ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Friday, December 5, 2014

Games to Watch this Weekend 14.14

It all comes down to Iowa State and Georgia Tech just like the 1972 Liberty Bowl, right?
It's Conference Championship Week!  Except for you Big12, you don't have enough friends.  It's amazing how the move from the BCS to the Playoff changed the conversation.  Last year there were four BCS bowls which means we were anxiously waiting to find out what eight teams would be playing in the premier bowls.  Even conferences historically void of media attention for unclear reasons Big East/American got some press this week in years past.  Now though, it's all about the Top 4.  All four of the Playoff Committee's Top 4 are playing this weekend so there are a few chances for upsets thus resulting in all hell breaking loose.

Let's see what games are coming up and then I'll predict how different outcomes might impact those Top 4 standings.

Friday
9pm
  • #7 Arizona at #2 Oregon - (FOX) The Wildcats gave the Ducks their only loss on the season and if they do it again on Friday night your favorite college football talking head will explode with storylines and what-ifs.  Poor College Football Talking heads... us fans feel just awful for you, having to speculate out loud sometimes on camera for lots of money and access.  This game boils down to Scooby Wright vs. Marcus Mariota.  Mariota, you've probably heard of, is Oregon's QB and almost a lock for the Heisman at this point with only Scooby Wright the Arizona LB to stand in his way.  Scooby is a one man wrecking crew and might be the best defensive player in the Pac12 Conference.  Look at his stats:  Scooby is 3rd Nationally in Tackles and 3rd Nationally in Sacks.  I don't think Oregon will lose to Arizona again but I don't think it will be a blowout either.  Oregon wins 31-23  
Saturday
Noon
  • Iowa State at #3 TCU - (ABC) Iowa State should by no means be even close in this game.  Both teams are going to be so jacked up I could see them making some mistakes early which if they happen to bounce ISU's way this game could be closer than we think but I'd be really surprised if this game is within 10 points in the final quarter.  ISU is 93rd nationally in points scored and 115th in points given up.  TCU on the other hand is 3rd in points for and 26th in points against.  Trevon Boykin, TCU's QB is probably 4th in Heisman race if you were to ask me.  He is a dynamic QB who transitioned from WR and has really added a new dimension to a team that used to rely on lock down defense in a conference that didn't really believe in such a concept.  The Horned Frogs are going to win big.  TCU 58-ISU 17
Trevon Boykin makes defenses look silly 
4pm
  • #1 Alabama vs. #16 Mizzou - (CBS)  Mizzou has a very good DLine which I think it going to give Alabama more trouble than people expect.  Alabama's QB Blake Sims has been ok this year but hasn't faced a ton of pressure and Mizzou can bring it from all angles.  Tigers DE Shane Ray is one of the nation's leaders in sacks and figures to be a top draft pick this year.  While tossing jump balls to Amari Cooper, SKOHRboard's #2 in Heisman Race, isn't a terrible idea I have to believe that somebody on Mizzou's defensive staff thought they should put a Safety deep to cover Centerfield when that happens.  No I don't think the Zzou wins but I do think this is a really fun game to watch that will be close until the final minutes.  Alabama wins 24-20
7:45pm
  • #9 Kansas State at #6 Baylor - (ESPN) This game is really for second place in the Big12 if you ask me, and by reading this blog you basically are asking me so there you have it.  KSU's QB Jake Waters was probably the biggest surprise at QB for me this season.  He looks fantastic and will create problems for Baylor's defense even though that is not unique.  Baylor's entire strategy is to score far far more points than their opponents can, which they've done well considering that they've scored more points than anyone else this season.  Great players to watch in this game by the way.  When KSU has the ball look for QB Jake Waters, WR Tyler Lockett, and Baylor's DE Shawn Oakman.  When Baylor has the ball watch out for QB Bryce Petty who is playing with a broken back, WRs Antwan Goodley, Corey Coleman and Freshmen KD Cannon, along with KSU's great team defense.   Kansas State wins 42-40.  I want to elaborate a little on Baylor though.  Baylor should not be rewarded for scheduling probably the weakest out of conference opponents possible and backing their way into the Playoff.  The Playoff was created to foster a better fan experience and rewarding a team with a great record by way of playing lower tier schools is not a better fan experience.  I hope the Committee considers this and puts them somewhere around #20 if they lose to Kansas State.  Seriously let's look at the top teams in the Big12 and who they played out of conference.  
    • TCU played Samford, SKOHRboard #20 Minnesota, SMU
    • Baylor played SMU, Northwestern State, University of Buffalo
    • Kansas State played SF Austin, SKOHRboard #16 Auburn, UTEP
    • Oklahoma played Luisiana Tech, Tulsa, and Tennessee
    • West Virginia played SKOHRboard #1 Alabama, Towson, Maryland
8pm
