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Friday, 31 October 2014

#CFBPlayoff Final 4 Announced....#CIS Playoffs Begin (for some)

#NCAA
Last Week: 38-8 (83%)
Overall: 118-48 (71%)
This week all college football fans were on pins and needles waiting for the 1st ever college football playoff final 4 announcement.  Coaches, players, universities and fans have been pushing for a playoff for years so this initial announcement was HUGE.  Of course, people would disagree and argue some teams received preferential treatment, some are overrated, some are underrated....the same arguments we saw during the infamous BCS era.  This is only Week 1 of these rankings though and, given how this season has played out, I wouldn’t expect to see the same 4 teams in the final ranking. 
From here on, I will also report on my Top 4 compared to the selection committee Top 4:
 
Selection Committee                                                                     #TwineTime
        1.       Mississippi State                                                               1.            Mississippi State
        2.       Florida State                                                                      2.            Florida State
        3.       Auburn                                                                               3.            Auburn
        4.       Ole Miss                                                                            4.            Oregon
        5.       Oregon                                                                               5.            Alabama
        6.       Alabama                                                                             6.            Ole Miss

The biggest difference between the two is the placing of Ole Miss.  The strength of schedule (SOS) helped the selection committee place them in the top 4.  While I agree the schedule and numbers are impressive, I have always felt the West coast teams receive little to no love from the selection committee.  Is the SEC good?  Yes.  Do they deserve 3 teams in the playoff?  No.  The knock on Oregon was losing at home to Arizona; however, the Cats were undefeated at the time remember.  This Arizona team is a good team, currently ranked 12th in these rankings.  Oregon also beat Michigan State at home, with the Spartans currently ranked 8th by the committee.  In comparison, yes Ole Miss beat Alabama at home but they no other impressive win.  The road win over Texas A&M looked good until we all realized A&M isn’t as good as we all originally thought.  Ole Miss lost on the road to a good LSU team, but the Tigers have 2 losses and are only ranked 19th.  Oregon vs. Ole Miss seems to be the battle for the last spot right now.  Although, in the long run, it is a mute point if Ole Miss losses to Auburn this weekend and/or Oregon losses to Stanford.  Florida State cemented their Top 4 position last night with a win at Louisville; they shouldn’t lose a game for the remainder of the year.  The question really will be how bad the SEC beats itself up and whether Oregon/TCU/Michigan State/Notre Dame can reap the benefit.  I think two of those teams will, but which ones?
  
Last week was a successful one for me I would say, going 38-8.  A few highlights:

  • LSU beating Ole Miss – I noted last week that I was not buying the Rebels as a playoff team and last week confirmed by assumption.  I think this week will cement it!
  • Utah “upsetting” USC – The Ute’s were the higher ranked team but I think many still doubted they could win, even at home.  Utah is a dangerous team and one Oregon should be a bit worried about in a few weeks (assuming they get by Stanford)
  • Yellow Jacket Sting – I thought maybe I could finally get rid of the Georgia Tech curse but of course they pulled out the win last weekend over Pitt.
  • I like the Friday games, batting a perfect record so far!

      Here are my picks for Week 10:

Cincinnati over Tulane

Memphis over Tulsa

Air Force over Army – The battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy could end this weekend!  Air Force is the favorite to take it home this year, as they should beat Army to follow-up their 30-21 win over Navy.  Navy has won this trophy 9 of the past 11 seasons, including the past 2.  Air Force last won the trophy in 2002.

Iowa over Northwestern – Which Iowa team shows up?  Which Northwestern team shows up?  Taking the home team in this one.

Penn State over Maryland – The Nittany Lions almost pulled off the stunning upset over Ohio State last weekend.  I am thinking they can ride that confidence into a win over Maryland in Happy Valley.

Wisconsin over Rutgers

Rice over FIU

UCF over Connecticut

(23) East Carolina over Temple – Temple is at home and could give East Carolina a scare.  The Pirates have not looked sharp the past few weeks.  Are they prone to an upset?

