Bowl Game Previews

Well it’s been another fun season.  All we have left are the bowls and the Playoffs.  According to our formula the committee got the correct 4 teams in.  Simplified Football had 1-Alabama, 2-Georgia, 3-Clemson, 4-Oklahoma, and 5-Ohio St.

Looking at the bowl Match-ups we had 61 of the 78 bowl eligible teams predicted correctly.

We’ll get straight into the Predictions. First the regular bowl games and then a write-up on the Playoff Games:

 

Troy 42 – North Texas 24

Western KY 24 – Georgia State 17

Boise St 34 – Oregon 31

Colorado St 34 – Marshall 27

Arkansas St 31 – Middle Tenn St 17

FAU 48 – Akron 14

SMU 41 – La Tech 38

FIU 24 – Temple 21

Ohio 31 – UAB 17

Wyoming 17 – Central Mich 13

USF 31 – Texas Tech 24

San Deigo St 34 – Army 31

Toledo 31 – App st 28

Fresno st 28 – Houston 24

UCLA 48 – Kansas St 41

Northern Illinois 17 – Duke 13

Utah 31 – West Virginia 28

FSU 28 – Southern Miss 14

Boston College 27 – Iowa 24

Texas 28 – Missouri 27

Arizona 38 – Purdue 35

Navy 21 – Virginia 18

Oklahoma St 28 – Virginia Tech 25

TCU 24 – Stanford 21

Washington St 17 – Michigan St 14

Wake Forest 24 – TAMU 21

NC state 42 – Arizona St 31

Northwestern 28 – Kentucky 17

Louisville 48 – Mississippi St 34

Memphis 42 – Iowa St 38

New Mexico St 24 – Utah St 20

Michigan 20 – South Carolina 10

LSU 27 – Notre Dame 21

Ohio St 38 – USC 28

Washington 28 – Penn St 24

Wisconsin 21 – Miami 19

Auburn 45 – UCF 35

 

Georgia vs Oklahoma:

This is a Match-up of a great offense against a great defense.  Oklahoma’s offense under Baker Mayfield has been extremely good this year.  Mayfield definitely deserved the Heisman with his play on the field.  They have scored and scored in bunches against anyone and everyone.  Georgia’s defense has done very well this year and limited some good offenses to low scoring outputs.  That will be a match-up to watch.  Oklahoma’s chances of winning will solely lie on Baker Mayfield. If he has a Heisman-esque game then Oklahoma will have the chance at winning this by out scoring Georgia.  Anything less than that and it’ll be a long night for Oklahoma.  Oklahoma’s defense has been very much maligned all season, for good reason.  Georgia has a very efficient offense and one of the top rushing attacks in America.  It will be very hard for OU to slow them down, baring some adrenaline stoked mom type performance (you know where a mom lifts up a car to save their trapped child). Mayfield will have a good day, but it won’t be enough as UGA wears them down and pulls away in the 2nd half.

Georgia 34 – Oklahoma 24

 

Clemson vs Alabama:

The Rubber Match! A rematch of the previous 2 years National Championship games.  There is one notable difference this year, rather absence. Rather 2.  Lane Kiffin and Deshaun Watson.  Both of those guys trumped great defenses and made the previous 2 matches into Shoot-outs.  Absent the offensive “Genius” of Kiffin and the brilliant play of Watson I think the defenses, which are again great, will dominate this match-up.  Both defenses are littered with future NFL players, particularly along the front 7. It will be tough sledding for 2 QBs that aren’t Deshaun Watson, and for the good running backs in this game. Neither offense are prone to turning it over so it will be a defensive slug-fest with low scores. I do expect the winner of this game to be the National Champ.

Alabama 21 – Clemson 17

 

That will set up an ALL SEC match-up in the Championship game of Georgia vs Alabama.   Kirby Smart against long time mentor Nick Saban.  The Teacher will beat the Pupil in this scenario.  Of course if it’s Clemson v Georgia then we have an entirely different and good story line as they are rivals who no longer play and are short distance from each other (about 1.5 hours).

 

Have fun this Bowl/Holiday Season.

RIVALRY WEEK Preview

This week I have chosen a bunch of games to preview, I will also pick every game.  This is a big week with several top match-ups that will significantly narrow the playoff picture. Aubun, UGA, Clemson, OU, Ohio St, and ND all face opponents that could upset them and knock them out of the playoff race. Although if all of them were to lose (not going to happen) then UGA and Clemson would still remain alive.

This is rivalry week and things happen. There are always a few surprises. I try to cover all the major rivalries (even if the teams aren’t good).

Last week I went 11-4 overall bringing my yearly total to 116-58 (66.7%).

 

Playoff Picture:

Stays the same as last week

Front Runners = Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin

Still Alive = Auburn, Georgia, Ohio St, TCU, USC, and ND

 

Boise St @ Fresno St:

This budding rivalry has mostly been dominated by Boise St, but Fresno St has won enough upsets to warrant the rivalry moniker. Boise has won 4 of the last 5. Both teams are having good but not great seasons and they will meet again next week in the Mountain West Championship game.  Which is sure to add to the rivalry game. Both defenses should have the edge in this game. Fresno St has been significantly better at home this year and that is where a few of their upsets have come against Boise St.  Fresno’s defense is able to get a few needed stops in the 2nd half to close this game out.

Fresno st 27-24

 

Territorial Cup (Arizona @ Arizona St):

These teams have split the last 4 match-ups, each winning at home. Both defenses are pretty atrocious and the offenses are good. Arizona has been the better team this year so far. Both teams will be bowl eligible. In a shoot-out I like to go with the better QB, the better defense, or the home team.  Arizona St has the better defense, and are at home.  So 2 of the 3. In a high scoring game ASU defends it’s home turf.

