The Undefeated after Week 11 | Syracusefan.com

The Undefeated after Week 11

SWC75

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It’s time I got going with my annual fall series on undefeated teams in contention for the very real four team playoff for the national championship and the fictional Pesci Bowl and Ty-Dee Bowl. The latter two are my inventions. The national championship playoff will likely again be between Power Five level teams, (Notre Dame included). The Pesci Bowl is named after the vertically challenged but feisty actor Joe Pesci and is a single game between the two best non-Power Five conference teams. The Ty-dee bowl, named after a toilet cleaning product, is a battle between the two worst FBS teams in the country.

I’ll start with the undefeated, (and for the Ty-dee Bowl, winless) teams and when there are no longer enough of them to fill out the above fields, I’ll include the one loss, (or one win), teams.

National Playoff Contenders

ALABAMA 10-0 (486-127) #1 in the playoff committee’s, the writer’s and coaches’ poll (1/1/1) against ranked teams (ART): +112 points
Sat 11/17 The Citadel (FCS) 4-5 (268-269) ART: none (as opposed to having played ranked teams with a net of 0 points)
Sat 11/24 Auburn 6-4 (265-183) ranked #24 by the committee ART: +51

Comments: Alabama may seem invincible but they’ve been ‘vinced’ in every season of this decade. The last time they ran the table to the national title was Saban’s first there in 2009. They’ve twice won all their regular season games but lost in the SEC title game on the “kick six” to Auburn in 2013 and lost to Clemson in the 2016 title game. Auburn will be feisty but like Louisiana and Miss State., they don’t have the firepower to deal with the Tide. It will never happen but my daydream is that they invite the Alabama of FCS, North Dakota State, to play them for their FCS game. That would be fun to watch. Instead we get the The Citadel. Meh! But ‘meh’ is exactly what Nick was looking for.

CLEMSON 10-0 (457-127) ranked 2/2/2 ART: +73
Sat 11/17 Duke 7-3 (313-233) ART: none
Sat 11/24 South Carolina 5-4 (279-258) ART: +2

Comments: Duke is pretty good. South Carolina is an SEC team and rivalry game. Pittsburgh or Virginia Likely await in the ACC title game. There’s a lot of opportunities to slip up there, which doesn’t mean the Tigers will.

NOTRE DAME 10-0 (345-187) ranked 3/3/3 ART: +83
Sat 11/17 in NYC Syracuse 8-2 (444-276) ranked 12/12/12 ART: +33
Sat 11/24 at Southern California 5-5 (269-266) ART: +20

Comments: The Irish will be tough to beat. There will be no conference title game and if the committee has a chance to get Notre Dame into the playoff with any credibility, they will be there.


The one-loss teams:

MICHIGAN 9-1 (372-129) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +106
Sat 11/17 Indiana 5-5 (276-300) ART: -9
Sat 11/24 at Ohio State 9-1 (406-220) ranked 10/9/8 ART: +69

Comments: Jim Harbaugh is now winning some big ones with the Wolverines. (He won some with Stanford and the Niners.) That trip to Ohio State will be daunting. If they win that there will be the Big Ten title game.

GEORGIA 9-1 (370-158) ranked 5/5/5 ART: +108
Sat 11/17 Massachusetts 4-7 (367-449) ART: none
Sat 11/24 Georgia Tech 6-4 (376-275) ART: -5

Comments: Tech is a traditional rival but the Bulldogs are a good bet now to get back to the SEC title game and another battle with Alabama. They’ll have to win that one to get into a playoff. Good luck with that.

OKLAHOMA 9-1 (490-298) ranked 6/6/6 ART: +4
Sat 11/17 Kansas 3-7 (229-281) ART: -21
Fri 11/23 at West Virginia 8-1 (368-188) ranked 9/7/7 ART: +19

Comments: West Virginia is dangerous but the Sooners will be favored to make the Big 12 title game, (which could also be against the Mountaineers), and probably favored to win it. If they do that, they could be in the playoff.

