Friday, November 17, 2017

What to Watch: Week 12

Not a lot going on this weekend, between several divisions already being clinched and most of the SEC and some of the ACC playing cupcakes before their big rivals next weekend.

Saturday, November 18
#24 Michigan at #5 Wisconsin, FOX.  Wisconsin has already clinched the Big Ten West, but a loss could seriously hurt their chances at a CFP spot.  Michigan also needs the win to keep in the Big Ten East hunt.  A loss plus an Ohio State win would end the race.

Texas at West Virginia, ESPN.  A loss for either team may not eliminate them from Big 12 contention, but it would be a severe setback.

Mercer at #1 Alabama, SECN.  The next round of the Championship of Life.

3:30 PM
Illinois at #9 Ohio State, ABC.  An Ohio State win plus a Michigan loss would clinch the Big Ten East.  At the very least, any of the remaining contenders would be knocked out with a loss of their own if Ohio State wins here.

#4 Oklahoma at Kansas, ESPN.  Oklahoma clinches a berth in the Big 12 championship game with a win here.

4 PM
Maryland at #17 Michigan State, FOX.  A loss and Ohio State win would eliminate Michigan State.

Nebraska at #10 Penn State, FS1.  A loss and Ohio State win would eliminate Penn State.

8 PM
Cal at #22 Stanford, FOX.  A loss would eliminate Stanford from the Pac-12 North race, but a win would eliminate Washington.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ACC rooting guide

As we approach the final two weeks of the regular season, and the conference title games are set, we also have to root for bowl positioning.

This rooting guide is set up for a VT fan's perspective.

Chaos Theory: Week 12

Georgia fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.  We are down to four.  Of course, we are at the point of the season where losses by any of these teams will not create chaos, but make the picture clearer.

Mercer over Alabama
UVA over Miami
Michigan over Wisconsin
Temple over UCF

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Projecting the New Year's Six: Week 12

Chaos may have reigned on the field, but it helped stabilize the rankings a bit.  This week, I only need to generate one scenario (albeit with an either/or option).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Breaking down the New Year's Six Bowls

Now that we've been through a full cycle of CFP games, I thought it would be worth taking a look at how the selection for the New Year's Six bowls played out, with a focus on any teams in the top 12 that got left out due to other contractual obligations.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Week 11 wrap up

We already have half of the Power 5 championship berths clinched, with a few more set up in winner-take-all games.  But chaos rules in the Playoff hunt.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chaos Theory: Week 11

All of the unbeatens chugged along last week.  Still have five.

Auburn over Georgia
Mississippi State over Alabama
Notre Dame over Miami
Iowa over Wisconsin
UConn over UCF

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What to watch: Week 11

Friday, November 10
10:30 PM

#9 Washington at Stanford, FS1.  A loss for Stanford would seriously cripple their chance as winning the Pac-12 North, if not just outright crushing it.  Both teams need the win to keep pace with Washington State.

Saturday, November 11
#12 Michigan State at #13 Ohio State, FOX.  The battle for the lead in the Big Ten East.

Rutgers at #14 Penn State, BTN.  Rutgers is playing an elimination game, while Penn State is trying to stay on the heels of Michigan State and Ohio State.

#15 Oklahoma State at #21 Iowa State, ABC/ESPN2.  Both teams need a win to stay in the race for the Big 12.  A loss doesn't necessary eliminate them, but it would be a major setback.

#23 NC State at Boston College, ABC/ESPN2.  If NC State loses, Clemson clinches the ACC Atlantic.

3:30 PM
#20 Iowa at #8 Wisconsin, ABC.  Wisconsin can seal the Big Ten West with a win here and a Northwestern loss.  Meanwhile, Iowa needs a win to keep their slim hopes alive.

#1 Georgia at #10 Auburn, CBS.  Even though it's a cross divisional matchup, and Georgia has already clinched the SEC East, an Auburn win would set up the Iron Bowl as a winner-take-all.  If Auburn loses while Alabama wins (against Mississippi State), then it's all over.