(24) Duke over Pittsburgh – Tempted to take the Panthers at home but after last week’s game vs. Georgia Tech, not convinced they can beat the Blue Devils.

(18) Oklahoma over Iowa State

Texas A&M over UL Monroe

Miami (Fl) over North Carolina – Tough call on this one but the Hurricanes are coming off a huge W last weekend in Blacksburg.  Plus they have had a longer week to prep as they won last Thursday. 

Virginia Tech over Boston College – Going with a rebound win for the Hokies at home.  Is the team who beat Ohio State going to show up? 

Central Michigan over Eastern Michigan – The battle for directional Michigan title is under way.

Washington over Colorado – Possible upset here with the Buffs playing at home.

Western Michigan over Miami (OH)

Louisiana Tech over Western Kentucky – Who is 4-0 in C-USA?  Yup, that would be LA Tech.

NC State over Syracuse – I am still surprised the Wolfpack are 0-4 in ACC play.  They are not a bad team.  I cannot see them going winless in ACC play this year and the Orange are not that good.

(20) West Virginia over (7) TCU – Last week I bought into West Virginia at home and this week I will do the same.  I like this team.  They could take the Big 12.  They get TCU at home this weekend and Kansas State at home in three weeks.  This team almost knocked off Alabama to start the season and destroyed Baylor, both games at home as well.  TCU better be prepared for a defense they have not seen yet.

Georgia Tech over Virginia – Because why not right?  I never pick them correctly.

Middle Tennessee over BYU – Wow how the mighty have fallen.  Remember the talk of BYU possibly going undefeated this season?  Nope, either does anyone else now.

(15) Nebraska over Purdue

Michigan over Indiana

(11) Georgia over Florida – The Bulldogs are becoming the trendy pick to squeeze out an SEC championship win.  A victory this weekend in Jacksonville over Florida won’t do much for the ranking but will keep them on track.

Appalachian State over Georgia State – The pillowfight of the week.  A 1-7 team travels to a 2-5 team.  Might as well take the 2-5 team at home.

Texas State over New Mexico State

Missouri over Kentucky – 2 teams everyone got excited about a few weeks ago, now after thoughts.  Taking the Tigers at home though as they get ready to face a Wildcat team still smarting from their loss to Mississippi State last weekend.

Houston over South Florida

(13) Baylor over Kansas

UCS over Washington State

Arkansas State over Idaho

South Alabama over LA-Lafayette – The battle for the Sun Belt lead.  I’m going with the 4-1 Jaguars on the road over the 3-0 Ragin’ Cajuns

UNLV over New Mexico – Pillowfight of the Week #2.  Two bottom teams from the Mountain West.   UNLV at home to keep the Lobo’s winless in conference play.

(3) Auburn over (4) Ole Miss – The Rebels at home is a tempting pick but I still have not bought into the hype.  Auburn looks to be the better team on both sides of the ball.  I think the crowd will help keep this game close but the Tigers will find a way to win in the end, possibly in overtime.

Colorado State over San Jose State

UAB over Florida Atlantic

Old Dominion over Vanderbilt – I tried to pick against the Vandy a few weeks ago vs. an FCS team.  I am going against them at home again against a Monarchs team who can put lots of points on the board.  Vandy doesn’t have the defense to stop them.  Does Vandy have the offense to keep up?
(1)    Mississippi State over Arkansas – Sorry Razorbacks, not getting your first SEC win this weekend on the road.

South Carolina over Tennessee

(5) Oregon over Stanford – Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota needs to finally beat the Cardinal to help his team get over the Stanford curse, help their case for a Top 4 playoff selection and personally help his Heisman drive.

