The Undefeated after Week 13 | Syracusefan.com

The Undefeated after Week 13

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 12-0 (588-165) #1 in the playoff committee’s, the writer’s and coaches’ poll (?/1/1) against ranked teams (ART): +112 points
12/1 SEC championship game vs. Georgia 11-1 (481-206) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +108

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. Their rematch with Georgia could be as epic as last year’s game a 26-23 OT win for the national championship. And they could conceivably meet again in the playoff.

CLEMSON 12-0 (548-168) ranked 2/2/2 ART: +73
12/1 ACC championship game vs. Pittsburgh 7-5 (334-333) unranked ART -23

Comments: Pittsburgh beat their national champions of 2016 but this year they don’t look strong enough to do that again. There will be no looking past the Panthers for the Tigers.

NOTRE DAME 12-0 (405-207) ranked 3/3/3 ART: +130

Comments: They have will be no conference title game so that will be the Irish record when the decisions are made. It’s really a question of where they will be ranked and who they will play, not if they will be in the playoff. They could even be #1 if Bama or Clemson slip up.


The one-loss teams:

GEORGIA 11-1 (481-206) ranked 4/4/4 ART: +108
12/1 SEC championship game vs. ALABAMA 12-0 (588-165) (1/1/1) ART: +112 points

Comments: The Bulldogs will have another battle with Alabama in the SEC title game. They’ll probably have to win that one to get into a playoff. I think they could be good enough to do it.

OKLAHOMA 11-1 (604-394) ranked 5/5/5 ART: +20
12/1 Big 12 championship game vs. Texas 9-3 (380-302) ranked 14/9/9 ART +109

Comments: They can avenge their only loss against Texas, which would put them in a strong position. But the Big 12 is hurt by the perception they don’t play defense and we still tend to believe that really good teams do.

OHIO STATE 11-1 (520-310) ranked 6/6/6 ART: +114
12/1 Big 10 championship game vs, Northwestern 8-4 (284-260) ranked 21/21/21 ART +66

Comments: The Buckeyes have had a roller coaster season for an 11-1 team. After the height of crushing Michigan’s dreams, are they on the downside again? If Georgia loses it will come down to the buckeyes and the Sooners for the other spot.

I’m hoping at least one 11-1 team gets left out because each time that happens we are one step closer to an 8 team playoff, which is what I want. But if two of the three one loss teams lose, the people who are satisfied with the four team playoff will say “See? That’s all we need.”


Pesci Bowl Contenders

CENTRAL FLORIDA 11-0 (474-214) ranked 8/7/7 ART: +27
12/1 American Conference championship game vs. Memphis 8-4 (526-354) unranked ART +15

Comments: The Knights have passed all tests for two years. They are what those who favor an 8 team playoff have in mind when they say there should be auto bids for the power conference champions and the best mid-major. The AAC title game will probably be a Memphis team that crushed Houston, the team that looked like the best in the west. The Golden Knights could be unbeaten again but there’s no way they could get into the 4 team playoff. But they are still the favorite for the Pesci Bowl.

Every other non-power conference team, (I’m counting Notre Dame as an ACC team here) has at least two losses so the other team in the Pesci Bowl will come from this pool of 2 loss teams:

APPALACHIAN STATE 9-2 (410-169) unranked ART +9
12/1 Sun Belt Championship game vs. Louisiana (formerly Louisiana-Lafayette and previously Southwestern Louisiana “the Ragin’ Cajuns”) 7-5 (404-408) unranked ART -57

Comments: The Mountaineers beat the Cajuns 27-17 in October. Since then the Cajuns are 4-1 but so is App State. State has dominated most of its opponents and almost beat penn State at Penn State but they haven’t bene able to crack the Top 25 and three of the 2 loss teams they are competing with are in it.

ARMY 9-2 (339-206) ranked UR/23/25 ART +14
12/8 vs. Navy 3-9 (315-419) unranked ART +4

Comment: navy dominated this series for years but suddenly army has the upper hand. However there have bene many upsets in the past. If the Cadets get past the Middies their ranking will put them right in the middle of the battle for the fictional Pesci Bowl.

BOISE STATE 10-2 (444-268) ranked 22/19/20 ART +13
12/1 Mountain West Championship game vs. FRESNO STATE 10-2 (435-162) ranked 25/25/23 ART none

Comment: Boise State vs. Fresno State should be a heck of a game and the winner will probably have the inside track to play Central Florida in the Pesci Bowl.

BUFFALO 10-2 (423-291) unranked ART none
11/30 MAC championship game vs. Northern Illinois 7-5 (239-251) unranked ART none

Comment: The Bulls have bene the bets team in the MAC all season and will be heavily favored over the Huskies. I think the MAC is better than the Sun Belt but they have the same problem App State has: they haven’t been able to crack the rankings and have no means, (based on their opponent) to do so.

CINCINNATI 10-2 (419-193) unranked ART -10

Comment: Cincinnati is probably better than most of these teams but they got crushed by central Flr5oida, are unranked and have no one else to play until the actual bowl games so unless everybody else gets knocked off, they won’t be in the Pesci Bowl.

FRESNO STATE 10-2 (435-162) ranked 25/25/23 ART none
12/1 Mountain West Championship game vs. BOISE STATE 10-2 (444-268) ranked 22/19/20 ART +13

Comment: The Bulldogs are a very strong team and will have a very strong case for the Pesci Bowl if they can beat the Broncos.

UTAH STATE 10-2 (566-276) ranked UR/UR/24 ART: +2

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 prior to Boise State was 31-38 at Michigan State in which the Spartans, down 30-31, scored with 2 minutes left to win it. But they are not going to win their conference and won’t get in over the team that does.


Ty-Dee Bowl Contenders (none, of course, are ranked)

TEXAS-EL PASO 1-11 (212-393) ART: none

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

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 1-11 (180-328) ART: -6

Comments: Again, couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys, (and yes, they’ve got the same coach).

CONNECTICUT 1-11 (266-605) ART: -86

Comment: Another team and coach I’m not sad to see down here. The Huskies have the worst defense ever, setting records for yards, (7,409: 617 per game) and points (605: 50).

RUTGERS 1-11 (162-377) ART: -41

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 1-11 (255-439) ART: -7

Comments: The Spartans were not Spartan this year.

These team’s seasons have ended so it’s time to make a choice. It’s tough to choose between lousy teams so I’ll just use the numbers: the 1-11 teams that got outscored by the most will be the Ty-Dee Bowl teams:

Connecticut -399
Rutgers -215
San Jose State -185
Texas-El Paso -181
Central Michigan -185

Thus we have a dream Ty-Dee bowl match-up between Connecticut and Rutgers.

Enjoy thinking about that!
 

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