The Undefeated after Week 12 | Syracusefan.com

The Undefeated after Week 12

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 11-0 (536-144) #1 in the playoff committee’s, the writer’s and coaches’ poll (1/1/1) against ranked teams (ART): +112 points
Sat 11/24 Auburn 7-4 (318-183) 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.

CLEMSON 11-0 (492-133) ranked 2/2/2 ART: +73
Sat 11/24 South Carolina 6-4 (328-267) ART: +2

Comments: South Carolina is an SEC team and rivalry game. Pittsburgh, who beat their national champions of 2016, await in the ACC title game.

NOTRE DAME 11-0 (381-190) ranked 3/3/3 ART: +130
Sat 11/24 at Southern California 5-6 (296-300) ART: +20

Comments: They have 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 10-1 (403-149) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +106
Sat 11/24 at Ohio State 10-1 (458-271) ranked 10/10/10 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 against Northwestern, which is unlikely to burnish their reputation.

GEORGIA 10-1 (436-185) ranked 5/5/5 ART: +108
Sat 11/24 Georgia Tech 7-4 (406-302) ART: -5

Comments: Tech is a traditional rival but the Bulldogs will have another battle with Alabama in the SEC title game. They’ll have to win that one to get into a playoff. Good luck with that.

OKLAHOMA 10-1 (545-338) ranked 6/6/6 ART: +4
Fri 11/23 at West Virginia 8-2 (409-233) ranked 13/12/12 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 10-1 (458-271) ranked 10/10/10 ART: +69
Sat 11/24 Michigan 10-1 (403-149) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +106

Comments: The Buckeyes won’t have Joey Bosa but they do have 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.

WASHINGTON STATE 10-1 (445-249) ranked 8/7/7 ART: +33
Fri 11/23 Washington 8-3 (308-183) ranked 16/16/16 ART: +52

Comments: The Apple Cup winner will face 8-3 Utah in the conference title game. 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 came out of it. The Ohio State-Michigan game is the only game this weekend between such teams and Alabama-Georgia would be the only conference title game between such teams so we could still have six such teams left at the power conference level with four playoff chairs for them to sit in.


Pesci Bowl Contenders

CENTRAL FLORIDA 10-0 (436-204) ranked 9/8/9 ART: +27
Fri 11/23 South Florida 7-4 (370-289) ART: none

Comments: The Knights past a major test against Cincinnati with flying colors and finally got some points against ranked teams. 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 lost four in a row after a 7-0 start. The AAC title game will probably be against 8-3. 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:

There’s now just one such team as UAB, Buffalo and Cincinnati all lost. I may have to look at the two loss teams here, including UAB, Buffalo and Cincinnati as well as Army, Boise State, Fresno State, Troy and Applachian State. But Central Florida and Utah State have the inside track for now.

UTAH STATE 10-1 (542-243) ranked 21/14/15 ART: +8
Sat 11/24 at Boise State 8-2 (366-230) ranked 23/21/22 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 49 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 as does a meeting with a strong Fresno State team in the conference title game if they beat the Broncos but it would be no surprise to see them in the Pesci Bowl.


Ty-Dee Bowl Contenders


TEXAS-EL PASO 1-10 (205-354) ART: none
Sat 11/24 Southern Mississippi 5-5 (249-211) 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
Friday 11/23 at Toledo 6-5 (442-349) ART: -20

Comments: They lost to Bowling Green, who had been a fellow one win team, so 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 1-10 (259-548) ART: -86
Sat 11/24 Temple 7-4 (370-289) ART: +15

Comment: Another team and coach I’m not sad to see down here. The Huskies are giving up 5049 points a game, the worst in the country and have the worst record against ranked teams as well.

RICE 1-11 (219-455) ART: -13
Sat 11/24 Old Dominion 4-7 (357-404) 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 1-10 (152-363) ART: -41
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 Rutgers record? Professor Dowling likes it, too: Why Can't Rutgers Ever Win?

SAN JOSE STATE 1-10 (242-408) ART: -7
Sat 11/24 at Fresno State 9-2 (404-149) ranked NR/NR/24thART: none

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

If there are more than two one win teams, as seems likely, I’ll base it on point differential. Currently that’s: Connecticut -289, Rice -236, Rutgers -211, San Jose State -166, UTEP -149, Central Michigan -110
I’d love to see Connecticut vs. Rutgers in the Ty-dee Bowl. I suspect Rice will do better against Old dominion than Rutgers will do against Michigan State. Go Owls!
 
Fun fact: Jess Neely helped start Iptay and he also won the Cotton Bowl in 1940, the first bowl win for Clemson.
 

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