Friday, December 12, 2014

What would the BCS have given us this year?

What if the CFP hadn't come into existence and we were still watching the BCS?  I've gone through and come up with what I feel are the most likely bowl matchups.  I'm basing my rankings off of the AP Poll, which I feel is much closer to what the BCS formula would have determined rather than the CFP poll.  I'm also keeping with the current rule of the Power 5 conferences, thus determining that the American (formerly Big East) would have been bumped out of the AQ this season regardless of the playoff.  This also means that the bowls probably aren't playing hot potato with the conference champ without a guaranteed home.

Monday, December 8, 2014

More Analogies: CFB Edition

After a lengthy, albeit fun, comparison of Florida State to "Star Wars", I thought I'd give a handful of bite-size comparisons of other elements of this college football bowl season.  As with my "Under the Radar" posts throughout the season, I'll present five to you.

Something needs to change for the Big 12

We knew it was going to happen.  When there are 5 power conferences, and only 4 playoff spots, one conference is going to be left out.

This year, it happened to the Big 12.  However, the Big 12 brought it upon themselves.

At the end of the season, they had two teams at 11-1.  Baylor (who lost to WVU), and TCU (who lost to Baylor).

But because the Big 12 only has 10 teams, they do not have a conference championship game.  They claim they have the advantage because all of their teams play each other, since they do play 9 conference games.

Fair enough, but then you need to have the balls to follow your own rules and declare a champion.  Instead, the Big 12 declined to name Baylor the conference champion (since they did beat the other 1 loss team), deciding that such a responsibility belonged to the playoff committee.

Instead, the playoff committee left the Big 12 out of the CFP completely.

At this point, the Big 12 needs to find two more teams to get back to match their own name.  I know that the picking are slim at this point, because there probably aren't two Power 5 worthy teams out there.  But, this is where money wins out.

If I'm doing my math correctly, adding two teams to the conference and keeping a 9 conference game schedule, it would add 9 extra conference games.  Plus, between the two teams, they would have anywhere from 3-6 non-conference home games per year.  So, that's at least 12-15 extra games the Big 12 would have in their TV package.

Plus, the big moneymaker -- the championship game.

Ultimately, they need the championship game to get back on the same level as the other Power 5 conferences.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Playoff: Initial Thoughts

The day that we've been waiting for since September is finally here.  The CFP committee has revealed the four playoff teams:  Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State.  While I (mostly) agree with the teams, I don't agree with the seeding.

First of all, I would have put FSU at #1.  At 13-0, they are the only undefeated team in the FBS.  I don't care about style points, they won.

After that, I think it is a very close margin between the remaining teams.  So, I don't put a lot of stock into the rest of the seeding, because part of it is geography.  Going with that, I would have seeded the teams as follows:  Oregon #2, Ohio State #3, and Alabama #4.

That way, we get Oregon and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, keeping those bowl organizers happy, because it leaves the Pac-12/Big Ten matchup intact.  Then, we get FSU and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

As it stands, we have Oregon "hosting" Florida State in the Rose Bowl, and Alabama "hosting" Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.  Not the worst matchups, considering FSU was in Pasadena last year for the National Championship game.

I have reasons to want to root for three of the four teams in the CFP.  Obviously, I'm sick of the Alabama and SEC love fest, so I hope they lose.  Florida State winning will help benefit Virginia Tech, both for conference respect and also conference payout.  The ACC shares their bowl revenue, which might include both rounds of the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the talking heads at ESPN keep saying Ohio State has the "worst" loss of the one-loss teams.  Personally, I feel they have the best loss.  Plus, it would give VT a boost as they are that one loss.

Finally, I would not mind seeing Oregon succeeding.  They, along with schools like Virginia Tech, TCU, and Baylor, are in that second tier of colleges that haven't been traditional powers, but have really developed their programs in the last two decades.  And while some of them (Oregon and VT) have reached national championship games, none have won.

So as long as Alabama loses, I think we're in for a good national championship.

I'll detail my thoughts in another post regarding the two teams on the cusp that were left out, and what it means for their conference.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 15

It's championship week!  The final pieces of the Playoff will fall into place.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Florida State: College Football’s Sith?

In honor of the new “Star Wars” previews, I thought I’d combine one of my favorite movie series with a post about college football.  As you could guess from the title, I thought I’d take a look at the “dark side of the force”.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Season Thoughts: End of November

A great two-day stretch of rivalry games and important matchups!  Much was solidified (conference races, Group of 5 frontrunner), while some questions still remain for another week.

Week 14 full wrap-up

This is the clearest wrap up yet, as all but one conference is decided.

After all of the scenarios and destiny controlling, every team that made it into a conference championship got there by having the best record in their division.

ACC Championship: Florida State (8-0, Atlantic) vs. Georgia Tech (6-2, Coastal)

Bowl eligible:  Florida State, Duke, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Boston College, Miami, NC State, UNC, Virginia Tech, Pitt
No bowl:  Wake Forest, Syracuse, UVA

Notre Dame is also bowl eligible and qualifies for the ACC bowl rotation.

SEC Championship:  Missouri (7-1, East) vs. Alabama (7-1, West)

Bowl eligible:  Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee
No bowl:  Vanderbilt, Kentucky

B1G Championship:  Ohio State (8-0, East) vs. Wisconsin (7-1, West)

Bowl eligible: Michigan State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio State, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Penn State, Illinois
No bowl:  Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern

Pac-12 championship:  Oregon (7-1, North) vs. Arizona (7-2, South)

Bowl eligible:  Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington
No bowl:  Washington State, Colorado, Oregon State, California

Big 12 Roulette:  Week 14

Due to the lack of divisions, the Big 12 can have co-champions.  Only three teams remain that can claim at least part of a championship.  If TCU loses next week, then the winner of the Baylor/Kansas State game will be the clear champion.  If TCU wins, then they will share the championship with the winner of Baylor/K-State.

-Baylor (7-1) has a tiebreaker over TCU.  Remaining game:  Kansas State.
-TCU (7-1) lost to Baylor, but has a tiebreaker over K-State.  Remaining game:  Iowa State. 
-Kansas State (7-1) lost to TCU.  Remaining game:  Baylor.

Bowl eligible:  Kansas State, TCU, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas
Last chance:  Oklahoma State
No bowl:  Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week 14: Black Friday update

It's definitely the Christmas season, as the Hokies are victorious and the Wahoos are boo hooing.  Part 1 of the Week 14 update.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Football

In years past, Black Friday has been an "under the radar" kind of day, with the most important games coming on Saturday.  But there have been some gems in recent years - some that have made a huge impact on the season as a whole - along with a fantastic slate for today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 14

After the opening week, it's the week with the most college football.  I can already hear Andy Williams singing in my head.

Plus, rivalries all over the place, and the last pieces needed for conference races.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 13 wrap up

I watched a game end regulation in a 0-0 tie.  Fortunately, we still have some conference races to keep me involved.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Saturday OTAs: November 22

These games are available with just an antenna.

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Virginia Tech at Wake Forest

3:30 PM
ABC:  Boston College at Florida State OR Wisconsin at Iowa
CBS:  Ole Miss at Arkansas
NBC:  Louisville at Notre Dame

7:30 PM
Fox:  Oklahoma State at Baylor

8 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 13

We’re coming around the home stretch.  This is the “calm before the storm” weekend where many games can be considered “under the radar”.  And while there isn’t a wide selection of ranked matchups this weekend, there are indeed some games that could become huge traps for some top teams.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 13

Some teams have cooled down, but others are heating up as we enter the final two weeks.

Plus, with Thanksgiving only a few days away, we're starting rivalry week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 12 wrap up

Everyone makes fun of the ACC for playing hot potato with their divisional championships, but they are the only conference that has both sides narrowed down to two or fewer teams.

The magic number is going away for several conferences since we're down to only two or three teams in certain divisions, and the divide between in and out of contention is obvious.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Orange Bowl Look-Ahead

After a few key early November games, I think the most realistic combinations for the Orange Bowl have narrowed significantly.  With three weekends of game action left to go, so much can still happen.  Nevertheless, let's look at a few possibilities we may be seeing on New Year's Eve.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 12

Last weekend had a lot of hype going in – and the games certainly lived up to it!  The next 2 weekends have some gems before we get to Thanksgiving Weekend and all of its rivalries, but in the meantime, I’m interested in seeing how teams respond to last week’s shake-ups.  In addition to those highlight games, here’s this week’s set of “lookie here” games that could end up mattering in their own special way.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 11 wrap up

Conference races seem to get clearer, but the overall playoff picture keeps getting muddier.

I've added a new category:  Unable to control destiny.  Those are teams who have reached the maximum number of losses that would tie the most potential losses the leading team could achieve.  While that team might still have a chance, they are completely dependent on the other teams mostly losing.

