Here we go! Another week of shenanigans awaits.
Let’s look back a week quickly though…..
At about 5:30 pm CST last Saturday, we had all the makings of chaos right in front of us. OK State looked to be in serious trouble at Iowa State (circa 2011) and Michigan was in a dogfight at Indiana. This was all before the Pac12 actually did implode later that evening.
Everything was looking up for the ‘Cats and their pursuit of a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Unfortunately, the chaos subsided. Iowa State blew the game (as you would expect from a 3-7 team) and then this happened (as you would also expect from a team who is 0-6 in conference). Meanwhile, Houston stormed back from 20 points down in the 4th quarter (the only team to do that this year) against Memphis.
So…. we didn’t get what we wanted. The result? The ‘Cats fell 2 spots in the rankings to #20 this week (moving ahead of Mississippi State and behind Houston, UNC and Navy). But, we’re still hanging on for dear life. We’ll try our luck in a blizzard up in Madison on Saturday and hope all hell breaks loose elsewhere.
Meanwhile, shit got real for the Big8/10/12 and the Pac12.
Let’s start with the Pac12.
The consensus for the last several weeks had been “Stanford, win and you’re in”. With a big game against ND looming, that seemed a reasonable perspective. What nobody considered though was a potential Stannies loss before that ND game parlayed with a Utah loss. Well, we got that on Saturday night (thanks to Kevin Hogan’s fumbles), and now the Pac12’s top team has 2 losses. This is very problematic for those wanting a left coast team in the playoff. However, the rhetoric is that the Pac12 is dead and I’m not so sure that’s the case just yet. Don’t sleep on Stannies climbing their way back in just yet. With a little help from some Big8/10/12 carnage, Stanford still has a fighter’s chance if they win out.
So… what about the Big8/10/12?
Well… we still have an undefeated (OK State) and three 1 loss teams (OK, Baylor and TCU). But, Bob Bowlsby is certainly not sleeping easy right now. I can almost assure you that he’s having nightmare’s of last year’s scenario where both Baylor and TCU were left out. Why? Well…. here’s how it might happen:
- Oklahoma beats TCU and loses to Oklahoma State … 2 losses for TCU. 2 losses for Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State loses to Baylor and beats Oklahoma….. 1 loss for Oklahoma State
- Baylor beats Oklahoma State, beats TCU and beats Texas…. 1 loss for Baylor, 3 losses for TCU now.
Under this scenario, Baylor would technically be the conference champion with the head to head victory over Oklahoma State. So, what’s the problem Roger? Baylor is a 1 loss conference champion. Well…. here’s the problem: In this scenario, Baylor’s only win over a ranked team would be against Oklahoma State. TCU’s embarrassment against Kansas this past Saturday didn’t help the situation as they fell in the rankings and have no chance of remaining ranked with 2 more losses. Could a 1 loss Baylor – with 1 win against a ranked team and the most abysmal SOS in the country – count on staying ahead of a 2 loss (conference champion) Stannies or even a 1 loss Iowa/Ohio State?
Things could get dicey!
With all of the scrutiny around the playoff, this week, I’ve decided to play if fairly straightforward and give you my top 4. I’ll provide this note of clarification though – the top 4 should be about the team’s most deserving of the ranking. It is not a reflection on the 4 teams who would be favored against anyone outside of the top 4. That’s not how this is played, nor should it be how this is played (otherwise, USC and Oregon would be dangerously close to the top 4 right now). So, here they are:
1. Ohio State
Yea… they haven’t blown the doors off of everyone they’ve played. But, they’ve still been impressive nonetheless, and they’ve been getting better week by week. Defending champs. Undefeated. How are they not 1 in the real thing?
Clemson probably has the most impressive win of anyone in the top 4 (ND), but I have a hard time putting them ahead of OSU. It’s close here, but Clemson comes in at #2.
Keep on winning, Iowa! Nobody gives Iowa any credit, but guess what? You should! Their schedule is not nearly as bad as you might think and they haven’t lost a game. Take a seat at #3!
Oklahoma is easily the most impressive 1 loss team in my book. So, they come in at #4. Simple as that. Yes, their loss was beyond strange, but with a big win at Tennessee and a very impressive win at Baylor, Oklahoma deserves serious credit.Would Alabama be favored against all of these teams? Probably. Should they be? Probably. But, that doesn’t mean they are worthy of a top spot. Like I said, we’re not trying to figure out who would beat who in the future. This is a retrospective. And they aren’t in the top 4 in my retrospective.
So, how’d we do last week?
- USC (-16.5) @ Colorado – USC hangs 60 on the Buffs. Because why not? DEFINITELY NOT… USC was damn close to losing this one and only mustered up 27 points.
- Pitt @ Duke (50.5 O/U) – We don’t even reach half of the O/U in this one. MEH… DUKE DID THEIR PART. The total was 44, but Duke only had 13. What’s going on Duke?
- Ohio State (-16) @ Illinois – We are all scared shitless as Illinois has a chance to win the game with a long last second field goal. It gets blocked. NOPE… BUCKEYES TOOK CARE OF BUSINESS.
- NC State @ FSU (-9.5) – Noles go down, opening the door for the ‘Cats to move up. LOOKED PROMISING… and then the 2nd half rolled around.
- Oklahoma @ Baylor (-2.5) – This game is surprisingly defensive. Oklahoma wins…. never trails for a second. YAHTZEE!!! Despite the score, the game was surprisingly defensive for a Big12 game. OU won!
So, what’s on the docket this weekend?
- Memphis (-1.5) @ Temple – Neither team wants to win anymore…. 7+ turnovers combined
- Michigan State @ Ohio State (-13) – What a spread! OSU covers… Barrett with 4 TD’s.
- Navy (-12) @ Tulsa – Navy goes down…. Chaos ensues in the evening games. Let’s hope the ‘Cats did their job earlier.
- BC @ ND (-16) (Fenway Park) – Someone gets hurt because football is not meant to be played in a baseball stadium.
- TCU @ Oklahoma (no line yet) – Oklahoma by 20+
That’s all folks!