Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bowl Predictions 2011: Week 7

Almost everything went as expected this last weekend, which means while there were a few changes in the predictions there wasn’t a major upheaval like there was last weekend. Let’s start with the BCS this time.

Note that most bids will be announced very closely after Saturday’s games. The last major hurdle is the final BCS standings, everyone should know where they’re going for the holidays by the end of the day Sunday. And, as per usual, the predictions are available here.

I’m left with no other choice but to call LSU-Alabama. The only way I could see a change is a major uprising by poll voters to put Oklahoma State ahead of Alabama with a victory over Oklahoma on Saturday. In the other games, the major change is Michigan appearing in the Sugar Bowl. Wolverine fans should be pretty jazzed about beating Ohio State, but there is a slight problem: they are currently 16th in the BCS. However, Georgia and the loser of the Big Ten title game should fall behind them, allowing them to rise up to 14th by next weekend. If Michigan doesn’t make it, then the Sugar may take Kansas State. Otherwise, there’s nothing shocking about the rest of the BCS bowls.

The winner of the ACC title game will go to the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech has a very outside shot at a BCS at-large even if they lose. With Clemson now having lost 2 of their last 3 games (and the 3rd was a last-second field goal over Wake Forest), a loss in the ACC title game may push them out of the Chick-fil-a now. For that reason, I’ve put Florida State above them in the pecking order, putting FSU in Atlanta and Clemson in the Champs Sports. (Also, I have Auburn in the Chick-fil-a game and though I’ve seen some things to the contrary I really don’t think they want a rematch.) The Sun Bowl has said they will take Georgia Tech if available, so that’s pretty easy. (A GT win against Georgia was necessary to raise our draft stock any higher.) With NC State’s strong finish, they are a good candidate for the in-state Belk Bowl, which leaves Virginia for the Music City. This will stick the Independence Bowl with Wake Forest, relegating 3-5 North Carolina to the Military Bowl.

Big East
Who knows? I’m assuming West Virginia wins at this point and going from there. Oh, and ESPN’s Big East blogger raised the scenario that I fear most, which that the Liberty will have a say in the Big East bowl picture. For the sake of my sanity, I’m assuming the Liberty will stick with Southern Miss whether they win or lose to Houston. Oh, and yeah, Notre Dame is almost certainly going to the Champs Sports instead of a Big East team.

Big Ten
The winner of the Big Ten will go to the Rose Bowl, and the loser of the title game will likely go to the Capital One Bowl (especially if Michigan gets a BCS at-large bid). From there, I have Nebraska breaking into their newfound ability to go to the Outback Bowl and then, as the last team that isn’t 7-5 or 6-6, Penn State will probably end up in the Insight Bowl. (And frankly, the Insight Bowl may be the most anonymous bowl that features two BCS confernece teams, likely due to their previous TV contract with the NFL network. They could probably use the press.) I had to adjust my preliminary bowl predictions because the Gator said they really want to match Ohio State and Florida. (Remember folks, the bowl games exist mainly for themselves, not for you. The Gator is just the most brazen about it.)

Big 12
The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner will go to the Fiesta. If OSU loses they may still get a BCS bid (this depends on Michigan and Houston), however if the Sooners lose they are out of the BCS picture. I’m picking OSU to win that game, so I have K-State in the Cotton and Oklahoma in the Alamo. That leaves the rest of the conference picking up the scraps, with Texas at the top of the heap for the Insight, Baylor getting a nice trip to San Diego, TAMU getting a slightly less nicer trip to Houston. Oh, and Mizzou ends up in New York.

