Welcome to The Funvee Tailgate! Week 9 saw some shake up in possible playoff contenders; the Big XII is effectively finished. We also got the first CFP Poll released and we’re already well into Week 10 play, let’s get to it. FIRE IT UP!
First CFP Poll:
In the third year of the College Football Playoff Era, the selection committee once again leaves the entire country’s collective jaws dropped after the first poll. For the THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON, multiple SEC teams would make the Playoff if it started today but this year’s may be the most egregious; Texas A&M is seventh in the AP Poll! The committee is showing so much bias to the SEC and Big Ten Conferences it’s ridiculous but it makes me think one thing: they’re covering their future tracks, however unlikely those routes may be. This is evident in maybe the most ridiculously ranked team: Penn State. If Penn State wins out and Michigan loses twice, Penn State would win the East Division and make the Big Ten Championship. Say they win the conference, the committee would say: “They’ve been a high ranked school with above-.500 wins since November 1st, of course they’re in!” This may sound absurd but so is PSU’s 12 ranking over EVERY Big XII team and all but one Pac 12 team all of whom are thought to be better teams than the team who took down Ohio State. Where this “pricing-in theory” doesn’t hold water is Texas A&M. A&M is also in the SEC West with Bama and is highly than Washington, a conference leader and apparently the only team with a shot. Assuming both win out, does Washington just get #4 right after the Pac 12 title game because they played a 13th game while A&M was inactive? I alluded to the Big XII’s title aspirations being finished in the teaser and it’s quite apparent. Two-loss Oklahoma is ranked over both one-loss schools, are they “pricing in” OU as the Big XII Champ on the outside looking in? Who knows. In both of the previous years, at least two schools who made the Playoff weren’t in the Final Four at the first poll and in both years, the #15 ranked school in the first poll makes it in as the 4-seed; no pressure Colorado. The committee also tries to hit the reset button every week so I’m sure we’ll all be mad at something else they do next week. Conspiracy theory: they’re using us to see our “real reactions” like the director in The Truman Show used Jim Carey?
With November returns the early weeknight MAC play (or “MACTION” as Pardon My Take has coined it). #23 Western Michigan quickly moved to 9-0 as they man-handled Ball State 52-20 on Tuesday night. The Broncos drop to 23rd in the CFP rank versus 17th in the AP Poll shows that there will be no CFP Bowl Buster this season but maybe the New Years Six Bowls. Thursday night saw two ranked teams in action against weaker opponents. #14 Oklahoma took care of Iowa State 34-24 while #15 Colorado defeated the injury-ridden UCLA Bruins 20-10.
Big Games This Week:
Friday Night Smurfs:
#24 Boise State looks to rebound from their first loss last week. The return home as 29.5-point favorite against San Jose State. This game could turn into a blowout quickly. BSU wins.
I honestly have no idea if any games are on “Mud Bowl Alert” but as always, November shuffles the deck in the College Football world. The question is who survives into their Conference Championship Game. #2 Clemson, #3 Michigan, #4 Texas A&M, #5 Washington, #7 Louisville, #9 Auburn, #20 West Virginia, and #25 Washington State are all MASSIVE favorites and should win. Let’s take a look at the rest of the slate:
- #8 Wisconsin at Northwestern at noon on ABC — Northwestern hasn’t been in the spotlight this as much as they had been in the past couple years due to their 4-4 record but that doesn’t mean they are an easy out. I like Wisconsin’s run defense here though, Badgers win.
- Georgia Tech at #21 North Carolina at 12:30 on ACC Net — Both teams have talented QBs: UNC’s Mitch Trubisky and GT’s triple-option man, Justin Thomas. GT has a decent defense but there’s a reason the Tar Heels are a double-digit favorite: the connection between Trubisky and wideout Ryan Switzer. The Heels are also 16-3 in their last 19 ACC games under Larry Fedora. UNC wins and covers 10.5-point spread.
- #19 Virginia Tech at Duke at 3:30 on ESPNU — Duke has played VaTech close the last few times the Hokies have come to Durham but things are different this season. Primarily, this is the Duke team we were used to in the ’00s; the low man on the totem pole. Virginia Tech wins and covers 10.5-point spread.
- #18 Oklahoma State at Kansas State at 3:30 on ABC — K-State is a 2.5-point favorite here. The Wildcats have been great at home and played West Virginia tight on the road. OKState will have their work cut out for them; I like the Cowboys by a touchdown.
- TCU at #17 Baylor ay 3:30 on FOX — Remember when this was the marquee matchup of the Big XII? TCU has dropped off and sits at 4-4 while Baylor looks to avenge their first loss of the season. Baylor RB Terence Williams will the charge in what should be a shootout. Baylor wins.
- #11 Florida at Arkansas at 3:30 on CBS — Florida’s only loss came against the now unranked Tennessee. Aside from that game, the Gators haven’t allowed more than 14 points in any of their games. Their defense is great, but I like Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams III to be the difference. Arkansas wins.
- #22 Florida State at NC State at 7 on ESPNU — FSU has seen their dreams shatter at the hands of NC State multiple times in the past. The Wolfpack are riding a three-game losing streak including a heartbreaking home loss to BC last week. Hard to think the ‘Noles are only a 5.5 point favorite. FSU wins.
- Iowa at #12 Penn State at 7:30 on Big Ten Network — The priced-in #12 team is a touchdown favorite on the Hawkeyes. The fact that Iowa lost to North Dakota State should give this one away. Penn State wins.
- #10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State at 8 on ABC — OSU is a 17-point favorite over the Huskers, the leader of the Big Ten West currently. If the game was in Nebraska, I think the Huskers would have a great shot, but not at the ‘Shoe. OSU wins.
- #1 Alabama at #13 LSU at 8 on CBS — A much more fun game to watch, Alabama and LSU face off once again for the SEC West. Believe it or not, Coach O has led the Tigers back into contention and Leonard Fournette has returned better than ever. He was shutdown by the Bama defense in Tuscaloosa last year. I don’t think they cover the 7.5-point spread but Bama wins. LSU will probably be #2 next week for playing Bama so close.
Lehigh plays their final home game of the regular season as they host the Bisons of Bucknell. Lehigh won in a convincing fashion last week against a strong Fordham opponent. The Mountain Hawks are in an interesting position as they play this weekend and will have next week off leading into Lafayette week. With that being said, their 4-0 Patriot League record puts them in a position to clinch this week, but it also gives a 2-1 PL Bucknell squad with an outside chance. Bucknell and Lehigh’s only common opponent was Colgate, to whom the Bisons lost 27-7. That result bodes well for Lehigh, who demolished Colgate, but also brings in the thought of a trap game. I’ve thrown around that term throughout the season and the bye week helps, but Lehigh still needs to be aware and get the job done. Let’s clinch this week and take two weeks to prepare to demolish Lafayette. LET’S GO LEHIGH!!!
Disagree with my picks? Did I miss a matchup you wanted me to talk about? Let me know in the comments!Follow @geordo9