Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 7 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. How bad has it gotten for the Broncos now that they are going on the road against a 1-5 Cardinals team and Vegas has them at even odds!? Denver’s identity really has to shift completely away from their passing attack and heavily rely on the Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in the backfield. The Cardinals have a solid D but it’s better against the pass than the run. With that said, Denver’s defense has been extremely underachieving & if they give up too much, Denver falls to 2-5.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAC (-7). On paper this is a significant mismatch as the Titans shouldn’t be able to keep up with the Chargers in every phase of the game, but LA in the last few years has a way of losing a game or two early on that they should win, which costs them come playoff time. This game is an early start over in London which only makes things a bit more complicated for the favored squad. If the Chargers are for real, they’ll win by 10. If they’re the same old Chargers, they could very well flirt with disaster.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-2.5). The Bears could go from first place to last place if they lose to New England while the Lions beat Miami and the Vikings beat the Jets. In theory the Lions would be ahead of Chicago despite both having 3-3 records because currently the Lions would have a better divisional record! A loss would also give the Bears 2-straight to AFC East teams. It’s not killer, but going from 1st to 4th is demoralizing & the Bears are still a relatively young team. Cincy & KC are rooting hard for Chicago!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: IND (-7). Things are getting dire in Indianapolis. The Colts are tied for the worst record in the NFL at 1-5 despite Andrew Luck being on pace to finish the season with 4,779 yards & 43TD! The 4,779 would rank 23rd all time in best passing yards for a season & the 43TD would rank 8th! The Colts are on pace to finish 2-14/3-13 which is a complete disaster. I know GM Chris Ballard has a plan & he’s sticking to it, but a home loss to the Bills to fall to 1-6 would start heating up his seat quite a bit.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DET (-1). With Detroit being favored by the boys out in Vegas, you can tell that most people aren’t buying into Miami’s 4-2 start. Even with them playing at home this week, they are still underdogs. The Lions are better than their 2-3 record would indicate, but Miami has a formula. The defense is much better than people imagined it would be & even if Brock Osweiler is under center, if he can avoid making turnovers, the Miami run is solid. I don’t think anyone picked Miami to start off 5-2!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MIN (-3). The Minnesota defense has tightened up quite a bit over the last couple of weeks against Philadelphia & Arizona (both wins) which is bad news for QB Sam Darnold and the Jets. Darnold has had a pretty good run over the last 3 weeks, but he’s due for an inconsistent game & the Vikings defense should deal a little punishment to the USC product. The Jets are playing good D as well, but WR Adam Thielen is practically uncoverable at this point & the Vikings offense should score 3-4 TDs.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PHI (-4). Must win for both teams? The Panthers are coming off a road loss at Washington & now get another road data against the Eagles. At 3-2, Carolina would drop to 3-3 with a loss while Tampa & Atlanta have very winnable home games. A loss tightens the NFC South up considerably. For the Eagles, a loss would drop them to below .500 after 7 games. A loss combined with a Redskins win puts Philly two games out in the loss column with 9 games left to play. A pivotal game for both!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: TB (-3). What you need to know here is that Cleveland might have one of the best 5 defenses in the NFL while the Bucs make a pretty good argument for having the worst. If the NFL is all about offense & the defenses are becoming atrocious, then Tampa Bay should win assuming Jameis Winston plays well. Winston gets rattled pretty quick when he gets knocked around & I can’t see how the Bucs O-Line keeps the Browns defenders off of him. Great opportunity for Cleveland to get to 3-3-1.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: JAX (-4). Big time AFC South game. If the Chargers take care of business against Tennessee in England, then the winner of this game becomes the division leader. The Texans are rolling having won 3 straight games although 2 of those came in OT & all 3 were close affairs. Jacksonville has lost 3 of their last 4 & are coming off a blow out loss to the Cowboys. This game will come down to how well Blake Bortles plays. The Jaguars D is as good as ever, but can Bortles avoid turning the ball over?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BAL (-2.5). A legitimate Super Bowl preview! The Ravens can make a convincing case of being the best defense in the NFL so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle a high-octane offense like New Orleans. The Saints have so many weapons on offense so it’s going to be tough to slow them down, but the key might be how well the Saints can play against Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing attack. If the Saints get out to a 14-0 lead then Flacco is going to bomb out which usually doesn’t work.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAR (-10.5). Wow. The Rams would almost be 17 point favorites if this game were being played in Los Angeles! This is LA’s 3rd straight road game so it’ll be interesting to see if the team is struggling with fatigue. They’ve won their last 3 games by a combined 12 points & for the season the Rams are +2 in TO margin. Regression can hit, but it seems SO UNLIKELY against a terrible team like San Francisco. The only way SF can win is if Matt Breida goes off & the Rams kill themselves with turnovers.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: WAS (-1). Best rivalry in the NFL! Ezekiel Elliott was right when he said after the 40-7 win over Jacksonville last week that the win won’t mean much if Dallas can’t do anything to build on it. Washington is actually a pretty good matchup for the Cowboys. The Redskins are weak against the run so Dallas is going to have to feed Elliott the ball all game. Using Cole Beasley is a big win too. Alex Smith doesn’t like to go vertical either which plays into Dallas’s hands. Can the Cowboys take advantage of this?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-6). The game would have been a bit more interesting had the Bengals not lost at home to the Steelers the week prior, but there are a few wrinkles here that are still extremely important. Assuming a Patriots win over Chicago, the Chiefs would fall to the #3 seed if they lost! It would also allow the Chargers to pull even with them at 5-2 should LA beat Tennessee. Cincinnati could go from 1st to 3rd in the North if they lose & Baltimore wins. This is going to be a shootout. Who will have the ball last?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: ATL (-4.5). The Giants are terrible at this point & at some point the Falcons are going to find their stride & start destroying teams. Something had to be changed on D so Dan Quinn fired Mike Smith. We’ll see if it pays off, but this looks like a win for Atlanta. If both Tampa & Carolina lose, the Falcons jump to 3rd & keep in mind that right now the Falcons are the team with the best divisional record of all the teams in the South. Atlanta dug a significant hole, but they might be starting to climb out of it.
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October 19, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 8 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CLEMSON (-17). This game will determine the ACC Atlantic champion. The Wolfpack have a puncher’s chance in this one although Vegas has them as significant underdogs. I think if the NC State O-Line can keep Clemson’s front-7 on defense at bay, then QB Ryan Finley & WR Kelvin Harmon could have a big game & keep Dave Doeren’s boys in the game for awhile. If Clemson’s front-7 dominates, then NC State is in for an extremely long day & anyone take Clemson and the points is going to be happy.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MICHIGAN (-6.5). It’s worth noting that Jim Harbaugh is 1-2 against Michigan St. in his tenure as the Wolverines HC. The win last week over Wisconsin got a little bit of the monkey off Harbaugh’s back, but getting wins over bitter rivals will better his standing with the fanbase. You can throw everything out of the window in rivalry games & even Mark Dantonio has been a bit snippy about Michigan lately. Keep in mind that Michigan St. is very much alive in the B10 East race so there is a ton for Sparty to play for.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: UTAH (-6.5). This game should determine the Pac 12 South. I picked Utah to win the South before the year started, but losses to Washington & Washington St. sort of blunted that prediction until the last couple of weeks when Utah has hammered both Stanford & Arizona. A win here probably means Utah wins out & finishes the season 10-2. A win for USC pretty much guarantees they get to 9-2 before hosting Notre Dame. The Vegas line is interesting because it confirms my prediction. Utah is excellent.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: WAZZOU (-2). It would be one of the more amazing stories of the year in that Mike Leach finally gets a Pac 12 North title when he’s in a rebuilding year with the Cougars! Expect fireworks in this one as Wazzou QB Gardner Minshew leads the nation in passing yards per game at 403.7 & also leads the nation in passing yards with 2,422! Oregon QB Justin Herbert is no slouch himself so it’ll be a question of which defense can stop the other’s passing attack. In an odd way, this game could decide the South.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LSU (-6.5). I can’t wait to see what the Tigers do for an encore after obliterating Georgia last week. This game should be very interesting in that the Bulldogs had an extra week to prepare & are extremely confident coming off a win over Auburn. Joe Moorhead is too good of an offensive coach not to draw some some extra schemes for the LSU defense. I think this comes down to MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald’s ability to run against LSU LB Devin White & LSU S Grant Delpit. Can Mississippi St. establish the run?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: OKLAHOMA (-7.5). Really odd year for the Horned Frogs & they’ve dropped 3 of their last 4, but a team like TCU actually has to rebuild I think. There is only so much Gary Patterson can do & we’ve seen that Shawn Robinson isn’t Kenny Hill & the TCU offense is suffering because of it. That said, Oklahoma can have bad games & TCU can still find a way into the Big XII championship game if they pull off the home upset here. Patterson is a great coach & the defense can flash. TCU will need to keep this one close.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: ALABAMA (-28.5). As you can see, the experts don’t think much of Tennessee’s chances in this one even if the game is being played in Knoxville. I think this kind of game is interesting because UT HC Jeremy Pruitt was Nick Saban’s DC last year so it’s another game in the saga of Saban v. former assistant coaches. Saban always wins these kinds of games so I don’t think this will be different, but the Vols going into Auburn & winning has to raise some eyebrows. How much will Tagovailoa play? Can Tennessee cover?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: OHIO ST. (-12). Game of the week! Things get interesting here if Purdue can key on Buckeyes DT Dre’Mont Jones. If Purdue can render Jones ineffective, then QB David Blough is going to have plenty of time to pass the ball & he’s going to go bananas against Ohio State. He’ll have to avoid turnovers which won’t be easy with the athleticism of the Buckeyes secondary, but Purdue is going to score. On the other side, can Purdue get just enough stops to win by 3-7 points? This is an upset waiting to happen!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: TEMPLE (-3.5). Now we get to the part of the schedule where we see if Cincinnati is for real or not. The 5 FBS teams Cincinnati has played have a combined record of 10-21 with none of the 5 teams having a winning record. Temple is BY FAR the toughest opponents the Bearcats will have seen this season & Vegas has them as 3.5pt favorites. The Owls are a HELLUVA football team despite being just 4-3. They have wins over Navy & Maryland. Temple should probably be 6-1 at this point. A very tough test for Cincinnati.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: STANFORD (-2). The middle 6-games of Stanford’s schedule has always loomed large & so far the Cardinal are 1-2 through half of it. For whatever reason, things aren’t working in Pao Alto. That could be hyperbole because Stanford is 4-2 thus far & with losses to Oregon & Notre Dame, you can hardly take David Shaw to task. Stanford still has a chance to win the Pac 12 & finish 11-2, but this Arizona St. game could be intriguing if the Sun Devils flash. ASU can argue they should be 6-0. They’re pretty good.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: AUBURN (-2.5). With the way War Eagle has been playing lately I can’t believe Vegas as them at 2.5 point favorites and that line doesn’t seem to be moving. The Tigers have lost 2 straight games & have lost 3 of their last 5. They are currently 1-3 in the SEC! The fire under Gus Malzahn’s seat has to be roaring at this point & Ole Miss is MUCH BETTER than they are being given credit. If Auburn’s D-Line can’t get pressure, the Mississippi passing game is going to eat them up. Does Auburn have fight left in them?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: IOWA (-13.5). At this point I think Iowa is in prove it mode every weekend. That’s not a bad thing, but Iowa really should finish the season 11-1 at this point hoping for a Wisconsin loss to push them into the Big 10 championship game. Maryland has a few athletes on their squad & can run a bit, but Iowa has the 3rd best rush defense in the nation & they’ll be playing at home. This should be a HUGE win for Iowa, but Hawkeyes fans have to be scared of a let down game. I’d like to see Iowa flex quite a bit on the Terps.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF FIELD AFTER 7 WEEKS

With most teams having 7 games under their belts at this point in the season, we can now start to peek behind the curtain a little bit and see which teams are still viable for a playoff run and which aren’t. Are there some contenders we aren’t sure about or are their quite a few pretenders who are posing as contenders who have had the schedule to make them look better than they are. Let’s take a look by conference.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE

CLEMSON TIGERS 6-0: It’s pretty simple for Clemson. Keep winning and you are almost assured a playoff spot. Clemson won the national championship two years ago & lost to Alabama in the college football semifinals last season. If Dabo Swinney’s crew comes in at 13-0, it’s a done deal. The Tigers have a home game against NC State and a road date against Boston College, but those are probably their two toughest tests. With Miami-FL a mess at QB, there doesn’t seem to be that much of a challenge coming from the Coastal. Clemson falls out of the playoff picture if they lose the ACC Championship game, and things could get dicey should they lose to Boston College or NC State. If the Tigers finish 12-1 as ACC Champs, I still think they’d probably get in, but I don’t think it would be a lock the way a 12-1 SEC Championship team would be. A lot would depend on the other 1-loss conference championship teams because Clemson’s lone loss isn’t going to come against a superior opponent.

NC STATE WOLFPACK 5-0: Beat Clemson and it might be time to party! NC State has a fairly weak schedule after playing Clemson although they’d need to be on upset alert the week after beating the Tigers as they’d have a tricky road game against Syracuse that they could easily lose if they don’t show up to play. NC State has to win out though. If they lose to Clemson then they probably can’t win the ACC Atlantic meaning they can’t play for the ACC Championship game. Even if somehow they get through and win a conference championship at 12-1, they can’t lose to Clemson because the rest of the schedule is incredibly soft.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS 5-1: Nobody is mentioning the Blue Devils but they are viable candidates at 5-1. Duke has road games against Pittsburgh, Miami-FL & Clemson meaning they are going to earn every bit of an 11-1 record should they win out, and even if they DO win out, they’d likely have to beat Clemson a 2nd time in the ACC Championship game! It’s all very unlikely but right now Duke should be mentioned. There is also an oddity with Duke. Assuming they win out and get to 11-1, they still might not be ACC Coastal champions. Their one loss is to Virginia Tech who is currently 3-0 in ACC play. The only way Duke can jump the Hokies is if Virginia Tech loses 2 conference games. Considering that 4 of Virginia Tech’s remaining 5 games are in Blacksburg, Duke isn’t going to win the Coastal even if they do win out! That would be NUTS!