The Pac-12 is a mess with USC ineligible for a bowl game. Oregon and Stanford are probably both in, meanwhile UCLA (barring the biggest upset of the year) will probably be 6-7 and ineligible. While there were some reports they could get waiver, I haven’t seen this confirmed yet. (If they do, they will almost certainly be in the Fight Hunger Bowl.) So with the two best teams in the BCS, that leaves everyone else to fight over the Alamo Bowl bid. Arizona State looked to be that team, but their epic collapse is complete and their coach fired, so Washington gets the nod. The Holiday will probably then take that chance to grab Cal, and so I’m left with Utah and Arizona State for the Sun. I figure the former’s fans are going to feel a little better about themselves because I don’t think anyone had them getting a winning record in Pac-12 play this year, so I’ll put them into the sun and the Sun Devils in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The SEC will have two teams in the BCS. (If Georgia beats LSU and LSU falls to #2 and Bama rises to #1, they could even have three teams in the BCS, since UGA would get the Sugar auto-bid.) Since Tennessee lost to Kentucky, they will not have enough bowl eligible teams this year. For now, I have Arkansas going to the Capital One Bowl, which leaves the Cotton in a predicament of having to pick a SEC East team. I have them getting Georgia and leaving South Carolina to the Outback, though that could go either way. (Or Arkansas could fall past the Cap One, but I don’t know if they would really want UGA, and it’s not like Arkansas isn’t going to have other chances to go the Cotton Bowl.) This leaves Auburn as a good choice for the Chick-fil-a (since they’ll have equally attractive options on the ACC side to avoid the Auburn-Clemson rematch). I then have Vandy staying close by to go the Music City and Miss State going against Southern Miss in the Liberty.

The Rest
Some bids have come in already (indicated by the asterisks), but otherwise this is pretty unclear. The WAC has completely fooled me so far and it’s not clear what the Hawaii Bowl will do if Hawaii loses to BYU this weekend. (I.e., they may decide to not take Nevada.) There’s lots of guesses for C-USA and the at-large bids indicated by the question marks, but we will have enough teams. (I have 71 on this table, 72 if UCLA gets a waiver.)

Anyway, bowl bids will continue to trickle in throughout the week most likely, with a furious wave Saturday night and Sunday. What I usually do is make one last set of predictions Saturday evening and then watch the carnage unfold. A final post like this will probably go up really early on Sunday (or Saturday night, depending on your perspective). So until then…

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/26

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

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

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

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

We … are … smarter.

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

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

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

Coach Bobby Dodd, as told by Bill Curry

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Ohio State @ Michigan (ABC): Ohio State has won seven straight, but for the first time that I can remember Michigan has all the advantages. They play good enough defense, and while their offense is spotty it’s more consistent than the Buckeyes’. Add in the fact it’s in the Big House and the Wolverines have to be a clear favorite.
  • Iowa State @ Oklahoma (FX): Iowa State rocked the college football world in Ames last weekend, however, this contest is in Norman. Oklahoma, provided they learned anything from Baylor, should take the Cyclones seriously enough so as to not have any trouble with them.
  • Georgia @ Georgia Tech (ESPN): To hell with Georgia.
  • Rutgers @ Connecticut (ESPN2): I guess Rutgers is going to win this? I dunno. No, really, I don’t.
  • Rice @ Southern Methodist (FSN): Neither of these teams are particularly good, but SMU is just slightly less bad.
  • Michigan State @ Northwestern (BTN): Spary’s already clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game, but they shouldn’t overlook the Wildcats. I don’t think they will.
  • Tennessee @ Kentucky (SEC): Oy. This is a SEC East slapfight. Both teams of these teams are also pretty bad, but again, the Vols are just slightly less bad.
  • James Madison @ Eastern Kentucky (NCAA Tournament; ESPNU): I like giving props to the NCAA football tournament, and this is the the only game on national TV. I know even less about these teams than I do even Rice and SMU, so I won’t offer up a pick.

12:30: Maryland @ North Carolina State (ACC): Maryland is still simply awful this year and NCSU has rallied in the second half of the year, making the Wolfpack an easy choice.


  • Alabama @ Auburn (CBS): While this will likely be closer than the line, I just can’t really imagine a scenario where Auburn can win this game.
  • Oregon State @ Oregon (ABC/ESPN2): It’s the Civil War! This is an underrated rivalry game, but the Beavers have just had an awful time of it this year. I really like the Ducks.
  • Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ABC/ESPN2): UVA has exceeded every expectation for this year. While VPI still had legitimate offensive issues, it’s hard to see how UVA will prevail.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Wisconsin (ESPN): Well, Penn State has exceeded at least my expectations these past couple of weeks. But Wisconsin has regained at least some offensive swagger, though they were a little slow to really get going against Illinois last week. However, I just can’t see how Penn State’s offense can keep up.
  • Missouri vs. Kansas (@Kansas City, MO; FSN): Probably one of the last meetings of these two bitter rivals, but this KU team is simply awful. Mizzou all the way.
  • Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest (ESPNU): Vandy needs this to get bowl eligible, and for me it’s a difficult call to make. Both of these teams are undermanned the vast majority of the time, so it’s hard to say what will happen when they meet each other. I’m leaning toward Vandy though.
  • East Carolina @ Marshall (CBSS): The winner goes to a bowl game. The loser doesn’t. I think it’ll be ECU heading off to some far-flung C-USA bowl game.
  • Illinois @ Minnesota (BTN): It would be the most Ron Zook thing ever for them to lose to Minnesota, right? I’ll go with that.
  • Purdue @ Indiana (BTN): This is rivalry game, of sorts. Another game where neither team is very good but Indiana is just awful. I like the Boilermakers.
  • Duke @ North Carolina (ACC): Duke and UNC meet once again, but it’ll be another couple of months before they meet in a fashion anyone in the Raleigh-Durham area really cares about. I’ll take the ‘Heels.


