Monday, December 7, 2015

Explaining the ACC Bowl Selection Process

In the past, the teams of the ACC were selected for bowl games by a list.  The bowl at the top of the list had first pick, and the bowls went down the list until they ran out of bowls or eligible teams, whichever came first.

Now, there is a system of "tiers", where groups of bowls work together with the conference, and sometimes the individual schools, to place teams in bowls.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tracking the new (and old) VT coaching staff

I'm sort of in uncharted territory here, as Virginia Tech hires a new coach and assembles a new staff.  Fortunately, it will be a mix of old and new, but things are still in flux.  As things change, I'll update this post.

1.) Justin Fuente (head coach)
2.) Bud Foster (defensive coordinator)
3.) Charley Wiles (DL)
4.) Holman Wiggins (WR)
5.) James Shibest (TE/ST)
6.) Vance Vice (OL)
7.) Zohn Burden (RB)
8.) Brad Cornelson (OC/QB)
9.) Galen Scott (LB)
10.) Brian Mitchell (CB)

Foster, Wiles, and Burden are holdovers from the Beamer regime, and Mitchell was formerly at WVU.  The rest of the coaches came from Memphis.

Old staff with new jobs:
-Stacy Searels (Miami OL)
-Shane Beamer (Georgia TE/special teams)
-Scot Loeffler (Boston College offensive coordinator)
-Cornell Brown (Norfolk State co defensive-coordinator)
-Bryan Stinespring (JMU TE/run game)
-Torrian Gray (Florida defense) -- originally announced as part of Fuente's staff, but then took the Florida job
-Frank Beamer (a well earned retirement, with pedicures and milkshakes)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week 13 wrap up

It's such a bittersweet time of year.  While in some ways, it's a relief to finally know all of the division winners, that also means that the weekly wrap up is pretty much over.  All that is left is for a few select teams to jockey for CFP position.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 12 wrap up

Another weekend that did not quite go to script.  Every Power 5 conference with divisions has at least one participant of their title game determined.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Chaos Theory Week 12

Only one unbeaten lost last week.  We're down to the final five undefeated teams.

Wake Forest over Clemson
Michigan State over Ohio State
Purdue over Iowa
UConn over Houston
Baylor over Oklahoma State

Worst case scenario, Iowa and Ohio State will face off in the conference title game if they win out, and would guarantee one less team.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Setting up winner take all games in week 13

Thanksgiving weekend is always special in college football, because that's when 90% of the biggest rivalries occur.  To top it off, several of those games can become "winner take all" games where the winner either wins their division or conference.

Below I have listed the setups that can occur with the games played on the weekend on November 21.

ACC and SEC - none.  In both cases, one division has already been clinched, and the other has contenders who have already faced off.

In the East, there are two games that could be set up as divisional championships.
Ohio State at Michigan - if both teams win.
Penn State at Michigan State - if both teams win on 11/21, and Michigan beats Ohio State in the noon game on 11/28.

UCLA at USC - there are three outcomes that can set up a divisional title match here:
-UCLA win + USC win
-UCLA win + USC loss
-UCLA loss + USC loss

If USC wins and UCLA loses on 11/21, then the division will already be decided.

Big 12
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State - if both teams win

Baylor at TCU on Black Friday cannot be a true winner take all game.  Even if both teams win on 11/21, they will still be waiting on future outcomes.  Both teams would still rely on the outcome of Bedlam the following day, while Baylor would still need to win against Texas on December 5.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Games to Watch: Week 12

A lot of games this week with championship implications, but not always for the teams involved.

Saturday, November 21
Michigan at Penn State, ABC.  The winner stays alive in the B1G East.  The loser is out.  If Michigan wins, they set up a winner take all against Ohio State next week.

UNC at Virginia Tech, ESPN.  UNC wants to win this game and lock up the ACC Coastal.  Virginia Tech wants to win this game to go to a bowl, and send their legendary coach out with his final home win.

Purdue at Iowa, ESPN2.  Iowa can lock up the B1G West with a win here.

Memphis at Temple, ESPNU.  A cross divisional battle in the American conference that has more championship implications for Temple than for Memphis.

William & Mary at Richmond, CSN.  Gotta give a shoutout to rivalry weekend in the FCS.

3:30 PM
USC at Oregon, ESPN.  A cross divisional Pac-12 game that greatly affects both sides of the conference.  An Oregon win would keep them alive in the North, hoping that Stanford loses.  A USC win would give Stanford the North, and give USC the South if UCLA loses.

UCLA at Utah, Fox.  Utah is already out of contention.  UCLA needs a win to force a winner take all game against USC next week, unless USC also loses.

LSU at Ole Miss, CBS.  This game could decide the SEC West.  If LSU wins, then Alabama wins the division.  If Ole Miss wins, then the race goes on for one more week.

Michigan State at Ohio State, ABC.  Another game keeping the winner alive in the B1G East, but also dependent on the Michigan/Penn State game earlier.

3:45 PM
Louisville at Pitt, ESPNEWS.  If UNC loses, Pitt can stay alive with a win.  If Pitt loses here, UNC clinches the ACC Coastal regardless of their outcome.

7:30 PM
Baylor at Oklahoma State, Fox.  Baylor needs the win to stay alive, and keep the Big 12 in chaos.

8 PM
TCU at Oklahoma, ABC.  If Oklahoma State beats Baylor, the loser of this game is out of contention.  An Oklahoma win here plus an Oklahoma State win would force a winner take all Big 12 championship next week.

10:30 PM
Cal at Stanford, ESPN.  If Oregon loses earlier in the day, this game doesn't matter.  But if the Ducks win, Stanford can clinch the Pac-12 North with a win here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 11 wrap up

No one's making it easy this weekend.  I do believe that every team that could have clinched this weekend ended up losing, keeping the races open.  We have a few contenders that are right on the bubble that have been eliminated due to tiebreakers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Games to Watch: Week 11

The schedule heats up as several conferences have their schedules backloaded so their leaders play each other at the end of the season.

Thursday, November 12
7:30  PM
VT at GT, ESPN.  No bearing on anything other than VT's bowl potential, but it's the final Thursday night game coached by Frank Beamer.  #GameDay4Frank.

Saturday, November 14
Pitt at Duke, ESPNEWS.  The winner of this game will be set up for second place in the ACC Coastal, and will have the best shot if UNC drops a game or two.

3:30 PM
Miami at UNC, ESPNU.  Another ACC Coastal matchup with massive implications.

Alabama at Mississippi State, CBS.  Everyone in the division is looking for Alabama to slip up.

7 PM
Temple at USF, CBS Sports Network.  Temple can wrap up their division of the American conference with a win here.

Memphis at Houston, ESPN2.  The biggest American conference game of the year, as the lead of the western division is on the line.

7:30 PM
Oregon at Stanford, Fox.  Stanford can clinch the division with a win.  An Oregon win would keep the race alive.

8 PM
Oklahoma at Baylor, ABC.  Loser of this one is likely out of the Big 12 title hunt.

Chaos Theory week 11

Five undefeated teams went down last week, leaving us with 6.  No byes, and no battle of the unbeatens this week.

Syracuse over Clemson
Illinois over Ohio State
Oklahoma over Baylor
Minnesota over Iowa
Memphis over Houston
Iowa State over Oklahoma State

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 10 addendum: American Conference race

Normally, I stick to just the Power 5 conferences, but it's looking like the American will be sending their champion to the New Year's Six, and could even potentially crack the top 4.  Also, several of the coaches could be moving on to new jobs based on their performance this year.

The American schedule seems to be backloaded, where a lot of the top teams have yet to play each other.

Controls destiny:
-Temple (5-0) can clinch the division with a win.  Their next game is against South Florida.  Even if they lose that game, they are still in control of their destiny.

Needs help:
-South Florida (3-2) can clinch the division if they win out and Temple loses at least one other conference game.

Still in contention:
-Cincinnati (2-3) can only have a shot at the championship if they share a tie at 5-3.  Since Temple is already 5-0, Temple would be involved in any tie.  Temple already has the head-to-head against Cincy and UConn, and would win any two-team tiebreakers.

