College Football Playoffs and the remaining good bowl games

Such interesting possibilities.  Stoopes and the Land Thieves are 3-0 against ‘Bama, and Austin native Baker Mayfield is lighting it up at QB for the Sooners.  However, Brent Venables, who for a decade under Stoopes was the defensive guru of the Big 12, is now at Clemson.  Stoopes dumped Venables so that he could hire his brother, Mike Stoopes, who had been fired from his HC job.  Mike is a downgrade from Venables.

Michigan State was consistently the best coached defense in the nation under Dantonio and Narduzzi, but Narduzzi is now deservedly a HC on his own.  Nevertheless, MSU has not forgotten how to defend.  Twist for the ‘Bama – MSU game is that Saban used to coach at MSU.

Could ‘Bama grind out a victory against any of the other three?  All of the other three are better than every team that ‘Bama faced, but there are many truly NFL capable studs in the Tide’s lineup. Crucially, I would rate all three of the other starting QBs in the playoffs well ahead of ‘Bama’s Jake Coker.

Could MSU score enough to beat OU or Clemson?  Could either Clemson or OU  score four TDs against the MSU or ‘Bama defenses?

The Playoff Schedule:

No. 1 Clemson faces No. 4 Oklahoma on Dec. 31 in the Orange Bowl.

No. 2 Alabama will face No. 3 Michigan State on Dec. 31 in Jerry World, the Cowboys’ stadium, mislabeled the something Cotton Bowl.

For OU, Arlington TX would have been a home game, so it was a sure thing that OU would be ranked #4, although that ranking is certainly “reasonable”, regardless.

While I would not predict the results of a game between 19 YOs without inside information on injuries, grades, drinking habits, and girl friends, I will guess that styles will produce more TDs in the Arlington game, and that the final will provide a true contrast.  Here is a statistical model, taken without benefit of the “model information” I consider crucial:

In the other Bowl games of note, the truly outstanding teams that fell short of the Playoffs will be butting heads.  TCU and ND had so many injuries that they were not the same teams by midseason as they were in early September.  They remained very tough squads, and if they heal before their bowl games, they will be as good to watch as the playoff teams.

Stanford, Ohio State, Iowa, Florida State, UNC, Okie Lite, and Baylor (if it has its first or second string QB back), are all highly competitive teams.  In fact, there was no single dominant team this year, and I am not inclined to believe that Clemson’s record set it apart.   I find ACC competition suspect, below the top three teams.  By contrast, the very competitive PAC has some good multi-loss teams, as does the western half of the SEC.

Only one non-power conference team is worth a mention: Houston.  Not having played even a fruit blender schedule there is no comparable way to measure them.  They do have talent and are very well coached by Herman, however, who was previously OC at tOSU.

So these are the best of the remaining bowl games, but remember when there is nothing on the line, either team may show up or not, depending in part on how much they want to party over Winter Break:

Dec 29
Citrus Bowl NKA as something else
UNC v. Baylor (but one of BU’s two best QBs must return for this or it will not be worth watching)

Dec 31
Peach Bowl
FSU vs UH (classic who wants to be there game)

Jan. 1 –

Fiesta Bowl
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (injuries for ND and no incentive for tOSU?)
Rose Bowl Game
Stanford v. Iowa (Stanford has a great RB who will set many records)
Sugar Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss

Jan 2 –
Alamo Bowl
Oregon vs. TCU (another injury bowl – but these are exciting teams)

Jan 11 – National Title Game from Glendale, AZ

FWIW, do not bet on these games.  19 YOs, girlfriends, drinking, injuries, passing finals, arrests in New Orleans…you cannot know the outcome.  That is why we watch.

And – GOOD LUCK to Michigan State!




7 Responses

  1. Iowa’s OC is Greg Davis, who was UT’s OC in the Vince Young and Colt McCoy years. He was let go in Austin when Mack Brown stopped recruiting the road grader OLmen he had from 2001 to 2006. That is, Davis was scapegoated for Mack’s failures to evaluate OL talent and his reliance on the “star” system of HS ratings.

    But Stanford has Coach Howard Shaw, one of the real good ones, and this RB named McCaffrey who does everything. I think both teams in the Rose Bowl will come to play, because of the tradition in that game. As for the other non-playoff bowls, a healthy ND or a healthy TCU might want to prove something. UT lost badly to ND and TCU when they were healthy, and there is no doubt in my mind that both those teams, healthy, were the toughest we played.

    I don’t know if the historic New Orleans effect will be harder on Ole Miss or on Okie Lite.

    Certainly Houston will try to make its presence felt, and FSU is, like tOSU, one of the most likely teams to party down.

    Or so it seems to me.


  2. Scott – I missed that one of your girls is at Clemson. Is she the one who visited SMU?


    • Mark:

      I missed that one of your girls is at Clemson. Is she the one who visited SMU?

      Yeah, that’s the one. She wanted to be down south. Chose Clemson over SMU and a couple of others. Exciting year to be a Tiger fan!


  3. From my post:

    UNC v. Baylor (but one of BU’s two best QBs must return for this or it will not be worth watching)

    Well neither of the good Baylor QBs played so three WRs and a RB or two took snaps and the game wasn’t worth watching b/c Baylor RAN ALL OVER UNC like they were a throwback to another era.

    Considering that UT had a relatively crippled D at the end of the season but when Baylor’s #2 Q went down UT stopped Baylor with 17 points and won, I never thought the UNC game was winnable for Baylor without a QB.

    Never get caught imagining the ACC is a tough league, is all I can figure.


    • Well, I called TCU-Oregon as the entertaining one, and I was correct. However, after TCU’s all everything QB got arrested for partying too obstreperously and was suspended, I did not think they could come back from 0-31 to win.

      I now join what I believe to be everyone outside Alabama who is not an alum in rooting for Clemson to win the NC.


      • Mark:

        I now join what I believe to be everyone outside Alabama who is not an alum in rooting for Clemson to win the NC.

        Yes, I suspect Clemson will have most of the nuetral support. But ‘Bama looks really tough. Hopefully it is a good game and not a runaway.


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