  • Florida State @ Florida (ESPN2): Florida can’t score, but sort of plays defense. FSU, meanwhile, just suffered a bad loss to Virginia. Provided FSU actually shows up for this one, though, I have to take the Seminoles here.
  • Mississippi @ Mississippi State (ESPNU): Houston Nutt’s tenure at Ole Miss will not go out with a bang, but with a whimper.
  • Texas Tech vs. Baylor (@Arlington, TX; FSN): Robert Griffin the III singlehandedly lead Baylor to their biggest victory ever against Oklahoma. Provided he’s not looking forward to a trip to Manhattan (New York, that is) he should have considerably less trouble against the Red Raiders.

7:30: Washington State @ Washington (Versus): It’s the Apple Cup once again! Udub lost to Oregon State somehow last weekend, but I have a hard time figuring out exactly how they could lose to equally morbund Wazzou. I like the Huskies here.

7:45: Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN): I’ve been grappling with how to pick this game all week. South Carolina is now an offensive non-entity, but Clemson has lost two of their last three, and the third was a last-second FG win over Wake Forest. I’m sitting here in my family’s living literally scratching my head over my head over this. I think this is basically a toss-up. If Clemson shows up, then they have the offensive firepower to win. However, based on the last few weeks I have to think this will be a defensive struggle that favors the Gamecocks.

8:00: Notre Dame @ Stanford (ABC): ND may put up a fight, but I really like Andrew Luck and Stanford here.

10:00: California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (FSN): Boy howdy USC has looked good the last couple weeks haven’t they? And besides, it’ll make for good trivia for UCLA to represent the Pac-12 South next week at 6-6 and likely to be multiple touchdown underdogs.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/25

Posting this video has been a tradition that I’ve done for each of the past three years here. With the recent death of Larry Munson, however, I debated whether not doing so again this year would be in good taste.

I’ve thought about it for a few days and come to the following conclusion: he was beloved by UGA fans for telling it like was, and all this video really captures is one of the very few times in the past 40 years in which his team has been underdogs to Tech.

And, in the end, I’m sure he’s not the only one who thought they were getting beat “like we were Wake Forest or Maryland or somebody”.

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/23

First, I just rediscovered this gem of an animated GIF from September and had to bring it back:

(From RjTheMetalhead, purveyor of fine single and multi-frame images.) Anyway, hoping to see a lot of that this weekend.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Uga. No, not the school, the dog. New breed standards were recently developed for the English bulldog, and Uga’s breeders aren’t happy about that:

“I don’t care what the British do,” said Sonny Seiler, owner of the bulldog line that has become the most celebrated sports mascot in the United States.
Critics in England and in the United States, however, said breeders have transformed bulldogs and some other dog breeds into genetic monstrosities prone to chronic disease and sometimes early death.

 This what the original bulldog mascot, Yale’s Handsome Dan, looked like in 1890:

The underbite is there, but notice the overall lack of wrinkles and muscular frame. I’d paste an actual Uga here, but you’ve probably seen them before and if you haven’t: remember that the past few Ugas were not terribly mobile and generally spent most of their times at the game laying on a block of ice due to respiratory issues. There’s also been the notable short lifespan of the previous two. The current Uga, of course, isn’t actually an Uga because he’s not nearly in-bred enough and actually has a brown spot (because Ugas also have to have a perfectly white coat). Even by today’s degraded standards, other Bulldog mascots (think Miss State and the current stand-in for UGA) look relative healthy compared to the last few Ugas.

I swear, these “inbred redneck” jokes just about write themselves.