NCAA Football News

Oregon Football: Postseason Bowl Options for the Ducks

The second-ranked Oregon Ducks (11-1, 8-1) are one step away from reaching the inaugural College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, quarterback Marcus Mariota is one performance away from locking up the first Heisman Trophy in school history

Of course, the Ducks are also one misstep away from losing out on what could be the best season in school history. Their opponent in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Arizona, has handed Oregon its last two losses.

After what has been an incredible run for the Ducks, there are only a few bowl-game options for them. There are six premier bowl games, and the CFP committee will determine the contestants in each of those games.

Moreover, each of those games will be played on either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 on national television.

The Ducks are a lock for a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day bowl game. With a win over Arizona and a Pac-12 title in tow, the Ducks will be locked into the Rose Bowl.

However, if they lose to Arizona for the third consecutive time, their bowl situation gets a bit murkier.

 

Rose Bowl or Bust

The CFP committee will make a final decision on the four playoff participants this weekend and will announce the final bracket on Sunday (9:30 a.m. PST on ESPN).

As long as the Ducks are able to take out the Wildcats in the Pac-12 title game, they will play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 1.

If the Ducks win, they’ll likely be either the first or second seed in the final CFP rankings. If that holds true—it should—the Ducks will be placed at the semifinal venue closest to them—the Rose Bowl—per section 9B of the CFP selection protocol:

When assigning teams to sites, the committee will place the top two seeds at the most advantageous sites, weighing criteria such as convenience of travel for its fans, home-crowd advantage or disadvantage and general familiarity with the host city and its stadium. Preference will go to the No. 1 seed.

The Ducks would be a great fit for the Rose Bowl, as they would have a strong following of loyal fans and would keep the Pac-12 tie-in with the game.

The Rose Bowl’s ideal scenario would have seen Oregon take on Ohio State; however, with the loss of Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett, it’s highly unlikely that will happen.

Also, it seems as though the playoff committee is inclined to have Florida State play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, assuming both teams win their conference championships on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Not only would that matchup draw an unmatched national audience, but it would also draw one of the largest crowds in Sugar Bowl history due to the proximity of both universities. That’s likely one of the reasons Florida State is currently ranked No. 4 in the CFP poll and that TCU jumped to No. 3 this week.

TheBigLead.com's Jason McIntyre notes the potential scenario:

In my opinion, if the Ducks win the Pac-12 title in convincing fashion, they’ll end up as the No. 1 seed. That would leave Alabama and Florida State as the second and third seeds.

In this scenario, Oregon would likely end up facing TCU, Baylor or Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Of course, if the Ducks lose to Arizona for a third consecutive time, all of their postseason dreams will go up in smoke.

 

New Year’s Eve/Day Possibilities

If the Ducks were to lose to Arizona (take a deep breath Oregon fans, this is hypothetical), they would almost assuredly play in one of the other four premier New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day bowl games.

In total, six bowl games are hand-picked by the CFP committee. This year, the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California) and Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) were selected as the New Year’s Day semifinal sites, and the Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas) will also be played on Jan. 1.

On New Year’s Eve, there are three other premier bowl games that the Ducks would hypothetically be eligible to play in—the Orange Bowl (Miami), Peach Bowl (Atlanta) and Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Arizona).

Here is how the playoff committee will select the participants in the four non-semifinal bowl games, according to section 10 of the CFP selection protocol:

A. All displaced conference champions and the highest ranked champion from a non-contract conference, as ranked by the committee, will participate in selected other bowl games and will be assigned to those games by the committee. If berths in the selected other bowl games remain available after those teams have been identified, the highest ranked other teams, as ranked by the committee, will fill those berths in rank order.’(Note: A “displaced conference champion” is a champion of a contract conference that does not qualify for the playoff in a year when its contract bowl hosts a semifinal game.)

B. The committee shall create the best matchups in these bowl games in light of the following considerations. None of these considerations shall affect the ranking of teams. Also, none of these considerations will be controlling in determining the assignment of teams to available bowl games. The committee will use geography as a consideration in the pairing of teams and assigning them to available bowl games. The committee will attempt to avoid regular-season rematches when assigning teams to bowls. To benefit fans and student-athletes, the committee will attempt to avoid assigning a team, or conference, or the highest-ranked champion of a non-contract conference, to the same bowl game repeatedly. The committee will consider regular-season head-to-head results when assigning teams to bowls. The committee will consider conference championships when assigning teams to bowls.

The key point within this part of the selection protocol is that the committee would make decisions based on geography. So, you can throw out the Orange Bowl and Peach Bowl.

That would leave the Cotton and Fiesta bowls as options for the Ducks. If the Ducks lose to Arizona and the Wildcats earn a bid into the CFP, then Oregon would mostly likely end up playing in the Fiesta Bowl.

However, if the Wildcats beat Oregon and don’t make the Top Four, then Arizona would likely play in the Fiesta Bowl. In that case, the Ducks would likely be on their way to Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas. Per ESPN.com Pac-12 writer Ted Miller:

The Ducks would love the opportunity to play in Arlington, but they don’t want to play there on Jan. 1. They want to play in Texas on Jan. 12 for the national title.

Oregon has positioned itself well to make a run at a national title this season. However, without a victory over Arizona in the Pac-12 title game, the 2014 season will have been a tease of unbearable proportions.

The Ducks are so close to completing one of the finest seasons in school history. Heck, with a Pac-12 title and a Heisman Trophy winner—which would be a first for the program—you could make a case that the 2014 campaign has been the best in school history.

Mariota and company are on the precipice of greatness. With three more victories, the Ducks will be national champions. However, they must be cautious with every step. The Wildcats are not a team the Ducks can afford to overlook.

If they do overlook, they may be spending New Year's Day somewhere other than Pasadena.

 

Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise stated. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise stated.

Jason Gold is Bleacher Report’s lead Oregon writer. Follow Jason on Twitter @TheSportsGuy33.

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@FauxPelini Opens Up on Bo's Firing, Reveals Plans for Future of Parody Account

It has been four years since @FauxPelini first tweeted. In that time, the account has amassed more than 163,000 followers and become a favorite across the college football landscape.

The man behind the account, who will be referred to as "Michael" (his middle name), never saw it coming. What started as a joke became something much bigger than he ever expected.

As a result, the news of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini being fired left many people—some Nebraska fans and some not—asking one question: What's next?

