The Undefeated - after Week 8 | Syracusefan.com

The Undefeated - after Week 8

SWC75

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This is the point of the season when I look at the future schedules of undefeated teams to see who has the best chance to run the table and make the playoff. When the number of such teams falls below four, I chart the one-loss teams. I limit this to ‘power’ conference teams unless a ‘Group of 5’ team is in the Top ten of either the writer, coach’s or committee’s polls. I also have two fictional bowls for the two top mid-majors, (the ‘Pesci’ Bowl, named after vertically challenged but ever-feisty character actor Joe Pesci), and the two worst teams in the country, (the Ty-D Bowl, named after the Ty-D Bol toilet bowl cleaner). For the Pesci Bowl, I’ll keep track of the undefeated Group of 5 teams until there are less than two of them. Then I look at the one-loss G5 teams. For the Ty-D Bowl, I keep track of the winless teams until there are less than two of them. Then I’ll look at the 1-win teams. Rankings are by the writers/coaches/committee- when it comes out. I’ve decided to include each team’s points “Against Ranked Teams” (ART). See that post for details on how that is computed.

After Week 8

When I first established these lists last week there were 26 teams on them. Now it’s down to 16.

Playoff Contenders

FLORIDA STATE 7-0 (291-130) ranked: 4/4 ART: +70
Sat 10/28 at Wake Forest 4-3 (162-155)
Sat 11/4 at Pittsburgh 2-5 (172-172) ART: +21
Sat 11/11 U of Miami 5-2 (254-134) ART: +22
Sat 11/18 North Alabama 3-5 (186-232) FCS
Sat 11/25 at Florida 5-2 (204-140) ART: +27
They face a schedule with no more ranked teams, although the rivalry games vs. Miami and at Florida could prove interesting. But Duke made them look beatable and their opposition has done well against ranked teams. Then comes probably North Carolina in the conference title game.

GEORGIA 7-0 (281-98) ranked: 1/1 ART +44
Sat 10/28 Florida 5-2 (204-140) ART: +27
Sat 11/4 Missouri 7-1 (271-186) ranked 16/16 ART: +20
Sat 11/11 Mississippi 6-1 (278-164) ranked 11/11 ART: +37
Sat 11/18 at Tennessee 5-2 (221-136) ranked 21/20 ART: +1
Sat 11/25 at Georgia Tech 3-4 (208-212) ART: -4
Can they win three in a row? First they have to get there. They play two one-loss teams and two two-loss teams but two of those games are at home - although those teams have also done well against ranked teams. Then comes the SEC title game – probably against Alabama. But this is a school that could get in with one loss, like the Tide used to.

MICHIGAN 8-0 (325-47) ranked: 2/2
Sat 10/28 bye
Sat 11/4 Purdue 2-5 (161-209) ART -11
Sat 11/11 at Penn State 6-1 (278-68) ranked 10/10 ART: +48
Sat 11/18 at Maryland 5-2 (234-130) unranked ART: +2
Sat 11/25 OHIO STATE 7-0 (236-70) ranked 3/3 ART: +47
The Wolverines are #2 but haven’t played a ranked team and probably won’t until those last three games. We won’t know how good they really are until then.

OHIO STATE 7-0 (236-70) ranked: 3/3 ART: +47
Sat 10/28 at Wisconsin 5-2 (188-128)
Sat 11/4 at Rutgers 6-2 (225-126) Rutgers: Even
Sat 11/11 Michigan State 2-5 (132-195) ART: -41
Sat 11/18 Minnesota 4-3 (142-170) ART: -30
Sat 11/25 at MICHIGAN 8-0 (325-47) ranked: 2/2
The Michigan game will tell the tale, as they usually do. Seeing the Buckeyes vs. Notre Dame, Maryland and even Penn State, where their defense was excellent but their offense less than that, they seem pretty vulnerable.

