2015 B1G Bowl Picks.

I wasn’t going to do bowl picks but I’m kind of bored and The first B1G bowl game comes on in about three hours, so there’s time. I always pull for the B1G to win every bowl (except for Michigan because I hate Michigan and you should too), so don’t mistake my pick against the spread with what I want the outcome to be. My heart always is with the B1G, but my brain has to look at the stats.

And away we go…

Saturday, December 26th:

block-iPinstripe Bowl

Indiana vs. Duke – 3:30pm on ABC. The Hoosiers are 6-6 and the Devils are 7-6, but considering Duke is in the ACC, that’s really about even. The issue here is really the Indiana defense which gives up about 500 yards per game, most of that defending the pass. But Dukes offense doesn’t really strike fear in to my heart. If the Hoosiers can hold them under 35 points, I think they win. Indiana is a 3-point favorite and they win by 10 and cover.

HuskersFoster Farm Bowl

UCLA vs. Nebraska – 9:15pm on ESPN. I’ll be lucky to stay awake for the first half of this late kickoff. We should all feel a little shame for allowing the Huskers to play in a bowl game with a losing record; I hate it. The Huskers are 5-7 and the Bruins are 8-4. UCLA has a better QB, better offense and better defense. That pretty much sums it up right there. I see Tommy Arm-so-Strong throwing two picks in this one. Nebraska is a 6-point dog and they lose by 14, UCLA covers.

Monday, December 28th:

GophersQuick_Lane_Bowl_logo

Central Michigan vs. Minnesota – 5:00pm on ESPN. Again with a B1G squad bowling with a losing record, this shouldn’t happen. The Gophers are 5-7 and the Chips are 7-5 in the MAC. And being from the MAC, it’s really hard to compare stats as they are very different. `I think the Gophers are effective at running the ball which opens up the pass for a few quick strike opportunities. The Chippewas are trailing by the half and never lead after that. Minnesota is a 5-point favorite and they win by 9 and cover.

Wednesday, December 30th:

BadgersHoliday Bowl

#25 USC vs. Wisconsin – 10:30pm on ESPN. A 10:30PM kickoff? I’ll read about it the next day. Sheesh. The Trojans are kind of like the Hoosiers, they put up big numbers but they give up big numbers too. They’ve had a hellava year and still managed to go 8-5. The Badgers only real asset is their defense which is excellent. The Badger offense is pretty bad; Joel Stave has more picks than TDs. I think the Trojans fail to get traction on offense against the Badger defense and they fall behind late in the second half. Wisconsin is a 4-point dog but they win by three, UCLA doesn’t cover.

Thursday, December 31st:

SpartansCottondual-rev

#3 Michigan State vs. #2 Alabama – 8:00pm on ESPN. Back to the Cotton Bowl and JerryWold for the Spartans. The Spartans and the Tide are both 12-1 and their playing for a spot in the National Championship, so this is as big as it gets. Statically, Alabama has the edge averaging about 25 more yards per game and allowing about 120 fewer on defense. The Tide also has Derrick Henry who has 1986 yards on 339 carries and a trophy case loaded with the top hardware in college ball. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Spartans are the underdog here. The Spartans do have the better QB in Connor Cook and the better receiver in Aaron Burbridge, but these two alone aren’t going to be enough. It’s going to take that raw courage and sheer determination to win to beat Saban’s boys. It’s the same story as with Georgia, TCU, Stanford and Baylor, and the Spartans got it done. They need to dig deep, never say die and fight until the final clock is 00. And some luck would help too. Michigan State is a 10-point dog but they win by one (on the last play of the game), Bama doesn’t cover. Go GREEN!!!

Friday, January 1st:

WildcatsOutback Bowl

#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee – Noon on ESPN-2. I feel like the Vols are mighty cocky right now. Go ahead, be cocky, but you might ask yourself why? Is it just an SEC bias? Okay, that would explain it. The Cats are 10-2 and the Vols are 8-4. The Vols are averaging 34 points in the no-defense SEC, but the Cats are only giving up 16 in the smashmouth B1G, so I call that a wash. Both teams like to run the ball, so that should be interesting. To be honest, Tennessee has a fairly cakewalk SEC schedule this year, so they really don’t scare me all that much, it’s time to get over the SEC bias already. Northwestern is an 8-point dog but they win by seven, Tennessee doesn’t cover.

WolverinesCitrus Bowl

#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida – 1:00pm on ABC. God, this is a miserable match-up. I hate both of these teams and really, really want them both to lose. Bottom line, the Wolverines are the better team and will win unless they shit the bed again like they did against Ohio State. Take care of your business Michigan, you’ve been handed a gift here. Michigan is a 5-point favorite and they win by 10 and cover.

BuckeyesFiesta

#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State – 1:00pm on ESPN. This could be a really great game and certainly more interesting than the Michigan-Florida crap-fest. The Irish have a fine offense but I don’t think they get the better of the Buckeyes defense which is outstanding. And then you consider that Buckeye O-line and Zeke Elliot pounding away like nobody that the Irish have faced this year and you can just picture the domers bending, bending and finally breaking. But it’s going to be tight and it’s going to be tense. Ohio State is a 7-point favorite and they win by six and don’t cover.

