Last-Minute CFP and New Year’s Six Picks

Today’s the day, ladies and gentlemen.

One drama-filled Championship Saturday later, we are now left with 6 contenders for 4 spots.  So…. Who’s In?

The CFP Selection Show gets underway at noon – probably a few minutes from now when you’re reading this – so we don’t have a ton of time to spare.

Here are my final predictions for how the Top 4 shake out today:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

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Boy, I don’t envy the CFP selection committee right now.

Why?  Well, the Washington-Penn State decision is much more than just that.  If the committee decides to keep the 11-2 Big Ten Champion Nittany Lions out, it will really be Ohio State over Penn State.  Which, as you know, was not the case when the teams met earlier this year.

Theoretically, it wouldn’t make much sense at all to have the Buckeyes in and PSU out.  But since to me, it would make even less sense for the committee to knock the Buckeyes from no. 2 to outside the playoff, I think they put Penn State in over Washington.

The three biggest reasons why:

  1. The Big Ten Champion has got to be in.  The conference has been too good for that not to happen.
  2. Simply put: Penn State has a better resume than Washington.  Yeah, each team would have the least convincing resume of the three other playoff teams, but I’m taking wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin over wins over Colorado and Stanford and the second-worst non-conference schedule in the country.
  3. Like I said, Penn State beat OSU.  Penn State also won the Big Ten.  That’s two things that make it sound ridiculous that Penn State might miss out and OSU gets in.

Besides that, the other big question is who plays who.  We know that Alabama will be the no. 1 seed, so the big question is Ohio State or Clemson.  I think Clemson gets the nod, as despite their near-loss to Virginia Tech last night, they won a conference championship.  I think the committee has already devalued the conference championship enough this year to keep division runner-up Ohio State ahead of Clemson.

And about Michigan?  Personally, I think it’s crazy that Michigan still has a shot in most people’s eyes.  For the Wolverines to get in, the committee would have to choose a team that didn’t even crack the top two in its division over Pac-12 champion Washington and Big Ten champion Penn State.  Yeah, Michigan beat Penn State pretty bad, and the committee said that Washington vs Michigan for the 4th spot in this past week’s ranking took hours to decide, but that just isn’t logical.  I’m not completely ruling it out, because you really never know with college sports committees, but I seriously doubt it.

NEW YEAR’S SIX PREDICTIONS

Orange Bowl
(ACC vs Big Ten/SEC)

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Rose Bowl
(Pac-12 vs Big Ten)

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Sugar
(Big 12 vs SEC)

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Cotton
(At large vs At large)

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A Rant

Did you know there’s a Twitter account that counts up the days that Virginia Tech has held the Commonwealth Cup?

Not kidding. The sucker that runs it has been Tweeting out numbers for four years now. I’d put a link, but people like him don’t deserve publicity.

If you haven’t figured out yet, I have a problem with this.

Yeah, Virginia Tech fans, go ahead and laugh at us all you want. It’s part of a rivalry. I’m not a wuss. I can take it. We stink. You don’t. I can handle some ribbing if it’s actually funny. Like when some guy stated that “UVa’s quarterbacks are whiter than mashed potatoes, which is appropriate because they’re getting ATE THE HECK UP (turkey emoji)” all I did was slam my iPad onto the couch a couple of times. Yeah, I can handle it.

For those of you that don’t know, I didn’t have a good day.  I have still yet to see UVA defeat Virginia Tech in football.  Today, my Hoos lost to the ACC title game-bound Hokies 52-10.  I am sad.

I’m not surprised by it. Virginia is horrendous at the sport of football. Just saddened. The frustration grows each and each year.

But you know what would help?

Maybe if Virginia Tech didn’t get so much satisfaction from beating us, it wouldn’t anger me as much.

I just don’t get why Virginia Tech thinks that they’re the moon and the stars because they’ve beaten us every year since Perry Ellis began his college basketball career back in 1534.  Virginia has been bad for a long time.  Virginia Tech has been good for a long time. Most years in this 13-year stretch, Virginia is really really bad and Tech is really really good.  Tech is favored by a lot.  They win.  Yay.  Good for them.

It gets worse.

Most years, this game is close.  Close!  Virginia Tech barely squeaks by us.  And they freak out.  They think they’re the greatest thing ever.  But all they did was almost beat a crappy team!

It might seem like I’m a Virginia Tech hater. I’m not.  Tech is my second-favorite team.  My parents like Tech so much it’s hard for me not to as well…. 364 days out of the year.  It’s just that I’ve never understood why they think they’re the cheese.

There’s an analogy for this.  Think of a windshield and a bug.  The bug runs into the windshield every time; the opposite is impossible.  Does the windshield hop off the freaking car and dance a jig?  No!  Because windshields can’t dance.  Ok, bad analogy.

