"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 11 PICKS RECAP AND PLAYOFF PREDICTION

The list of playoff contenders is either shrinking or growing, depending on your perspective. Some would say Ohio State's victory over Michigan State eliminated the Big Ten from consideration for a spot. Others would say it further solidified the Buckeyes as a potential candidate, provided they can get past a surprising Minnesota team this weekend. Auburn's fumbling away of their game with Texas A&M eliminated another SEC West team from the mix, but the Tigers can still play a significant role in the conference with games at Georgia and against Alabama in the Iron Bowl to end the regular season. I believe it's totally within reason that the SEC is left out of the playoff, particularly if winning the conference is part of the criteria to get in. The SEC West could find itself with no one-loss teams at the end of the season. That would certainly cause some uproar.

Some other teams are starting to make some noise, particularly TCU, Baylor and Oregon. Florida State continues to remain undefeated, despite what many would call the latest in a number of lackluster efforts. It's tough to see the committee leaving them out if they win out, especially since it would mean victories over Miami, Florida and either Duke or Ga.Tech in the ACC championship game. I don't carry any weight with the committee, so I won't try to rank the teams at this point in the season. However, I have my own prediction as to who will be in the playoffs when the announcement is made on Dec. 7. Sorry Big Ten, but you need to get more competition within the conference or better wins outside of it.
  1. Oregon
  2. Florida State
  3. Alabama
  4. TCU
 Of course, one game can topple my listings, but I've watched a lot of football games and the eye test works for these teams. Some may wonder where Mississippi State is, but this list is based on the prediction that Alabama defeats the Bulldogs this week and then goes on to capture the SEC title, including a win over Auburn. Should this week's game go the other way, then I would have to lean toward Mississippi State, possibly as a number one seed.

Now let's see how things went last week.

Last Week:  17 - 4
Overall:     178 - 71

Thursday (from a previous post):

(21) Clemson (6 - 2) 23 @ Wake Forest (2 - 6) 9: Correct (spread) The Tigers are most likely eliminated from the ACC Atlantic race, barring a monumental collapse by Florida State. But they'll have a say in who represents the Coastal when they take on a hot Ga. Tech team this week. Clemson 34 - 20.

Saturday:

UT-Martin (5 - 5) 13 @ (1) Mississippi State (8 - 0) 38: Correct. No comment. Miss. St. 45 - 16.

Virginia (4 - 5)  20 @ (1) Florida State (8 - 0) 27: Correct. Once again, the 'Noles struggled at times, but a two touchdown victory isn't all that bad. Next up is Miami. Florida St. 34 - 20.

Texas A&M (6 - 3) 28 @ (3) Auburn (7 - 1) 37: No. I predicted it would take a heroic defensive effort for the Aggies to win. Instead it just took some lucky bounces. Texas A&M 41 - 38.

(4) Oregon (8 - 1) 30 @ (17) Utah (6 - 2) 24: Correct. The Ducks went into a hostile environment against a good team and won going away. Oregon has already clinched the Pac-12 North and will have to really stumble to keep from making it to the conference championship game with only one loss. It's a wide open race to see who they'll face. Oregon 51 - 27.

(5) Alabama (7 - 1) @ 24 (16) LSU (6 - 2) 23: Correct. All I can say is it was great to watch a terific football game. The Tide came back from the dead, a tribute to the coaches and the players for not giving up after almost fumbling the game away in the final couple of minutes. Alabama 20 - 13 OT.

(7) Kansas State (7 - 1) 28 @ (6) TCU (7 - 1) 30: Correct. Even though this win was at home, I believe this really established the Horned Frogs as the leader in the Big-12, despite their 61 - 58 loss to Baylor. Their win over now 7 - 2 Minnesota looms large, a non-conference quality win that Baylor can't claim. TCU 41 - 20.

