Monday, January 12, 2015

College Football: Thoughts on the (first) College Football Playoff Championship Game.

By the end of the evening we're going to know two things:

1. Who the Football Bowl Subdivision Football champion is for 2014-2015

2. Whether or not Chris Fowler is up to the task of calling a major championship game.

While I've had a mixed record this year I did at least predict two of the eventual CFP participants and one of the teams in the championship game which is in-line with my theory that blind luck gets you close to 50% so I'm happy with that.

That said I think the game (Oregon [-7] vs. Ohio State) has a chance to be very competitive and could go the way of the underdogs. I think Urban Meyer is one of the best coaches in college football today and I think, if anyone, he is the coach who can untangle Oregon's hyperspeed offense.

Despite my optimism regarding Ohio State it is dampened a bit by the fact that I still feel Alabama (and the entire SEC) was overrated this year. Hence the reason I didn't pick Bama to be in the playoff this year. Fortunately for Alabama, it turns out that South Carolina and everyone of the SEC teams was worse than I expected as well.

Taking all of that into consideration.....and without further ado.......

Oregon 37 Ohio State 34

Either way I think it's going to be an exciting game,

Friday, January 2, 2015

College Football: How about that B1G now?

After last night's Ohio State victory over all-powerful Alabama you can be forgiven for wondering where the sporting pundits are today. After all, it was back in October that almost everyone of them declared the B1G's title hopes DOA.

Michigan State had just lost to Oregon and an Ohio State team still transitioning away from Braxton Miller had just fallen to a very average Virginia Tech team. The view of the B1G was so bad that sports writer, and professional B1G troll, predicted the conference would finish the bowl season 0-10.


How quickly all of that changed as Michigan State came back from the dead to edge almighty Baylor 42-41, ending the Bears cries of foul for being left out of the college football playoff, and Ohio State outscored Alabama 42-35 leaving the S-E-C(!!) without a representative in the inaugural championship game. (Side note: Had the B(C)S still been in effect the championship game would have been Florida State and Alabama. It's harder to dominate when you're not operating in a system designed for your benefit.)

Vegas has immediately established the Buckeyes as 7 point dogs to the Oregon Ducks, a line that I'm not inclined to quibble with.  However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ohio State be competitive nor would I be surprised to see a blow-out.  I'll delve more deeply into the why's later.

For now though, congratulations to the B1G who, with the addition of the Harbaugh hire, is proving to everyone that they are not only relevant, but competitive at the highest levels as well.

And now, for some bowl picks.

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pitt (-6) After the firing of Tony Levine I have a feeling the Cougars are going to be fired up in this game. That being said I think the team is too offensively limited to do much against Pitt.  Call this the "Desperately hoping for a turn-around" Bowl.

UH 10 Pitt 27

Tax Slayer Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee (-3) For all of the good I wrote about the B1G above you have to look at individual teams. Iowa is not good.  Tennessee is on the rise.

Iowa 3 Tenn 35

Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA (-1.5) In the pre-season I was very high on the Bruins. Over the course of the year they morphed into one of the most disappointing teams in the country.  As with most K-State games my thoughts can be summed up thusly:  UCLA will make mistakes, K-State won't.

KSt 24 UCLA 20

Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Washington(-7) This one is fairly straight-forward. In what we now know to be a down Big Twelve Twen OSU needed a last-minute victory over OU to make it to a bowl.  Washington should be a much better team.

OSU 14  Washington 27

Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida(-7) This line is clearly a public special. With Florida's name it would be hard to balance the betting if ECU was installed as the favorite.  That said, I think ECU is a much better team and Florida will be without their coach.  Surprisingly, this could be a benefit for them.

ECU 24 Florida 23

Go Bowl Toledo(-4) Arkansas State Despite Toledo being favored by 4 points I think this game is a pick 'em. The two teams are somewhat mirror images of each other as they each possess a good running back, and little else offensively.  It's going to be hard to find an edge but I think the Sun Belt conference is just slightly better than the MAC.

Toledo 20 Arkansas State 21

Good luck and enjoy the last weekend of College Football.

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