We found ourselves with a very quiet weekend and as a result not a single team moves inside the 18 Stripes Top 12 rankings. The rest of the rankings, well, they continue to be awfully weird. That’s good because this upcoming weekend is as bereft of traditional big games as any in recent memory. There’s a reason ESPN College GameDay is going to a UCF vs. Cincinnati game this late in the season.

18 Stripes Top 20 Poll

1 Alabama 10-0 24-0 W vs. Miss State
2 Clemson 10-0 27-7 W vs. Boston College
3 Notre Dame 10-0 42-13 W vs. Florida State
4 Michigan 9-1 42-7 W vs. Rutgers
5 Georgia 9-1 27-10 W vs. Auburn
6 Oklahoma 9-1 48-47 W vs. Oklahoma St.
7 UCF 9-0 35-24 W vs. Navy
8 West Virginia 8-1 47-10 W vs. TCU
9 Washington State 9-1 31-7 W vs. Colorado
10 Ohio State 9-1 26-6 W vs. Michigan State
11 LSU 8-2 24-17 W vs. Arkansas
12 Syracuse 8-2 54-23 W vs. Louisville
13 Utah State (+3) 9-1 62-24 W vs. San Jose State
14 Washington (+3) 7-3 BYE
15 Penn State (+4) 7-3 22-10 W vs. Wisconsin
16 Cincinnati (NR) 9-1 35-23 W vs. USF
17 Iowa State (+3) 6-3 28-14 W vs. Baylor
18 UAB (NR) 9-1 26-23 W vs. Southern Miss
19 Boise State (NR) 8-2 24-17 W vs. Fresno State
20 Buffalo (NR) 9-1 48-14 W vs. Kent State

Out: Boston College, Fresno State, Kentucky, Michigan State

In: Cincinnati, UAB, Boise State, Buffalo

Quite literally, only 3 teams in this new Top 20 played close games last weekend. Led by the Sooners who were almost upset in Bedlam if not for a failed 2-point conversion by the Cowboys. That ended perfectly right before the Notre Dame game but man what a boring week we experienced overall.

In a way, it’s like last week never happened because nothing of consequence changed. Our bowl projections remain constant from a week ago:

Bowl Game Projections

Cotton: Alabama vs. Michigan
Orange: Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Sugar: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Rose: Ohio State vs. Washington State
Peach: UCF vs. LSU
Fiesta: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

We haven’t really spent much time discussing the G5 team making the major bowl game because it’s largely been assumed to be UCF the whole way. Noted rival USF has now lost 3 straight (Charlie Strong wyd) which weakens the strength of schedule although UCF isn’t out of the weeds by any means. Should the Knights fall to Cincinnati this weekend there would be a 3-way tie in the AAC East division, so that could be fun and throw that major bowl bid into complete chaos.

Here are the current S&P rankings for the top G5 teams lingering in or close to the AP rankings:

UCF – 7
Utah State – 10
Cincinnati – 29
Boise State – 35
Army – 88
UAB – 31
Fresno State – 9
Buffalo – 47

So many highly rated teams seems very unusual in this playoff era which is strange because very few of these teams are close to UCF in terms of hype or prestige. Even a usual suspect like Boise State hasn’t felt like much of a player this year and yet they are sneaking up into position for a possible major bowl.

I’d like to shout out my local UB Bulls who are having a historic season and still remain off the radar somehow. Back in the day, the media were absolutely beside themselves watching Turner Gill with Buffalo and he peaked with a 8-6 season in 2008 and S&P ranking of 68th nationally before falling back to 5-7 and taking the Kansas job in 2010. Not enough people are talking about Lance Leipold and the job he’s done building Buffalo into one of the best G5 teams this year.

Week 12 Games to Watch

USC (-3.5) at UCLA – There’s a possibility, small though it may be, that Clay Helton will be fired after this game. This dude had been undefeated at home as USC coach and has now lost his last two in the Coliseum to Arizona State and California, no less. The Trojans have 5 losses! Man, the Bruins have been fighting hard across town and should be in this game I want to believe they’ll pull off the upset. Bruins win 27-24 OT.

Duke (+28) at Clemson – Duke has had some sneaky decent seasons in the past which is probably why their 7-3 really isn’t moving the needle nationally like it would’ve several years ago. The Blue Devils are pretty solid and this is a lot of points for a Clemson team that can sleepwalk to a win. Tigers win 38-17.

UAB (+16) at Texas A&M – It’s been a pretty blah debut season for Jimbo Fisher in College Station. Now, Bill Clark is coming to town with the media ready to hand him National Coach of the Year honors. This would be the spotlight that could clinch that honor. Too bad A&M is tough to beat at home. Aggies win 23-13.

*Game of the Week* Cincinnati (+7.5) at UCF – This is an interesting matchup in that Cincinnati’s defense has been terrific this year and UCF remains one of the best offenses in college football. This would feel like a big flop for the defending National Champions to end their winning streak with ESPN in town. But, it does feel like at some point they will lose right? Maybe not this weekend. Knights win 30-27.

Iowa State (+3) at Texas – Ok. Cool. Hook Em! Longhorns win 22-20.

Last Week:

5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS


53-27 SU, 39-41 ATS