Here’s a better one.  Consider a frog and a bug.  An unsuspecting bug is snatched up in the blink of an eye by the frog’s tongue every time. Does the frog cut a lily pad?  No!  It licks its chops and moves on with its life!

In case you didn’t understand: Virginia Tech is the frog. Virginia is the bug.

Yeah, maybe I’m not making sense.  But you have to understand how angry I am!

This game is my version of the Cubs.  Yes, not nearly as extreme, but I need to see Virginia beat Virginia Tech.  I obsess over it.  It has to happen.  It’s just GOT to!  I MEAN COME ON ALREADY!

I truly hate Virginia Tech right now, but compared to other years, this is nothing.

I get the angriest whenever Virginia loses to Tech in a heartbreaker.  That’s because by the time the game starts, I’ve already accepted defeat, and whenever I feel even a sliver of hope during the game I can’t handle it when that sliver of hope is ripped to tiny shreads.

One year, I took my Virginia Tech pillow pet, tied one end around the animal’s neck and one to my ceiling fan, turned the fan on, grabbed a stick, and thwapped the pet with the stick whenever it came my way while screaming terrible things about the Hokies.

I’m not proud of it.  I’m glad to say that me and my pillow pet have made up.  (Although I’m not sure that my Guinea pig didn’t eat him.)

Oh, well. I hope you enjoyed this rant. I just needed to type some bad things.

All I can say is that dear Tech fans, please hold the unnecessary joy you extract from defeating us and let Virginia fans say whatever they want when we finally win.  Yeah, it might not seem fair.  But neither is me having never seen my favorite team defeat its fiercest rival.  Ever.

Sigh.  Maybe next year.  I’ve said that ever since I could speak, and nothing has happened.  But you never know.  Theoretically, anything is possible.

Oh, and in case you were wondering….

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Rivalry Saturday Preview

Happy Rivalry Day!

Wait – no happiness.  Today is a day of hate.  You’ve just gotta beat that team.  Oh, how you hate that team!

To stay true to this article’s title, today I’ll be changing up the usual picks and analysis format and focus on all the rivalries, even the ones with only bragging rights on the line.  Hope you enjoy.

I hope your team wins (unless your team is the Virginia Tech Hokies)!

THE REALLY BIGGIES

  • 3 Michigan @ 2 Ohio State (12 PM, ABC) Line: OSU -6.5: Is this the most hyped game in college football history?  Probably not.  Is it close?  Yep.  The stakes are so high in this bigger-than-life rivalry that College Gameday is going 5 hours today.  We have the Big Ten Championship game, the College Football playoff, and of course bragging rights on the line.  What more could you want?  It’s the game of the year.  Easily.  I haven’t been on this planet for very long, but I’ve never felt this kind of buzz about a single college football game…… It’s hard to make a surefire pick in any intense rivalry, much less an edition the mother of them all that pits two of the top three teams in the country, but I’m taking Ohio State in this one.  Pick: Ohio State 35-31
  • 13 Auburn @ 1 Alabama (3:30 PM, CBS) Line: Bama -18.0: The spread looks awfully lopsided for a Top-15 matchup, but people, Alabama is that good.  I’m not loving the matchup between Alabama’s defense and whoever Auburn’s quarterback will be.  (Jeremy Johnson?  John Franklin?  Sean White?)  In fact, I think it could get ugly quick.  Anything can happen in the Iron Bowl – but as the weeks go by the harder it is to imagine that anybody can beat Alabama.  Pick: Alabama 42-21.
  • 15 Florida @ 14 Florida State (8 PM, ABC) Line: FSU -7.5: Even with a date with Alabama looming, Florida has one thing on its mind: Redemption.  That’s because the last time these teams played, FSU demolished the Gators 27-2….. Theoretically there could be some playoff impact here, as if Florida can win tonight and then beat the Tide next weekend, they’ll most likely be in the consideration for the playoff.  FSU has owned this rivalry as of late, but I look for Florida to improve on last year’s horrendous performance slowing down Dalvin Cook.  If explosive wideout Antonio Callaway can make a play or two, I think Florida can pull this off.  Pick: Florida 24-23