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

OHIO ST. BUCKEYES 7-0: This is an easy one. Like Clemson, if the Buckeyes win out they’ll go to the playoffs. Ohio St. would have wins over Penn St., Michigan, Michigan St., Purdue, Maryland & TCU. What gets pretty interesting is if Ohio St. loses a game. If Michigan beats Ohio St. by 1-2 points in the season finale & then destroys their Big 10 West opponent in the Big 10 championship game, then Ohio St. would have an 11-1 record with a 1-2 point loss to a 12-1 Michigan team who almost certainly gets into the playoffs. What would need to happen is for all conference champions to have a single loss and for Notre Dame to finish 12-0. You could make a pretty convincing case that Michigan at 12-1, Ohio St., at 11-1 and Notre Dame at 12-0 all deserve to be in the college football playoff along with a team like a 12-1 or 13-0 Alabama squad. It would be easier for Ohio St. to simply win out, but if they lose to Michigan & lose the Big 10 East, there is still a pathway to the playoffs.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES 6-1: Michigan has to win out. A 2-loss Michigan team isn’t going to cut & if the Wolverines finish 10-2 with losses to both Ohio St. & Notre Dame, they’d be too far down the pecking order to get into a top-4 only scenario. What gets sort of interesting is if Notre Dame finishes 11-1 instead of 12-0. Because the Irish beat Michigan in Week 1, you could make a case that a 1-loss Notre Dame team deserves to be in the playoffs over a 1-loss Michigan team due to Notre Dame beating Michigan. That’s hard to argue, but this is where having a conference championship game helps a team like Michigan over Notre Dame. While the Irish are sitting home at 11-1, Michigan is winning a Big 10 championship to get to 12-1. It’s impressive & it would make you forget what happened all the way back in Week 1. The only scenario where this doesn’t work is if Notre Dame loses to USC in the season finale & the Trojans win the Pac 12 and finish the season 11-2. In that sense you could hardly penalize Notre Dame & you could easily come up with an argument that USC > Notre Dame > Michigan so how can you put a 1-loss Michigan team over a 1-loss Notre Dame team? The easiest way is for Michigan to win out and get to 12-1 and Notre Dame to win out and get to 12-0. Michigan makes the playoffs in that scenario.

IOWA HAWKEYES 5-1: Another team nobody is talking about, but Iowa is 5-1 with a real chance to get to 11-1 & a chance at a Big 10 conference championship. The problem with Iowa is that the loss to Wisconsin doesn’t look great now that the Badgers have a couple of losses. That’s a Catch-22 for Iowa. On the one hand they need Wisconsin to keep winning so the loss looks good, but if Wisconsin wins out & Iowa wins out, then a 10-2 Wisconsin team would actually win the Big 10 West over an 11-1 Iowa team because Wisconsin won the head-to-head matchup. Assuming Iowa gets to 11-1 & wins the West and then beats Ohio St. or Michigan in the Big 10 Championship game, I think the Hawkeyes make the playoffs at 12-1 with wins over Iowa State, Penn St. and either Michigan or Ohio State. They have VERY tricky back-to-back road games against Penn State & Purdue, but if Iowa survives those, then I think they’ll get to 11-1. The key is Wisconsin losing.

BIG TWELVE CONFERENCE

TEXAS LONGHORNS 6-1: At 6-1 with QB Sam Ehlinger hurting, Texas isn’t out of the woods just yet. The win over Oklahoma makes the Longhorns a serious player, but they still have road games against Oklahoma St. & Texas Tech with a home date against West Virginia sandwiched in between. They also have Iowa St. in Austin later in the year & you simply can’t take the Cyclones lightly as West Virginia discovered last week. Texas also has issues if Clemson, Ohio St., Notre Dame & Alabama all finished unbeaten. If that happens then every 1-loss team is on the outside looking in and even if they don’t finish unbeaten it’s going to be difficult for Texas. Texas’s lone loss came to Maryland. If Michigan finishes 12-1 with their only loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, then you’d have to think Michigan gets the nod over Texas. The same goes for a 12-1 Alabama team that loses to a 12-1 Georgia team in the SEC Championship game. If Texas wins out it means they’ve likely beaten Oklahoma twice. That’s huge, but Oklahoma’s best non-conference win is…..Army?

OKLAHOMA SOONERS 5-1: You’d almost rather be a 1-loss Oklahoma team with your only loss to Texas than a 1-loss Texas team with your only loss to Maryland! Any 1-loss team has to win out but for Oklahoma that likely means you get a revenge win over Texas in the Big XII championship game. If Oklahoma finishes 12-1 with their only loss coming against an 11-2/10-3 Texas team, then they can certainly make a case for the playoffs. If Oklahoma loses a 2nd game they’re done. The Sooners are in a solid position if they win out which is something Texas probably isn’t in because of the loss to Maryland and even West Virginia is going to have a tough with resume even if they win out due to their lone loss coming against Iowa State. You’d have to think all the 1-loss SEC teams are in a better spot than Oklahoma right now and I’d say Michigan is in a better spot too, but the SEC will work itself out and if Michigan loses to Ohio St. to end the season then Michigan becomes a moot point. As with Texas, if Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame & Ohio St. win out, then Oklahoma can’t get in.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS 5-1: They have to win out. Losing to Iowa St. was brutal because it puts serious pressure on West Virginia even to make the Big 12 Championship game. WVU’s final 4 games come against Texas, TCU, Oklahoma St. & Oklahoma with road games against the Cowboys & Longhorns. If West Virginia wins out and gets to 12-1 then they’d have a pretty nice case against some other 1-loss squads. They’d have wins over Texas, Oklahoma St., Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech & a suddenly decent Tennessee team. Throw in another win over either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big XII Championship game & they’d have a very good resume to stack up against other 1-loss squads. What really needs to happen for WVU is for the ACC to wind up a 1-loss champion. I don’t think the Big 12 can compete with the Big 10 or SEC in conference strength, but a 1-loss Clemson squad with their resume would be difficult to defend against a 1-loss West Virginia or Oklahoma team.

PAC 12 CONFERENCE

OREGON DUCKS 5-1: The win over Washington this past week pushes Oregon into the national discussion. Oregon has a couple of tricky road games left on the schedule at Washington State & at Utah, but if Oregon gets to 11-1 they should be able to win the Pac 12 Championship game & get to 12-1. Oregon is similar to Duke in that they could win out and still lose the Pac 12 North if Stanford wins out as well. Stanford’s loss to Notre Dame gives them a 2nd loss, but their loss to Utah gives them just a single conference defeat. If Stanford finishes 10-2 (certainly possible), Oregon could finish 11-1 and not playing for the Pac 12 Championship game. Should Oregon get to 12-1, they’d need other conferences to have 1-loss champions and even then it would be difficult. I think a 1-loss Oklahoma & a 1-loss Texas team would have a better resume. Certainly a 1-loss Big 10 or SEC squad would. A 1-loss Clemson team might not look fantastic on paper, but the committee would take Clemson over Oregon. The Ducks need quite a bit of help even with a 12-1 record.

WASHINGTON ST. COUGARS 5-1: Washington St. is a more interesting case than Oregon. Washington St.’s only loss came against USC in a 3-point shootout in Southern California. If the Cougars win out and get to 11-1 and the Trojans follow suit and get to 10-2, Washington St. could avenge their loss to the Trojans and get to 12-1. That means, Wazzou would have victories over a 10-3 USC team, Washington, Stanford, Oregon, Utah, Colorado & California. Washington St. would certainly need some help, but if USC does win out it would mean they beat Notre Dame. If Notre Dame finishes 11-1 but loses to USC and Washington St. beats USC then you can argue Washington St. over Notre Dame. What would also help Wazzou is if Michigan won out and beat Ohio State. In that scenario you could argue a 1-loss Wazzou squad over a 1-loss Michigan squad because: Wazzou > USC > Notre Dame > Michigan. The Cougars do have to play on the road against Stanford, but they get both Oregon & Washington in Pullman. Mike Leach’s squad might be the most interesting one down the stretch if they can keep winning.

COLORADO BUFFALOES 5-1: Exposed a bit last week with a 31-20 loss to USC. As a 1-loss squad, Colorado is still in the hunt. Colorado is in the position as Duke & Oregon. They could win out, but unless USC loses another conference game, they can’t even win their own division let alone a conference championship game. If USC loses again and Colorado somehow finishes 12-1, the loss to USC might not be a horrible won assuming the Trojans don’t fall apart. Again they’d be behind a 1-loss SEC or Big 10 team, but going up against a 1-loss ACC squad for the last spot in the playoffs might not be far fetched. The Buffaloes travel to Washington to take on a dejected Huskies team. If they beat Washington, then Colorado is still worth discussing on the fringes. Lose & the Buffaloes are completely out of the equation.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE 7-0: Win and you are the #1 overall seed. Things only get interesting for Alabama is if they somehow lose the SEC West like they did a year ago. If Alabama loses to LSU and LSU finishes 12-1 as SEC Champions then Alabama might have a case, but I don’t think they can get in the way they did last year by losing the SEC West and then the SEC West losing the SEC Championship game. Another way Alabama gets into the playoffs is if they are 12-0 but lose in the SEC Championship to a team with only 1 loss. If Georgia beats them in the SEC Championship game at 12-1 then I don’t see how both Georgia & Alabama at 12-1 don’t get back into the playoffs. The only way Alabama doesn’t get in is if they lose two games (won’t happen) and if somehow they lose the West and the West winner loses the SEC Championship game. Last year it worked out for Alabama, but I don’t think it will this year as I’m not sure Clemson & Ohio State are going to allow it by losing games. Everyone had a loss last season. That won’t happen again this year so Bama does have to AT LEAST win the West and finish at worst 12-1. It is worth mentioning another odd way Alabama could lose the West and still make it. Last year Georgia lost to Auburn and Alabama lost to Auburn. Georgia beat Auburn to get to 12-1 but Alabama still make the playoffs at 11-1 because all other conference champions had at least 1-2 losses. This season Georgia lost to LSU. If LSU beats Alabama and wins out, they could face a 11-1 Georgia team in the SEC Championship game. If Georgia wins, it would set up the exact same scenario as last season. I still think Clemson & Ohio St. (and maybe even Notre Dame) makes Alabama getting into the playoffs this way an impossibility, but it would be exactly like last season except it’s LSU instead of Auburn.

LSU TIGERS 6-1: LSU has to win out like every other 1-loss team. LSU has games against Mississippi State, Alabama & Texas A&M left on the the schedule. If they win those they’ll finish 11-1 and win the SEC West. They’d still have to win the SEC Championship game which means an automatic invite to the playoffs most likely given their only loss came against Florida who they could easily play in the SEC Championship game in a revenge situation. A loss finishes their chances.

GEORGIA BULLDOGS 6-1: Georgia’s lone loss last season came to Auburn who they beat in the SEC Championship game to win the SEC and get to the playoffs. This year they lose to LSU who they could play again in the SEC Championship game and get a revenge win. That is the best possible outcome for Georgia. Another outcome would be to beat a 12-0 Alabama team and finish 12-1 with your only loss coming against LSU. The SEC Title would be enough to get a playoff spot. Georgia still has Florida, Kentucky & Auburn left on the schedule. That’s a tough road to hoe but if they can win those games, the Bulldogs will get back to 11-1 with a chance at a 2nd consecutive SEC title.

FLORIDA GATORS 6-1: Oddly enough Florida finds themselves in the same position as Oregon, Colorado & Duke. If they win out they’d finish 11-1, but they need Kentucky to lose another game or else they would wind up in 2nd place behind the Wildcats & wouldn’t be able to play for the SEC Championship game. Like every other 1-loss squad, Florida can’t afford to lose another game & their only tough remaining game is Georgia. If they win that then they are headed to 11-1 which would be amazing in Dan Mullen’s first year in Gainesville. They’d have to win the SEC Championship to get to the playoffs. A loss there to either Alabama or LSU crushes their hopes.

KENTUCKY WILDCATS 5-1: It sounds crazy, but Kentucky might be the SEC East team most well positioned to win the division. They’ve already played Florida, Mississippi St. and Texas A&M meaning their toughest test left is a home date against Georgia. If Kentucky can pull off a stunner in Lexington and avoid complacency, they’ll win the SEC East. Of course they’ll need to beat either Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship game to seal the deal and get to the playoffs, but how amazing would it be to see Kentucky finish the year 11-1 playing for an SEC title? They can’t afford to lose another game, but they are better positioned than Florida or Georgia which gives them a puncher’s chance.

