Midseason Cavalcade: What's Going To Happen?

Midseason Cavalcade: What's Going To Happen? Looking ahead at each conference race, and looking back at the MVPs.


Cavalcade of Whimsy

October 14, Part 2
 

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- Part 1 - Gurley, Jameis & Autographs 

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
At the midseason, what's going to happen in the ten conference races ...

10. Sun Belt
Current Pecking Order: 1. Georgia Southern, 2. Arkansas State, 3. Texas State, 4. Louisiana-Lafayette, 5. South Alabama
The Finish Will Be: T1. Arkansas State, T1. Georgia Southern, 3. Texas State
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Kevin Ellison, Georgia Southern, Soph.
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Joseph Peterson, Georgia State, Sr.
Coach of the Midseason: Willie Fritz, Georgia Southern
What’s Going To Happen?: Unfortunately, the league’s two best teams don’t play each other. Arkansas State and Georgia Southern somehow don’t get to meet up, and that’s a shame considering they’re the league’s two best teams. Arkansas State should breeze through the remaining slate if it can get by Louisiana-Lafayette on the road next week, while Georgia Southern – still transitioning and unable to go bowling, might have to settle for a strong record. At the moment, the Eagles are five points against NC State and Georgia Tech away from being unbeaten.

9. MAC
Current Pecking Order: 1. Akron, 2. Bowling Green, 3. Toledo, 4. Central Michigan, 5. Northern Illinois
The Finish Will Be: Akron over Toledo
League Midseason Offensive MVP: RB Jarvion Franklin, Fr. Western Michigan
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Jatavis Brown, Jr. Akron
Coach of the Midseason: Terry Bowden, Akron
What’s Going To Happen?: Bowling Green doesn’t have a defense, but the offense should be just enough to be in the hunt to repeat. However, Terry Bowden’s Akron squad gets the Falcons at home, and the four road games at Ohio, Ball State, Buffalo and Kent State are light and breezy. Meanwhile, BGSU has to go to Toledo as well as Akron. The Rockets haven’t been great, but they’re good enough to be a good Central Michigan. They only have two more tough games, hosting Bowling Green and going to Northern Illinois. The NIU loss to Central Michigan hurt considering four of the final five games are on the road with Toledo sandwiched in the middle. CMU and RB Thomas Rawls can ball, and they should be able to win out. However, Toledo’s 42-28 win in late September should be the deciding factor.

8. Conference USA
Current Pecking Order: 1. Marshall, 2. Louisiana Tech, 3. Middle Tennessee, 4. UAB, 5. Rice
The Finish Will Be: Marshall over Louisiana Tech
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Brandon Doughty, Sr. WKU
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Derek Akunne, Sr. North Texas
Coach of the Midseason: Bill Clark, UAB
What’s Going To Happen?: It will take something crazy for Marshall to not win the Conference USA title, but don’t sleep on UAB – the Blazers could pull off the upset at home on November 22nd. Louisiana Tech might have lost to Northwestern State – not Northwestern, Northwestern State – but it has enough offense to rip through the rest of the West, beat UAB on the road, and get trampled by the Herd in the title game. Rice is starting to come around, though, and could be a player down the stretch. However, road games at Marshall and Rice will be too much to overcome.

7. American Athletic
Current Pecking Order: 1. East Carolina, 2. UCF, 3. Houston. 4. Memphis, 5. Temple
The Finish Will Be: 1. East Carolina, 2. UCF, 3. Houston
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Shane Carden, Sr. East Carolina
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Tank Jakes, Sr. Memphis
Coach of the Midseason: Matt Rhule, Temple
What’s Going To Happen?: UCF at East Carolina on December 4th – it’s the American championship game, without it really being a championship game. Consider it a shocker if the Knights don’t run the table until then, while East Carolina has to go on the road three times including dates at Cincinnati and Temple. The Owls have been incredible considering where they came from last year, but the fun is about to come to a screeching halt with a brutal run the rest of the way – coming up with just one more win will be great, two magnificent. Cincinnati has to get its defense to start playing, and USF has to get its O going. Meanwhile, Memphis has been a nice surprise with a good, solid team that’ll end up going bowling, while Houston is a heartbreaking late fumble against UCF from being right in the thick of things.

