We’ve reached championship week and can now look back at the regular season. Enough teams have qualified for the bowls so no teams with losing records get in this year. My preseason Group of Five divisional picks went 2 out of 8. Not great, but I’m in good shape to have the Sun Belt co-champs picked accurately. In the Power Five conferences, I went 8 out of 10. My only misses were Alabama and FSU. The playoff picture is simple for several teams and I think the cut off for potential players sits with the top seven in the mix for the four spots.
Check back next week as we will attempt to get the season wrap up and bowl podcasts up.
It’s hard to imagine a healthy Auburn losing this weekend. But how healthy are they? Oklahoma will probably win the whole thing if they can get by TCU. We find out about Wisconsin finally. USC should win their rematch with Stanford. And I picked the U preseason, so I will stubbornly stick with Miami over Clemson.
The Vegas 5 went 4-1 last week bringing my regular season to 38-25-2. Against The Spread for Top 25/SEC I’m at 171-121.
The Vegas 5 this week sees me taking Georgia St (-5.5) to send Idaho back to FCS with a loss. I’ll take Fresno St (+8.5) against Boise St. They played last week and the MWC rules hosed Fresno St. They should be hosting this game, but instead have to play on blue turf. Sounds like motivation to me. I’ll go with the Over (51.5) in the Ohio St v Wisconsin game. I like the Under (64) for FSU and La Monroe. And Auburn (-2) should cover against Georgia.
Who’d you take?
We’ve reached the end. This is the last week of the regular season and when the bulk of the instate rivalries are played. The helmets lined up across from one another this week exemplify everything there is about family gatherings and fellowship. Or maybe not.
The bitterness of the Egg Bowl kicks off the excitement. While Miss St should win, Ole Miss has been getting solid play at the QB position. Only the die hard fans will watch FSU play Florida. The Noles should have the edge, but who knows this year? A sneaky good match up will be Virginia and Virginia Tech. Louisville and Kentucky go at it again and I wonder if the Cats can slow down Lamar Jackson. The reigning Heisman winner is having an amazing season that very few seem to be paying attention to since the rest of the team is down. Indiana at Purdue could provide some sneaky fireworks as well with the game picked with just a FG difference. Battles in Tennessee, North Carolina and Nevada will be for pure bragging rights while Fresno St and Boise St will meet in back to back weeks. It’s next week that counts.
Now onto those crazy instate games that mean everything (and one border war). The Apple Cup decides the PAC12 North. Washington can play the spoiler and send Stanford to the game against USC. I’m putting Clemson on upset alert at South Carolina. Ohio State travels north to take on Michigan. While the B1G title game is set, this is a must win for the Buckeyes if they want to sneak into the playoffs in case of chaos. Same for Georgia going to Tech. They don’t need chaos, but they have to win. USF and UCF battle for the middle of Florida and the winner takes on Memphis for the chance to go to a New Years Six bowl. UCF just looks too strong. Alabama travels to the Plains to meet Auburn to decide the SEC West. It will be a classic.
I took a bath last week and went 1-4 in the Vegas 5. Thank you LSU for saving me. I go into the last week of the regular season at 34-24-2. Against The Spread in Top 25/SEC I sit at 157-112.
The Vegas 5 this week is very tricky. Rivalries and finales are tough to predict as this is the week that some guys play for the last time ever. I’ll take Pitt (+13.5) as they host Miami. The Canes play dangerously at times. South Carolina (+14) will keep close when Clemson visits. I want the Over (47.5) in the Apple Cup when Washington and Washington St tangle. I’m going Under (74.5) when Arizona meets Arizona St. That’s a lot of points in a rivalry game. And Oregon (-25) covers when they host Oregon St in the Civil War.
Who are you taking?
With only a handful of matchups between teams with winning records, welcome to the most boring weekend of the season. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good games, but nothing like we’ve grown accustom to. As for me, I’ll be at Senior Day in Tuscaloosa. I love Senior Day.
Much was decided last week for divisional champions. Dreams were dashed, potential was realized, and Houdiniesque escapes were performed. A reminder that before you call your local sports radio guy to complain about rankings or schedule strength of whatever team you don’t like, the season will be viewed as a whole and divisions and conferences are not won by votes but by execution on the field of play. Once the complete picture is there, let the complaining over who the fourth best team in the country begin. As far as playoff expansion, that’s for fans whose teams can’t win the right games. If my favorite team falls short, then maybe we should’ve worked harder. Of course, I can come up with a dozen reasons to justify why Team A should be in over Team B, but the answer is simple and was said best by Al Davis. Just win, baby.