INDEPENDENTS

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH 7-0: If Notre Dame wins out they make the playoffs and it’s not even a question. The Pac 12 & Big 12 can’t give the playoffs an undefeated champion so the lack of a championship game doesn’t do anything to Notre Dame’s chance. The real questions start if Notre Dame loses. I think the only scenario that allows Notre Dame into the playoffs with a loss is if Michigan wins the Big 10 and USC wins the Pac 12 and the Trojans are the only team Notre Dame loses to. Things change if everyone starts losing 2 games and Notre Dame has a single loss, but if that doesn’t happen, then Notre Dame would be well positioned because they’d have the win over Michigan and their only loss would have come against an 11-2 USC Trojans team that just won the Pac 12. Even better? Stanford wins the Pac 12 North and Virginia Tech wins the ACC Coastal. A little more icing? Northwestern wins the Big 10 West and loses to Michigan in the Big 10 championship game!!! The easiest solution for the Irish is to win out, but if they do decide to lose a game, it has to come against USC and Michigan needs to win the Big 10. If those things don’t happen then the lack of a championship game as a 1-loss team could hurt Notre Dame’s chances.

OTHERS

CENTRAL FLORIDA KNIGHTS 6-0: It’s going to be next to impossible for UCF to make the playoffs because their strength of schedule is downright terrible, but if every team in the Power-5 conferences has at least 2 losses then a 12-0 UCF team could certainly make a case. That means every team on this list needs to lose 1-2 more games for UCF to enter into the discussion. I have to admit, it would be pretty amazing to see UCF go 13-0 in back-to-back seasons. That’s nuts.

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 6

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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: Washington is still king of the NFC East with their win over Carolina. Chicago & Washington are both 3-2, but Washington has a better strength of victory record than the Bears (they each are 3-1 against NFC teams) which gives them the tiebreaker. Oddly enough if the playoffs were to end today, I think Washington would much rather be the 4-seed as that would mean they’d be hosting the Panthers (a team they just beat) instead of the Packers & Aaron Rodgers. I’d try to avoid Aaron Rodgers at all costs if possible. Dallas is ahead of Philadelphia based on strength of victory as well while the Giants are stuck in last place due to an 0-4 conference record. New York’s lone win came against the Texans. The Giants are done, but there is still quite a bit left to shake out in the NFC East. I don’t think we’ve seen top-flight Philly yet. Dallas has its moments and the Redskins are playing well.

NFC NORTH: The Bears showed they weren’t ready for prime time with a road loss to the Miami Dolphins who were starting Brock Osweiler at QB. The 3-2 record still has them ahead of both Green Bay & Minnesota but both the Packers & Vikings are 3-2-1 putting each a half game out of first place. Green Bay is over Minnesota for 2nd place in the North & the last playoff spot due to divisional record. The Lions are 12th and in last place in the North despite having the best divisional record of any of the 4 teams at 1-0. The Lions are coming off a bye week where they will play at Miami. Detroit is 2-1 in their last 2 games with wins over the Packers & Patriots. They can argue for being 4-1 to be fair & it’ll be interesting to see how the Lions do at Miami after seeing the Bears lose against the Dolphins the previous week. I love what Chicago is doing, but they might wind up as the last place team.

NFC SOUTH: New Orleans was on a bye last week so they stick at 4-1 & remain behind the undefeated Rams. Carolina’s loss to Washington dropped them to 3-2, but that is good enough for the #5 seed because technically they are still slightly ahead of Green Bay & Minnesota. Tampa lost their 3rd straight to drop to 2-3 which is equal to the Lions, but the Bucs have a better conference record so they get the 11-seed while Detroit is relegated to the 12-seed. Atlanta beat Tampa Bay moving them to 2-4, the only team in the NFC at 2-4 so they’re 13th at the moment. The thing to watch with the seedings is where Atlanta winds up. This week they get a home game against the Giants which should be a win which would put them at 3-4 going into their bye week. Can they get something going on defense now that they’ve fired DC Mike Smith? That’s the million dollar question in the South now.

NFC WEST: The Rams win against getting to 6-0 which is now the best record in the NFL. They are 1.5 games ahead of the Saints for the #1 overall seed in the West. The Rams toughed out a win over Denver & now get a home game against the 49ers which should push them to 7-0. The Rams have road games against the Saints, Bears & Lions. Let’s assume they lose those games, the worst New Orleans does is 13-3. If the Rams get better then they aren’t likely to lose to Detroit or Chicago meaning 15-1 is in play. It’s next to impossible to finish the year 16-0, but LA has a chance. I’d keep an eye on Seattle. They are 3-1 in their last 4 games after obliterating the Raiders 27-3. They get a bye this week but come out at Detroit the following week. If Seattle can win in the Motor City, it’ll mean something. Arizona & San Francisco are afterthoughts at this point, although Arizona could have some juice.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 6

#6 GREEN BAY @ #3 WASHINGTON
#5 CAROLINA @ #4 CHICAGO

The higher seed gets screwed here as the Redskins would have to deal with Aaron Rodgers. Given Alex Smith’s propensity in the playoffs & Aaron Rodgers heroic playoff efforts, you’d have to think Green Bay advances here. I think the Bears would actually have the advantage over Carolina because Chicago’s defense would be too much for Cam Newton to handle. That means in the championship round we’d get Green Bay @ Los Angeles and Chicago @ New Orleans. The Bears are too young & Drew Brees is too savvy to lose a home game so the Saints advance. Seeing Aaron Rodgers go to Los Angeles would be really interesting. On paper I think the Rams should win, but I could see the old guard sticking around for another year giving us an Aaron Rodgers/Drew Brees NFC Championship game. Interestingly enough, both players BADLY need a 2nd Super Bowl win to cement their legacy.



 

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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: And now we are back to normal! The really interesting thing about the Kansas City/New England game is that it gives the Patriots the head-to-head tiebreaker over Kansas City. The only way the Chiefs can host New England in a playoff game now is if Kansas City finishes with a better record. Considering New England has one of the weakest schedules in the NFL, that is going to be next to impossible to attain. The Patriots get the #2 seed over Cincinnati by way of conference record. Miami’s win over Chicago was outstanding for the Dolphins. That was probably game they weren’t supposed to win, but that victory pushes them to 4-2 which is technically tied with the Patriots even though New England already beat the Dolphins. Miami is actually out of the playoff picture right now in the 7-seed only because their conference record is weaker than both Los Angeles’s and Baltimore’s. The Jets win over Indianapolis was key because it gave them another conference win. At 3-3, they are tied with both Houston & Jacksonville, but the Jets have the worst conference record of the 3. If that wasn’t the case they could be sitting at the 9-seed. The Bills are ahead of Denver due to strength of victory.

AFC NORTH: That was a HUGE let down loss for Cincinnati as the Steelers drove down the field in the last minute & beat them 28-21. Cincinnati at 4-2 still leads the division because of their head to head win over the Ravens, but now everyone has to be wary of the Steelers who seem to be settling in. This isn’t talked about much because it’s still relatively early in the season, but games like this are pivotal. If Cincinnati wins this game, they improve to 5-1 which is the record Kansas City has because of their loss to New England. The Bengals though would have the #1 overall seed because Kansas City’s loss was a conference loss & Cincinnati, had they beaten Pittsburgh, wouldn’t have had any conference losses. Instead of the Bengals having the #1 overall seed & the AFC road going through Cincinnati, the Bengals are playing on Wild Card weekend with the road through the playoffs likely going through New England. Does this matter huge in the long run? Maybe not because at the end of the day you have to win your games, but we’d all be ignorant to think the Bengals wouldn’t be playing with LESS pressure had they beaten Pittsburgh. Now the Ravens are tied with them & Cincy knows they don’t own the tiebreaker with Pittsburgh. That’s MORE pressure and THAT matters.

AFC SOUTH: A big mess. The Colts, Jaguars & Titans all lost while Houston won their 3rd straight to get to 3-3. Houston, Jacksonville & Tennessee are all tied at 3-3 and the Titans wind up with the #4 seed because of divisional record. Houston beat Jacksonville so the Texans are ahead of the Jaguars & Indianapolis is tied for the worst record in the AFC at 1-5. The South is messy but should play out over the coming weeks. Houston & Jacksonville both have better conference record than the Jets so they are ahead of New York because of that. The South is really amazing to me because if you put Andrew Luck on Houston, Jacksonville or Tennessee, those 3 teams might be 6-0. The Colts roster is absolutely horrible and yet they have the best QB in the division by a COUNTRY MILE! It’s worth remembering that Andrew Luck is going to be 30 years old next year & it’ll be his 8th season in the league. He’s no spring chicken & it feels as if the Colts are wasting him because the team surrounding him is so bad. Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl in Indianapolis when he was 30. I’m not sure the Colts are going to win the Super Bowl in 2019.

AFC WEST: Kansas City’s loss to New England doesn’t do much as far as the West is concerned. It dropped them to 5-1 which is only 1 game ahead of the 4-2 Chargers, but Kansas City beat Los Angeles earlier in the year so the Chiefs effectively have a 2 game lead there. Denver & Oakland aren’t worth thinking about in this equation. As I wrote in the AFC East comment, the big problem here is that Kansas City lost the tiebreaker to New England meaning the playoffs could go through Foxboro which is never pleasant. The Chargers at 4-2 have the best conference record of any 4-2 squad so they are in the 5th seed at the moment which is actually pretty nice as they’d travel to Nashville almost assuring them a spot in the divisional round. For the 2-4 teams, Buffalo actually has a better strength of victory than Denver while Oakland has a better conference record than Indianapolis in the battle of the 1-5 squads. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Chargers finish the year. They have a schedule that could put them at 12-4 & at this point I think anything less than 11-5 is going to be disappointing. The big dreamers in LA know that 14-2 is actually in play.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 6

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 CINCINNATI
#5 LOS ANGELES @ #4 TENNESSEE

What’s really interesting about this matchup is that both lower seed teams look better than their counterparts. That would mean Baltimore @ Kansas City & Los Angeles @ New England. What’s interesting about these matchups is that Baltimore’s defense is good enough to give Kansas City some problems & if Paddy Mahomes makes some mistakes I could easily see the Ravens taking advantage. I’m not a big fan of Joe Flacco throwing the ball 50-60x per game, but against a very weak Chiefs defense, that might be what the doctor ordered & Baltimore’s defense is tough enough in a shoot-out that could end in a Ravens victory. The opposite is kind of true in the Chargers/Patriots game. If Nick Bosa is 100% by playoff time, then the Chargers have a RELENTLESS pass rush that is going to give Tom Brady some struggles. Rookie S Derwin James is a MONSTER! He’s incredible right now after 6 games. What is the rookie going to be like in his 18th game? In a very bizarre tweak, the Ravens could travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in a rare 5-6 AFC Championship game! I have to admit that I’d root hard for that outcome!