Michael isn't sure. It may be the end, it may not. One thing is for sure, though: he'll never be @FauxPelini as you know him now.

Bleacher Report had the opportunity to speak with Michael and get a little more insight into what's next and, of course, what will happen to the famous cat.

 

Q: The news broke suddenly Sunday morning that Pelini had been fired. Where were you when you first heard?

FP: I was actually in Omaha for Thanksgiving weekend, getting ready to drive back home, when I randomly checked Twitter and saw the news. That delayed my departure for about an hour as the messages started rolling in.

Q: Upon hearing the news, what were your initial thoughts?

FP: I was very surprised. After the Iowa game, I thought [Bo] was in the clear for another year, or at least until after the bowl game. Clearly [director of athletics Shawn] Eichhorst means business.

My next thought was what will this mean for the account? I had started to look ahead and had to rethink things again. The firing of Bo means some sort of an end, or at least a transition. That became my focus after the initial surprise of the news.

Q: What does your Twitter buyout contract look like?

FP: It’s the same as Bo’s, except without any money. But I don’t have to move. So I kind of have the advantage, other than the $7 million part.

Q: Who will keep the cat: you or Pelini?

FP: The cat will be auctioned off on eBay or maybe sold on Craigslist.

"For sale, one pretend cat that does not exist and therefore will not pee on your couch."

Q: Who do you think would be a good replacement for your job? Will their Twitter account be as entertaining?

FP: Scott Frost would be an interesting hire but would be a difficult guy to parody. The ideal replacement from a Twitter perspective would be either Steve Spurrier or Charlie Weis, or maybe Matthew McConaughey. Or Whoopi Goldberg. Any of them would work well on Twitter.

Q: What’s next for Twitter’s favorite faux coach?

FP: The straight answer is, I really don’t know. I probably won’t follow Bo and probably won’t parody the new guy. I don’t think my heart would be in either of those options. I might hang it up or maybe stick around for a little while as a Ghost of Pelini thing or something. I’ll figure it out in the coming week or so.

Q: Do you have anything that you would like to say to your many fans?

FP: Whatever happens—or doesn’t happen—next, it’s been fun. I’ve appreciated the support and kind words over the last couple days. It’s been a cool thing.

Q: And lastly, for those curious, will you ever reveal your identity?

FP: Never! Well, maybe. But definitely not yet.

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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Odds, College Football Pick

Marshall was the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA championship, and despite last week's loss, which ruined the Herd's run at perfection, they can still live up to those lofty expectations.

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, got hot toward the end of this season, going 4-1 against the spread over its last five games, winning CUSA's West Division.

Two of the better teams to bet on this season meet when the Thundering Herd and the Bulldogs battle in the CUSA Championship Game on the Herd's home field in Huntington on Saturday afternoon.

 

Point spread: The Thundering Herd opened as 14.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.6-23.0 Thundering Herd

 

Why the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs can cover the spread

The Bulldogs are 6-1 SU over their last seven games and 6-2 ATS over their last eight after routing Rice 76-31 and easily covering the spread as seven-point favorites last week. Louisiana Tech led 28-17 at the half and then scored four times in the third quarter to pull away. The 'Dogs racked up 677 yards of offense on the Owls, ran for 269 yards and scored twice on defensive touchdowns.

So after going 4-8 in its first season under Skip Holtz last year, Louisiana Tech is playing for a conference title. The Bulldogs have been betting dogs four times this season; they're 4-0 ATS in that spot.

 

Why the Marshall Thundering Herd can cover the spread

The Herd had won 11 games in a row but got caught napping last week, giving up nine touchdowns in a 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky. Marshall trailed almost all day, including by 10 points with 10 minutes to go, but rallied for two scores to force overtime before falling on a bold two-point call by the Hilltoppers. Prior to that, the Herd had won 10 of their 11 games by at least 19 points.

Marshall is averaging 289 yards per game on the ground and 286 through the air while giving up just 359 total yards per outing. Finally, after losing last year's conference title game to Rice as six-point favorites, the Herd might be hungry for redemption.

 

Smart pick

Marshall owns the edge on offense, but Louisiana Tech owns the edge on defense. And when you can get the team with the better defense plus points, that's probably the smart choice.

 

Betting trends

  • Louisiana Tech is 4-2 SU in its last six games on the road.
  • Marshall is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

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Kansas State Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Betting Odds, Analysis and Big 12 Pick

It's a mess at the top of the Big 12 with three teams, Baylor, TCU and Kansas State, all tied at 7-1 in conference play. Two of those teams still harbor hopes of making the College Football Playoffs, and one of those teams is the 10-1 Bears, who host the 9-2 Wildcats Saturday night.


Point spread: This game was OFF the board early in the week at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).


College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 47.4-33.6 Bears

 

Why the Kansas State Wildcats can cover the spread

The Wildcats are 7-1 both straight up and against the spread over their last eight games, after beating rival Kansas last week 51-13, covering as a 26-point favorite. Kansas State led 31-6 at the half, removing all doubt as to the outcome of the game and eventually outgained the Jayhawks 505-197.

The Wildcats' only two losses this season came by a touchdown against Auburn, and at TCU, and they've already won games at Oklahoma and at West Virginia. Bill Snyder is a great coach, one of those guys who always gets more out of what he has to work with, so Kansas State is a live dog in this spot.

 

Why the Baylor Bears can cover the spread

The Bears just overcame upset-minded Texas Tech last week 48-46, surviving an injury to quarterback Bryce Petty and a furious Red Raiders comeback attempt, hanging on to both the victory and their national championship aspirations.

With a win this Saturday, combined with its amazing, come-from-behind victory over TCU back in October, Baylor would claim the Big 12 title, which would give it a chance to overtake the Horned Frogs in the
College Football Playoff Rankings.

Since losing at West Virginia the Bears are 4-0, averaging 51 points per game. And if Petty can't go, at least backup quarterback Seth Russell has taken a few snaps already this season, compiling an 8/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

 

Smart Pick

Art Briles and his Bears are 3-1 SU against Snyder and his Wildcats, but Kansas State is 3-1 ATS in that span. Also, Baylor isn't quite the monster it was last year, and its quarterback situation, as of early this week, remained up in the air. So the smart choice here is with the Wildcats.

