Week 13 College Football Picks

These are in order from my most confident pick to least confident.

Middle Tennessee (-6.5) vs. FAU
Marshall (-20.0) at UAB
Buffalo (-7.0) vs. Kent State
Western Kentucky (-10.0) vs. UTSA
Baylor (-28.0) vs. Oklahoma State
Texas Tech (+1.5) at Iowa State
Uconn (+10.5) vs. Cincinnati
Pitt (-7.5) vs. Syracuse
Virginia (+6.0) vs. Miami-FL
Ohio State (-35.0) vs. Indiana

Last Week’s Record: 6-4, Overall Season Record: 56-64

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Week 13 Upsets to Watch Out For

These are in order from least shocking to most shocking according to the lines on sportsbook.com:

Arkansas (+3.0) vs. Ole Miss
Virginia (+6.0) vs. Miami-FL
California (+6.0) vs. Stanford
North Carolina (+6.0) at Duke
Texas State (+6.5) vs. Ark. State
Iowa (+9.5) vs. Wisconsin

Last week’s record: 5-6 (Best Pick: Oregon State (+9.0) over Arizona State)

Bowl Bubble Watch- Week 12 Edition

The most comprehensive analysis of the college football bowl bubble is back!  For the sixth-straight year, I will be publishing weekly November columns analyzing which teams will get bowl bids and which will not.  Below, I have written a report for every team that has yet to be declared either bowl eligible or ineligible.  Each week this list will be updated and new odds will be provided for each team.  Please note that these odds only represent the chances that a particular team will get enough wins to be eligible to receive a bowl bid.  They do not represent the odds a team has for actually receiving a bid.  This discrepancy likely won’t affect the bowl chances of most major conference teams, but sometimes a 6-6 record won’t be enough to a get bid from a non-BCS conference.  The teams are ordered in descending order of likelihood that they will become bowl eligible.  As of now, there are 32 teams on the list with 18 predicted to attain bowl eligibility and 14 predicted to fall short.  As of now, I’m projecting there to be 78 bowl eligible teams for 2014 (see full stats at the bottom of this entry).  Keep in mind that there are a total of 76 bowl slots to be filled.

Good Side of the Bowl Bubble: Teams closing in on bowl bids (18):

Houston– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Tulsa, at SMU, at Cincinnati; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 98% (previous odds: 98%)

Florida– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. EKU, at Florida State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 97% (previous odds: 99%)

South Carolina– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. South Alabama, at Clemson; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 90% (previous odds: 49%)

Virginia Tech– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Wake, vs. Virginia; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 82% (previous odds: 61%)

Tennessee– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Missouri, at Vandy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 81% (previous odds: 65%)

Navy– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at South Alabama, vs. Army; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 80% (previous odds: 56%)

UAB– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Marshall, at Southern Miss; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 79% (previous odds: 79%)

Ohio- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. NIU, at Miami-OH; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 74% (previous odds: 74%)

Washington– Record: 6-5 (needs 7 wins); Remaining Schedule: vs. Oregon State, at Wazzou; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 71% (previous odds: 77%)

Western Kentucky- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. UTSA, at Marshall; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 68% (previous odds: 54%)

Texas State– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Arkansas State, at Georgia State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 66% (previous odds: 73%)

San Diego State– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Air Force, vs. San Jose State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 64% (previous odds: 67%)

North Carolina– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Duke, vs. NC State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 63% (previous odds: 42%)

Middle Tennessee– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. FAU, at UTEP; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 62% (previous odds: 78%)

Michigan- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Maryland, at Ohio State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 60% (previous odds: 60%)

Arkansas– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Ole Miss, at Missouri; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 55% (previous odds: 41%)

Stanford– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Cal, at UCLA; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 54% (previous odds: 75%)

California- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Stanford, vs. BYU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 53% (previous odds: 53%)

Bad Side of the Bowl Bubble: Teams who will likely be home for the holidays (14):

Akron– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Umass, at Kent State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 48% (previous odds: 48%)

Buffalo– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Kent State, at Umass; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 47% (previous odds: 47%)

Northwestern– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: at Purdue, vs. Illinois; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 42% (previous odds: 7%)