For instance, Ohio State is 5-0 and Michigan is 3-3.  If Ohio State loses out and Michigan wins out (both end at 5-3), Michigan might have a shot with tiebreakers.  However, they won't know that until after they play the final game (which in this case would actually be against each other).

Dumbest play of the week:  Texas A&M backed up to their goalline on 3rd and long, and they decide to pitch the ball backwards to the running back.  They're lucky they got out of the end zone.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday OTAs: November 8

These games are available with just an antenna.

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Georgia Tech at NC State

3:30 PM
ABC:  Notre Dame at Arizona State
CBS:  Texas A&M at Auburn

7:30 PM
Fox:  Kansas State at TCU

8 PM
ABC:  Ohio State at Michigan State
CBS:  Alabama at LSU

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 11

My team's on a bye week, and I'm working in the morning, which means I'll have most of the day Saturday to just flip around the channels.  Or I'll enjoy a fall afternoon with my kid.

Or both.  After all, he does like touchdowns.

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 11

The 2nd Saturday in November has had some huge matchups in recent years – and I’m glad to see this one following form.  A lot of eyes will be on the ranked matchups and playoff contenders, but here are five games that could make some noise from behind the scenes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chasing Oranges: ACC Style

Chip and I have both discussed the various possibilities for the Orange Bowl.  While the SEC, Big Ten, and Notre Dame all have a collective say on who plays against the ACC, I thought I'd dig into the teams within the ACC and map out some possible roads to Miami Gardens.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 10 wrap-up

As we enter November, the landscape of this season is taking shape.  But we're also at the point of the season where there are a number of teams that are likely eliminated, but the math required to figure out every possible situation is just too much work.  (Especially when said team will probably lose another game and make it moot soon enough.)

Apparently I had a lot of wrong numbers in the week 9 post.  Not sure how that happened, but this week should have everything fixed.

Friday, October 31, 2014

ACC update: Week 10

With a much closer Thursday night game this week, the ACC Atlantic has gotten down to a three team race.

Louisville (4-3) was eliminated from contention after losing to Florida State (5-0).  Basically, there were only two scenarios for Louisville to have a chance at the top:  either a three way tie with FSU and Clemson (currently 5-1), or somehow BC would win and lose the right games to force a 4 way tie, with everyone at 5-3.  In either scenario, Louisville is on the wrong end of the tiebreakers.

FSU leads at 5-0.  Clemson has an outside chance at 5-1, if FSU can drop two.  BC is just barely hanging on at 2-2.  I'm not sure if one loss by itself will eliminate them, but a loss plus a Clemson or FSU win would.

The Coastal is still eating itself, but should give us some more drama on Saturday.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Saturday OTAs: November 1

These games are available with just an antenna.

11:30 AM
CBS:  Air Force at Army

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  UNC at Miami OR Boston College at Virginia Tech.

3:30 PM
ABC:  TCU at West Virginia OR Purdue at Nebraska
CBS:  Florida vs. Georgia

7:30 PM
Fox:  Stanford at Oregon

8 PM
ABC:  Oklahoma State at Kansas State OR Illinois at Ohio State
CBS:  Notre Dame at Navy

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 10

We're in the thick of the conference races, where teams have already started to be eliminated, while other teams are on the verge of clinching.

Not a lot of commentary, because if you're following the weekly wrapups, you should understand why these games are of interest.

Thursday, October 30
7:30 PM
Florida State at Louisville, ESPN.

Saturday, November 1
Duke at Pitt, ESPNU.

12:30 PM
UNC at Miami, ACC Network.  Two weeks ago, this looked like a battle for the bottom of the Coastal. 

Boston College at VT, ACC Network.  I'm watching, but I doubt many outside of these two fanbases are.  The ACC also doesn't want to release affiliate lists, so check your local listings to find out what game you're getting.

3:30 PM
Florida vs. Georgia, CBS

TCU at West Virginia, ABC/ESPN2

Virginia at Georgia Tech, ESPNU.

4 PM
Kentucky at Missouri, SEC Network

7 PM
Auburn at Ole Miss, ESPN. This should shake up the standings at the top of the SEC and AP Poll.

7:30 PM
Stanford at Oregon, Fox

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chaos Theory: Week 10

We're down to our final two undefeated teams in the Power 5:  Florida State in the ACC, and Mississippi State in the SEC.

Total chaos only requires two games:

Louisville over FSU (Thursday night, ESPN)
Arkansas over Mississippi State (7:15 PM, ESPN)

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 10

November is upon us, starting Saturday, and it’s crunch time for all of the teams.  Bowl eligibility, Playoff hopes, “New Year’s Six” ambitions, or simply winning a rivalry game are all goals that have yet to be attained.   And with roughly one third of the regular season left to go, this week’s “under the radar” picks are as follows.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Orange Bowl contenders: Week 10

Entering week 10, let's take a look at who might be getting the non-ACC spot in the Orange Bowl.

First, these teams are the eligible teams (SEC, B1G, and Notre Dame):

1 Mississippi State 7-0
3 Alabama 7-1
4 Auburn 6-1
6 Notre Dame 6-1
7 Ole Miss 7-1
8 Michigan State 7-1
9 Georgia 6-1
13 Ohio State 6-1
16 LSU 7-2
17 Nebraska 7-1

If the season continues on its current trajectory, then Mississippi State is probably going to be in the SEC championship game and the CFP.  Michigan State is on track to win the B1G.

Most likely candidates are Notre Dame, Ohio State or Nebraska from the B1G, and the Iron Bowl winner or Georgia from the SEC.

We'll see how this compares to the selection committee on Tuesday night.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tale of the tape: #1 vs #2 -- updated

Since Florida State had a bye this past week, both of the top two teams are at 7-0, so maybe it's a little more fair to compare their numbers.

2014 Season Thoughts: End of October

With October now behind us (besides a few Thursday/Friday games...and the reveal of the CFP Committee's first Top 25), and now two thirds of the regular season, it's time to start looking at the home stretch.

Week 9 wrap up

This week, I'm trying a late season total wrap up all in one post.

No one has clinched yet, and we're still at least a week away from working on clinching scenarios.  A few teams have been eliminated.

We're bringing back the magic number this week, which is the number of losses to guarantee elimination.  Within each division (or conference if no divisions), we take the team with the most wins, and add the number of their remaining games to their losses.  To play it safe, we add one.

For example, in the ACC Atlantic, while FSU is leading at 4-0 in conference, Clemson has the most wins with a 5-1 record.  Since they have two games left, we add that to their loss total and come up with three, which is the worst record they can end up with.  We add one to account for tiebreakers. Therefore, any team with 4 or more losses is mathematically eliminated.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Under the Radar Games: Week 9

After a fun trip to Blacksburg (game result notwithstanding), it's time to look at the weekend ahead and find some under-the-radar matchups.

Saturday OTAs: October 25

No cable here!

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  UNC at UVA.

3:30 PM
CBS:  Mississippi State at Kentucky
ABC:  Michigan at Michigan State
Fox:  Texas Tech at TCU

No reverse mirrors or regional games this week.

8 PM
ABC:  Ohio State at Penn State

Fox does not have a primetime game due to Game Four of the World Series.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 9

On Thursday night, I'll be travelling to Blacksburg to actually see a game in person.  Oddly enough, there's not a lot after that to really catch my attention.  I'll be very interested after the fact as there are several games that are key conference matchups.  I have a feeling this might be one of those weekends where you just keep flip around the channels and happen to land on an interesting game.

Thursday, October 23
7:30 PM
Miami at Virginia Tech, ESPN.  Lane Stadium.  Thursday night.  A hated rival dating back over 20 years and two conferences.  It's the first Thursday night game in Lane Stadium in two years.  I've had this game circled on my calendar since the schedule came out.

Friday, October 24
10 PM
Oregon at Cal, Fox Sports 1.  A Pac-12 North game to shake up the standings.

Saturday, October 25
12:30 PM
UNC at UVA, ACC Network.  Coach Visor vs. TimeCop.  More Coastal craziness.

3:30 PM
Mississippi State at Kentucky, CBS.  I think both of these teams are surprisingly folks this year.

Michigan at Michigan State, ABC.  A key B1G East matchup.

4 PM
Vanderbilt at Missouri, SEC Network.  This could be the game that finally eliminates Vandy from everything.

7:15 PM
Ole Miss at LSU, ESPN. I have a feeling this one could be interesting.

Chaos Theory: Week 9

There are only three Power 5 teams still undefeated entering week 9 of the season.

ACC:  Florida State
SEC:  Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Big 12:  none
Pac-12:  none
B1G:  none

Baylor and Notre Dame lost in week 8, leaving us with only two conferences providing undefeated teams.

Since Ole Miss and Mississippi State play each other in November, we know that we can only have a maximum of 2 undefeated teams at the end of the year.

Total chaos this week requires:

Kentucky over Mississippi State (3:30 PM, CBS)
LSU over Ole Miss (7:15, ESPN)

Florida State is off this week in preparation of a Thursday night game on October 30.

