More of Everything, Please

Specifically, please pass the sports entree

3 Keys for the Celtics

I began this article a few days back, but had entirely different subject matter as the focal point of it; however, I became acutely aware my material had grown outdated after the Cavs-Celtics and the Rockets-Warriors finished their game 3’s, so instead I have prepared some new notes and observations to help you prepare for the NBA’s games which could hypothetically end both contests as the two favorites find themselves at a very different fork in the road.  Let’s start with the Cavaliers and Celtics who play in about 3 hours time.

Boston’s defensive efficiency (and how missing Kyrie helps):

As the headline of my more recently attempted article, Game 3 did little to change my mind that Boston actually has a better opportunity to beat Cleveland without Irving.  The Cavaliers’ offense opened some new holes and eroded away Boston’s stout defense from games 1 & 2, but this is till a series Boston will win with young, defensive-minded wingers as opposed to noted defensive traffic cone Irving.  The injury to Irving, at this juncture, hurts Boston much more from a depth perspective than a scoring one.  While Irving and his 20-something points per might seem welcome for an offense too often stuck in the mud, Boston could add on Jae Crowder (lost in the Irving trade) or a similar type of player and be in a better position against Cleveland.  Even with Irving, Boston would hardly have the offensive firepower to match Cleveland, but starting Rozier and Smart in the backcourt allows Boston to switch decently across four positions (with Kevin Love guarded by Rozier as the notable exception).  Boston clearly does not want Rozier guarding LeBron, but none of the Celtics (or anyone in the league) is going to stop James 1-v-1; therefore, switching Rozier does little to benefit Cleveland against a player such as Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart putting a body on James.  Boston should not even fret Rozier getting pinned onto Tristan Thompson or Larry Nance, two players they would happily allow finish the first possession of each trip for Cleveland (offensive rebounding is a different story, but Boston has been above average against Thompson/Nance on the glass thus far).  Kyrie would be Cleveland’s Steph Curry, i.e. the player the Cavs force into switches to guard LeBron or Love or even George Hill en route to getting shaken off to create ugly rotations or layups.  Boston, made obvious in games 1/2, has enough scoring punch without Irving against a mediocre Cavs’ defense to focus on the other end of the floor.

My 6’7″ Complex and Semi:

While I haven’t written much in the way of NBA articles, I’ll remind loyal readers I have an absurd obsession with players standing roughly 6’7″ that can shoot, handle, and defend.  While these players sound ideal, I feel like they exist all over the NBA landscape, so I cannot be the only one with this complex.  That being said, I’d even recommend  Boston trying Semi Ojeleye in the rotation instead of Rozier or possibly Smart…but I’d prefer Rozier to give a hyper-switchable fivesome of Smart, Brown, Tatum, Ojeleye, and Horford.  Cleveland made strides against Horford in Game 3, but that felt like a duct tape fix for a flooding house.  Horford, not Rozier or Smart, is Boston’s best playmaker and the Celtics would be better served using Brown/Tatum in tandem with their 6’10” point forward.  At this juncture, Boston needs to avoid Aron Baynes and Greg Monroe as much as possible as they add nothing offensively and have proven, overall, incapable of defending the pick & roll.  Ojeleye can at least pretend to threaten from the corner enough to keep Cavs from sagging off.  Smart is a willing shooter, but not a great one, but Cleveland seems intent on respecting his ability both beyond the arc and off the dribble.  Both on and off the ball action featuring the trio of Tatum, Brown, and Horford seems the best opportunity for Boston to unstick its offensive SUV this evening; that being said, it still relies on Ojeleye and Smart making some shots, but all teams outside of Golden State have to rely on some sort of supporting cast to score enough to win.

Horford and Shooter Selection:

As noted above, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. played better defense against Al Horford in Game 3 simply by not letting Horford be an effective top-of-the-key distributor.  Keep an eye on how many shots Horford chucks up tonight. He attempted only 4 on Saturday which is far to little for a team’s best player, even if that player’s best addition to the team might not be shot making.  Boston will bring a different gameplan to open up for shots for not only Horford, but Brown and Tatum as well.  Those are Boston’s double-digit-shots-a-game players…all of them.  Boston cannot have it’s bench going 11-32.  Not only is that percentage regrettable, but that’s a helluva a high volume of shots compared to the starters 42, but remember one of those starters is Marcus Morris who hurled 8 more shots at the basket.  Tatum, Brown, Rozier, and Horford (the only four players with legitimate scoring potential every trip down the floor) cannot be taking 45% of Boston’s shots.  Cleveland’s four best scorers (including JR Smith as the “fourth best scorer”) shot 56% of Cleveland’s attempts which is even misleading as LeBron shot incredibly efficient (8-12) which while not unheard of is abnormal and Jordan Clarkson bombarded the backboard 11 times in 18 minutes (which is about 6 more shots and 6 more minutes than Cleveland would prefer in a close game).  The kicker is Cleveland’s array of shooters and capable scorers means this stat should weigh even heavier in Boston’s favor.  Cleveland still has Korver and Jeff Green on the bench who are effective overall offensive weapons (especially when compared to Boston’s potpourri of brick-artists).


College Gameday Drinking Game: Week 14, 2017

It’s name seems to linger in your ear….you know its Week 14 and its time for the rowdiest, most thrilling College Gameday Drinking Game of your life.  Championship Week…where your favorite team (or least favorite team…or a bunch of teams you don’t care about) need to bring an A+ game in order to impress the committee or simply add a trophy to the case (or in Florida State’s case find bowl eligibility).  Like these combatants, you too must lurch headlong into your A+ game. This is it, folks.  This is the finale we have all been waiting for!!!…..well, until Army-Navy next weekend.

CGDG Week 14 2017

To Start:
Take a drink for each person wearing a black suit coat.
My Friend Game: One person is designated “My friend”.  Each time “NOT SO FAST” is said, everyone starts drinking.  The last person to finish his/her drink becomes Lee Corso’s friend.  The friend must drink each time Lee Corso says “My Friend”
Analyst Game: Pick an analyst (Kirk, Lee, Rece or Desmond).  Each time your analyst is shown alone on camera take a drink….if you’re analyst leaves the table, the person who takes his place at the table is now your analyst (for better or for worse)Listen to Lee Game:Any time Lee Corse says “Listen”, every player must put a finger to his/her ear and lean toward the television.  The last player to do so must drink.Rock/Paper/Scissors Analyst Game:

When two analysts are shown on-screen together AND both talk during the scene, find someone who has chosen the analyst shown with yours and play them in R/P/S.  The loser drinks.  If there is an odd number, anyone not participating must take a drink. (i.e. if you are following Desmond and he is shown on screen with Rece, play R/P/S with a player following Rece).

Signs and Flag
Take a drink for any sign referring to “Turnover Chains”
Take a drink for any sign referring to Pittsburgh
Take a drink for any sign referring to Dabo Swinney
Take a drink for Washington State flag in the background
The Bear Cheers: Each time the Bear is shown, cheers to “The Bear!” and take a drink.
“To The System”: Each time the college football playoff is mentioned, cheers “To The System” and take a drink.
During the Show:
Make sure to continue following the “My Friend” and “Analyst” games
Take a drink when Scott Frost, Logan Woodside, Lane Kiffin, or Riley Ferguson is shown “Live”
Take a drink each time Lane Kiffin is mentioned
Take a drink each time “Rematch” is said
 Take a drink each time Auburn’s win over Alabama is mentioned
Take a drink every time an empty or nearly empty stadium is shown live.
Take a drink each time Tennessee’s coaching confusion is mentioned OR someone is mentioned to have turned down the job one way or another
Take a drink each time “2-Loss Conference Champion” is said
Take a drink each time it is mentioned that Alabama is not playing today, “2013” is said or “2012” is said
If the guest picker(s) are Ray Lewis and Brian Dawkins (which they should be because it’d be awesome) FINISH A BEER.  If a guest picker is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson FINISH A BEER. If a guest picker is a Curry (Dell, Steph, Seth…) FINISH A BEER FOR EACH ONE
Perform the Saturday Selections.  Each time you agree with your analyst, take a drink.  Each time you disagree, drink for five seconds.  If you fail to make a pick for a game, drink for ten seconds.  (The Guest Picker may be chosen if wanted).
During the Clemson – Miami (FL) pick: If Lee mentions a pick from a previous week (of this season) FINISH A BEER.  If he mentions the “Turnover Chain” FINISH A BEER.  If Lee tosses away a mascot head FINISH A BEER

Picks Against the Spread: Week 14, 2017

Game Spread Pick Info
#1 Clemson vs #16 Miami (FL)

ACC Championship Game

Clem -9.5 Miami Two teams I haven’t trusted much against the spread this season, but in the end both have had ups and downs but played near par.  Clemson dismantled the number just one week ago in Columbia, but both teams should be energized.  I expect turnovers early from both sides in a defensive game.  It’s hard to say I would “hammer” the under the 46.5 which is already dangerously low, but it’ll be teetering there at night’s end: Clemson 24 – Miami 16
#3 Oklahoma vs #11 Texas Christian

