Who’s Going to Win? – Week 5 Picks

What I learned last week:

  • ECU is pretty good.
  • Cal is my new second most-hated team in the country. (At least for this week.)
  • Nobody’s dominant and you have to take every opponent seriously (e.g. Auburn/K-State, Oregon/Wazzu, Florida/Alabama, Oklahoma/West Virginia, Mississippi St/LSU).
  • Ohio St’s loss to Va Tech looks worse every week.
  • Louisiana Tech really misses Sonny Dykes.
  • Never pick Michigan to win anything.

Picks in BOLD. Upsets in italics. Please note, upsets are based on betting lines at the time of writing this. They are not necessarily based on rankings.

Last week’s results: 32-14 (.696), upset picks: 1-5 (.167)
Overall: 134-46 (.744), upset picks: 5-12 (.294)

Upset picks this week:
NEW MEXICO over Fresno St
MIDDLE TENNESSEE over Old Dominion
TEXAS ST over Tulsa

Upset of the Week: ARIZONA ST over UCLA

#11 UCLA at #15 ARIZONA ST
Texas Tech at #24 OKLAHOMA ST
Appalachian St at GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Fresno St at NEW MEXICO
MIDDLE TENNESSEE at Old Dominion
#1 FLORIDA ST at NC State
Louisiana Tech at #5 AUBURN
Arkansas vs. #6 TEXAS A&M (in Arlington)
#7 BAYLOR at Iowa St
#8 NOTRE DAME vs. Syracuse (in East Rutherford)
Wyoming at #9 MICHIGAN ST
Memphis at #10 OLE MISS
Tennessee at #12 GEORGIA
Missouri at #13 SOUTH CAROLINA
#16 STANFORD at Washington
New Mexico St at #17 LSU
Oregon St at #18 USC
South Florida at #19 WISCONSIN
Illinois at #21 NEBRASKA
Cincinnati at #22 OHIO ST
UTEP at #25 KANSAS ST
Northwestern at PENN ST
Vanderbilt at KENTUCKY
Tulane at RUTGERS
IOWA at Purdue
TCU at SMU
Colorado St at BOSTON COLLEGE
Western Michigan at VIRGINIA TECH
Maryland at INDIANA
Akron at PITT
BOWLING GREEN at UMass
Minnesota at MICHIGAN
Western Kentucky at NAVY
Miami (OH) at BUFFALO
Florida International at UAB
Wake Forest at LOUISVILLE
Kent St at VIRGINIA
TEMPLE at UConn
Colorado at CAL
TEXAS at Kansas
SOUTH ALABAMA at Idaho
UTSA at Florida Atlantic
North Carolina at CLEMSON
Central Michigan at TOLEDO
BOISE ST at Air Force
Troy at LOUISIANA-MONROE
RICE at Southern Miss
Duke at MIAMI
Washington St at UTAH
TEXAS ST at Tulsa
UNLV at SAN DIEGO ST
NEVADA at San Jose St

Conference Champions Only in the Playoff? NO WAY! – Hogg’s Playoff Eligibility Rules

ESPN has quoted Mark Dantonio, the head football coach at Michigan State, as saying that he doesn’t believe that non-conference champions should be in the Playoff. He argues that teams may try to scam the system by only having one loss and potentially not playing in the conference championship game but still making the playoff. Here’s his quote:

“We can’t say, ‘Hey, let’s try and go 11-1 and not be in the championship game, and then we’ll get into the playoffs.’ I don’t think it should work like that.”

Coach Dantonio’s comments inspired me to come up with some rules on who can and cannot be in the playoff. Perhaps the Committee will adopt these for the 2016 playoffs.

Playoff Eligibility Rules

  1. You must be a conference champion OR
  2. You must have lost the conference championship game to another team in the Playoff OR
  3. Your only conference loss must have come at the hands of your conference champion who is in the Playoff.

Let’s use the SEC as an example.

  1. Assuming everything goes as expected, the SEC conference champion will go to the Playoff.
  2. “But what if two teams from the top four are both in the SEC?!” If the Committee believes that two of the best four teams in the nation are in the same conference, then the team who lost the conference championship game could also be in the Playoff, if the conference champion is in the playoff.
  3. “But what if two teams from the same division are in the top four (and therefore both cannot play in the conference championship game)?!” If a team does not make the SEC championship game, but their only conference loss was to the eventual champion, they are eligible for the playoff, again, only if the conference champion earns a spot in the playoff.

Alabama and Auburn make an easy example for this. Let’s say that both of them are still undefeated going into the last game of the season. Then, let’s say that Alabama wins. Alabama is now still undefeated, is the SEC West’s representative in the conference championship game, and Auburn’s only loss (and conference loss) is to Alabama.

In the SEC East, let’s say that South Carolina runs the table for the rest of the year, wins the East and goes to the conference championship game.

According to the rules above, if Alabama were to win the SECCG, Alabama, Auburn, AND South Carolina would potentially be eligible for the Playoff. Alabama’s eligible because they won the CCG. Auburn and South Carolina would both be eligible as long as Alabama got one of the playoff spots, Auburn because it’s only conference loss was to the eventual conference champ, and South Carolina because they played in the CCG. But, if South Carolina were to win, Auburn would not be eligible for the playoff because they lost to the conference runners-up, not the champs.

These rules would also work in the Big 12 where there isn’t a conference championship game. The conference champions would be eligible along with the other team(s) whose only loss was to the champion.

Using these rules, here’s who would have been eligible for the Playoff if it had happened last year.

Conference Champion – Eligible Runner Up – Eligible if Conf Champ Is in Playoff Only Conf Loss to Champ – Eligible if Conf Champ Is in Playoff
AAC UCF n/a Louisville
ACC Florida St Duke Clemson
Big 12 Baylor n/a n/a
Big Ten Michigan St Ohio St n/a
C-USA Rice Marshall n/a
MAC Bowling Green Northern Illinois n/a
MWC Fresno St Utah St n/a
Pac-12 Stanford Arizona St n/a
SEC Auburn Missouri Alabama
Sun Belt Louisiana n/a n/a

Notably not-eligible: Oklahoma St and South Carolina both had two conference losses.

Plan Accordingly: What to Watch – Week 5

Here’s what you need to watch this weekend. All times AZ.

5-Star Games (GAMES OF THE WEEK)

#11 UCLA at #16 Arizona St Thursday 7:00 PM FS1
Missouri at #13 South Carolina Saturday 4:00 PM ESPN

4-Star Games

Oregon St at #18 USC Saturday 7:30 PM ESPN

3-Star Games

Maryland at Indiana Saturday 10:30 AM BTN
Duke at Miami Saturday 4:30 PM ESPN2

2-Star Games

Colorado St at Boston College Saturday 9:30 AM FSN

1-Star Games

Texas Tech at #24 Oklahoma St Thursday 4:30 PM ESPN
Minnesota at Michigan Saturday 12:30 PM ESPN2
Western Kentucky at Navy Saturday 12:30 PM CBSSN
#7 Baylor at Iowa St Saturday 5:00 PM FOX
Washington St at Utah Saturday 5:00 PM PAC12

Who’s Going to Win? – Week 4 Picks

What I learned last week:

  • The reason Florida was so bad last year may not have just been their injuries.
  • Texas is bipolar.
  • I’m still not afraid of UCLA (except when ASU’s starting QB is out).
  • Always beware of post-big-victory hangovers (re:Virginia Tech and USC).

Picks in BOLD. Upsets in italics. Please note, upsets are based on betting lines at the time of writing this. They are not necessarily based on rankings.

Last week’s results: 40-11 (.784), upset picks: 1-1 (.500)
Overall: 102-32 (.761), upset picks: 4-7 (.364)

Upset picks this week:
UCONN over South Florida
NORTH CAROLINA over East Carolina
WAKE FOREST over Army
FLORIDA ATLANTIC at Wyoming
UTAH ST over Arkansas St

Upset of the Week: MIAMI over Nebraska

#5 AUBURN at #20 Kansas St
UCONN at South Florida
#22 Clemson at #1 FLORIDA ST
#2 OREGON at Washington St
Florida at #3 ALABAMA
#4 OKLAHOMA at West Virginia
#6 TEXAS A&M at SMU
Mississippi St at #8 LSU
Eastern Michigan at #11 MICHIGAN ST
Troy at #13 GEORGIA
#14 SOUTH CAROLINA at Vanderbilt
Indiana at #18 MISSOURI
Bowling Green at #19 WISCONSIN
Virginia at #21 BYU
MIAMI (FL) at #24 Nebraska
Georgia Tech at VIRGINIA TECH
Iowa at PITT
Old Dominion at RICE
Maryland at SYRACUSE
Tulane at DUKE
MARSHALL at Akron
Hawaii at COLORADO
NORTH CAROLINA at East Carolina
Army at WAKE FOREST
LOUISVILLE at Florida International
Central Michigan at KANSAS
Rutgers at NAVY
Utah at MICHIGAN
Texas St at ILLINOIS
UMass at PENN ST
San Jose St at MINNESOTA
FLORIDA ATLANTIC at Wyoming
Georgia St at WASHINGTON
Northern Illinois at ARKANSAS
UTAH ST at Arkansas St
Miami (OH) at CINCINNATI
Middle Tennessee at MEMPHIS
Appalachian St at SOUTHERN MISS
Ball St at TOLEDO
Idaho at OHIO
Georgia Southern at SOUTH ALABAMA
UNLV at HOUSTON
NEW MEXICO at New Mexico St
Cal at ARIZONA
San Diego St at OREGON ST
Louisiana-Lafayette at BOISE ST

Plan Accordingly: What to Watch – Week 4

Week 4 looks to be an average week. But I’m sure a handful of these games will turn into classics (e.g. Kentucky/Florida, UCLA/Texas, BC/USC, ECU/VT). Clemson at Florida St is not on the list. That’s not a mistake. I’m forecasting a blow out.

Here’s what you need to watch this weekend. All times AZ.

UPDATED 9/18/14: I felt like I was being a little stingy with my game ratings, so I’ve modified my process and updated the ratings below.

5-Star Games

NONE

4-Star Games

Iowa at Pitt Saturday 9:00 AM ESPNU
Utah at Michigan Saturday 12:30 PM ESPN2
Mississippi St at #8 LSU Saturday 4:00 PM ESPN
Miami at #24 Nebraska Saturday 5:00 PM ESPN2

3-Star Games

#5 Auburn at #20 Kansas St Thursday 4:30 PM ESPN
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech Saturday 9:00 AM ESPN
Maryland at Syracuse Saturday 9:30 AM ACCN
North Carolina at East Carolina Saturday 12:30 PM ESPNU
Rutgers at Navy Saturday 12:30 PM CBSSN

2-Star Games

Northern Illinois at Arkansas Saturday 4:00 PM ESPNU

1-Star Games

Virginia at #21 BYU Saturday 12:30 PM ESPN
Indiana at #18 Missouri Saturday 1:00 PM SECN
Cal at Arizona Saturday 7:00 PM PAC12

Who’s Going to Win? – Week 3 Picks

Week 2 went a little better. What I learned:

  1. The Big Ten isn’t very good.
  2. The bottom three quarters of the Pac-12 is suspect.
  3. Even though they’re 0-2, Hawai’i is better than we thought.
  4. UTSA will be one of the Group of Five power teams in the next five years.
  5. BYU!?
  6. Michigan?!

Picks in BOLD. Upsets in italics. Please note, upsets are based on betting lines at the time of writing this. They are not necessarily based on rankings.

Last week‘s results: 36-9 (.800), upset picks: 2-4 (.333)
Overall: 62-21 (.747), upset picks: 3-6 (.333)

Upset picks this week:
WESTERN MICHIGAN over Idaho
WESTERN KENTUCKY over Middle Tennessee

Houston at #25 BYU
Louisiana Tech at NORTH TEXAS
#8 BAYLOR at Buffalo
Toledo at CINCINNATI
Wyoming at #2 OREGON
Southern Miss at #3 ALABAMA
Tennessee at #4 OKLAHOMA
#6 GEORGIA at #24 South Carolina
Rice at #7 TEXAS A&M
#9 USC at Boston College
Louisiana-Monroe at #10 LSU
Purdue vs. #11 NOTRE DAME (at Indianapolis)
#12 UCLA vs. Texas (at Arlington)
Louisiana-Lafayette at #14 OLE MISS
Army at #15 STANFORD
#16 ARIZONA ST at Colorado
East Carolina at #17 VIRGINIA TECH
UCF at #20 MISSOURI
#21 LOUISVILLE at Virginia
Kent St at #22 OHIO ST
West Virginia at MARYLAND
INDIANA at Bowling Green
SYRACUSE at Central Michigan
BOISE ST at UConn
Ohio at MARSHALL
UMass at VANDERBILT
Georgia Southern at GEORGIA TECH
PITT at Florida International
AIR FORCE at Georgia St
Arkansas at TEXAS TECH
Iowa St at IOWA
Arkansas St at MIAMI (FL)
NC STATE at South Florida
Kansas at DUKE
Miami (OH) at MICHIGAN
Minnesota at TCU
Illinois at WASHINGTON
MISSISSIPPI ST at South Alabama
WESTERN MICHIGAN at Idaho
Eastern Michigan at OLD DOMINION
UTSA at OKLAHOMA ST
WESTERN KENTUCKY at Middle Tennessee
Wake Forest at UTAH ST
TULSA at Florida Atlantic
NORTHERN ILLINOIS at UNLV
Kentucky at FLORIDA
PENN ST at Rutgers
NAVY at Texas St
New Mexico St at UTEP
NEBRASKA at Fresno St
Nevada at ARIZONA

Plan Accordingly: What to Watch – Week 3

Thanks, Michigan and Texas, for making the games of the week so terrible last week.

Week 3 is less than exciting. Regardless, here’s what you need to watch this weekend. All times AZ.

5-Star Games (aka Games of the Week)

NONE

4-Star Games

UCF at #20 Missouri Saturday 9:00 AM SECN
#6 Georgia at #24 South Carolina Saturday 12:30 PM CBS

3-Star Games

NONE

2-Star Games

NONE

1-Star Games

Arkansas at Texas Tech Saturday 12:30 PM ABC
Minnesota at TCU Saturday 1:00 PM FS1
Kentucky at Florida Saturday 4:30 PM SECN
#12 UCLA vs. Texas (in Arlington) Saturday 5:00 PM FOX