THE BIGGIES

  • Georgia Tech @ Georgia (12 PM, SECN) Line: UGA -4.0: The latest edition of Clean, Old Fashioned hate could come down to who wins on the ground – GT’s triple-option offense, or Georgia’s two-headed monster in Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.  I like the Dawgs to win that battle, as GT’s run defense is less of a sure thing.  Make it 14 losses in the past 16 meetings for the Jackets, who are playing just as well as UGA but lack the Bulldogs’ talent and playmakers.  Pick: Georgia 31-21
  • Notre Dame @ 12 Southern California (3:30 PM, ABC) Line: USC -18.0: Acknowledge Sam Darnold, please. USC’s freshman quarterback has quietly made a solid Heisman case while leading the Trojans to a 7-game winning streak.  Despite those wins, however, they’ll need some help from Utah if they want to make it to the Pac-12 Championship, USC’s only route to a big bowl.  But about this game.  Notre Dame isn’t playing as poorly as they were a few weeks ago, but not here, not now.  I don’t see any real shot at an upset here.  Pick: USC 52-35

THE OTHERS

  • Virginia @ Virginia Tech (12 PM, ESPN2) Line: VT -18.5: This past week my Virginia-loving grandpa told me that someone walked up to him and told him that UVa is the only team he has ever seen without one good player.  Huh.  Pick: Virginia 100, VT 0  Actual Pick: VT 44-13
  • Kentucky @ Louisville (12 PM, ESPN) Line: LOU -26.5:  Louisville’s playoff hopes ended last week in an absolute drubbing at the hands of Houston, meaning the Cards should have some extra anger to take out on poor Kentucky.  Pick: Louisville 41-7
  • Kansas @ Kansas State (12 PM, FS1) Line: KSU -26.5: Kansas has a football team?  Pick: Kansas State 35-24
  • Purdue @ Indiana (12 PM, ESPNU) Line: IND -18.0: Indiana has their struggles, but the difference between them and Purdue is that Indiana has given themselves chances to win every game this year.   Look for the Hoosiers to easily to clinch bowl eligibility and a fourth consecutive Old Oaken Bucket.  Pick: IU 48-24
  • Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (3:30 PM, SECN) Line: MISS -8.5: It comes down to the Egg Bowl for Ole Miss’s bowl hopes.  The Rebels are better than their embarrassing 5-6 record, yes, but not nearly the team they expected to be coming into the season.  I still like Ole Miss here even without Chad Kelly and with their defensive woes, as Mississippi State has one of the poorest defenses in the country.  Pick:  Ole Miss 45-31
  • Minnesota @ 6 Wisconsin (3:30 PM, BTN) Line: WISC -14: The path to the playoff has been cleared for Wisconsin, as they have clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game next Saturday against either Michigan, Ohio State or sneaky-good Penn State.  They’ll need to get past Minnesota before they start thinking too big, though.  The Gophers has a strong defense, but their 8 wins are more of a testament to their easy schedule than their talent.  Wisconsin suddenly looks like an offensive powerhouse, as they have scored 48 and 49 in their past two games, a scary thought for opponents as Wisconsin’s defense is already one of the better defenses in the country.  This won’t be close.  Pick: Wisconsin 30-3
  • Oregon @ Oregon State (4 PM, P12N) Line: OR -3: Believe it or not, all that’s at stake in the Civil War (besides meager bragging rights) is the cellar of the Pac-12 North and potentially Oregon coach Mark Helfrich’s job.  Pick: Oregon State 21-16
  • South Carolina @ 4 Clemson (7:30 PM, ESPN) Line: CLEM -26: On paper, this looks like a layup for the host Clemson, but hold your horses.  Last year, Clemson barely escaped South Carolina despite being undefeated at that point and facing a two-win USC team.  This season, South Carolina has improved.  Enough to beat the ACC title game-bound Tigers on the road?  Probably not.  But this is one to keep an eye on.  Pick: Clemson 27-13

THE GAME THAT ISN’T REALLY A RIVALRY BUT I HAVE TO INCLUDE ON HERE BECAUSE IT’S A TOP-25 GAME WITH PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS

  • 22 Utah @ 9 Colorado (7:30 PM, FOX) Line: COLO -9.5: Quietly, the Buffaloes are building a solid Playoff resume.  All that will be thrown out of the picture if the Buffs can’t beat Utah, a game they have to win to make it to the Pac-12 title game against Washington, their only shot at the playoffs.  Utah sure knows what it feels like to be knocked out of the Pac-12 race – their championships hopes ended with a surprising loss to Oregon last weekend.  I like Colorado and efficient QB Sefo Liufau in this one, as the worst-to-first Buffs are playing with too much emotion and inspiration to lose right now.  Pick: Colorado 23-20

27 NFL on Thanksgiving Facts (and a few horrific Thanksgiving puns)

Ah, Thanksgiving.  Food.  Football.  Two of the greatest things in the world.

Speaking of the latter, there really isn’t a sports tradition like NFL on Thanksgiving Day.  So I thought it would be fun, with Thanksgiving just three days away, to “dish out” some interesting and captivating NFL on Thanksgiving trivia that you and your family and friends can “gobble up”.