OKLAHOMA 7-0 (302-113) ranked: 6/6 ART: +27
Sat 10/28 at Kansas 5-2 (248-192) ART: -3
Sat 11/4 at Oklahoma State 5-2 (204-182) ART: +10
Sat 11/11 West Virginia 4-3 (205-184) ART: -4
Sat 11/18 at Brigham Young 5-2 (193-170)
Fri 11/24 Texas Christian 4-4 (235-184)
The Sooners, after a 6-7 season last year, have looked an awful lot like the Sooners of old this year. But new conference foe, (for the moment) UCF (3-4 but 0-4 in the conference)almost knocked them off and nobody the rest of the way has a losing record. The league championship game should be a rematch with the Longhorns.

WASHINGTON 7-0 (281-132) ranked: 5/5 ART: +21
Sat 10/28 at Stanford 2-5 (149-258) ART: -79
Sat 11/4 at Southern California 6-2 (363-244) ranked: 24/22
Sat 11/11 Utah 6-1 (164-105) ranked 14/14 ART: +14
Sat 11/18 at Oregon State 6-1 (267-142) ranked 12/13 ART: +52
Sat 11/25 Washington State 4-3 (241-251) ART: +25
They’ve been described as “the most complete team in the country” by one pundit. But the combined record of those last four teams is currently 22-7.


Penn State and UNC went to the recycle bin and Oklahoma and Washington almost did, (Florida State looked bad most of the game but pulled away). But we’ve still got 6 undefeated power five teams, which seems like a lot at this point of the season.

Pesci Bowl

AIR FORCE 7-0 (239-94) ranked 19/19
Sat 10/28 at Colorado State 3-4 (209-235) ART: Even
Sat 11/4 Army 2-5 (147-182)
Sat 11/11 at Hawaii 2-6 (188-291) ART: -32
Sat 11/18 Nevada-Las Vegas 6-1 (250-184) ART: -4
Fri 11/24 Boise State 3-4 (208-216) ART -21
The one remaining team with a winning record they play at home. Can a service academy still go undefeated in this era? None has since Earl Blaik was coaching Army in 1958. (Air Force lost one game by 1 point in 1998.)

JAMES MADISON 7-0 (227-135) ranked 25/25
Sat 10/28 Old Dominion 4-3 (169-178)
Sat 11/4 at Georgia State 6-1 (216-160)
Sat 11/11 CONNECTICUT 1-6 (144-213) ART: -26
Sat 11/18 Appalachian State 3-4 (227-209) ART: +3
Sat 11/25 at Coastal Carolina 4-3 (208-159)
Still another former FCS champ who jumped to FBS for the money but will never win another national title because of it. But if they can get by Georgia State, they have a good shot at the Pesci Bowl.

LIBERTY 7-0 (254-138) unranked ART: 0
Tue 10/24 Western Kentucky 4-3 (210-194) ART: -33
Sat 11/4 Louisiana Tech 3-5 (213-220)
Sat 11/11 Old Dominion 4-3 (169-178)
Sat 11/18 MASSACUSETTS 1-7 (183-339) ART: -43
Sat 11/25 Texas-El Paso 2-6 (131-211)
Our old pals from Liberty could wrap up 12-0 early with a win over the Hilltoppers. But it might not be enough. They aren’t ranked and USAF and JMU are.


All three of these teams could run the table. Then it will come down to ranking, then point differential.


Ty-D Bowl

AKRON 1-7 (123-235)
Wed 11/1 KENT STATE 1-7 (100-264)
Wed 11/8 at Miami University 6-2 (238-155)
Tue 11/14 at Eastern Michigan 4-4 (146-156)
Fri 11/24 Ohio University 6-2 (180-111)
A familiar face in the Ty-D Bowl race

ARIZONA STATE 1-6 (119-185) ART +20
Sat 10/28 Washington State 4-3 (230-209) ART +25
Sat 11/4 at Utah 6-1 (164-105) ranked 13/13 ART +14
Sat 11/11 at UCLA 5-2 (219-104) ranked 23/24 ART +28
Sat 11/18 Oregon 6-1 (329-119) ranked 8/9 ART +59
Sat 11/25 Arizona 4-3 (223-144) ART +72
There isn’t a weak spot here but the Pac 12, in it’s death throes, is producing some weird results. Will there even be a Power Five Ty-D-Bowl this year? (See below.)

