18S Top 20 Poll: Time for Rivalry Week

One more full regular season week remains which means it’s now Rivalry Week. Or for some, Hate Week. The top of our rankings remain static once again as we tumble towards what is looking like the most drama-free playoff race since its inception 5 years ago. Certainly there has to be some craziness awaiting us over the regular season finale and conference championship weeks to come?

18 Stripes Top 20 Poll

1 Alabama 11-0 50-17 W vs. Citadel
2 Clemson 11-0 35-6 W vs. Duke
3 Notre Dame 11-0 36-3 W vs. Syracuse
4 Michigan 10-1 31-20 W vs. Indiana
5 Georgia 10-1 66-27 W vs. UMass
6 Oklahoma 10-1 55-40 W vs. Kansas
7 UCF 10-0 38-13 W vs. Cincinnati
8 Washington State (+1) 10-1 69-28 W vs. Arizona
9 Ohio State (+1) 10-1 52-51 W vs. Maryland
10 LSU (+1) 9-2 42-10 W vs. Rice
11 West Virginia (-3) 8-2 45-41 L vs. Oklahoma St.
12 Washington (+2) 8-3 42-23 W vs. Oregon State
13 Texas (NR) 8-3 24-10 W vs. Iowa State
14 Penn State (+1) 8-3 20-7 W vs. Rutgers
15 Utah State (-2) 10-1 29-24 W vs. Colorado St.
16 Florida (NR) 8-3 63-10 W vs. Idaho
17 Kentucky (NR) 8-3 34-23 W vs. MTSU
18 Boise State (+1) 9-2 45-14 W vs. New Mexico
19 Utah (NR) 8-3 30-7 W vs. Colorado
20 Miss State (NR) 7-4 52-6 W vs. Arkansas

Out: Syracuse, Cincinnati, Iowa State, UAB, Buffalo

In: Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi State

Six more teams in our top 20 lost this weekend with only West Virginia holding on to remain within these rankings. Speaking of the Mountaineers they are temporarily beneficiaries of the dearth of quality 2-loss teams so they only drop a few spots AND remain in our Fiesta Bowl projections. This really doesn’t matter for the future as the ‘Neers still have to beat Oklahoma this weekend and win the league title game to close out the season for a (slim) chance at the playoff or to punch their ticket to a major bowl game.

The Apple Cup is going to be important but maybe not absolutely huge this Friday. The Cougars are quietly still in play for a playoff spot but will need help no matter what unfolds. Should they lose to Washington and the Huskies go on to defeat Utah for the conference crown then the Washington schools will essentially flip-flop places in our current bowl projections. Either way, absent something absolutely crazy, the Cougars have already secured a major bowl game appearance.

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. Washington

The Group of 5 teams are beginning to move out of the way for the Power 5 programs. Now, just 3 G5’s remain in the Top 20 with both Utah State and Boise State being significantly lower ranked by the Playoff Committee than me to date. They also play each other this week so one of them is likely to leave our rankings soon anyway.

Where is the Controversy?

We can still come up with dozens of permutations because it’s college football and anyone can lose at anytime. Still, here are the most likely 4 “big” shakeups remaining:

1 Not-Washington State wins the Pac-12

2) Not-Oklahoma Wins the Big 12

3) Michigan loses to Ohio State

4) Alabama loses to Georgia

If just one occurs and we’re chalk everywhere else not much changes except the Pac-12 won’t get a team in the playoff. The same applies if two occurs, although the Big 12 would be in a far better position than the Pac-12. A lot of carnage would be needed for, say 11-2 West Virginia, to make it in but it’s virtually impossible for 10-3 Washington or 10-3 Utah to make  it.

If one, two, and 3 occur it would seem Ohio State is lock to get in.

If one, two, three, and 4 occur it’s going to be one hell of an argument between Alabama with a better resume likely but not winning their conference and Ohio State winning their conference with a weaker resume. The Tide still likely get in, I would think.

Week 13 Games to Watch

UCF (-14.5) at South Florida – This was supposed to be the premier game to cap off UCF’s season and instead the Bulls have lost 4 straight games, all within conference. It may not hurt the Knights too much as they were able to shine last week on GameDay. Undefeated UCF isn’t going away any time soon, although some let down potential lingers for this weekend. Knights win 36-27.

Oklahoma (PK) at West Virginia – The Cowboys upset of West Virginia means we’re very unlikely to see rematch of this game in the Big 12 championship. Texas has to beat Kansas and they are in the game. So, the winner here is in against Texas. It’s possible OU could finish 3rd in the Big 12 if they get upset here. Let’s go with that for some fun. Mountaineers win 58-54.

Washington (+3) at Washington State – My picks are sometimes revolving around how college football often levels teams off to their proper place (see Syracuse last week). I’m not entirely sold on a 11-1 Washington State trying to sneak in the playoffs. The Pac-12 needs to be way messier than that. Huskies win 30-27.

*Game of the Week* Michigan (-4) at Ohio State – Ohio State has owned this series for a damn long time. However, their season has been hanging by a thread with dysfunction all over the place. The favorite has won this game straight up 13 in a row and Michigan should take care of business. Wolverines win 19-14.

Auburn (+24.5) at Alabama – This might be the end of the road for Guz Malzahn as they’ve limped to a 7-4 record despite starting the season with a win over Washington. However, this rivalry has given us some of the weirdest games in history and there’s no real reason for Alabama to keep their foot on the pedal. Crimson Tide win 29-12.

