Category Archives: Big 12
The new rankings come out tonight at 7. Georgia likely won’t be a part of them, but who knows with the committee’s ever-changing criteria? Alabama was ranked 4th last week based on the new metric of ‘wins over teams with winning records’, which is absurd when teams buy 2-3 easy wins every September. The ‘eye test’ is subjective, at best. Listening to Jeff Long discuss the rankings on various programs each week is an exercise in futility of understanding what the committee does in their weekly meetings.
But, its what we’ve got, and what it lacks in transparency is more than made up for in intrigue. What storylines should you follow tonight?
All rankings cited, until the predictions at the bottom, are from last week.
The Big XII Cannibalism Race
With the SEC, ACC*, and Pac-12 North races all but salted up, the focus shifts to the crazy Big XII, where all of the games involving its exciting top 4 all take place in November.
*knocks furiously on wood
#14 Oklahoma State served notice that a little luck and an easy schedule weren’t a problem, as they housed #8 TCU in Stillwater, 49-24. They’ll move up, and deservedly so. They still go to Iowa State (which has been a problem before) this week before closing at home with #6 Baylor and #15 Oklahoma.
Gameday will be in Waco this week, as the Bears host the Sooners in an elimination game. Nothing comes easy for them, as they finish on the road against OSU and TCU, then hosting Texas on December 5. With true freshman QB Jaret Stidham at the helm, odds are they drop at least one.
TCU, despite being behind the eight ball with its loss to Oklahoma State, has the ‘easiest’ road. Kansas this week will be a laugher. At Oklahoma and home against to Baylor? not so much. I’d rank them last among the four contenders due to their 0-1 head-to-head record against the rest, and the fact that they’ve been more than fortunate to escape games against middling K-State and Texas Tech.
The odds that the XII has a team finish undefeated are looking extremely slim. Oklahoma is probably the most balanced, OSU is the biggest mystery, and Baylor is still the most explosive. If Oklahoma wins out, I think they’re in. But I expect chaos to keep the league on the outside looking in for the second straight year.
The Looming Notre Dame/Stanford Showdown
#11 Stanford hosts Oregon this week, and you never know quite what’ll happen. But this is an Oregon team that plays ZERO defense, and a Stanford team showing its most competent offense since the days of Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck. After hosting Cal the following week, #5 Notre Dame comes to town.
Notre Dame plays Wake Forest and BC prior to this. One logically assumes they’ll win those.
What that will set up is likely a 4 vs. 5 or 5 vs. 6 game on The Farm on Thanksgiving Saturday. I don’t particularly care for either of these teams, and neither poses a threat to WIN the CFP…but a 12-1 Stanford or 11-1 Notre Dame is likely as deserving of that #4 spot as anyone.
Go Teams From Michigan
#7 Michigan State took its much-anticipated slide on Saturday in Lincoln. They just never performed relative to their rankings, and got by on an incredibly easy schedule. They, along with #17 Michigan, are no longer real contenders, but could play spoiler for #3 Ohio State.
Both will get their shot. State travels to Columbus on Nov. 21, and the Wolverines host the Bucks in their traditional Nov. 28 nooner.
Please, someone, beat Ohio State.
Extreme Long Shots
First and foremost, piggybacking on the B1G words, #9 Iowa is very much a contender if they somehow win out and take the East winner (sigh. Still likely Ohio State.) down in Indianapolis on Championship Weekend. I just don’t think the committee will be able to justify leaving out a 13-0 power five champ, as garbage as their schedule is.
#13 Memphis lost to Navy on Saturday, effectively ending the hopes of a Group of 5 team making a bid. But #25 Houston still lurks with games against both Memphis and Navy, the latter of which will decide who plays in the New Years Six. Could they make a run at the top 4? No, probably not.
And finally, delusional Carolina fan coming in hot. After (unranked last week, WTF?) North Carolina’s 66-31 dismantling of Duke’s acclaimed defense, the Heels should jump comfortably (given the chaos at the bottom of the top 25, which saw #18 Ole Miss, #19 Texas A&M, and #24 Toledo lose) into the back of the top 20. Were they to beat Miami, Virginia Tech, and N.C. State, it would set up a top 10 matchup vs. Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Is there precedent for a bad early season loss and subsequent dominant performance getting you in the playoff?
Yes. Yes there is.
Now watch them lose to Miami with me in attendance this week.
Projecting the Rankings
This will be useless in 4 hours. Oh well.
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Michigan State
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- North Carolina
This is a big college football weekend! No, there are no glamorous, beautiful, (I hate this word) epic top-10 matchups that can shatter the playoff picture, but there are a TON of good games that will go a long ways towards shaking down divisions (Pac-12 North, ACC Coastal, SEC East), and even more upset potential in stupid conferences (looking at you, Big Ten). There are weird games, mid-majors against P5 teams, and everything else you could want for a Halloween weekend filled with overtly cheesy ESPN graphics. TO THE GAMES!