Tale of the tape: #1 vs. #2

A rundown of how the resume of #1 Mississippi State stacks up against #2 Florida State.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NCAA Online: 10/20/14

A few interesting stories have hit the web about college football.

Yahoo:  Jameis Winston is going pro.  Sounds like a no brainer.
Yahoo:  Archie Manning steps back from the CFP committee.  Seems like this committee idea isn't quite panning out correctly.

Orange Bowl front runners

Now that FSU-ND is in the past, it makes it a little clearer to try to predict the Orange Bowl, specifically the non-ACC slot.  The biggest hurdle prior to that game was not knowing which team was tracking towards the CFP.

Now, we're still a little complicated based on the SEC West having 4 of the top 5 teams, so there will be a lot of shuffling in the polls before the season is done.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 8 wrap up

I'm still debating which version of the weekly wrap up I prefer.  Individual posts, or one massive one for everyone?  The problem with the massive post is that usually one conference is done with play early enough on Saturday to be done before I go to bed, but the Pac-12 is still playing into the wee hours of Sunday.

SEC Roller Coaster: Week 8

Teams have shifted around in the "needs help" categories, but there wasn't too much separation by the destiny controllers this week.  That was largely due to most teams either playing across divisions or out of conference.

Big 12 Roulette: Week 8

Big 12
Controls destiny:
-Kansas State (3-0) has tiebreakers over Iowa State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.
-West Virginia (3-1) has tiebreakers over Kansas, Texas Tech, and Baylor.  They lost to Oklahoma

Needs help:
-Baylor (3-1) needs a West Virginia loss.   They have tiebreakers over Iowa State, Texas, and TCU.
-TCU (2-1) needs a Baylor loss.  They have tiebreakers over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
-Oklahoma State (3-1) needs 2 K-State losses.  They have tiebreakers over Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Kansas.
-Oklahoma (2-2) needs a TCU loss, but has tiebreakers over West Virginia and Texas.
-Texas (2-2) has a tiebreaker over Kansas, but lost to Baylor and Oklahoma.

Just start winning:
-Texas Tech (1-3) has lost to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and West Virginia.  They have a tiebreaker over Kansas.
-Kansas (0-4) has lost to Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.
-Iowa State (0-4) has lost to Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas.

Bowl eligible:  Baylor
One win away:  Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, West Virginia, TCU

Saturday, October 18, 2014

ACC Wheel of Destiny: Week 8

The Coastal is eating itself, as usual, and the Atlantic has officially eliminated someone!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Saturday OTAs: October 18

Let's pretend it's 1990 again and you only have access to regular, non-cable TV channels.

ACC Network (syndicated):  UVA at Duke

ABC:  UCLA at California OR Rutgers at Ohio State
CBS:  Texas A&M at Alabama

ABC:  Notre Dame at Florida State

FOX is keeping their schedule open for a possible MLB postseason game.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New sidebar link

We've added a new link over on the right side of the screen, in the Links & Info section.  It's the main page for 506 Sports, a site that keeps track of TV schedules and listings for football at both the college and pro level.  I like using the site to get an idea of what NFL game I'll be getting on a particular Sunday, but it also has a complete listing of college games, including announcers and links to affiliates or coverage maps if necessary.

If you're reading this on the mobile version, you have to switch to Web version to see the sidebars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Playoff hesitation

We're still in the first season of the Playoff era.  We haven't even gotten the first set of rankings from the committee.

And yet, I'm already feeling some hesitation about this new system.  No, I'm not saying we need to go back to the BCS.  I never liked the "top 2" idea.  But I'm not sure that I like what I've been hearing so far in regards to how the playoffs will be selected.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Under the Radar Games: Week 8

As the second half of the season begins for most teams, the story of the 2014 season has already begun to take shape. So much power in the state of Mississippi, improvements throughout several programs with "hot seat" coaches, and very few undefeated teams in only mid-October. As a battle between two of them commences this Saturday in Tallahassee, here are a handful of games that could find themselves have an impact in some less obvious ways.

Games to Watch: Week 8

We've got a new #1.  We're down to 5 undefeated Power 5 teams, with at least one going down this week.  And we could be seeing some teams get the knockout blow.

Thursday, October 16
7:30 PM
Virginia Tech at Pitt, ESPN.  C'mon, Hokies, let's break the curse of Heinz Field, and get the win to stay alive in the ACC Coastal.

Saturday, October 18
Baylor at West Virginia, Fox Sports 1.  Can Baylor stay undefeated, or is this a chaos theory game?

Kansas State at Oklahoma, ESPN.  Both of these Big 12 games could see several teams move from the "control destiny" category to "needs help" or vice versa.

12:30 PM
UVA at Duke, ACC Network.  Can you believe this game is for sole possession of the lead in the ACC Coastal?

3:30 PM
Texas A&M at Alabama, CBS.  Forget about a battle for the top of the division, these two teams just want to stay alive.

Rutgers at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN2.  Would you believe this is game is a battle for control in the B1G East?  (That joke was unintentional.)

Clemson at Boston College, ESPNU.  Another battle to be the team in the ACC Atlantic that can step up if FSU stumbles.

4 PM
Oklahoma State at TCU, Fox Sports 1.  Refer to the noon Big 12 games.

7 PM
Tennessee at Ole Miss, ESPN.  Could this be the ESPN Primetime upset special?  Chaos theory game.

8 PM
Notre Dame at Florida State, ABC.  An undefeated team goes down.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chaos Theory: Week 8

There are only five Power 5 teams still undefeated entering week 8 of the season.

ACC:  Florida State
SEC:  Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Big 12:  Baylor
Independent:  Notre Dame
Pac-12:  none
B1G:  none

TCU, Auburn, Georgia Tech, and Arizona all fell in week 7, thinning the herd.

With four of these teams playing each other by the end of the year, we know that we won't have more than 3 undefeated teams at the end of the season.

Notre Dame plays Florida State on Saturday (8 PM, ABC), eliminating one team right away.

Total chaos this week requires:

Tennessee over Ole Miss (7 PM, ESPN)
West Virginia over Baylor (noon, FS1)

Mississippi State has a bye.

Marshall of Conference USA is still undefeated, but is mainly just fighting for the Group of 5 spot in the New Year's bowls.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The number conferences: Week 7

Somehow, these three conferences have yet to get to the meat of their schedule.

SEC Roller Coaster: Week 7

Power has definitely shifted to the state of Mississippi.  I'm sorry for doubting them.  At least CBS got back on track with the right poll, but I'm sure that only lasts as long as the AP has better SEC rankings than the coaches.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

ACC Wheel of Destiny: Week 7

It was kind of a light week for the ACC, with several teams on a bye or playing out of conference.  Still, we've seen some shifts in the playing field on both sides of the conference.  We've also added the "just start winning" category to the ACC.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Saturday OTAs: October 11

Trying something a little different here.  Let's say you're stuck somewhere without cable, and all you have is an over-the-air antenna for TV purposes.  Here's a list of games that you can pick up on Saturday.

ABC:  Texas vs. Oklahoma
CBS:  Georgia at Missouri

ACC Network:  Duke at Georgia Tech (syndicated - check out the Games to Watch post for an affiliates link)

ABC:  TCU at Baylor OR Michigan State at Purdue
CBS:  Auburn at Mississippi State
NBC:  North Carolina at Notre Dame
FOX:  Oregon at UCLA

Due to postseason baseball (FOX) and the NASCAR race (ABC), there is no college football in primetime on any network.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 7

After a week of upsets, all bets are off for the rest of the season.  Plus, after only have one team trying for bowl eligibility (and missing), we have 11 teams who can earn a chance for a postseason this week.

Saturday, October 11
Florida State at Syracuse, ESPN.  This could be the best vs. the worst of the ACC Atlantic.  But, if the upset streak continues here, then we are in full #goacc chaos and madness.

Texas vs. Oklahoma, ABC.  A key game for Big 12 separation.

Georgia at Missouri, CBS.  Someone will get knocked out of destiny control here.

12:30 PM
Duke at Georgia Tech, ACC Network.  Another pivotal Coastal game that the entire division will be watching.

3:30 PM
Auburn at Mississippi State, CBS.  It's #2 vs #3, and a chance for separation in the SEC West and AP Poll.

TCU at Baylor, ABC/ESPN2.  More Big 12 action between two teams that are leading the conference.

Louisville at Clemson, ESPNU.  The battle to be the team in the ACC Atlantic that can step up if FSU stumbles.

Oregon at UCLA, Fox.  Possibly a preview of the Pac-12 championship game, or the game that knocks one of these teams out of it.

6 PM
Alabama at Arkansas, ESPN.  Both teams need this game to stay alive in the SEC West.

9 PM
Ole Miss at Texas A&M, ESPN.  This game will affect everyone's chances in the division.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Under the Radar Games: Week 7

All I can say about last weekend is: WOW! With so much focus this coming weekend on dealing with the aftermath of all of Week 6's upsets, here are 5 games that could still find themselves important in some way or another.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chaos Theory: October 2014

There are only nine FBS teams still undefeated entering week 7 of the season.