Big 12 Championship Game

Okla -7 Okla I don’t think this will quite resemble the last game where Oklahoma raced to a big lead and TCU was forced to comeback, but it is hard to imagine the Most Horn-ed of Frogs staying within a single touchdown just a few weeks after the Sooners rampaged in Norman.  Baker Mayfield, notably, plays his best away from home and in big time environments.  The Sooner QB played very well against TCU last time around and has all the weapons and ego to again decimate the Frogs: Oklahoma 35 – Texas Christian 21
#2 Wisconsin vs #8 Ohio State

Big Ten Championship Gam

OSU -6  Wisc If you’re Wisconsin, don’t you have to be so tired of hearing about Ohio State and 59-0?  People apparently forgot to tell people that happened three years ago when a man named Cardale Jones was throwing to Devin Smith and handing to Zeke.  That was a different Ohio State offense (one which could look similar to next season’s likely Dwayne Haskins show).  JT Barrett appears poised to play and I think that hurts Ohio State both in covering the spread and winning the game (and there’s nothing wrong with paying for happiness): Wisconsin 28 – Ohio State 24
#4 Auburn vs #5 Georgia

SEX-iest Championship Game in America

Aub -2.5 Auburn Just three weeks ago we were presented with this same game (albeit in Auburn, Alabama) and the Dawgs were 2.5 point favorites. Reverse the script and the expectation…well, actually, we here at the Braintrust had expectation that Auburn was going to win last time and we still believe Georgia cannot hang offensively with Auburn.  This looks like the best game on paper, but to quote Lieutenant Aldo Raine, “When we hear a story too good to be true, IT AIN’T”: Auburn 42 – Georgia 20
#10 Central Florida vs #17 Memphis

American Championship Game

UCF -10.5 Memphis UCF destroyed Memphis 40-17 earlier this season, but that game occurred in Orlando.  This week’s game occurs…Orlando.  Riley Ferguson is playing extremely well and Memphis just smoked its way to an 11-1 record.  Tigers hang around, but our darling gets its 12th victory: Central Florida 41 – Memphis 35
#12 Southern California vs #13 Stanford

Pac-12 Championship Game

USC -3.5 Stanford No bones about it, we took a straw vote and everyone fully expects Stanford to win this game despite already being downed by USC once this season (so many rematches this year in the Conference title games).  Bryce Love runs wild and the Cardinal defense steps up enough to keep Darnold and Jones from matching its 42 from earlier this season: Stanford 31 – USC 28
#39 Toledo vs #72 Akron

MAC Championship Game

Tol -21.5 Akron A large number for two teams who are miles apart in talent.  Toledo is a far superior football team and will wins this game, but Akron has just had that aura around it where every moment seems to go its way (hence why it is in the MAC title game). Now, caveat, this is an Akron team which lost to Miami (OH): Toledo 35 – Akron 17
 #42 Florida Atlantic vs #43 North Texas

CUSA Championship Game

FAU -11.5 NT I don’t think the Mean Green Machine has gotten enough credit for its 9-3 season.  Florida Atlantic has taken the headlines with Lane Kiffin, but North Texas stormed through CUSA losing only to the Owls (by a massive amount of points, mind you) and two pretty decent teams (they lost to Iowa by less than Ohio State…like a lot less).  The Mean Green keep it close in Boca: Florida Atlantic 27 – North Texas 21
#67 Florida International vs #116 Massachusetts FIU -1 FIU I don’t remember the last time UMass played a game, all I remember is they were playing really damn well at the time.  UMass is going to finish first in the Independents this season (at 1-0 against BYU), but the two week bye since that victory compounded with Florida International being pretty decent scares us away from our dearest Minutemen: Florida International 19 – UMass 16
#35 Boise State vs #38 Fresno State

MWC Championship Game

BSU -9.5 Boise Surprisingly, Fresno State not a Top 25 team…and not even really that close.  According to our SOR calculation, the Bulldogs are actually over ranked by us (at #36) and their SOR score is 43rd.  Anyway, Bosie gets Fresno at home and we’re hoping the Broncs teach the Bulldogs and the committee a little lesson (everyone know this as a ploy to make Alabama look better, right?): Boise State 35 – Fresno State 17
#120 Georgia Southern vs #125 Coastal Carolina GASO -3 GASO These teams come in on a combined 3 game winning streak which is amazing considering they’ve only won four games combined all season.  Georgia Southern is playing its best ball.  They just beat the Cajun Cajuns for crying out loud!  Best team in the Fun Belt!: Georgia Southern 99 – Coastal Carolina 0


The Real Top 16: Week 13

#20 Oklahoma State: Rank = 21st, SOR = 20th, Power Ranking 5.6521

#19 Michigan: Rank = 20h, SOR = 19th, Power Ranking 5.7722

#18 Washington State: Rank = 19th, SOR = 18th, Power Ranking 6.0783

#17 Memphis: Rank = 13th, SOR = 17th, Power Ranking 6.5895

#16 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, 10-1 (7-1 ACC)

Rank = 9th, SOR = 16th, Power Ranking 6.9653

Miami, just a few weeks removed from being the darling of the college football world, slips far down the RT16 totem pole following a loss to lowly Pittsburgh.  Strength of Record simply does not like the Hurricanes and who can blame our mathematical metric?  “The U” plays in the atrocious ACC Coastal which made a run at the SEC East and Big Ten West for poorest divisions in the Power 5 (FYI, the coastal ended up dead last in terms of average power ranking and second in average subjective ranking ahead of the SEC East).  Outside of Miami (16) and Virginia Tech (24), no other Coastal team finished inside the Top 60 in power ranking this season (Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Duke all finished in the 60’s). The average power ranking of the seven teams was 58th and the average subjective rank was 62nd.  Miami also played Florida State and Syracuse in its cross-divisional games (finished 6th and 7th respectively in the division).  Simply put, Miami’s schedule did them no favors as its third best win came against MAC West winner Toledo.  Miami finished with the 16th worst SOS in the Power Five (AFTER TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE ADDITION OF CLEMSON!)…just one spot ahead of Alabama.  Without Clemson on the schedule, Miami had the absolute worst SOS at season’s end (yes, even worse than Wisconsin).  One last tidbit, all SOS measurements take into account the scheduling of Arkansas State despite the Hurricanes not playing them (and therefore notching a 0.000 addition to SOR).

#15 Michigan State Spartans, 9-3 (7-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 17th, SOR = 14th, Power Ranking 7.2596

On the other hand, Michigan State’s SOS is just fine.  Sparty wrapped up the regular season by destroying Rutgers (back into the Bottom 90 for the Scarlet Knights) and reversed a 3-9 record back to the norm of 9-3.  Mark Dantonio and company can put a bow on a sixth 10-win season since he arrived to East Lansing from the University of Cincinnati prior to the 2007 season.  Successful for many programs across the country, Michigan State’s rebound is another signature moment for Dantonio and proof he derves to be mentioned among the best 10 coaches in college football, especially when you consider the talent and tradition at his disposal at Michigan State compared to other teams across the country (including the three he has in his own division).

#14 Washington Huskies, 10-2 (7-2, Pac-12)

Rank = 14th, SOR = 15th, Power Ranking 7.3230

Washington won yet another Apple Cup and were able to sow more seeds of disappointment on the fields of Pullman following a 41-14 destruction of its in-state rival.  The Huskies will not be totally happy finishing at #14 in these rankings (and will likely end up in a similar position in the CFP rankings released Tuesday night (which it might be passed Tuesday night when this is posted, but isn’t as I write now)), but no one can say a 10-win season is anything but successful.  After last season’s playoff appearance, the Huskies can bask in the accomplishment and relish that they are likely on the college football map of relevance for the foreseeable future so long as Chris Peterson remains in Seattle.  Next season, Washington will have an opportunity they have been criticized for in the last two seasons: a marquee non-conference win.  Washington travels to Atlanta to play Auburn in a “neutral site game” for its first contest of 2018.

#13 Stanford Cardinal, 9-3 (7-2, Pac-12)

Rank = 15th, SOR = 13th, Power Ranking 7.4248

Stanford sneaked its way into the Pac-12 Championship Game after being left on the side of the road in a pool of its own blood and feces following its third loss of the season on the road against Washington State.  The Cardinal downed Washington and Notre Dame following the loss and are now sitting pretty with the nation’s highest SOS (including its upcoming neutral site game against Southern California).  Stanford’s struggles on the road have been well documented and it has appeared like a different roster of players when they line-up in Palo Alto.  Which team, home-Stanford or road-Stanford, shows up for the Pac-12 Championship Game?  It’s anyone’s guess, but the trend of this season spells upset and trouble for the Trojans in Santa Clara.

#12 Southern California Trojans, 10-2 (8-1, Pac-12)

Rank = 11th, SOR = 12th, Power Ranking 7.8024

Speak of the devil…Southern California is the highest ranked Pac-12 team (again) this week, watched itself begin to tumble down the rankings (again), and was unceremoniously tossed from the playoff discussion (again).  Much like Miami, Southern Cal was stuck in the weaker division of its conference, but did have two marquee games in the cross-divisional setup; however, they lost one (Washington State) and the other was to atrocious Oregon State.  Would it surprise you that of the two-loss teams playing on championship Saturday, USC has the weakest strength of schedule? In order, SOS for those teams goes: Ohio State, Auburn, Texas Christian, and then USC.  The Trojans obviously are hurt by playing the lowest ranked team of the bunch, but the once heralded Pac-12 schedule was ripped to pieces by itself as the season rolled along.  USC is still playing for a New Year’s Six appearance, but needs to beat Stanford to achieve it.