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2018 WEEK 7

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Missouri 39-10. Tua Tagovailoa injured his knee that was previously sprained in the 2nd half but despite missing time, the soph still went 12/22 for 265yds/3TD! Alabama didn’t play ALL that great & still won by 29 which says something. The defense completely shut down Mizzou QB Drew Lock who some think will be a 1st round NFL draft pick! WR Jerry Jeudy caught 3 balls for 147yds/TD which now puts him on pace to finish the season with 1,511 receiving yards & 19TD! Alabama QBs have 27TD to just 1INT & average 13.6YPA. The Tide with a passing game seems unfair. Scary to say, but Bama hasn’t played a complete game yet.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Minnesota 30-14. The Gophers played the Buckeyes tough for 3 quarters, but Ohio St. outscored Minnesota 10-0 in the 4th to put the game out of reach. The Buckeyes have back-to-back wins over Indiana & Minnesota, but neither game looked especially dominant & you have to wonder if the Buckeyes really should be ranked #2. QB Dwayne Haskins is still playing out of his mind despite the Buckeyes slowing down a bit. He still threw for 400+yds/3TD against the Gophers. Ohio St. needs to find their ground game & pass rush before they take on Michigan & I’d be a little worried going into West Lafayette this upcoming week as well.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Pittsburgh 19-14. Survive & advance! You can argue this win hurts the Irish because Pittsburgh isn’t a great team & Notre Dame needed some fourth quarter heroics to seal the deal, but watching a crazy Saturday full of Top-10 teams getting beat sort of tempered any criticism thrown ND’s way given that they did avoid a disastrous upset. Ian Book wasn’t as sharp & the Irish running game couldn’t get anything going on a stout Panthers defense. I think the loss of Alex Bars is a bigger deal than most think and I like Jafar Armstrong to get back into the lineup as well sooner rather than later. Hard to argue with a perfect 7-0 start.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. Clemson has to feel fairly lucky they stayed out of the mire this past weekend given all the upsets that were happening. It’s going to be interesting to see how Clemson comes out against NC State after their bye week. The Wake Forest demolition gave us a clue as to how dominant the Tigers can be, and they could easily vault past the Irish & Buckeyes with a similar outcome against the Wolfpack. There has been quite a bit said about the Tigers QB situation, but keep in mind that Travis Etienne is now running the show at tailback & the defense has been absolutely filthy. Clemson is +32 in tackles for loss margin! That front-7 is ridiculous.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Wisconsin 38-13. How about that Michigan fans? Jim Harbaugh has had it ROUGH with ranked teams during his tenure in Ann Arbor, but the 25 point win over the Badgers was complete destruction! The Wolverines are figuring out how to play with Shea Patterson. Patterson can get out of the pocket & run around a little bit which was on full display against Wisconsin. Patterson ended up with 90 rushing yards while playing mistake free football as QB. Karan Higdon is a beast of a tailback & the Michigan D is starting to flash on practically every down. DE Chase Winovich is playing like a 1st Team All-American. They’ll be 10-1 for Ohio State.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat South Carolina 26-23. From a logical perspective, it’s hard to argue Texas A&M being this high. Their only two losses have come against Alabama & Clemson, and the Aggies lost to the Tigers by just 2 points! A&M beat Kentucky which beat Florida which beat LSU which beat Georgia. South Carolina has a pretty good football team so this win is meaningful. The Aggies defense wasn’t all that effective & on offense, A&M couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Luckily, South Carolina made a couple of costly turnovers & QB Kellen Mond was outstanding throwing for over 350 yards! Jimbo Fisher is doing a great job at 5-2 so far.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Baylor 23-17. It wasn’t pretty & Sam Ehlinger was hurt early, but QB Shane Buechele came in and did just enough behind a solid running game & a great defensive effort to allow the Longhorns to build a 23-10 lead & halftime and hold on for dear life to improve to 6-1. This game against Baylor was going to be tough no matter what as it was an emotional letdown game after beating Oklahoma the week before. Yes it was a 6-point win, but it was still impressive because Texas didn’t let down and they did without their starting QB. Texas has a bye week this week meaning Ehlinger has a couple of weeks to get a healthy shoulder.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. The Sooners had a bye week after the pivotal loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry the week prior. The good news for Oklahoma is that Texas didn’t let down against Baylor as it wouldn’t have looked good for the Sooners resume to have a loss to Texas who then would have losses to both Maryland & Baylor. In reality, Oklahoma needs Texas to win out & meet them in the Big XII title game with both teams 11-1. It’s the only way back to the playoffs assuming Bama/Clemson/tOSU/Notre Dame lose. The Sooners have a tricky road game in Morgantown against the Mountaineers of West Virginia, but win that & they should end 11-1.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. The best team in the SEC East? Kentucky actually moves up despite not playing & coming off a loss to Texas A&M because the Aggies avoided a major letdown against South Carolina. At some point the SEC is going to start sorting itself out, but Kentucky can avoid this for a little while longer with their next two games coming against Vanderbilt & Missouri. If the Cats can get to 7-1, they’ll host a Georgia squad in Lexington that could decide the SEC East. Beat Georgia & UK could wind up 11-1 with a shot at Alabama in the SEC championship game. It sounds ridiculous but UK is pretty good & the remaining schedule isn’t rough.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Vanderbilt 37-27. The national narrative about this game is an interesting one because most are focusing on Florida’s sloppy play combined with the coaching histrionics between Dan Mullen & Derek Mason, but to me the real story is that Florida outscored Vanderbilt 34-6 in the last 39 minutes of the football game. Yes, Vanderbilt got out to a 21-3 lead, but from that point forward, the Gators OWNED Vandy in the Commodores own backyard. Sure there were a few too many turnovers & a couple of penalties you don’t want to see, but Florida converted 12 of 17 3rd down attempts & out gained Vanderbilt by exactly 240 total yards.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Georgia 36-16. This was an incredibly dominant win for LSU, and they needed it seeing how the loss to Florida was fairly humiliating. A couple of thoughts about this one. The first thought is the state of the Georgia program in relation to the SEC East. Frankly, Florida looks like the best team in the East (Sorry UK) & if you watched both games, you saw that Florida looked much more fast & athletic than Georgia when facing LSU. The 2nd thought is if LSU can play like this in Baton Rouge, Alabama might have their hands full in a few weeks especially if Tua Tagovailoa isn’t 100% healthy. The athleticism of this LSU defense is off the charts.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to LSU 16-36. So you lost to LSU in Death Valley? There are worse things that can happen. It’s worth mentioning that Georgia was blown out by Auburn 40-17 last season after starting the season 9-0. The Bulldogs regrouped, won out and finished 11-1 & then got a revenge win over Auburn in the SEC Championship game to get to 12-1 & get to the national championship game. If Georgia follows the same script, they’ll certainly earn their stripes. Kentucky is a good football team & Georgia still has their rivalry game against Florida left & the Gators look outstanding. At the end of the day, if Georgia finishes 12-1, they are a playoff team.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Memphis 31-30. Let’s face it, the AAC is a bit underrated. Beating Memphis on the road is a huge win for the Knights. They might not face a stiffer test this season until they get to their final game which is a road date against South Florida. There are going to be a lot of UCF fans screaming for an opportunity if the Knights finish the year off 13-0 again, but this win over Memphis might be the best they’ve had all season. When LSU is beating Georgia & Texas is beating Oklahoma & Michigan is beating Wisconsin, it’s hard to look at UCF’s schedule and see a quality win. If they wind up 26-0 over 2 years, it’ll be very impressive.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. The Bulldogs had an off week after pulling the stunner over Auburn & everything broke right this week as Florida won & Kentucky didn’t play so the MSU losses looked the same or even better than they did a week prior. The incredible difficulty of navigating through the SEC West is about to come into focus for Joe Moorhead & his squad. This upcoming week they travel to Baton Rouge & the Bulldogs still have a road date in Tuscaloosa. If Mississippi St. can win their home games (no easy feat with games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M), they’ll finish 8-4, but it’ll be an 8-4 with a top-25 ranking. Get to a bowl & win to make for 9 wins.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Indiana 42-16. Indiana isn’t horrible, but Iowa made them look that way in Bloomington as the Hawkeyes put the hammer down on the Hoosiers and never once let up en route to a 26 point win! QB Nate Stanley has been outstanding in his last 4 games. In those 4 Stanley has gone 81/123 (66%) for 1199 yards (9.7YPA) with 14TD to 4INT. Stanley is beginning to look the part of an NFL prospect & the Hawkeyes are now getting some love in the national polls. Iowa is a legitimate playoff team. Their toughest game left is a road date against Penn St., but win that & Iowa should finish 11-1. If Wisconsin finishes 10-2, Iowa wins the B10 West.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Iowa St. 14-30. The Mountaineers flirted with disaster a little bit against Texas Tech & Kansas before finally going up against an Iowa State team that executed a strategy to defeat West Virginia to perfection. Iowa State figured it was easier to beat WVU if it simply kept their offense off the field which is exactly what happened as Iowa St. held the ball for almost 38 minutes while RB David Montgomery was relentless pounding the rock for 189 yards on 29 carries. The Cyclones defense was outstanding on 3rd down even when West Virginia was on offense which lead to a 16-point loss. There always seems to be a road block for West Virginia.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Michigan St. 17-21. Terrible. You can explain away Michigan St.’s loss to Arizona St. as potentially an aberrant result, but it’s impossible to explain Michigan St. losing to Northwestern in East Lansing the week before traveling to State College and then beating Penn St. in Beaver Stadium when the Nittany Lions had two weeks to prepare after the Ohio St. loss. Penn St. is sort of hard to figure. The defense might be a tick down from last season, but Miles Sanders is actually doing a better job than Saquon Barkley was doing in 2017. A question worth asking is how much does Trace McSorley miss Mike Gesicki & DaeSean Hamilton?
#18 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Washington 30-27. Oregon couldn’t get it done in OT at home against Stanford, but the first run must have given them enough practice to get it done the 2nd time it happened as the Ducks pulled off the stunner & beat Washington. The Pac 12 North could get chaotic should Washington beat Stanford in Seattle on November 3rd. That’s assuming there aren’t other losses on the horizon, but if Washington does beat Stanford then UW beats the Cardinal, Stanford beat Oregon & Oregon beat Washington. That’s going to send the North into tiebreaker hell. I have to admit, I’m rooting for the Ducks to come out of the North. Good story!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Arkansas 37-33. Ole Miss’s best two wins are probably road games at Arkansas and a neutral site win over Texas Tech which is basically saying Ole Miss hasn’t beaten anyone that great. On the other hand, the Rebels have only lost to LSU & Alabama which makes them a little bit like Texas A&M, but they don’t have the win over Kentucky so they’re just at #19 instead of being higher. HC Matt Luke is doing a tremendous job in Oxford & this offense can flat out score. I don’t know if Ole Miss has the defense to stick with top level SEC West teams, but even if they don’t, this is still probably a top-25 squad which gives the SEC West six of them!
#20 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. The Wolfpack get a couple of weeks to prepare for Clemson in what probably will be the deciding game for the ACC Atlantic division. It’s going to be really interesting to see what NC State’s O-Line handles the Clemson front-7. QB Ryan Finley can play & WR Kelvin Harmon is going to get loose on this Clemson defense. The deciding factor will be whether or not Finley has enough time to operate in the pocket so NC State can put up some points. It’s a long shot to be fair, but Clemson only beat NC State by 7 last year. Dave Doern is a tremendous coach & if NC State loses he needs to keep them focused because 11-1 is very possible.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Colorado 31-20. USC got a pretty big win over previously unbeaten Colorado this past week which certainly puts them in the driver’s seat to win yet another Pac 12 South title. It’s good to remember that the Trojans have two losses which were both on the road against Texas & Stanford. The Stanford loss doesn’t look especially great with them falling to Utah, but the Texas loss keeps looking better & better as long as the Longhorns keep winning, which they should. USC’s defense is starting to click and while true frosh QB JT Daniels has some ups & downs, the offense is scoring quite a bit lately. Beat Utah this weekend & 9-2 should come.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Illinois 46-7. To give Purdue some context, it’s worth remembering that Penn St. beat Illinois by 39 earlier this year. Last week Purdue beat Illinois by….39! Illinois isn’t a great team, but most would have thought this might be a competitive game & the Boilermakers blew the barn doors off the Illini. Purdue has now won 3 straight games over Boston College, Nebraska & Illinois by the combined score of 118-48. DJ Knox & Markell Jones can run. QB David Blough is going to throw & he’s going to play big. Rondale Moore is a matchup nightmare & the defense is starting play fast. Purdue gets a chance to prove doubters wrong with Ohio State.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. The Cougars are once again in position to potentially grab that Pac 12 title. While Oregon was going to OT against Washington last week, Wazzou was resting & getting an extra week of preparation before welcoming the Ducks to Pullman. That should be a tremendous advantage to the Cougars who should be able to pull of a win, get to 6-1 & completely throw a wrench into the Pac 12 North. Remember, if Washington State wins out & then wins the Pac 12 championship, they’d be 12-1 with a legit case of making the playoffs. Cheering for Wazzou lately though feels a lot like Charlie Brown kicking a football with Lucy holding it. Disappointing.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat North Carolina 22-19. Virginia Tech kind of benefits from a lot of ranked teams losing last week. Beating North Carolina 22-19 in Chapel Hill isn’t a bad win per se, but Miami-FL and East Carolina put thumpings on the Tar Heels so a 3-point win, even on the road, feels a bit hollow? If we forget the Old Dominion loss then essentially VT has a loss to a Notre Dame team that might be the best team in the nation. That’s forgivable. The Hokies also have a tremendous opportunity with Miami-FL being a disaster at QB. With their win over Duke, Virginia Tech should win out which would put them at 10-2. I still really like what the defense can do.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Penn St. 21-17. Wow. You simply can’t count out HC Mark Dantonio. The Spartans had about a minute left in the game to hit pay dirt in the 4th quarter & QB Brian Lewerke delivered. This is very experienced Michigan St. with an excellent QB & HC. The losses to Arizona State & Northwestern are perplexing to say the least, but one thing to keep in mind is that if Michigan St. wins out, they’ll be 10-2 & Big 10 East champions. Sparty has been a big disappointment offensively, but they’ve done well on the defensive side of the football. They might not stay in the top-25 for long though. They host Big Brother this upcoming Saturday. Huge game.

DROPPING OUT

#16 MIAMI-FL HURRICANES: You can lose to LSU in your season opener. You cannot lose to Virginia! The Hurricanes have an excellent defense that is extremely opportunistic, but their QB situation with Malik Rosier & N’Kosi Perry is a legitimate disaster. Virginia proved that if Miami’s defense doesn’t have a huge game then “THE U” is pretty much out of options to win. They need big time turnovers and they simply didn’t get them against the Cavaliers. Give Bronco Mendenhall credit. He’s got Virginia to 4-2 & they are a competitive football team.

#17 WISCONSIN BADGERS: The BYU loss keeps looking worse and worse while getting blown out by Michigan is a terrible look on national television. I think what we saw of the Badgers against Michigan isn’t unlike what we saw with Wisconsin last season when they played Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game. Elite level athletes sometimes show up and you can’t beat them simply because you are tough. It’s the Jimmys and the Joes not the Xs and the Os. Wisconsin is still probably a top-25 team, but outside of Jonathan Taylor & the O-line, they don’t really threaten anyone offensively while the defense might not be as good as we thought. Michigan is a VERY TOUGH football team & BYU showed everyone that Wisconsin can be outmuscled.

#19 AUBURN TIGERS: The loss to Tennessee at home is nasty. I know the buy out is huge for Gus Malzahn, but at this point War Eagle fans have to hope the season doesn’t completely melt down with Malzahn being shown the door. He’s lasted way longer than Gene Chizik and Chizik won a national championship for crying out loud. Auburn sits at 4-3 and there are 4 games left on the schedule that could very well be losses. Can Malzahn survive a 5-7 season? I’ve already seen rumors of potentially Matt Campbell leaving Iowa State to take over the Tigers. It’s amazing to think Auburn won the SEC West last season!

#20 WASHINGTON HUSKIES: The loss to Oregon probably shouldn’t knock Washington out of the Top-25, but in reality what have they really done? Their best win is against Utah & the loss to Auburn looks horrific now that the Tigers might actually finish the season with a losing record. The Huskies still have Stanford & Washington State, but their schedule was about as soft as pudding and they are still 5-2. Maybe they pick up USC if they win out & the Trojans win the South, but even then their best case scenario is 11-2. I don’t think Jake Browning & Myles Gaskin were planning on going out this way.

