Winning is The Best Game Control

CFB-Playoff-Vertical Signature_RGBA few seasons ago, the world of baseball analysis was swept up by an increasingly popular way to analyze player performance. Used by some as a key stat to determine season ending award winners and player contract values, Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, shows the extent of a player’s contribution to their team. Some people love this sabermetric; others still aren’t buying into it. Similarly, a new stat has become a key component involved in selecting the four participants in the new College Football Playoff. 

As a whole, sports fans love stats, and we love finding ways to analyze which player is better than other players, and which team is better than the other teams. If you’ve been keeping up with the college football playoff talk, especially on the ESPN networks, you may have noticed a new phrase being thrown around by analysts and reporters — game control.

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Pancirco CFB Top 25: Week 13

amaricooper_msuIt was about that time. Mississippi State was bound to lose soon enough. They’ve played one of the tougher conference schedules in the SEC, and battled through perfectly, until Alabama. Before the season the writing was on the wall, MSU would be a winning team. But no one expected them to do this well. Against a greater talented Alabama they couldn’t pull out another surprising victory and a week after putting them in my top spot, they’ve now fallen to No. 5. Florida State, after another shaky performance, takes over No. 1. Why, you ask? Because they keep winning. The final three weeks of the season are going to provide an exciting race to make the playoffs between the top seven, and my betting favorites are my current top four.

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2014 SEC Conference Preview

4780407The SEC once again looks to be the top conference in college football. This season should see familiar schools vying for the top spot in a close competition. Added to the mix, however, are Mississippi and Mississippi State. Both teams are developing the depth and talent to perhaps challenge for the conference title. While in years past the conference was fairly top heavy, the separation between the top and bottom appears to be lessening as more players continue to leave early from the big schools and new coaches appear to be moving things in the right direction from the “smaller” ones. Continue reading

Final Regular Season NCAA FBS Poll

After watching the Alabama vs. Georgia game this past Saturday, I find it hard justifying Ohio State as the No. 2 best football team in the country despite being undefeated. It wasn’t just that Alabama looked like the better team, but also that the best team Ohio State played all year — Nebraska — lost 70-31 to five-loss Wisconsin. By now we all know the Big Ten is weak, and with Ohio State not defeating any non-conference team of significance, I decided that Alabama’s two wins over Top Ten teams, as well as Florida’s three wins, warranted them both a higher ranking than Ohio State. It was a hard decision to make, but boy did Florida earn it with that brutal conference schedule they played. They lost to Georgia, whom Alabama defeated, but they also beat Texas A&M, whom ‘Bama lost to. With the better non-conference and conference schedule, I feel that Florida deserves the No. 2 ranking.

Rank Team Record
1 Notre Dame 12-0
2 Florida 11-1
3 Alabama 12-1
4 Ohio State 12-0
5 Georgia 11-2
6 Oregon 11-1
7 Kansas State 11-1
8 Stanford 11-2
9 Texas A&M 10-2
10 LSU 10-2
11 South Carolina 10-2
12 Oklahoma 10-2
13 Florida State 10-2
14 Oregon State 9-3
15 UCLA 9-4

Weekend Musings: I saw it coming?

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Ryan Swope celebrates with the Aggie Nation after Texas A&M defeated top ranked Alabama, 29-24, on November 10, 2012 in Tuscaloosa. (Photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

I went 36-19 this weekend in my week 11 college football picks. In high school, that would be a failing grade of 65.5 percent. For picking the always unpredictable college football game, it’s average. I’ll take it.

It’s hard to say now that you saw Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama coming, but I certainly did think they had a good shot at it. My doubt of freshman Johnny Manziel against Alabama’s disciplined defense led me to pick Alabama. Not to mention the rushing attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon and composed quarterbacking of A.J. McCarron. But Alabama’s performance has me questioning if, or how much, we overrated Alabama. They lost some key players on defense from last year and one of the traps is trying not to rate a team on how well or bad they performed the previous year. What was most impressive to me in this game was A&M’s defense hanging on to their lead as ‘Bama surged on attempting to make a comeback and then sealing the deal with an interception as Alabama was in the red zone ready to take the lead.

I thought TCU had a legitimate chance at upsetting Kansas State , but without Casey Pachall, backup quarterback – now starter – Trevone Boykin couldn’t do enough to lead his team to victory. The statline will show a closer game than it was. TCU led in total yards, first downs, and time of possession.

While Oregon has the nation’s 30th ranked scoring defense, they gave up 236 rushing yards to lowly California . The game was 24-10 at the half and could have been closer. Against a team more prepared to play a full, hard four quarters such as Stanford, I think Oregon is going to be given a run for their money Saturday. Stepfan Taylor is one of the top running backs in the country with more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns and he’ll be running behind a big O-line from Stanford who blocks well.

After losing two straight and looking poor in winning performances against Baylor and Kansas , Texas has bounced back with consecutive wins over a ranked Texas Tech and blowing out Iowa State . Quarterback David Ash played well in both games and as long as the defense holds up, Texas is looking like a top 20 team.

So much for Indiana controlling their own destiny in the Big Ten. It was fun while it lasted. After Saturday’s 62-14 loss to Wisconsin they are left to fight for bowl eligibility needing wins against Penn State and Purdue. Even in a weak Big Ten this year, did anybody really think Indiana could make it to the conference title game?

Saturday was a day for wild finishes including Michigan over Northwestern, Virginia over Miami, Purdue over Iowa, Florida over Louisiana-Lafayette, and Missouri over Tennessee. None of the games were top 25 matchups, but they were all fun to watch – that’s part of the beauty of college football.

Kent State broke into the top 25 rankings in the AP Poll for the first time since 1973. A win over Bowling Green this weekend will seal the MAC East division for the 9-1 Golden Flashes.

In a matchup of two of the worst teams in the FBS, Massachusetts picked up their first win of the season over Akron (1-10). That now leaves Southern Mississippi as the only winless team in the nation.

After the first five weeks of the season did anyone think West Virginia would still be searching for bowl eligibility in week 12? Well, not so surprising when your team gives up 41.4 points per game (121st). Everybody should know by now, defense wins championships, unless you play Baylor 13 times a year.

Auburn was shutout against Georgia. Will Gene Chizik have a job at the end of the season? I’ll say give the man another year, hopefully there’s a junior college transfer out there waiting to be paid to play.

How good is Mississippi State? Eleven weeks in and they still might be the hardest team to get a gauge on.