Temple– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Cincy, at Tulane; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 40% (previous odds: 45%)

Kentucky– Record: 5-6; Remaining Schedule: at Louisville; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 33% (previous odds: 43%)

Pittsburgh– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Syracuse, at Miami-FL; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 32% (previous odds: 46%)

Fresno State– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: at Nevada, vs. Hawaii; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 29% (previous odds: 29%)

Wyoming– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Boise, at New Mexico; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 25% (previous odds: 25%)

Oregon State– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Washington, vs. Oregon; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 24% (previous odds: 15%)

Illinois– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Penn State, at NW; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 23% (previous odds: 30%)

Old Dominion– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. LA Tech, at FAU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 22% (previous odds: 22%)

Oklahoma State- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Baylor, at Oklahoma; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 21% (previous odds: 52%)

Virginia– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Miami-FL, at VT; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 20% (previous odds: 20%)

South Florida– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: at Memphis, vs. UCF; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 7% (previous odds: 5%)

Already Bowl Eligible (60):  Memphis, East Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami-FL, Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Marshall, Louisiana Tech, Rice, Notre Dame, Bowling Green, Toledo, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Nevada, Colorado State, Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Southern California, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas A & M, LSU, UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Cincinnati (previous odds: 95%), UCF (previous odds: 99%), Penn State (previous odds: 71%), NC State (previous odds: 80%), Rutgers (previous odds: 66%), Brigham Young (previous odds: 99%), South Alabama (previous odds: 64%), Texas (previous odds: 51%), UTEP (previous odds: 84%)

Already Ineligible for a Bowl Game (36):  Georgia Southern*, Appalachian State* Tulsa, SMU, UConn, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Iowa State, Purdue, FIU, FAU, UTSA, Southern Miss, Kent State, UMass, Miami-OH, Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, UNLV, Colorado, Washington State, Vandy, Troy, Idaho, New Mexico State, Georgia State, Ball State (previous odds: 18%), Army (previous odds: 16%), Kansas (previous odds: 1%), Tulane (previous odds: 4%), New Mexico (previous odds: 6%), Texas Tech (previous odds: 3%), Indiana (previous odds: 2%), San Jose State (previous odds: 6%), UL-Monroe (previous odds: 9%), North Texas (previous odds: 14%)

Current Stats:

Already Bowl Eligible: 60

Predicted to be Bowl Eligible: 18 (78)

Already Ineligible for a Bowl Game: 36

Predicted not to become Bowl Eligible: 14 (50)

Conference Championship Analysis- Week 12 Edition

For the sixth-straight year, I will be publishing weekly November columns analyzing the conference championship races.  Like my bowl bubble watch, there is not really a column like this on any other mainstream college football site.  Bold teams have already clinched their division or conference.  Italicized teams are my predicted champions of their respective conferences/divisions at this point in time.  This list is updated through all week 12 games.

ACC AtlanticFlorida State

ACC CoastalDuke (Despite dropping a tight one to Virginia Tech on Saturday, the Blue Devils are still in the driver’s seat in the Coastal. However, they will need to beat both of their in-state rivals, North Carolina and Wake Forest, in the season’s final weeks to hold off Georgia Tech for the division title.)

Big Ten East- Ohio State (The Buckeyes just need to win one of their last two vs. Indiana or Michigan to clinch the division crown.)

Big Ten West– Wisconsin (The Badgers can clinch the division crown next Saturday with a win over Iowa and a loss by Minnesota to Nebraska. Both of those things will probably happen, but if one of them doesn’t, then the Minnesota-Wisconsin season finale will likely be a de facto Big Ten title game.)

Big 12- Baylor (Baylor, TCU, and Kansas State are all tied atop the conference standings with one loss.  Kansas State’s chances of winning the Big 12 are slim by virtue of losing their head to head matchup with TCU and having to travel to Waco at the end of the season.  Both Baylor and TCU should win out, so the Bears will likely win the Big 12 thanks to their victory over TCU.)

