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2011 NCAA Football – Week 14 Best Games

Week 14. It’s conference championship week which means the bowls will essentially be set once this weekend’s games are over. As far as the big picture is concerned, nothing is going to keep LSU out of the BCS Championship game. The projections even show LSU getting to the championship game even with a loss to Georgia, which would be odd because LSU would technically not be considered the SEC Champions, yet could still win a national championship! Do the math on that one! The only thing that could disrupt an Alabama/LSU rematch is a gigantic Oklahoma St. win over Oklahoma. I think it’s a possibility, but probably doubtful given the rivalry between the two schools. I also think the Virginia Tech/Clemson game could turn into a big deal. If LSU were to fall to Georgia, I wonder how much respect a 12-1 Virginia Tech team would get in regards to playing for a national championship? The Hokies haven’t played anyone, but it’s an interesting thought. Here are the best games for Week 14.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
That’s a huge spread for a conference championship game. Georgia comes in as hot as any team in the nation being the winners of 12 straight games after losing their first two to start the season. The only problem is that LSU has won 13 straight games going back to their Cotton Bowl win last season. Georgia hasn’t played anyone really tough all season long outside of their first two games against Boise St. & South Carolina. They lost both of those games. Arkansas was 10-1 when they played LSU last week with a weak schedule & we saw how well that turned out. Georgia QB Aaron Murray has been playing out of his mind in recent weeks & the Georgia defense really is pretty good. If Georgia can hold on against an early barage, Murray settles down & Jordan Jefferson plays like he did before this season, Georgia could pull off a stunner. Then again, they don’t call Les Miles “Lucky Les” for nothing! Id’ be surprised if Georgia keeps this within 20 points. LSU (-13.5)
Oklahoma St. has a very big opportunity here to show that the road OT loss to Iowa St. was in the midst of tragedy that struck the university when a plane crashed killing the women’s basketball coaching staff. As good as Oklahoma is, Oklahoma St.’s offense should be able to put up 40-50 points on the Sooners if everything is clicking right. I’m not sure Oklahoma St. has to hammer Oklahoma by 50 to get back into the national championship game. If they beat Oklahoma by 14-15 points, I think that would be enough to get Oklahoma St. back in the race to play LSU for the national title. If the Cowboys flub it up and barely win or even lose, they are done. Oklahoma does have something to play for. At 9-2, the Sooners are playing for the Big XII Championship which would mean the Fiesta Bowl, but keep in mind that if Oklahoma loses, their 9-3 record might be enough to keep them out of the BCS picture entirely. If Oklahoma were to win then both Oklahoma & Oklahoma St. would be 10-2 & I think at that point the Cowboys would earn one of the at-large BCS bowl berths! OKLAHOMA ST. (-3.5)
The Badgers at almost 10 point favorites!? That’s INSANE! This game isn’t in Madison, but apparently Indianapolis is “Madison South”! This is especially interesting in light of Michigan St. actually besting Wisconsin in their initial meeting earlier this season. The line here is actually pretty informative. Vegas clearly thinks Wisconsin is an elite football team, and as I wrote earlier this week in my Power 15, Wisconsin could actually be the 2nd or 3rd best team in the nation, yet had a 2-game skid that sent them into a tailspin. If Wisconsin comes out hungry & dominant, then I think the Badgers could blow this game wide open. If that happens & Wisconsin goes on to defeat the Pac 12 champion in the Rose Bowl, I’d have a hard time ranking Wisconsin anywhere lower than #3 behind LSU & Alabama. Michigan St. of course could be in the same boat. Sometimes you hear rumors of Mark Dantonio possibly going to Penn St. Remember that Penn St. is in the same division as Ohio St., who just hired Urban Meyer. Does Dantonio have an easier time getting to Rose Bowls via the Legends division now that Urban Meyer & Wisconsin are both in the Leaders? I’ve liked both of these teams this season. Should be a great game. WISCONSIN (-9.5)
This is another interesting situation like the Michigan St./Wisconsin game. Despite Clemson beating Virginia Tech 23-3 in the regular season, the Hokies find themselves as 7 point favorites against Clemson on a neutral field. Odd. I think Virginia Tech is somewhat of a charlatan this season. The schedule has been absolutely brutal & if not for the Clemson loss earlier this season, the Hokies might be ranked #2 and playing LSU in the BCS Championship. I’m mentioned this before, but a Virginia Tech win here puts the Hokies at 12-1. They are ranked #5 in the BCS. Follow me on this one. If LSU loses to Georgia then Alabama is out of the BCS. Georgia gets the Sugar Bowl & LSU is still likely playing for the BCS Championship. That knocks Alabama out. If Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma St., then Virginia Tech is going to leap frog the Cowboys. Stanford is ranked #4, but would the pollsters really put a team that didn’t win their conference into the national championship game over a 12-1 ACC Champion? If Oklahoma St. & LSU lose, Virginia Tech is playing for a national championship if they win this weekend. MARK IT DOWN! That would be crazy! VIRGINIA TECH (-7)