ASU 41-38

 

Florida Cup (Florida St @ Florida):

Florida State has won the last 4 games in this match-up and only one of those has been close. Defensively FSU has dominated giving up on average 10 points per game the last 4 games. I wouldn’t expect much difference in this game as both offenses have been putrid this season (bottom third of the nation both of them, and perhaps 2 of the worst in Power 5). However this is one of FSU’s worst defenses in that span, as well as UF’s worst defense as well. Both teams are fighting for bowl eligibility so there should be a lot of fight here. UF would be 5-6 if they won and could apply for a waiver to go to a bowl game. FSU will be 5-6 with a game against Sun Belt conference opponent ULM next week. Both offenses will have trouble in this game and barring a slew of turnovers giving the opposing team short fields this should be very low scoring.

FSU 17-13

 

Duke @ Wake Forest:

Wake Forest’s offense has been on fire the last few games and they have one of the top passing attacks (efficiency) in the nation. Duke has one of the worst. Both pass defenses are good. Duke will find it tough to score in this match-up and Wake should have little trouble scoring points. Wake wins going away. Knocking Duke from gaining bowl eligibility.

Wake 32-17

 

Louisville @ Kentucky:

Last year UK surprised everyone and upset top 25 Louisville.  Prior to last year Louisville had won 5 straight in the rivalry. Don’t think that Heisman winning Quarterback Lamar Jackson has forgotten about last year. Lamar Jackson has a HUGE day running the ball against UK’s porous run defense. UK’s passing attack is able to keep them in the game for at least a half but Louisville runs away in the 2nd half.

Louisville 41-28

 

Chancellor’s Spurs (Texas Tech @ Texas):

Texas has dominated this series recently winning 7 of the last 8. But Texas Tech did win the last game in Austin in 2015.  Texas Tech needs this win to become bowl eligible. Texas already is.  So expect Texas Tech to really come out slinging to go bowling. This is largely a pretty even match-up. Good offense (TT) against good defense (Tex) and Awful offense (Tex) against awful defense (TT). Most of the games in this series recently have been high scoring. This shouldn’t be any different.  Texas is able to prevent a game winning TD in the end, knocking TT out of bowl contention.

Texas 37-35

 

War on I-4 (South Florida @ Central Florida):

USF has won the last 2 match-ups and UCF won the 2 before that. UCF has a very good home crowd and one of the best non-Power 5 atmospheres/home-field advantages. UCF has one of the best offenses going against a very good defense at USF. USF has a good offense and UCF an average defense. On a neutral site this game would be very tough to call. I think UCF puts another feather in it’s cap and jumps up the rankings after this week.

UCF 35-26

 

Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Wisconsin @ Minnesota):

Wisconsin has won 13 straight in this rivalry. If they were to win this year they would take their first overall lead in this series EVER. Minnesota hasn’t been within 2 scores of Wisconsin in this series since 2009. I don’t think much will change this  year. Normally Minnesota in late November has a huge advantage at home with the frigid temperatures. But Wisconsin is used to that and that advantage is negated. When Wisconsin has the ball it should be a good back and forth battle with the Minnesota defense. However Minnesota’s offense is pretty awful and Wisconsin has one of the better defenses (if not the best) in the nation.  It will be tough for Minnesota to score in this game.

Wisconsin 28-14

 

Commonwealth Cup (Virginia Tech @ Virginia):

Virginia Tech has won the last several in this match-up, however UVA is much better this year than they have been (still not very good). Virginia at home will have a chance in this game. Both defenses have been significantly better than their offensive counter parts. So this should be a close defensive battle.

VT 21-17

 

West Virginia @ Oklahoma:

This game got a lot more interesting with the news that Baker Mayfield will not be starting.  If West Virginia can jump out to a big lead and get a few first quarter stops and turn the rest of the game into a shootout then they have a chance. They have the tools and offense to be able to do so. Oklahoma has been pretty bad on defense. They have relied on Baker Mayfield to win games for them this year. West Virginia has been a little better defensively, but they don’t have Baker Mayfield at QB. Grier has been good, but not Mayfield. This will be a high scoring affair, although maybe slightly less so with Mayfield missing time.

Oklahoma 35-34

 

Apple Cup (Washington St @ Washington):

Since an awful Wash St team pulled off the crazy upset in 2012 Washington has run off 4 straight wins (7 of 8). It’s been a decade since Washington St pulled off the win on the road. The last few games have not been very close.  This game features probably the top 2 defenses in the Pac 12. So it will be low-scoring for Pac 12’s sake. I think Browning will be the difference in this game and Washington is able to bottle up Washington State’s offense.

Washington 31-21

 

Egg Bowl (Ole Miss @ Mississippi St):

Ole Miss leads the overall Series, but Miss St has gotten the best of them in the modern era. Miss St destroyed Ole Miss last year, Ole Miss won the previous 2 years. Ole Miss needs a win to make a bowl game. Same situation as last year. I don’t think the outcome will be much different than it was last year. Miss St is just the better team right now. Ole Miss defense is pretty lowly.  Miss St runs away with the game.

Miss st 41-21

 

Texas A&M @ LSU:

Both teams have under-performed to the level of talent they have this year. However they can both have a successful year with a win this weekend and finish as a top 25 team. This will be a lower scoring game as both defenses have performed better than the offenses.  LSU at home should get the advantage and use Death Valley to power them to a win.

