Posted 11/20/2017 at 05:53 PM
After a few weeks of chaos the college football schedule played mostly to form last week with minimal changes in the rankings. If the Playoff Committee really wanted to send a message they should downgrade the SEC and ACC schools that posted FCS wins last week while the Big XII, Pac-12, and B1G schools played an eighth of nine games in a grueling conference slate. Strength of schedule was considered the primary factor in penalizing several teams in the past few weeks but it will likely be ignored at this point as the rankings seem sure to hold on Tuesday.
There will be nine conference championship games and with the majority of those teams already set, don’t be shocked if there are a few significant upsets this week with teams looking ahead to those games. The most unusual situation is in the Mountain West as the schedule-makers certainly never dreamed that a Fresno State squad that went 1-11 with only a FBS win last season would be in the title game. After hosting Boise State this week in a meaningless regular season game the Bulldogs will play the Broncos again for the conference title next weekend in Boise to cap off an incredible comeback season for Jeff Tedford.
Playing to get into a bowl game is often an overused motivation factor as teams that are 5-6 at this point in the season are usually losing teams for a reason. Elimination games include Indiana/Purdue, California/UCLA, Old Dominion/Middle Tennessee State, and Colorado/Utah. UCLA will play that elimination game without Jim Mora for odd timing for his firing for the Bruins who presumably are looking to get a jump start on access to the top available candidates with Chip Kelly getting a lot of play in the media, despite the great contrast of the current offensive scheme compared with Kelly’s Oregon teams. A quartet of talented underclassmen quarterbacks behind Josh Rosen might be scratching their heads and considering their options.
We looked silly backing the Bills in our newsletter last week but we certainly didn’t anticipate one of the more bizarre moves of the season with Sean McDermott running a then 5-4 team in AFC playoff position opting to start rookie Nathan Peterman. The result was one of the most disastrous quarterback performances in NFL history. The Bills continue to act like a team that has no interest in making the playoffs despite an overwhelming opportunity in the AFC this season, trading away several key players and benching a quarterback that while not likely ever a high ceiling pro bowl player, a steady presence that avoids mistakes. 8-8 still looks very realistic for a Tyrod Taylor Bills team and that could certainly be enough to land a spot opening the playoffs in Jacksonville.
There are several massive spreads in the NFL this week with three favorites of 13 or more lined up on Sunday. Since 2015 NFL favorites of 13 or more are actually on a 15-5 ATS run but those teams went 10-20 ATS from 2012 through 2014. Only once since 2013 has there been a 17-point favorite in the NFL and it was late last season when the Patriots beat the Jets 41-3 at home at -17 in Week 16 with New England locking up the AFC’s top seed. Not since 1995 has an underdog of 17 or more won outright but three double-digit underdogs have won outright this season with the Giants responsible for two of those results vs. AFC West teams. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…