Hawkeyesrose-bowl

#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa – 5:00 on ESPN. Almost last but not hardly least, the grandaddy of them all. Anybody else kind of tired of the Cardinal being in the Rose Bowl every dang year. Tired or not, the Cardinal are a dangerous squad and they will bring talent and a playbook the likes of which the Hawkeyes have not seen this year. Iowa’s defense is excellent but in the second half, much like against the Spartans, they get fatiqued and start to slip, and that’s when McCaffrey has his way with them. Iowa is a 7-point dog and they lose by 17, Stanford covers.

Saturday, January 2nd:

LionsTaxSlayer Bowl

Penn State vs. Georgia – Noon on ESPN. The Lions ended their season on a three game skid and perhaps their soul is broken. But then the Bulldogs are in the middle of a coaching change and that can scramble things sometimes too. Georgia looks better on paper with more wins (9-3 vs. 7-5), averaging more points, allowing less points tons of balance all the way around. But Penn State has Hackenberg… This was supposed to be his year but I would say he’s been more “good” than “great”. But I’m going to ignore all the facts and just flat out side with the Lions for no good goddam reason, and I’ll probably regret it. Penn State is a 7-point dog but they win by three in O.T.

There you have it, B1G bowl picks. Some of these games look really lame and some of them look awesome. I still don’t think losing teams should be allowed in bowl games, but I’m old school I guess. Best of luck to all of the B1G squads, let’s get it done this year. I hope everyone is pulling for Michigan State as they represent our fair conference in the College Football Playoffs, you know I’ll be pulling hard and going freakin’ nutz. And as always…

Go B1G!

sB1G

B1G Bowling.

Yes, the B1G is going bowling, and in a very big way. Let’s have a look at the schedule, shall we…

Saturday, December 26th:

Pinstripe Bowl

Indiana vs. Duke – 3:30pm on ABC. The Hoosiers are a 2-point favorite.

Foster Farm Bowl

UCLA vs. Nebraska – 9:15pm on ESPN. The Huskers are a 7-point dog.

Monday, December 28th:

Quick_Lane_Bowl_logo

Central Michigan vs. Minnesota – 5:00pm on ESPN. The Gophers are a 5.5-point favorite.

Wednesday, December 30th:

Holiday Bowl

#25 USC vs. Wisconsin – 10:30pm on ESPN. No spread available at the moment.

Thursday, December 31st:

Cottondual-rev

#3 Michigan State vs. #2 Alabama – 8:00pm on ESPN. No spread available at the moment.

Friday, January 1st:

Outback Bowl

#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee – Noon on ESPN-2. No spread available at the moment.

Citrus Bowl

#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida – 1:00pm on ABC. No spread available at the moment.

Fiesta

#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State – 1:00pm on ESPN. No spread available at the moment.

rose-bowl

#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa – 5:00 on ESPN. No spread available at the moment.

There are some quality bowl games and really good match-ups here. I know i’ll be watching quite a few of these games. It’s going to be a blast. As always…

Go B1G!

sB1G

 

 

 

2015 Conference Championship Week Rankings & Ramblings & Standings.

The regular season is done and the Championship Games are over. As the dust settles, we get a bit of a lull for a few weeks and then the bowl season kicks in with 40 bowl games this year.

Let’s take a look at the winners and loser in the B1G for 2015:

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The Michigan State Spartans are the 2015 B1G Champions after beating Iowa in the B1G Championship Game. Both the Spartans and the Hawkeyes are 12-1.

In regards to my pick…

#5Michigan State vs. #4 Iowa – Michigan State is a 4-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover. Well, I was half right. Michigan State did win but they did not cover winning by three. If I had to be half-right, I’m glad I was right about the winning part.

At 11-1 we have Ohio State followed by Northwestern at 10-2. Wisconsin and Michigan both finished 9-3, Penn State is 7-5 and Indiana is 6-6.

With 40 bowl games this year, it looks like some 5-7 teams will sneak in which means Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota have a shot.

For Rutgers, Maryland and Purdue, you might as well start drinking as you have the rest of the year off.

Let’s turn our attention to the College Football Playoff rankings…

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It was said that if you win, you’re in for the B1G Championship, and turns out that it was true.

Spartans

Michigan State moves up from #5 to #3 after winning the B1G; the Spartans are in!!!

Hawkeyes

Iowa drops from #4 to #5.

Buckeyes  Wildcats  Wolverines

Ohio State drops from #6 to #7 after playing nobody. Northwestern moves up from #14 to #13 and Michigan moves up from #15 to #14 also after playing nobody.

Five B1G squads in the Top15, not too shabby. And in the AP poll…

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Michigan State is #3, Iowa is #6, Ohio Sate is #7, Northwestern is #12, Michigan is #17 and Wisconsin is #23. Six out of 25 are B1G teams, which is nice. Look at Iowa’s trajectory, that is pretty impressive.

In my next post we’ll look at who’s going bowling. As always…

Go B1G!