#11 Texas Christian Horned Frogs, 10-2 (7-2, Big 12)

Rank = 12th, SOR = 11th, Power Ranking 7.8288

Texas Christian, like USC, seems to be playing mostly for the honor of appearing in the New Year’s Six.  In our simulations ran, Texas Christian could never jump higher than fifth in the polls (a result which needs UCF to lose).  TCU could not leap over the champs of the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, or Alabama even with a victory over Oklahoma.  TCU, regrettably, will be staring up at even the Golden Knights should UCF triumph over Memphis in the American Conference Championship Game (which already has the a largest spread of any contest happening this Saturday).  Gary Patterson and his Frogs dominating might be able to shift that perception (can they climb to the Top 4 in the subjective rankings?), but would need a complete performance against Oklahoma to do so.

#10 Central Florida Golden Knights, 11-0 (8-0, American)

Rank = 8th, SOR = 10th, Power Ranking 8.0265

As teased just one paragraph ago, a situation more than exists for UCF to make the playoff on this publication.  A win over Memphis would give the Golden Knights just enough of a SOR boost to leapfrog Alabama IF Georgia beats Auburn (a loss which would negatively affect Bama’s SOR).  UCF also needs TCU to beat Oklahoma (allowing the Knights to leapfrog the Sooners.  UCF would then enter the playoff with Clemson, SEC champ Georgia, and the Big Ten champion (either one).  If Auburn wins AND TCU wins, UCF will be staring up at the Tide who will enter the Top 4 despite not playing in the SEC Championship Game.  In other words, UCF needs just two things to go right and we would have them playing in the college football playoff.

#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 9-3 (Independent)

Rank = 16th, SOR = 4th, Power Ranking 8.2279

The loss to rival Stanford knocked Notre Dame out of sight and out of mind for the Top 4, but the Irish should be content with a 9-3 regular season after a year of disappointment just a season ago.  They established an identity and showed promise for the future despite playing one of the tougher schedules in America (SOS #3 at season’s end without the championship games included).  This felt like Notre Dame’s first season of relevance since Manti Te’o and the BCS Debacle against Alabama (although we know they were a pass interference call against Clemson from being in the playoff hunt two seasons ago).  The Irish will likely miss out on the New Year’s Six when all is finished; the Pac-12 Champ will jump the Irish and leave them outside the Top 9 with an automatic berth given to the Group of Five (Note: if UCF beats Memphis they will also jump Notre Dame making their place in the Group of 5 irrelevant).  Yes, the decimation by Miami is going to be sore through the summer months, but there’s always next season.

#8 Penn State Nittany Lions, 10-2 (7-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 10th, SOR = 9th, Power Ranking 8.2740

Penn State will be hoping and praying for two things: 1) an Ohio State victory in the Big Ten Championship Game (making their loss seem a little better) and 2) Stanford beating Southern California in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  If Southern California wins, it might boost Notre Dame’s Strength of Record just enough to inch the Irish over the Nittany Lions in the final RT16.  The silly little kicker which could change all of that?  Akron plays Toledo in the MAC Championship and the Nittany Lions have a win over Akron.  If the Zips win, they’ll likely climb from current #73 into the top 60, a higher climb than USC could ever hope to make.  There’s no easy way to say this, 2017 ended as a disappointment for Penn State whose National Championship aspirations might take a turn for the worse with Saquon Barkley’s departure and the unending gauntlet known as the Big Ten East.  Penn State plays Appalachian State as what might end up as its best non-conference game of 2018 (sorry Pittsburgh), but will once again make its money in a Big Ten schedule featuring Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

#7 Ohio State Buckeyes, 10-2 (8-1, Big Ten)

Rank = 7th, SOR = 7th, Power Ranking 8.4413

Ohio State survived and impressively rallied with back-up Quarterback Dwayne Haskins entering for JT Barrett with the Buckeyes still losing to rival Michigan on the road in the Big House on Saturday.  The College Football Playoff Committee should have been watching and might be back-pedaling slightly on the pass it has given Clemson for the Syracuse loss after watching Ohio State yet again dispatch its rival with a backup at the helm.  The future looks bright with Haskins, but question marks now surround JT Barrett and whether his health will allow him to play against Wisconsin.  Already Columbus is swirling with memories of JT Barrett injuries, Big Ten Championship Games against Wisconsin, and National Championships.  For now, the Buckeyes need to realize their climb into the Top 4 is far from certain; however, our simulations have the Buckeyes easily climbing into the Top 4 with a win; futhermore, the Buckeyes could reach as high as second with wins by TCU and Miami in their own conference championship games.  The RT16 does not decide the playoff (unfortunately), so Ohio State in reality might need something resembling 59-0 (or 48-3) to convince the real College Football Playoff Committee that taking the Buckeyes (again) is the right decision.

#6 Alabama Crimson Tide, 11-1 (7-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 5th, SOR = 6th, Power Ranking 8.4818

Alabama sits idle knowing that its only chance to reach the RT16 Top 4 is if Oklahoma loses AND Auburn wins.  Are those two outcomes impossible?  Absolutely not, but the Tide simply do not have the metrics to matchup with the rest of the teams ranked at the top.  As stated, Alabama has the fifteenth worst SOS in the Power Five (that means they are 50th of 64 teams (obviously with the caveat that the Tide do not have the luxury of playing itself).  Alabama has the 53 toughest schedule in the nation, but losing only on the road to Auburn has allowed the Tide to accumulate the nation’s sixth best SOR.  The most vocal debate between playoff contenders is revolving around 11-1 Alabama and 11-2, Big Ten Champion Ohio State, but our metrics have the Buckeyes just tiptoes behind Buhmuh at 10-2 without their championship buttress (see current Power Ranking Score).  All the arguments in favor of Alabama are “eye test”, but what eye test?  A team which cannot throw the ball effectively?  A team which has looked to be at its worst in its last six games? Alabama dominated Vanderbilt and Ole Miss (11-13 combined), but the Tide hobbled against an LSU team which lost to Troy, a Texas A&M team which went 7-5, and a Mississippi State team whose defense allowed 31 points to Ole Miss (which would not be affected by a QB’s injury).  “Ignore everything we did against over .500 opponents and focus on that one team playing really, really shitty one week against Iowa” is not a playoff contender argument.  I’m sorry, but style points over Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Tennessee are worth about as much as style points over UNLV, Maryland, Rutgers, and Nebraska (their records are even similar).  Toss in Ohio State dominating Michigan State, beating Penn State, beating Michigan on the road with a backup QB, AND the win over Wisconsin (remember, the debate is a Big Ten champ Ohio State) and I honestly am losing interest.  It feels like pot-sitrring at this point.  You’ll likely ask, “Do you honestly believe Ohio State is a better team than Alabama?” and I’d answer “YES!”  Why wouldn’t I?  Because the Tide smacked Fresno State, Colorado State, and Mercer at home?   Because Ohio State played poorly one week on the road after playing the most electrifying regular season game of the college football season?  Are we giving a pass to Alabama for looking pretty average since beating Tennessee?  I understand, Alabama is Alabama and being Alabama means Alabama should always get in the playoff…but why?  Because Florida State was ranked #2 at the beginning of the season but ended up being pretty mediocre?  “THEY LOST THEIR STARTING QUARTERBACK!” you scream…but how does that explain losing six games?  Ohio State won the National Title with a second and third string quarterback.  Isn’t that something college coaches should have a contingency plan for?  Are Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney allowed to both have a stupid name contest AND not prepare for an injury to the starting quarterback?  Alabama’s best win was at home against Louisiana State and Ohio State has three wins scored higher than that BEFORE they even have to play Wisconsin.  If Wisconsin is going to get knocked for how terrible the Big Ten West is, then Alabama should also be knocked for the SEC under-performing.  You don’t think running the football and playing defense is enough to win the championship?  Well then don’t look at the Tide.  Alabama’s offense flopped against both LSU and Auburn when they needed to throw the football.  I’d argue that Alex Hornibrook is a BETTER passing QB than Jalen Hurts.  Any argument used in favor of Alabama can be used in favor of Wisconsin, except that Wisconsin is not named Alabama.  A very fair and very logical argument could be made that one loss Wisconsin and not one loss Alabama should be next team up for the playoff.  I’ll pause here and take your questions.

#5 Georgia Bulldogs, 11-1 (7-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 6th, SOR = 5th, Power Ranking 8.5952

The SEX-iest Conference in America gets the title game it wanted all season when a one-loss Georgia team takes on a two-loss Auburn team because Jarrett Stidham finally wanted to prove he was the most valuable quarterback in the conference. For Georgia, revenge is on its mind, but it faces the challenge of stopping the most explosive, two-dimensional offense in the SEC.  Does that sound familiar?  The Bulldogs recovered and rolled to 11-1 after being embarrassed in Jordan-Hare; moreover, they get to stay home and play in Atlanta against an Auburn team fresh off an emotional and physical victory over rival Alabama.  Many people are not even giving Georgia a shot in this game, but if flow can go a little differently and the Dawgs can use play-action passing and their powerful run game to keep pressure off of Jake Fromm than expect a much closer contest than what we watched three weekends ago.

