"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.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

COLLEGE WEEK 14 PICKS RECAP

It was a little topsy turvy this past weekend, with three top ten teams losing, knocking them all out of playoff consideration. I don't quite understand how the committee justified moving TCU ahead of an unbeaten Florida State team, who despite struggling a bit, still got by rival Florida. But if Alabama and Oregon are justified in being ahead of the Seminoles, then I guess it's possible to shuffle them down below the Horned Frogs.

The more interesting discussion is what happens if the current top six all win this weekend. Does the committee keep everyone the same, meaning Big 12 co-champ Baylor gets passed over, even though they defeated TCU? And where does that put Ohio State, who will have won with what is essentially their third string QB against a very good Wisconsin team? Of course, this is all mere speculation, as we'll need to wait to see what transpires on the field before making any further determination of the final four.

What we do know is that Mississippi State, UCLA and Georgia are all out of the mix, raising the question of what happens if Arizona defeats Oregon for the second time this season. Uh oh, there's that speculation again. My opinion is that you really can't have a true playoff system when a power conference champ is left out. The BCS was meant to create a championship matchup, which it did fairly well during its tenure. Now the landscape has changed significantly and the playoff system needs to evolve in order to adapt effectively.

Last Week:   19 - 5    .792
Overall:     232 - 86   .730

My final four pick is based on how I think it will turn out at 12:30 on Dec. 7. You;ll need to check out my picks blog on Friday to see how I think the teams below will end up making the final cut:

  1. Alabama (11- 1)
  2. Oregon (11 - 1)
  3. TCU (10 - 1)
  4. Georgia Tech (10 - 2)
Now for the recap:

(5) TCU (9 - 1) 30 @ Texas (6 - 5) 27: Correct. The Horned Frogs didn't do anything but improve their own resume by spanking the Longhorns on the road. It was good enough to move them to nuber three in the playoff rankings. It should be interesting if the favorites win on Saturday, but that rarely happens at this time of year. TCU 48 - 10.

LSU (7 - 4) 26 @ Texas A&M (7 - 4) 31: No. LSU's defense came to play and ended the Aggies season on a very disappointing note. LSU 23 - 17.

Stanford (6 - 5) 17 @ (8) UCLA (9 - 2) 24: No.  I can't really explain what happened in this game, except maybe Brett Hundley read too many of his press clippings (I know that's a very dated reference). Okay, maybe blogs, tweets, posts, podcasts, whatever. Either way, he and the rest of the UCLA offense was made to look average by a good Stanford defense. Stanford 31 - 10.

(13) Arizona St. (9 - 2) 28 @ (11) Arizona (9 - 2) 30: Correct. Both of these teams knew what was at stake by the time they played. As expected, they played a spirited game in which the Wildcats emerged to get another crack at Oregon, this time on a neutral field. Another Arizona win would really shake up the committee's top 4. Arizona 42 - 35.

Arkansas (6 - 5) 20 @ (17) Missouri (9 - 2) 6: No. There were a lot of questions as to why Arkansas handled the end of this game the way they did, but at the end of the day, Missouri successfully advanced to the SEC title game for the second consecutive year. I don't think they can stay with Alabama, but I didn't think they'd win the SEC East either. Missouri 21 - 14.

Western Kentucky (6 - 5) 17 @ (24) Marshall (11 - 0) 37: No. Thank goodness the pretenders were exposed. Nothing against the Thundering Herd, but their schedule was ridiculously easy and the committee saw some reason to put them in the rankings, probably because of their undefeated record. yet Florida State beats some quality opponents, stays undefeated and they're on the brink of playoff elimination. Really? Western Kentucky 67 - 66 OT.

Virginia (5 - 6) 13 @ Virginia Tech (5 - 6) 16: Correct. So the Hokies stay in contention for a 22nd consecutive bowl game. It's a young team with a lot of injuries. Beamer better turn it around next season. Virginia Tech 24 - 20.

Nebraska (8 - 3) 27 @ Iowa (7 - 4) 24: Correct.  I thought a win might be enough for Bo Pelini to keep his job. I was wrong. I guess a Big Ten title is all that will please 'Husker nation. Nebraska 37 - 34 OT.

(15) Auburn (8 - 3) 17 @ (1) Alabama (10 - 1) 27: Correct. What a terrific game. If Alabama meets Oregon in the playoffs, this is likely to be what it will be like. The Tide can slug out a 14 - 13 win at Arkansas, yet win a shootout with Auburn. No other team in the country can consistently win both ways. Alabama 55 - 44.