ACC:  Florida State and Georgia Tech
SEC:  Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Big 12:  TCU and Baylor
Pac-12:  Arizona
Independent:  Notre Dame
B1G:  none!

With each conference's setup, it is impossible for more than one undefeated team to come out of any given conference.  Right away, we know that four of those nine teams won't make it to December undefeated.

In fact, we already know that two of those teams won't make it to Sunday undefeated.  TCU and Baylor play each other, as do Auburn and Mississippi State.

Plus, Florida State will play Notre Dame the following week.

All this guarantees that by October 19, we will only have a maximum of six undefeated teams.

And wouldn't it be fun if there are no undefeated teams in this first year of the playoffs?

If you want to see total chaos, here's who to root for:

Syracuse over Florida State (noon, ESPN)
Duke over Georgia Tech (12:30, ACC Network)
UNC over Notre Dame (3:30, NBC)
Texas A&M over Ole Miss (9, ESPN)
USC over Arizona (10:30, ESPN2)

The other undefeated teams play each other at 3:30:
Auburn at Mississippi State (CBS)
TCU at Baylor (ABC/ESPN2)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 6 wrap-up: The number conferences

The conferences with numbers in their name don't have as many convoluted scenarios as the ACC and SEC, mainly due to later scheduled conference games.  Although, the Pac-12 seems to be wanting to come up with their own Wheel of Destiny, as everyone is slowly beating everyone else.

SEC Roller Coaster: Week 6

Wow, SEC, welcome to ACC-style football.  This year is shaping up to be a roller coaster.  Overall, this college football season is not as insane as 2007, but the SEC certainly seems to be turning itself upside down.  Just take a look at the 2011 standings, and you'll see that the SEC West is almost inverted of how it was that year.

Unlike the ACC, where there are a few teams yet to win in conference that still have a chance, all of the no-win SEC teams have dug themselves into a multiple loss hole.  That's why I've created the third category of "win first".  Most of the scenarios for those teams are likely to be rendered pointless quickly if they keep up their losing ways.

And CBS, stop using the coaches' poll to make your matchup look better.

ACC Wheel of Destiny: Week 6

Six weeks in, and that means bowl eligibility starts to become a factor.  With all teams finally starting conference play, everyone has had a spin on the Wheel of Destiny, and teams are finally starting to separate.

We're also able to start looking at a few scenarios more in depth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 6

All right, conference races are in full swing!  We can finally get some separation in the conferences.

Friday, October 3
7 PM
Louisville at Syracuse, ESPN.  It's the final ACC team to start conference play.

Saturday, October 4
Texas A&M at Mississippi State, ESPN.  If Texas A&M wins, they will become the first bowl eligible team of 2014.

Ohio State at Maryland, ABC.  It's nice to see conference matchups across the board.

Florida at Tennessee, SEC Network.  Both teams have one conference loss.  Adding a second would put them in a deep hole.

12:30 PM
Virginia Tech at North Carolina, ACC Network.  The Hokies are looking to rebound from the GT loss and take steps towards their goal of winning the ACC.  UNC has given up 70 and 50 points in their last two games, but scoring 41 and 35.  This game has potential to be a sloppy shootout.

3:30 PM
Wake Forest at Florida State, ABC.  Just another piece of the Atlantic puzzle.

NC State at Clemson, ESPNU.  NC State showed a lot more life last week than anyone expected.  With Clemson's tendency for inconsistency, this could be a game.

4 PM
Vanderbilt at Georgia, SEC Network.  If Vanderbilt loses this one, then they might as well call it a season.

7 PM
LSU at Auburn, ESPN.  A key battle in the SEC West.  Also, this should be the Nessler/Blackledge game.

7:30 PM
Miami at Georgia Tech, ESPN2.  It's a battle for the top of the ACC Coastal.

Pitt at UVA, RSN.  Believe it or not, this game is another battle for control in the ACC Coastal.

8 PM
Nebraska at Michigan State, ABC.  B1G action.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Under the Radar Games: Week 6

As the calendar turns to October, it's great to see the story of the season start to take shape. And we've finally hit a weekend with several great matchups throughout the different conferences. A lot of eyes will be on the multitude of ranked matchups, and rightly so. But here are some games that could become interesting in their own little way.

Revisiting predictions: End of September

We're a month into the season, and we hardly know anything.

These are the four teams I picked for the Playoffs:
-Florida State (ACC)
-UCLA (Pac-12)
-Michigan State (B1G)
-Alabama (SEC)

It's too early in the season for me to change my predictions, because the sample size is so small, and mostly consists of lesser matchups.  Besides, everyone has been inconsistent.

Of those four teams, UCLA has had the poorest showing.  Despite having a perfect record at this point, they have looked really sloppy, and just barely got away with wins in multiple contests.  I was ready to start leaning towards USC after their victory at Stanford, but then they got beat by Boston College.

Oregon was impressive in their victory against Michigan State, but I'm not ready to jump on their bandwagon.  If they can get through October unbeaten, then I might look closer at them.  As I said before the season, they usually get a little too full of themselves and drop a game that they shouldn't late in the season.

I thought Florida State could throw a monkey wrench in the system when they suspended Jameis Winston, but Clemson did everything they could to give that game away.  If FSU stumbles, I'm not sure if there is a next man up in the ACC, though.  Clemson looks like they have taken a step up with their quarterback switch, but they're still not quite the Tajh Boyd-led Tigers.  Louisville could be a contender in the Atlantic, but then they lost to UVA. Over on the Coastal side, Virginia Tech looked like they were ready for a fight after beating the Buckeyes in Ohio, but then rolled over for two weeks.  While Georgia Tech currently holds the lead in the Coastal, I don't see them being able to run the table.

Over in the SEC, I'm starting to lead towards Texas A&M, but again, there's just not enough overwhelming evidence to change my pick at this point.

Meanwhile, the independents are making a case to completely screw up the playoffs.

Back to the conference championships:

ACC Florida State (Atlantic) vs. Virginia Tech (Coastal).

FSU survived a QB suspension and a spunky NC State team who seems to primarily exist to be a thorn in the side of the Seminoles.  Since they already have the tiebreaker over the team I would place as #2 in the division, I see no reason to bump them out.

The Coastal is already starting to be it's usually twisty self.  At this point, all seven teams each have a valid chance of reaching the conference game.

then:  Alabama (West) vs. South Carolina (East).
now:  Alabama (West) vs. Georgia (East)

I like Texas A&M in the west, but they have to play at Alabama.  So, no strong evidence to change the pick now.

The East is a little more interesting.  It was a close call to choose Georgia or Missouri to replace South Carolina.  Taking the Gamecocks out of the prediction was easy, especially after they rolled over for A&M in week one.  Georgia nearly got a lock on it after seeing their running game, but then they lost to South Carolina, which brought up some questions.

Michigan State (East) vs. Wisconsin (West).

Because the B1G likes to save their conference games for last, I don't have a large enough sample to consider a change.

UCLA (South) vs. Oregon (North).

UCLA started off weak, but could be getting back on track.  I think the South will come down to the USC/UCLA game in November.

Big 12
Original prediction:  Oklahoma will win the conference, but Oklahoma, Baylor, and one other surprise team will go 1-1 against each other, keeping it close until the very end.

I think K-State has made a case to be that "surprise" team.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Season Thoughts: End of September

It's hard to believe the regular season roughly a third of the way, how time flies!

Just as Chip discussed with the various conference races, I thought I'd give some thoughts on this season thus far...and maybe do a little College Football Playoff / New Year's Six speculation.

Surprise Teams
(that is...a positive surprise)

- TCU. After 2 years in the Big 12, where things seemed to get worse than the year before, I was quick to dismiss the Horned Frogs as a program that had peaked. But with a solid start to this season, including an impressive win over Minnesota, I think TCU might be able to move back into the upper half of the conference standings...and perhaps, give one of the "big boys" (Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State) a scare.

- Texas A&M. Many were ready to write off 2014 as a rebuilding year for the Aggies, what with Johnny Football gone and everything. But then the first night of the season happened! The game against Arkansas showed that A&M is not invincible, but with the way things have gone so far, I now believe the Aggies are right there in the SEC West mix.

- Virginia. The only team of 7 not to receive a single vote for Preseason ACC Coastal winner. I'd have to say that right now, the Cavaliers are playing the best of anybody in the Division. Despite two losses (to high-quality non-conference teams, both by close margins), UVA's defense looks to be one of the best around. I question some of the in-game coaching decisions, but if they can keep things rolling, there's no reason the boys in Charlottesville can't get back to a bowl the least!