If there is a three way tie of Temple/Cincy/UConn, each team would be 1-1.  Cincy would have a divisional record of 4-1 while Temple and UConn would each have 3-2.  So, Cincy can clinch the division that way.

The three way tie of Temple/Cincy/USF would be caused by Temple losing out, Cincy winning out, and USF going 1-2 in their final three games (they play Temple and Cincy, so it already fits in).  The teams would be 1-1 against each other.  Cincy and USF would have 4-1 divisional records, and Cincy would have the head-to-head.

In the event of a 4 way tie at 5-3, USF and Cincy would both be 2-1 against the other teams, and Cincy would have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Short version, there are three components to Cincy's championship hopes:
-win out
-Temple lose out
-USF beats UCF OR UConn beats Houston.

Out of contention:
-UConn (3-3), ECU (2-4), UCF (0-6)

How is UConn out of contention, but not Cincy?  As you can see above, UConn is accounted for in all of the ties that involve Cincy, but they do not come out ahead.  If UConn is involved in a three way tie with Temple and USF, USF would be 2-0 against the other two teams, and thus win the division.

Controls destiny:
-Houston (5-0) has yet to play the other teams in contention.
-Navy (5-0) has a tiebreaker over Memphis.

Needs help:
-Memphis (4-1) needs two Navy losses.

Out of contention:
-Tulsa (2-3), Tulane (1-5), SMU (0-5)

Since Houston and Navy have yet to play, we know that at least one team in the division will get to 6 wins, which is impossible for the bottom three teams to achieve.

Starting with Week 11, we'll be following the American in the weekly wrap up posts.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 10 Wrap up

Wow.  This Saturday did not go as expected.  A few bumps along the way, but at least a few teams clinched their division, while many others were eliminated.  Would you believe that the ACC Coastal is not the most wide open division right now?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chaos Theory: Week 10

Only one undefeated went down last week, and no one is on a bye.

TCU and Oklahoma State face off, so one team is leaving the undefeated ranks this week.

Minnesota over Ohio State
Kansas State over Baylor
Alabama over LSU
Nebraska over Michigan State
Florida State over Clemson
Indiana over Iowa
Cincinnati over Houston
Navy over Memphis
NIU over Toledo

Eleven teams right now, and we're down to ten or fewer next week.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2015 Season Thoughts: Post-October

I've been a little busier this Fall, which has taken me away from a weekly feature like I had done in recent years.  But we've come to the part of the season that has everyone on high alert: the end of October!

Week 9 wrap up

The races have taken so much shape that I'm going down to third and fourth level tiebreakers for some.  We have teams being eliminated, teams regaining control, and some teams just barely hanging on.  This wrap up has taken the most time to prepare of any wrap up this season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chaos Theory: Week 9

Two undefeateds went down last week, but four teams are on a bye this week.

Ohio State, Baylor, LSU, Michigan State are on a bye, so they officially survived the first two months.

Starting this week, I am adding in the Group of 5 undefeated teams, because they are proving to have some staying power.

West Virginia over TCU

NC State over Clemson
Maryland over Iowa
Texas Tech over Oklahoma State
Notre Dame over Temple
Vanderbilt over Houston
Tulane over Memphis
NIU over Toledo

12 teams right now, how many will make it to November?

Since there can only be one undefeated team in each conference at the end of the season, we know that 2 B1G teams, 2 Big 12 teams, and 2 American teams will all be knocked off the list by December.  At most, we'll have six teams at the end of the season.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Games to Watch: Week 9

This is Halloween, this is Halloween.

I think we're at an interesting point of the season.  Many teams either have a bye (often in preparation for one of their bigger games of the season), or perhaps have a non-conference game for homecoming.  Then, it seems like the key matchups for conference races still aren't happening.  We're seeing very few games where both teams are obvious contenders.  We've got some non-contenders playing each other, or contenders playing non-contenders, or a few middle of the road teams playing each other where we don't know where they'll end up.

Thursday, October 29
7 PM
UNC at Pitt, ESPN.  This is possibly the most key game of the ACC Coastal season thus far.  If Pitt wins, they would force VT and GT out of the Coastal race (not that either team has much of a chance).  If UNC wins, it keeps all of the teams in contention, and also makes the top of the division more interesting.

Saturday, October 31
12:30 PM
Virginia Tech at Boston College, ACC Network.  For most of the season, VT can either get the offense or the defense to show up.  BC has a heck of a defense, but no offense.  This game could go either way, but don't look for a lot of points.

3:30 PM
Georgia vs. Florida, CBS.  A nice rivalry game that offers the lead of the SEC East to the winner.

8 PM
Notre Dame at Temple, ABC.  Talk about surprising.  Temple was once so bad they got kicked out of the Big East.  Now they are undefeated, and hosting a 1 loss ND (missing several starters) in prime time.

Updating the season predictions

We're at the end of the second month of the college football season, and I'm doing my first look back/look ahead, see what I got wrong post.

It's always difficult to do this at the end of September, with so many non-conference games.  Even waiting a couple of weeks for the midpoint can be difficult.  Even now it's the best time, since it's almost too far in.

Anyway, it's safe to say that I missed a lot back in August.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 8 wrap up

They said on Gameday that the weeks that look the weakest on paper, and when Gameday goes to FCS schools, are the weeks that things tend to break open.

We already have multiple teams officially out of contention in the conference races.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chaos Theory week 8

Two undefeated teams went down last week, leaving us with 10 in the Power 5.  Iowa and TCU both have a bye, so they get to survive one more week.

That gives us 8 games of potential chaos.

Rutgers over Ohio State
Iowa State over Baylor
USC over Utah
Western Kentucky over LSU
Miami over Clemson
Indiana over Michigan State
Georgia Tech over Florida State
Kansas over Oklahoma State

I have a feeling, though, that we're going to have to start tracking the Group of 5 conferences as well.  They have some decent teams quietly rising the ranks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Games to Watch -- Week 8

There is a reason that Gameday is going to an FCS school this week.

Saturday, October 24
Clemson at Miami, ABC/ESPN2.  A cross divisional game that will play a pivotal role in the conference race.

3:30 PM
Tennessee at Alabama, CBS.  If the Vols win, this could be epic.

Duke at Virginia Tech, ESPNU.  I miss the days when this was a gimme for VT.

7 PM
Texas A&M at Ole Miss, ESPN.    Both teams are on the rebound, trying to stay on track for a divisional title.

8 PM
Ohio State at Rutgers, ABC.  How in the hell did this game get the prime time slot?  Seriously, ESPN?   I know there's not a lot of decent match ups this week, and the SEC was off limits.  Was this just to fulfill a Big Ten obligation?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 7 wrap up

Yesterday was kind of intense.  Condolences to Michigan on such a soul crushing loss.  Most conference races are just as muddled as they were going into the weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chaos Theory - week 7

We're at the point of the year where we can start looking at the unbeatens, and see who they are playing, to see what would put the postseason landscape into total chaos if no one is undefeated.

Right now, we have 12 Power 5 teams with no losses.

Two of those teams are guaranteed to survive this week.  Oklahoma State is on a bye, and the winner of LSU/Florida will remain undefeated.  Which also means that we know one team will fall from these ranks.

For the other nine, here's who to root for, if you like chaos in the polls.

Louisville over Florida State
Boston College over Clemson
Iowa State over TCU
West Virginia over Baylor
Michigan over Michigan State
Penn State over Ohio State
Northwestern over Iowa
Arizona State over Utah
Alabama over Texas A&M

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Games to Watch -- week 7

Here's where we start getting into full swing for conference races.  This weekend seems largely concentrated around the 3:30 time slot on Saturday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 6 wrap up

Finally, the season is starting to take shape as some teams are bowl eligible, and others learn if they still have a chance for anything.

Ohio State became the first team to attain bowl eligibility for 2015, but several other teams soon joined them.