CONNECTICUT 1-6 (144-213) ART -21
Sat 10/28 at Boston College 4-3 (204-213) ART +21
Sat 11/4 at Tennessee 5-2 (221-136) ranked 21/20 ART +1
Sat 11/11 at James Madison 7-0 (227-135) ranked 25/25
Sat 11/18 Sacred Heart 1-7 (113-190) FCS
Sat 11/25 at MASSACHUSETTS 1-7 (183-339) ART -43
Shouldn’t FCS games be considered exhibitions games, like they are in basketball?

EAST CAROLINA 1-6 (122-169) ART -3
Sat 10/28 at Texas-San Antonio 4-3 (203-176) ART -28
Sat 11/4 Tulane 6-1 (215-136) ranked 22/23 ART -11
Sat 11/11 at Florida Atlantic 3-4 (169-175)
Sat 11/18 at Navy 3-4 (128-155) ART -33
Sat 11/25 Tulsa 3-4 (166-218) ART -57
Can they beat one of the 3-4 teams?

KENT STATE 1-7 (100-264)
Wed 11/1 at AKRON 1-7 (123-235)
Wed 11/8 Bowling Green 4-4 (178-200) ART -1
Sat 11/18 at Ball State 2-6 (129-232) ART -17
Sat 11/25 Northern Illinois 4-4 (194-170)
Akron-Kent State, another hardy perennial.

MASSACHUSETTS 1-7 (183-339) ART -43
Sat 10/28 at Army 2-5 (147-183) ART -55
Sat 11/4 Merrimack 4-3 (204-127)
Sat 11/11 Bye
Sat 11/18 at LIBERTY 7-0 (254-138)
Sat 11/25 vs. CONNECTICUT 1-6 (144-213) ART -26
The UCONN-UMASS game will be another classic.

NEVADA-RENO 1-6 (110-237) ART: -49
Sat 10/28 New Mexico 3-4 (209-228) ART: -39
Sat 11/4 Hawaii 2-6 (188-291) ART: -32
Sat 11/11 at Utah State 3-5 (282-272) ART: -9
Sat 11/18 at Colorado State 3-4 (209-235) ART: Even
Sat 11/25 Wyoming 5-2 (184-179) ART: +8
Now that they’ve won one, look out!

SAM HOUSTON 0-7 (94-181)
Wed 10/25 Texas-El Paso 2-6 (131-211)
Sat 11/4 Kennesaw State 1-5 (123-122) FCS
Sat 11/11 at Louisiana Tech 3-5 (213-220)
Sat 11/18 at Western Kentucky 4-3 (210-194) ART: -33
Sat 11/25 Middle Tennessee State 2-6 (190-265) ART: -27
Another FCS power who sold out. They should beat Kennesaw State. Should that count? Maybe they can knock off somebody else.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 1-6 (145-267) ART -31
Sat 10/28 at Appalachian State 3-4 (227-209) ART +3
Sat 11/4 Louisiana-Monroe 2-5 (139-229)
Thu 11/9 at (SW) Louisiana 4-3 (230-195)
Sat 11/18 at Mississippi State 4-3 (188-180) ART -24
Sat 11/25 Troy 5-2 (186-122) ART -18
The Golden Eagles have quite a history but not much of a present.

And here comes the cavalry! With Nevada-Reno’s scintillating 6-0 victory over San Diego State, all the 1-win teams in the universe come on board for the Ty-D Bowl. I looked at last year’s selections and realized that I chose to have two Ty-D Bowls: a “Power Five” Ty-D Bowl and a “Group of Five” Ty-D-Bowl, which would include all the Independents except Notre Dame, who would be in the Power Five If they ever got that bad again. That’s a problem because there’s only one 1 loss Power Five team with Virginia’s win over North Carolina. There are twelve two loss Power Five teams. I think I will let this sort itself out for a while before I chart their schedules.
 

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