Scuzz Model: Rematch and other Scenarios
This grueling NU season is finally over. Thankfully, the Cats ended with a win vs. Illinois (cause that would’ve been embarrassing… thanks Rodger) keeping the LOLHat in Evanston, and providing a small building block for next year. Unsurprisingly, we got conservative with a 10 point lead in the first half at IL, did the same in the second half, and came very close to blowing yet ANOTHER game in the waning minutes. I long for the last drive vs MSU in 2012 as a means to close games, i.e. throwing the ball. It’s not like Trevor wasn’t having his best game of the season on Saturday… 6 runs to end the game is just mind-numbing, considering everything that has befallen this team in ’13. Regarding the good side of the offensive output (the pass game), I retweeted these on Saturday, but a quick transcript of John’s text messages from the close of that game:
– Whoa did you see that catch #14 made? I wonder if he was a big recruit.
– Trevor’s yardage ranks by game: #1 ill, #2 cal, #3 cuse, and #4 OSU. Huh.
– 44 attempts today. Minn + iowa + nebraska: 59 attempts
I think you can see John’s point. These facts remain true next year: we have an awesome receiver corp, a QB that can sling the ball, and enough talent in the backfield (Marknado) to keep defenses honest. Pounding the ball up the gut to “establish our offense” is a great football line, but to me looks like a square-peg to round-hole situation for our personnel. When we attacked teams through the air (see above) the results were positive. Yes, the oline, WRs, and QBs can all improve, but the playcalling, game plan, and coaching during the week also need work. That said, lets all take a deep breath now (me included). I won’t call for any heads here – but I think we’re all at least asking for a different approach — the same thing all over again will not sit well w NU Nation. By the way, if you’re looking for something to be excited about… this defense comes back pretty much intact next year. The offense just needs to pull its weight and be smart. NU will be in great shape if that happens.
Well, I said it last week – no way we get through the Rivalry Saturday w all those undefeated teams… one Alabama and Fresno State later, we’re down to three teams with no losses, and very few happy campers (the B1G and FSU who gets to dodge the Tide). I won’t waste time going over the obvious, but here are a couple fun BCS scenarios to think about when you decide your rooting interests this weekend:
Alabama in the title game: Say Mizzou barely beats Auburn and Ohio State loses. Would voters keep Alabama ranked ahead of the Tigers in both polls like they are today? I certainly would. Lucking into the Bama-FSU matchup everyone has been salivating over for two months would be a coup for the TV folks. Also, there is precedent for this type of thing in the past (see Bama ’11, LSU ’07, Nebraska ’01, etc).
NIU vs Central Florida: It’s unlikely given the probable championship participants, but similar to a few years ago when BCS busters Boise St and TCU were matched up in the Fiesta, these two teams could be relegated to a “2nd tier” BCS matchup. This would happen during the “reshuffle” section of the BCS selection process, when they look at who each bowl choose, and decide whether it will make enough money or not. Fact that Orange bowl prob gets first pick of at-large teams to replace FSU excludes this from being a real possibility.
Oregon in the BCS: Shut out of the P12 title game, the Ducks would be back in play with an NIU collapse in the Mac Championship, carnage in the B12, or a MSU romp in the B1G title (that includes most of OSU’s stars getting injured). Wouldn’t it be fun to see Bama-Oregon in the Sugar bowl, the game we all couldn’t live without back in late September?
Mack Attack: The Texas Longhorns, left for dead months ago, will be playing clearly diminished-by-injuries Baylor team that barely beat TCU last weekend. Their win, plus an Oklahoma State collapse vs their rival (cause that’s never happened before) would put Mack Brown in the BCS (and would likely give Oregon a berth as well, by knocking out any chance of a 2nd B12 team). Stranger things have happened.
Rematch: In entirely appropriate fashion, Alabama and Auburn play a rematch after OSU and FSU flub their respective title games. This is what I’m pulling for… in part because of the historical significance of one state winning the title 6 years in a row, but also because it would be the most fitting end to the BCS era.
Some other fun potential matchups include Duke-Louisville in the Russell Athletic bowl (not as exciting as basketball), MSU-Stanford playing in the 1952 Rose bowl, and Fresno State taking on USC in Vegas.
Officially, here are the Scuzz model’s projected chances for various National Championship matchups. I believe there are only 5 teams that can make the title game, no matter what happens on Saturday. Note that it is no guarantee that Mizzou leapfrogs Alabama in the standings with a win over Auburn, so I’ve listed them as OR in two potential matchups. Crazy that they could also face one another for the title.
Also, based on Scuzz Model projections and some of the bowl projections on ESPN, here are the likely B1G bowl matchups going into this weekend:
This Week’s Picks:
Straight up: 534-153 (77.7%)
ATS: 388-272 (58.8%)
Blog Picks: 39-21 (65.0%)
Week 1: 4-1
Week 2: 2-2
Week 3: 5-0
Week 4: 3-2
Week 5: 3-1
Week 6: 2-3
Week 7: 3-2
Week 8: 4-1
Week 9: 3-1
Week 10: No Picks
Week 11: 4-0
Week 12: 3-1
Week 13: 2-3
Week 14: 1-4
Catastrophe. I’ve been out of sync for two weeks now, and this past one was terrible. I have been noting the difficulties of prediction during the waning weeks of the year, but that was pathetic. I have no excuse either, cause the Scuzz model overall kept going strong. At least my last chance to bet against Charlie panned out. Here are this week’s picks:
Michigan State (+5.5) vs Ohio State: Really looking forward to this game. The worst storyline of this year has been how good Ohio State’s defense is. In case you weren’t watching this past week, they’re not that good. On the other side is one of the best defenses in the country. Hyde and Miller against this front 7 is going to be awesome to watch. This should be a close game… model likes the Spartans to win.
Texas (+13) @ Baylor: After getting burned this past week by Baylor, it’s pretty clear to me that they are unhealthy, even with their RBs back in the fold. It is also clear that Texas beat TCU by 23 in Fort Worth. Yes, this game will be at Baylor, but like the Longhorns to keep it closer than 13.5. (technically, Scuzz model doesn’t agree w me, but I don’t care)
Missouri (+2) vs Auburn: So many theories come into play for this game… emotional let down after big win vs a key rival, physical let down after taking a beating… but the biggest one for me: every Alabama loss (but 1) for the past 6 years has been against a dynamic mobile QB (I can’t call Jordan Jefferson “dynamic” and sleep at night), including two brutal defensive games against Johnny Manziel. Mizzou made Manziel look like Juice Williams last weekend. I really like their D to shut down Nick Marshall and for Auburn’s luck to run out. Model has Missouri by 5.