#22 COLORADO BUFFALOES: At 5-0 against a very soft slate of games, we weren’t sure the Buffaloes were a contender or a pretender. After losing to USC 31-20, it looks as if Colorado is yet again a pretender. Colorado’s schedule toughens up from this point forward although they do get a home game against Oregon State so at worst they should be a bowl eligible 6-6. I think anything more than that is gravy so getting to 7-5 or 8-4 should be celebrated although I’m not sure it’ll lessen the heat on Coach Mac’s seat.

#24 STANFORD CARDINAL: Stanford didn’t play this past weekend but they were more of a victim of circumstance than anything in dropping out of the Power-25. The Cardinal are riding a 2-game losing streak and the next few games are going to be very interesting. With Oregon beating Washington, the Pac 12 North is still very much in play for the 4-2 Cardinal, but their next 3 games are: at Arizona State, home against Washington State and then at Washington. Those are all 3 winnable games, but if Stanford comes out like they did against Utah, their 4-2 record could turn into 4-5 really fast and they would need to win on the road against UCLA or California just to become bowl eligible.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 6 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PHI (-3). Is this a must win for the Giants? It certainly feels like it. Odell Beckham is talking out of turn. Eli Manning hasn’t looked good at all. The O-Line is a mess & the defense isn’t playing well. The chatter is going to get insanely hot if New York drops to 1-5 for the 2nd straight year. The Giants want to be relevant & if that is the case then you have to win your home games against divisional opponents. The Eagles are in a must win situation as well. Losing to the Giants puts them at 2-4. No bueno!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: ATL (-3.5). Atlanta opens as favorites against the Bucs despite the 1-4 record going up against the 2-2 Tampa Bay squad. It’s a broken record, but I think this game will come down to how well Jameis Winston plays. The Bucs are loaded at the skill positions and Atlanta has been downright terrible on defense. Sure the Falcons are going to score, but the Bengals showed you can beat the Falcons in Atlanta in a shoot-out. That has to be the gameplan for Tampa Bay in order to get them to 3-2.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CIN (-3). Huge opportunity for the Bengals here in getting the Steelers at home. A win would move Cincinnati to 5-1 while it would put the Steelers at 2-3-1, 2 games behind Cincy in the loss column but effectively 3 games back due to the Bengals having the head-to-head tiebreaker. Cincinnati doesn’t have any easy road dates so their home schedule is extremely important. It’s not a good sign to see Antonio Brown getting better looks from Big Ben. AB can completely take over games himself.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. If anyone is high on the Chargers it’s Vegas. I think the odds makers understand how good the Bolts can be especially when Joey Bosa gets back into the lineup. The fact that Cleveland was dead even with them to start speaks volumes about the upside of this Browns squad. Cleveland can get a win here if they can get to Philip Rivers in the backfield. The Browns have to limit the short passes to Austin Ekeler & Melvin Gordon & put pressure on a static Rivers. Do that & get that 3rd win!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: SEA (-1). Really tough home loss last week to the Rams for Seattle and I’m really interested to see how the Seahawks bounce back on the road against a Raiders team they should be able to handle. Seattle’s defense has quietly been one of the better units in the league while the Raiders are really struggling with turnovers. If the Raiders can’t control turnover margin, Seattle is going to roll heavy in this one. The Raiders defense hasn’t been good which is enough for Russell Wilson to take it down.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CHI (-1). The Dolphins might be down 3 starting offensive linemen and the Bears bring one of the most formidable pass rushes in the NFL to Miami! That’s almost unfair. One aspect of this game that people aren’t talking about is how good Miami’s defense has been so far this season. Mitch Trubisky is still a younger QB in only his 2nd season so he’s not immune to off games. I have no idea how Miami scores in this one, but the defense could keep it close & maybe Lady Luck smiles on them.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MIN (-11). Ugggh! Vikings at home going up against a rookie QB with the possibility of having the team 100% healthy? That’s not a good situation for Arizona who is coming off their first win of the season! The Vikings got a much needed win last week in their 23-21 win over the Eagles & they could springboard from that. Their next 4 are winnable meaning they could be 6-2-1 at their bye. Why isn’t that automatic you ask? Well, the Buffalo Bills did come into Minneapolis and beat the Vikings.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NYJ (-3). Really interesting line from Vegas that essentially says the teams are pretty even. I think this is a huge game for the Colts on the road against a Jets team that is one of the weaker squads in the NFL. Even saying that though is tough as the Jets have one of the league’s best defense & Isaiah Crowell looks practically unstoppable at this point. If Andrew Luck’s game is on point & Indy’s offense finds a way to get loose, New York could be in for a long day if Sam Darnold is off.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: WAS (-1). Really interesting game given the contrasts of both teams. Carolina is definitely a better team when they focus on getting Christian McCaffrey the ball & allowing Cam Newton to run around & make some plays with his legs. The Redskins have a terrible time defending the run which makes this a very difficult matchup for them. Washington needs to force Newton to beat them with the pass, but that puts a ton of pressure on their interior D-Line & the LBs. Can the Redskins play this way?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-10). Houston is coming off of back-to-back OT wins over the Colts & Cowboys & something tells me that the Texans are about ready to take off. Buffalo matches up very poorly because you’ll have a fantastic Houston front-7 going up against Bills rookie QB Josh Allen. Sure the Bills can play a little defense & that is going to make life tough for Deshaun Watson, but at the end of the day, even if Houston struggles offensively, they’ll still manage 10-14 points. I don’t think Buffalo can match that.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAR (-7). Take note that the Rams would have opened as 13 point favorites at home underlining just how disparate these two teams are at the moment. Denver has lost 3 straight games after starting 2-0 & it feels as if things might be ready to implode for the Broncos. Case Keenum is not playing well. The defense hasn’t played anywhere close to potential while the Chiefs & Chargers look light years ahead. The Rams are the best team in the NFL by a mile. I’d be shocked to see the Broncos get a win.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: JAX (-1). Things are looking bad in Dallas. Dak Prescott is coming under fire & now even Troy Aikman is getting in on the act saying that Prescott isn’t very accurate with the football. Jerry Jones is opening questioning Jason Garrett so the atmosphere around Jerry World probably can’t get more toxic! The Jaguars can be beat especially if Blake Bortles is throwing grenades, but that Jaguars defense is going to be nasty considering the Cowboys have no real outside threat to stretch the defense.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. Odd game in that the winner here moves to 4-2 and I’m not sure either team deserves to be 4-2 after 6. When Marcus Mariota has been facing elite defenses this season, he’s been completely horrible & the Ravens have an excellent defense coming into Nashville. Both offenses struggle, but you can count on Joe Flacco tossing the ball about 45-50 times regardless of strategy. If you were to ask me which two teams are the most boring in the NFL, I’d say Tennessee and Baltimore easily!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-3.5). Paddy Mahomes comes into Foxboro which according to Vegas will be Kansas City’s first loss of the season. I don’t know if 4 games is enough tape for opposing DCs to really hone in on how to beat Mahomes & the Chiefs, and it must be stated that the Jaguars defense can be dominant, but Mahomes was decisively off against Jacksonville last week despite KC’s 30-14 win. You can be sure that Bill Belichick & DC Brian Flores has watched as much tape as they can off Mahomes & will be ready.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: GB (-10). The spread says it all. The 49ers and C.J. Beathard are coming into Lambeau to take on a Packers team that should be extremely motivated after losing a divisional game to the Detroit Lions. The best bet the Niners could have is RB Matt Breida having a huge game, keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field, and running down the clock. Unfortunately, Breida doesn’t look like he’s going to suit up meaning there really is no strength SF can rely on to offset Green Bay. This one will get very ugly!

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL FOOTBALL POWER 32 – 2018 WEEK 5