 

Betting Trends

  • The total has gone over in four of Kansas State's last five games when playing Baylor
  • Baylor is 15-3 ATS in its last 18 games at home

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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Iowa State Cyclones vs. TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds, Analysis, Pick

The TCU Horned Frogs sit on the verge of making the College Football Playoff. At 10-1 straight up and 9-2 against the spread, the Horned Frogs will finish out their regular season at home Saturday afternoon against 2-9 Iowa State.

The Horned Frogs are big favorites for this one, and covering the spread wouldn't be a bad way to impress the playoff committee.

 

Point spread: The Horned Frogs opened as 33-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 42.2-17.9 Horned Frogs

 

Why the Iowa State Cyclones can cover the spread

The Cyclones are 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS over their last five games, but they've had chances to make some cash.

Two weeks ago, ISU led Texas Tech by 10 points in the third quarter and by four points late into the fourth quarter before giving up the game-winning score. And last week, as 10-point dogs, the Cyclones led West Virginia 21-7 in the second quarter before giving up 30 of the last 33 points in a 37-24 defeat.

If Iowa State can get a full 60-minute effort, continued good play from quarterback Sam Richardson, perhaps 100 yards from running back Aaron Wimberly and some containment on defense, it could easily cover this spread.

 

Why the TCU Horned Frogs can cover the spread

The Frogs not only took care of business last week at Texas, but they also earned the necessary style points to stick right near the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. TCU led 20-3 through three quarters but, perhaps sensing it hadn't done quite enough, scored four times in the fourth for a gaudy final score of 48-10.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin accounted for 280 yards and three scores, and the defense held the 'Horns to 290 yards while forcing six turnovers. The Frogs have already won five games this season by 30 or more points, and they know the committee will be watching Saturday's game closely.

 

Smart pick

Motivation means everything in this spot, and the Frogs can't afford to call off the dogs. So the smart money here resides with TCU, giving the big points.

 

Betting trends

  • Iowa State is 1-4 SU in its last five games when playing TCU.
  • TCU is 5-0 ATS in its last five games at home.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

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Kramer's College Football Notebook: The Committee Has Gone Mad

If winning all of the games on your schedule is not enough, what precedent does that set? More importantly, in a year devoid of dominant teams, why should a program playing in a Power Five conference be penalized for accomplishing something no other team could? If anything, it should make the achievement that much more impressive.

The College Football Playoff selection committee has made it abundantly clear it is not of this mindset.

In its most recent College Football Playoff rankings, the committee dropped Florida State down to the No. 4 spot, bumping TCU up to No. 3, heading into the final weekend. In doing so, the committee has affirmed its stance that it does not care for the Seminoles' sloppy, cardiac-packed, blemish-less resume.

Now, let’s make one thing abundantly clear: Florida State has not looked crisp in many of its wins, and it is nowhere close to a dominant team. The Seminoles have major flaws—starting with their Heisman-winning quarterback who looks more hobbled by the week—and various pieces playing at a far less dominant level than they were a season ago. 

But, they are undefeated. This cannot be reiterated enough. You can cry foul over the lack of quality teams in the ACC and make a valid case. Still, the Seminoles have done something no other team has done. They were also just leapfrogged by a team that nearly lost to Kansas mere weeks ago.

That is not a knock on TCU, which warrants the utmost playoff consideration given its overall season. In all actuality, this isn’t even a debate centered around head-to-head resumes. 

It boils down to what matters most, which should be victories above all, no strings attached. Winning everything on your schedule—no matter the path taken to arrive at this point—should be valued more than it currently is.

That was the original plan, at least. Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples shared the CFP media guide's take on humans vs. computers as it relates to rankings:

Wow RT @CarltonLemley: You won't believe what the CFP media guide says about using humans over computers for rankings pic.twitter.com/CZIQlHvHvf

— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) December 3, 2014

My, how things change.

However, this is far from the only takeaway from the committee’s final weekly release before the Top 25 (and the first-ever College Football Playoff) is set in stone.

 

Welcome to the Playoff, TCU

Florida State’s fall is TCU’s gain. Of course it is. The Horned Frogs' surprising climb to No. 3 in the latest rankings means much more for Gary Patterson’s team than it does for Jimbo Fisher’s. 

This is the buffer TCU was so desperately seeking. Not only does it put the Horned Frogs ahead of the undefeated Seminoles, but it also, more importantly, distances them from Baylor, the only team to beat them this season. Although the separation between No. 3 and No. 6 may seem insignificant, it might as well be the Grand Canyon.

The Bears are by no means out of the College Football Playoff conversation, although they likely need help getting in under the circumstances. Despite owning a win over TCU, Baylor will likely be unable to make up the ground necessary to surpass TCU in the end. However, it doesn't hurt to have No. 9 Kansas State on deck in the finale.

If TCU struggles against Iowa State and Baylor waxes a Top 10 team, perhaps that will be enough to shake things up. Given the committee's most recent stance, however, this feels unlikely.

Once thought to be in a position of weakness due to the absence of a conference championship game, the Horned Frogs are now in the driver's seat.

 

No J.T. Barrett, No Problem

As it stands right now, Ohio State’s playoff hopes haven’t wavered despite a seismic shift in public perception. The loss of star quarterback J.T. Barrett to season-ending surgery has complicated matters, and committee chairman Jeff Long addressed this topic while appearing on ESPN (via Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod):

Jeff Long on J.T. Barrett injury: “Ohio State’s situation has not been impacted at this point…we will evaluate his replacement."

— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) December 3, 2014

Everything is on course. The Buckeyes still need help, but, for the time being, it's business as usual.

With that cleared up, you can’t help but zero in on the most fascinating part of that statement. While Ohio State moved up to No. 5, thanks to Mississippi State’s loss to Ole Miss, the word “reevaluate” jumps off the page. It was the most meaningful of Long's remarks in his brief appearance. 

The committee chairman has made the committee's stance here clear as day: Ohio State is on trial with new quarterback Cardale Jones, and the takeaways from this game will be judged differently than any other game played this season.

As a result, Ohio State doesn't just have to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. It also has to look the part of a top-four team with a top-flight QB while doing so.

 

Arizona Looks to Control Its Own Playoff Destiny 

TCU’s ascent to No. 3 wasn’t the only notable jump in the rankings. Arizona surged four spots in the latest Top 25, at a time when it matters most and with a final impression still to make.