Thursday is of interest.
If you follow my work, you know why. North Carolina at #23 Pitt (7, ESPN) is the first of three consecutive weeks of the Coastal’s three undefeated contenders going head-to-head. We pair that with ‘sneaky could still be good but at this point likely aren’t good’ West Virginia at #5 TCU (7:30, FS1). For God’s sake, will someone go ahead and put TCU out of its misery?
Even the nightcap has some intrigue, as disappointing Oregon travels to disappointing Arizona State (10:30, ESPN).
Saturday nooners: I mean…not horrible?
The SEC has two entertaining ones, as #19 Ole Miss at Auburn (ESPN) and South Carolina at Texas A&M (SECN) both tee up early. Ole Miss still controls its destiny in the West, but has (this is amazing) lost 5 straight road games as the favorite. Texas A&M had glow-in-the-dark helmets for Halloween…but won’t be wearing them, because, you know…noon.
Otherwise, there are three B1G games featuring middle-of-the-road teams, and two ACC games doing the same, with one including #17 Florida State hosting Syracuse (ABC). Stick to your SEC roots here.
Cocktail Party Simulcasts: Possible fun, but eh.
If Verne chokes out any chance of a Georgia East title in the first quarter, your contingency plan is as follows:
#12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 3:30, ESPN: Oklahoma State is probably number 2 in my fraud rankings to this point in this season (Iowa exists). Texas Tech should be able to score with them in Lubbock. If nothing else, the O/U is 79 and the spread is only 3. That’s your typical Big XII football right there!
#3 Clemson at N.C. State, 3:30, ABC: Clemson, by many metrics, has been the best team in college football this year. Dabo Swinney has attacked the ‘Clemsoning’ meme to an almost embarrassing extent. Weird things happen to ACC favorites in Raleigh, although State’s 5 wins (Troy, Presbyterian, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Wake Forest) are about as fraudulent as 5 wins can possibly be.
Maryland at #10 Iowa (ESPN2) and #12 Oklahoma at Kansas (FS1) are also mid-afternooners, but we’re talking some hot garbage by then. Switch back to Georgia/Florida at this point, and curse the injuries, Verne, and, of course, the Florida Gators.
Early evening, pre #PACtion: kinda weak.
A lot more ‘well, this could be fun, but probably won’t be’ games to note.
The headliner for SEC fans is Tennessee at Kentucky (7:30, SECN) in a game that will likely determine third place in the SEC East, project calls for Butch Jones’ head or annoying Tennessee hype heading into November, and Kentucky’s bid for bowl eligibility.
Beyond that? I hate to do it, but #9 Notre Dame is the headliner. They travel to Philly to take on undefeated #21 Temple with GameDay in the house. This at least caused my favorite Hatin’ Ass Spurrier quote of the season.
If GameDay needs help shooting in Philadelphia, they might wanna call Marvin Harrison.
#15 Michigan at Minnesota (7, ESPN): This just feels like a stupid one where Michigan could stumble.
Miami at #22 Duke (7, ESPNU): Hoping for a motivated Miami “it was Al Golden, not us” performance in front of the packed house of 32,000 in Durham.
Vanderbilt at #18 Houston (7, ESPN2): THIS GAME’S IN HOUSTON!?!?! It was bad enough for Vandy when we realized a) Houston was good and b) this more or less represents Vandy’s SoCon Challenge game for the year. Having said that, watch Vandy pull some BS and win.
Nightcaps are my new addiction.
And Washington State is 3-1 in the Pac-12. #8 Stanford at Washington State (10:30, ESPN) probably won’t be a game, but if it is…it decides the Pac-12 North (actually, probably not, because Wazzu has no chance of going 8-1 in that league, right?)
And actually, that’s it! Give me November, where all of the games are meaningful, the weather is cold, and the football is above average.
A win is a win is a win is the theme of this pod, with special guest Connor Tapp breaking down UGA, South Carolina, and all the craziness that is college football.
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We were probably too candid in expressing our hatred for Alabama and Tennessee. To turn the tide and get Georgia back in the win column, let’s say some nice things about Missouri!
Hey Missouri, you’re pretty neat. While you’re probably an odd cultural fit for the SEC, you’re DEFINITELY an odd geographic fit. But don’t sweat it! You’re just showing off your versatility. You worked just fine in the Big XII, and would be a perfect fit for the B1G (shhhhh. Don’t tell Jim Delaney he could’ve had you instead of Maryland or Rutgers). But here in the SEC, you’re our quirky in-law, the one that likes to watch PBS on Thanksgiving. And that’s fine.
What else is great about the Missouri Tigers?
- Y’all…how do I say this?… very politely won the SEC East the past two years, and were more than willing to let your opponents from the West curbstomp you on their way to playing for national championships. As the new guys, it was damn courteous.