Pac-12 NorthOregon 

Pac-12 SouthSouthern California (We now have a four-way tie between USC, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State for the Pac-12 South division lead. The winners of the Battle for L.A. next weekend and the Duel in the Desert will have the inside track for it, but I am going to give the Trojans the nod right now because they’ve won one more conference game than their other contenders and they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona.)

SEC East- Georgia (One of the most interesting conference/division title races this season may be the SEC East.  Missouri is currently the clubhouse leader but they have two tough conferece games left: at Tennessee and vs. Arkansas.  They have to win both to hold off Georgia, and I am predicting they drop one or possibly both games. However, keep in mind Missouri was faced with exact same situation last year needing to beat both Ole Miss and Texas A & M in the final two weeks of the season to hold off my South Carolina Gamecocks for the SEC East, and Mizzou did just that.)

SEC West- Alabama (The SEC West once again runs through Tuscaloosa as the Tide control their own destiny for this division title one more time.  Here are the remaining scenarios: if Alabama beats Auburn in they Iron Bowl, the Tide claim the SEC West. If Auburn wins the Iron Bowl, then the Egg Bowl will become a de facto SEC West title game, as long as Ole Miss beats Arkansas next weekend. Alabama could actually lose the Iron Bowl and still win the West if Ole Miss loses to Arkansas next weekend and then beats Mississippi State in the finale.)

American- Memphis (UCF, Memphis and Cincinnati all have one conference loss, and at this point in the season, you have to assume at least one of them will finish at 7-1.  Memphis has best chance as they have played more conference games than the other two and should be heavily favored in all of their remaining games.  They also own head to head tiebreaker over the only other 1-loss team they played Cincinnati.)

C-USA EastMarshall

C-USA WestLouisiana Tech (In the preseason, I made the surprising prediction that LA Tech would win the C-USA despite coming off a losing season in 2013.  That pick is looking really good right now as the Bulldogs are currently undefeated in conference play and sit alone atop the division standings with a two game lead.  LA Tech just needs to beat either ODU on the road or Rice at home to win the division title. UTEP and Rice could also win this division, but both need help.)

MAC EastBowling Green

MAC WestToledo (Northern Illinois’ victory over Toledo made this race a lot wilder. There are now three teams tied atop the MAC West, Western Michigan, Toledo, NIU, with a fourth squad, Central Michigan, only a game back and still in contention. Despite the Rockets loss, I still like them to win the division because of their favorable remaining schedule,: vs. Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan, and their head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Western Michigan.)

MWC MountainBoise State (The first of two wild Mountain West division title races! Four teams in each division are still in contention to get to the title game, so you should see a wild final two weeks to the season in this league. Boise State, Colorado State, Utah State, and Air Force are all in contention in the Mountain Division, but Boise is currently the frontrunner based on their head-to-head victory over Colorado State. The Broncos control their own destiny, as all they need to do is win their final two games against Wyoming and Utah State to get to their first Mountain West conference title game. Interestingly enough, Colorado State may end up with the best New Years Six resume of the Group of Five teams, but because they won’t be a conference champ, they won’t be eligible for selection.)

MWC WestNevada (Nevada was my surprise preseason pick to win this division, and even though they dropped a heartbreaker to Air Force on Saturday, they still have a great shot at getting to the conference title game. In fact, the Wolfpack will be hosting Fresno State in what is basically a de facto MWC West Division Championship Game next Saturday night. All the winner will have to do is beat an inferior opponent the following weekend, as Nevada plays UNLV and Fresno hosts Hawaii, and the division title will officially be theirs.)

Sun BeltGeorgia Southern/UL-Lafayette (Like the American Athletic Conference, the Sun Belt is a league that has neither a conference championship game nor a true round-robin conference schedule. That poses a problem when you have a situation like this year where there are two undefeated conference leaders who don’t play each other. In fact, UL-Lafayette and Georgia Southern should both be heavily favored in the remainder of their league games (GSU: vs. Monroe; ULL: vs. App. St, at Troy) setting up a probable co-Sun Belt championship.)