No longer just a backup plan reserved for chaos; the Wildcats, at No. 7, are a team you need to be thinking about when it comes to playoff consumption. Suddenly, the Pac-12 Championship has the feel of a quarterfinal.

If Oregon wins, it will obviously be granted access to the playoff. The Ducks were tabbed as the No. 2 team again this week and could potentially seize the No. 1 spot with a solid performance. Regardless, they're in with a win.

An Arizona win could throw a wrench into the process. It would give the Wildcats two victories over a team the committee clearly likes. It would also give Arizona more momentum to close out the year than any other program in the country, which would certainly help its cause in these closed-door discussions.

While Arizona might not be a lock to crack the top four with a victory, its movement prior to its final game certainly helps the push. Now comes the hard part of the plan, which involves no committee opinion or poll. 

The Wildcats have to beat a much healthier, much more efficient Oregon team than the last time these two teams met. They also have to stop the quarterback playing better than any college football player on the planet right now.

No one said it would be easy.

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Final College Football Playoff Projections from Analytics Guru Ed Feng

Ever since ESPN aired the release of the inaugural College Football Playoff poll on Oct. 28, there has been just one question on everybody's mind: What will the rankings look like when they matter on Dec. 7?

My algorithm projects just that in the sortable table above. Now, allow me to explain my rankings...


Why Florida State Fell to No. 4

Despite its undefeated record, Florida State dropped from third to fourth in the committee rankings. That is because the Seminoles are not winning games in a convincing fashion. This past week was a great example of that as the Noles eked out a five-point win over a Florida team that fired its coach, Will Muschamp.

But shouldn't Florida State's undefeated, 12-0 record matter? Shouldn't winning percentage determine the four best teams?

We can test this hypothesis with data.

If record matters most, the team with the better regular-season win percentage should win a bowl game more often. However, since 2005, the team with the better win percentage has only won 50.4 percent of bowl games. According to this metric, win percentage is a moot point. 

In contrast, the team with a higher average margin of victory won 59.7 percent of bowl games. Margin of victory matters more in judging teams, and the committee intuitively understands this.

Florida State has struggled mostly because of its defense. Over the past two seasons, the Seminole defense ranked in the top five in my yards-allowed-per-play-adjusted-for-strength-of-schedule metric. However, Florida State ranks 34th this season.

The Seminoles have failed to generate a consistent pass rush, and they have sacked the opposing quarterback on only 4.2 percent of pass attempts. This is much lower than the 6.0 percent FBS average.

All that said, Florida State should still make the playoff as it has a 65.9 percent win probability over Georgia Tech in Saturday's ACC Championship Game. 


Welcome to the Playoff, TCU

This week, TCU took over as the team most likely to make the playoff, ahead of even Alabama and Oregon. The reason is simple: TCU has the easiest game this last weekend with a 92.5 percent win probability over Iowa State at home, and the committee gave it a buffer with the No. 3 ranking.

It would be very tough to see the Horned Frogs get jumped by two teams if they win. 

However, this TCU team might be overrated. It has enjoyed an incredible plus-18 in turnover margin (takeaways minus giveaways) this season. Since turnovers are mostly random, TCU's success is less stable than some of the other teams at the top of the rankings.

 

Quantifying the Impact of J.T. Barrett's Injury

Just 2.6 percent. That is the impact of quarterback J.T. Barrett's injury as Ohio State's playoff chances only drop from 17.9 percent to 15.3 percent without him at the helm. 

Ohio State suffered a huge setback when Barrett broke his ankle against Michigan on Saturday. With Barrett at the helm, Ohio State had the third ranked offense by my yards-per-play-adjusted-for-strength-of-schedule statistic.

The offense will most likely regress without him.

How can we account for his injury in the numbers? I consulted market data to make an estimate. One can use past point spreads to assign each team a rating, or an expected point spread against an average team. It's similar to how computer rankings use margin of victory to rank teams. These market rankings gave Ohio State and Wisconsin approximately the same rating.

With the Barrett injury, the markets favor Wisconsin by four points over Ohio State. So I adjusted Ohio State's rating four points to account for his absence. This changes the Buckeyes' win probability from 55.3 percent to 43.4 percent over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.

Despite this reduced win probability against Wisconsin, Ohio State still has a 15.3 percent chance to make the playoff.


85 Percent Chance a Contending Team Loses

Championship week doesn't offer stiff competition for the top three teams in the committee rankings. Here are the win probabilities given by my model:

1. Alabama 82.9 percent over Missouri
2. Oregon 85.0 percent over Arizona
3. TCU 92.5 percent over Iowa State

However, the next three teams face tougher games.

4. Florida State 65.9 percent over Georgia Tech
5. Ohio State 43.4 percent over Wisconsin
6. Baylor 52.4 percent over Kansas State

To determine the likelihood that all three teams win, you multiply their win probabilities together to obtain 15 percent. Then 100 percent minus this probability, or 85 percent, gives the chance that at least one of these three teams loses.


Ed Feng founded The Power Rank and has also written for Grantland and Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter @thepowerrank.

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Fresno State vs. Boise State Betting Odds, College Football Pick

What started out as a rough season for the Fresno State Bulldogs has turned into a shot at the conference title. They meet the Boise State Broncos in Saturday’s Mountain West Championship Game at Bronco Stadium.

The West Division champion Bulldogs suffered through two three-game skids this year but also won three in a row twice, going 5-1 against the spread during the two different winning streaks.

 

Point spread: The Broncos opened as 17-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 30.3-20.6 Broncos

 

Why the Fresno State Bulldogs can cover the spread

Fresno State has nothing to lose here. It is already bowl-eligible with six wins and is content to finish the season on a positive note by making it to this game.

The Bulldogs played Mountain Division champion Boise State tough on the road back on October 17, losing 37-27 but covering the spread as 18-point underdogs. All looked lost for them when they fell to the Wyoming Cowboys 45-17 two weeks later as 15.5-point favorites.

But Fresno was able to come together and end the regular season with three straight wins, including two as an underdog. The Bulldogs are 7-3 straight up and against the spread in their last 10 road games against Mountain West opponents.

 

Why the Boise State Broncos can cover the spread 

The Broncos have absolutely dominated Fresno State over the past 14 meetings, going 12-2 SU and ATS. One of those non-covers came earlier this year, but you have to go back to 2005 to find the previous time they failed to beat the number against the Bulldogs. Boise has also won its last seven games overall, winning the past two by a combined score of 113-33 and easily covering both.