And say what you want about the SEC's questionable scheduling tactics, but the East division has the most well defined conference race in all of college football after week 6.  They already have a team facing elimination next week.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Games to Watch -- week 6

Hard to believe we're already approaching the midpoint of the season.  Well, it's a combo of this week and next week, I suppose.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Understanding the ACC TV rights -- including "RSN"

The ACC one of the more straightforward TV deals in the NCAA.  Basically, ESPN owns them all.  However, there are still more games available than timeslots on the various ESPN channels, so the Worldwide Leader in Sports shares some of the games.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 5 wrap up

Well, this season is finally getting some spice added.  We're also far enough into the season to see where bowl eligibility comes into play.  Eight Power 5 teams have the chance to become bowl eligible next week.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Saturday OTAs: Week 5

Sorry for missing last week, as I got a little busy.

ABC:  Texas at TCU

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Louisville at NC State

3:30 PM
ABC:  Ohio State at Indiana OR Texas Tech at Baylor
CBS:  Alabama at Georgia

7:30 PM
FOX:  Arizona State at UCLA

8 PM
ABC:  Notre Dame at Clemson

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Games to Watch -- Week 5

Hey, folks, stay safe and dry this weekend.  Hopefully the approaching storm won't affect too much viewing, other than making for some truly awesome games like the Texas A&M at Virginia Tech Thursday night matchup in 2003, played as the final remnants of a hurricane passed over Virginia.

Thursday, October 1
7:30 PM
Miami at Cincinnati, ESPN.  Always an intriguing nonconference game.

Saturday, October 3
Pitt at Virginia Tech, RSN.  I hate Pitt.  I hate that they joined the ACC.  That being said, the only time I've seen VT beat them was in Lane Stadium two years ago.  So, the Hokies have that going for them.  MIG

South Carolina at Missouri, SEC Network.  This game was usually pretty telling for the SEC East in years past, but this year, could be a toilet bowl.  MIG

Iowa State at Kansas, Fox Sports Net.  From our season preview:  "The Cyclones have nowhere to go but up, and Kansas could be their best shot at a conference win.  The Jayhawks only have a little room to fall, but they can at least hold steady by winning this one."  MIG

West Virginia at Oklahoma, FS1.  This game has been quietly building up to be a key chapter in the Big 12 saga this year.

Texas at TCU, ABC.  Another chance for Longhorn fans to get pitchforks against the officials.

12:30 PM
Louisville at NC State, ACC Network.  Louisville needs to start turning their season around, but NC State could still use this game to make a statement in the conference.

3:30 PM
Texas Tech at Baylor, ABC/ESPN2.  I expect a lot of points.

Alabama at Georgia, CBS.  A possible preview of the SEC Championship?

7 PM
Ole Miss at Florida, ESPN.  A win would be a statement for both teams.

8 PM
Notre Dame at Clemson, ABC.  I think we'll get a good look at both teams here, and find out if either one is a true contender.

Monday, September 28, 2015

2015 Season Thoughts: End of September

With September's college football games in the books, I thought I'd reflect my thoughts on where things stand at month's end.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 4 wrap up

Teams that play a nine-game conference schedule, or have a late season rival in another conference have all started playing, and we're already seeing the conference landscapes start to take shape in some surprising ways.

ACC Wheel of Destiny

No Atlantic teams played conference games in week 4, so this is all the same from last week.

Controls destiny:
Clemson (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Louisville.
Florida State (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Boston College.
Syracuse (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Wake Forest.
NC State has not started conference play.

Needs help:
Louisville (0-1) needs two Clemson losses.
Boston College (0-1) needs two FSU losses.
Wake Forest (0-1) needs two Syracuse losses.

Controls destiny:
Duke (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Georgia Tech.
Miami, UNC, Pitt, Virginia Tech, and UVA have not started conference play.

Needs help:
Georgia Tech (0-1) needs two Duke losses.


Controls destiny:
Georgia (2-0) has tiebreakers over Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Florida (2-0) has tiebreakers over Kentucky and Tennessee.

Needs help:
Kentucky (2-1) has tiebreakers over South Carolina and Missouri, but needs two Florida losses.
Tennessee (0-1) needs two Florida losses.
Missouri (0-1) needs two Kentucky losses.
Vanderbilt (0-2) needs three Georgia losses.  Their other loss was cross-divisional.
South Carolina (0-2) needs three Georgia losses and two Kentucky losses.

Controls destiny:
LSU (2-0) has tiebreakers over Auburn and Mississippi State.
Ole Miss (2-0) has a tiebreaker over Alabama.
Texas A&M (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Arkansas.

Needs help:
Mississippi State (1-1) has a tiebreaker over Auburn, but needs two LSU losses.
Alabama (0-1) needs two Ole Miss losses.
Arkansas (0-1) needs two Texas A&M losses.
Auburn (0-2) needs two LSU losses and a Mississippi State loss.

In the East, Penn State (1-0) controls their destiny with a tiebreaker over Rutgers, and Rutgers (0-1) needs two Penn State losses.  The West has not started conference play.  No change from last week.


Controls destiny:
Stanford (2-0) has a tiebreaker over Oregon State.
Cal (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Washington.
Oregon (0-1) only has a cross-divisional loss.
Washington State has not started playing yet.

Needs help:
Oregon State (0-1) needs two Stanford losses.
Washington (0-1) needs two Cal losses.

Controls destiny:
Utah (1-0) has a cross-divisional win.
UCLA (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Arizona.
USC (1-1) has a tiebreaker over Arizona State.
Colorado is still (0-0).  They have four OOC games, because they played at Hawaii in week 1.

Needs help:
Arizona (0-1) needs two UCLA losses.
Arizona State (0-1) needs a USC loss.

Big 12
Controls destiny:
TCU (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Texas Tech.
Oklahoma State (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Texas.
Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State have yet to start conference play.

Needs help:
Texas Tech (0-1) needs two TCU losses.
Texas (0-1) needs two Oklahoma State losses.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Games to Watch -- Week 4

This week is a bit lighter on intriguing games on the front end, but I imagine that there will be no shortage of drama as you're channel surfing on Saturday.

Friday, September 25
8 PM
Boise State at UVA, ESPN.  This is UVA's last chance to get a non-conference win against an FBS team.  A battle of blue and orange.

Saturday, September 26
LSU at Syracuse, ESPN.  One of the more intriguing SEC out of conference games.  At least LSU gets points for leaving their state on a home-and-home series.  MIG

Georgia Tech at Duke, ESPN2.  Could this be the first knockout round for the ACC Coastal?

12:30 PM
Indiana at Wake Forest, ACC Network.  The final ACC/B1G matchup, and it all comes down to the bottom feeders of both conferences.  Currently, the two conferences are tied 3-3.

3 PM
Maryland at West Virginia, FS1.  An interesting non-conference matchup between bordering states.  However, it's probably a low tier Big Ten/Big 12 matchup.  MIG

3:30 PM
Virginia Tech at ECU, ABC/ESPN2.  The Hokies are looking to revenge the loss they took at home last year, while also trying to make strides to see if their team is ready for the ACC challenges beginning next week.

Tennessee at Florida, CBS.  I think this game could be very telling for the SEC East.

7:30 PM
Mississippi State at Auburn, ESPN2.  Could this be the final nail in Auburn's coffin?

8 PM
UCLA at Arizona, ABC.  This could be a key Pac-12 game.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 3 wrap up

There haven't been a lot of conference games yet, but there's been enough to cause some separation. As usual, all records listed here are conference only.

ACC Wheel of Destiny

Controls destiny:
Clemson (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Louisville.
Florida State (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Boston College.
Syracuse (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Wake Forest.
NC State has not started conference play.

Needs help:
Louisville (0-1) needs two Clemson losses.
Boston College (0-1) needs two FSU losses.
Wake Forest (0-1) needs two Syracuse losses.

No teams in the Coastal have started conference play.


Controls destiny:
Georgia (2-0) has tiebreakers over Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Florida (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Kentucky.
Missouri and Tennessee have not started conference play.

Needs help:
Kentucky (1-1) has a tiebreaker over South Carolina, but needs two Florida losses.
Vanderbilt (0-1) needs two Georgia losses.
South Carolina (0-2) needs three Georgia losses and two Kentucky losses.

Controls destiny:
LSU (2-0) has tiebreakers over Auburn and Mississippi State.
Ole Miss (1-0) has a tiebreaker over Alabama.
Texas A&M and Arkansas have not started conference play.

Needs help:
Alabama (0-1) needs two Ole Miss losses.
Auburn and Mississippi State (both 0-1) each need two LSU losses.