#4 Auburn Tigers, 10-2 (7-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 3rd, SOR = 8th, Power Ranking 8.6388

Auburn completed its miraculous climb up the ranks of college football with a victory over rival Alabama just five days after an Auburn fan was shot for a bitter disagreement with a Tide fan that he ended up being right about, but unfortunately he is still shot.  The Tigers, as mentioned, have the SEC’s best two-dimensional offense thanks to Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham who has stabilized in recent weeks and downed team-after-team.  A victory over Georgia and Auburn would have a case for the #1 overall seed in the college football playoff, but they won’t be jumping Clemson, Wisconsin, or Oklahoma if all those teams win this weekend.  The Tigers still control their fate, but need a victory over Georgia to put the exclamation point on a season-ending run for the ages as the hottest team in America.

#3 Oklahoma Sooners, 11-1 (8-1, Big 12)

Rank = 1st, SOR = 3rd, Power Ranking 9.1595

Oklahoma, like already spoken for Auburn and soon-to-be spoken for Wisconsin and Clemson is just boring.  The “control your own destiny” teams are just that and there’s very little else to say about games to be played, so instead let’s focus on the hilarity that was Oklahoma’s captains carrying Baker Mayfield’s jersey out to the coin flip against West Virginia.  I wish someone could have captured Lincoln Riley’s reaction…but what if the first-year head coach, who was attempting to send the most inconsequential of messages to his Heisman-favorite QB, offered permission for them to let the jersey make its way out to the toss?  Suddenly Baker Mayfield was transformed into some infallible, crotch-grabbing, curse-hurling martyr.  His teammates honored and included if Mayfield had recently sustained a career-threatening injury one week prior rather than made a complete ass of himself and the rest of his team.

#2 Wisconsin Badgers, 12-0 (9-0, Big Ten)

Rank = 4th, SOR = 2nd, Power Ranking 9.1652

Wisconsin remained unbeaten against rival Minnesota and is one of only TWO UNBEATEN TEAMS LEFT IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL!  The other is already mentioned Central Florida whose strength of schedule, once higher than the Badgers, will almost certainly keep UCF from sneaking its way into the Top-6 (much less the Top 4).  We already laid out the Golden Knights scenario to make the playoff, but Wisconsin’s is, as you would guess, much simpler.  Even with the thirteenth data point, Wisconsin only has the 24th best SOS in the country, but going 13-0 with such a poor schedule while other teams are counting up the losses (Washington actually finished behind both 2-loss Penn State, 2-loss Michigan, and 1-loss Oklahoma last season) will mean Wisconsin can make the playoff without a sweat.

#1 Clemson Tigers, 11-1 (8-1, ACC)

Rank = 2nd, SOR = 1st, Power Ranking 9.4954

Clemson remains a steady #1 team with its collection of very okay wins against a more than mediocre ACC Atlantic division, a defeat of upstart Auburn, and beating rival South Carolina on Saturday.  Clemson has planted itself in the #1 slot on this publication AND we could not sort a scenario where Clemson does not make the college football playoff, that is to say, Southern California, Central Florida, Alabama…none of those teams can dislodge the Tigers from the playoff here.  Clemson, mathematically, is all but in the CFP; however, the real life college football playoff committee might have a different formula than the simple and logical one we use here.  The Tigers meet Miami n the ACC title game and should be prepared to accept the title of #1 seed in the playoff should they beat the Canes by any score in Charlottle.

College Gameday Drinking Game: Week 13, 2017

CGDG Week 13 2017

To Start:
Take a drink for each person wearing a black suit coat.
My Friend Game: One person is designated “My friend”.  Each time “NOT SO FAST” is said, everyone starts drinking.  The last person to finish his/her drink becomes Lee Corso’s friend.  The friend must drink each time Lee Corso says “My Friend”
Analyst Game: Pick an analyst (Kirk, Lee, Rece or Desmond).  Each time your analyst is shown alone on camera take a drink….if you’re analyst leaves the table, the person who takes his place at the table is now your analyst (for better or for worse)Listen to Lee Game:Any time Lee Corse says “Listen”, every player must put a finger to his/her ear and lean toward the television.  The last player to do so must drink.

Rock/Paper/Scissors Analyst Game:

When two analysts are shown on-screen together AND both talk during the scene, find someone who has chosen the analyst shown with yours and play them in R/P/S.  The loser drinks.  If there is an odd number, anyone not participating must take a drink. (i.e. if you are following Desmond and he is shown on screen with Rece, play R/P/S with a player following Rece).

Signs and Flag
Take a drink for any sign referring to Nick Saban
Take a drink for any sign referring to War Eagle
Take a drink for any sign referring to Jalen Hurts
Take a drink for Washington State flag in the background
The Bear Cheers: Each time the Bear is shown, cheers to “The Bear!” and take a drink.
“To The System”: Each time the college football playoff is mentioned, cheers “To The System” and take a drink.
During the Show:
Make sure to continue following the “My Friend” and “Analyst” games
Take a drink when Kirby Smart, James Blackmon, Jeff Brohm, Riley Ferguson is shown
Take a drink each time Pittsburgh’s win over Miami (FL) mentioned
Take a drink each time “Iron Bowl”, “Egg Bowl”, or “The Game” is said
 Take a drink each time “Rivalry” is asid
Take a drink every time an empty or nearly empty stadium is shown live.
Take a drink each time “a fired coach or potential new coach (including a current coach moving to a different school) is mentioned
Take a drink each time “2-Loss Conference Champion” is said
Take a drink each time Baker Mayfield’s “suspension” is mentioned or his behavior is said to “unprofessional”, “emotional”, or “immature” take a drink
If the guest picker is Charles Barkley FINISH A BEER
Perform the Saturday Selections.  Each time you agree with your analyst, take a drink.  Each time you disagree, drink for five seconds.  If you fail to make a pick for a game, drink for ten seconds.  (The Guest Picker may be chosen if wanted).
During the Auburn – Alabama Pick: If Lee Corso says “War Eagle” FINISH A BEER.  If he says “Roll Tide” FINISH A BEER.  If Lee Corso dons the Big Al head AND Kirk plays with the trunk FINISH A BEER.  If Lee Corso disappears from set for this pick FINISH A BEER.

Real Top 16: Week 13, 2017

#20 Michigan: Rank = 17th, SOR = 21st, Power Ranking 5.7925

#19 Washington: Rank = 19th, SOR = 19th, Power Ranking 5.8057

#18 Stanford: Rank = 20th, SOR = 17th, Power Ranking 5.8900

#17 Memphis: Rank = 14th, SOR = 18th, Power Ranking 6.0769

#16 Mississippi State Bulldogs, 8-3 (4-3 SEX-iest)

Rank = 18th, SOR = 16th, Power Ranking 6.1856

Image result for Mississippi State logo blank backgroundMississippi State’s victory over Ar-Kansas allows the Bulldogs to creep back into the Top 16.  In a week where the top of the SEC West took it easy, the Bulldogs had to battle to down a Hoges team hungry to try and keep (also hungry) Bret Bielema in Fayetteville for another year of mediocrity.  Dan Mullen is having his name tossed everywhere from Los Angeles to Gainesville, but the Braintrust feels Mullen will stick around in Starkville with a program he has built from the ground up to seasonal national relevance.  The Bulldogs are fighting tooth-and-nail against the SEX-iest West and that means Louisiana State, Auburn, and Nick Saban every year; however, Mullen has had his team competing extremely well and can visualize the breakthrough coming especially if Nick Fitzgerald returns for his senior season.

#15 Washington State Cougars, 9-2 (6-2, Pac-12)

Rank = 15th, SOR = 15th, Power Ranking 6.4514

Image result for Washington State logo blank backgroundWashington State took it easiest this past weekend, taking a very late season BYE prior to the world famous Apple Cup against Washington this weekend.  Mike Leach and the Cougars still have much to play for, most notably a Pac-12 North title which Washington State University has never owned.  The Cougars are, for the second season consecutively, only a single win over its in-state rival from claiming that crown.  A victory this weekend and Wazzu an begin to look forward to upsetting Southern California for the second time this season in the Pac-12 Championship Game and an appearance in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

#14 Michigan State Spartans, 8-3 (6-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 16th, SOR = 13th, Power Ranking 6.8166

Image result for Michigan State spartans logo blank backgroundMichigan State, and its sunken successful season, limped to a 17-7 win over a nearly quarterback-less Maryland team in East Lansing.  The Spartans, still licking wounds from the thrashing in Columbus one week prior, can only watch Michigan and Ohio State play in the game without a hope for a berth in the Big Ten title game after Wisconsin’s win over Michigan clinched the Big Ten East for the Buckeyes.  Sparty heads to Piscattaway to face a Rutgers team who were shut out in Bloominton meaning they are also shut out of a bowl game despite looking for more competent than in previous seasons.  Michigan State cannot relax its way to 9-3 (a reversal of last season’s horrendous record), but there is little reason to think Michigan State would be anything but focused entering the season’s final week.