6. Mountain West
Current Pecking Order: 1. Colorado State, 2. Boise State, 3. Utah State, 4. San Diego State, 5. Air Force
The Finish Will Be: Boise State over San Diego State
League Midseason Offensive MVP: RB Donnel Pumphrey, Soph. San Diego State
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Zach Vigil, Sr. Utah State
Coach of the Midseason: Matt Wells, Utah State
What’s Going To Happen?: It’s going to be an interesting battle in both divisions, but the Mountain is clearly the better of the two. Utah State has to go to Colorado State and Boise State – splitting between the two might not be good enough. However, the midsection of the schedule between the two showdowns won’t be bad. Boise State is flawed, but it already has a win over Colorado State – the Rams will be the better team by the end of the year, though – and it gets San Diego State and Utah State at home. Colorado State might run the table and go 11-1, but that loss to Boise State could be haunting. In the West, San Diego State is growing into the best team, but it already lost to Boise State and has to go on the road to face Nevada. The Wolf Pack already has two MW losses and has three conference road games to deal with, along with San Diego State and Fresno State. The Bulldogs are flaky weird, losing to UNLV but beating SDSU – the road trips to Boise State and Nevada are a problem.

5. Big Ten
Current Pecking Order: 1. Michigan State, 2. Ohio State, 3. Nebraska, 4. Minnesota, 5. Iowa
The Finish Will Be: Michigan State over Nebraska
League Midseason Offensive MVP: RB Tevin Coleman, Jr. Indiana
League Midseason Defensive MVP: DE Joey Bosa, Soph. Ohio State
Coach of the Midseason: Jerry Kill, Minnesota
What’s Going To Happen?: November 8th is the Big Ten championship when Ohio State has to travel to Michigan State, however, don’t fall off your chair if the Buckeyes beat the Spartans and come out flat the next week at Minnesota. The Gophers don’t have enough of a passing game to win the West, and they have to finish up with Iowa, Ohio State, at Nebraska, at Wisconsin. Iowa’s schedule is easy enough to get the job done, but it’s not going to beat both Wisconsin and Nebraska at home along with Minnesota on the road. Wisconsin is overblown – that passing game is going to be an Achilles’ heel all season long. Nebraska will take care of the Badgers in Madison on the way to a showdown at Iowa for the West. Bo Pelini’s team is better.

4. Big 12
Current Pecking Order: 1. Baylor, 2. TCU, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Kansas State, 5. Oklahoma State
The Finish Will Be: 1. Oklahoma, 2. Baylor, 3. TCU
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Clint Trickett, Sr. West Virginia
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Steve Edmond, Sr. Texas
Coach of the Midseason: Art Briles, Baylor
What’s Going To Happen?: TCU and Kansas State are strong, but each has a lot of road work to do. It all comes down to the November 8th showdown between Baylor and Oklahoma. The Sooners get Kansas State and Oklahoma State at home, too, and only have to go travelling to face Iowa State and Texas Tech. Baylor got its road games out of the way early, and while it has to play a neutral site game against Texas Tech, the date at OU is the only true road game remaining.

3. ACC
Current Pecking Order: 1. Florida State, 2. Clemson, 3. Virginia. 4. Louisville, 5. Duke
The Finish Will Be: Florida State over Duke
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Jameis Winston, Soph. Florida State
League Midseason Defensive MVP: S Gerod Holliman, Jr. Louisville
Coach of the Midseason: Steve Addazio, Boston College
What’s Going To Happen?: Shake up the ACC Coastal, pick out one team and you probably have it. Duke has the easiest road finishing up with three straight home games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest after facing Pitt and Syracuse on the road. Virginia Tech could slide into the Coastal spot with a win at Duke. Virginia is the only unbeaten team left in the division, but it has a nasty slate to deal with going on the road for four of its final six games. Even if the Seminoles lose in conference play, they’ll be in the ACC title game.