Bowl Bubble Watch

The most comprehensive analysis of the college football bowl bubble is back!  For the sixth-straight year, I will be publishing weekly November columns analyzing which teams will get bowl bids and which will not.  Below, I have written a report for every team that has yet to be declared either bowl eligible or ineligible.  Each week this list will be updated and new odds will be provided for each team.  Please note that these odds only represent the chances that a particular team will get enough wins to be eligible to receive a bowl bid.  They do not represent the odds a team has for actually receiving a bid.  This discrepancy likely won’t affect the bowl chances of most major conference teams, but sometimes a 6-6 record won’t be enough to a get bid from a non-BCS conference.  The teams are ordered in descending order of likelihood that they will become bowl eligible.  As of now, there are 51 teams on the list with 25 predicted to attain bowl eligibility and 21 predicted to fall short.  As of now, I’m projecting there to be 76 bowl eligible teams for 2014 (see full stats at the bottom of this entry).  Keep in mind that there are a total of 76 bowl slots to be filled.

Good Side of the Bowl Bubble: Teams closing in on bowl bids (25):

UCF– Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. Tulsa, vs. SMU, at USF, at ECU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 99%

Florida– Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. SC, vs. EKU, at Florida State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 99%

Brigham Young– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. UNLV, vs. Savannah State, at Cal; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 99%

Houston– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Tulsa, at SMU, at Cincinnati; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 98%

Cincinnati– Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. ECU, at UConn, at Temple, vs. Houston; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 95%

UTEP- Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. North Texas, at Rice, vs. Middle Tennessee; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 84%

NC State– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Wake, at UNC; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 80%

UAB– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Marshall, at Southern Miss; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 79%

Middle Tennessee– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at FIU, vs. FAU, at UTEP; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 78%

Washington– Record: 6-4 (needs 7 wins); Remaining Schedule: at Arizona, vs. Oregon State, at Wazzou; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 77%

Stanford– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Utah, at Cal, at UCLA; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 75%

Ohio- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. NIU, at Miami-OH; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 74%

Texas State– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at South Alabama, vs. Arkansas State, at Georgia State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 73%

Penn State– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Temple, at Illinois, vs. Michigan State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 71%

San Diego State– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at Boise State, vs. Air Force, vs. San Jose State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 67%

Rutgers– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Indiana, at Michigan State, at Maryland; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 66%

Tennessee– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Kentucky, vs. Missouri, at Vandy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 65%

South Alabama- Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Texas State, at SC, vs. Navy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 64%

Virginia Tech– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: at Duke, at Wake, vs. Virginia; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 61%

Michigan- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Maryland, at Ohio State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 60%

Navy– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Georgia Southern, at South Alabama, vs. Army; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 56%

Western Kentucky- Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Army, vs. UTSA, at Marshall; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 54%

California- Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at Southern Cal, vs. Stanford, vs. BYU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 53%

Oklahoma State- Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Texas, at Baylor, at Oklahoma; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 52%

Texas- Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at OK State, vs. TCU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 51%

Bad Side of the Bowl Bubble: Teams who will likely be home for the holidays (26):

South Carolina– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: at Florida, vs. South Alabama, at Clemson; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 49%

Akron– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Umass, at Kent State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 48%

Buffalo– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Kent State, at Umass; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 47%

Pittsburgh– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: at UNC, vs. Syracuse, at Miami-FL; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 46%

Temple– Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at Penn State, vs. Cincy, at Tulane; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 45%

Kentucky– Record: 5-5; Remaining Schedule: at Tennessee, at Louisville; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 43%

North Carolina– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Pitt, at Duke, vs. NC State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 42%

Arkansas– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. LSU, vs. Ole Miss, at Missouri; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 41%

Illinois– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Iowa, vs. Penn State, at NW; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 30%

Fresno State– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: at Nevada, vs. Hawaii; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 29%

Wyoming– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Boise, at New Mexico; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 25%

Old Dominion– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. LA Tech, at FAU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 22%

Virginia– Record: 4-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Miami-FL, at VT; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 20%

Ball State- Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at UMass, vs. Eastern Michigan, at Bowling Green; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 18%

Army- Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at Western KY, vs. Fordham, vs. Navy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 16%

Oregon State– Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Arizona State, at Washington, vs. Oregon; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 15%

North Texas- Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at UTEP, vs. FIU, at UTSA; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 14%