#13 Central Florida Golden Knights, 10-0 (7-0, American)

Rank = 9th, SOR = 14th, Power Ranking 7.0737

Image result for Central Florida Golden Knights logo blank backgroundCentral Florida clung to the #13 spot in the rankings after peaking at #11 the for the rankings following weeks 10 and 11.  The Golden Knights will have its entire season come down to a game against South Florida in Tampa Bay as the two I-4 rivals engage with a combined 19-1 record.  Central Florida should enter as the favorite despite South Florida’s home-field “advantage” in Raymond James (in fact, they opened as a -9.5 favorite) and The Golden Knights offensive capabilities give it a legitimate heavy-weight advantage over the Bulls.  We don’t want t o sleep on Charlie Strong’s team, but USF has not impressed at nearly the same level as the Golden Knights in 2017 for the season’s entirety; although, the argument can be made that South Florida has the game’s best player in Quarterback Quinton Flowers who fell out of the spotlight since the Bulls’ loss to Houston.  A game for the American East, the status as favorite for the Group of 5’s New Years’ Six Bowl berth, and some bragging rights?  Sounds like a surefire winner to us.

#12 Penn State Nittany Lions, 9-2 (6-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 13th, SOR = 10th, Power Ranking 7.5327

Image result for Penn State logo blank backgroundPenn State, like Michigan State, helplessly watched as Ohio State clinched the Big Ten East with a win over Illinois and a Michigan loss to Wisconsin and felt the sting of another promising season swirl down the toilet.  On a positive note, Saquon Barkley finally looked like himself; although, allowing 44 points to Nebraska quelled any excitement from the 56-point explosion.  This looked like a no-doubt spread cover with Penn State leading 42-10 at the break, but a 34-14 second half later (in favor of Nebraska) and the Nittany Lions managed only to improve the win column which matters.  Barkley also set a new record for rushing touchdowns for a Penn State player and might have rekindled any impossible Heisman hopes.  Penn State will face Maryland in the season finale in College Park.

#11 Ohio State Buckeyes, 9-2 (7-1, Big Ten)

Rank = 8th, SOR = 11th, Power Ranking 7.6105

Image result for Ohio State logo blank backgroundOhio State dominated Illinois, but that isn’t worth much here as the Buckeyes fall from eighth to eleventh.  A win over Michigan should catapult them back toward the Top-4, but Ohio State will need some help to reach the playoff (as expected).  Certainly an implosion from the top teams during the SEC-ACC rivalry week would help. Clemson and Georgia face off against its in-state rivals from the opposing conference; however, Ohio State still needs to take care of business in its own rivalry game. Michigan might be forced to start John O’Korn this weekend and the Wolverines simply do not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Buckeyes…but I would have said the same thing about Iowa (and probably did).

#10 Auburn Tigers, 9-2 (6-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 5th, SOR = 12th, Power Ranking 7.6221

Image result for Auburn logo blank backgroundAuburn downed Louisiana Monroe to no one’s surprise; although, the first half did not exactly go swimmingly for the Tigers.  Honestly, it didn’t matter.  The committee won’t be reviewing how Auburn looked against UL Monroe; rather, they are interested to see if the Tigers can down perennial “We Want …” Alabama in Jordan-Hare on Saturday.  A win might mean two SEC teams in the playoff, so fans throughout the nation are, for once, pulling for Alabama to avoid the upset; however, Lee Corso might say “Not so fast, my friend” as Alabama’s resume does not exactly measure the way one might expect from an 11-1 SEC team. We’ll talk about that later.  For Auburn’s hopes, it has no choice but to win each of its next two games and then it will likely steamroll into the playoff and might even be the #1 seed depending on how the rest of the nation finishes up.  Auburn does not need hell to happen like Ohio State, but the Tigers might appreciate a Clemson loss just to buttress its opportunity for that #1 overall spot.

#9 Texas Christian Horned Frogs, 9-2 (6-2, Big 12)

Rank = 12th, SOR = 9th, Power Ranking 7.6765

Image result for TCU Frogs logo blank backgroundTexas Christian defied my expectation and easily handled the Texas Tech offense and squashed the Red Raiders even with Kenny Thrill starting on the road in Lubbock.  Indubitably, Texas Tech must be disappointed with its effort against a depleted Frogs offense, but it matters not when you only score 3 points.  Texas Christian heads back home to Forth Worth to play Baylor for only pride and the chance to send the Bears to 1-11 on the season.  Supposedly, this game is considered a rivalry, so Texas Christian should not be surprised when Baylor comes out swinging and might even have the lead in Forth Worth.  We doubt the Bears can manage a victory, but we’re expecting a game ending within fourteen points after Baylor hung tough with Iowa State.  A loss for TCU would be a disaster, assuming Iowa State downs upstart Kansas State who just beat Oklahoma State last weekend.  If Iowa State wins, TCU loses, Texas/Oklahoma State/West Virginia all win we have a five-way tie for second in the Big 12 conference.

#8 Southern California Trojans, 10-2 (7-2, Pac-12)

Rank = 11th, SOR = 8th, Power Ranking 7.7777

Image result for Southern Cal Trojans logo blank backgroundSouthern California sits squarely outside the playoff and likely won’t be able to climb above the teams which might be sitting there come Championship Weekend.  USC gets this upcoming weekend off, but victories for Texas Christian, Auburn, Ohio State, Central Florida, and maybe even Penn State could push the Trojans as far down the rankings as 13th where the Golden Knights now reside.  Obviously, each of those teams would need to win, but only Auburn is an underdog this weekend; furthermore, the rest are double-digit favorites with TCU, OSU, UCF, and PSU giving 25.5,  12, 10, and 22 respectively.  The Trojans will have an opportunity against either Washington State or Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game (depending on the result for the Cougars in the Apple Cup), but Ohio State, TCU, Auburn, and UCF might all have similar opportunities to stay ahead of USC should they win in Week 13.  All signs point toward a New Year’s Six Game at best for the Trojans unless they lose in the Pac-12 Championship.

#7 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, 10-0 (7-0, ACC)

Rank = 3rd, SOR = 7th, Power Ranking 8.2572

Image result for miami hurricanes logo black backgroundMiami (FL) struggled to victory against Virginia where a game-ending 30-0 run allowed Miami to steal way with a 44-28 win.  The Hoo’s have to be disappointed with an opportunity gone awry, but Miami needs not to lose focus.  The Hurricanes proved again they are perfectly content playing poorly against poor teams and have another opportunity to showcase its inconsistency against a 4-7 Pittsburgh team; however, Miami needs to now go on the road against the Panthers, traveling 1,181 miles to the north to play in what we can expect to be frigid late November conditions.  The Canes already have a game against Clemson the following weekend, but a loss to the Panthers and their “at-large” playoff hopes go ka-boom.  Miami could very well need to win out to make the four-team contest, but we never know once those thirteen numbskulls enter a room and start talking each other out of logical scenarios.

#6 Georgia Bulldogs, 10-1 (6-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 7th, SOR = 5th, Power Ranking 8.2966

Image result for Georgia Bulldogs logo blank backgroundGeorgia still hangs its hat on a victory over Notre Dame from earlier in the season and is far from dead in the playoff race after brutalizing Kentucky on Saturday and proving its sheer dominance over the SEC East this season.  The Bulldogs outscored its division compatriots 247-72 this season for an average final game score of 41.67 – 12.  An outlier 28 point performance by Mizzeruh kept that number…not too horrifying?  We might even find out a little more about the Bulldogs against Georgia Tech this Saturday.  Georgia losing that game might be a disaster scenario for the SEX-iest Conference in America and especially Georgia itself( obviously).  If Georgia and Alabama both lose this weekend, but Georgia wins the SEC Title, the committee will have to decide if the Bulldogs winning the SEC against the horrible SEC East with two-losses is better than any combination of Clemson, Miami, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas Christian, USC, or even Alabama.  We believe the SEC Champion is in not matter what happens the next two weekends, but we’re cynical and have certainly accepted the conference’s never-ending lofting.

#5 Oklahoma Sooners, 10-1 (7-1, Big 12)

Rank = 2nd, SOR = 6th, Power Ranking 8.2996

Image result for Oklahoma Sooners logo blank backgroundThe Sooners are on the outside looking in?  No fears, Oklahoma.  All you need to do is take care of yourself against West Virginia in Norman and then defeat some opponent for the second time and you’re in!  Oklahoma losing might really throw wrenches into all playoff scenarios.  Baker Mayfield (to whom I feel they should just entrust the Heisman too already) has paced the offensive juggernaut to 10-1 and a West Virginia defense which crashed and burned against Texas without Will Grier.  If you were curious, and unless you already Googled it your probably are, Grier will miss the game this weekend and West Virginia is now a 22 point underdog to Oklahoma without their #1 quarterback.  Oklahoma has long been the conference’s constant and should remain so after this weekend, but it remains to be seen if the pillow-fight, no-defense league that the Big 12 has become will be able to hang once the playoff starts.

#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 9-2 (Independent)

Rank = 10th, SOR = 4th, Power Ranking 8.6311

Image result for Notre Dame blank backgroundNotre Dame’s victory over Navy finally allowed the Irish to extinguish demons which seemed to haunt them for many of the Brian Kelly-led seasons.  Once the Irish lost a big game, they always seemed to fizzle and fry down the stretch and end up mediocre.  This season, the Irish have looked anything but mediocre in every contest except a blowout loss to Miami just a couple of weekends ago.  The Irish now travel across the country to Palo Alto to play a Stanford team which would seem to have little to play for outside of the usual rivalry nature of this game.  The Cardinal’s season comes down more to the result of the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State than its own contest against the Irish, but knocking down a rival and building a personal resume are nice enough reasons to come out strong at home against Notre Dame.  An extremely even game with an expected run-heavy script should entertain as a nice primetime contest for eastern time zone followers while the 5:00 pm start time in the Pacific might have Stanford scoreboard watching as the Apple Cup begins three hours earlier.