During their winning streak, the Broncos are averaging nearly 51 points per game, while Fresno has scored more than 35 only twice all season. The over cashed in all of those games for Boise, and if that trend continues, the Bulldogs will struggle to keep up this time in a shootout.

 

Smart pick

The Broncos seem to have finally found their groove late in the season and should be able to win this rematch by at least three touchdowns.

They have superior talent and will be facing a team that is just happy to be here. Fresno is way too inconsistent to trust in this spot and has not covered two straight in the series over the past 13 years, so why would that change here?

Keep in mind that Boise dominated the Bulldogs in the first meeting earlier this year despite only winning by 10 points, outgaining them 492-313 in total yardage and 24-12 in first downs. If that happens again, the final margin will at least double on the scoreboard, so look for the Broncos to cover at home.

 

Betting trends 

  • The total has gone over in five of Fresno State's last seven games when playing Boise State.
  • The total has gone over in five of Boise State's last six games at home.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and get the free odds tracker app.

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FCS Playoff Bracket 2014: Preview and Predictions for 2nd Round

A wild first week in the FCS football playoffs left a lot of some of the top teams heading home early.

Top seeds like New Hampshire, Jacksonville State and North Dakota State remained home, but are set to take the stage this weekend. All three programs will be at home along with Illinois State, Coastal Carolina and other elite programs.

One of the biggest shake-ups came when Liberty edged James Madison for its second significant win. After taking down Coastal Carolina and JMU in consecutive weeks, the Flames look like a dark horse moving forward.

Prior to the big dogs rolling out in the playoffs, here's a look at the FCS bracket, predictions and analysis of the second round.

 

Analysis

In the FCS playoffs, no team is riding higher than Liberty.

Not only did the Flames clinch a spot into the postseason with a massive win over former No. 1 Coastal, but they also took down JMU in the first round. It was a historic moment for the program, as the Flames men's basketball Twitter account notes:

On the heels of its first playoff victory, Turner Gill has the team ready to compete with Villanova. The Wildcats come in at 10-2 and 6-0 at home, but the Flames are burning bright at the right time after two of the biggest victories, with a chance to make a late run.

Playing well in the FCS playoffs might not be the ceiling for the rising program. With UAB's football program folds, via ESPN.com, the Flames might be looking for a move, per Dan Wolken of USA Today:

For now, the Flames look like a strong contender in the FCS playoffs. Going up against a stout Villanova program, Liberty has another shot to prove it's a program on the rise with a win.

Outside of Liberty, South Dakota State has been another surprise team. The Jackrabbits have been slowly on the rise but recently had a huge win of their own against Montana State to move forward in the postseason.

Zach Zenner enjoyed a career day with 324 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns to propel SDSU to the next round. Bobcats head coach Rob Ash spoke about the swift running back, via Scott Mansch of the Great Falls Tribune.

"Boy," Ash said. "When he broke free it was like we weren't even out there. He was very impressive. ... I saw him way too much today. He just made phenomenal plays."

Zenner isn't the only weapon for the Jackrabbits, as Terry Vandrovec of the Argus Leader notes:

The Jackrabbits and Zenner will now have to face North Dakota State for a chance to advance. While the Bison recently dropped a game to Northern Iowa, coming away with a win in Fargo will take another phenomenal game from Zenner and the entire team.

However, the NDSU program has been entirely too strong to drop a game this early in the playoffs. There will be upsets on Saturday, but the Jackrabbits are huge underdogs against the Bison.

A lot is still up in the air with the playoffs continuing, so several shake-ups might be on the horizon. Expect even more turmoil in the weeks to come as Liberty, SDSU and several others look to continue improbable postseason runs.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Betting Odds, Analysis

Florida State owns a 28-game winning streak, but those wins have been getting harder and harder to come by. Last week, the Seminoles just squeaked by a poor Florida team, and now they're only 3-9 against the spread on the season.

And even though the 'Noles are 12-0 overall, many people are wondering if Florida State is assured a spot in the College Football Playoff. To be safe, it has to take care of business when it runs into 10-2 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday night in Charlotte.

 

Point spread: The Seminoles opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 39.0-26.9 Seminoles

 

Why the Florida State Seminoles can cover the spread

The Seminoles are not the powerhouse they were last season, but they just keep winning. Last week, it was a 24-19 decision over the Gators. FSU outrushed Florida 181-113, but four interceptions by Jameis Winston kept the Gators close.

In what was probably the key play of the game, the Seminoles defense came up big. Down 9-0 with Florida threatening again, linebacker Terrance Smith picked off a Treon Harris pass and rambled 94 yards for a score, turning the tide. Florida State even built a 21-9 lead, although it couldn't quite hang on for the cover.

 

Why the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets can cover the spread

The Ramblin' Wreck are the surprise champions of the Coastal Division, and they're coming off a huge overtime rivalry victory over Georgia last Saturday. Georgia Tech tied the game on a 53-yard field goal at the buzzer and then won it 30-24 in overtime, snapping a five-game losing streak in the series against the Bulldogs.

The Yellow Jackets ride a five-game winning streak both SU and ATS into Saturday's conference title contest. Georgia Tech is 8-4 ATS on the season and has outrushed every opponent. Outrushing Florida State, which is averaging only 131 yards per game on the ground, might go a long way toward not only covering this spread but also pulling off the upset.

 

Smart pick

The Seminoles have been living dangerously this season, winning a bunch of close games and having to come from behind on an almost weekly basis. One of these times, they're going to come up short. And going against a team that can run the ball like the Wreck should be cause for concern.

The smart money in this spot resides with Georgia Tech, plus the points.

 

Betting trends

  • Florida State is 28-0 SU in its last 28 games.
  • Georgia Tech is 2-9 SU in its last 11 games when playing Florida State.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

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Ohio State's Quarterback Injury Shouldn't Keep Buckeyes out of Playoff

What’s more important: what a team has conclusively accomplished on the field or what some people think that team might possibly do in future games?

That suddenly is a huge factor for the College Football Playoff committee, as it weighs the implications of Ohio State losing Heisman Trophy candidate J.T. Barrett and being left with untested sophomore Cardale Jones as its quarterback.