Utah State (+3) at Boise State – The winner here will face (likely) Fresno State in the Mountain West championship. Boise could have the opportunity to play for their 12th conference title since 2002, so that’s crazy. I’ll say Utah State with only 1 conference title in that time span will be hungrier. Aggies win 35-30.

Last Week:

6-0 SU, 2-4 ATS


59-27 SU, 41-45 ATS

By |2018-11-19T13:21:51+00:00November 19th, 2018|Football|27 Comments

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hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Since most the hypotheticals around here have been for the negative type situations (understandable given past Novembers), let’s shift gears a bit with this thought.

–Notre Dame beats USC with ease
–Clemson wins out
–Bama destroys Auburn but loses closely to UGA
–UGA, as seen above, is SEC champs
–Michigan wins a tight one vs tOSU and beats NW
–Oklahoma wins out
–Wazzu wins out
-UCF wins out

What’s your top 4?

(Basically I was looking for a scenario with some non-ND related chaos…And trying to work up a situation where ND/Clemson isn’t a 1st round game)


Tier one wins – over teams in the AP or S&P+ top 25. Tier 2 wins – over teams at least .500 and in the S&P+ top 60.

1. Alabama – Four tier one wins (LSU, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Missouri), zero tier two wins
2. Notre Dame – Four tier one wins (Michigan, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse), one tier two win (Stanford)
3. Clemson – Two tier one wins (Texas A&M and Syracuse), three tier two wins (NC State, Duke, and Boston College)
4. Georgia – Lost at LSU, four tier one wins (Missouri, Auburn, Kentucky, and Florida), one tier two win (South Carolina)
5. Michigan – Lost at Notre Dame, three tier one wins (Penn State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin), one tier two win (Michigan State)
6. Oklahoma – Lost vs Texas, three tier one wins (Oklahoma State, Army, and Iowa State), zero tier two wins
7. UCF – One tier one win (Pittsburgh), three tier two wins (Cincinnati, Memphis, and Temple)
8. Washington State – Lost at USC, one tier one win (Utah), three tier two wins (Stanford, Oregon, and California)
9. Ohio State – Lost at Purdue, one tier one win (Penn State), one tier two win (Michigan State)
10. Bonus top two loss team – LSU. The idea that the committee would put this team in over undefeated UCF after losing 29-0 at home is wedged snugly between stupid and insulting. Great win over Rice though.

Oklahoma State eliminated WVU this week finally dropping the number of contenders below 10. Two weeks to go. Two guaranteed games between them, Michigan @ Ohio State on 11/24, and Georgia vs Alabama on 12/1.

Rivalry week provides a quality opponent for each of the top nine except for Georgia (GT, #63 S&P+), UCF (USF, #62 S&P+), and Notre Dame (USC, 5-6 record). Time is rapidly running out for the chaos needed to get UCF into the playoff so they can be comically smashed.


I think there’s a legitimate chance the committee has us jump Clemson this week. We dominated a common opponent that they barely beat. Our overall SOS is tougher. And there’s nothing else exciting for the committee to do this week (unless they’re going to vault UCF up the rankings). So I’m calling ND #2, Clemson #3 this week (and next week, with Clemson jumping back up ahead of us after winning the conference championship).


I agree that there’s a decent chance of this happening. After this week we’re the only team with 11 wins over FBS opponents and we reclaimed the #1 Strength of Record.


Lol Stanford down in ‘tier two’. Take that, nerds!

Clay Cossé fka Mouth
Clay Cossé fka Mouth

Yes. F those nerds. Are you as ready as I am to return to dominating them every year and relegate them to suck status. Sick of them being a thing.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

What about 1 loss ND in the playoffs, what’s it take? 1 loss each by Oklahoma, Wazzu and Georgia? NW pulling off an upset is less likely but could sub for one of those 3. All 3 of those teams have well below a 50% chance of winning out, but I bet one of them will.

Just beat SC


Definitely need Oklahoma and Georgia to drop one (or Bama to drop two). The Irish might make it over Wazzu even sharing a USC loss depending on how those remaining games go.


Most likely scenario where we lose to USC (ideally on a fluke or bad call):

(1) Alabama wins out;
(2) Wazzou loses, either to Washington or Utah (I think 1-loss Wazzou in over us because shared loss + conference champ);
(3) Texas or West Virginia win Big 12 (i.e., Oklahoma loses).

Each of those is individually more likely than not, but jointly not super likely. FiveThirtyEight gives us 24% chance of making the playoff with a loss, which seems about right.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

Agreeeed and more eloquently put than I managed


If WVU beat Oklahoma and Texas loses to Kansas, there would be an immediate rematch between WVU and Oklahoma. While this seems incredibly unlikely, I’d love to see how many points Holgo could put up against that Oklahoma defense one week after preparing to face that Oklahoma defense. That would be fun.


In the “Unrelated Topics” section: we’re now exactly 1 month from (early) signing day.


Related to the Unrelated Topics…we just picked up a commitment from 4 star LB J.D. Betrand. I’m sure the experts will have more to say about this, but thought I would post so that people get the news.


Wins and losses vs currently ranked teams week 13

1. ND #4 scUM #19 Syracuse #20 NU #24 Pitt, 0 losses
2. Bama #8 LSU #22 Mississippi St, 0 losses
3. Clemson #19 Syracuse, 0 losses
4. UCF #24 Pitt, 0 losses
5. scUM #20 NU, loss to #3
6. Georgia #13 Florida, lost to 2 loss team that lost to 3 loss team
7. LSU #5 Georgi #13 Florida, lost to #1, 3 loss team that lost to 4 loss team
8. Wazzu #18 Utah, lost to 6 loss team
downhill from here

There, makes more sense….


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