#3 Wisconsin Badgers, 11-0 (8-0, Big Ten)

Rank = 6th, SOR = 2nd, Power Ranking 8.8009

Image result for wisconsin badgers logo blank backgroundDon’t look now, but Wisconsin just climbed the later, folks!  Now 11-0 and staring down the College Football Playoff (TO THE SYSTEM!), Wisconsin needs only to sweep away Minnesota this upcoming weekend before focusing in on what promises to be its toughest test of the season against Ohio State in Indianapolis in the Big Ten Championship Game.  The Buckeyes have not seen the Big Ten Championship Game since the 59-0 decapitation they delivered to Wisconsin in 2014; meanwhile, Wisconsin fell to East Division Champ Penn State only one season ago.  The Badgers might be the Big Ten’s last bastion of hope and 13-0 is certainly a record ensured of a spot in the playoff (no matter what the committee might say about Strength of Schedule).  Wisconsin watched Minnesota get trampled 39-0 against Northwestern, but underestimating the Gophers could cause problems; however, we don’t expect an 11-0 football team to lose focus at this juncture.

#2 Clemson Tigers, 10-1 (7-1, ACC)

Rank = 4th, SOR = 3rd, Power Ranking 8.8639

Image result for Clemson logo blank backgroundClemson downed the Citadel over the weekend and no one really cared.  The Tigers are 10-1 and have seemingly received the grace of the CFP committee and are absolved as a loss to a 4-7 Syracuse team. A loss to 8-3 South Carolina might be harder to erase (oh, and the committee launched the Gamecocks into this week’s rankings just for fun, presumably), but the trip to Columbia has not resulted in a Clemson loss since 2013 (when USC as on a five wrapped up a five-game winning streak, their longest in the history of the rivalry).  We are not expecting Clemson to put up 61, in fact, the South Carolina defense might be good enough to keep the Tigers under 30.  What might not happen is the Gamecocks reaching 20.  There’s absolutely no reason to make my spread pick now, but I do think Clemson -14 is a favorable line for South Carolina.

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide, 11-0 (7-0, SEX-iest)

Rank =1st, SOR = 1st, Power Ranking 9.1229

Image result for Alabama Crimson Tide logo blank backgroundAlabama remains on top after beating Mercer.  Okay, so that seems to be enough on last week’s “BYE Before the Iron Bowl”.  Both Alabama and Auburn took Week 13 all but off prior to a rivalry showdown which promises to be either spectacular or Alabama will dominate again and send Tiger fans crying and probably being hospitalized because Alabama fans are now just shooting Auburn fans because this is the south and apparently college football fandom now warrants attempted murder.  Alabama is a scant favorite by 4.5 points on this, the evening of Tuesday November 21st, 2017.  Jarrett Stidham promises, as I’ve preached all season, to be the first quarterback to test the Tide through the air this season; however, Auburn will want to, as LSU did, establish some type of running game to keep the pressure off Stidham and allow him to avoid turnovers.  Jalen Hurts led Alabama back against Mississippi State, proving he can pass a team back into it, but we know Alabama would like to avoid that if at all possible.


College Gameday Drinking Game: Week 12, 2017

Week 12, 2017-2018.jpg

To Start:
Take a drink for each person wearing a black suit coat.
My Friend Game: One person is designated “My friend”.  Each time “NOT SO FAST” is said, everyone starts drinking.  The last person to finish his/her drink becomes Lee Corso’s friend.  The friend must drink each time Lee Corso says “My Friend”
Analyst Game: Pick an analyst (Kirk, Lee, Rece or Desmond).  Each time your analyst is shown alone on camera take a drink….if you’re analyst leaves the table, the person who takes his place at the table is now your analyst (for better or for worse)Listen to Lee Game:Any time Lee Corse says “Listen”, every player must put a finger to his/her ear and lean toward the television.  The last player to do so must drink.

Rock/Paper/Scissors Analyst Game:

When two analysts are shown on-screen together AND both talk during the scene, find someone who has chosen the analyst shown with yours and play them in R/P/S.  The loser drinks.  If there is an odd number, anyone not participating must take a drink. (i.e. if you are following Desmond and he is shown on screen with Rece, play R/P/S with a player following Rece).

Signs and Flag
Take a drink for any sign referring to Jim Harbaugh
Take a drink for any sign referring to Bret Bielema
Take a drink for any sign referring to the being undefeated
Take a drink for Washington State flag in the background
The Bear Cheers: Each time the Bear is shown, cheers to “The Bear!” and take a drink.
“To The System”: Each time the college football playoff is mentioned, cheers “To The System” and take a drink.
During the Show:
Make sure to continue following the “My Friend” and “Analyst” games
Take a drink when Matt Campbell, Ed Orgeron, Mason Rudolph, or Scott Frost is shown
Take a drink each time Miami’s win over Notre Dame is mentioned
Take a drink each time Auburn’s win over Georgia is mentioned
 Take a drink each time a team is mentioned to need “help” or “chaos” to make the playoff
Take a drink every time an empty or nearly empty stadium is shown live.
Take a drink each time “undefeated” is said
Take a drink each time “Jump Around” is mentioned
Take a drink each time it is mentioned how cold it is in Madison
If the guest picker is Steve Stricker FINISH A BEER
Perform the Saturday Selections.  Each time you agree with your analyst, take a drink.  Each time you disagree, drink for five seconds.  If you fail to make a pick for a game, drink for ten seconds.  (The Guest Picker may be chosen if wanted).
During the Miami (FL) – Notre Dame pick: If Lee references how vicious either animal is, FINISH A BEER.  If Lee is offset for the final pick FINISH A BEER.  If Lee picks Michigan FINISH A BEER


Picks Against the Spread: Week 12, 2017

Game Spread Pick Info
#3 Oklahoma @ Kansas Okla -37 OU This season started out the same way as they always do as Kansas lost by a lot (including to Ohio and Central Michigan) to everyone (including Ohio & Central Michigan).  Oklahoma gets to prove it can outscore Kansas by the most as Texas Tech currently has the high-water mark of 46: Oklahoma 56 – Kansas 13
#4 Miami (FL) vs Virginia Miami -19.5 UVA I have no idea which Miami team will show up, but odds are it’ll be “we’re playing a bad team” Miami against Virginia.  The Hoo’s can hang around as long as they aren’t allowing too many “turnover chain” transactions this season: Miami (FL) 28 – Virginia 13
#5 Georgia vs Kentucky UGA -21.5  Kent The Bulldogs, one week after losing to Auburn, must refocus and decimate another SEX-iest Eastern Division “rival” in Kentucky.  The Wildcats are (somehow) tied in the loss column for second in the East with a 3.  Fun Fact!  The SEC East is 2-11 against the SEC West.  Good News!  The final game is Mizzeruh against Ar-Kansas: Georgia 38 – Kentucky 17
#6 Notre Dame vs Navy ND -18 Navy Always take the triple-option against the spread: Notre Dame 31 – Navy 20
#18 Michigan @ #7 Wisconsin Wisc -7.5 Michigan The Wolverines are not a bad team despite being completely out of the national picture since losses to ranked team Michigan State and Penn State.  The Wolvs are also the last threat to Ohio State in the Big Ten East and need this win to maintain that status.  Wisconsin is the Big Ten’s last threat in a season where destiny seems against the Big Ten.  Call me crazy, but Michigan is going to Camp Randall and…keeping this close: Wisconsin 24 – Michigan 17 (OT)
#8 Ohio State vs Illinois OSU -41 Illinois Buckeyes will go big in the first half and let some background seniors play in the second half: Ohio State 48 – Illinois 10
#9 Auburn vs Louisiana Monroe Aub -36.5 Auburn Gotta rest those starters for the Iron Bowl, right?  Auburn will take this as a de facto bye and, even though the Auburn reserves might be better than the UL Monroe starters and the Tigers are able to maintain a cover: Auburn 51 – UL Monroe 13
 #10 Southern California vs California Los Angeles USC -16 UCLA Rivalry game in the entirely too competitive Pac-12 and Josh Rosen needs to put on a show against Sam Darnold to prove he should be the #1 pick over the Darnold.  We expect a QB duel with USC managing to pry away a victory: USC 38 – UCLA 35
#11 Penn State vs Nebraska PSU -26.5 PSU Is Nebraska as bad as their  33 point loss to Minnesota last week?  This team isn’t likely to be playing in the spirit of saving dismembered head coach Mike Riley and Penn State might rediscover its offense superiority against the Huskers; meanwhile, I’d be surprised if Nebraska cracked double-figures: Penn State 42 – Nebraska 10
#12 Texas Christian @ Texas Tech TCU -7 TTU The Red Raiders are going to score and I am not sure the Most Horn-ed of Frogs will be able to keep up whether Kenny Thrill plays or not.  Give me Coach Handsome for the victory: Texas Tech 35 – TCU 27
#13 Central Florida @ Temple UCF -14 UCF Temple is bad.  Not trying to break news or disturb anyone’s supper.  I watched the Owls looked like complete trash against South Florida not so long ago.  I know they’ve certainly improved since, but Central Florida will put the lightshow on the in Philly this weekend: Central Florida 48 – Temple 21
#15 Oklahoma State vs Kansas State OK State -20 KSU The Wildcats have looked good against the spread this season (probably) including covering against West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.  Yes, they lost out to Kansas, but K-State will show up to challenge the Cowboys: Oklahoma State 42 – K-State 31
#16 Michigan State vs Maryland MSU -16 MSU Michigan State looked horrendous against Ohio State last weekend, but Maryland is on a walk-on quarterback and won’t be able to do much on offense: Michigan State 31 – Maryland 7