LSU 24-20

 

Palmetto Bowl (Clemson @ South Carolina):

This was the game that Dabo Swinney could never win. His first 5 years South Carolina got the best of him every year.  That seems like a distant history as Clemson has rattled off 3 straight wins. South Carolina is significantly better than they have been the last few years however and Clemson has an offense that isn’t performing all that well. Being in Columbus South Carolina will give Clemson all they can handle. However in the end Clemson’s defense will be too much for South Carolina to overcome as they will not be able to get points when needed.

Clemson 28-21

 

Clean, Old Fashioned Hate (Georgia @ Georgia Tech):

Georgia Tech has not won a home game in this series since 1999. However Georgia Tech has won 2 of the last 3.  The last 4 games have all been a 1-score game with 2 of them being Overtime games. If Georgia is unable to stop the Triple Option Paul Johnson offense then it could be another long night for UGA and another close game. I think UGA will struggle to score points and  Georgia Tech will keep it close, but UGA is too good and will pull away at the end.

Georgia 24-10

 

Ohio St @ Michigan:

This is the game that Harbaugh has been unable to win. Came close last year but squandered a chance at the end before losing in Double OT. Ohio St has won the last 5 match-ups and 12 of the last 13. Both defenses have been very good this year. Michigan’s offense has been pretty bad and Ohio State’s has had issues against better defenses. I think those issues will pop up again here, and this will be another defensive battle. Michigan fights valiantly but Harbaugh and Michigan come up short again.

Ohio St 24-21

 

Legends Trophy (Notre Dame @ Stanford):

Stanford has won 6 of the last 8 match-ups and haven’t lost at home in a decade. The last 5 match-ups have all been decided by 1 score or less. ND has been very good this year and needs a win (and help) to have a chance at the playoffs. A win against Stanford would give them 4 very quality top 25 wins. They would still need a lot of help to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. Stanford and Bryce Love should be able to run the ball on Notre Dame and have plenty of success there. Notre Dame should be able to do the same. Should be a very exciting back and forth game.

Stanford 28-27

 

Iron Bowl (Alabama @ Auburn):

Alabama has won the last 3 games easily. However the last time Auburn was top 10, they were able to beat Alabama at home. This will be a battle that features a lot of Defensive NFL talent and 2 efficient passing attacks. The offenses won’t beat themselves and the defenses are suffocating. In the end Alabama is able to run the ball better and grind out a win on their way to the SEC championship game against Georgia. The winner will face Georgia next week in the SECCG.

Alabama 21-17

 

 

Other Games:

East Mich over Bowling Green

Akron over Kent St

Miami (oh) over Ball St

Toledo over West Mich

Miami over Pitt

TCU over Baylor

NIU over Cent Mich

Navy over Houston

Ohio over Buffalo

Missouri over Arkansas

SDSU over New Mex

Troy over Tex St

Iowa over Nebraska

WKU over FIU

Cal over UCLA

Ok St over Kansas

Memphis over ECU

Purdue over Indiana

UCONN over Cinci

SMU over Tulane

BC over Cuse

N Texas over Rice

UAB over UTEP

App St over Geo St

FAU over Charlotte

Marshall over South Miss

MTSU over ODU

Ark St over ULM

Nevada over UNLV

Penn St over Maryland

NCSU over UNC

Kan St over Iowa St

Mich St over Rutgers

Northwestern over Illinois

Tenn over Vandy

Temple over Tulsa

New Mex St over Idaho

Louisiana over Geo South

Wyoming over San Jose St

Oregon over Oregon St

UTSA over L Tech

Hawaii over BYU

Utah over Colorado

Utah St over Air Force

 

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving

Week 12 Preview

This might be the worst week we have seen in like 4-5 years. Only one truly notable game this week and that is the big Michigan v Wisconsin game.  I can’t decide if the 2nd biggest game is NCSU @ Wake or if it’s Kentucky @ UGA.  Either way this will be a quick week and no long write ups.

 

Playoff Picture:

Front Runners – Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin

Still Alive – Auburn, Georgia, Ohio St, TCU, USC, and Notre Dame

 

There is a very good chance that Alabama is already in even with a loss to Alabama (finishing 11-1) or a loss to UGA (finishing 12-1).

Clemson/Miami winner is essentially in as well unless they slip up in a game they should win (USCe for Clemson or UVA for Miami). OU and Wisconsin need to win out.

 

Last week went 6-3 in the big games and 14-7 in all games. Leaving us at 45-22 (67%) and 105-54 (66%) for the season.

 

No Big Games/write-ups this week.

 

Notable Games:

Wisconsin over Michigan in a nail-biter (Camp Randall comes through)

Duke over Georgia Tech

Louisville over Syracuse

NCSU over Wake Forest

Memphis over SMU

ND over Navy

WVU over Texas

Northwestern over Minnesota

FAU over FIU

Wyoming over Fresno St

Boise St over Air Force

USC over UCLA

Washington over Utah

UGA over Kentucky

Tennessee over LSU

 

 

Week 11 Preview

What a great week last week.  A real treat for fans of College football.  This week looks to be even better.  This so far has been a very exciting season. Lots of upsets and intrigue along the way.  Should be some more this week.  You have 7 match-ups featuring two ranked teams. As well as 1 more facing a tough opponent on the road.  You have 5 higher ranked teams on the road against ranked teams. You have a ranked almost ranked Group of 5 team on the road against a tough Group of 5 rival. You also have Clemson at home against FSU in a rivalry game. LOTS of good football this week. Expect some “upsets” (I use quotations as it will be ranked teams beating higher ranked teams).

In the Playoff Hunt you have:

Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Miami, Wisconsin, Washington, Oklahoma, Clemson, and TCU squarely in the Race.