2016 NFL ON THANKSGIVING SCHEDULE

12:30 PM: Vikings @ Lions (CBS)
4:30 PM: Washington @ Cowboys (FOX)
8:30 PM: Steelers @ Colts (NBC)


DRUMROLL PLEASE.  I just successfully integrated two corny Thanksgiving puns into one sentence.  I deserve a prize.

Anyway, here are 27 random facts about the NFL on Thanksgiving.  Hope you enjoy.

  1. To this date, there have been 229 professional football games played on Thanksgiving*.
  2. The “Thanksgiving Tripleheader” began in 2006, when the NFL added an extra game to the date to be played at 8:30 PM.
  3. Only 4 times have two AFC teams played each other on Thanksgiving.
  4. The first Thanksgiving Day when the NFL held games was in 1920.  Six games were played.  Only once would there be a Thanksgiving with more games (In 1928, the NFL played six games, and an early edition of the AFL played two).
  5. The first American football game to be played on Thanksgiving Day was Yale vs Princeton in 1876.
  6. The most points ever scored by a single team on Thanksgiving  was 55, a record shared by the 1997 Detroit Lions and the 1977 Miami Dolphins.
  7. The home team is 1-4 in overtime on Thanksgiving.
  8. In the nine games played on Thanksgiving from 2007-2009, all games were decided by 11 or more points.
  9. The most wins on Thanksgiving by team not named the Lions or the Cowboys is 17 for the Bears, who are 17-15-2 overall.
  10. The most losses on Thanksgiving by a team not named the Lions is 20 for the Packers, who are 14-20-2 overall.  The Cowboys check in next on the list with 18.
  11. The best Thanksgiving winning percentage for a team that has played at least four games on the date is owned by the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 6-1, an .857 winning percentage.
  12. The worst Thanksgiving winning percentage for a team that has played at least four games on the date is owned by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are 1-6 all-time, a .143 winning percentage.
  13. There have been six different awards handed out to individual players by the game’s broadcasting network in NFL on Thanksgiving history: CBS Turkey Leg Award, the CBS All-Iron Award, the FOX Turkey Leg Award, the FOX Galloping Gobbler Award, the NFLN Pudding Pie Award, and the NBC Madden Player of the Game.
  14. The first televised NFL on Thanksgiving game was in 1953, when the Lions defeated the Packers 34-15.
  15. The most rushing yards by a single player on Thanksgiving came from OJ Simpson in 1976, when he ran for 273 yards.
  16. The most passing yards by a single player on Thanksgiving came from Troy Aikman in 1998, in which he passed for 455 yards.
  17. The most receiving yards by a single player on Thanksgiving was Jim Benton of the Browns’ 303 in 1945.
  18. The Jaguars are the only current team to have never played on Thanksgiving Day.
  19. It’s been 47 years since San Diego has played on Thanksgiving, the longest Turkey Day appearance drought in the NFL.
  20. Blanksgiving: From 1970 (the first year that 3 NFC teams and 1 AFC team would play on Thanksgiving each year) to 2015, there have been five shutouts, three of which came from the Detroit Lions.
  21. The highest combined score of a game on Thanksgiving is 91, achieved by the New York Titans and the Denver Broncos in 1962, when the Titans won 46-45.
  22. The Lions have played on every Thanksgiving Day since 1934 except from 1941-1945 due to WWII.
  23. Due to the NFL’s inter-conference rotation and the Thanksgiving network schedule, it is impossible for an AFC North team (Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Ravens) to play either the Lions or the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
  24. The last tie on Thanksgiving Day was between the Cowboys and the 49ers in 1969, when the teams ended the game knotted up at 20.  We’ve had close calls, though.  In 2012, the Texans and Lions game was tied until the final minutes of overtime, when the Texans extended the Lions’ Thanksgiving losing streak to 9.
  25. The Lions, the kings of the NFL on Thanksgiving tradition, have faced the Packers 21 times and the Bears 16 times on Thanksgiving – and no other team more than 3 times.
  26. It is believed by some that the 1920 contest between the Chicago Tigers and the Decatur Staleys was the result of the teams challenging each other to a Thanksgiving duel with a twist: The loser would be forced to fold after the season.  The Staleys won, and sure enough, a few weeks later, the Tigers were out of the NFL.  There is no evidence that these teams challenged each other to such a duel, but who doesn’t love a sports-related urban legend?
  27. The most lopsided Thanksgiving Day NFL game was in 1980, when the Cowboys beat the Seahawks by a score of 51-7.  Yikes.

(*=including the early iterations of the AFL, the AAFC, the NFL and AFL)

Thanks for reading.  Happy Thanksgiving from Noahsports!