In the East, Penn State (1-0) controls their destiny with a tiebreaker over Rutgers, and Rutgers (0-1) needs two Penn State losses.  The West has not started conference play.

The only conference game so far was a cross-divisional match where Stanford (1-0) beat USC (0-1).  Technically, everyone still controls their destiny.

The Big 12 has not started conference play.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Saturday OTAs: Week 3

Games you can watch the old school way if you have to.

ABC:  Air Force at Michigan State

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Northwestern at Duke

3:30 PM
ABC:  Northern Illinois at Ohio State OR Nebraska at Miami
CBS:  Auburn at LSU

7:30 PM
FOX:  Cal at Texas

8 PM
ABC:  Stanford at USC

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thinking about a 16 team conference

One of the more contentious aspects of college football (especially now that we have the Playoff) is conference alignment and scheduling.  The biggest problem that the larger conferences face is that there are teams in their conference that they rarely see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Games to Watch -- Week 3

When Tony and I were compiling our list of most intriguing games of the season, this week featured the most games.  That seems surprising since a lot of teams are still burning off their FCS or mid-major opponents.  Still, the bulk of the ACC/B1G challenge occurs this week (five games), and we're finishing up most of the marquee non-conference games.

We'll be denoting games that were selected in our Most Intriguing Games (MIG) posts during the summer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 4 - six day options

Here are the games that got selected for the six day option in week 4 (9/26) -- Meaning we won't know until 9/20 when and where they will be broadcast.

Let's see if we can figure out what week 3 games will help determine the time or channel.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 2 wrap up

These wrap up posts are always hard in the early weeks of the season.  Especially this season, when there were no conference games in week one, and the ACC and SEC combined for the only four conference games this week.  In fact, this post is mainly just to lay the groundwork for future weeks.

In the ACC Atlantic, Syracuse actually sits on top at the moment, beating Wake Forest in what I'm sure will be referred to as the Toilet Bowl of the conference.  That means WF needs two Syracuse losses.

Georgia and Kentucky control their destiny in the SEC East.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt needs two losses from Georgia, and South Carolina needs two losses from Kentucky.

In the West, LSU leads the way, with Mississippi State needing two LSU losses.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Saturday OTAs: Week 2

Games that don't require cable in week 2.

ABC:  Oregon State at Michigan

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Wofford at Clemson

3:30 PM
ABC: Notre Dame at UVA
CBS:  Georgia at Vanderbilt

4:45 PM
FOX:  Iowa at Iowa State

8 PM
ABC:  Oregon at Michigan State

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why This Game Matters: Week 2

Throughout the last two seasons, I highlighted some under-the-radar games each week. For 2015, I thought I’d change it up and consider what could be the highest of highs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Games to Watch -- Week 2

I admit, week 1 turned out a bit lackluster.  Even the big games didn't quite have the competitive feel that most were expecting.  Outside of Ohio State cementing their #1 ranking, no one else really put together a performance that is indicative of where this season is going.

Now we head into week 2, where the teams that had big week 1 games get their cupcakes.  There's a few key matchups, but it largely feels like teams are still marking time until they start their conference schedule.

Thursday, September 10
ESPN has decided to skip a Thursday game this week, as the NFL is kicking off.  Fox Sports 1 isn't being so nice, but they have a C-USA game on.

Friday, September 11
9 PM
Utah State at Utah, ESPN2.  This might be a good time to get a better feel for Utah after their defeat of Michigan.

Saturday, September 12
11:30 AM
South Florida at Florida State, ESPN.  The main reason I'm listing this is that it starts before noon (causing Gameday to wrap early -- thanks US Open).  It's also the first non-primetime home game for FSU in two years.

Oregon State at Michigan, ABC.  The state of Oregon invades the state of Michigan in the first of two matchups on ABC today.

12:30 PM
Wake Forest at Syracuse, ACC Network.  A rare conference game in week 2, although it's probably the toilet bowl of the Atlantic division.

3:30 PM
Washington State at Rutgers, ESPNU.  Two lower level power 5 teams facing off, but could it also be the beginning of the end for Mike Leach at Wazzu?

Notre Dame at UVA, ABC.  UVA's nonconference gauntlet continues, against a team that blew Texas out last week.

Furman at Virginia Tech, ESPN3.  Yikes, this was supposed to be a nice breather after the big Ohio State opener, but now VT is forced to break in a new quarterback.  Season expectations are going to have to be adjusted, and it all starts here.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, CBS.  Maybe we can see what Georgia can do with a full 60 minutes of playing time?

6 PM
Oklahoma at Tennessee, ESPN.  A rare marquee home and home matchup with the SEC.

7 PM
East Carolina at Florida, ESPN2.  So, ECU goes to play a Power 5 team that isn't VT?  Of course, Florida will not be returning the favor of a home game for ECU in the future.

8 PM
Oregon at Michigan State, ABC.  The second half of the Oregon invasion of the state of Michigan.  It's also the first game of the season where we have a chance to see some separation at the top of the polls.

9:15 PM
LSU at Mississippi State, ESPN.  LSU finally gets to start their season after a weather cancellation, and we get to see which team has a shot of contending for their division title.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Opening Night thoughts

I had to work, but I still caught parts of several games.

North Carolina vs. South Carolina - I only saw a bit of the first drive (didn't want to kill my data plan at work on this game), but UNC frightened me a bit by the way they were able to move the ball.  Looked too much like GT.

Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt - Honestly, I flipped over once, saw Vanderbilt was losing and moved on.

Michigan at Utah - Not sure if Utah is good, or Michigan is bad.  Still, I liked quite a bit of what I saw from the Utah QB.  The "Khaki Cam" on the Fox Sports Go app that kept on Harbaugh for the entire game was kind of creepy.

Duke at Tulane - I flipped over a couple of times during commercial breaks, and I just couldn't care.  Duke was shutting out Tulane at the time, and there was minimal crowd noise.

TCU at Minnesota - Another game where it's hard to gauge how each team really is.  I thought either TCU would blow out even more, or Minnesota would put up more of a fight.

Saturday OTAs: Week 1

Sometimes, you're stuck somewhere without access to cable, but you have an antenna.  Here are the games that you'll be able to see in week 1.

12:30 PM
ACC Network:  Wofford at Clemson

3:30 PM
ABC:  BYU at Nebraska
CBS:  Louisville vs. Auburn (Chick-fil-a Kickoff)

7:30 PM
NBC:  Texas at Notre Dame

8 PM
ABC:  Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Cowboys Classic)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #1: Games to Watch - Week 1

It's here!  We're finally into September, and it's time to take a look at the games to keep an eye on each week.

Over the last few years, opening weekend has gotten stretched further and further.  Now, we have nearly a full slate of games crammed into Thursday evening.  And this year, it's all a lead-in to possibly the most anticipated rematch of the year!

Thursday, September 3
6 PM
North Carolina vs. South Carolina, ESPN.  One of those non-conference games that looks like it should happen more often, but has only occurred three times in the last 23 years, all of them taking place in the past 8.

8 PM
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt, SEC Network.  Vandy kicks off their season on a Thursday night SEC Network game for the second straight year.  Hopefully they can avoid the embarrassment of last year's blowout.  But, if there is one team that knows how to handle lower level SEC competition, it's WKU.

8:30 PM
Michigan at Utah, Fox Sports 1.  The beginning of the Harbaugh era in Michigan actually starts against one of his former Pac-12 foes.

9 PM
TCU at Minnesota, ESPN.  The main network certainly has one heck of a doubleheader for a Thursday night.  A highly ranked team with a rare road non-conference game.

9:30 PM
Duke at Tulane, CBS Sports Network.  Nothing overly special here, but I'll probably be flipping over from the other game to get a feel for how Duke is going to perform this year.

Friday, September 4
7 PM
Michigan State at Western Michigan, ESPNU.  I think this is the directional Michigan team that VT played last year for Homecoming.  I'll be taking a look because I'm always intrigued by Michigan State.

Baylor at SMU, ESPN.  Sadly, this is probably the toughest non-conference opponent Baylor has, not just for this year but for many others.  But still, I'm hoping for more of the high powered offense that we saw with RG3 and Bryce Petty under center.