My Obligatory Thursday Night Pick

Tulsa @ South Florida USF -23 Tulsa What do we do on Thursday nights, kids?  That’s right, we take the double-digit underdog!  The Golden Hurricane has beaten Houston (somehow) while looking bad the rest of the season.  This week, they bring an A+ game against a thoughtless South Florida and keep it close: South Florida 38 – Tulsa 21

The Swanson “Cut The BS” Automatic Pick:

Arizona State @ Oregon State ASU -7 ASU Arizona State is a far superior team to the Oregon State Beavers.  Oregon State has little business keeping this game within seven, but they have surprised more than once this season.  The Sun Devils take down the Beavers in Corvallis by plenty: Arizona State 42 – Oregon State 21


The Real Top 16: Week 11, 2017

#20 Mississippi State: Rank = 19th, SOR = 20th, Power Ranking 5.6554

#19 Stanford: Rank = 20th, SOR = 15th, Power Ranking 5.6784

#18 Michigan: Rank = 19th, SOR = 17th, Power Ranking 5.7130

#17 Memphis: Rank = 16th, SOR = 18th, Power Ranking 5.9622

#16 Michigan State Spartans, 7-3 (5-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 25th, SOR = 14th, Power Ranking 6.2548

Image result for Michigan State spartans logo blank backgroundThe sheer helplessness of Michigan State against the Ohio State running attack stunned all of us here at the Braintrust as the Spartans entered off a six game streak allowing less than 70 yards per game since Notre Dame ran for 182 yards long, long ago.  Ohio State neared the mark of the Spartans previous six opponents with 335 yards on Saturday where Mike Weber appeared as the ghost of season’s past and Ohio State exploded to a 48-3 victory.  Picturing just one week ago where Michigan State battled to a victory over Penn State and Ohio State was flattened by Iowa became difficult as a slightly better Michigan State offense fell apart and the Spartans defense rolled over.  Michigan State has had a very successful season after last season’s 3-9 collapse,   Flipping that to 9-3 with wins over Maryland and Rutgers would complete that turnaround.

#15 Oklahoma State Cowboys, 8-2 (5-2, Big 12)

Rank = 15st, SOR = 16th, Power Ranking 6.2610

Image result for Oklahoma State cowboys logo blank backgroundOklahoma State’s disinterest in defense continued this weekend against Iowa State, but Mason Rudolph was able to beat out the opposition in another massive shootout, this time 49-42 where Iowa State flip-flopped between leading and allowing Oklahoma State to comeback throughout and, eventually, the Cowboys decided they would enjoy winning the football game and soiling the opportunity for Iowa State to earn a Big 12 Championship Game berth where it owns the tiebreaker against both current leaders in the conference (Oklahoma and Texas Christian).  Mason Rudolph looked incredible against Iowa State and the Cowboys are having little trouble against the Big 12’s optional defense.  With games against Kansas State and Kansas in Stillwater in its final two weeks, Oklahoma State will finish with a 10-2 record and watch its SOR collapse them OUT of the RT16.

#14 Washington State Cougars, 9-2 (5-2, Pac-12)

Rank = 16th, SOR = 15th, Power Ranking 6.4203

Image result for Washington State logo blank backgroundIs Washington State the nation’s most undervalued 2-loss team?  Well, there is certainly a plethora of them this season in college football (and we’re likely to add a few more as the season goes along) and Washington State seems completely forgotten with the Apple Cup in TWO WEEKS as they gleefully waltz into a Week 12 BYE prior to playing Washington in Seattle.  The Cougars have never won the Pac-12 North.  Will a second straight opportunity against rival Washington finally give Wazzu the division title?  The Husky offense is spiraling (especially compared to last season), but Washington State has watched one offensive and one defensive implosion result in those two losses.  Washington State needs to put together a complete game to beat its rival, but we’ll have to wait just a bit.

#13 Central Florida Golden Knights, 9-0 (6-0, American)

Rank = 8th, SOR = 13th, Power Ranking 7.0147

Image result for Central Florida Golden Knights logo blank backgroundOur formula seems to be splitting the Top 20 into four tiers this weekend.  The good news for Central Florida after its SOR managed to (mostly) survive its first of two downer games against Connecticut.  UCF gets little help going to play at Temple this weekend, but the following two weeks against Top-25 teams South Florida and Memphis will give the Golden Knights a boost at the end of the season and might just push the Golden Knights back into the Top 10.  Scott Frost, along with Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, will be on the lips of every “analyst” as the favorite to fill big-time opportunities throughout the off-season (or…well…not quite the off-season…more like the Bowl Season).  We already have Tennessee and Florida with openings and we can expect Nebraska to join them before the season’s end.  Where will Scott Frost be come 2018 season?  Our bet is actually Central Florida where he has the best opportunity to win in 2018.

#12 Texas Christian Horned Frogs, 8-2 (5-2, Big 12)

Rank = 13th, SOR = 11th, Power Ranking 7.0151

Image result for TCU Frogs logo blank backgroundThe Most Horn-ed of Frogs all but lost their playoff dreams with the loss to Oklahoma this past weekend, but  potential rematch in the Big 12 Title game could possibly change that fact.  Important reminder for Texas Christian: Texas Tech is never a team to sleep on.  The Red Raiders might be mired in another .500 season, but the ever-present offensive threat of the Red Raiders can threaten the Most Horn-ed of Frogs should Kenny Hill transform into questionable Kenny Hill.  For the most part, the TCU QB has been able to rely on ball control and defense most of the season, but Hill is a similar weakness to TCU that Jalen Hurts is to Alabama; few people see them as a weakness, but if they are going to be relied on to win the game through the air, suddenly the team becomes vulnerable.

#11 Penn State Nittany Lions, 8-2 (5-2, Big Ten)

Rank = 11th, SOR = 12th, Power Ranking 7.0529

Image result for Penn State logo blank backgroundPenn State cruised through Rutgers over the weekend; however, they failed to cover the spread against the Scarlet Knights (quick aside, the Scarlet Knights’ bandwagon leaves Happy Valley en route for Bloomington, Indiana where Rutgers will be a gimmie 11 point underdog).  The Happiest of Valleys is wallowing in the current state of Saquon Barkley’s Heisman candidacy which is nonexistent following a third consecutive bust performance by the former favorite.  Barkley ran for less yards than Trace McSorely and seemed almost uninterested in trying to run against Rutgers with the awful Penn State line failing to create much room.  Penn State welcomes spiraling Nebraska to the Happiest of Valleys on Saturday trying to plant another nail into Mike Riley’s coffin.

#10 Southern California Trojans. 9-2 (7-1, Pac-12)

Rank = 11th, SOR = 9th, Power Ranking 7.4332

Image result for Southern Cal Trojans logo blank backgroundUSC kicks off our next tier of this week’s Top 16.  Southern California began a spiral downward after its victory this weekend with a road victory over Colorado while other teams defeated ranked opponents (See Auburn and Ohio State).  The Trojans are also in the same situation as Washington State where they have an extra data point on the resume with 11 games already played.  Southern California plays again this weekend against UCLA, but will sit silent during the following week while other pick up valuable points for their SOR.  The Trojans are behind many teams in the pecking order for the CFP, and will not be able to jump Ohio State or Auburn if those teams win-out.  Southern Cal, as mentioned, does play this weekend against rival California Los Angeles.

#9 Auburn Tigers, 8-2 (6-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 5th, SOR = 10th, Power Ranking 7.4495

Image result for Auburn tigers logo blank backgroundAuburn’s victory over Georgia was magnificent and one of the best wins of the season and they were justly rewarded by moving from 12th to the 5th in the subjective rankings; however, mathematics did not weigh Auburn as heavily as we mere humans did.  Auburn’s two-losses both came in close games on the road, but Auburn losing to Clemson has left the Tigers without even the semblance of a helpful non-conference win.  For comparison’s sake, Auburn’s three non-conference games give them .113 points toward its SOR.; meanwhile, Ohio State’s lackluster schedule which includes a loss at home to Oklahoma still gives the Buckeyes ~0.700 points toward its SOR; finally, Clemson, who defeated Auburn, gets over an entire point from the non-conference with only two games and one of those being against MAC cellar-dweller Kent State.  Auburn will likely move toward playoff contention in our rankings by beating Alabama, but the Tigers will need that 13th data point against Georgia in the SEX-iest Conference Championship Game to officially make it (according to our current projections) where they would become #3 in the nation.

