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The Week That Will Be: Fantastic Four

Who can make their New Years Eve reservations?

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 35-17-2 (.673) ($1,430) ATS 41-13 (.759) SU

We learned last week...

  • Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer likes playing at home in Philadelphia, as the redshirt freshman quarterback racked up 442 total yards and scored three touchowns in the Irish win over Temple. It could have been even better, as he also threw two red-zone interceptions.
  • The life of a college kicker: Washington State's Erik Powell make five field goals to keep the Cougars in the game, but missed the game-winner to "cost" his team the game...
  • Mark Richt is prone to a little desperation, as he turned not to the back-up quarterback but third stringer Faton Bauta against Florida, who promptly threw four interceptions. Richt is now 5-10 against Florida in his career at Athens.
  • Who is the player of the game in a 70-53 affair? Oklahoma State's James Washington, who had 200 yards receiving on FOUR receptions (and two touchdowns).
  • We all know that if Trevone Boykin had "Alabama" or "LSU" across the front of his jersey he would already have the Heisman Trophy wrapped up, so what are waiting for? Could we be looking at another Vince Young/Reggie Bush situation where Leonard Fournette wins the Heisman but Boykin takes home the trophy that matters the most?
  • And finally, we learned that Texas is good at reminding our older fans of Longhorn days of old, as they were shutout by an unranked team since 1961.

Tuesday night the first official College Football Playoff rankings were released, and a quick reminder should be issued that we all promised to ignore these mid-season ranking this season when the final rankings came out last season, but I'm hopping mad about a couple of these rankings, and this is where I vent.

My issues:

  • Only TWO SEC programs in the Top 4? That is barely 50%? How this committee doesn't realize that Ole Miss just had an off day against Memphis and really can't expect to win every time they go to Gainesville is beyond me. And Florida can't possibly be expected to win all these SEC games, did you see that they have won 83% of their SEC games? If their quarterback wasn't suspended for performance enhancing drugs (no doubt decided by an ACC official), they'd totally be 100%.
  • Okay, if you can't put FOUR SEC programs in the Top 4, where the hell is Notre Dame? They lost their quarterback, and surely they can't be expected to win in hurricane-like conditions at Clemson. They almost had that two-point conversion, by the way. And Brian Kelly could drop a Wile E. Coyote-esque ACME anvil on the head of one of his assistant coaches during the playoff, wouldn't THAT be great for ratings?
  • Stanford? Utah? Those schools aren't east of the continental divide!!!

All ridiculous points made in jest, of course, so don't run to Twitter proclaiming that a Barking Carnival writer is throwing shade at the College Football Playoff (look how hip I am), but to all of the Internet that is melting down right now:

Who cares if they are "favorites" or "likes"?

And it is November. The committee proved last year when they bypassed Baylor in the final poll after having them in there for several weeks, showing that this ESPN show is a sham designed to showcase Jeff Long and his Hog hat and alligator boots purchased in a Fayetteville men's shop.

That having been said, let's take a look at who I think will eventually play in these bowl games on New Year's Eve (I dare the coaches to wear Nike/Adidas/Under Armor branded "2016" glasses):

ALABAMA: Spoiler alert for my picks below. You could certainly argue that Alabama doesn't belong due to their loss to a 2-loss Ole Miss team, but if Alabama beats LSU this weekend and Florida in the SEC Championship game, and all things are equal elsewhere (as in no more than 3 legit teams are undefeated), I think you have to put them in just on the smell test of what they would do against say, Michigan State or what not. Plus this playoff isn't happening without a SEC team, we all know it.

OHIO STATE: Yawn. I think I told you at the beginning of the year that Ohio State would coast through this season, and that they have, as they have found it so boring that they have to have a quarterback controversy between a guy who is 10-0 as a starter with a freaking national championship on his resume versus another who is 12-1 as a starter. That is akin to having to choose between Sofia Vergara and Jessica Alba...can't say you can make a bad decision there.

Ohio State is at home against Minnesota (can't get out of their own way), goes on the road to Illinois (last pulled an upset when Lincoln won the presidential election without winning a single southern state) before they return to the Horseshoe to play Michigan State (take out the Michigan "win" and their biggest win is...Oregon? Rutgers?) and go to the Big House to play Michigan, a team that hasn't beaten them since said Lincoln Administration.  They'll then have the Big 10 Championship game, perhaps against Iowa, who will just be happy to be there.

They're in.

BAYLOR: Win out, and I'd give them the slightest edge over TCU right now, and they're in. They won't punish the Big 12 again by keeping their undefeated champion out of the tournament. Or they will face the wrath of Ken Starr, and who wants that? People seem to be hung up on the quarterback thing, but:  A.) Jarrett Stidham is damn good, and B.) Art Briles has shown that you could put Dez Bryant's pet monkey in at quarterback and he'd be a Heisman contender (and no doubt would get a movie deal). The schedule is daunting (tricky road game at Kansas State, ask TCU; at home against Oklahoma; on the road against Oklahoma State and TCU, and at home against Texas...stop laughing), but if they get through that they are in.