UL-Monroe– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. UL-Lafayette, at New Mexico State, at Georgia Southern; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 9%

Northwestern– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at Notre Dame, at Purdue, vs. Illinois; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 7%

San Jose State– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Hawaii, at Utah State, at San Diego State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 6%

New Mexico– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at Utah State, at Colorado State, vs. Wyoming; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 6%

South Florida– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at SMU, at Memphis, vs. UCF; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 5%

Tulane– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Memphis, at ECU, vs. Temple; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 4%

Texas Tech– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. Oklahoma, at Iowa State, vs. Baylor; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 3%

Indiana– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: at Rutgers, at Ohio State, vs. Purdue; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 2%

Kansas– Record: 3-6; Remaining Schedule: vs. TCU, at Oklahoma, at K-State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 1%

Already Bowl Eligible (51):  Memphis, East Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami-FL, Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Marshall, Louisiana Tech, Rice, Notre Dame, Bowling Green, Toledo, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Nevada, Colorado State, Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Southern California, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas A & M, LSU, UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State

Already Ineligible for a Bowl Game (26):  Georgia Southern*, Appalachian State* Tulsa, SMU, UConn, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Iowa State, Purdue, FIU, FAU, UTSA, Southern Miss, Kent State, UMass, Miami-OH, Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, UNLV, Colorado, Washington State, Vandy, Troy, Idaho, New Mexico State, Georgia State

Current Stats:

Already Bowl Eligible: 51

Predicted to be Bowl Eligible: 25 (76)

Already Ineligible for a Bowl Game: 26

Predicted not to become Bowl Eligible: 26 (52)

Week 12 College Football Picks

These are in order from my most confident pick to least confident.

Florida State (-3.0) at Miami-FL
Alabama (-7.5) vs. Miss. State
Cincinnati (+3.0) vs. East Carolina
Clemson (-3.0) at Georgia Tech
Air Force (-2.0) vs. Nevada
Northwestern (+18.0) at Notre Dame
Tulane (+10.5) vs. Memphis
Troy (+5.5) at Idaho
Oklahoma State (+2.5) vs. Texas
Oregon State (+9.5) vs. Arizona State

Last Week’s Record: 7-3, Overall Season Record: 50-60

Conference Championship Analysis

For the sixth-straight year, I will be publishing weekly November columns analyzing the conference championship races.  Like my bowl bubble watch, there is not really a column like this on any other mainstream college football site.  Bold teams have already clinched their division or conference.  Italicized teams are my predicted champions of their respective conferences/divisions at this point in time.  This list is updated through all week 11 games.

ACC AtlanticFlorida State (All the Noles have to do is beat either Miami or BC to clinch the division crown.)

ACC CoastalDuke (This division race is still wide open, but Duke definitely had the edge at this point.  In fact, if FSU knocks off Miami on Saturday night, the Blue Devils will just need to win two of their remaining three games against UNC, VT, and Wake to clinch the ACC Coastal for a second consecutive season.)

Big Ten East- Ohio State (The Buckeyes just need to win two of their last three: at Minnesota, vs. Indiana, and vs. Michigan to clinch the division crown.) 

Big Ten West–  Wisconsin (Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are all tied atop the division standings at 4-1.  Minnesota will be heavy underdogs in their last three so their chances of getting to the conference title game are slim to none.  Wisconsin gets the slight edge over Nebraska because they host the Huskers this Saturday in which will likely be a de facto division title game.

Big 12- Baylor (Baylor, TCU, and Kansas State are all tied atop the conference standings at 5-1.  Kansas State’s chances of winning the Big 12 are slim by virtue of losing their head to head matchup with TCU and having to travel to Waco at the end of the season.  Both Baylor and TCU should win out, so the Bears will likely win the Big 12 thanks to their victory over TCU.)

Pac-12 NorthOregon 

Pac-12 SouthArizona State (The Sun Devils are the current frontrunners, but UCLA, Arizona, and Southern California are all still in contention, sitting a game back of ASU.)