Texas over Texas Tech

(9) Kansas State over Oklahoma State – K-State is the favorite to win the Big 12 right now.  They need this win at home before their two biggest matchups the next two weeks (at TCU and at West Virginia)

(16) Ohio State over Illinois

UTEP over Southern Miss

(10) Notre Dame over Navy

California over Oregon State

(12) Arizona over (22) UCLA

Nevada over San Diego State

Fresno State over Wyoming

Utah State over Hawaii – I said last week it is hard to bet against Hawaii at home and then they go and lose at home vs. Nevada.  Utah State is a stronger team than the Wolfpack so Warriors at home or not, I am going with the Aggies.

(14) Arizona State over (17) Utah – The match-up in the Pac-12 this weekend.  The winner of this game has the inside track to the Pac-12 South and a spot in the Pac-12 championship game (likely against Oregon).  This is a HUGE game for both programs!

#CIS
Last Week: 8-5 (62%)
Overall: 29-14 (67%)

With the start of November brings the start of playoffs for the Ontario and Atlantic conference teams and the wrapping up of the regular season in Quebec and Western Canada.  Ontario usually has some interesting playoff results but I expect status quo for this upcoming weekend.  Next weekend’s conference semifinal games however should be interesting.  In the Atlantic, we have the one semi-final game, basically allowing the winner the luck to go get beaten up by Mount Allison.  Speaking of the Mounties, congrats on them for completing their 1st undefeated season in their history.

Canada West is where all the attention will be this weekend.  Calgary has clinched first and Saskatchewan has second but all 4 of the other teams have a shot at the remaining two playoff spots.  The Regina – Alberta winner should be safe into the playoffs so that game is a de facto elimination game.

We will start our picks this week with the playoff games:

Atlantic Semi-Final:  St. FX over Acadia – St. FX should have no problem with the Axemen at home.

Ontario Quarterfinal 1:  (7) Western over Laurier – A few weeks ago Western was eyeing the top overall seed in Ontario.  Now they find themselves in the quarterfinal.  One has to imagine they are going to be in a bad mood given how the season started.  Not a good situation for Laurier on the road.

Ontario Quarterfinal 2:  (10) Ottawa over Windsor – The Gee-Gees poured in on at the end of the season to make the playoffs, including the upset win over previously undefeated and top seed McMaster last week.  Windsor on the other hand looked like a possible top 2 team in Ontario before struggling at the end of the season.  Playoffs are all about momentum and Ottawa has a ton of it right now.  Even on the road, if Ottawa plays like they did last weekend, Windsor has no chance.  Ottawa must be chomping at the bit for a rematch with McMaster.

Regular season games:

Concordia over McGill
      
      (1)    Laval over (3) Montreal – The big battle of the week.  Can Montreal finally beat Laval and end the Rouge et Or dominance in Quebec?  I don’t think so.

(9) Sherbrooke over Bishop’s

(2) Calgary over Manitoba – The Bisons had a chance to lock up a playoff spot last weekend and looked horrible in their loss to Regina.  Their reward to try and make the playoffs: a road game vs the Dino’s.  Good luck with that.  They can only sit back and hope other results fall their way to sneak into the playoffs.

Regina over Alberta  - The Rams looked like a team left for the dead a few weekends ago.  Nothing was going their way and they couldn’t buy a win even if they tried.  After last weekend’s dominant win over Manitoba, the skies have opened and the Rams have a great shot to salvage their season.  Alberta hadn’t won a game in over two years heading into the season.  Win in Regina this weekend and they will be playoff bound.  Neither of these teams was predicted to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, one will be heading on the road next weekend, season still alive.  I like the Rams at home.

(8) Saskatchewan over UBC – Can the Huskies help out their provincial rival and knock off UBC, thus eliminating the T-Birds from the playoffs?  Well, the Huskies may not mean to be so generous to their rivals but they may just do so.  The Huskies are looking strong right now but do they possibly rest some of their starters with 2nd place locked up in the conference and a home playoff date looming next weekend?  Even if they do, still too much fire power for UBC.

Welcome to November everyone!