Disappointing Teams
- South Carolina. With a Top 10 preseason ranking, the first thing the Gamecocks did was flop a big one in Columbia. Now, after an ugly win against Vandy and a close loss against Missouri, I wonder if SC will even finish as a ranked team. Road games at Auburn, at Florida, and at Clemson could all spell doom...not to mention a possible trip-ups against rebuilding Kentucky or Tennessee.

- North Carolina. Must be a Carolina thing. Another preseason ranked team, coming into 2014 with a ton of momentum. For some reason, UNC's defense is having some issues - 120 points total in 2 games type of issues. I'll have a chance to see these guys in person on Saturday, during my annual Hokie Road Trip. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the Tar Heels perform after two disastrous outings.

- Michigan. Now, I don't think anyone was actually expecting a Big Ten Championship out of these guys. But given the awful performances against Notre Dame and Minnesota (and the awful result of the Utah game...despite decent play), I imagine the folks in Ann Arbor are working the DEFCON scale. If things continue to tumble...say, to a bowl-ineligible point with thousands of empty seats, I don't see how the Wolverines and Brady Hoke can continue together.


College Football Playoff

The committee has a few weeks before releasing anything for the first time, and I'm not going to pretend to know their inner thoughts. But I will try to tackle some of the discussion points that could come into play.

- Odd Man Out. With a 4-team playoff and 5 "power conferences", (at least) one of these conferences is guaranteed not to be represented. After a lackluster Week 2 for the Big Ten, the media was ready to dig dirt on their grave. The ACC's struggles against Akron, Colorado State, and ULM haven't helped that conference. But in actuality, it seems that all five conferences are alive and well, and the race should be a thriller all the way to Championship Saturday.

- Two from One Conference. While most talk has centered around the SEC seeking to get two in, I remain in the "believe it when I see it" camp. Yes, a bunch of SEC West teams are highly ranked right now. But just how will they fare once they're all done playing each other? Same thing with other conferences with highly ranked teams "right now".

- Independents. Notre Dame and BYU have both made it to October undefeated, and with thoughts of contending for it all. For the Irish it's easy: win and they're in (too many impressive games for a 12-0 ND team to NOT be considered). For the Cougars, the schedule might be one notch too low for immediate consideration. But, should some things go their way (a Texas rebound, an impressive UVA season), BYU might be able to find themselves needing just a few late-season breaks. Now how crazy would it be if BOTH of these teams made it in...we could find a bigger playoff in less time than it took to implement this one!


New Year's Six
The committee's other task will be to get the remaining four bowls lined up. Two of my favorite improvements over the BCS at-large system are: (i) no limit on conferences - in other words, the best teams will play; and (ii) guaranteed access to the highest "Group of Five" conference champ - games and opportunities that can help define an up-and-coming program.

Orange Bowl
If FSU can make it into the CFP, the ACC will be guaranteed a replacement spot here in the Orange Bowl. Right now, Clemson seems to be in the driver's seat with a team that could continue getting better as the season progresses. As for the other opponent, all three possible parties (SEC, Big Ten, and Notre Dame) could still find their way to be the ACC's opponent. At this point, I'd probably lean toward an SEC-ACC tilt...but the others are definitely right there in the mix.

At Large Spots
All three bowls with at-large spots will be in play this year - meaning six at-large spots. Some of them may be taken by a displaced SEC/B1G/Big 12/PAC-12 of them WILL be taken by a "Group of Five" conference champ. With so much season left to go, it's hard to say who the leading contenders are. But here are my first thought as to some possible contenders:

- Power Conferences: At this point, I would say that all 5 power conferences are still in contention for an At-Large (though the ACC's hopes I would imagine are the dimmest due the possibility of a CFP/Orange Bowl combo). I'll explore this in greater detain in my "end of October" write-up.

- "Group of Five" Champ: It seems to be a two-horse race in the American between East Carolina and Cincinnati for the automatic "Group of Five" spot. The Pirates and Bearcats will meet up on a November Thursday night in Cincy, possibly with neither having suffered a league loss. Should either team finish 11-1, I would envision that team being the front-runner. Unbeaten Marshall is right there in contention as well. I'll be curious to see if BOTH the AAC and Marshall can get in...possibly Marshall as an at-large??

- ND or BYU: Even if 11-1 Notre Dame or 12-0 BYU aren't playoff bound, I would be hard-pressed to find either team outside the Top 8 in such a scenario going into the bowls.

Depending on how things go exactly, the Power Conferences might have very little representation within these At-Large spots.  At this point, it's possible (though not likely...and certainly not my prediction) that five of the six non-Orange Bowl spots could be taken up by: Displaced Power Conference Champ, 11-1 AAC Champ, 13-0 Marshall, 12-0 BYU, and 11-1 Notre Dame. 

"Who's In?" indeed!

Week 5 wrap up - Part 2: the number conferences

The conferences with numbers in their names have had a slow start to conference play this year, but have finally started to take steps to separate.


-Maryland (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Indiana.
-Penn State (1-1) has a tiebreaker over Rutgers and a cross divisional loss.
-Michigan (0-1) has a cross divisional loss.
-Rutgers (0-1) needs a Penn State loss.
-Indiana (0-1) needs two Maryland losses.
-Michigan State and Ohio State have yet to play in conference.

-Nebraska (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Illinois.
-Iowa (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Purdue.
-Northwestern and Minnesota (both 1-0) have cross-divisional wins.
-Illinois (0-1) needs two Nebraska losses.
-Purdue (0-1) needs two Iowa losses.
-Wisconsin has yet to play in conference.


-Oregon (1-0) is leading the division with a tiebreaker against Washington State.
-Stanford (1-1) has a cross-divisional loss, and a tiebreaker over Washington.
-California (1-1) and Oregon State (0-1) only has a cross-divisional loss.
-Washington State (1-1) needs 2 Oregon losses.
-Washington (0-1) needs a Stanford loss.

-Arizona (1-0) and USC (2-0) have cross-divisional wins.
-UCLA (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Arizona State.
-Arizona State (1-1) needs 2 UCLA losses, but has a tiebreaker over Colorado.
-Colorado (0-2) needs 2 Arizona State losses and 3 UCLA losses.

The Big 12 doesn't have divisions, so they just play round robin.
-Oklahoma (1-0) has a tiebreaker over West Virginia.
-Kansas State (1-0) and Baylor (1-0) both have a tiebreaker over Iowa State.
-Oklahoma State (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Texas Tech.
-Texas (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Kansas.
-Kansas (0-1) needs two Texas losses.
-Texas Tech (0-1) needs two Oklahoma State losses.
-Iowa State (0-2) needs 3 losses from both Kansas State and Baylor, plus additional losses by everybody else.
-TCU has yet to play in conference.

Week 5 Wrap-Up - Part 1: ACC and SEC

The first month of the season is complete, and most teams are finally done with their non-conference games (outside of rivalries).  It's still too early to say if anyone is truly out of contention for their conference title, but a few teams are trying their hardest either way.

I'm typing this up in the early first hour of Sunday morning, so the west coast teams are still playing, hence the multi-part wrap up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 5

Ah, Week 5. Time for some of those 4-0 (or 3-0 with a bye...or 2-0 Cincy) teams to actually step into a challenge! It seems the number of ranked matchups has been lacking a bit this season so far, leaving me to rack my brain for what could really be some meaningful "under the radar" games. So, as always, here we go!

Games to Watch: Week 5

There are plenty of other interesting games going on this weekend, but for me, they will probably be interesting after the fact.  It's still too early to solidify any positions in any conference race, but several teams could end up in deep holes.  If any of the teams that only have a cross-divisional loss take a second loss, then the wrap up will get interesting.

Saturday, September 27
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, SEC Network.  It's almost the toilet bowl for the SEC East already.  The loser of this game will be in a very deep hole, especially if Vandy finds itself on the wrong end of the score again.

12:30 PM
Western Michigan at Virginia Tech, ACC Network.  We're back to only caring because I'm a VT fan.  It's homecoming against a directional Michigan school.

3:30 PM
Arkansas at Texas A&M, CBS.  I think this could be a showcase for A&M.

7 PM
Missouri at South Carolina, ESPN.  First, it's an interesting conference matchup, and one that played a huge role in determining the SEC East last year.  But also, it's the ESPN Primetime game, called by Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge.  The last three games they have called have all been big upsets (VT over Ohio State, BC over USC, and Mississippi State over LSU).  I am now going to be including any game they call on this list, as they seem to be following some fun games.

UNC at Clemson, ESPNU.  I have a bad feeling this will be a horrible comedy of errors.

7:30 PM
Duke at Miami, ESPN2.  The battle for the ACC Coastal could take a major step right here.

8 PM
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse, ABC.  This is the first game of the "not quite a member" deal with the ACC.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 4 wrap up

We finally get a decent slate of conference games, and the SEC goes into upset mode.

(Unless otherwise stated, all records indicate conference record only.)