10:15 PM
Washington at Boise State, ESPN.  Another case of a coach going from mid-major to big time, and then coming back with his new team.

Saturday, September 5
Stanford at Northwestern, ESPN.  This could be two evenly matched teams from two Power 5 conferences.

Richmond at Maryland, ESPNU.  I'll always give FCS Richmond a look, and it's interesting to see them play an FBS team that's not in the ACC.  Although I'm sure Maryland was when this game was scheduled.

3:30 PM
Louisville vs. Auburn, CBS.  For the second year in a row, the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game is in the 3:30 slot, and now on CBS for the first time.  Still, this could be an interesting match up of teams who are expected to be somewhere in the middle to upper ranks of their divisions.

UVA at UCLA, Fox.  I expected a butt whooping last year, but got a near upset.  Maybe this year, UCLA can provide the score that we all expected last year.

7 PM
Arizona State vs. Texas A&M, ESPN.  It's the Houston kickoff game.

7:30 PM
Texas at Notre Dame, NBC.  You always gotta pay attention with Notre Dame plays at night.

8 PM
Wisconsin vs. Alabama, ABC.  The Cowboy Classic at Jerryworld has now become the premiere kick off game apparently.  For Alabama, this is exactly where they want to be following the Sugar Bowl.  Oh wait, I guess they're eight months too late.

Sunday, September 6
3 PM
Purdue at Marshall, Fox Sports 1.  Last year, Marshall was one of the potential Group of 5 breakthrough teams, while Purdue has been the doormat of the B1G for a while.  There are worse ways to get used to football returning on Sundays.

Monday, September 7
8 PM
Ohio State at Virginia Tech, ESPN.  Lane Stadium on Labor Day is a special place.  Last time a game was played here on a Monday, it was the first overtime game in the history of the stadium.  This year, the matchup happens to be the hottest ticket in that stadium, possibly ever.  The defending national champions come into town, remembering the one loss they took at their own place a year ago.  Meanwhile, the Hokies have the one thing they have lacked over the last three years - continuity.  All of their scoring players from 2014 are returning this year, with more experience.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #2: CFP Primer

Now in Year 2, there are no tweaks to the CFP system, but the games have rotated around, causing a different scenario.

First, last year's CFP Primer.

This year, the CFP goes through the Orange and Cotton Bowls before concluding at the University of Phoenix Stadium (home of the Arizona Cardinals and Fiesta Bowl).  This means that we do not have to worry about the second participant of the Orange Bowl this year.  The only conference that has the potential for their champion to be displaced is the ACC.

Because the Rose and Sugar Bowls are locked into New Year's Day, the semi-finals are shifting to New Year's Eve this year.  The Peach Bowl leads off the festivities at Noon ET, followed by the two semi-finals at 4 and 8 PM.  The exact order will be announced with the final CFP ranking in December.

New Year's Day will feature the Fiesta, Rose, and Sugar Bowls, in that order.  The championship is on January 11.

Depending on how the semi-finals are ranked, this could end up being the exact same schedule as last year, at least in terms of when each bowl is played.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #3: Most Intriguing Games

Tony and I have been going through each Power 5 conference to find the one game on each team's schedule that intrigues us the most.

Now that we've looked at it by conference, let's see when all of those games happen.

September 3
North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte)
TCU at Minnesota
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Michigan at Utah

September 4
Washington at Boise State

September 5
Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)
Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Dallas)
Texas A&M vs. Arizona State (Houston)
Texas at Notre Dame

September 7
Ohio State at Virginia Tech

September 12
Oregon at Michigan State
Oregon State at Michigan
East Carolina at Florida
Oklahoma at Tennessee
Washington State at Rutgers

September 19
Nebraska at Miami
Penn State at Rutgers
Illinois at North Carolina
Pitt at Iowa
Northwestern at Duke
Virginia Tech at Purdue
Florida at Kentucky
Texas Tech at Arkansas
California at Texas
Stanford at USC
Colorado State vs. Colorado (Denver)

September 26
LSU at Syracuse
Maryland at West Virginia

October 3
Pitt at Virginia Tech
South Carolina at Missouri
Iowa State at Kansas

October 10
Arkansas at Alabama

October 17
Louisville at Florida State
Rutgers at Indiana

October 24
Duke at Virginia Tech

November 5
Baylor at Kansas State

November 7
Florida State at Clemson

November 12
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

November 14
NC State at Florida State

November 21
Boston College vs. Notre Dame
Stanford at Arizona

November 27
Baylor at TCU

November 28
Michigan at Ohio State
Georgia at Georgia Tech
Ole Miss at Mississippi State
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

1.)  No games of note on Halloween?  October 31 (week 9) is the only week of the regular season where we didn't target a game.  (We didn't target any on December 5, but most of the games that day are championship games.)
2.)  Watch out for week 3.  September 19 looks like a prime day to plant on the couch from noon to midnight (and beyond).  There are as many targets games on that day alone as there are during the entire opening week.  We already knew it was a big day with several B1G/ACC games.  I guess we hit a sweet spot of where non-conference and conference games start to overlap.  As I said several times, Power 5 non-conference matchups were easiest to catch our eyes, especially for some of the lower level teams.
3.)  All of this is biased.  We're two fans first of Virginia Tech, then the ACC, and finally college football.  And really, this list means nothing in the grand scheme of things other than a list of games that look interesting on paper in August.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #4: ACC/B1G Challenge -- Football Edition

Usually, the ACC and B1G have a basketball challenge, but this year, there are quite a few football contests.  In fact, there are just as many games as their are against the SEC.

However, this list is more impressive as none of them are grandfathered rivals, nor are they neutral site games.

September 7
Ohio State at Virginia Tech

September 19
Virginia Tech at Purdue
Illinois at North Carolina
Northwestern at Duke
Nebraska at Miami
Pitt at Iowa

September 26
Indiana at Wake Forest

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 Bonus: Season Predictions

Even though we have a unanimous AP #1 team this season, coming up with predictions for the final four in the CFP, as well as conference winners seems much more difficult than last year.

I don't have a lot of study in some of this, and a lot of it is just fan it a feeling.

B1G:  Ohio State over Wisconsin

The problem with the conference is that the East division is stacked, with Ohio State and the two Michigan schools.  I think that division will come down to Ohio State vs. Michigan State, but Michigan is going to be a wildcard in there as well.  It's hard to tell where that team is going to end up in the first year of Harbaugh.  Over in the West, it looks like it's bound to come down to Wisconsin or Nebraska, and for familiarity purposes, I'm taking Wisconsin.  Really, the West is stack in mediocrity.

Pac-12:  USC over Oregon

This conference could be a toss up.  I think UCLA could stay in the conversation for a while, as could the Arizona schools.  Oregon doesn't have a lot of competition in their own division, but as usual, they end up dropping an important game near the end of the year.

Big 12:  TCU

There are three teams to watch in the Big 12 -- TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma.  I think Oklahoma is still on the rebound (although they could be the surprise team).  Meanwhile, TCU is going to be more fired up after the end of last season, not only losing to Baylor, but losing out on the CFP.

SEC:  Georgia over LSU

Yes, I am taking the SEC East.  Overall, we're seeing the conference take a step back, and I think that means the West beating themselves up enough to allow the East to push through.  I'm not buying the Auburn or Texas A&M hype trains, and I don't think Alabama has enough to overcome their shortcoming last year.

ACC:  Virginia Tech over Clemson

This pick is hard, because I'm trying not to be a homer, and the Hokies do have quite a hurdle to clear right out the gate.  But I think we're back.  Georgia Tech is going to be tough, but they're losing a lot of pieces from last year (when they also got a lot of lucky breaks).  Same in the Atlantic with Florida State.  I don't think they reload as hefty this year.

Now, for the final four in the CFP, it's really hard, because I'm trying to take the orange and maroon glasses off.  There are several other factors to consider.  Will the committee feel bad about leaving the Big 12 out last year?  Is Notre Dame going to shoot up the polls and force two conferences to sit out?  If Ohio State and Virginia Tech both win out after Labor Day, could that lead to a potential rematch in the CFP?