This isn’t going to be much of a game I don’t think. Houston should take care of business en route to a 13-0 season awaiting a BCS opponent in one of the BCS bowls to complete the dream season. Keep in mind that Southern Miss does have the 25th ranked defense in the nation. I’m not saying Houston won’t score on USM easily, but this is the toughest defense Houston has played all season. The next toughest defense was Louisiana Tech’s and Houston barely escaped 35-34 in that one. Another thing to consider is that Southern Mississippi has the 15th ranked offense in the nation. From that perspective you’d think USM is one of the 25 best teams in the nation. They might be & USM’s offense is the most prolific Houston’s defense has seen all year long. Remember too that the 10-2 Golden Eagles lost those 2 games by a combined 9 points. Both Houston & Southern Miss have “best case” records of 12-0. Houston’s “worst case” record is 9-3 while Southern Miss’s “worst case” record is 7-5. I think Houston gets this one, but this will be the toughest opponent they’ve faced all season & definitely a game worth watching. HOUSTON (-14)
As you can see by the Vegas line, this game is a joke of a conference championship. I’m fairly certain the Pac 12 powers that be are wishing Arizona St. didn’t completely fall apart because now Oregon gets a UCLA team that is coming off a 50-0 defeat!? How many conference championships feature a team coming off a loss by 50 points? It’s a really unfortunate situation for the Pac 12 really. In my opinion, the Pac 12 has 3 of the top 6 teams in the nation (USC, Oregon & Stanford) yet we only get to see 1 of them pound an average Pac 12 team at best. There isn’t much to say about this game. Oregon is going to hammer the Bruins. What is worth talking about is the renaissance of the Pac 12. Arizona St. & UCLA are solid if unspectacular programs. Arizona hired Rich Rodriguez. Washington St. hired Mike Leach. You already have Chip Kelly at Oregon. Steve Sarkisian is at Washington. Lane Kiffin is at USC. Jeff Tedford at Cal. David Shaw at Stanford. Mike Riley is a helluva coach at Oregon St. Dare I say the Pac 12 North is turning into the SEC West! OREGON (-31)
I would love to see Baylor get a win here as a win combined with an Oklahoma loss would give Baylor sole possession of 3rd place in the Big XII. If that happens then the top-3 in the Big XII would be: 1)Oklahoma St. 2)Kansas St. & 3)Baylor. Who would have seen that coming at the beginning of the year with how good everyone was predicting Oklahoma & Texas A&M to be? A Baylor win also pushes the Bears to 9-3 meaning they could get to 10 wins with a bowl win. I’m interesting to see what Art Briles can do with that. I haven’t heard his name come up too often with all the coaching vacancies, but if some dominoes start falling then at some point I wonder if Briles would jump ship and go to a school that could potentially get him better opportunities to play for championships? Guys like Robert Griffin III don’t come around in every recruiting class. I’m rooting for a Bears victory. BAYLOR (-2.5)
Wow. WVU is only a 1.5 favorite which goes to show you the volatility associated with the Big East. The entire season screams that West Virginia should put the hammer down on South Florida, which means South Florida will probably win by 14 points or something just to throw a wrench into things. West Virginia has a chance to do something special. A win here most likely means West Virginia will get the Big East’s bid to a BCS bowl. If that happens then it’s likely we get a West Virginia/ACC Champion in the Orange Bowl. If it’s Virginia Tech or Clemson I think WVU can win either way. Getting a win there would give West Virginia a 10-3 final season record. That would be tremendous momentum heading into the 2012 season when the Mountaineers join the Big XII Conference. They’ll have practically their entire offense back. They’ll have to replace some key guys on defense, but WVU could be in position to win the Big XII from the jump. WEST VIRGINIA (-1.5)
I thought I would throw the MAC Championship game in here as well. I thought Toledo was going to come out of the MAC West all year long, but a loss to NIU threw that notion to the dogs as NIU went 7-1 in MAC play. Ohio was pretty dominant in the MAC East & I figured them to play in the MAC Championship. I haven’t followed the MAC very closely this year outside of wins & losses, but the winner here gives themselves double digit wins for the season at 10-3. I think I’d give the edge to Northern Illinois in this one. One of their early season losses came to Wisconsin & they do have the win over Toledo. Ohio did beat Temple, but their best non-conference loss came against Rutgers. Plus, Northern Illinois has former Evansville Reitz QB Matt McIntosh on the team so I have to pull for the hometown kid! NORTHERN ILLINOIS (-3)
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December 1, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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