(2) Oregon (10 - 1) 38 @ Oregon State (5 - 6) 20: Correct. The Ducks get another crack at Arizona, but this time it's on a neutral field and to stay in the playoff race. Oregon 47 - 19.

Florida (6 - 4) 24 @ (3) Florida State (11 - 0) 28: Correct. The Seminoles continue to look unimpressive. Another lackluster performance and they could find themselves getting run out of the stadium by Georgia Tech. Florida State 24 - 19.

(4) Mississippi State (10 - 1) 23 @ (19) Ole Miss (8 - 3) 20: No. Although I didn't pick this one, I expected it since I haven't had Mississippi State in my top four the last couple of weeks. That SEC West is one tough division, especially when you consider that the team in the basement is Arkansas, who shut out both LSU and Ole Miss. Ole Miss 31 - 17.

Michigan (5 - 6) 17 @ (6) Ohio State (10 - 1) 28: Correct. This game was tight into the fourth quarter, but Brady Hoke wasn't able to get the win he needed to have a chance at remaining at the helm of the Wolverines. Now the Buckeyes have to find a way to defeat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game without QB and Heisman Trophy candidate JT Barrett.  Ohio State 42 - 28.

(7) Baylor (9 - 1) 45 @ Texas Tech (4 - 7) 24: Correct. A lot of supposed experts maintain that the Baylor and TCU resumes are almost identical, assuming the Bears defeat Kansas State Saturday night. But Baylor's win over Buffalo, a 5 - 6 MAC team doesn't compare favorably with TCU's defeat of 8 - 4 Minnesota. Couple that with the fact that TCU lit up Texas Tech in an 82 - 27 victory and I would argue that there is some disparity between the two records. Baylor 48 - 46.

(16) Georgia Tech (9 - 2) 34 @ (9) Georgia (9 - 2) 31: Correct. This was one of four games between teams from the ACC and the SEC. The supposed lesser conference won them all. Of course, they all involved SEC East teams, not ones from the far stronger West. But still, an impressive day for the ACC. Now the Yellow Jackets take on Florida State in Charlotte on Saturday to see if they can unseat the defending conference and national champions. Georgia Tech 30 - 24 OT.

(10) Michigan State (9 - 2) 27 @ Penn State (6 - 5) 13: Correct.The Spartans ended their season on a high note. Their only two losses came to top 5 teams Oregon and Ohio State. Michigan State 34 - 10.

Kansas (3 - 8) 17 @ (12) Kansas State (8 - 2) 37: Correct. Kansas State tuned up for their big game at Baylor with an easy win over their in-state rivals. Kansas State 51 - 13.

(18) Minnesota (8 - 3) 24 @ (14) Wisconsin (9 - 2) 27:  Correct. Minnesota looked good early, but just didn't have enough to stay with the Badgers, who advanced to play Ohio State in Indianapolis for the Big Ten crown. Wisconsin 34 - 24.

South Carolina (6 - 5) 24 @ (21) Clemson (8 - 3) 30 : Correct. Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier says he'll be back in Columbia next season. If it's another one like this one, he may not have a choice for 2016. The Tigers used the win against their rivals, the first in five years, to climb back into the top 20. Clemson 35 - 17.

Kentucky (5 - 6) 27 @ (22) Louisville (8 - 3) 34: Correct. Kentucky won't go bowling, a disappointment for coach Mark Stoops and his team. Bobby Petrino finished his first year back at Louisville with nine wins and most likely a pretty good bowl berth. Louisville 44 - 40.

Utah State (9 - 3) 27 @ (23) Boise State (9 - 2) 31: Correct. It must be that blue turf...Boise State.    50 - 19.

(25) Utah (7 - 4) 30 @ Colorado (2 - 9) 21: Correct. Colorado went winless in their conference for the first time in almost 100 years...yes, that would be 99 years. Granted, they play in what is probably the second strongest division college football, the Pac-12 South and didn't get a shot at the worst team in the North. Utah 38 - 34.

West Virginia (6 - 5) 35 @ Iowa State (2 - 8) 24: Correct. The Mountaineers might be the best 7 - 5 team I've seen this season and took care of business by ending their season with an easy one against the Cyclones. West Virginia  37 - 24.

Notre Dame (7 - 4) 34 @ USC (7 - 4) 37: Correct. It's hard to say what happened to the Notre Dame defense down the stretch, but it's easy to figure out the coach Brian Kelly has some work to do on that side of the ball if the Irish are going to contend for anything next season. USC 49 - 14.