My final four is Ohio State, TCU, USC, and Georgia.

But then, there's a voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering "2007, 2007."  Could we be seeing another roller coaster season?  The blogger in me sort of hopes so.

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #5: ACC vs. SEC Challenge

Every year, fans of the ACC like to keep track of how they do against the "mighty" SEC.  Usually, there are four rivalry games at the end of the season, but often, kickoff games and other home-and-home deals pop up to add a few games early in the season.

This year, we have 7 total matchups, so one conference will win the regular season.

September 3
North Carolina vs. South Carolina

September 5
Louisville vs. Auburn (Chick-fil-a Kickoff)

September 26
LSU at Syracuse

November 28
Louisville at Kentucky
Clemson at South Carolina
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Florida State at Florida

Friday, August 28, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #6: College Football TV Deals

The goal of this list is to provide a starting guide for where you might find your favorite team playing.  TV rights are all controlled by the conference of the home team.

ESPN refers to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 (online only), ESPNEWS, and ABC (if another network does not have regular broadcast channel rights).

Fox refers to Fox, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Fox Sports Net, and any other channel that might carry a Fox produced game.

There are three tiers of TV rights in college sports.  Here's a rough guideline of those tiers, as pulled from a 2012 Forbes article.

First-tier:  Rights holder has first choice, usually for broadcast television.
Second-tier:  Rights holder has second choice, usually for cable.
Third-tier:  Everything else, largely determined by the conference.

In this article, we're just looking at football rights.

Primary:  ESPN
Sub-licenses:  ACC Network (syndicated on local channels) and RSN (produced by Fox and usually found on regional sports channels on cable)

The ACC does not have a dedicated cable channel at this time.

Over the air primary:  CBS (first choice for 3:30 games, occasional primetime games)
Cable primary:  ESPN

The SEC Network is a dedicated cable channel co-owned by ESPN.  SEC home games cannot air on ABC.

The championship game is on CBS.

Big Ten
Primary:  Fox and ESPN

The Big Ten Network (BTN) is a dedicated cable channel co-owned by Fox.  The Big Ten has a stipulation in the contracts that basically says that all games have to be national.  That is why many 3:30 games are shown in a reverse mirror on ABC and ESPN or ESPN2.

The championship game is on Fox.

Primary:  Fox and ESPN
Each primary company gets 22 games a year, which allows the Pac-12 to maintain enough of their own library for the Pac-12 Network (the only conference network completely owned by the conference).

The championship game alternates between Fox (even years) and ESPN (odd years), always on a Friday night.

Big 12
Primary:  ESPN and Fox

ESPN gets 19 games, and Fox gets the rest.  Although, each school can maintain control of one of those games.  So, that's how the Longhorn Network can get a football game.

In all honestly, the Big 12 does have the best explanation of television rights out of any of the conferences.

Notre Dame
All home games are on NBC.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #7: Looking Forward to the Pac-12

Could the Pac-12 become the new SEC?  As college football begins to cycle around again, some think that the West Coast could start dominating again.

As usual, Power 5 non-conference games catch our eyes the quickest.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #8: Looking Forward to the Big 12

We already started going through the Power 5 conferences, picking which single game from each team intrigued us the most.  We continue during the "official" countdown to kickoff with the Big 12.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #9: ACC Wheel of Destiny

So here's a futile effort, but it's 9 days to kickoff, and we need something to talk about.

How do we think the ACC will shake out?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Countdown to Kickoff 2015 #10: Offseason recap

In just 10 days, we'll have college football back on our TV screens.  So, to get everyone ready for the season, we have at least one new post every day until kickoff!

To start off, let's take a look at what has transpired in this offseason.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tony's Predictions: Last 2015 Look-Ahead

Hopefully my "2015 Look-Ahead" posts brought some thought and anticipation to the upcoming season.  With just 16 days to go until the first FBS Games, it's time to indulge in everyone's favorite look-ahead: the predictions!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 Look-Ahead: Finding the Surprises

With 3 and a half weeks to go before college football kicks off (2 and a half if you count the FCS Kickoff), our wait is just about over!  The Coaches Poll is out; the AP Poll isn't far behind; ESPN and Phil Steele have their lists as well.  But just how will things shake out in 2015?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Looking forward to 2015: SEC

This year could be an interesting one for the SEC, as the luster of the past decade seems to finally be wearing off.

Here are the games that are most intriguing to us.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Evaluating the ACC's non-conference schedules

I was contemplating doing a write up about non-conference schedules, and how various teams did in their scheduling, but then Andy Bitter at the Roanoke Times did a much better job than I could.

So I decided to look at last year's schedule.  How do the schedules look after the fact?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015 Look-Ahead: Group of Five Contenders

After a pair of posts focusing on Power Conference teams switching in and out of bowl eligibility, I thought I'd show some love to the Group of Five teams.  With a spot in the New Year's Six guaranteed each year (unlike the BCS, which had a conditional spot), the race among the G5 conferences is more interesting than ever!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

National Champions: How they fared previously

As we go through the rough patches of the offseason, we're starting to see lists of "dark horse" candidates for national champions.  Well, let's take a look at teams from the last 9 seasons and see how the participants of the national championship game fared the season prior.  I set the cutoff at 9, because that's when the BCS expanded to 5 games.  To even it out with the new playoff system, I will also look at the BCS teams ranked #3 and 4 going into the bowls.

If there are wins vacated, I don't acknowledge that, because it doesn't affect this exercise.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Virginia Tech's kick return woes of 2014

With a 6-6 regular season record, there was obviously a lot wrong with Virginia Tech last season.  The high of beating Ohio State in their own stadium is tempered by, well, almost every other game.

One area of weakness that stands out from the season was the poor field position resulting from kick returns.  I decided to take a look at the stats to see if I had been leveling fair criticisms at the kick returners.  I pulled the kickoff data from the game stats from, which includes a summary of every single play in every single game.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Mega Conference Realignment of 2010-2015 is finally over

When Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten in 2010, it started a chain of dominoes that has finally finished falling. has the full list of 2015 conference changes.  Really, the last big move due to the realignment is Navy finally joining a conference (American, formerly the Big East).  The other moves are all also in the Group of 5 realm, and mostly deal with schools that have just made the jump to FBS.

Of course, we've had a scorecard of the complete realignment here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 Look-Ahead: Heading Back Home (P5 Teams)

Two weeks ago, I took a look back at how in each of the last five years, a handful of teams from the five power conferences became bowl-eligible after failing to do so the previous year. This time around, I'm going to look at things from the other approach: teams missing out on bowl eligibilty despite making it to that mark the previous year.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Looking forward to 2015: B1G

Tony and I collaborated to bring you this look at the 2015 season for the B1G.  Since VT plays two teams from this conference, I thought I had a decent enough head start.  I tried to just look down each's teams schedules and find a game that popped out, but for some teams, it was harder with limited knowledge of their standing in the conference.

Indiana - It could be a battle for the bottom of the division against Rutgers, as both teams figure to contend for bowl eligibility.  This mid-season matchup could be the one that makes or breaks that goal. The Hoosiers have been lauded for their offense, and it will take winning the mid-tier games like this in order to truly grow as a program. 

Rutgers at Indiana, October 17.

Maryland - The Big Ten team formerly of the ACC will go to play a Big 12 team, formerly of the Big East.  It looks like it'll be two middle of the road teams in either conference, but it's a decent out of conference scheduling attempt.

Maryland at West Virginia, September 26.

Michigan - Big Blue has a decent nonconference schedule, and a brand new head coach.  But there's too much uncertainty to know if we'll be getting a Michigan team that returns to form.  So, we'll take the cop-out and say Ohio State.  Harbaugh vs Meyer, Round 1.  And with the Buckeyes coming off a potentially huge matchup against the Spartans, this edition of "The Game" could become a classic in the making.

Michigan at Ohio State, November 28.

Michigan State - They get a rematch in week 2 against the team that knocked them out of national title contention.  A battle of all green!

Oregon at Michigan State, September 12.

Ohio State - As a Hokie fan, this one's easy.

Ohio State at Virginia Tech, September 7.