STANFORD: The surprise guest at dinner which makes everyone drop their fork and the women put their hand over their mouths. Hear me out. Clemson isn't going undefeated. They're Clemson, and even though they don't like to hear the term "Clemsoning", it is a term because it happens. The International Space Station sets their yearly clock by it. Florida State isn't beating both Clemson and Florida, they couldn't even beat Georgia Tech. Michigan State is out when they lose to Ohio State. TCU is out when they lose to Baylor. Iowa is out when they lose to Ohio State. Florida is out when they lose the SEC title game to Alabama. The committee doesn't have the guts to put in Memphis or Houston, so when Stanford beats Notre Dame Thanksgiving weekend and then wins the Pac-12 game, they're in.

Of course, this is all subject to change as soon as tomorrow night. Which is why to get all riled up about these things this early in the season is silly anyhow...but we have to argue about something?

On to the games...

Florida State @ Clemson -12:

Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook are expected to return for the Seminoles, who look to win their fourth in a row over the Tigers.

Clemson, of course, has other plans, as they come into this game ranked first in the country in the new College Football Playoff rankings. Sophomore Deshaun Watson threw for 383 yards and five touchdowns (and rushed for another) against NC State last week.

The Tigers should take this one, but Cook (averages 8.2 yards per carry) is the kind of back that can take over a game like this, so they had better stop him first.

Clemson 31 Florida State 27

ATS - Florida State

SU - Clemson

LSU @ Alabama -6.5:

Alabama currently holds a four-game winning streak over LSU, with the Tigers last win being that awful 9-6 game that nearly killed college football and football in general.

This one has the potential to be a lot like that one, as both teams are defensive minded with field generals at quarterback and bruisers at running back. Fournette gets most of the headlines, and rightfully so as he averages 193 yards per game, but Derrick Henry is not too shabby either, averaging 130 yards per game.

Alabama has only allowed two 100-yard rushers in the last two seasons. They'll be able to contain Fournette.

Alabama 21 LSU 17


SU - Alabama

Texas Tech @ West Virginia -8:

What these two teams have not done well is defended Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU very well, as the two combined to give up 327 points to those three teams in their meetings this year.

Neither of these teams are those teams, but it should still be a shootout regardless.

West Virginia 45 Texas Tech 41

ATS - Texas Tech

SU - West Virginia

Baylor -17.5 @ Kansas State:

The question here is whether or not Jarrett Stidham can effectively replace Seth Russell, who threw for 29 touchdowns and ran for 6 more in the starting role this year. There is little evidence he cannot, as he has thrown for 331 yards and 6 touchdowns in relief duty this year.

In comparison, Kansas State's Joe Hubener, their starting quarterback, has only thrown for 378 yards in his last four games.

Baylor 52 Kansas State 21

ATS - Baylor

SU - Baylor

TCU -5.5 @ Oklahoma State:

Oklahoma State is the quietest 8-0 team in the country, as it is a foregone conclusion that the winner of the Black Friday TCU/Baylor winner will be the Big 12 champion, but the Cowboys might actually be in the driver's seat, as in the next four games they have TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all coming to Stillwater.

Win out, and they'll be in the playoff.

But they won't, starting here. Oklahoma State has been playing a bit with house money, as they struggled with Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State and somewhat with Texas Tech before disposing of those teams.

They struggled mightily against Texas Tech's passing game last week, and will see more of the same here.

TCU 48 Oklahoma State 34



Kansas @ Texas -29.5:

September 12, 2009.

That was the last time Kansas won a football game on the road, a losing streak of 34 games. The Longhorns were in Laramie, Wyoming that day, as Colt McCoy threw touchdown passes to James Kirkendoll, Dan Buckner and John Chiles and Tre Newton ran one in.

The Longhorns would go on to finish that season 13-1, while Kansas started that season 5-0 and finished 5-7.

Since then? Their record is 12-56.

They're 0-8 in David Beaty's first year at the helm, and needless to say, they are a mess.

They're down to their third-string quarterback, freshman Ryan Willis, as both quarterbacks ahead of him are injured. Willis has only thrown for 5 touchdowns in 169 attempts but the good news is he's only thrown 4 interceptions.

On defense, the Jayhawks rate near the bottom of every category, advanced metric or not, as they allow a staggering 581 yards per game, along with 47 points per game. They've allowed at least 27 points to every opponent, and have given up more than 40 points in five ballgames.

This is a bad, bad football team, and as bad as Texas looked last week, they come at a good part of the schedule for the Longhorns.

Texas wins an easy one. Finally.

Texas 41 Kansas 13

ATS - Kansas

SU - Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for new Nike gear.