OHIO STATE 8-1 (380-214) ranked 10/9/8 ART: +69
Sat 11/17 at Maryland 5-5 (288-254) ART: -18
Sat 11/24 Michigan 9-1 (372-129) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +106

Comments: The Buckeyes won’t have Joey Bosa but they do have a road game at Maryland and a home game against Michigan. Their loss to Purdue was reminiscent of the disaster at Iowa last year, (24-55), which cost them a spot in the playoff. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy….

WEST VIRGINIA 8-1 (368-188) ranked 9/7/7 ART: +19
Sat 11/17 at Oklahoma State 5-5 (392-317) ART: +74
Fri 11/13 Oklahoma 9-1 (490-298) ranked 6/6/6 ART: +4

Comment: I didn’t see the Mountaineers as title contenders, (or Will Grier as a Heisman candidate). But they keep winning. Apparently their cancelled game with NC State won’t re-scheduled. Too bad, if you’ve got a taste for shoot-outs.

WASHINGTON STATE 9-1 (376-221) ranked 8/8/9 ART: +33
Sat 11/17 Arizona 5-5 (308-281) ART: +36
Fri 11/23 Washington 7-3 (266-160) ranked 18/17/17 ART: +52

Comments: State looked like a Rose Bowl team against Oregon and now they’ve beaten Stanford as well. It’s not the Pac 12’s year to get into the playoff, (which will hopefully move us toward an 8 team playoff with automatic bids). Eight teams with no or one loss came into last weekend and eight are coming out of it. Many teams are playing lesser opponents this weekend, (we are the only ranked opponent and Duke is the only other with a winning record) so it could happen again.





Pesci Bowl Contenders

CENTRAL FLORIDA 9-0 (398-191) ranked 11/11/11 ART: none
Sat 11/17 Cincinnati 9-1 (350-149) 24/19/20 ART: none
Fri 11/23 South Florida 7-3 (323-313) ART: none

Comments: Cincinnati represents a major challenge to the Knights. Central Florida vs. South Florida should again be a great game in a developing rivalry but the shine is off now that the Bulls have a couple of losses. The AAC title game will be against 7-3 Houston or two 5-5 teams, SMU and Tulane. The Golden Knights could be unbeaten again but they’re no way they could get into the 4 team playoff but they are still the favorite for the Pesci Bowl.

The one-loss teams not in the “power” conferences:

ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM 9-1 (331-132) ranked NR/NR/25 ART: none
Sat 11/17 at Texas A&M 6-4 (301-224) ART: +44
Sat 11/24 at Middle Tennessee State 7-3 (304-265) ART: -19

Comments: UAB controversially gave up their football program after the 2014 season. They brought it back last year and immediately went 8-5. I guess they figured that if you are going to play, you need to win. That could be difficult against the Aggies and MTS will challenge them, too.

BUFFALO 9-1 (362-225) ART: none
Wed 11/14 at Ohio University 6-4 (393-275) ART: none
Fri 11/23 at Bowling Green 2-8 (257-430) ART: -32

Comments: Buffalo had no team from 1971-1998 and from 1999-2017 went 65-160 (.289). All of a sudden they will be favored to wind up 11-1 and win the MAC title game.

CINCINNATI 9-1 (350-149) ranked UR/19/20 ART: none
Sat 11/17 at Central Florida 9-0 (398-191) ranked 11/11/11 ART: none
Fri 11/23 East Carolina 2-7 (209-313) ART: -11

Comments: Cincy has their best team since the Brian Kelly-Butch Jones Era and could spoil UCF’s goose-egg.