For the moment, the committee hasn’t done anything. Ohio State predictably sits in the No. 5 slot, moving up one place after Mississippi State’s loss.

But what if Ohio State defeats Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, yet Jones clearly struggles in his first start? How will the committee react then?

If the committee decides to, it’s perfectly entitled to hammer the Buckeyes in the rankings and drop them out of sight. That authority was extended in the protocol that has been posted all season long on the CFP website.

It’s the fifth and final “principle” that’s to be considered—after conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and comparative outcomes of common opponents—and reads: “Other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.”

And I think it needs to be erased.

Injuries are a huge part of sports, and to suddenly wipe out a team’s drive for a championship because one player has been hobbled is totally contrary to the fundamental belief that anything can happen once the game kicks off. It’s also like taking points off the board in a game that has been completed.

Imagine if Peyton Manning cracked a couple of ribs just before the NFL playoffs, and Roger Goodell responded by removing a division-winning Broncos team from the postseason. It’s too ridiculous to even consider, yet the CFP committee has that option.

No matter who gets hurt, it shouldn’t undo the victories a team has amassed. The Buckeyes can log a 12th win on Saturday, and if they miss the playoffs, it should be because they lost to a vastly mediocre Virginia Tech team at home—not because they’ve had to dip into their depth chart.

The same Ohio State team that’s being questioned because of Barrett’s injury is also the one that proved a season-ending injury to a star quarterback can be overcome.

Hardly anyone knew who Barrett was back in August, before the Buckeyes lost Braxton Miller, their two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, to a shoulder injury.

Can Jones make the same magical ascent as Barrett? I have no idea, and neither does the committee. What is definite is that he has been in Urban Meyer’s offensive system for three years, and that if Ohio State gets past Wisconsin, he’d have nearly a month to prepare for the playoff.

But heaping the decision about Ohio State’s future solely onto Jones’ shoulders misses the point. He could have a three-interception game, like Blake Sims did for No. 1-ranked Alabama last Saturday against Auburn, and still see his team win.

No one is going to seek Oregon’s playoff ouster if Marcus Mariota is so-so in the Pac-12 championship tilt against Arizona, as long as the Ducks win. The same applies to TCU’s Trevone Boykin against Iowa State.

But Ohio State has reason to be very nervous.

The playoff committee has shown a willingness to run against the grain, and some might say extremely so.

Dropping Florida State to No. 4 was flat-out a rogue move. The defending national champions are wobbling as they edge closer and closer to a second consecutive undefeated season, but dropping them behind three once-beaten teams shows the committee has little regard for traditional ranking methodology.

Similarly, reading the collective mind of the committee is even more difficult with TCU ranked two spots ahead of No. 6 Baylor. Baylor beat TCU, but the protocol principle of valuing head-to-head competition seems to be getting ignored.

The committee chairman, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long, shed precious little light on Ohio State’s situation when the latest rankings were unveiled on ESPN.

Long said Barrett’s injury “has not impacted” Ohio State’s ranking yet, but he added that, “It will be evaluated in this last game.”

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher thinks that’s one of several things that are wrong with the way rankings are being conducted this season, as Fisher told reporters regarding Barrett’s injury and the rankings:

It should have no bearing. Their body of work and what they do should be measured. It's not figure skating. If Ohio State wins the game and does what they're supposed to do and that's what they feel is right, they should put them in there. Their other quarterback got hurt and they put him in and he did pretty well. They have one loss and they've done pretty well. To me, that is total craziness if you think that way.

If Barrett’s injury proves to be a hurdle the Buckeyes can’t clear, the committee will hear from coach Meyer. And loudly so.

Contemplating that possibility, Meyer told Cleveland.com before this week’s rankings were announced, "I think that's wrong, if that happens. If it's Ohio State or some other team, I don't know how—it's strictly how you play."

Added Meyer, "You're the champion of the Big Ten Conference, you lose one Heisman Trophy candidate before the season and another one in [Game 12] that is also a Heisman candidate. I think that's almost a positive, that your team can still go function, and it tells you about the players and talent on your team."

I think Meyer has it right. Suppose Jones is downright awful against Wisconsin, but Ohio State still finds a way to win via the rushing game, air-tight defense and special teams precision.

Doesn’t that speak to the talent level of the rest of the Buckeyes, and isn't football still a team sport?

 

Tom Weir covered college football as a columnist for USA Today.

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Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

The Arizona Wildcats will look to beat the Oregon Ducks for the third straight time when they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

The North Division champion Ducks were stunned by the South Division champion Wildcats 31-24 on October 2 in Eugene as 21.5-point home favorites and have not lost since, winning their past seven games both straight up and against the spread.

 

Point spread: The Ducks opened as 14-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).

 

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 43.4-28.6 Ducks

 

Why the Arizona Wildcats can cover the spread

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez seems to have created the secret formula needed to defeat Oregon. Whether he ends up parlaying that success into a better job opportunity after the season, such as the opening with the Florida Gators, remains to be seen, but he can at least help end the national championship dreams of the Ducks with one more win here.

In the meeting earlier this season, the Wildcats were able to run the ball effectively with 208 yards on 55 carries and three rushing touchdowns against Oregon, controlling the clock and keeping the opposition’s offense off the field. If they can do that again, there’s no reason to believe they can’t make it three wins in a row.

 

Why the Oregon Ducks can cover the spread

The Ducks have much more on the line here than Arizona does, as a berth in the first-ever College Football Playoff field is within reach with a victory. They figure to finish among the top four teams in the country if they can avenge their lone loss of the season and win the Pac-12 title.

Oregon has proved itself more than any other team since suffering that setback at home against the Wildcats, rewarding backers who have continued to believe in them down the stretch.

Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has all but locked up the Heisman Trophy, based on the latest odds, and he can put the finishing touches on his campaign by winning a conference championship.

They have won seven in a row ATS versus conference foes since last losing against the Wildcats.

 

Smart pick

Mariota did not play like a Heisman favorite in the last two meetings with Arizona, but he can certainly make up for those past performances with one victory.

He didn't play poorly in either game, but he rushed for only one yard on nine carries in the loss this year and threw two interceptions in last season's 42-16 road loss, in which the Ducks were 18.5-point favorites.

Last year was much different, though, as Oregon went 1-4 ATS down the stretch and had already lost on the road to the Stanford Cardinal after starting the season 8-0.