You have Auburn, USC, Mich St, Ohio St, Penn St, Oklahoma St, Miss St, Virginia Tech, UCF and Washington St still alive but with tough roads to climb.

 

Last week I went 6-3 in the big games (39-19 for 67% on the season), and 15-6 overall (91-47 for 66% on the season).  I’ll look to continue that success this week.

 

Notre Dame @ Miami:

Miami surprised many people with their performance last week.  It also pretty much exposed Virginia Tech. Notre Dame has been playing very good football offensively all year, look for that to continue as Miami’s weakness is it’s run defense (which is Notre Dame’s strength). This is a heated rivalry that rarely plays. Ever since the 80’s Catholics v Convicts (which even has it’s own 30 for 30), these 2 schools have not liked each other. Now they will be fighting for a potential playoff spot. Should be a battle.

Notre Dame 28 – Miami 24

 

Oklahoma St @ Iowa St:

Iowa St is very proficient at upsetting highly ranked teams at home. Having beaten 2 top 5 teams this year (and a long history of it as well). I just can’t envision them making it 3 this year. Doesn’t mean they won’t give it their best try. Oklahoma St will cause a few turnovers and get a few extra possessions on offense and after last week’s loss in Bedlam they come out strong.

Ok St 34 – Iowa St 31

 

TCU @ Oklahoma:

This one will go along way in determining who will play in the Big 12 Championship. However if Oklahoma St beats Iowa St then there is a very high probability that the Big 12 champ game will be a rematch of this TCU/OU game. This is the best offense in the nation going against the top defense (the only defense…) in the Big 12 (one of the top defenses in the nation). Baker Mayfield is too good and playing in Norman will give OU the advantage here, TCU is able to score to keep up with OU, but not overcome them.

OU 37 – TCU 34

 

Michigan St @ Ohio St:

I’m not quite sure what to make of Ohio St after last week. That was one of the more surprising results of the season. Not just to lose, but to get taken to the woodshed by a largely average team. Michigan St has a better defense than Iowa so they can cause some of the same problems for Ohio St. But their offense is not as good (which is more a statement of MSU offense being bad than Iowa being good). However the main difference is this will be in Columbus and not in East Lansing (or Ames). Ohio St gets enough offense to win, but it’s not pretty.

Ohio St 31 – Michigan St 24

 

Iowa @ Wisconsin:

Iowa is definitely good enough to upset Wisconsin (evidence…Ohio St). However Camp Randall is one of the best home field advantages in College Football. In a largely ugly football game, Wisconsin continues to win, but not pretty.

Wisconsin 24 – Iowa 17

 

Toledo @ Ohio:

This one should come down to which match-up disadvantage is taken advantage of more. Ohio has a huge advantage in the running game and Toledo a huge advantage in the passing game. So depending on the pace that is set, this could be an interesting game. I’m going with the homefield advantage in this game and a leg up in the MAC title race.

Ohio 35 – Toledo 31

 

Washington @ Stanford:

This will be the toughest test yet for both of these teams. Toughest defense Stanford/Love have faced, and the toughest offense/RB that Washington has faced. Washington is clearly the better team and I think their defense will get the upper hand. But being on the road against a tough opponent can do strange things. Stanford makes it a game down to the end.

Washington 28 – Stanford 21

 

Alabama @ Mississippi St:

This should be the toughest match-up for Alabama since opening week. Not because Mississippi St is better than LSU, but because it’s their first true road game test. It will be interesting to see how they react. Miss St also has a pretty stout defense and a solid QB (you know the 2 ingredients that often make for a home upset). While I think Miss St will limit what Alabama does on offense, I don’t think they will be able to put up enough points even at home.

Alabama 27 – Miss St 14

 

Georgia @ Auburn:

This is definitely Georgia’s first REAL test of the season. Auburn’s defense is legit against Georgia’s rushing game. The key will be if Auburn can gain any traction offensively. If Malzahn is able to do stuff offensively then this should be a good game for Auburn and a potential big upset. Think this is a tough defensive battle with some big plays and lots of hard hits. In the end Georgia prevails.

Georgia 27 – Auburn 24

 

Other Games:

Duke over Army

So Carolina over Florida

Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech

Wake Forest over Syracuse

Clemson over FSU

Louisville over Virginia

Kansas St over WVU

Navy over SMU

L Tech over FAU

Wash st over Utah

Arizona St over UCLA
Colorado St over Boise St

Week 10 Preview

We have a wonderful week of football ahead of us. Lots of marquee match-ups featuring ranked teams. This week and next week are the big weeks and we will have a LOT better idea of playoff contenders and pretenders after this week and next. Should be a fun roller coaster ride the next 2 weeks. Most of the upsets are finished, so I wouldn’t expect too many major upsets from here (unranked teams beating ranked teams), although there will still be a couple throughout the year (inevitably).  From here it’s just figuring out who is for real and who isn’t.

Last week I went 5-1 in the Major games (33-16 for 67% over all) and 11-6 total last week (76-41 for 65% over all). So it was a pretty good week.  This week there are so many good match-ups that I chose a few extra games as part of the big games. Time is limit this week so the write-ups won’t be but a sentence or 2.

 

Clemson @ North Carolina St:

Clemson typically struggles at Carter-Finley stadium (as do many top ranked teams). However Clemson’s defense is too good.

Clemson 27 – NCSU 24

 

Virginia Tech @ Miami:

Miami is undefeated, but hasn’t looked very good doing it. VT has played very good since losing to Clemson.

VT 24 – Miami 20

 

Penn St @ Michigan St:

Michigan St is playing much better football this year and has turned it around. East Lansing is not an easy place to play for visiting teams, but Penn St is too good and pulls away.