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Seahawks 33-31. When the Rams can be this far off their game & still win road games in Seattle of all places when the Seahawks are playing out of their minds, then it’s useful to ask if any team in the league can stay with the Rams? The defense needs to get better for sure. Right now I think the teams most likely to take down Sean McVay’s lads are the Chiefs, Saints & Patriots. All have explosive offenses that can put up points. If the Seahawks can put up 31, the Chiefs can put up 50. That would be a lot of pressure on Jared Goff & his supporting cast to score enough to win a shootout. We need to see defensive improvement soon.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jaguars 30-14. Pat Mahomes finally had his first “off” game as the first year starter went 22/38 for 313 yards with zero TDs and threw two interceptions. I think the more tape teams get on Mahomes, the more his numbers are going to come down & this is how Kansas City becomes vulnerable. The Jaguars got down early because of turnovers & they essentially became a passing team down 20-0 early. That isn’t a good thing when Blake Bortles is your QB. The Chiefs defense made Bortles look like a clown for most of the day although Bortles did throw for 400+ yards. Great win for KC because the Jags are competitive but the Patriots are up next!
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 43-19. On an historic night when Drew Brees passed Peyton Manning as the NFL all-time leader in passing yards, the Saints absolutely HAMMERED the Redskins in a statement game that might point towards the NFC being a two team race with everyone else a distant third. Brees torched the Redskins going 26 of 29 for 363 yards & 3TD without a pick. How much better can Brees get? He completed 90% of his passes and averaged 12.5 yards per attempt! In a game where the Saints weren’t that effective running the ball & Alvin Kamara basically disappeared, Brees reemerged and took control of a dominating offensive performance.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week idle. No game for the Bears this week as they get an extra week off to prepare for their odyssey through the AFC East. Over the next 4 weeks the Bears will play at Miami before coming home to play the Patriots & Jets following by a road game to Buffalo to finish their AFC part of the schedule. At 3-1 the Bears gets these games at a good time. Even if they lose to New England, Chicago should emerge from their first 8 games of the season a solid 6-2 before playing their final 8 games which features 5 contests between their NFC North rivals and a game against the Rams for good measure! I’m excited to see what this D has in store for us.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Dolphins 27-17. Joe Mixon makes this the Bengals a much better team. Cincinnati is 3-0 when Mixon is in the lineup yet 1-1 without him. The lone win came against a Falcons squad that seems to be allergic to defense. You almost have to wonder if Mixon isn’t the missing piece that Andy Dalton & Marvin Lewis has needed since Dalton arrived in the Queen City. Dalton has had to deal with Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jeremy Hill & Giovani Bernard for his entire career & Mixon is a lot better than all of those runners. Mixon is a legit 3-down back with explosive twitch. He needs to stay healthy for Cincinnati to contend.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Raiders 26-10. When Philip Rivers is openly clowning the defense during the game & calling out obvious plays that the Raiders defenders can hear & STILL BE SUCCESSFUL with the play, then you know the Chargers are playing well! Rivers was outstanding in a non-competitive game that LA was leading 17-3 at the half. The Chargers still aren’t at 100% on defense & Melvin Gordon/Austin Ekeler could have ran the ball a bit better, but a divisional win is huge & the Chargers improved to 3-2 with their only losses coming to a couple of teams that are now a combined 10-0! The Chargers can make a case for being the 3rd best team in the NFL.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 38-24. New England scored 38 points for the 2nd straight week, but I wouldn’t be cautious in thinking the Patriots are back to their elite level status. Miami was a pretender at 3-0 when Tom Brady destroyed them. The Colts are 1-4 and the game was in Foxboro. New England is playing better than their 1-2 start would have indicated, but beating up the Dolphins & Colts isn’t cause for celebration. Tom Brady & Josh McDaniels finally had all their offensive pieces, but I’m starting to think the Patriots offense runs on Sony Michel & James White rather than a passing attack featuring Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon & Tom Brady.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Eagles 23-21. The Vikings haven’t had the easiest 5 weeks in football, but getting a gritty road win over the defending Super Bowl champions in an NFC Championship game rematch might be just what the doctor ordered. Kirk Cousins had a fantastic game going over 300 yards with a couple of TDs. The Vikings defense stiffened up quite a bit in stopping a very good Eagles run game & limited Carson Wentz’s ability to make big chunk plays. The win pushes Minnesota to 2-2-1 which isn’t fantastic but it’s just a game back in the loss column to the division leading Bears. The schedule sets up well for Minny. They need more Dalvin Cook!
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 33-31. An amazing storybook ending for Carolina as Graham Gano boots a 63 yard FG at home with one second remaining on the clock to go from Carolina being down 31-30 to the Panthers winning 33-31! That’s an awesome feel good story, but it was disappointing to see Christian McCaffrey being underutilized once again. He had a big usage game last week so this might be HC Ron Rivera’s way of giving McCaffrey some rest, but needing a last second FG to beat a hapless Giants team is indicative of how much the offense needs to run through McCaffrey instead of QB Cam Newton. The good news? Curtis Samuel finally got on the field!
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 21-23. Down 20-6 after 3 quarters, the Eagles couldn’t quite pull off the come from behind win over the Vikings & they fall to 2-3. Philly allowed 10 points off of turnovers which essentially decided the game, and the offense looked sluggish. The Eagles are definitely going through some Super Bowl hangover, but all 3 losses have come from a combined 11 points so it’s hardly cause for concern. Sometimes Lady Luck doesn’t break your way. The upside is that we haven’t seen the Eagles play their best football, they’ll get better as the season progresses, and the NFC East looks awful. Maybe Philly doesn’t get a bye, but they’ll make the playoffs.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chiefs 14-30. Was able to watch Jags/Chiefs last week and the Jaguars are screwed as long as Blake Bortles is the starting QB. It’s weird if you don’t watch the guy in person because you’ll look at the boxscores & see that he can put up pretty good statistical seasons, but against a terrible Chiefs defense, Bortles threw 4 picks & the Jaguars were blown out. It was going to be difficult to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City, but 30-14!? The Jaguars did an outstanding job of shutting down Pat Mahomes, but they gave up 13 points off turnovers & Bortles’ interceptions killed offensive momentum all day. Jacksonville is wildly talented, but Bortles can be bad.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Browns 9-12. Losing to the Browns this year doesn’t quite carry the stigma it has in recent seasons, but Baltimore’s loss only points out all the things I’ve been saying about Baltimore over the last few years. The Ravens averaged almost 5 yards per carry on the ground against a stout Cleveland defense, but instead of sticking with the ground game in a close contest, the Ravens coaches let Joe Flacco throw the ball 56 times! Nevermind that he completed 51.8% of those passes or that he didn’t throw a single TD pass. I like John Harbaugh but he needs to go. For some reason, the Ravens can’t stop this horrific strategy. It makes no sense at all.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Lions 23-31. Special teams and defense for Detroit allowed the Lions to amass 17 points in the first half & jet out to a 24-0 lead and Green Bay couldn’t quite catch up. Green Bay reminds me a bit of Philadelphia in the sense that the Packers we see now are probably going to be significantly different than the Packers we’ll see in November & December. Getting Aaron Jones back is a big deal & I think the offense is still figuring out how best to use their receivers & combine the run & passing games. The defense needs to get better against the run for sure, but that feels like early season noise rather than a concerning issue going forward.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Falcons 41-17. Oddly enough, even with the win over Atlanta & pushing their record back to .500, the Steelers are still in last place in the division because the Browns picked up a win as well giving them the division win over Baltimore & Pittsburgh has yet to win a division game. Offensively the Steelers looked fantastic, but I’m not sure if that is because Pittsburgh’s offense can be lethal when firing on all cylinders or if the Falcons defense really might be the worst in the NFL? Defensively I loved what Pittsburgh did with the pass rush. TJ Watt is a monster off the edge & it feels like he’s getting better every week! Watt leads the NFL in sacks with 6.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 31-33. Seattle played well but couldn’t get enough stops against the Rams to stop the juggernaut from getting to 5-0. Seattle is a better team than people think. Mike Davis, Chris Carson & Rashaad Penny can run the football which takes some of the pressure off of Russell Wilson in the pocket & the Seahawks defense has been particularly good even with the losses & injuries. Seattle’s 3 losses have come by a combined 12 points so they could argue they should be 5-0. If Seattle is to make a move this year they’ll have to win their home games. They have the Chargers, Vikings, Packers & Chiefs coming to Seattle. Big opportunities.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 19-43. I’m not willing to completely give up on the Redskins but it almost looked as if they didn’t even want to play on Monday night in a 24-point beat down at the hands of the Saints. Alex Smith wasn’t completely awful, but you look around that Washington offense & what player really excites you? The best might be Derrius Guice & he’s out of the season. Defensively the Redskins have some fantastic pieces like Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen & Da’Ron Payne. I even really like S Troy Apke, but offensively where is the juice? The Redskins have a great schedule to make a playoff push & possibly win the East. We’ll see.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 17-41. This is what happens when your offense plays poorly and your defense is one of the worst in the NFL. At 1-4, the Falcons are tied for worst record in the NFL. Having them at #17 means I haven’t completely sold them out, but the hole that the Falcons have dug for themselves simply might be too deep for any real playoff push in 2018 given how well the Saints are playing & how deep the NFC seems to be. What’s really amazing about all of this is how healthy the Falcons seem to be. They really don’t have any players on IR & this team is very similar to the 2016-2017 Falcons that went 21-7 & almost won a Super Bowl!
#18 Computer Hope Last Week idle. Tampa got a week off after back-to-back losses to the Bears & Steelers. Those look like pretty good losses given how Chicago has been playing and watching the Steelers thump the Falcons. Oddly enough, Tampa heads to Atlanta this week to take on a reeling Falcons squad. We know the Falcons can’t play defense & the Bucs are underrated with the kind of dominant skill players they have. This game should be telling for Tampa because a win moves them to 3-2 with a 2-0 division record going into a home game against Cleveland that could move them to 4-2. The Bucs have to get Big Mo on their side & home to ride it to 10-6 or 9-7.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bengals 17-27. Things can’t break right for the Dolphins. Their O-Line was already down two starters in Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore and last week Laremy Tunsil was pulled out of the game with a concussion & might not play this week against the Bears. That’s bad news given how great the Bears defense has been. Putting that kind of defense against an O-Line of backup is a recipe for disaster. At this point Adam Gase is going to have to hope that Ryan Tannehill survives let alone play well. The key for Miami will be keeping Chicago offense off the field by running well. That keeps Tannehill upright & control the clock. It’ll be tough.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bills 12-13. The Bills have a top-10 defense so some of Tennessee’s issues could be wrapped around the fact that Buffalo isn’t as bad as people think. With that said, if you score 12 points in a game in today’s NFL, chances are you aren’t going to win that game. Even with the Titans have a decent defense, giving up 13 to a bad offense still isn’t that surprising so the onus falls on the Titans offense to score more than 13 points! The Titans have issues at QB. It’s that simple, but they’re rolling with Marcus Mariota for this season. The 3-1 start was amazing, but I wouldn’t be surprised of the Titans finished last in the South in Vrabel’s 1st season as HC.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cowboys 19-16. How much of a freak show is J.J. Watt? The guy has been battling injuries for the past two years, but he’s finally healthy and he has 6 sacks so far in 5 games putting him on pace for 19-21! Houston is already outstanding against the run on defense. You aren’t going to get anywhere running on them & I think they’ll get better against the pass & before long Houston will have the sort of defense we envisioned for them the past couple of years had Watt been 100%. Offensively the addition of Keke Coutee has been a real difference maker. If Deshaun Watson can tighten up & the run game start, they’re the best in the South.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 31-23. One thing I loved about Detroit beating Green Bay this past week is that the Lions took advantage of the opportunities Green Bay gave them & used those mistakes to score 17 points & hold off the Packers offense just enough to grab the victory. Detroit might only be 2-3 & currently in last place in the NFC North, but their two wins have come against Green Bay & New England, meaning on any given week Detroit can beat anyone in the NFL. Amazingly enough, the Lions haven’t given the ball to Kerryon Johnson enough & haven’t really involved Marvin Jones that much in the offense. There is a lot of upside still to Detroit!
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Ravens 12-9. A home OT win against division rival Baltimore!? Baker Mayfield will take it and his legend begins! You can make a pretty good argument Cleveland should have beat Oakland the previous week. Throw in the tie against the Steelers & the close loss to the Saints & Cleveland can make a case for being 5-0. Of course, they could make a case for being 0-5, but at 2-2-1, the Brown have to be thrilled. According to Football Outsiders, Cleveland has the 2nd best defense in the NFL. You can’t have a unit that dominant & not be a playoff contender. The offense is going to continue to get better meaning this might be a scary football team.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 34-16. J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! I really hope you had Isaiah Crowell starting on your fantasy team as he put in a CAREER DAY rushing for 219 yards and a TD on just 15 carries! Denver had absolutely no answer for Crowell and even Bilal Powell ran for 99 yards of his on on 20 carries. The Jets completely dominated Denver with their rushing attack & Sam Darnold chipped in 3TD in one of this better games this season as a rookie. The Jets defense is turning into one of the more elite units in the NFL & when you can run the ball like this & play as good of defense as they played against the Broncos, the Jets are going to be very difficult to handle.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jets 16-34. Nothing is going right for the Broncos. Case Keenum hasn’t been anything like he was last season with the Vikings and the Denver defense hasn’t been playing well at all. Giving up 34 points to the Jets with a rookie QB makes no sense at this point & you have to wonder how hot Vance Joseph’s seat is getting as an impatient John Elway looks on in disgust. The Jets exploded for 21 points in the 2nd quarter to take a 21-10 halftime lead, but Denver become almost a strictly passing team with Keenum throwing 51 passes! This makes no sense with a solid running game being down by just 11. NFL offensive strategy is very mind-boggling.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 24-38. Down 24-3 at halftime, Indianapolis showed quite a bit of grit getting this game to 24-17 before falling apart & allowing New England to up 38-17 before a late TD made it 38-24. The Colts are still a dangerous football team that injuries & mistake are killing right now. They didn’t even bring a full roster to New England which shows just how much injuries are taking a toll on this squad. Indy had a remaining schedule that could have them finish the season 9-7. They’ll need to be on the right side of close wins to get there, but it’s possible with Andrew Luck. It’s tough to start the season 1-4, but Indy remains just 2 games out of 1st place.
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Titans 13-12. One of the best defenses in the league combined with an offense that might be historically bad. It’s easy to take shots at the Bills, but how can you not be impressed with HC Doug McDermott? He trades all of his talent away last season & still make the playoffs going 9-7. Everyone & their mother thinks the Bills are by far the worst team in the NFL yet they’ve pulled off wins over the Vikings & Titans, two playoff teams from a season ago. The defense will keep them in games for sure & given the way the AFC East is trending, Buffalo could wind up in 2nd place. There is a way this team could get to 6-10 or 7-9. McDermott is a silly good HC.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Beat 49ers 28-18. Great win for the Cardinals as they finally stop being the last NFL team in 2018 without a victory! The Cardinals defense is starting to stiffen quite a bit which is a good sign, but you still the feeling that HC Steve Wilks and his staff don’t know how to properly utilize RB David Johnson. QB Josh Rosen had 25 pass attempts against the 49ers while Johnson had just 18 carries & 2 catches. That’s inexplicable given Johnson’s abilities. Admittedly, SF did a good job bottling up Johnson, but he still ran for 2TDs and you have to give him the rock 25-26 times a game regardless of the offensive gameplan. Fix this and the Cardinals get quite a bit better.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Texans 16-19. Let the drama begin! All the talk surrounding the Cowboys is Jason Garrett’s decision to punt on 4th & 1 in OT instead of going for it which essentially led Houston to winning the game on a FG. Jerry Jones is openly questioning Garrett’s decision and you have to think that Garrett’s seat is about as hot as it can get. If you believe you have the best RB in the league, how do you not go for it on 4th & 1 to get to 3-2 which would have put Dallas atop the NFC East? The Cowboys are in trouble. They have no receivers. Dak Prescott is wildly inaccurate with the football and the D isn’t fantastic. The Cowboys are in a HC/QB purgatory situation.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 10-26. In Oakland’s 4 losses this season, the Raiders are -6 in TO margin. Even more startling in those 4 losses is that Oakland’s takeaways were just 1 so they committed 7 turnovers & a couple of those losses (Miami & Denver) were fairly close games. QB Derek Carr is having a good year when you consider his completion percentage & his yards, but the guy also leads the NFL in interceptions and is on pace to finish the season with 25-26 picks! That’s just unacceptable if the Raiders even want to be a competitive football team, let alone be in the playoff discussion. The passing offense is dangerous without those errors, but Oakland can’t play D.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Panthers 31-33. Pat Shurmur has to be really careful here because of Odell Beckham’s comments about Eli Manning and the offense. The Giants are in a tough spot because Manning simply might not have it any longer and the Giants skill position players are ready to roll right now. The problem is that the Giants don’t have a very good defense and the offensive line isn’t that great. I think the Giants might have also made a mistake in taking Saquon Barkley over Sam Darnold in relation to the future of the team. Beckham has a mouth on him & that could lead to a divided house. It’s just Shurmur’s first season, but it’s off to a very unfortunate start.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cardinals 18-28. Wow. The 49ers might be worse than we think if they are dropping home games to 0-4 squads. I don’t think the way to victory is QB C.J. Beathard throwing 50+ passes a game, but San Francisco’s running attack is pretty banged up at the moment. I think the 49ers really underscore how important the QB position is in today’s NFL. Before the season people were thinking SF would be a playoff team that could potentially be dangerous, but with Garoppolo out for the season, they look like they could possibly be the worst team in the NFL. Life doesn’t get easier with the Packers & Rams being their next two games. Rough times ahead.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 5

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13 14 15 16
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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: Washington was able to lose to the Saints on Monday night & remain in first place in the NFC East because Dallas & Philadelphia wet the bed against the Texans & Vikings respectively. I thought the NFC East would be competitive, but I thought the division would be competitive because of how good the four teams would be rather than how bad the four teams are. The NFC East is the only division in the NFL, after 5 weeks of football, that has every team with a negative point differential! I think the Eagles are still the default team to watch here, but at this point who really knows? There is a lot of divisional games to be played, but I think it’s probably safe to say that the winners of the NFC East are likely playing on Wild Card weekend.

NFC NORTH: The Vikings got a huge win on the road against the Eagles which they probably needed as bad as any team needed a win. Minnesota is still behind Green Bay despite having the same record because the Packers have a better divisional record than the Vikings at this point due to Green Bay’s Week 1 win over the Bears. Despite a bad start to the season, Minnesota is in great shape to not only make the playoffs but win the North if Chicago falters. The one team I wouldn’t sleep on is Detroit. Sure the Lions are 2-3, but their wins have come against the Packers & Patriots & they have 2 close losses. Detroit can make a convincing argument they should be 4-1 instead of 2-3. The Week 1 loss to the Jets is inexplicable at this point & is probably best forgotten. This might turn into the most competitive team in football with the way Chicago & Detroit have played early. If the Lions can protect homefield advantage, they have a road schedule that is conducive to a couple of wins meaning they could get to 10 wins.