UTAH STATE 9-1 (513-219) ranked 23/14/13 ART: +8
Sat 11/17 at Colorado State 3-7 (231-385) ART: none
Sat 11/24 at Boise State 8-2 (366-230) ranked 25/23/24 ART: -1

Comments: The Aggies were a top mid-major in the 60’s and 70’s, (a combined 132-75-4). Then they declined sharply, (from 1980-2010 they were 125-222-2). In this decade they had a revival under coaches Gary Anderson and Matt Wells, going 37-17 from 2011-14. They’ve fallen back again since then (15-23 from 2015-17) but are having a strong year this year due to a very productive offense that’s averaging 51 points per game. Their only loss was 31-38 at Michigan State in which the Spartans, down 30-31, scored with 2 minutes left to win it. That trip to Boise looms but it would be no surprise to see them in the Pesci Bowl.


Ty-Dee Bowl Contenders


TEXAS-EL PASO 1-9 (189-314) ART: none
Sat 11/17 at Western Kentucky 1-9 (183-303) ART: -9
Sat 11/24 Southern Mississippi 4-5 (228-191) ART: +3

Comments: UTEP is so bad they lost to New Mexico State. Both used to be good and exciting teams back in the 60’s but since 1970, they have been the two worst programs in the country, (save for Buffalo, who didn’t even have a team most of that time): I-A Winning Percentage 1970-2017
The broke through against Rice so no major college team will have a winless season this year and the Ty-dee Bowl will be between one-loss teams.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 1-10 (167-277) ART: -6
Sat 11/10 Bowling Green 2-8 (257-430) ART: -32
Friday 11/23 at Toledo 5-5 (386-315) ART: -20

Comments: If they can’t beat BG, they’ll probably finish 1-11. Again, couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys, (and yes, they’ve got the same coach).
CONNECTICUT 1-9 (238-493) ART: -86
Sat 11/17 at East Carolina 2-7 (209-313) ART: -11
Sat 11/24 Temple 6-4 (343-272) ART: +15

Comment: Another team and coach I’m not sad to see down here. Maybe they can beat the Purple Pirates. The Huskies are giving up 49 points a game, the worst in the country and have the worst record against ranked teams as well.

NORTH CAROLINA 1-8 (224-320) ART: -27
Sat 11/17 Western Carolina (FCS) 3-7 (321-402) ART: none
Sat 11/24 North Carolina State 6-3 (283-231) ART: -11

Comments: The Tar Heels clearly don’t belong here but they are here. (Cue Bill Parcells.) Western Carolina will surely get them to 2 wins. They’ve got too much talent for the Ty-Dee Bowl.

RICE 1-10 (209-413) ART: none
Sat 11/17 at Louisiana State 8-2 (267-167) ranked: 7/10/10 ART: +110
Sat 11/24 Old Dominion 3-7 (280-390) ART: +27

Comments: Rice was once a very respectable program. Under Jess Neely from 1940-66, they went 144-124-10, went to six major bowl games and won half of them. Since then? 199-372-6. They used to be a respected member of a major conference. Now they are a doormat in a bottom 5 conference. Maybe they can beat Old Dominion.

RUTGERS 1-9 (145-343) ART: -40
Sat 11/17 Penn State 7-3 (357-230) ranked 14/16/15 ART: +21
Sat 11/24 at Michigan State 6-4 (217-187) ART: +24

Comment: And what SU fan’s heart doesn’t warm up when he looks at the rest of Rutgers’ schedule? Professor Dowling likes it, too: Why Can't Rutgers Ever Win?

SAN JOSE STATE 1-9 (230-387) ART: -7
Sat 11/17 Nevada-Reno 6-4 (338-291) ART: none
Sat 11/24 at Fresno State 8-2 (381-135) ART: none

Comments: The Spartans beat UNLV to get off the snide but that may be it for them.

WESTERN KENTUCKY 1-9 (183-303) ART: -9
Sat 11/17 Texas-El Paso 1-9 (189-314) ART: none
Sat 11/24 at Louisiana Tech 7-3 (255-234) ART: -28

Summary: If the hill-bottomers can’t beat UTEP, they’ve got problems.
 

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