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.