#8 Ohio State Buckeyes, 8-2 (6-1, Big Ten)

Rank = 9th, SOR = 7th, Power Ranking 7.5745

Image result for Ohio State logo blank backgroundThe dominating performance by Ohio State managed to keep them ahead of the surging Auburn Tigers, but the Buckeyes are far from back in the playoff hunt after humiliating themselves in Iowa City just two weeks ago to the tune of a 31-point loss.  Ohio State benefits from the ever increasing value of its Army win (the Black Knights are now 7-2, albeit against no one; however, their current 61st ranking is better than the 100’s where they were after OSU) and Penn State thankfully defeating Rutgers.  The Buckeyes can find themselves back in the playoff hunt with some wins down the stretch against Michigan at home and Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game.  Illinois SHOULD be savagely dismantled in the Horseshoe this weekend.

#7 Wisconsin Badgers, 10-0 (7-0, Big Ten)

Rank = 6th, SOR = 8th, Power Ranking 7.6948

Image result for wisconsin badgers logo blank backgroundThere are currently 3 undefeated Power Five teams (and Central Florida) left in college football and Wisconsin is the one on the outside looking in.  The Badgers could very well be jumped by Ohio State and Auburn by our mathematical metrics after the season’s final week in SOR if both teams win out.  Wisconsin can exhaust the nonsense and eek into the playoff with a 13-0 record, but I cannot promise the Badgers that 13-0 will have them mathematically ahead of everyone.  Having the Power 5’s worst SOS can certainly hinder the efforts.  Wisconsin needs Iowa and Northwestern to finish out strong while Ohio State is 10-2 and playing well entering the Big Ten Championship Game.  Wisconsin meets with Michigan in Camp Randall this weekend for another big time home game.  The Badgers best road win of the season?  beating either tumbling Nebraska or 1-conference win Indiana.

#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 8-2 (Independent)

Rank = 10th, SOR = 3rd, Power Ranking 7.7469

Image result for Notre Dame blank backgroundAfter a loss to Miami, the Irish cling to the #6 spot in the RT16 by virtue of its incredible SOR.  Many question marks can now be raised about the Fighting Irish following the loss to Miami, including its ability to score when stuffed on the run.  Notre Dame might struggle to find lanes in Palo Alto in two weeks, and never sell short how much this week’s game against Navy means to the Midshipmen.  Notre Dame will miss out on the crucial “13th Data Point” and should honestly look into scheduling a 13th game on Championship Weekend (maybe Army or BYU?  Unfortunately few options).  As mentioned, the Irish welcome Navy to South Bend on Saturday for one of my favorite annual games.

#5 Georgia Bulldogs, 9-1 (6-1, SEX-iest)

Rank = 7th, SOR = 5th, Power Ranking 7.7811

Image result for Georgia Bulldogs logo blank backgroundRough for the Bulldogs.  While still 9-1 and fifth in the nation according to the RT16, Georgia flopped hard against Auburn in its first test since Mississippi State oh so long ago.  The Bulldogs also lost some ground with Notre Dame’s loss.  The Dawgs don’t have much left to hang its hat on with Notre Dame and Mississippi State going down and the SEC East continuing to look like crap.  Georgia continues with the SEC East on Saturday with Kentucky coming in-between the hedges in Athens.  Georgia’s season clearly hinges on the SEC Championship Game against either Alabama or Auburn; however, a trip to Atlanta against ACC rival Georgia Tech during “Rivalry Week”.

#4 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, 9-0 (6-0, ACC)

Rank = 3rd, SOR = 4th, Power Ranking 7.9820

Image result for miami hurricanes logo black backgroundMiami rocked the college football world and introduced a little…stability? to the playoff rankings.  With the Hurricane victory, there are two spots now locked up, so long as Miami and Clemson win games where they will be big favorites, with the SEC and ACC garnering at least one of the berths in the playoff.  I’d love to tell you about my feelings on multiple teams from the same conference in the playoff, but that seems like a topic for another time.  Miami (FL) is now the favorite to make it out of the ACC, no matter where Clemson is ranked.  It will be a fun game when the two meet in the ACC Championship Game with phenomenal defensive talent facing off against what seems to be very okay offensive talent.  Engage.

#3 Oklahoma Sooners, 9-1 (6-1, Big 12)

Rank = 2nd, SOR = 6th, Power Ranking 7.9889

Image result for Oklahoma Sooners logo blank backgroundOklahoma is the offensive juggernaut looking to prove once and for all that the Big 12’s explosive strategy can be effective enough to lead to a National Championship.  The conference has not won since Vince Young and Texas in 2005, the second longest drought (the Pac-12 has not won since the year before with USC).  Often, the way seasons seem to have went in the past was SEC defenses exposed Big Ten defenses or Big 12 offenses, depending on which played in the title game.  Since the playoff began, Oklahoma appeared once two years ago and promptly lost in Round 1.  While Baker Mayfield and company seem to be the best in a while offensively, it has done so against the colander of Big 12 teams.  Oklahoma has earned a spot this high (despite a 6th SOR), but a sneak attack against West Virginia approaches.  This weekend, Oklahoma might put up 90 against Kansas.

#2 Clemson Tigers, 9-1 (7-1, ACC)

Rank = 4th, SOR = 2nd, Power Ranking 8.6359

Image result for Clemson logo blank backgroundClemson plugs along with a victory over Florida State over the weekend.  The Tigers are standing atop the ACC Atlantic and are out of ACC games for the season, that means the Tigers are the champions of the Atlantic Division once again (a steady 1+1 = Champs there).  Clemson plays an in-state “rivalry” game against The Citadel this weekend before an “in-state” rivalry game against South Carolina remaining on the schedule.  Sounds like a 11-1 season for Clemson once again this season.  Clemson’s entire season comes down to the ACC Championship Game against Miami (FL) where they will either clinch a CFP berth or (hopefully) slide out of the race to make room for a conference champion such as Southern California, Wisconsin, or Ohio State.

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide, 10-0 (7-0, SEX-iest)

Rank = 1st, SOR = 1st, Power Ranking 8.7774

Image result for Alabama Crimson Tide logo blank backgroundAlabama finally hits the 1-1-1 for the first time this season for ANY team, after all, Alabama has stood as #1 in the subjective rankings for much of the season while its SOR has not; furthermore, the Tide have often missed the #1 Power Ranking with its poor SOR.  Finally, Alabama fits into the top spot after beating Mississippi State after one of the saddest attempts to stop mediocre passer Jalen Hurts on Alabama’s final drive that I ahve witnessed in college football.  It was a shameful end to a game Mississippi State had played well enough to stand in the winner’s circle when the clock hit 00:00.  We knew the Bulldogs would have enough offense, but in the end its defense seemed to run out of gas and simply allowed the Tide to convert a 3rd and 15 and then toss the game winner without so much as the semblance of an effort to stop the Tide.  Alabama plays Mercer this weekend instead of another conference game because the SEC is smarter than everyone else.

College Gameday Drinking Game: Week 11, 2017

Week 7, 2017-2018

To Start:
Take a drink for each person NOT wearing a black suit coat.
My Friend Game: One person is designated “My friend”.  Each time “NOT SO FAST” is said, everyone starts drinking.  The last person to finish his/her drink becomes Lee Corso’s friend.  The friend must drink each time Lee Corso says “My Friend”
Analyst Game: Pick an analyst (Kirk, Lee, Rece or Desmond).  Each time your analyst is shown alone on camera take a drink….if you’re analyst leaves the table, the person who takes his place at the table is now your analyst (for better or for worse)Listen to Lee Game:

Any time Lee Corse says “Listen”, every player must put a finger to his/her ear and lean toward the television.  The last player to do so must drink.

Rock/Paper/Scissors Analyst Game:

When two analysts are shown on-screen together AND both talk during the scene, find someone who has chosen the analyst shown with yours and play them in R/P/S.  The loser drinks.  If there is an odd number, anyone not participating must take a drink. (i.e. if you are following Desmond and he is shown on screen with Rece, play R/P/S with a player following Rece).

Signs and Flag
Take a drink for any sign referring to Brian Kelly
Take a drink for any sign referring to academics
Take a drink for any sign referring to the Catholicism
Take a drink for Washington State flag in the background
The Bear Cheers: Each time the Bear is shown, cheers to “The Bear!” and take a drink.
“To The System”: Each time the college football playoff is mentioned, cheers “To The System” and take a drink.
During the Show:
Make sure to continue following the “My Friend” and “Analyst” games
Take a drink when Matt Campbell, Ed Orgeron, Mason Rudolph, or Scott Frost is shown
Take a drink each time Iowa’s win over Ohio State is mentioned
Take a drink each time the possibility of two SEC teams making the playoff is mentioned
 Take a drink each time Baker Mayfield is mentioned
Take a drink every time an empty or nearly empty stadium is shown.
Take a drink each time “undefeated” is said
Take a drink each time “Group of Five” is said
Take a drink each time “Catholics vs Convicts” is said
If the guest picker is Ray Lewis FINISH YOUR BEER
Perform the Saturday Selections.  Each time you agree with your analyst, take a drink.  Each time you disagree, drink for five seconds.  If you fail to make a pick for a game, drink for ten seconds.  (The Guest Picker may be chosen if wanted).
During the Miami (FL) – Notre Dame pick: If Lee Corso mentions  a previous week’s pick, FINISH A BEER.  If Lee picks Miami (FL), FINISH A BEER

Post Navigation