NFC SOUTH: The big news in the South is Atlanta’s loss to Pittsburgh dropping the Falcons to 1-4. They are 3 games behind New Orleans with 11 to play but in reality that is 4 games because right now the Saints have beaten the Falcons in their head-to-head game. That is a MONSTER hole to crawl out of and I’m not sure the Falcons can get that done. If you believe in the 5-year rule than at the end of the season, Atlanta needs to either make a decision on Matt Ryan (he’s staying) or Dan Quinn (he’s probably staying but could be the one that gets fired if Atlanta makes a change) because they’ll have passed their window of opportunity together. Speaking of that rule, Ron Rivera & Cam Newton are well beyond their expiration date while Dirk Koetter & Jameis Winston are in Year 3. I guess when you thing about championships, the only viable team the South has is New Orleans. The 4-1 start is amazing. Atlanta is a non-factor & I think Tampa is going to implode. I’m high on Chicago, but the Saints are looking at the #1 or #2 seed in the NFC.

NFC WEST: Rams win…..AGAIN. The West is effectively over. Los Angeles went into Seattle & beat the Seahawks which means LA is likely going 6-0 in the West. Heck, I’m not sure at this point if there is a team in the NFL that can beat the Rams. The 49ers lost to the Cardinals showing how doomed that team is without Jimmy Garoppolo. The Cardinals are still starting a rookie QB. Those two teams provide no competition for the Rams. The Seahawks are left gasping for Wild Card air & they are close. Even with the loss to the Rams, Seattle is in the 9th seed which is in striking distance & they are only one game out in the loss column of the Bucs who are 2-2 & in the 6th seed. The Seahawks should be an interesting team. I think their ceiling is probably 8-9 wins which would be a pretty successful season considering their roster, but I’m not sure that sneaks them into the playoffs.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 5

#6 TAMPA BAY @ #3 CHICAGO
#5 CAROLINA @ #4 WASHINGTON

These matchups looks pretty one sided to me. Tampa Bay isn’t a playoff team so they aren’t going to stick in the #6 seed, but assuming they do, I think Chicago destroys them at Soldier Field in January. Carolina/Washington also looks like a mismatch as it matches Carolina strength (running the ball) against Washington’s worst weakness (stopping the run). Cam Newton & Christian McCaffrey have a field day while Alex Smith spends the day checking down and providing the Redskins with no real vertical passing attack which could loosen up the Panthers defense. That would set up Chicago at New Orleans and Carolina at Los Angeles. Bad matchups for the Panthers & Bears which means we’d get Saints/Rams in the NFC Championship game. Last season both the Saints & Rams both made the playoffs, but LA lost to the Falcons who then lost to Philadelphia while the Saints lost to the Vikings who then would lose to the Eagles. I wonder if the storyline of Drew Brees passing the torch to Jared Goff would pop up if New Orleans & Los Angeles did meet in the NFC Championship game?



 

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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: The Patriots win over Indianapolis combined with Miami’s loss to Cincinnati cemented the Patriots at the top of the AFC East due to their head to head win over the Dolphins 2 weeks ago. Miami now falls out of the playoff picture due to tiebreakers. The Chargers have a better conference record & the Ravens have a better strength of victory. I thought this mildly amusing. If you want to get to the playoffs, you must beat the teams you should beat, but that comes with a downside IF you can’t win a big game every now & then. The Dolphins lost to Cincinnati & New England. OK that’s fine. Those 2 teams are a combined 7-3. They have wins over the Jets, Titans & Raiders. The Titans win is obviously a good one, but Baltimore has a better Strength of Victory tie breaker because Pittsburgh is 2-2-1 rather than 2-3. Subtle differences. Miami can do a lot of damage the next two weeks as they face the Bears & Lions at home.

AFC NORTH: The Bengals are all alone with the 2nd best record in the AFC & are just a game behind the Chiefs for the overall #1 seed in the conference. The Bengals get a home game this week against Pittsburgh & if they can play well, they should win that game which sets up an interesting road game in 2 weeks when Cincinnati travels to Kansas City! What’s even more interesting is that this upcoming week the Chiefs travel to New England! If Cincy wins next week & KC loses then the Bengals would gain the #1 seed because of conference record, but the Bengals would have to hold onto it the following week at KC. The next two weeks are going to be interesting atop the AFC. KC has a road game against NE and then home against CIN. The Bengals get the Steelers at home then travel to KC. The Patriots host KC and then have a road game against the surging Bears.

AFC SOUTH: I think at this point there is nothing to really know about the South. Tennessee lost to Buffalo yesterday. The Jaguars were blown out by the Chiefs. Houston beat Dallas on Sunday night & the Colts lost to New England on Thursday night. Indianapolis is 1-4 and currently the last place team in the conference according to the seedings, but they are only two games out of first & have looked extremely good at times this season. Indy, I think, dressed just 44 players on the trip to New England & put up a helluva fight late in the game. I think it is safe to say that all of the teams in the South are extremely limited, but I’m still high on Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is the best QB in the division BY A COUNTRY MILE and that has to mean something. The Colts need to start converting close losses to wins. This is where the tie comes in that Frank Reich didn’t play for against the Texas. Tie that game & Indy has 3 losses instead of 4 & would only be one loss out of first place in the loss column.

AFC WEST: It’s Kansas City’s world apparently & we are just living in it. The most interesting part of this division to me is the Chargers currently holding the top wild card spot among the 3-2 squads because their conference record is 2-1. LA isn’t blowing anyone out but they have a legitimate shot to keep winning games & get to 9-2 before traveling to Pittsburgh. The screwy part for the Chargers is that even if KC loses a couple of games, they’ll still be behind due to the head to head loss & the 2nd game they have with the Chiefs is in Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers have a great shot at getting to 13-3, but unless the Chiefs can lose 4 games, LA will be relegated to the 5th seed which means they’ll likely have to play 3 road games to get to the Super Bowl. Denver & Oakland are bombing. The records aren’t exactly horrific yet, but they’ve already lost quite a few conference games which puts them in tiebreaker hell. It’ll be really interesting to see who finishes last. Denver is not good.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 5

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 NEW ENGLAND
#5 LOS ANGELES @ #4 TENNESSEE

Oddly enough, if there is a team in the AFC that could give New England a tough time it would be Baltimore. The Patriots are susceptible to Brady getting pressured & the Ravens have an excellent defense. This is why teams like Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles & potentially Pittsburgh are hard teams. Defensively they can bring pressure. The problem with those teams is that their offenses don’t exactly follow suit with the exceptions of the Chargers & Steelers. Each time Joe Flacco has made the playoffs, he’s won at least one game. If that trend holds, Baltimore would be making the trip to Kansas City. The 4/5 looks like a mismatch to me, but Tennessee sometimes wins oddball games you’d think they should lose. I can’t really imagine the Titans being one of the final 4 teams in the AFC, but stranger things have happened and bad luck is tenacious when it comes to the Bolts. If Philip Rivers beat Tennessee here & Baltimore wins, then LA gets the Bengals and I think we’d find Rivers in the AFC Championship game. How wild would be it for the AFC Championship to be the 5/6 with the Ravens headed to Hollywood to take on the Chargers?

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 7 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Most important game of the week because both teams have playoff aspirations & both teams have already taken on a loss. A second loss would eliminate them from playoff contention although it might not eliminate them from Big 10 championship possibilities. Oddly enough, I think this game is more important for Wisconsin as they must wash the stink of that BYU loss off of their resume & a win in Ann Arbor would go a long way towards that. Michigan needs this for legitimacy because it is a game they SHOULD win! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Every tough game LSU has played this season has come on the road. Miami-FL & Auburn were handled, but the Tigers couldn’t quite figure out Florida’s defense last week that led to LSU’s first loss of the season. This game is super interesting because it almost highlights what Florida has done well this season which is what Georgia struggles with a bit. The Bulldogs don’t have an overly aggressive twitched up defense. If Georgia can’t get that kind of pressure on QB Joe Burrow, LSU is going to be extremely tough at home. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Mountaineers come into this game 5-0 & knocking on the door of a top-5 ranking, but Ames isn’t the easiest place to play & Matt Campbell will have the Cyclones jacked up to destroy another season! Last season ISU defeated both Oklahoma & TCU. In 2011, the Cyclones ruined a perfect season for Oklahoma State! Iowa St. is 2-3, but they’ve had close games with Iowa, Oklahoma & TCU. They are coming off a solid road win over Oklahoma St. while WVU comes off a shaky home over Kansas. Upset alert! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Despite two losses that shouldn’t have happened, Memphis still stands as one of the biggest tests UCF has on their schedule. Memphis is 4-2, but are 4-0 at home. QB Brady White & RB Darrell Henderson have been completely unstoppable on offense so the Knights will have to bring their A-game defensively. The big question will be whether the Tigers can slow down McKenzie Milton. Memphis has allowed 21.3PPG at home so far in 2018. If the Tigers can hold UCF to under 25 points on Saturday, they’ll win the game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Buffaloes get their first real test of the season when they go on the road to Los Angeles and face a USC team that will have more talented players at every position. After losses to Stanford & Texas, USC fell off the national radar but were on bye last week after pulling out two close wins over Washington St. & Arizona. The key for Colorado will be to make USC QB JT Daniels as uncomfortable as possible & force the Trojans into some turnovers. If Steven Montez can provide leadership & secure the ball, UC can win here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Can Washington go into Autzen & do what Stanford did by beating the Ducks in Oregon’s backyard? A lot going on here. If Oregon pulls off the win, Stanford’s loss to Utah makes things very interesting because it could mean the Washington/Stanford contest could decide the Pac 12 North, but what is amazing to me is that if Oregon beats Washington, they’ll have a good shot at getting to 11-1. A Pac 12 title gets them to 12-1 & with Justin Herbert around, I think Oregon makes a playoff case. UW could end all doubt though. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Spartans are hurting after suffering yet another defeat this season, this time against Northwestern in East Lansing! Let’s face it, Michigan St. has looked awful this season outside of a few stretches against Indiana, but oddly enough they aren’t out of the Big 10 East race just yet. I think it’ll be interesting to see how Penn St. plays coming off a bye week that was after the devastating loss to Ohio St. in Beaver Stadium. If they come out with the effort they did against the Buckeyes, they’ll win by 20 points here. If they don’t? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Really interesting game for both teams really. South Carolina almost feels a little disappointing this year, but their two losses have come against Kentucky & Georgia so it’s not like the Gamecocks have turned into a 5-7 team all of a sudden. Texas A&M goes on the road for just their 2nd road game. A&M’s only two losses have come against Alabama & Clemson so there is some thought the Aggies might be a top-10 team. If that is the case, they’ll be able to go into Columbia and grab a win over a fired up South Carolina team. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’ve said it before but this Irish team looks as good as any Notre Dame team since the 1988 national championship team. Ian Book has changed them from a 9-3/10-2 team to a 12-0 playoff squad. That makes the Irish almost “must watch” from this point forward because Irish fans have seen this before with Brian Kelly & usually they’ll trip up. Pittsburgh shouldn’t be ANY competition, but that is what makes this a compelling game. The Panthers are coming off a surprise win over Syracuse so maybe they have some momentum? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Indiana might not yet be in the same class as Northwestern or Iowa St. in the category of teams you don’t want to face, but if you watched them play Michigan St. & Ohio St., you’ll soon figure out that HC Tom Allen has his team ripe for an upset. I think Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation frankly & this week they come to Bloomington. Iowa should win this game, but the Hoosiers have the talent to pull off an upset & ruin Iowa’s season. If Stevie Scott can loose & dictate the pace of the game, Indiana could finally get it done. Computer Hope
Computer Hope With the way Alabama is laying, it’ll be shocking if Missouri can stay within 30 points of the Crimson Tide, but this is sort of interesting in that it’ll be Mizzou QB Drew Lock going up against the Alabama defense which Nick Saban hasn’t exactly been happy with. Alabama just gave up 31 to Arkansas so you can be sure the Alabama defensive coaches are after it this week. Lock can really increase his draft stock with a great game in Tuscaloosa. Missouri doesn’t have to win, but if Lock throws 4TD & 350yds, he’ll really open some eyes. Computer Hope