2. Pac-12
Current Pecking Order: 1. Oregon, 2. Stanford, 3. USC. 4. Arizona, 5. UCLA
The Finish Will Be: Oregon over USC
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Marcus Mariota, Jr. Oregon
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB Scooby Wright, Soph. Arizona
Coach of the Midseason: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
What’s Going To Happen?: Get ready for a massive mess in the South, but a relatively clean finish up top. As long as the offensive line stays healthy, Oregon is the clear team to beat in the North with the Stanford game at home and winnable road games against Utah and Oregon State. However, watch out for the game in Salt Lake City – the Utes are the real deal. UCLA is the most talented team in the South, but it isn’t even close to playing like it. Even so, if it can beat Washington on the road and take care of business at home against Arizona and USC, it could be alive for a rematch with Oregon for the Pac-12 title. Three of USC’s final four Pac-12 games are on the road, but they’re winnable considering the UCLA game is just across town and Utah and Washington State have to be must wins for any team thinking about a Pac-12 title.

1. SEC
Current Pecking Order: 1. Mississippi State, 2. Ole Miss, 3. Auburn, 4. Alabama, 5. Georgia
The Finish Will Be: Alabama over Georgia
League Midseason Offensive MVP: QB Dak Prescott, Jr. Mississippi State
League Midseason Defensive MVP: LB A.J. Johnson, Sr. Tennessee
Coach of the Midseason: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
What’s Going To Happen?: Here’s the difference. Ole Miss can win at LSU and at Arkansas, but those are going to be battles – watch out for Bret Bielema’s club when Team Land Shark comes to town; he has the right fit to pull off the win. It’s not as bad a slate, though, as Mississippi State having to go to Alabama and Ole Miss. Alabama might have some major flaws, and it might not be quite jelled yet, but the road games at Tennessee and LSU shouldn’t be a problem, and Mississippi State and Auburn are at home. Georgia, Gurley or no Gurley, will blow through the East but will lose at home to Auburn, who still has to go on the road to face Ole Miss and Alabama.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the three-team tie scenario if, let’s say, Alabama beats Mississippi State and Mississippi State beats Ole Miss, and all three teams finish 11-1 with the losses coming amongst themselves, it would most likely come down to the combined record of the teams each team played in the East, and that’s where Ole Miss and Mississippi State would be hosed since both play Vanderbilt and Alabama plays Florida and Tennessee.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Buffalo going 8-5 last year under head coach Jeff Quinn on the way to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl … Underrated: Buffalo pushing Bowling Green in a 36-35 loss to start out 3-3, losing the next week to Eastern Michigan 37-27, and Jeff Quinn becoming a former Buffalo head coach.
2) Overrated: Rob Lowe … Underrated: Creepy Rob Lowe
3) Overrated: Trevor Knight ... Underrated: Tyler Knight
4) Overrated: Suspended Jameis Winston suiting up before the Clemson game ... Underrated: Suspended Todd Gurley suiting up and practicing before the Arkansas game
5) Overrated: Jim Mora Jr. ... Underrated: Jeff Ulbrich’s beard

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in." … Sorry ... I'm back now. Be happy I missed last week, because I missed most of everything last week. I'll make up for it this week by going jumbo .. So Far: SU 21-6, ATS 16-11

1) Georgia Tech -1.5 over North Carolina
2) Arkansas +3.5 over Georgia
3) USF -1.5 over Tulsa
4) Nevada +10.5 over BYU (BYU straight up)
5) Texas A&M +11.5 over Alabama (Alabama straight up)
6) Missouri +5.5 over Florida
7) Notre Dame +12 over Florida State

Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault … according to Nick Saban, everybody’s got such a high expectation of what the column should’ve been. If you want to know the truth about it, it ticks me off when I talk to people that have this expectation like they’re disappointed that I only came up with a few good blurbs and in the way it was written. I know a lot of people would say it was ugly and they want to write the column off because of how it was written, because the execution wasn't there and at times we didn't read smart. But those things can be improved on and those things can be fixed.

- Part 1 - Gurley, Jameis & Autographs 
 


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