Penn St 24 – Mich St 14

 

Stanford @ Washington St:

Stanford is starting a new QB and Love is not 100% after sitting out last week. They aren’t the same team without Love.  Washington St defense at home should be able to do enough to win this game.

Wash St 28 – Stanford 24

 

Arizona @ USC:

This game features 2 high powered offenses and not so good defenses. Both offenses are very good with Arizona having the better, but USC’s defense is significantly better than Arizona’s. USC wins by getting a couple more stops.

USC 42 – Arizona 31

 

LSU @ Alabama:

Alabama is just too strong. They run through LSU’s average run defense and are able to stop LSU’s offense

Alabama 31 – LSU 14

 

South Carolina @ Georgia:

This is going to be on of Georgia’s stiffest tests to date. But it’s not that stiff. The SEC East just isn’t that good. Georgia doesn’t dominate like they have been, but win easily.

Georgia 28 – So Carolina 14

 

UCF @ SMU:

One of UCF’s few remaining challenges. SMU behind Chad Morris has really turned the program around and is playing good football. But not good enough to knock of UCF.

UCF 45 – SMU 31

 

BEDLAM – Oklahoma @ Oklahoma St:

RIVALRY GAME. Oklahoma has dominated this series winning 12 of the last 14 (and the last 2 in blow-outs). But this seems to be the year that the team that hasn’t had the upper hand in rivalry games…gets the upper hand. (Miami over FSU, Georgia over Florida…). So I’m going with the upset in Stillwater.

Ok St 45 – Oklahoma 39

 

Other Notable Games:

Syracuse over FSU

ND over Wake Forest

TCU over Texas

WVU over Iowa St

Ohio St over Iowa

Marshall over FAU

Army over Air Force

Toledo over NIU

Wyoming over Colorado St

Washington over Oregon

Utah over UCLA

Auburn over TAMU

 

Playoff:

1-Alabama

2-Georgia

3-Ohio St

4-Notre Dame

Week 9 Preview

We finally get a very good week of College Football games. 4 top 25 match-ups with a big Rivalry game as well. Should be an exciting one, especially with the first CFP poll coming out next Tuesday. This is usually the last week of big upsets. Halloween weekend. So what upsets does the weekend hold in store? Stanford already survived a scare on Thursday night winning over lowly Oregon St in the closing minutes. What other spooky games will there be?

Last week I went 5-1 in the Big games (28-15 overall) and 9-5 overall (65-35). Holding steady at about 65% in both.

 

UCLA @ Washington:

UCLA has been playing better as of late and Washington has not looked like the team that ran through the Pac 12 last year and into the Playoffs. Washington is really the last hope for the Pac 12’s playoff chances. They lose another and the Pac 12 can hang it up. I don’t think this is the game though. Washington’s offense has been good enough that they should be able to put up a decent amount of points against UCLA, conversely UCLA has a high powered offense with Josh Rosen, but Washington’s Defense might be slightly better. Washington forces a few UCLA turnovers and capitalizes on the way to a win.

Washington 34 – UCLA 24

 

Georgia v Florida:

The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Florida has won 3 straight in this series with none of them being closer than 14 point MOV. Since 1990 Florida has won 21 of 27 match-ups. They have dominated this series in modern football. Even in 2014 when Florida finished unranked and Georgia was top 10. UF won by 18. This series has seen unranked teams take down Top 10 teams before. However I don’t think that will be the case (although with my October/Halloween theory…this should be a UF win…) Georgia is just too much for Florida who is reeling with 2 straight loses. UF has few advantages in this game…if any. Maybe UF can win the battle in the trenches when they are on defense. If they can win that battle by a large margin that will be their hope of winning. I think they do and they limit Georgia’s offense, but Georgia will shut UF down and likely cause a few turnovers. Georgia rolls.

Georgia 28 – Florida 14

 

North Carolina St @ Notre Dame:

Another week and another top 15 game for Notre Dame. Notre Dame is coming off a big emotional win over a rival (USC) last week. Notre Dame is a very good team (recall we had them ranked high to start the season). If NC St is going to win this game they will need a big game from their front 7 and Bradley Chubb. Which could happen. NC St will slow down Notre Dame’s rushing attack and play well. But they won’t be able to overcome Touchdown Jesus.

ND 27 – NCSU 24

 

Oklahoma St @ West Virginia:

After a hard fought and tough win last week Ok St has to travel where few Big 12 teams want to travel. All the way to Appalachia. They can hear the Banjo’s playing now. Oklahoma St’s offense has struggled the last few weeks, against tough defenses. West Virginia is not that. With one of the worst defenses in the nation, Oklahoma State’s offense should be able to get  back on track. West Virginia will be able to score points, but not likely that they will keep up even at home.

Ok St 38 – WVU 31

 

TCU @ Iowa St:

Who would have though 10 weeks ago that undefeated TCU would go on the road to a ranked Iowa St team? Iowa St is known for pulling off upsets at home. But TCU is rolling right now. They have a top defense and a QB that can play well in adverse conditions. 2 recipes you need to prevent a road disaster. TCU’s defense is too much for the overpowered Iowa St Cyclones.

TCU 28 – Iowa St 24

 

Penn St @ Ohio St:

Penn St has looked the real deal this year and Ohio St has rolled since the OU loss. Last year Penn St pulled off a big upset and announced their place at the big boy table. Ohio St is going to be looking for revenge on Saturday night.  Ohio St still has issues throwing the ball downfield and it will show itself to be true in this game. But they will do a good job of bottling up Barkley (not shutting him down) and limiting McSorley. They will get enough on offense behind the 100k+ fans to pull out the victory.