Penn State - While Ohio State could be a huge game nationally, it'll be the game against Rutgers that shows just how far Penn State has come since their squeaker of a win last year.  Winning's one thing; can the Nittany Lions win impressively?

Penn State at Rutgers, September 19.

Rutgers - Ditto.  This should be a great revenge game, after coming oh-so-close last year.  It's early, too, which could help Rutgers in pulling the upset. Another close game could really help fuel this border state series into the makings of a rivalry.

Penn State at Rutgers, September 19.

Illinois - The Illini made strides last year, until ultimately falling in their bowl game to Louisiana Tech from C-USA.  This matchup with UNC is the nonconference game that will tell Illinois just where they stand in 2015, and should go a long way in determining the "ACC-Big Ten Football Challenge" winner.

Illinois at UNC, September 19.

Iowa - The last 2 times Iowa and Pitt have played, Iowa overcame multi-score defecits to pull off the win.  I would love to see Pitt turn it around, especially with Pat Narduzzi around (who had done briliantly on defense against Iowa the last couple times as Michigan State's DC) .

Pitt at Iowa, September 19.

Minnesota - The Gophers are usually the forgotten team of the B1G.  But they do manage to cause a bit of a splash by hosting TCU on the first Thursday of the season.

TCU at Minnesota, September 3.

Nebraska - The Cornhuskers have a nice week three non-conference matchup against the U.  While it might lack the luster that such a meeting would have provided even ten years ago, it is nice to see a home and home series between two Power 5 teams.

Nebraska at Miami, September 19.

Northwestern - It was a toss up between Stanford and Duke, but Tony thinks that Duke and NW are more evenly matched, and will need a win more from this game.

Northwestern at Duke, September 19.

Purdue - The only reason this team has any bright spot on this schedule is that they're playing our home team.  Go Hokies.

Virginia Tech at Purdue, September 19.

Wisconsin - The team that Ohio State beat to get to the CFP faces off against the team that lost to them in the first round.  This will be the prime primetime game on the first Saturday.

Wisconsin vs. Alabama at AT&T Stadium, September 5.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 Look-Ahead: Back to a Bowl (Power 5 Edition)

When predicting bowl matchups, I’ve seen instances where the teams from the previous year were simply copied, pasted, and shuffled to be consistent with preseason rankings. And often with rational explanations. But looking through some recent history, I cannot agree with an approach that simple. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

What if? An 8 team CFP

Now that we have a Playoff in college football, what is left for fans to lament?

Well, the big issue now is the number of teams in the CFP.  The next logical expansion would be 6 or 8 teams.  The only difference in the two scenarios is that the #1 and #2 teams would get a bye in round one.  Of course, the caveat is that maybe the rankings would be slightly different if the committee was seeding for 8.

Round One
#1 Alabama (SEC, 12-1) vs. #8 Michigan State (B1G, 10-2)
#2 Oregon (Pac-12, 12-1) vs. #7 Mississippi State (SEC, 10-2)
#3 Florida State (ACC, 13-0) vs. #6 TCU (Big 12, 11-1)
#4 Ohio State (B1G, 12-1) vs. #5 Baylor (Big 12, 11-1)

That gives us 2 teams each from the SEC, Big 12, and B1G; with one team each from the Pac-12 and ACC.

Round Two
Alabama/Michigan State vs. Ohio State/Baylor
Oregon/Mississippi State vs. Florida State/TCU

Maybe the Playoff would have ended the same way.  At the very least, we would have had four more games to watch.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Looking forward to 2015: ACC

We're in the part of the offseason where everyone is making lists, including "the 10 biggest games of the season".  Instead of following that trend, we're looking at the one game from each team that we're most looking forward to.  Now, some of these could be due to potential title implications, and some could just be due to intriguing matchups or locations.

First up, the Atlantic Coast Conference.  I'm trying my best to not just pick the VT game for every team, but in some cases, it really is the most intriguing game on a schedule (to me).

Duke - This one is a toss up between the two Techs.  While Duke plays GT earlier in the season as the conference opener, I'm going to lean towards the VT matchup in October.  Duke should go 3-1 at worst in non-conference games, and GT is always a toss up because of their own system.  I think the Duke at VT game will let us know what kind of shot Duke has at contending for the division title.

Duke at Virginia Tech, October 24.

Georgia Tech - While I'm interested to see if GT can repeat against in-state rival Georgia, I really want to see Bud Foster's defense wipe that smug look off of Coach Chinball's face.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, November 12.

Miami - The U has a nice week three non-conference matchup against Nebraska.  While it might lack the luster that such a meeting would have provided even ten years ago, it is nice to see a home and home series between two Power 5 teams.

Nebraska at Miami, September 19.

UNC - The season opener against South Carolina is the biggest marquee game that the Tar Heels have this year.  At best, I think UNC will be a minor annoyance to the contenders of the Coastal, being right on the edge of contention until November.

North Carolina vs South Carolina in Charlotte, September 3.

Pitt - As a Hokie fan, I can't stand Pitt.  They've been a thorn in our side for far too long, and there's really only two games on their schedule that stand out to me:  VT and Notre Dame.  As a VT fan, I'm leaning towards that game, since I know I'll actually be making an attempt to watch it.

Pitt at Virginia Tech, October 3.

UVA - As much as this team sucks, they really do try when it comes to scheduling.  Unfortunately for them, they got overconfident and just cannot survive the murderer's row of non-conference games that they have set up in recent years.  The ACC deal with Notre Dame isn't helping them this year either.  Their matchup with Boise State might have been interesting about three years ago.  They do have a season opening rematch against UCLA, which was a closer game last year than it had any right being.  While I should probably put the season finale on the list, I will admit to checking out the UCLA game to get a feel for this year's team.

UVA at UCLA, September 5.

Virginia Tech - This one is the easiest on the list.  The Labor Day opener against Ohio State is easily the biggest ticket in Lane Stadium in at least a decade.  The only matchups that come close are the 2003 and 2005 contests with Miami.

Ohio State at Virginia Tech, September 7.

Boston College - They play a game in a baseball stadium this year.  That sounds like fun.

Boston College vs. Notre Dame at Fenway Park, November 21.

Clemson - It's the game that has broken the Tigers' season the last two or three years, but this year could turn the tide.  An added bonus is that it's later in the season, so it might keep the Atlantic interesting a little longer.

Florida State at Clemson, November 7.

Florida State - The Seminoles have a few interesting quirks in their schedule.  Their week 2 game against USF kicks off at 11:30 am on ESPN (shortening Gameday).  Later on in the season, they scheduled NC State for homecoming in November.  Really?  A late homecoming against the one divisional team that gives you the most fits?  NC State may or may not be good in any given season, or any given game.  But the one constant is that they do not play by the script, and do not make for a good homecoming opponent.  If you're going to wait until November for homecoming, why not just wait an extra week when you play Chattanooga as your cupcake before the rival finale?  Still, I think I'm going with the Louisville game, as it could be a passing of the torch in the Atlantic.

Louisville at Florida State, October 17.

Louisville - I'm going with easily the best non-conference game on their schedule.

Louisville vs. Auburn at the Georgia Dome, September 5.

NC State - Like I said in the FSU writeup, NC State is a pain in the ass for the ACC.  They always seem to play FSU a lot closer than paper would indicate.  And this year, FSU decided to make the Wolfpack the homecoming foe?  With FSU on a possible decline, this could make for an interesting late season game.

NC State at Florida State, November 14.

Syracuse - They play LSU?  I wonder when this deal was made.

LSU at Syracuse, September 26.

Wake Forest - Last year, WF's only claim to mediocrity was winning an overtime game that ended regulation in a 0-0 tie.  Since that game isn't being rematched this year, there's no conference game that jumps out.  The only team that is keeping Wake Forest's non-conference slate from the absolute bottom of the dogheap is Notre Dame, but even that was forced upon them by the conference.  The rest of the slate includes Elon (obligatory FCS), and perennial bottom feeders of Army and Indiana.  I can't even pick a game in good conscious here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In honor of the NFL's new extra point rules...

Now that the defense can score on extra points in the NFL, here's a video of what could be an unintended consequence, courtesy of Oregon, Kansas State, the Fiesta Bowl, and Ron Cherry.