October 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2018 WEEK 6

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Arkansas 65-31. Tua Tagovailoa gets a ton of hype & he deserves it all, but lost a bit is the Alabama receiving corps! The Tide pass catchers are averaging 19.2 yards per reception! That isn’t a typo! If an opposing defense gives up a reception to the Crimson Tide, that reception is likely going for 20 yards! Alabama’s top-4 receiver all average more than 20 yards per catch & if Alabama plays 15 games, WR Jerry Jeudy is on pace to end the season with 57 catches for 1,395 yards & 20TD! Nick Saban is right to be upset with the defense. You can’t give up 31 to a bad Arkansas team, but Bama’s offense is unstoppable.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Indiana 49-26. Ohio St. gave the Hoosiers some opportunities to potentially pull off a stunning defeat of the Buckeyes in Columbus, but IU v. Ohio St. was a great microcosm into why Indiana is going to continually get beat by teams like Ohio State. The Hoosiers did a good job of limiting Ohio St.’s ground game & IU RB Stevie Scott was getting loose, but where Indiana gets beat is with the huge speed advantage Ohio St. has at the skill positions, and by skill positions I mean CB, S & WR. The Buckeyes did a great job in the secondary limiting Peyton Ramsey & Indiana had HUGE issues stopping the Ohio St. receivers.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Vanderbilt 41-13. Is Georgia getting boring? I heard an analyst Saturday say that Georgia hasn’t looked as dominant as we thought they’d be, and that made me shake my head. The Bulldogs hammered Vanderbilt 41-13. Jake Fromm was 17/23 for 276yds/3TD. The Georgia rushing attack racked up 219 yards & 2TD while averaging 6.4ypc. D’Andre Swift was a yard short of 100 total from scrimmage. The receivers were making big plays. That said, there are a couple of issues with Georgia. First, they need to find a pass rush sooner rather than later. Second, they haven’t beaten anyone yet. Their next 4 games will be telling.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Virginia Tech 45-23. Virginia Tech was able to stick around for a half as the Irish took a 17-16 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Notre Dame got down to business in the last two quarters and BLEW THE BARN DOORS off the Hokies in Blacksburg, outscoring Virginia Tech 28-7 in the 2nd half. Dexter Williams might be the best RB in the country when he’s focused & without distraction. Ian Book is the QB Brian Kelly has been looking since arriving in South Bend & ND’s receivers are big, strong, physical & quick. Notre Dame didn’t play that great defensively & the Irish still won by 22 over a ranked team on the road.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Wake Forest 63-3. THAT WAS A STATEMENT! Wake Forest isn’t a great team, but they aren’t horrible either & Clemson went into Winston-Salem & made the Demon Deacons look like a high school squad. RBs Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon & Adam Choice all had 10 carries. They also all had 100+ yards rushing. With Kelly Bryant gone & Travis Lawrence a true frosh, Etienne has made this team his & he’s carrying it. Etienne is on pace to rush for 1,800 yards, 26TD & average 9.2ypc! Combine that type of running with a defense that is more than salty & you are going to win A LOT of games. Clemson shut people up.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. Penn St. moves up a couple of spots due to the chaos throughout the college football landscape this past Saturday. The Nittany Lions beat down Ohio St. for 52 minutes a couple of weeks ago before completely melting down in the final 8 minutes to lose by one to an Ohio St. squad that is CLEARLY the 2nd best team in the nation behind Alabama. The key for Penn St. moving forward is playing with the type of intensity they showed against Ohio St. in their remaining games. A road data in Ann Arbor is going to be difficult, but if Ohio St. finishes 13-0 & Penn St. is sitting at 11-1, they’ll have a good playoff argument.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Kansas 38-22. Will Grier didn’t do much for his Heisman chances throwing 3 picks and losing a fumble to a Jayhawks team that at best is still by far the worst team in the Big XII. The Mountaineers never really struggled in this game even though they won by just 16 and Grier did wind up throwing for 300+ yards & 4TD. In the first half Grier threw all of his interceptions inside the redzone! If WVU scores TDs instead of turning the ball over, WVU leads 42-7 at halftime & wins the game 59-22 or worse seeing how KU scored a TD off one of the interceptions. So it could have been 59-15? Grier was just a tiny bit off.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Maryland 42-21. A physically dominant game for the Wolverines. Maryland can flash at times, but they really couldn’t get Michigan off the field while QB Shea Patterson exploited the advantage Michigan had with TE Zach Gentry. Throw in another 100 yard rushing day from Karan Higdon & Michigan cruised to a home victory. Maryland didn’t want to throw the football & when Michigan went up big, the Terps stuck to that gameplan so it was going to be impossible for them to pull off any comeback. Michigan wants to beat you up with size at TE & the running game. The Notre Dame looks extremely good now.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Oklahoma 48-45. This was the Texas squad I thought we were going to get at the beginning of the season which is why I had the Longhorns ranked #4 in my preseason Power-25. Texas dominated this game for 3 quarters as they took a 45-21 lead into the final 15 minutes of the game. Give a lot of credit to Oklahoma in that the Sooners never quit, but I thought it was pretty amazing at the end how it looked like Texas almost gave up the tying TD on purpose in order to get the ball back with time in an attempt to get close for a game winning FG which is precisely what happened. Texas now has a real shot at 11-1.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Texas 45-48. I said this last week about Oklahoma, but the Sooners were going to have issues if they met a team that could hold them under 50 or 60 points. Texas did just that, holding Oklahoma to 45 & scored just enough to win the Red River Rivalry! The loss doesn’t change much for Oklahoma. It’s a solid one as I believe Texas is a top-10 squad. What it does do is reduce Oklahoma’s margin for error to zero. If the Sooners can win out & win the Big XII championship they’ll be 12-1, which is what they were last season when they made the playoffs. There are some tough road games ahead but winnable games.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Kentucky 20-14. Texas A&M beating Kentucky shows how wild the SEC can get. A&M beats Kentucky so they have to rank ahead of the Wildcats & it’s hard to bang on A&M because their only two losses have come against Clemson & Alabama. They could very well be a top-7 or top-8 team! UK beat Florida. Florida beat LSU! LSU beat Auburn. Auburn beat Washington. LSU beat Miami-FL and Mississippi St. just beat Auburn. That gives us a pretty good chain of A&M > UK > Florida > LSU > Miami-FL > Mississippi St. > Auburn > Washington. It’ll all change next week, but for now the rankings make a little sense.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Texas A&M 14-20. Brutal OT loss for the Wildcats especially missing the FG in OT that pretty much sealed their fate. It was especially tough if you bought into the narrative that Georgia might not be as good as advertised. Remember that Kentucky gets the Bulldogs in Lexington & this was Kentucky’s last real test of the season outside of UGA. If Kentucky had beaten Texas A&M they would have been 8-0 when hosting Georgia & a win over the Dawgs could have put Kentucky at 12-0 facing a likely 12-0 Alabama team for a shot at the playoffs! A lot of credit to A&M though. Jimbo Fisher had that game schemed well!
#13 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat LSU 27-19. WHOA! Forget the Kentucky loss, if you were going by what you saw this past weekend, the Gators look like a top-5 team in the nation! The defense was absurdly good. Vosean Joseph, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Jachai Polite, Jabari Zuniga & David Reese looked like 1st Team All-Americans all game long. Polite had the look of a top-5 NFL Draft pick for crying out loud! LSU simply had no chance. Feleipe Franks is a weakness. That’s tough but Dan Mullen can coach QBs so it’s possible Franks won’t ruin anything. If this D keeps this effort up, don’t be surprised if the Gators are able to win out & finish the year 11-1.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat SMU 48-20. Somewhat of a broken record but UCF shows up & wins another one in blowout fashion & improves to 5-0, but to be fair, hasn’t played a single competitive opponent so it’s almost impossible to consider where they rank in relation to SEC or Big XII or Big 10 teams who are going through the grinder each week. The Knights have now won 18 straight games dating back to last season. QB McKenzie Milton is a beast & the defense is giving up 17PPG. Everyone will keep saying it, but it’s going to be really interesting to see who UCF draws in the New Year’s 6 Bowl & if that team is motivated to beat them.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Florida 19-27. Despite only losing by 8 points on the road to a Florida team that looked like one of the best in the nation, it was hard not to notice how much better the Gators looked than the Tigers. There as a lot of great vibes in Baton Rouge when LSU upset Miami-FL to open the season. Those vibes continued when LSU went to Auburn & won the Battle of the Tigers, but things could get interesting now. Losing to Florida? OK no big deal, but LSU’s next 3 games are home dates against Georgia, Alabama, & Mississippi State! They also finish the season with a road game against A&M. Could LSU finish the year 7-5?
#16 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Florida St. 28-27. On the one hand, this game wasn’t a good look for Miami-FL as they really struggled with a Florida St. team at home that Syracuse completely humiliated. The Hurricanes trailed 27-7 midway through the 3rd quarter & pulled off a miracle. On the other hand, THE U had their backs against the wall at home against an arch rival and instead of curling up dying, they pulled off a HUGE comeback win by scoring 21 unanswered in the last 25 minutes of the game to get the 1-point win. That kind of win builds character & belief. The Hurricanes will be a much better team because of the close encounter with FSU.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Nebraska 41-24. Wisconsin got back to business after week off by dominating Nebraska in Camp-Randall stadium behind another standout performance by Jonathan Taylor. Taylor ran for 221 yards & 3TD on 24 carries & now has 849 yards on the season averaging 6.7ypc and 170 yards per game! The loss to BYU put a damper on the Badgers season but Taylor still has a shot at rushing for 2400yds with 25-30TD. Tua Tagovailoa is completely dominating the Heisman talk, but if Wisconsin finds itself 11-1 & can pull of a Big 10 Championship, Taylor has to become part of the discussion again. FYI….BYU just lost to Utah St.!
#18 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Auburn 23-9. Maybe those losses to Florida & Kentucky weren’t so bad after all!? QB Nick Fitzgerald & RB Kylin Hill balled out on the War Eagle defense. Hill ran for 126 yards on 23 carries while Fitzgerald ran for a ridiculous 195 yards & 2 scores on 25 carries! The Bulldogs essentially beat Auburn at their own game by running the ball down their throats for 60 minutes. Hail State is limited offensively. Fitzgerald can’t throw to save his life, but Joe Moorhead’s boys can run & MSU could wind up 9-3/8-4 on the season which wouldn’t be bad for a first year HC. Run the ball really well & play great defense. A great recipe!!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Mississippi St. 9-23. At the beginning of the season I thought Auburn could lose 4-5 games and still be considered a potential top-10 team. Losses to LSU & Mississippi State are hardly cause for concern, but I think what we are seeing is an Auburn team without much offense. Sure Mississippi St. has a solid defense & an especially good front 7, but QB Jarrett Stidham simply hasn’t been as good as expected and the Auburn running game hasn’t had anyone step in and replace the production of Kerryon Johnson. Auburn’s defense is solid for sure even with a bad game defending the run, but this team feels stuck in the mire.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat UCLA 31-24. The Huskies find themselves in a bad spot. Auburn losing to Mississippi St. & the other happenings around the SEC make it impossible for Washington to be ranked high because at the moment they have a loss to Auburn & didn’t look so great beating a UCLA team that has yet to win a game this season. The Huskies simply don’t past the eye test. Try watching them play after watching Notre Dame or Alabama or Ohio State. They look slow. They look average. There is no explosive athletic ability. Oddly enough there is no reason to think they’ll stop winning but what do you do with a 12-1 UW team?
#21 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Minnesota 48-31. Iowa did a great job consistently hammering Minnesota over the entire 4 quarters. The Hawkeyes struggled a bit rushing the football, but QB Nate Stanley picked up the slack throwing for 314 yards & 4TD. The Iowa defense was outstanding picking the Minnesota QBs off 4 times and practically living in the Gophers backfield with 5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss! Minnesota was able to convert a couple of Iowa turnovers into TDs or this game could have easily been 50-10. I keep saying there is something a bit different about this Iowa squad. The physicality is there in spades. This was a very good road win.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Arizona St. 28-21. Another solid win for Coach Mac and the Buffaloes which now has Colorado sitting at 5-0. Colorado does a great job at playing within themselves. Steven Montez is playing virtually mistake free football & RB Trayvon McMillian is a legitimate threat that gives Colorado quite a bit of balance on offense. You can make a great case that Colorado hasn’t played anyone yet. Their next two games are road games against USC & Washington. Beating the Trojans is something they’ll probably need to do if they want to win the South, but both games seem winnable. Could Colorado emerge 7-0 in 2 weeks?
#23 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Boston College 28-23. Like Colorado, NC State has jumped out to a 5-0 record by essentially beating teams they should be beating. What’s potentially different about the Wolfpack is that they have some legitimate NFL talent on offense in the forms of QB Ryan Finley & WR Kelvin Harmon. Harmon might be the best WR in the nation & NC State doesn’t have a bad rushing attack either. I don’t think much was expected out of the Pack after all they lost from last year’s 9-4 team, but you can’t say enough of the fantastic job HC Dave Doeren is doing in Raleigh. Getting past Clemson will be tough but this team could be 11-1.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Utah 21-40. Not quite yet willing to sell out Stanford just yet. Losing to Utah was downright awful, but I predicted Utah to win the Pac 12 South before the season began, and you have to take into consideration that Bryce Love wasn’t playing. Stanford has to do a couple of things to get back in the Pac 12 hunt. The first is HC David Shaw needs to address the defense. Stanford is giving up 36PPG in their last 3 contests, 2 of which have been losses. The other thing is that TEs Kaden Smith & Colby Parkinson need to be focal points of the offense. Those two guys are mismatch NIGHTMARES. Parkinson had 1 catch against Utah!
#25 Computer Hope Last Week: idle. Purdue had the week off this past week and after Saturday’s games, I’m convinced if their is one team that can completely shake the foundations of the 2018 college football world, it’s the Boilermakers from West Lafayette. QB David Blough has a lot of Drew Brees in his game & Rondale Moore is an outstanding weapon that can take it to the house any times he touches the football. Remember that Purdue gets Ohio St., Iowa & Wisconsin in Ross-Ade Stadium. Those games won’t be easy, but I can guarantee you that Purdue is going to cover in every game & will have chances to win them. Purdue has a legit chance to get to 9-3!

DROPPING OUT

#18 OREGON DUCKS: Oregon didn’t do anything to drop out of the rankings, but Stanford losing to Utah and Oregon losing to Stanford pretty much killed their chances of remaining in the top-25. Oregon has a big time chance next week at home against Washington to climb back into the rankings. For now, Stanford barely hangs on which means Oregon is just outside of the top-25. If I wasn’t so high on Purdue, Oregon would have been a solid choice to slide in at #25.

#24 SYRACUSE ORANGE: Terribly disappointing to see Syracuse almost beat Clemson & follow that up with a road loss to Pittsburgh where the Panthers ran all over the Orange in a 44-37 OT win! I’m not really sure where Syracuse goes from here. They still have games against NC State, Notre Dame & Boston College so there is potential for this team to finish 7-5. The funny thing about Syracuse is that they’ve been 4-8 the last two seasons & are now 4-2. They should still get to 7-8 wins which will be big improvement for HC Dino Babers & his staff, but for now losing two straight feels like a missed opportunity.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment