Plan Accordingly: What to Watch – Bowl Edition

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

Bowl of the Year

Sugar: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio St. Jan 1 6:30 PM ESPN

4-Star Bowls

Russell Athletic: #17 Clemson vs. Oklahoma Dec 29 3:30 PM ESPN
Belk: #13 Georgia vs. #21 Louisville Dec 30 4:45 PM ESPN
Peach: #9 Ole Miss vs. #6 TCU Dec 31 10:30 AM ESPN
Orange: #12 Georgia Tech vs. #7 Mississippi St. Dec 31 6:00 PM ESPN
Cotton Bowl Classic: #5 Baylor vs. #8 Michigan St. Jan 1 10:30 AM ESPN
Rose Bowl Game: #3 Florida St. vs. #2 Oregon Jan 1 3:00 PM ESPN
Alamo: #11 Kansas St. vs. #14 UCLA Jan 2 4:45 PM ESPN

3-Star Bowls

Sun: #15 Arizona St. vs. Duke Dec 27 12:00 PM CBS
Liberty: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia Dec 29 12:00 PM ESPN
Fiesta: #10 Arizona vs. #20 Boise St. Dec 31 2:00 PM ESPN
Outback (Hall of Fame): #19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin Jan 1 10:00 AM ESPN2

2-Star Bowls

Las Vegas: Colorado St. vs. #22 Utah Dec 20 1:30 PM ABC
Potato (Humanitarian): Air Force vs. Western Michigan Dec 20 3:45 PM ESPN
Miami Beach: BYU vs. Memphis Dec 22 12:00 PM ESPN
St. Petersburg: NC State vs. UCF Dec 26 6:00 PM ESPN
Pinstripe: Boston College vs. Penn St. Dec 27 2:30 PM ESPN
Holiday: Nebraska vs. #24 USC Dec 27 6:00 PM ESPN
Music City: #23 LSU vs. Notre Dame Dec 30 1:00 PM ESPN
Citrus: #25 Minnesota vs. #16 Missouri Jan 1 10:30 AM ABC
Taxslayer (Gator): Iowa vs. Tennessee Jan 2 1:20 PM ESPN
Birmingham: East Carolina vs. Florida Jan 3 11:00 AM ESPN

1-Star Bowls

Poinsettia: Navy vs. San Diego St. Dec 23 7:30 PM ESPN
Military: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Dec 27 11:00 AM ESPN
Independence: Miami vs. South Carolina Dec 27 1:30 PM ABC
Texas: Arkansas vs. Texas Dec 29 7:00 PM ESPN
Foster Farms (San Francisco): Maryland vs. Stanford Dec 30 8:00 PM ESPN
Cactus: Oklahoma St. vs. Washington Jan 2 8:15 PM ESPN
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Best and Worst of the Bowl Season

Using Football Outsiders’ F/+ ratings and rankings, here are some of the best and worst teams and bowls for 2014/2015.

Worst Bowl Teams

#104 Bowling Green (-16.7% F/+ rating)
#101 Fresno St. (-15.9%)
#95 Rice (-13.8%)

Best Non-Bowl Teams

#37 Virginia (10.7%) – Rated higher than 40 bowl teams
#60 Michigan (1.6%) – Rated higher than 18 bowl teams
#61 Cal (0.8%) – Rated higher than 18 bowl teams

Worst New Years’ Six Bowl Team

#33 Arizona (12.7%)

Best Non-New Year’s Six Bowl Teams

#7 Georgia (27.6%) – Rated higher than six New Year’s Six bowl teams
#12 Auburn (23.5%) – Rated higher than two New Year’s Six bowl teams
#13 Oklahoma (22.3%) – Rated higher than two New Year’s Six bowl teams

Bowls with Best Teams*

Sugar – #1 Alabama vs. #2 Ohio St. (37.5%)
Rose – #8 Florida St. vs. #3 Oregon (31.5%)
Peach – #4 Ole Miss vs. #5 TCU (29.0%)

*Highest average of both teams’ F/+ rating

Bowls with Worst Teams*

Hawai’i – #101 Fresno St. vs. #95 Rice (-14.9%)
Camellia – #104 Bowling Green vs. #93 South Alabama (-14.5%)
New Orleans – #86 Louisiana vs. #64 Nevada (-5.8%)

*Lowest average of both teams’ F/+ rating

Bowls with Best Matchups*

Quick Lane – #74 North Carolina vs. #73 Rutgers (0.1%)
Peach – #4 Ole Miss vs. #5 TCU (0.6%)
Potato – #44 Air Force vs. #47 Western Michigan (0.9%)

*Lowest difference between the teams’ F/+ ratings

Bowls with Worst Matchups*

Boca Raton – #15 Marshall vs. #72 Northern Illinois (24.6%)
Armed Forces – #79 Houston vs. #39 Pitt (16.9%)
Texas – #20 Arkansas vs. #57 Texas (15.6%)

*Highest difference between the teams’ F/+ ratings

Who’s Going to Win? – Week 15 Picks

Last week‘s results: 43-18 (.705), upset picks: 3-3 (.500)
Overall: 511-194 (.725), upset picks: 30-50 (.375)


Upset Pick of the Week

#11 GEORGIA TECH over #4 Florida St.


Picks in BOLD. Upsets in ITALICS. Non-ranked team upsets are based on betting lines at the time of writing this.

UCF at EAST CAROLINA
Pac-12 Championship Game: #7 Arizona vs. #2 OREGON
MAC Championship Game: Bowling Green vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
SEC Championship Game: #1 ALABAMA vs. #16 Missouri
Iowa State at #3 TCU
ACC Championship Game: #4 Florida St. vs. #11 GEORGIA TECH
Big Ten Championship Game: #5 OHIO ST.* vs. #13 Wisconsin
#9 Kansas St. at #6 BAYLOR
Oklahoma St. at #20 OKLAHOMA
Mountain West Championship Game: Fresno St. at #22 BOISE ST.
C-USA-CG: Louisiana Tech at MARSHALL
Houston at CINCINNATI
SMU at UCONN
TEMPLE at Tulane

*Underdog despite higher ranking

Plan Accordingly: What to Watch – Week 15

Here’s what you need to watch this weekend. All times AZ. See below for a breakdown of the best games to watch by day and time slot.

Game of the Week

Big Ten Championship Game: #5 Ohio St. vs. #13 Wisconsin Saturday 6:15 PM FOX

4-Star Games

ACC Championship Game: #4 Florida St. vs. #11 Georgia Tech Saturday 6:00 PM ABC
#9 Kansas St. at #6 Baylor Saturday 5:45 PM ESPN

3-Star Game

Pac-12 Championship Game: #7 Arizona vs. #2 Oregon Friday 7:00 PM FOX

2-Star Game

UCF at East Carolina Thursday 5:30 PM ESPN

1-Star Game

SEC Championship Game: #1 Alabama vs. #16 Missouri Saturday 2:00 PM CBS

Best Games to Watch by Day/Time

Here’s what you need to watch this week(end). All times AZ.

Thursday

UCF at East Carolina 5:30 PM ESPN

Friday

Pac-12 Championship Game: #7 Arizona vs. #2 Oregon 7:00 PM FOX
MAC Championship Game: Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois 5:00 PM ESPN2

Saturday Morning

C-USA Championship Game: Louisiana Tech at Marshall 10:00 AM ESPN2
Houston at Cincinnati 10:00 AM ESPN

Saturday Afternoon

SEC Championship Game: #1 Alabama vs. #16 Missouri 2:00 PM CBS
Oklahoma St. at #20 Oklahoma 1:30 PM FOX

Saturday Night

Big Ten Championship Game: #5 Ohio St. vs. #13 Wisconsin 6:15 PM FOX
ACC Championship Game: #4 Florida St. vs. #11 Georgia Tech 6:00 PM ABC

Saturday Late

Mountain West Championship Game: Fresno St. at #22 Boise St. 8:00 PM CBS

If I Were In Charge: Top 25 Rankings

My top-25 is formulated using a combination who-would-beat-who and who-has-beaten-who. Head-to-head match-ups were accounted for part of the rankings, but each team was run through at least 14 real and/or hypothetical match-ups and given points for each “win.”

  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU
  4. Florida St.*
  5. Ohio St.
  6. Baylor
  7. Ole Miss
  8. Mississippi St.
  9. Georgia Tech
  10. Georgia
  11. Auburn
  12. Michigan St.
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Clemson
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Kansas St.
  17. Louisville
  18. LSU
  19. UCLA
  20. Arizona
  21. Missouri
  22. Arkansas
  23. Arizona St.
  24. USC
  25. Nebraska

*Only ranked this high because of the playoff system. If an undefeated Power 5 conference team does not get ranked in the top four, riots.

Head-to-Head Is Important, but It’s not the Be-All and End-All: TCU is a Better Team than Baylor

“Baylor fans have been adamant their team’s head-to-head win over TCU has made them the most deserving selection among the Frogs, Bears and Buckeyes…” – Jerry Hinnen, CBS Sports

“The committee has gone against every playground ethic we were ever taught. I beat you up and I’m better than you until we meet again…The committee is essentially saying definitively head-to-head doesn’t matter in a tiebreaker between TCU and Baylor…To put it in playground terms: The Frogs are better than the Bears on most days. Just not on the day they actually fought…Someone stop this playoff merry-go-round. The vertigo is killing us. As we slog through the final week before Sunday’s playoff pairings are announced, it’s all getting a bit ridiculous.” – Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports

Mr. Dodd, I respectfully disagree.

It seems as if the only instance where the “head-to-head” or “playground” logic is being applied is in the TCU-Baylor situation. Why isn’t anyone arguing that Ole Miss should be ranked higher than Alabama, or Arizona higher than Oregon, or, for that matter, West Virginia over Baylor?

Head-to-head should matter, but head-to-head results do not always tell the whole story.

I understand that ALL other things being equal, head-to-head should decide the better team. Unfortunately for Baylor, all other things are not equal.

The goal of the Playoff and the Committee is to pit the four best teams in the nation against each other. And if that is the goal, with the top-three at least, they’re doing their job. TCU is a better team than Baylor (and Florida St.).

“We evaluate these teams. We watch these games. We watch the film. We have coaches in the room. We believe TCU is a better football team at this point in time…” – Jeff Long