This early in the season, no team has played more than 2 conference games, so we're far away from determine who can win a division or conference.  Instead, we're only able to keep track of who controls their own destiny.  Keep in mind that any team that has a cross-divisional loss can still run the table in their own division, and would therefore own any head-to-head tiebreakers.

The ACC Wheel of Destiny started spinning on both sides today.

-Florida State (1-0) still controls their destiny, with a tiebreaker over Clemson.
-Louisville (1-1) and Boston College (0-1) also control their destiny, since their losses come from the other division.
-Clemson (0-1) needs two FSU losses.

-Georgia Tech (1-0) has a tiebreaker over VT.
-Pitt and UVA (both 1-0) control their destiny, but both wins are over Atlantic opponents.
-Miami (0-1) also controls their destiny, due to a cross-divisional loss.
-Virginia Tech (0-1) needs 2 GT losses.

The SEC almost started spinning their own wheel, of upsets.

-South Carolina (2-1) dodged a bullet, and now own tiebreakers over Georgia and Vanderbilt.  Their loss is cross-divisional.
-Florida (1-1) still controls their destiny, due to a cross-divisional loss.  They have a tiebreaker over Kentucky.
-Georgia (0-1) needs 2 SC losses.
-Kentucky (0-1) needs 2 Florida losses.
-Vanderbilt (0-2) needs 2 SC losses, plus an additional loss by both Missouri and Tennessee (both 0-0 in conference).  In this scenario (assuming Vandy wins out), SC would have 3 losses and all of the other teams would have 2 losses, with Vandy having the tiebreakers over everyone else.  Obviously, this would require a lot of lucky breaks and an ACC-like season for the SEC.

-Texas A&M, Alabama, and Ole Miss are all 1-0 with cross-divisional wins.
-Mississippi State (1-0) owns a tiebreaker against LSU.
-Auburn (1-0) owns a tiebreaker over Arkansas.
-Arkansas (0-1) needs two Auburn losses.
-LSU (0-1) needs two Mississippi State losses.

The B1G still only has had one conference game, with Penn State winning over East rival Rutgers.

The Big 12 is also slow to get started.  Oklahoma has a tiebreaker over West Virginia, and Kansas State has a tiebreaker over Iowa State.

Both of those conferences should be close to 100% conference mode next week.


-Oregon (1-0) is leading the division with a tiebreaker against Washington State.
-California and Stanford (both 0-1) have cross-divisional losses.
-Washington State (0-1) needs 2 Oregon losses.

-Arizona (1-0) and USC (1-0) have cross-divisional wins.
-Arizona State (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Colorado.
-Colorado (0-1) needs 2 Arizona State losses.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Games to Watch: Week 4

We're finally to the point of the season where conference play starts in earnest.  But for a lot of teams, it's still the final out of conference game.

There are probably several games where I'd be more interested if it was later in the season.  Right now, though, when teams have only played one or two conference games, there's not a lot of separation in the races.

Thursday, September 18
7:30 PM
Auburn at Kansas State, ESPN.  A rare SEC appearance on Thursday night as they travel to the Big 12.  This game could shift national perception of the winning conference.

Saturday, September 20
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, ESPN.  The ACC Wheel of Destiny will take a hard and fast spin this week.  We already know that in most years, the winner of this game takes the Coastal Division.

3:30 PM
Florida at Alabama, CBS.  This should show us a lot about both teams.

UVA at BYU, ESPN.  UVA has been surprising so far this season.  But, if BYU runs the table this season, they could make the playoff discussion very interesting.

8 PM
Clemson at Florida State, ABC.  The last couple of years, this game has determined the ACC Atlantic.  But with Jameis Winston out for the first half, will FSU find themselves in a hole that they have to climb out of in the second half?

Miami at Nebraska, ESPN2.  Another one of those games that was bigger in the 80s and 90s.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 4

Another week, another batch of games. What a great time of year! As always, below are five games that might not be as high-profile, yet could impact the season in some interesting ways.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 3 wrap up

Well, there's gonna be some fight in the college football world this year.  A few upsets got into final scoreboard.  Still, I'm hesitant to consider anyone truly out of the running for the playoffs after only three weeks.  Unless they're 0-3, in which case, they probably won't be getting any better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Under-the-Radar Games: Week 3

The first two weekends featured a lot of favorites winning (very few upsets...and my Hokies over Ohio State happened to be one of them!!!), but with surprisingly close scores against lesser competition. Will that trend continue into Week 3, as some teams really get rolling? Let's take a look at five games without the high profile but with the potential to help shape the season.


Games to Watch: Week 3

We're skipping the week 2 wrap up this week due to time.  I was still going on a celebratory high after the Virginia Tech win against Ohio State on Saturday night, so I wouldn't have been able to put together too many coherent thoughts.

No one's had more than 1 conference game, if any, so the conference races haven't even really started.  And since the CFP is brand new, there's no telling if any team has truly been eliminated yet.

In week 3, we start to see some storylines emerge.  We even have one conference give us two divisional games.

Saturday, September 13
East Carolina at Virginia Tech, ESPN.  VT's back in the rankings, and hopefully the Hokies do better than they did with their two week stint last season.  After a big win in the Horseshoe last week, this game has suddenly become the most important game of the season.  ECU is no foe to be overlooked though.  The Pirates have played the Hokies close several times in this series, and have given fits to other ACC and SEC teams in recent years.

Kent State at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN2. I'm interested to see how Ohio State bounces back after a huge letdown last week.  In some ways, it's the first "normal" game of the season for them, following Navy's triple option offense, and VT's in-your-face-blitz-all-night defense.

12:30 PM
Louisville at UVA, ACC Network.  I'm not sure what to make of UVA this year.  They acted completely inept in week 1, but still played UCLA close.  Then, they just demolished Richmond last weekend.  Louisville is expected to be a major player in the ACC Atlantic.

3:30 PM
Georgia at South Carolina, CBS.  This is where we find out where the power in the SEC East is.

7:30 PM
Kentucky at Florida, SEC Network.  Maybe we can finally figure out if we're getting good Florida or bad Florida this year.  By the end of this game, though, we'll start to see the SEC East picture take shape.

8 PM
Tennessee at Oklahoma, ABC.  Another marquee non-conference game, with probably more on the line for Oklahoma than Tennessee.

USC at Boston College, ESPN.  This just seems kind of random to me, with east meets west.

UCLA vs. Texas, Fox.  Talk about two teams who have underperformed.  While UCLA has at least won both games so far, it's been very unconvincing.

What is RSN for the ACC games?

On the TV schedules for ACC football teams, there is often a network called "RSN".  What is RSN?

RSN stands for Regional Sports Network.  Basically, ESPN has sublicensed one or two ACC games a week to the regional Fox Sports to produce.  The games are then broadcast on regional sports channels across the country.  Most of them are Fox Sports Net channels, but there are a few areas that Fox Sports Net doesn't cover, so the games are picked up by other regional channels, like Comcast SportsNet.

Most of these games air at 3 PM, but sometimes they air at noon.  Occasionally, the RSN game will be the alternate ACC Network game.  Meaning, if two games are listed at the same time on the ACC Network, one will be on the local affiliates, and the other will be on RSN.

I found this list on the ACC website.  It was primarily from the Kansas at Duke game from September 2014, but can probably be applied to most weeks.

  • FOX Sports Carolinas (FS Carolinas) - covers the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • FOX Sports South (FS South) - covers six states in the southeastern portion of the country: Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.
  • SUN Sports (SUN) or FOX Sports Florida (FS Florida) - both cover the state of Florida.
  • Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (CSN Mid-Atlantic) - covers the states of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  • New England Sports Network (NESN) - covers the New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
  • Package can also air on regional sports networks outside the ACC footprint. This carriage will vary on a week to week basis.

    Games are also available online at ESPN3, but subject to blackout.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Games to Watch: Week 2

    Week 2 is always a little rough.  You have the teams that played in the big neutral site openers back home against cupcakes, or you have teams with their marquee non-conference games.  There's a few conference matchups thrown in to keep things interesting, though.

    Since I'll be out of town for most of the day Saturday (until the primetime games), and Tony already found decent under the radar games, this week's list is a bit on the short side.

    Friday, September 5
    7 PM
    Pitt at Boston College, ESPN.  Already mentioned as under the radar, but I'm interested in the cross divisional matchup from the ACC.  Could be two teams in the middle or bottom of their divisions, but it helps the conference picture take shape.

    Saturday, September 6
    3:30 PM
    USC at Stanford, ABC.  This is the marquee conference matchup of the day.  I'm a little surprised that the Pac-12 is offering it so soon, since they traditionally like to get all of their non-conference games out of the way.  Even though both of these schools need to make room for Notre Dame later on, the Pac-12 usually waits until week 3 or 4 to start conference games.  Either way, I'm all for conference games that help shape the conference picture at this point.

    Richmond at UVA, ESPN3.  I'm interested in this from the local perspective.  UVA's defense scared me a little last week, since I wasn't expecting much.