  • #4 Florida State vs. #11 Georgia Tech - (ABC) Florida State is clearly the most lucky team in College Football this year.  Nobody denies this.  Georgia Tech plays Naval Academy brand football.  Ugh.  This game is the worst.  I don't like Georgia Tech because they are annoying and I don't like Florida State because they are so obviously doing everything they can to keep Jamies Winston out of trouble long enough to get into that Playoff, it just stinks.  Florida State is loaded with talented football players and Georgia Tech is not.  I have no idea what to make of this game.  Florida State is bound to lose one of these games where they play sloppy and get behind until their talent just outlasts the other teams' luck and I'm wondering if GT's drastically different style of play can help them hold out longer and eventually win the game.  One thing their run heavy offense does is keep the clock ticking which means many fewer plays for FSU and thus fewer opportunities for those long TDs they've really relied on this year.  Let's go upset because I don't want to see Winston getting any more attention.  GT wins 28-23
8:17pm
  • #13 Wisconsin vs. #5 Ohio State - (FOX) The story of this game has been repeated breathlessly as Ohio State undereducated 3rd String QB takes the reins of Urban Meyers evil empire after the loss of 2nd String QB and newcomer of the year JT Barrett broke his ankle in the Michigan game last weekend.  I say undereducated because of the tweet below this paragraph.  Here is a man committed to the Buckeye way.  Be proud Ohio.  Wisconsin has the best defense in the Big10 and the best Runningback in the country still walking on both legs.  Ohio State has more talent at every position than the Badgers.  Can the team with superior athletic talent and a domineering coach win the day with his 3rd string dummy QB?  Or will Wisconsin play more mistake free and pound the rock thus keeping the ball out of Ohio's hands thereby diminishing their ability to run up the score?  Should be fun to watch.  I think Ohio State is the better team and would win more games if this was a series but it's not and given their up and down season, the 3rd string QB making his first start, and the tragic loss of a teammate last week I'd be surprised if they were able to mentally cope with the constant pounding of Melvin Gordon and the Badgers suffocating defense.  Wisconsin wins 35-31.
Cardale Jones, going places with an Ohio State degree.
Sunday
1pm
  • Indianapolis at Cleveland - (CBS)  The Browns say they are starting Hoyer but I have to wonder how many bad plays away are we from seeing the start of the Manziel era in Cleveland?  They are at the top of the division right now and can't afford to blow even a single game due to stubbornness.  Meanwhile Andrew Luck absolutely destroyed the Redskins last week.  They had something ridiculous like 6 TDs of 30 yards or longer.  Why isn't there relegation in the NFL?  Indy wins 37-28
4pm
  • Seattle at Philadelphia - (FOX)  The Eagles rebounded tremendously well after getting shellacked against Green Bay as they turned up the heat on Dallas and lambasted a team too immature to withstand any controversy whatsoever.  Did you see the Cowboys screaming and yelling at each other despite dominating the Bears last night?  Goodness the Bears and Redskins are awful and the Cowboys are embarrassing to watch.  It's like Jerry Springer not Jerry Jones runs that organization.  I should tweet that.  Probably get like a million retweets then I'd retire on all that internet money.  Back to the Bird Game.  Seattle seems to have gotten it's mojo back which happens to coincide with some of their star defensive players from last year including LB Bobby Wagner who was picked one spot after the Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks.  I wonder if they ever talk about that?  Lot of really good LBs in the 2012 draft actually; Luke Kuechly, Melvin Ingram, Dont'a Hightower, Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, Zach Brown, and Lavonte David were all taken in the first two rounds that year.  Seriously though what to make of this game?  I feel like it will come down to the running games of both teams.  Seattle's passing game isn't great and Philly's passing attack seems like it could be mitigated by the very good DB play of Seattle.  If McCoy or Lynch can shake free their team will win.  Unfortunately I feel like Lynch and their running game will fair better against the Eagles 3rd string LBs than McCoy will against a just recently healthy Seahawk LB group who can chase down his cutback runs.  Philly still wins though because they are awesome and my favorite 27-24
Kendricks could levitate while in College
  • Buffalo at Denver - (CBS)  The Bills feel like they just keep doing barely enough to win games but they do keep winning them.  Orton hasn't been great by any means but he is way better than Manuel.  The only chance that Buffalo has here is if their front four can get pressure on Manning and make him throw before he wants to or collapse the pocket.  I don't think they will though.  Denver has been running the ball really well lately and I think the combo of attacks won't enable the Bills to hang for the full four quarters.  Denver wins 32-16
  • Kansas City at Arizona - (CBS) The Cards are wavering a little now with Stanton at QB but they are a good team.  The Chiefs are one of those teams that sneak up on you and win with good defense.  If this game were in KC I'd lock it up but it's not so it might lean to the Cards a bit.  Arizona wins 24-20
8:15pm
  • New England at San Diego - (NBC)  I feel like I have never seen Tom Brady play football in warm weather.  I wonder if he can adjust?  The Chargers are somehow winning games and nobody can figure out why.  Seriously, go ask someone on the street why the Chargers keep winning and I bet they don't know.  Either way, the Patriots left Green Bay embarrassed last Sunday and that is something the Patriots have made a habit of avoiding in back to back weekends during the reign of Tom Brady.  Pats win because Brady 34-20
Enjoy the games!
 