To recap, the scoring team (in this clip, Oregon) lined up for an extra point attempt.  The kick was blocked and recovered by the defense (K-State), who then ran backwards into their own endzone, and then got tackled by the kicking team.  Therefore, the kicking team got 1 point.

Friday, May 1, 2015

College Football Hypotheticals

May 9 marks the midpoint between the 2014 season’s Championship Game and the 2015 season’s kickoff.  And with the offseason in full swing, I thought I’d take a look at some hypotheticals that have been discussed throughout the college football community.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is Friday the new Thursday?

Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in Friday night games.  Just a few years ago, this was seen as a “mid-major” night, given the nature of Friday night to carry some of the lowest ratings on TV. Thursday nights, however, has been seen since the mid-late 90’s as a College Football equivalent of “Monday Night Football” – a prime non-Saturday game of the week – and has been filled much more often by major conference teams.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Conference Championship Games: Battle of the “Best”?

With the Big 12 Commissioner’s statements about Conference Championship Game (CCG) deregulation, fan discussions have started once again regarding how these championship games ought to be.

What if the ACC had three divisions?

“I think there’s some belief that ACC would play three divisions, have two highest-ranked play in postseason.” --Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Commissioner and chairman of the new NCAA Football Oversight Committee.

I shouldn't even give this topic a lot of thought, since it's just a theory proposed by the commissioner of another conference.  Especially when said commissioner didn't have the guts to declare a clear cut champion in his conference immediately after implementing the slogan of "One True Champion."

The biggest problem the ACC has faced with their championship game is that usually one division is stronger than the other in any given year.  Most often, the top two teams in the conference are in the same division.  For the last couple of years, it's been Florida State and Clemson.  Before that, it was often Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

The other problem that the conference would face would be the game of hot potato that one division (usually the Coastal) likes to play with the divisional championship.

Trying to implement 3 divisions would be tricky, especially in a 14 team conference.  Is the ACC trying to force Notre Dame into full time membership, or are they looking at another school to get to 15?

So, let's see who would have been in the ACC Championship game over the last two seasons with this three division mess.  For the purposes of this exercise, we're going to go with the actual conference records, even though they probably wouldn't be playing the exact same teams.  (And as usual, only conference records matter in these scenarios.)

Let's try a mostly geographic breakdown.

North - BC, Syracuse, Pitt, VT, UVA
North Carolina - UNC, NC State, Duke, WF
South - FSU, Miami, GT, Clemson, Louisville

In 2013, the division champs would be Virginia Tech (5-3), Duke (6-2), and Florida State (8-0).  The top two would give us Duke vs. Florida State, which is what we got.  In both scenarios, Clemson (7-1) gets left out.

In 2014, we would get Pitt (4-4, plus head-to-head over BC), Duke (5-3), and Florida State (8-0).  The top two would again be Duke vs. Florida State.  The real life game was FSU vs. Georgia Tech (6-2).  Once more, Clemson (6-2) gets left out in both scenarios, although it.

However, knowing what we know about the ACC, they would never go for this sort of alignment.  After all, they put Florida State and Miami in opposite divisions expecting them to battle for the conference championship every year.  They want to come up with some alternative to get Florida State playing Clemson for the championship currently.

Basically, FSU, Clemson, and Miami would be in separate divisions, because the ACC wants a combination of those three teams in the title game.

Seminole Division - FSU, NC State, Louisville, Pitt
Hurricane Division - Miami, UNC, BC, VT, UVA
Tiger Division - Clemson, GT, Duke, Wake Forest, Syracuse

(For the record, I don't endorse this as a real divisional plan for the ACC.  I just needed something that divided the teams that made some bit of sense other than geography.)

2013 would have given us Florida State (8-0), Virginia Tech (5-3, plus head-to-head over Miami), and Clemson (7-1).  This would finally give us the FSU vs. Clemson match-up, and would actually be the top two teams in the conference.

2014 would have had Florida State (8-0), either UNC or Boston College (4-4, no head-to-head), and Georgia Tech (6-2, plus head-to-head over Clemson).  Again, we would have gotten the FSU/GT game.

Let's take it further back.  We'll go to 2012 with the non-geographic divisions, but with some tweaking to account for only the 12 team league we had back then.

Seminole Division - FSU, NC State, Maryland, UNC
Hurricane Division - Miami, BC, VT, UVA
Tiger Division - Clemson, GT, Duke, Wake Forest

We would have Florida State (7-1), Miami (5-3), and Clemson (7-1). Again, we get the FSU/Clemson match up that was so desired.  The real life game was FSU vs. GT, partly due to sanctions on Miami and UNC.

Of course, these examples aren't perfect because changing the divisions would change the makeup of the schedule.  Overall, it just looks like needlessly overcomplicating what should be a simple procedure.

Friday, January 23, 2015

What if the ACC abolished divisions?

Now that we finally have a playoff system, one of the more heated debates in college football now is the determination of a conference champion.  While the Big 12 is trying to change the 12 team requirement for a championship game (even though they play 9 conference games and a full round robin schedule), the ACC has floated the idea of doing away with divisions and just picking the "best two teams" in the conference.

A problem that faces the ACC is that most teams in one division rarely ever play a team from the opposite division.  With only 8 conference games, and 7 teams in either division, there is only two non-division spots left on the schedule.  Since the ACC has yet to abolish the permanent crossover rival, there is only one rotating spot in the schedule that allows a Coastal team to face off against an Atlantic foe.  It is literally impossible for a student-athlete in the ACC to face every single team during their eligibility.  (Technically, it could be done with the conference championship game, but it's highly unlikely.)

Obviously, the biggest obstacle to just getting rid of divisions are the rivalry games.  While it's easy to say, just rotate among the other 13 teams, there are some games that need to be played every year.  Therefore, some pairings should be protected.

The simplest scenario would be for each team to have 3 protected rivalries, leaving 5 rotating spots.  This would ensure playing every team in the conference in a home and away series in any given four year span.

We tried working with 2 or 4 protected games, but the math for the rotating spots was starting to get messy.

Below is a chart of teams that we think would work out.  Some matchups were easy to determine (Virginia Tech/UVA, Miami/Florida State, the 3 main North Carolina schools).  A few teams got thrown together because none were left.  And there are a few matchups that are just hypothetical possibilities, often based on geography.  We decided that if all else were equal, a school would prefer to play the closest teams on a yearly basis to conserve their travel budget.

Teams in bold are the ones that we feel would be locks.  All other teams are our own conjecture.

Boston College -- Syracuse, Pitt, Wake Forest
Clemson -- Georgia Tech, Florida State, NC State
Duke -- UNC, Wake Forest, NC State
Florida State -- Miami, Clemson, Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech -- Clemson, UVA, Florida State
Louisville -- Pitt, Miami, Virginia Tech
Miami -- Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville
UNC -- Duke, UVA, NC State
NC State -- Duke, Clemson, UNC
Pitt -- Louisville, Boston College, Syracuse
Syracuse -- Boston College, Wake Forest, Pitt
UVA -- Virginia Tech, UNC, Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech -- UVA, Miami, Louisville
Wake Forest -- Syracuse, Duke, Boston College

Since Louisville is so new to the conference (and doesn't even have history with the teams that left the Big East in the first expansion), they were the hardest to pick.  Wake Forest was also difficult, because outside of Duke, they just don't seem to have any preferred rivals.

BC, Syracuse, and Pitt would most likely prefer staying up in the north against each other.

It might seem as a surprise to not protect the Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech rivalry, but honestly, I think Bud Foster would prefer it this way.  As intense as that game gets, I don't think either side would mind dropping down to only half as often.  For VT fans, it would be a welcome trade to get a chance to play Clemson and Florida State on a more regular basis.

Personally, I like the idea of divisions.  There is less ambiguity in the standings.  You know that the two teams in the championship game have played all other 12 teams between the two of them.  Without divisions, it's possible that the top two teams might not have played two or three teams at all.

That being said, I still would like to see the divisions tweaked.  Not a straight geographic split, as that would just give us Old Big East vs. Old ACC, and no one wants that.  Shift a couple of teams around and get rid of the permanent crossover, to allow for 2 rotating spots a year.