make it (which I do for the Big Six teams) things could break such that there are 70 teams or just as easily break such that there are 65 teams. I haven't seen anything about what could happen if we don't get to 68 this. Would the NCAA let 5-7 teams compete? I don't know.

Anyway, let's hit the major talking points.

  • The title game still looks to be Florida/Alabama versus Texas. With Florida's stomping of Georgia on Saturday, it looks like they may have an edge over Alabama once again.
  • I'm slotting Alabama to the Sugar, and while I'm sure the Sugar will be glad to have them, they did go there last year and the BCS selection rules do allow for such situations.
  • I still have Iowa winning the Big Ten and Penn State getting an at-large bid. If Iowa does lose, that raises some interesting questions about the Big Ten's ability to field two teams.
  • Despite the loss Saturday, USC will be favored in all their remaining games and should win out. Since they didn't even fall out of the top 14 with their second loss, they'll probably get into the Fiesta. Some folks I know believe Notre Dame may give the Fiesta pause if they're eligible, though I doubt the ability of ND's remaining schedule to catapult them far enough up the standings.
  • Right now, I only have one of TCU and Boise getting into the BCS. I think the only way both getting will happen is if one or two more undefeated teams lose. The only way both can ensure qualification is to finish at #3 and #4 in the final standings.
  • Though it pains to do so, I still put GT in the Orange. I am still extremely worried about picking us to win anything, of course.
  • With Virginia Tech's loss last Thursday, any chance the ACC had of being a two-bid league were shot. The win does greatly help UNC's ability to get bowl eligible, though.
  • Overall, I see 7 of the ACC's 12 teams getting eligible, which is down from last year's 10. This leaves the league two short, so it will not send a team to the Eaglebank or GMAC Bowls.
  • Yes, um, Carolina, that is Duke in a bowl game! Also note FSU getting to the Emerald, provided they can get to 6-6.
Big East
  • With an assist from Notre Dame going to the Gator, the Big East will fulfill its obligations.
  • I know USF went to the St. Petersburg last year, but I just don't know where else to put them, and I would think that neither party particularly cares at this point, either.
  • As per usual, the Big 12 North is a disaster. Kansas State is currently at the top of the table, but I don't think there's any way they'll last there. In fact, I don't even have them going to a bowl.
  • While Missouri is 1-3 in conference, they've pretty much played all the teams on their schedule they're categorically worse than. I expect them to recover to 9-3 overall, losing the tiebreaker to Nebraska.
  • From the South, Texas will probably make the national title game, but at this point it doesn't look good for Oklahoma State to get to a BCS game. The Cotton bowl isn't a bad consolation prize, though.
  • With Texas A&M's upset of Texas Tech two weeks ago, they're actually 5-3 and need only to beat Baylor to get to 6-6.
Big Ten
  • I swear, Iowa is the worst undefeated team ever. Is there anyone who actually wants them to run the table? As I've pointed in the past, we have an irrational hatred of Kirk Ferenetz here, but their current "style" doesn't help.
  • Ohio State is the wild card here, as they have yet to play Penn State and Iowa. I have them beating Iowa but losing to Penn State to slide into that old Big Ten standby, the Capital One Bowl.
  • Wisconsin should finish up 10-2 for a trip to Florida as well.
  • The rest of the Big Ten is extremely muddy. As awful as Michigan has been lately, they should still get to 6-6, though.
  • The King is dead; long live the King! As you no doubt know by now, USC lost! (Again.) With a 2 game lead and 4 games to go, Oregon has the conference pretty much clinched, along with a trip to Pasadena. The last time the USC didn't go to the Rose Bowl was the 2004-5 season, when they went to the National Title game at the Orange Bowl instead.
  • Thanks to the magic of a full round-robin and a late ending conference season, the Pac-10 still has plenty of games to go. That said, with Oregon and USC going to the BCS I only see three other bowl eligible teams: Cal, Arizona, and Oregon State. I just don't see two games on Stanford's remaining schedule they should win, and Arizona State will come up just short.
  • Outside of a probable 10-2 LSU, the SEC's bowl slate (again) looks pretty bleak. For starters, the SEC East looks terrible. With South Carolina's loss to Tennessee, there is clear second place team anymore to send to the Outback. So be prepared for Lane Kiffin to say something dumb about whichever Big Ten team he faces and then lose by 20.
  • With LSU going to the Capital One, the representative for the Cotton is also equally debatable. I know Ole Miss went there last year, but I think the Peach will really want Auburn (travel time from Auburn to Atlanta: about 2 hours).
  • Provided they can make it, 6-6 Kentucky and Arkansas should round out the SEC's field to full strength.
Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: BYU-Boise State. It could happen if Boise doesn't make the BCS, which would give the WAC 4 bowl eligible teams. Since the Pac-10 won't send a team to the Poinsettia in all likelihood, this will allow them once again to get one of the best mid-major matchups since the WAC has the backup slot. Personally, I'd prefer Utah-Boise in the Las Vegas Bowl, but I don't think that'll happen.