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

College Football Weekly Digest 14.14

Five Conferences, Four Playoff Teams
It's Conference Championship Week!  With the Big12 totally copping out and not playing a conference championship game because not enough teams want to be in their conference, they will most likely have co-champions which means there will be six conference champs vying for the final four playoff spots.

Now that the regular season has ended let's see who's doing what in our polls and how my picks looked for last week.

Heisman candidates
  1. Mariota
  2. Cooper
  3. Gordon
  4. That's it.
Here are two slightly snarky but good videos of what makes the College Football Playoffs.

Top 25
  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU +4
  4. Florida State +4
  5. Ohio State -1
  6. Baylor -3
  7. Michigan State +2
  8. Kansas State +2
  9. Arizona +3
  10. Wisconsin +3
  11. Mississippi +11
  12. Georgia Tech +9
  13. Mississippi State -7
  14. Missouri +2
  15. Georgia -10
  16. Auburn -2
  17. USC -7
  18. Louisville 
  19. Arizona State -8
  20. Minnesota -2
  21. UCLA -5
  22. Oklahoma-2
  23. LSU +1
  24. Clemson (NR)
  25. Stanford 
Dropouts: Arkansas
In consideration: Nebraska, Utah, Texas A&M, Florida



Picks from last week
  • P: Missouri 24 - Arkansas 17 A: Missouri 21 - Arkansas 14
  • P: UCLA 28 - Stanford 13 A: Stanford 31 - UCLA 10
  • P: ASU 40 - Arizona 33 A: Arizona 42 - ASU 35
  • P: Georgia 30 - GTech 22 A: GTech 30 - Georgia 24
  • P: Rutgers 100 - Maryland 0 A: Rutgers 41 - Murlind 38
  • P: Miss State 31 - Ole Miss 18 A: Ole Miss 31 - Miss State 17
  • P: Florida 20 - FSU 19 A: FSU 24 - Florida 19
  • P: Wisconsin 35 - Minnesota 28 A: Wisconsin 34 - Minny 24
  • P: Alabama 42 - Auburn 20 A: Alabama 55 - Auburn 44
  • P: Cleveland 28 - Buffalo 17 A: Buffalo 26 - Cleveland 10
  • P: Baltimore 24 - San Diego 10 A: San Diego 34 - Baltimore 33
  • P: Green Bay 35 - New England 32 A: Green Bay 26 - NE 21
  • P: Denver 31 - KC 24 A: Denver 29 - KC 16
This week 6-7
So far this season 43-34



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