OSU 28 – PSU 24

 

Other games:

Clemson over GT

FSU over BC

OU over TT

Iowa over Minn

Arizona over Wash St

USC over AZ st

TAMU over Miss St

USF over Houston

WKU over FAU

Boise St over Utah St

App St over UMASS

 

Playoffs:

1-Alabama

2-Penn St

3-Georgia

4-Notre Dame

Week 8 Preview

Finally have 2 Marquee (name) matches of top 25 teams this week. As well as some other games between some intriguing teams. SEC continues to fail to deliver good match-ups. USC @ ND and Michigan @ Penn St is about as good as it has been the last month. We are still in October which means still prime time upsets are bound to happen. So look for a shocker or 2!

Last week went 4-2 with the big games (23-14 on the season) and 9-5 overall (56-30).

 

Oklahoma St @ Texas

Oklahoma’s trio on offense continues to wreck havoc in the Big 12. Texas’ has steadily been improving under Coach Herman. This will be a tough one for Oklahoma St on the road in Austin. But Rudolph/Washington will prove too much for Texas.

Ok St 38 – Texas 31

 

Louisville @ Florida St

Last year Louisville ran rough-shod over FSU who was without Derwin James. This year Derwin James is back and Louisville travels to Tallahassee. FSU has had this one circled and is hungry for a win. Louisville’s defense has had trouble defending anything this year. BC ran over, around, under, and through Louisville last week and they have had one of the worst pass defenses all year. FSU’s ground game has been picking up chunks of yards the last several weeks against defenses much better than Louisville’s. So FSU should have little problem moving the ball, but will they finish? Of course on the other side you have the reigning Heisman champ who destroyed the FSU defense. The FSU defense is playing much better this year, but like the offense they haven’t been clutch and have failed at crucial moments. I think FSU is able to get a few early touchdowns and force a few turnovers and finishes this one.

FSU 35 – Louisville 24

 

LSU @ Ole Miss

This is the best match-up I could see in the SEC this week. LSU is coming off 2 strong wins and Ole Miss is having issues on defense. They have been able to move the ball through the air, however that has been one of LSU’s strength recently. LSU should be able to get the ground game going against a porous Ole Miss run defense. Grice has a big game, but Ole Miss is able to keep it close at home.

LSU 28 – Ole Miss 25

 

UCF @ Navy

UCF has been steamrolling opponents on offense and been pretty stingy on defense. This week 5-1 Navy welcomes UCF to come try and stop their triple option attack. Look for Navy to try and slow the game down and limit UCF’s possessions. Which they will need to do as their defense has been pretty bad and UCF has been unstoppable. If UCF is able to get a few early touchdowns and a few early stops this could get very ugly. But look for Navy to be able to get a few touchdowns to keep it close through the first half before UCF runs away with it in the 2nd.

UCF 45 – Navy 21

 

Michigan @ Penn St

This is Penn State’s first real test. Sort of. Michigan has not been able to find any kind of offensive rhythm despite their defense still playing at a very high level. Michigan will look to get their offense on track against Penn St. However Penn St’s defense has been playing much better this season. On the other side is one of the best offenses in the nation against one of the best defenses. In that aspect it will be a good measuring stick to see how good Penn St is and if they are a real contender this year or not. I don’t think Penn St will have a whole lot of success on Offense, but it should be more than enough. Michigan will continue to struggle on offense.

Penn St 24 – Michigan 14

 

Southern Cal @ Notre Dame

A ranked rivalry game. Both teams have been good but not great this year. The biggest reason for Notre Dame’s turnout is a much improved Defense, but the thing that stands out is their rushing attack which is one of, if not the, best in the nation. USC has not mediocre stopping the run this year. Look for Notre Dame to get the running game going and keep Sam Darnold off the field. USC should be able to move the ball, but Darnold will throw a pick or 2, taking away a couple needed opportunities. Touchdown Jesus for the win.

ND 31 – USC 24

 

Other Games

Wake Forest over Georgia Tech

Texas Tech over Iowa St

Michigan St over Indiana

Southern Miss over La Tech

Boise St over Wyoming

UCLA over Oregon

Wash St over Colorado

Kentucky over Miss St

Houston over Memphis

 

Week 8 Playoff

1-Alabama

2-Ohio St

3-Miami

4-Georgia

Week 7 Preview

Well we went south again last week in the big games going 3-4. Bringing the total to 19-12 on the year. Still not too shabby. In all games last week was 9-5, bringing that overall total to 47-25 (65%). Will try and rebound this week.

This week is another lack-luster match-up week. But still some good games and a few good chances for upsets. We are getting to that time of the year where lot of upsets happen (late October). Still another couple weeks before the CFB delivers its first set or rankings. Still a lot of movement left to go before that and quite a few big games too.

 

Georgia Tech @ Miami:

If not for this being right after the emotional FSU game (let-down) and with the injuries that are mounting up for Miami, Miami would likely walk all over Georgia Tech. But preparing for the GT offense with focus that might not be there all the way, this is a HUGE Trap Game for Miami. Being at home and with confidence high for Rozier Miami should be able to control the ball on offense and hit a few big plays in the passing game, while also getting a few turnovers on Defense (bringing out the Turnover Chain). GT will try and slow the game down and wear Miami down keeping it relatively low scoring.