The Ducks are peaking and might just be the team to beat for the national championship this year. They will serve notice in Santa Clara with their eighth straight dominant victory and cover against the number.

 

Betting trends

  • Arizona is 4-12 SU in its last 16 games when playing Oregon.
  • Oregon is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Arizona.

 

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds tracker app.

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The 1 Dark Horse in Perfect Position to Crash the College Football Playoff

With the committee closing in on its final rankings Dec. 7, there are many underdog teams with visions of cracking the first College Football Playoff. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee dishes out the underdog team that could crash the CFP.

Which dark-horse squad currently outside of the Top Four can do so?

Check out the video and let us know! 

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Are Ohio State's College Football Playoff Hopes Dead?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Did the latest College Football Playoff rankings provide good news or bad news for Ohio State?

How about a little of both?

The Buckeyes entered Tuesday night as college football's greatest conundrum, riding a 10-game winning streak into the Big Ten Championship Game but also dealing with the broken ankle suffered by quarterback J.T. Barrett in last weekend's win over Michigan.

Nevertheless, Ohio State managed to rise a spot in this week's rankings to No. 5, as the committee declined to punish the Buckeyes—yet—for their star player's season-ending injury.

"Ohio State's situation has not been impacted to this point due to J.T. Barrett's injury," playoff committee chair Jeff Long said on Tuesday's ESPN rankings reveal. "We will evaluate his injury and his replacement in this championship game. The No. 5 ranking of Ohio State is not impacted at this point."

That's good news for the Buckeyes.

Because at the very least, backup quarterback Cardale Jones will be given a one-game opportunity to prove that he's a capable replacement for Barrett.

If Jones lights it up or the drop-off between him and Barrett isn't significant, it's safe to assume that Ohio State will remain firmly entrenched in the playoff committee's discussion—so long as the Buckeyes win.

Now for the bad news.

While Ohio State may have climbed to No. 5 following a loss by former No. 4 Mississippi State, it wasn't the only team to make a move on Tuesday. In fact, TCU's jump from No. 5 to No. 3 was the biggest news of the night, with the Horned Frogs jumping now-No. 4 Florida State.

That's telling in the sense that the committee thinks enough of TCU at this point to rank it ahead of the defending national champion Seminoles, who also happen to be the country's only undefeated team.

As Long explained, Florida State's fall had more to do with its string of close calls than it did the Horned Frogs' 48-10 win over 6-6 Texas last week.

"I think they're very close to being No. 3," Long said of the Seminoles. "In the last three weeks, they've had unranked opponents that they've struggled with. I think that's what had an impact on Florida State's position at four."

And while that may be the case, it still could spell bad news for the Buckeyes.

While it was previously thought that a win in the Big Ten title game would be enough for Ohio State to jump into the top four, that was when it was assumed that the Buckeyes would be comparing themselves against TCU, Mississippi State and Baylor.

Regardless of what the Buckeyes do in Indianapolis on Saturday, it's hard to imagine any scenario where they pass the unbeaten Seminoles, should both teams win their conference title games.

But Ohio State's playoff chances aren't dead just yet.

Outside of the possibility of receiving help in the form of No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon and/or Florida State losing their conference title games, the Buckeyes will have one last chance to make their playoff case against 13th-ranked Wisconsin this weekend.

TCU, meanwhile, faces off with 2-9 Iowa State, a game which will hardly boost the Horned Frogs' resume, regardless of the final score.

A win in the Circle City would also give Ohio State a conference championship, which matters because the committee has stated that it will place an emphasis on league titles.

But that's where this situation becomes even more complicated, as the committee is still unsure how it would differentiate between an outright conference champion like the Buckeyes and a potential co-league champion like TCU.

"We will take that into account, whether it's one champion or a co-champion. And championships are certainly what we are supposed to consider," Long said. "We haven't discussed that in the committee room because it hasn't happened yet. But we'll certainly have a discussion and a debate about that if there is a co-champion."

Of course, comparing Ohio State and TCU is tricky right now, as Florida State still sits between the two.

Assuming the Seminoles beat No. 11 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, it's probably a safe bet that they'll reclaim their No. 3 ranking, given the slim margin that the committee stated the Horned Frogs led them by.

This would leave the committee debating between TCU, Ohio State and Baylor for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Buckeyes already hold an apparent edge over Baylor, which plays No. 9 Kansas State this weekend, but it remains unclear whether this weekend will be enough for OSU to pass a team currently ranked two spots ahead of it.

Add the unknown nature of the Buckeyes' quarterback situation to the mix, and conference championship weekend won't be short on intrigue. Everything at this point in the process remains unprecedented, but Ohio State remains firmly in the mix with five days to go until the playoff field is chosen.

Led by a player who at one point was their third-string quarterback, that's all the Buckeyes can really ask for.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Ohio State lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com and recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Is the Committee Ignoring J.T. Barrett's Injury with OSU's Latest Ranking?

The College Football Playoff committee released its latest rankings, and the Ohio State Buckeyes are sitting at No. 5 despite the injury to star quarterback J.T. Barrett. 

Bleacher Report college football analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee discuss Ohio State's placement in the most recent poll. 

Do you agree with Ohio States ranking?

Check out the video, and let us know! 

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5 Things We Learned from College Football Playoff Committee's Week 15 Rankings

Sorry, Baylor.

The selection committee delivered an emphatic message Tuesday night, practically anointing the four teams that will make the inaugural College Football Playoff field. That leaves Baylor and Ohio State on the outside looking in, even if they won their respective final regular-season games.

By moving TCU up one spot to No. 3—over undefeated Florida State (12-0)—the committee is indicating that the Horned Frogs' playoff position is unassailable as long as they defeat 2-9 Iowa State at home Saturday. A Baylor victory over Kansas State will earn the Bears a co-Big 12 championship, but that, along with their 61-58 win over TCU earlier in the season, won't be enough for them to leapfrog TCU.

So that's where we stand with five days remaining before the committee's final rankings are revealed Sunday morning. Here are five other observations:

 

1. Head-to-head matters, sort of

While it's listed as one of the major criteria for the committee, chairman Jeff Long has consistently downplayed its value. After Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby emphatically declined to name "one true champion" on Monday, Long echoed that sentiment a day later.

