Week 7 was a tough one for us. Some tough beats (looking at you, BYU!) but 1-4 does not pay the bills, that’s for sure. As we move on to week 8, the national championship picture becomes clearer by the day in every conference except the SEC. The strongest football league in the land remains a huge question mark in the playoff landscape. New #1 Mississippi State’s drubbing of Auburn was more style than substance considering Auburn’s self destruction in the first quarter, but the win is still a nice feather in their cap. It remains to be seen whether the Bulldogs can keep this up, but their schedule still has quite a few difficult games ahead. Dates with Alabama, Ole Miss, and potentially Georgia do not help their cause. I suspect they’ll lose two of those three.
As for their inter-state rivals, I have a similar opinion of Ole Miss. They had their own impressive blowout victory over Texas A&M this week, and the Rebels are rolling downhill. With a victory over Alabama already in their corner and their games against both Auburn and Mississippi State both being at home, they have an easier road to the playoff. If I’m choosing between these two, I’m going with the Rebels. However, I fear that they both could be on the outside looking in at the SEC Championship game when it is all said and done.
As for the other conferences, the ACC’s championship picture is fairly clear. Even with the potential loss of Jameis Winston, Florida State should still win the league. Out west, Oregon’s tough road back to the playoff became a lot easier after a road drubbing of UCLA. Michigan State and Ohio State look to be duking it out again in the Big Ten. The Big 12 appears to be a 3-horse race. Notre Dame will be looking good if they can somehow get past FSU this weekend. However, there is one team that nobody is discussing that I want to make a few points about.
Marshall has rolled through their cupcake schedule unbeaten, and none of the games have been close. With an average margin of victory of over 30 points, the Thundering Herd are steamrolling through Conference USA. With the new playoff format, the question becomes simple: if there are fewer than four undefeated teams, do the Herd get a spot? The NCAA has constantly been derided for marginalizing the little guy in recent years with the BCS, as TCU and Boise State were repeatedly left out of the championship picture. Marshall has a particularly weak schedule this season, but they are destroying all comers. Will the committee throw the little guy a bone here? Or will the Herd be left decimating some hapless saps in a mid-December bowl tussle and celebrating an empty undefeated campaign? Only time will tell.
We look for a bounce back after last weekend’s struggles. Good luck.
329 Georgia Tech -2.5 (Coast)
387 Tennessee +17 (Stations)
389 Iowa State +13 -120 (Bovada)
391 Missouri +6.5 (Westgate)
397 Tulane +20.5 (Westgate)
405 Hawaii +8 (Westgate)
2014 Season to Date
NCAA FB: 30-26