Miami 28 – GT 21

 

Oklahoma @ Texas:

The Red River Shootout (forget the PC version of Red River Rivalry). This game is known for unexpected finishes and underdogs winning. I think Texas is being overlooked in the Big 12. They have improved significantly in recent weeks. Oklahoma’s offense will be too much for Texas in this match-up and I don’t think Texas will have the offense to outscore OU like Iowa St did (which took a super-human performance from that offense). In a twisty odd game (like normal) OU wins a close game.

Oklahoma 31 – Texas 28

 

Michigan @ Indiana:

I struggled to decide which game to pick in the Big Ten (between this and Purdue/Wisconsin). There is just such a big gap between the top 4/5 teams in the Big Ten and everyone else, that unless one of those teams are playing each other there isn’t a lot of intrigue. I picked this game because Michigan is reeling and it’s on the road. Potential for a big upset here (which would really shake up the Big Ten and hurt it’s perception). Both offenses are pretty much garbage and both defenses are good to great. So this will be a low scoring affair. Michigan’s defense gets a few more big stops/turnovers that lead to points than Indiana does.

Michigan 21 – Indiana 10

 

Oregon @ Stanford:

Stanford has been running the ball down everyone’s throat. Nothing else on their team is particularly good. Oregon has had one of the better run defenses so far in the nation. I don’t think Stanford will have as much room to run in this game and it will be a very close game. However Stanford is playing very good lately and it’s at home. Game will turn into a high scoring affair.

Stanford 38 – Oregon 35

 

Auburn @ LSU:

Not many places will drive fear into opposing offenses than Death Valley at Night. However this game is not at night so LSU loses that advantage. But Death Valley is still a tough place to come. LSU is very high after the UF victory, and seems they may have turned a corner. Auburn however is starting to figure things out on offense and still playing very well defensively. LSU will struggle to score in this game and Auburn will get enough done with Stidham to earn the victory.

Auburn 21 – LSU 17

 

Boise St @ San Diego St:

Battle of the top 2 teams in the Mountain West. This game will go along ways in determining how good SDSU is and seeing if they are a legit contender for the Group of 5 at large spot in the NY6 Bowls. Both teams are led by their defenses. Boise St’s defense is slightly better, however SDSU has the better offense. SDSU is also at home. In a tight game that comes down to the wire and well contested SDSU will use the home field advantage and come out on top.

SDSU 21 – BSU 20

 

 

Other Notable Games:

FSU over Miami

Navy over Memphis

Kansas St over TCU

WVU over Texas Tech

Wisconsin over Purdue

Minnesota over Michigan St

USC over Utah

TAMU over UF

 

Week 6 Preview

Last week we talked about how the declining SEC has left weeks seemingly not enticing to watch. This week is another great example of that: In years past who would have been ecstatic to get a week with LSU @ UF, Ole Miss @ Auburn, Alabama @ TAMU, Miami @ FSU, and Mich St @ Michigan. Along with 2 ranked battles (not among that list). This year, that list doesn’t really tickle me at all. Having said that this week still stinks, although there will be some good games and in hindsight the week will end up pretty good. Maybe a couple upsets.

Had a good bounce back week last week going 5-1 in the big games and 12-2 overall (big time wrong on the Tennessee upset…). On the season that brings the totals to 16-8 and 38-20. Now for this weeks games.

 

Louisville @ NC State

The key in this game is really going to be if the Louisville OL can hold off the NC St DL and give Lamar Jackson time to throw and space to run.  I think they will do a decent job and Lamar Jackson will have a big day against the porous NCSU pass defense. If this was neutral or at Louisville I would feel very good about this game, but on a Thursday at Carter-Finley. It’s a tough place to play at night. Usually an NC St team with a good OL/DL and efficient QB will win these games.  This feels different to me. I think Lamar puts himself back on top here, even though I think Finley will have a good day.

Louisville 31 – NC State 28

 

Miami @ FSU

Lot of love going around for Miami right now. Will this be the year they break the streak (FSU has won 7 in a row). In a lot of ways this game is very similar to last year. FSU was struggling and coming off some bad losses with the fan base questioning the team/coaches. Miami was top 10 and undefeated and the fan base was saying they were back. Very similar sentiments this year. I think the game will go very similar to last year. FSU will be able to run on Miami, as they have the last several years, and will be able to stop Miami’s rushing attack. The key to the game is going to be who makes the bigger plays in the passing game. With Richards and Walton not quite 100% for Miami (their 2 big skill players on offense) and FSU having more people to look too in that regard (despite Tate not being 100%) I think FSU will end up making more plays (and be the first time on the season they have done so). I think the streak continues, but barely.

FSU 27 – Miami 20

 

Alabama @ Texas A&M

Went back and forth between choosing this game or the LSU/UF game for the SEC this week. The dumpster fire that is LSU going to the Swamp, end up making the choice.  Texas A&M has played to this point better than we at SF expected so far this year. Unfortunately so has Alabama…by a LOT. Alabama should have little trouble running over TAMU like they have the last 2 weeks. I think the 12th man will end up keeping this game a bit closer than the last 2 weeks. But Bama still runs away with it.

Alabama 41 – TAMU 14

 

Michigan St @ Michigan

This looks to be an old school defensive battle. Both teams have been lackluster on offense and have been very good defensively. At least Defensively it looks like Michigan St has regained some of their swagger.  Michigan is slightly better on offense and better on defense. Added with the home field advantage this will be a defensive whooping (closer score than the game indicates).

Michigan 21 – Michigan St 13

 

West Virginia @ TCU

Some high-powered Big 12 offenses and really better than people think Defenses (although not good). Decently high scoring game here with TCU’s rushing offense being the big difference. WVU will have issues stopping TCU from rushing the ball. TCU pulls away at the end of the 4th quarter for a big win.