(14) Ohio State (7 - 1) 24 @ (8) Michigan State (7 - 1) 27: No. Despite cries from experts to the contrary, the Buckeyes' home loss to now 4 - 5 Virginia Tech will probably weigh big in the minds of the playoff committee members. Wins over Navy, Kent State and Cincinnati will fail to impress. Ohio State 49 - 37.

(10) Notre Dame (7 - 1) 27 @ (9) Arizona State (7 - 1) 31: Correct. The Sun Devils could be on a collision course with Oregon, provided they get past Oregon State, Washington State and archrival Arizona. I'm not so sure about that last one. Arizona State 55 - 31.

Presbyterian (5 - 4) 6 @ (11) Ole Miss (7 - 2) 38:  Correct. Why bother? Ole Miss 48 - 0. 

(12) Baylor (7 - 1) 34 @ (15) Oklahoma (6 - 2) 38: No. Despite what I said about TCU, Baylor is making their own case for the playoffs. But without a key non-conference win, TCU should still get the nod. Beside, the Bears still need to get past Kansas State in the season finale. Baylor 48 - 14.

(18) UCLA (7 - 2) 27 @ Washington (6 - 3) 20: Correct. UCLA is making a late season push and hold the tie-breaker over Arizona State by virtue of their 62 - 27 win over the Sun Devils. UCLA 44 - 30.

Colorado (2 - 7) 23 @ (19) Arizona (6 - 2) 34: Correct. The Wildcats need to win out and hope they don't end up in a three way tie with UCLA and Arizona State. In that scenario, the Bruins would win the division by virtue of their wins over the other two teams. Arizona 38 - 20.

(20) Georgia (6 - 2) 27 @ Kentucky (5 - 4) 21: Correct. The Bulldogs still have to be wondering what went wrong against Florida, or we would be discussing their chances of getting into the playoff with an SEC title. Georgia 63 - 31.

(22) Duke (7 - 1) 30 @ Syracuse (3 - 6) 17: Correct. It will be interesting to see how far the Blue Devils rise in the latest committee rankings. Unfortunately, they won't have another chance to make a big impression with three sub-.500 teams left before a potential date with Florida State in the ACC championship game. Duke 27 - 10.

(23) West Virginia (6 - 3) 37 @ Texas (4 - 5) 20: No.  Don't look now, but Charlie Strong may have Texas headed in the right direction a little earlier than would have been thought a few weeks ago. West Virginia probably had a bit of a TCU loss hangover. Texas 33 - 16.

(24) Ga. Tech (7 - 2) 31 @ NC State (5 - 4) 23: Correct.  The Yellow Jackets will get a couple of chances to end the season on a very high note, even if they don't win the ACC Coastal. Clemson and Georgia loom large. Georgia Tech 56 - 23.

(25) Wisconsin (6 - 2) 30 @ Purdue (3 - 6) 16: Correct.  Not much of a surprise as the Badgers stay in the hunt in the Big Ten West, setting up a big game with Nebraska on Saturday. Wisconsin 34 - 16.

Louisville (6 - 3) 30 @ Boston College (6 - 3) 24: Correct.  Louisville, after an opening win against Miami, had higher aspirations than a third place finish in the ACC Atlantic. But Bobby Petrino has the Cardinal poised for future success. We'll see for sure when they face Notre Dame on Nov. 22 after a week off. Louisville 38 - 19.

Iowa (6 - 2) 23 @ Minnesota (6 - 2) 31: Correct. The Golden Gophers' 7 - 2 record is impressive, but now they get Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin to close out the  regular season. I don't like their chances of finishing 10 -2. Minnesota 51 - 14.

Florida (4 - 3) 20 @ Vanderbilt (3 - 6) 13: Correct.  Florida still has a mathematical chance at finishing in a tie for the SEC East, which would be quite an accomplishment given the way they started the season. A win over Florida State, a 7 - 3 record and a possible appearance in the SEC championship game would probably be enough for Florida AD Jeremy Foley to bring back head coach Will Muschamp.  Florida 34 - 10.