I’ve been enjoying the #MACtion during the week. Exciting and cold games on every night. USC and UCLA tangle for the Victory Bell and lately both have worn home uniforms. Michigan is much improved on offense and controls its destiny in the B1G East. I don’t think they get it done against Wisconsin this week, though. UAB is going bowling in their first year back and my Music City Bowl tickets have shipped (come on Michigan v Texas A&M).
Last week I should’ve been in Vegas as I went a perfect 5-0. I now sit at 33-20-2. Against The Spread for Top 25 and SEC I move to 145-98 on the season. I warn you though, my bowl records lately have been abysmal. I promise to foresee the outcomes better this year.
This week I’m taking UAB (+10.5) against Florida; moreover, I’m tempted to take them on the money line. LSU (-15.5) should cover against Tennessee. I like the Over (41) in Fresno St at Wyoming. South Alabama (-5) over Georgia Southern. What has happened to the Eagles? And, Syracuse (+13) against Louisville.
Who did you pick?
The conference pictures became very clear last weekend. Upsets notwithstanding and barring absolute chaos, the divisional races are now down to a few teams. Bedlam broke out into a basketball game and Iowa continue showing no fear to highly ranked teams in their house. There’s still a lot of exciting football to be played. Oh, and this playoff committee seems to be reasonable and fair. What kind of world do we live in?
Three, yes, three Top 10 matchups this weekend. TCU travels to Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs actually play defense, so this could be a test for the Sooners. Georgia and Auburn play in one of the greatest rivalries in all of college football. A Georgia win coupled with Alabama taking care of Miss St (and those annoying cowbells) would send the Tide to Atlanta. Again. And, Notre Dame visits the U. The Irish and Hurricanes are putting on one of those helmet games I spoke to a few weeks ago. Those logos side by side should pump up every fan regardless if you like either team or not. Let’s just hope there’s not a rumble in the tunnel this year.
Only one team in the SEC has no shot at a bowl and that’s due to sanctions. Otherwise, in the second week of November, they all have a shot. While the league is not a strong as it was, it’s still pretty strong. The B1G is beating each other up and I’m in the camp that thinks an undefeated Wisconsin gets into the playoffs. PAC12 after dark continues to reward those who don’t fall asleep on their couch. This will be an entertaining month for sure.
Last week the Vegas 5 went 3-2. That puts me at 28-20-2. I’m 132-90 in Top25 and SEC Against The Spread.
This week the Vegas 5 likes South Carolina (-7.5) against the woeful Florida Gators. I’ll take the Over (46) in the Iowa at Wisconsin game and the Over (62) when Oklahoma St travels to Iowa St. I like Rutgers (+31) at Penn St, cause that’s a lot of points. And, West Virginia (+2.5) against Kansas St.
Who do you have?
The first College Football Playoff poll is out, and I can’t really argue with the rankings. The last week of October provided some exciting games that will help decide the regular season. Plus, we now have the joy that is #MACtion. Instead of focusing space in this blog to what has happened, I’d like to speak to the importance of what is about to happen.
This first weekend in November may be the biggest weekend of the season. Multiple division races will start to become solidified after Saturday. Virginia Tech @ Miami (Fla), Clemson @ NC St, LSU @ Alabama, Stanford @ Washington St, South Carolina @ Georgia, Arizona @ USC and a little game called Bedlam. There are no divisions in the BIG 12, but Oklahoma @ Oklahoma St will go a long way to determine who will go to the new championship game, even if it only opens up tie breaker scenarios. By the way, the Sooners usually win this game when it counts. It’s a whole weekend of ESPN College Gameday-worthy matchups.
While October serves as a month of separation, November is where the season is decided. In the next four weeks, the championship games of December will find their teams and hot seats explode. Some teams couldn’t wait and already made their firings, but the bulk comes now. Jobs will be saved and lost in the next few weeks.
I broke even on the week. 2-2-1 in my Vegas 5 brings me to 25-18-2. Against The Spread in Top 25 and SEC games I’m now 121-79.
This week I’m going with Syracuse (+5) @ Florida St. I was in shock watching the Seminoles last week. It looked like they’ve quit. Northwestern (Even) @ Nebraska has me picking the Wildcats. I think Coach Riley will retire at the end of the season and the Cornhuskers will be in the market for a new coach. Fresno St (-14.5) will bounce back against BYU. I’ll take Southern Miss (+6.5) @ Tennessee. I never thought I’d type that sentence. And I’ll go with the Over (41) in the Minnesota @ Michigan game. Michigan may have an adequate quarterback now.
Who’d you take?