- Gary Pinkel’s sideline demeanor and press conferences are the most boring and aloof among SEC coaches. If not for Gary, Mark Richt would be the leader in these categories.
- There are more than 6,000 caves in Missouri. This is just a random internet fact I stumbled upon.
- I have yet to have an unpleasant experience with a Mizzou fan. You join LSU as the only fanbases for which this is true.
- In coining Grown Man Football, you have, on occasion, reminded us Georgia fans that our team is capable of such a thing.
- There are Dawgs littering (no pun intended) your pro teams.
- You have a damn good journalism program, which is cool. I used to be a decent writer before joining this site.
- Back to the politeness thing: your demeanor has been characterized as “disturbing”
— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) October 7, 2015
- Between Dorial Green-Beckham and Maty Mauk, you’re adapting well to the SEC practice of possessing malcontent players.
There’s certainly more, but let’s stop here for now. You’re terrific, Missouri! Keep doing you.
Day late, dollar short, crazy week. I hope you enjoyed the rare Thursday night SEC action (did you even know this was taking place?) and whatever transpired between UCLA and Stanford.
On to the weekend!
GROUP OF FIVE FRIDAY GAME STRONG
Hey, why not? There are three semi-watchable games involving teams fighting for a shot to play in a bowl game more prestigious than any UGA has played since 2008 (queue audible kidney punch sound):
Cincinnati at BYU (ESPN, 8) and #24 Houston at Tulane (ESPNU, 9) both have imminent watchability potential. Tom Herman’s Houston team has become downright Kevin Sumlin-era fun. Honestly, that’s the only reason for this section of the column. #21 Boise State visits Utah State (9, CBSSN) and, if you get CBSSN (not sure if I do)… Chuckie Keeton is a DAMN fine QB to watch and Boise State has been non-Boise State-y this year. A lot of rockfights coming from Idaho.
THE NOON SLOT HAS AT LEAST THREE WATCHABLE GAMES
And I’m not even including ranked-vs-ranked #18 Iowa at #20 Northwestern (ABC/Deuce, 12) because that just sounds like a sad rockfight that, when combined with Georgia’s results in October, will make you swear off football forever.
#13 Ole Miss at Memphis (other side of ABC/Deuce ledger) really could be a nice out-of-conference challenge for the Black Bears, and Justin Fuente’s stepping stone to the USC/Texas/South Carolina/Maryland/fallout of those four job.
On the Worldwide Leader, Louisville visits #11 Florida State. Dalvin Cook and the O-line are Florida State’s entire offense, and that has been shockingly sufficient thus far. I’m here to tell you that a not-awake Tallahassee crowd, Bobby Petrino magic, and a strong Louisville D could spring an upset (NOTE: I also picked Miami to beat FSU last weekend. It’s one of those ‘wrong til you’re right and claim to be a genius’ picks).
The highlight of the nooners, though? BAYLOR PLAYS A SEMI-REAL DEFENSE! West Virginia at #2 Baylor (FOX) is a rematch of Baylor’s lone loss last year, so Art Briles either goes scorched earth…or this, too, is wildly compelling.
WE DON’T HAVE VERNE THIS WEEK, THANK GOD
#10 Alabama at #9 Texas A&M (3:30, CBS) does, though, and this game will be informative in numerous ways:
- Is Texas A&M for real?
- Does the Verne curse extend to other programs? (I don’t think it does.)
In the words of Bart Scott, “CAN’T WAIT.”
Speaking of intriguing, #7 Michigan State at #12 Michigan (3:30, ESPN) has all of the intrigue I didn’t want it to have. Michigan has pitched three straight shutouts, and a fourth against a sneaky-not-that-good Sparty is possible.
Otherwise, the 3:30’s are somewhat ‘meh’. You have 2001-3 appointment watch Virginia Tech at Miami (ESPNU) and just-lost-to-Texas #19 Oklahoma at K-State (ABC).
That should be MORE than enough to skip the Steve Spurrier-less Vandy at South Carolina (SECN, 4) game that you have ZERO reason to watch.
NIGHT GAMES THAT MAY LEAD TO SECOND-SCREENING THE DAWGS
A lot of them.
#8 Florida at #6 LSU (ESPN, 7) loses a little bit of luster, because nobody goes to Death Valley and wins, especially when the road team loses its star QB for PED’s.
USC at #14 Notre Dame (7:30, NBC) and Penn State at #1 Ohio State (8, ABC) are SO compelling…in the past tense, where the past tense includes the preseason AND if you happen to be watching the games with Grandpappy. If you are, bask in his confusion at Ohio State wearing black unis.
For ‘weird things happening’ potential, WE GOT YOU. #3 TCU travels to Ames (7:30, ESPN2) and #5 Clemson hosts just-lost-to-Wake-in-a-3-0-heartbreaker BC on the U at 7.
(P.S.– the Dawgs kick off against Mizzou at 7:30 on the SEC Network. Word)