TCU 38 – WVU 31

 

Washington St @ Oregon

Washington St is coming off a HUGE win over USC, and now has to go to perhaps the toughest home field advantage in the Pac 12 and play a good Oregon team. I think the home field advantage and getting up for another game after a big win will be tough for Washington St. I think Oregon’s offense ends up being the difference in this game as well as the sheer intensity of what figures to be a raucous crowd in Oregon.

Oregon 35 – Washington St 31

 

SMU @ Houston

Struggled finding a Group of 5 game, so I chose State rivals of which both are decent teams. This looks like a prime spot for Chad Morris to get a big win after beating Houston last year at home. This could go a long way in helping SMU get bowl eligible (huge feat considering where they were 3 years ago). However after last year’s beat down and with home field advantage I think Houston wins a closely contest game here. Houston’s defense and Ed Oliver end up being the difference here.

Houston 35 – SMU 28

 

Other games:

Auburn over Ole Miss

LSU over UF

UNC over ND

Wisconsin over Neb

UCF over Cincinnati

Stanford over Utah

Washington over Cal

Week 5 Preview

Had a discussion with a friend earlier this week when they commented about it being another bad slate of games. Which at first glance it does appear to be the case, but when you get past the lack of “Brand Names” it’s really not a bad slate of games. Just like the last 2 weeks. My thought is that with the SEC being down from what we are used to the last decade that a lot of the marquee names (which reside in the SEC) don’t pop off at you. We also have a few ranked teams playing each other and a few ranked teams on the road against un-ranked decent teams. Unfortunately some of those ranked teams just don’t pop off at you. USC at Washington St (both top 16 teams) doesn’t grab your attention like Alabama at Ole Miss in years past (similar match-up). Anyways this slate of games is better than it appears at first glance and should be a good weekend of Football (certainly a better week than College Basketball is having…).

Last week was one of the worst weeks in the last 4 years of Simplified Football predicting games. Went 3-3 with the big games (not too bad), but went 7-9 overall. Brings yearly totals to 11-7 and 26-18. Still good yearly totals. Hopefully we’ll bounce back this week.

 

USC @ Washington St:

This is a really tricky match-up for USC. Friday night game on the road against a team with a (so-far) solid defense and an experience QB. Often that is a recipe for upsets. USC is clearly the more talented team, but Washington St is no slouch. Read earlier this week about Mike Leach’s best team that went 11-2 and was a strong contender down the wire to play in the NC game (until a late upset), was the only year he had a solid defense. It’s a year similar to this year. This will be their stiffest test yet, while USC has already played a couple tough, and talented teams and came out with victories. I think this will be lower scoring than many expect (Over is 64.5) I have it well under that, similar to the Texas v USC game. Washington State will hang tough and give USC everything they can handle, but in the end will fall just short.

USC 28 – Wash St 24

 

Memphis @ UCF:

Both of these AAC schools have had big wins over prominent Power 5 programs that last 2 weeks with Memphis beating UCLA and UCF whooping Maryland. Both teams seem to be legit teams that would at least compete for a bowl bid in any conference. UCF has a good offense with a better defense and Memphis has a very good offense with a below average defense. This looks like it should be a high scoring affair. Home Field advantage should be a deciding factor here. Memphis almost had a let-down last week against an FCS team after beating UCLA. UCF will try and avoid the let-down this week after beating Maryland last week.

UCF 41 – Memphis 35

 

Mississippi St @ Auburn:

Mississippi St came up very short against UGA a week after destroying LSU. I think the true value of their team will be somewhere in the middle, and that is what we will see this week against Auburn. Auburn’s offense has been severely lacking so far this year, but their defense is performing at a very high level. Should be a pretty low scoring game as they both match-up pretty evenly across from each other. I think Auburn’s defense comes up big again and they get a few big plays to put the game away at home.

Auburn 24 – Miss St 14

 

Northwestern @ Wisconsin:

This is probably the best match-up in the Big Ten this week. It’s not saying much. There is a pretty big discrepancy between the Top teams and everyone else in the Big Ten. Wisconsin should control this game from beginning to end. They are better in every facet of the game…and more experienced. They should be able to shut them down and have no issues running the football.

Wisconsin 41 – Northwestern 14

 

Oklahoma St @ Texas Tech:

A ranked team on the road against an undefeated conference rival. Both of these offenses are very high powered and can put up points in a hurry. Oklahoma States is better and their defense is better to. Should be a fun game to watch with a lot of back and forth scoring, especially to start the game. Oklahoma St will be able to force a few turnovers and/or get a couple stops when needed to put the game out of reach. Rudolph and Washington will have a BIG game.

Oklahoma St 52 – Texas Tech 35

 

Clemson @ Virginia Tech:

Going to Blacksburg at night is a tough environment for even the most experienced and talented teams. This is definitely a game Clemson needs to watch out for. It is definitely a prime spot for a big upset. Fuentes is an excellent coach and VT has a very good defense. They will try and force Clemson into committing some turnovers in the passing game. If VT can be +2 in turnover margin than they will have an excellent chance at upsetting Clemson. I think Virginia Tech will be able to control this game and play how they want to. But Clemson’s defense is just too good and it bails their offense out and sets up a couple of scores for Clemson. Clemson wins a big road game.

Clemson 24 – Virginia Tech 21

 

Other games:

Miami over Duke

UF over Vandy

GT over UNC

Tennessee with the upset over UGA

FSU over Wake

Alabama over Ole Miss

San Diego St over Northern Illinois

UCLA over Colorado

 

Simplified Football Playoff teams:

1-Alabama

2-Clemson

3-USC

4-Oklahoma