SEC East- Missouri (One of the most interesting conference/division title races this season may be the SEC East.  Missouri is currently the clubhouse leader but they have three tough games left: at Texas A & M, at Tennessee, vs. Arkansas.  Meanwhile, Georgia is a game back and if they can knock off Auburn on Saturday then they will be the favorite to get to Atlanta.  If both teams falter, then the Florida Gators could sneak through, assuming they get by South Carolina on Saturday afternoon.)

SEC West- Alabama (The SEC West once again runs through Tuscaloosa as the Tide control their own destiny for this division title one more time.  Mississippi State is currently the division leader but the Tide will pass them if they can beat the Bulldogs at home on Saturday.  If they do that, then all they will need to is beat arch rival Auburn to clinch the West.  Auburn and Ole Miss are still in the picture, but they will both need help to get to Atlanta.)

American- UCF (Memphis, UCF, East Carolina, and Cincinnati all have one conference loss, and at this point in the season, you have to assume at least one of them will finish at 7-1.  Memphis has best chance as they have already played five conference games and should be heavily favored in their remaining three.  They also own head to head tiebreaker over the only other 1-loss team they played Cincinnati.)

C-USA EastMarshall (The Thundering Herd will be heavily favored in their remaining three games: vs. Rice, at UAB, vs. Western Kentucky, and all they will need to do is win two of them to clinch the division.)

C-USA WestLouisiana Tech (In the preseason, I made the surprising prediction that LA Tech would win the C-USA despite coming off a losing season in 2013.  That pick is looking really good right now as the Bulldogs are currently undefeated in conference play and sit alone atop the division standings.  If Marshall beats Rice this weekend, that division lead will grow to two games and only require LA Tech to beat either ODU on the road or Rice at home to win the division title.  UTEP could also technically win this division, but the Miners need a lot of help.)

MAC EastBowling Green (After a disappointing start to the season, the Falcons of Bowling Green have rebounded nicely and stand firmly in control of the MAC East title race.  In fact, Bowling Green just needs to win one of their remaining three games: vs. Kent State, at Toledo, and vs. Ball State to earn a trip to the MAC title game.)

MAC WestToledo (Northern Illinois’ victory over Toledo tonight made this race a lot wilder. There are now three teams tied atop the MAC West, Western Michigan, Toledo, NIU, with a fourth squad, Central Michigan, only a game back and still in contention. Despite the Rockets loss tonight, I still like them to win the division because of their favorable remaining schedule,: vs. Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan, and their head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Western Michigan.)

MWC MountainBoise State (The first of two wild Mountain West division title races! Four teams in each division are still in contention to get to the title game, so you should see a wild final three weeks to the season in this league. Boise State, Colorado State, Utah State, and Air Force are all in contention in the Mountain Division, but Boise is currently the frontrunner based on their head-to-head victory over Colorado State. The Broncos control their own destiny, as all they need to do is win their final three games against San Diego State, Wyoming, and Utah State to get to their first Mountain West conference title game. Interestingly enough, Colorado State may end up with the best New Years Six resume of the Group of Five teams, but because they won’t be a conference champ, they won’t be eligible for selection.

MWC WestNevada (Both division title races in the MWC are wide open at this point, as Nevada, San Diego State, Fresno State, and San Jose State all are within a game of the MWC West lead. Nevada was my surprise preseason pick to win this division, and even if they lose to Air Force this weekend, they have a great shot at getting to the conference title game. In fact, with a San Diego State loss to Boise on Saturday, Nevada would host Fresno State in a de facto division title game on November 22nd. San Jose faces the longest odds of the four squads in contention, as they already have three losses and will be underdogs in two of their remaining three games.

Sun BeltGeorgia Southern/UL-Lafayette (Like the American Athletic Conference, the Sun Belt is a league that has neither a conference championship game nor a true round-robin conference schedule. That poses a problem when you have a situation like this year where there are two undefeated conference leaders who don’t play each other. In fact, UL-Lafayette and Georgia Southern should both be favored in the remainder of their league games (GSU: vs. Monroe: ULL: at Monroe, vs. App. St, at Troy) setting up a probable co-Sun Belt championship. If both teams were to falter, Arkansas State is waiting in the wings with one-loss, but they did lose head-to-head matchup against the Ragin’ Cajuns earlier this season.