    7:30 PM
    Michigan at Notre Dame, NBC.  This classic rivalry plays out for the final time (for now) in a rare night game at Notre Dame.

    8 PM
    Virginia Tech at Ohio State, ESPN.  This is the big test for VT this season, and is the big non-conference matchup of the day.  Both teams have something to prove with new QBs, and this is where we find out exactly what kind of teams we have here.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Week 1 wrap-up

    We finally have a week of games in the books.  Unfortunately, with it only being week one, there's not a lot of conference races taking shape.

    In the Power 5 conferences, only the ACC and SEC had conference games, and both of them were cross divisional.  So, Miami and South Carolina aren't out of their respective divisional races yet, but they don't have the safety net that the rest of the teams have.

    Week 1 was marked by errors, though.

    First, in the Texas A&M-South Carolina game, A&M might have gotten a touchdown on the opening kickoff if the returner hadn't been tackled by his own teammate.

    Then, we had to deal with inept refs in the UCLA/UVA game.  Apparently, in Charlottesville, the clock keeps running after a first down.  And the ref even makes an announcement that the clock is not wrong.  Sorry, guys, but that is not the way to get back at the Pac-12 from the Sugar Bowl incident.

    And the most personal faux pas...Louisville's big entry to the ACC, and they steal "Enter Sandman" from Virginia Tech.  But seriously, guys, if you're gonna steal an entrance song, then do it right.  What was up with that half assed clapping crap?  When "Sandman" blares,  you jump.

    I'm starting to question some of my preseason predictions.  Of my Final Four, only Michigan State really looked ready.

    Over in the SEC, South Carolina didn't look nearly as good as they were hyped to be.  Georgia seems to be the power in the East, but that's all due to Todd Gurley.  Take him out of the game, and Clemson would have won.

    Under the Radar Games to Watch: Week 2

    Oh, how great it is to be watching and discussing games once again! As I did last year, I'll be highlighting five games each week that might not be high-profile but could end up helping to shape the season. 

    Without any further ado, let's see what we can find!

    Arizona at UTSA

    While FOX Sports 1 didn't take ESPN's approach and just skip this Thursday night (to avoid competing with the NFL's opening night game), this could end up being an interesting one to check in during Packers/Seahawks commercials. UTSA dominated Houston in Week 1, while Arizona took care of business against UNLV. This is UTSA's first year of bowl eligibility, and a big win against a PAC-12 team could help the Roadrunners (and Conference USA...especially if 12-0 Marshall meets a double digit-win UTSA) move towards that bowl being of the "New Years Six" variety (though a tough test against Oklahoma State still remains).


    Pittsburgh at Boston College

    After watching Wake, Syracuse, and NC State perform horribly in Week 1, I wonder if the ACC Coastal could be the better division this year. While FSU from the Atlantic may still be the best team, the other side could end up being deeper (though with Louisville beating Miami, the Atlantic is 1-0 against the Coastal in 2014). Pitt and BC both took care of business in their openers, and this Friday night cross-division game could indeed start to showcase the overall strength of the two divisions.


    Missouri at Toledo

    Kudos for Toledo getting a ranked SEC team to come visit. It definitely helps that Gary Pinkel's first head coaching job was at Toledo. I suspect the Tigers will roll, but there have been some interesting things happen in the Glass Bowl - particularly when the visiting team was ranked. After a good-but-not-great first week, Missouri had better not overlook these Rockets!


    Richmond at Virginia

    Now why would I put an FCS-FBS game on here? Well, of all the teams that lost in Week 1, I think UVA has the widest range of possibilites moving forward. Was the close loss to UCLA an inspiration that provided some confidence, or was it the beginning of some finger-pointing that could lead to another awful season - and possibly the last for Mike London. With a good FCS team (and Mike London's former team) coming to town, we should get our answer pretty quickly.


    Colorado State at Boise State

    Both teams looked pretty good in their openers, though it seems the Rams got better as their game against Colorado went on (while Boise crumbled in the 4th quarter after a close 3 quarters). With the Mountain West being seen as one of the better "Group of 5" conferences, the winner of this game (especially if it's Colorado State) can move forward with a "New Years Six" bowl still in its sights.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Games to Watch: Week 1

    It's time for everyone's favorite post of August, because it means that it's time to start watching football!

    The TV landscape has changed, with the launch of the SEC Network.  I think this will benefit more than just the SEC, because now that there is another outlet for SEC games, that opens up those timeslots on the other ESPN channels.  CBS still gets first pick of SEC games, but it's no longer exclusive in the timeslot.

    Wednesday, August 27
    7 PM
    Abilene Christian at Georgia State, ESPNU.  Honestly, I know nothing about these teams, and I don't really care.  But after eight months of no college football, I feel obligated to alert you to the first televised game of the season.

    Thursday, August 28
    6 PM
    Texas A&M at South Carolina, SEC Network.  Look at this, a marquee matchup in week one!  Well, it's a ploy to get the cable companies to pick up the new network, and also to get people to watch it, proving that they're not just dumping the bottom of the barrel games that CBS and ESPN didn't want.  It also gets the nod as the official start of the season, since no one is going to care about that Georgia State game.

    8 PM
    Boise State vs. Ole Miss, ESPN.  It's another year of a Chick-Fil-A Kickoff doubleheader, although this year, it's on Thursday and Saturday.  This is the chance to see exactly what kind of team Boise State is now in the post-Chris Petersen era.  I see potential for some sort of surprise.

    Friday, August 29
    There's a few games on this night, but nothing that really stands out.  Just interesting enough for me to flip around the main sports channels to see what might turn out to be interesting.

    Saturday, August 30
    8:30 AM
    Penn State vs. UCF, ESPN2.  Who cares about the teams?  It's in Ireland, and it's being played in the morning.  This means, with some Pac-12 games kicking off at 10:30 PM, that we can get 17 solid hours of college football.  And this one should be finishing just in time to switch over to Gameday to see the headgear pick.

    UCLA at UVA, ESPN.  This is going to be a butt kicking.  If you thought the Sun Bowl beatdown of VT was bad, then this one is going to be worse for Tech's in-state rivals.  UVA is a total mess, and is the only team in the ACC Coastal who is not picked to at least be in contention for the division title.  Although, I'll probably be hoping for an upset because 1.) #goACC, and 2.) anything for the Zima drinkers to get to enough wins to keep Mike London's job.  It's working out so well for us down in Blacksburg.

    Appalachian State at Michigan, ESPN2.  2007, that is all.

    Ohio State at Navy, CBS Sports Network.  This will be interesting to see exactly what kind of teams we're getting from these two programs this year, even moreso with the Braxton Miller injury.  And is Navy going to be a contender, or even competitive?

    3:30 PM
    West Virginia vs. Alabama, ABC/ESPN2.  I'm wondering about the prestige of the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game.  First, it lost out on it's primetime ABC slot.  Then, it slipped out of prime time, kicking off at 5:30 last year.  This year, it's just another mid-afternoon game, and it's being subjected to the reverse mirror.  Still, should be an interesting game as both teams are trying to pick themselves up.

    4 PM
    William and Mary at Virginia Tech, ESPNews.  If I wasn't a Tech fan, this wouldn't even register.  Still, it's nice to see the new AD in charge.  A year ago, this would have been a 1:30 ESPN3 deal.  Instead, it was originally scheduled for 3:30 (on ESPN3), but bumped to 4 when ESPN decided to move it to television.

    Arkansas at Auburn, SEC Network.  How will the SEC champ rebound from losing the national championship?

    5:30 PM
    Clemson at Georgia, ESPN.  This was arguably the biggest non-neutral site week one game last year, and it was highly entertaining.  This year, Clemson is a bit more of an unknown quantity as Tajh Boyd has moved on from the QB position.

    8 PM
    Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, ABC.  It's the kickoff at Jerryworld, featuring last year's champions.

    9 PM
    Wisconsin vs. LSU, ESPN.  It's a new kickoff game in Houston.  Two teams that should be contenders in their respective conferences, but with several question marks across their roster.

    Sunday, August 31
    Just a couple of games to fill in the gap between the NFL preseason and regular season.

    Monday, September 1
    8 PM
    Miami at Louisville, ESPN.  What a way to welcome a new member to the conference but giving them the Labor Day Monday night game?  And against a team they helped replace in the Big East, no less.

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    2014 NCAA Scorecard

    The Mega Realignment of 2010-2015 is still chugging along, but the dust is starting to settle with only a few changes in the Power 5 conferences.  The Big Ten has the most changes, with two new teams being added, and a complete realignment of divisions.  Gone are Legends and Leaders, replaced with the much less controversial East and West.  The ACC remains the only conference with non-geographic divisions, but that is largely due to the fact that a hypothetical North division would be most of the old Big East teams plus UVA and would end up dividing the NC schools, which makes no one happy.