Florida State at #4 Clemson, ESPN.  A Clemson win would seal the ACC Atlantic if NC State wins earlier.  Plus, FSU is still fighting for bowl eligibility, which is why they finally rescheduled the game originally cancelled in week 2 due to the hurricane.

UVA at Louisville, ESPNU.  A UVA loss would give Miami the ACC Coastal.

4 PM
#11 USC at Colorado, FOX.  USC clinches the Pac-12 South with a win.

7 PM

#2 Alabama at #16 Mississippi State, ESPN.  An Alabama win, along with an Auburn loss earlier in the day would give the SEC West to the Tide.  Also, it's the latest round in the Championship of Life.

8 PM
#3 Notre Dame at #7 Miami, ABC.  A non-conference game that has huge CFP and NY6 implications.

#6 TCU at #5 Oklahoma, FOX.  Currently the battle for the top spot in the Big 12.  These two primetime games will have the biggest effect on the next set of rankings.

Projecting the New Year's Six: Week 11

The weekly rankings from the CFP committee are an interesting beast.  Because they only take into account the body of work up to that point in the season, there are often teams near each other that will be facing each other before season's end.  Turnover is expected at the top.

Anyway, I have come up with two scenarios for New Year's Six Bowl projections based on the current rankings.

Scenario #1 - If we just take the rankings at face value, and don't account for future match-ups, and assume the highest ranked team from a conference will be champion.

Sugar Bowl:  #1 Georgia vs. #4 Clemson
Rose Bowl:  #2 Alabama vs. #3 Notre Dame

The champs of the Big 12 (#5 Oklahoma), Pac-12 (#9 Washington), and Big Ten (#8 Wisconsin) champs would all be displaced from their spots, and would have to find spots in the at-large bowls.  The Orange Bowl would be taking the next available ACC team to replace Clemson.  With the Group of 5 team (#18 UCF) taking a Peach Bowl spot, there are only 2 at-large spots left, which would go to the two highest ranked teams left (#6 TCU and #11 USC).

Orange Bowl:  #7 Miami vs. #10 Auburn
Peach Bowl:  #6 TCU vs. #18 UCF
Fiesta Bowl:  #8 Wisconsin vs. #9 Washington
Cotton Bowl:  #5 Oklahoma vs. #11 USC

Obviously, the last three are mostly interchangeable.  I am intrigue by the fact that the traditional Rose Bowl match-up could get recreated in another bowl, and I think the Fiesta Bowl is the proper location for that.  Oklahoma and TCU are interchangeable, as either one would be close to the Cotton Bowl, as well as being a nice highly ranked balance to #18 UCF.

Scenario #2 - Take future match-ups into account and do some in-season projections.

First, it's highly likely that #1 Georgia and #2 Alabama will be facing off in the SEC championship game.  If the rest of the top 10 can keep their records close, it's likely that the loser will fall out of the top 4.  Meanwhile, #5 Oklahoma and #6 TCU play each other this weekend, so one of them is definitely dropping before season's end.  I will be assuming that the higher ranked team will win, however, in these scenarios, those teams are easily interchangeable.

Sugar Bowl:  #1 Georgia vs. #5 Oklahoma
Rose Bowl:  #3 Notre Dame vs. #4 Clemson

The Sugar Bowl would be the exact matchup that it should be (SEC champ vs. Big 12 champ), so no team would be displaced, but the Rose Bowl would still displace both the Pac-12 and Big Ten champs.  I would assume that Alabama would stay ranked high enough to be the top of the list for the Orange Bowl pool.  Obviously, TCU would fall in the rankings, but based on their record, they could easily be in the #10-12 range, around teams like Michigan State.

Orange Bowl:  #7 Miami vs. #2 Alabama
Peach Bowl:  #10 Auburn vs. #18 UCF
Fiesta Bowl:  #8 Wisconsin vs. #9 Washington
Cotton Bowl:  #6 TCU or #12 Michigan State vs. #11 USC

Again, we recreate the Rose Bowl match-up in the Fiesta Bowl.  Auburn is not a bad geographical fit for the Peach or Cotton Bowl, but the other available teams are all better fits for the Cotton Bowl.

Either way, it's still looking like the only way to lock into a New Year's Six Bowl is to be in the top 11.