This gives the committee a convenient out in terms of following one of its other major criteria—conference championship—since the Horned Frogs will be able to share the Big 12 title with the Baylor-Kansas State winner as long as they beat Iowa State.

 

2. Florida State, undefeated, unloved

Another week, another win, and the Seminoles dropped another spot. Jameis Winston and Co. have strung together a series of ugly victories, but being the only unbeaten team in FBS somehow isn't good enough for the committee (or the Associated Press Top 25, which seems to be aping the committee of late).

The silver lining for FSU is that it's not in danger of falling out of the playoff field as long as it beats No. 11 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game Saturday, which will account for its best win of the season, according to the current rankings.

 

3. How would BCS standings have looked?

If the late, great Bowl Championship Series was still in business, its standings would've yielded the same four playoff teams, though in a slightly different order. Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and TCU would be in the top four, with Ohio State and Baylor significantly behind.

A composite of over 100 computer rankings would in fact put Ohio State in the playoff field ahead of Florida State, with Baylor a long way down at No. 8.

 

4. If there are upsets of Top Four teams, then what?

Other than TCU, the teams currently in the playoff field are all playing conference championship games this weekend. If any of them lose, it figures to benefit Ohio State and Baylor. But because of its ranking, don't discount the possibility of No. 7 Arizona jumping into the four-team playoff with a second victory over Oregon.

 

5. Stay up late for Group of Five crowning

Boise State is the only team not from the Power Five conferences in the rankings. If the Broncos defeat 6-6 Fresno State for a second time this season, they will clinch their third major bowl bid in nine years, likely another Fiesta Bowl berth. It'll be a late, late show since the Mountain West Championship Game is the last game Saturday night with a 10 p.m. ET kickoff.

 

Follow Samuel on Twitter @ThePlayoffGuru.

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LSU or Michigan: Which Is the Better Job for Les Miles?

Les Miles has been entrenched at LSU for the last 10 seasons, but his name seemingly pops up whenever a major coaching vacancy becomes available.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer debate whether Miles is better suited at LSU or Michigan. 

Should Miles bolt for Michigan?

Check out the video and let us know!

 

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Why Florida State Should Be Thanking the CFP Committee for No. 4 Seeding

The Florida State Seminoles may be undefeated, but that doesn't seem to hold too much significance to the College Football Playoff committee, as they dropped to No. 4 in the most recent poll.

In the video above, Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee tell us why this isn't a bad thing for the Seminoles. 

Is this a blessing in disguise for Florida State?

Check out the video and let us know!

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Hits and Misses of the CFP Committee's Top 25 Poll After Week 14

The College Football Playoff selection committee came out with its Top 25 Tuesday, and much like in previous weeks, there's bound to be debate as we head toward the final ranking Dec. 7.

Bleacher Report college football analysts Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder break down the hits and misses from the committee poll.

Which schools do you think deserve to be in the CFP?

Check out the video, and let us know!

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College Football Playoff Rankings 2014: Twitter Reacts to Week 15 Reveal

The latest edition of the College Football Playoff rankings shook things up in the Top Three, as the reigning national champion Florida State Seminoles fell to No. 4 behind TCU on Tuesday.

Mississippi State's 31-17 loss at Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl forced the Bulldogs out of the playoff picture, and the Horned Frogs now occupy the No. 3 spot. Check out the complete, fresh Top 25 below:

Still sitting atop the college football world, it appears coach Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide are in ideal position to capture a third national championship in just four years.    

If the titans from Tuscaloosa aren't already considered a dynasty, running the table from here on out would confirm such status. The Tide survived a 55-44 shootout with Auburn in the Iron Bowl, thanks in large part to star receiver Amari Cooper's epic performance.

ESPN's Jorge Sedano sensed chaos would ensue even before the rankings were revealed live on the network's telecast Tuesday evening:

Since Oregon has lost to Arizona already this year, the Wildcats' jump to No. 7 is significant because they will face the Ducks to decide the Pac-12 title.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports knows another Arizona triumph could be all it needs to sneak into the top four:

But even two wins over Oregon may not be enough to mask the holes in the Wildcats' resume, as Fox Sports 1's Todd Fuhrman alludes to in his analysis:

Former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel had to be disappointed in light of his allegiance to the Seminoles:

FSU squeaked past Florida, 24-19, this past weekend, which is what the selection committee felt justified its fall below TCU, who wasn't in the Top Four in the previous standings.

Committee chairman Jeff Long provided a brief explanation, via ESPN College Football:

NFL Network's Albert Breer vehemently disagreed with how the committee treated the defending national champions:

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel agreed with TCU's placement, pointing to turnover-prone Seminoles Heisman winner Jameis Winston as the primary culprit:

The Associated Press' Will Graves had an interesting perspective:

John Middlekauff of Comcast SportsNet and QB guru George Whitfield also tweeted their reactions:

Baylor advocates will continue to argue that the Bears beat the Horned Frogs head-to-head.

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit offered his take on Baylor's situation:

The committee has not wavered in its stance that Baylor's non-conference schedule has hurt its stock, and it's also worth bearing in mind that Bears star QB Bryce Petty suffered a concussion in a tight, 48-46 win over Texas Tech.

Joe Schad of ESPN notes how there's hope for the Bears in a marquee matchup with Kansas State:

Tony Barnhart of the SEC Network brought up a valid point, which also applies to Ohio State:

The Buckeyes lost stud dual-threat signal-caller J.T. Barrett to a fractured ankle in a victory over Michigan and couldn't rise in the College Football Playoff rankings.

However, if Barrett's replacement, Cardale Jones, plays well and leads OSU to a Big Ten title against Wisconsin, perhaps the perception of the Buckeyes will change. In the event of a win and a shaky performance from Jones, help may be necessary for Ohio State to climb.

Nicole Auerbach of USA Today summarized the sentiment many are feeling regarding Tuesday's rankings and the ones that preceded them:

Championship weekend should be a blast, as all the Top Three teams are involved. Florida State has to negotiate a run-heavy, triple-option team in Georgia Tech that could give it fits as it pursues the ACC crown.

Oregon will look to exact revenge on Arizona, the only team to defeat the Ducks this year, in the Pac-12 championship game. And the SEC is never easy, so Alabama's showdown with Missouri should be anything but a cakewalk.

If the top teams stumble, there's no telling what the final rankings will look like before the revamped playoff system is implemented in full on Sunday.

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