    So, here's the scorecard to keep the conferences and divisions straight in the Power 5 conferences for 2014.  Teams are listed in no particular order.

    SEC, Pac-12, and Big 12 fans, no worries for you, as there are no changes in your conferences.

    Florida State
    Boston College
    NC State
    Wake Forest
    Louisville (new)

    Virginia Tech
    Georgia Tech
    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Ole Miss
    Mississippi State
    Texas A&M

    Penn State (still on restrictions)
    Michigan State
    Ohio State
    Maryland (new)
    Rutgers (new)


    Oregon State
    Washington State

    Arizona State

    Big 12
    Texas Tech
    Oklahoma State
    Iowa State
    Kansas State
    West Virginia

    Notre Dame (except for the 5 guaranteed ACC games)

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Chip's Predictions

    I already made my playoff predictions, now I'm predicting the conference championship games.

    Florida State (Atlantic) vs. Virginia Tech (Coastal).

    Alabama (West) vs. South Carolina (East).

    Michigan State (East) vs. Wisconsin (West).

    UCLA (South) vs. Oregon (North).

    Big 12
    Oklahoma will win the conference.  But I think Oklahoma, Baylor, and one other surprise team will go 1-1 against each other, keeping it close until the very end.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Rankings - how do they change?

    This season hasn't even started, and there's already an interesting topic for debate:  Rankings.

    The preseason rankings are already in, and Ohio State was expected to play with Braxton Miller as their starting QB.  As a result, they were ranked very highly in the polls, in the 5-6 range.

    Now that Miller is out for the season with an injury, opinions of Ohio State are reasonably different.  If the rankings were redone, Ohio State would not quite get such a high ranking.

    So how is this going to play out over the course of the season?  I'm sure that by midseason, the ranking will even out.  Either Ohio State will win most or all of their games, justifying a high ranking, or they'll lose a few and drop accordingly.

    But what about after week 1?  If Ohio State beats Navy, will they stay in their 5-6 spot (assuming all of the teams ahead of them also win in week 1) or could they possibly drop a few spots to better reflect voters' opinions of the team?

    The preseason rankings are huge in the outcome of the season, since a large reason for movement in the polls is simply attrition by losing.  Most teams in the middle of the top 25 usually need the teams above them to lose in order to move upward in the polls.

    It should be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Tony's CFP Picks

    With the new postseason set to debut this year, I'm as excited as anyone to see it unfold. Just who will those last four teams be that get to fight it out in the Rose/Sugar Bowls and then near Dallas?

    Pre-season prediction: Final Four

    As we approach the 10 day countdown to the 2014 season, I thought I would make a quick post to list my predictions for the four teams to get to the College Football Playoff.

    In no particular order:
    -Florida State (ACC)
    -UCLA (Pac-12)
    -Michigan State (B1G)
    -Alabama (SEC)

    I think the Big 12 will find themselves beating each other up late in the year to lose out on the fourth spot.  It will probably come down to Oklahoma, Baylor, and one surprise team, who will all go 1-1 against each other.

    But, I would not be surprised if the SEC gets left out.  Several teams there are stepping up, and could make the SEC start spinning the Wheel of Destiny.  However, if both the SEC and Big 12 start playing that game, then the SEC would beat out the Big 12.

    I was hesitant to go with Alabama, especially since they flopped at the end of last season, and they have an unknown quantity at quarterback.  But they've been able to reload like no other team over the last five or six years.  And I can't count on another kick-6 by Auburn this year.

    The ACC will still be spinning the Wheel of Destiny on the Coastal side, but Florida State will run over everyone on the Atlantic side.  Their biggest challenge will probably come in the ACC Championship game.

    Now, I don't expect to be 100% right, and it'll probably be more fun this season if I'm not.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Football on TV

    As the new season approaches, we're here to give you a quick rundown on where you might find your game on television.  When in doubt, start with ESPN, and they will probably be able to direct you to the right place.

    In the lists below, when we refer to ESPN, we're referring to the entire company, which means the games could show up on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, or ABC, or online only on ESPN3.  ESPN also controls the SEC Network, but that will usually get its own mention.  They also have several regional broadcasts for various conferences (usually branded with "conference name" Network).

    Fox Sports has certainly expanded in the last year, with the launch of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.  These channels are also supplemented by coverage on the main Fox network, and various regional channels.  Fox also has a minority interest in the Big Ten Network.

    CBS and NBC also have their own cable sports channels, and NBC even has a regional presence through Comcast SportsNet.

    Of course, all rights are based on the conference of the home team.

    The ACC has the easiest TV deal.  ESPN controls everything.  They sublicense one or two games to Raycom for the 12:30 ACC Network syndicated broadcast.  There is also a late afternoon game that is produced by Fox Sports for regional sports channels (which could be Fox or Comcast).

    CBS gets the first choice of SEC games, but ESPN controls everything else.  The SEC Network will have three games each Saturday.  The syndicated SEC TV has been cancelled.

    Big Ten
    ESPN and the Big Ten Network show all regular season games.  Fox has the rights to the championship game.

    Big 12
    Split between ESPN and Fox.  Texas also has the Longhorn Network.

    Split between ESPN, Fox, and the Pac-12 Network.  The championship game alternates between ESPN and Fox, and should be on Fox this year.

    Notre Dame is on NBC.  BYU is with ESPN and their own BYU channel.  Army and Navy are with CBS Sports.

    Conference USA
    Split between CBS and Fox, mostly staying on the cable channels.

    Mountain West
    Split between CBS and ESPN.

    Most other conferences and teams are with ESPN.  Some FCS conferences have deals with NBCSN, which can expand to Comcast SportsNet.

    All bowl games are on an ESPN channel, except for the Sun Bowl on CBS.

    For an idea of who you might be listening to during ESPN broadcasts, click here.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    "Butterfly Effect" Games in College Football, Part 3 of 3

    As we get ready to step into August - and thus, the beginning of the 2014 college football season - I'd like to wrap up this short series of games that have created ripples through college football space/time.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    "Butterfly Effect" Games in College Football, Part 2 of 3

    As promised, my three-part series continues with another game that seriously caused some ripples throughout college football.

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    "Butterfly Effect" Games in College Football, Part 1 of 3

    Looking back at how college football has changed in the last 10 years, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and look at some games I call "butterfly effect" games.

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    A New Era: Who Wins?

    With July 1 just around the corner (less than 4 hours from the time of this post), the latest round of Conference Realignment will be mostly complete (with a few Group of 5 moves still forthcoming). But in general, the next "alignment era" of college football is here, and I thought I'd take a shot at who some big winners could be!

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    ACC Road to Charlotte 2014

    Here is a week by week look at the key ACC games that will shape the race for the conference title.  Now, considering how topsy turvy the ACC is, I'm sure there are several games left off that will ultimately be key, or certain games here won't actually matter come October.

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    NCAA Online: 5/29/14

    Teel Time: ACC Divisions, easy change

    Since the ACC is staying at 8 conference games, something needs to be done with the divisions to make the league more exciting.  David Teel of the Daily Press has a simple idea to enhance ACC football.  Swap Georgia Tech and Louisville, then pair up Clemson with VT and BC with UVA for cross divisional games.

    Sure, we lose the annual VT/GT Coastal collision, but that matchup is losing its luster the longer GT keeps Paul Johnson as coach.

    And if the ACC insists that Florida State and Clemson are still their two best teams, this divisional lineup would enforce that belief, as long as the two schools can win their divisions.

    Teel goes a little more in depth in his article, and if I were to go on about the advantages of this idea, I would just be paraphrasing him.

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    2014 Season Look-Ahead: Thinking 5's

    In honor of Cinco de Mayo (May 5...or 5/5), I've come up with 5 quick lists (with 5 items each) of things to look forward to this upcoming college football season.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Championship Game "What If": Wrapping it Up with the Big 12

    This series started at the end of February when the ACC announced its plan to hold its champioship game in Charlotte through the end of this decade.  Well, 7 weeks and a Big Ten Primetime TV times announcement later, I've managed to get to the last of the 5 "Power Conferences" and see how championship game history might have been different with a change in venue.

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Championship Game "What If": the SEC

    After some time away from the computer, it's about time I wrap up this "What if" series on Conference Championships.  With two more power conferences to go, I'll go ahead and move on to the conference that started it all: the SEC (first one in 1992, and still going strong).

    The SEC employed the "neutral site" approach, so this hypothetical will see what might have happened if the championship game were held at the home of the team with the better conference record.

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Championship Game "What if"...Big Ten and PAC-12

    In my last post, I shared some "what if" scenarios for the ACC Championship Game and what may have been at the ACC home stadiums.

    Up next: the two most recent additions to Conference Championship Games, the Big Ten and PAC-12.  With only three games apiece so far, it's not like our sample sizes are particularly big.  But, let's see what might have been if the two Rose Bowl conferences reversed the way their Championship Games were done.