B1G

 

 

 

 

#5 Michigan State 16, #4 Iowa 13; The Spartans are 12-1, 8-1 in the B1G and 2015 B1G Champions.

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It’s great to win your division, and for Iowa fans, they had that info well in advance. With that advance notice they went ahead and booked all the flights and hotels making it nearly impossible for me, a Spartan, to get to the game. But that didn’t sit well with me. I kept re-checking for flights and hotels but it never opened up. Friday night I’m at my work holiday party on about my third Old Fashioned when I declare to all those around me that I’m having one more, then going home to bed so that I can get up at 6:00am and drive to Indy for the big game. They smiled and laughed. Keep in mind that I live in Raleigh, NC which is like 700 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium. But I was serious. I did have one more. I did go home and go to bed. And I did get up at 6:00am and I did drive to Indy.

I pulled in to downtown Indianapolis around 6:15pm, found a place to park and was walking towards Lucas Oil by about 6:30. I found a scalper and paid $300 for a ticket and by 7:00 I was in a good seat on about the 20-yard line near the MSU end-zone eating a personal pizza and a coke (no beer, come on B1G!, get with it). By midnight the Spartans were B1G champs and by 2:00am I was an hour south of Indy in a Hampton Inn closing my eyes on a very, very good day.

What a game. A defensive showdown for the ages. The real highlight was the fourth-quarter come-from-behind, 22-play, 9+ minute 82-yard  drive that resulted in a TD to take the lead and a mere 27 seconds left on the clock. I’ve seen MSU methodically march the field before and eat up five or six minutes on nine or 10 plays, but this was one for the ages. Perhaps the greatest winning drive ever. What the video uploaded by MSUAndyHRCMB to his YouTube channel (which you should subscribe to) and you tell me if you don’t agree.

DEFENSE

Because this was such a defensive battle I’ve decided to honor the SpartanDawgs by starting with the defense overview.

The Spartan defense was tough. Very tough. Stout even. The Spartans held the Hawkeyes without a TD in three red-zone trips. Iowa came in to the game with a 71.4% touchdown rate in the red-zone, but State held them to 0%. Not bad. The Hawkeyes averaged 192 rushing yards per game during the season. The Spartans held them to 52 yards rushing on 22 attempts, their first sub-100 yard game this season. Very nice. The Hawkeyes have averaged 32 points per game this year, but versus the Spartans they could only must 13. Awesome.

Who do we have to thank for shutting the Hawkeyes offense down? Well, it’s a pretty long list because it truly was a team effort, but we should mention a few standouts including Darien Harris with a team-high nine tackles. Montae Nicholson and Demetrious Cox each had seven tackles and Shilique Calhoun had six including three for a loss and two sacks. Riley Bullough, Arjen Colquhoun and Jon Reschke brought a ton of intensity and mettle. Let’s not gloss over Malik McDowell, Joel Heath, Demetrius Cooper, Darian Hicks or Jermaine Edmondson with, they contributed in a huge way also. Also, we must recognize Cox’s awesome interception which flipped momentum when we really needed it. Great job Spartan defense!

Okay, yes, Iowa did score on a 75-yard pass play to take the lead early in fourth quarter, but that was the only real defensive meltdown of the game and it was probably a pushing-off call that just never came.

OFFENSE

As tough as the Spartan defense was, the Hawkeyes defense was just as tough. Michigan State was able to fight through it and accumulate 365 yards of total offense but it was hard-fought and came in small amounts.

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Our man Connor Cook led the offense but it was no easy task as he went 16-32 for 191 yards, no TDs and one pick. Cook seems to still be feeling the shoulder injury to some degree but will hopefully be fully recovered and über-confident for the bowl game.

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On the other end of those 16 completions we have the B1G’s #1 receiver Aaron Burbridge with five for 61 yards. Following Burbs, we have R.J. Shelton with three for 34 and Macgarrett Kings Jr. with four for 30. Running back Madre London had a crucial catch for 14 yards and tight end Josiah Price picked up a mandatory first down on a shovel-pass for 13 yards. State did have a few offensive holding and offensive pass interference calls that really hurt the Spartans, but overall the receiver corps caught what was catchable.

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On the ground the main ball-carrier was LJ Scott who had 22 carries for 73 hard-fought yards and one mission-critical TD. Had LJ not reached out and broken the plane, the Spartans would have had a very serious fourth and goal situation to deal with, but LJ got it done “for his brothers“. I love that sentiment. Madre London had 12 carries for 60, R. J. Shelton had three for 15 and Gerald Holmes had three for 13. The Spartans all-in had 46 carries for 174 yards which is slightly better than the 160 YPG average.

Let’s give it up to the Spartan O-line for working hard and pushing the rock up the hill for the entire game. You could see the Spartans staying strong as the Hawkeyes D-line started to tire. In the final review, that might be the biggest difference maker between these two squads.

SPECIAL TEAMS

This game could have been a whole lot less stressful if Michael Geiger was a bit more accurate. Geiger went 3-5 with a long of 47 yards. His 50+ yard attempt had the distance but sailed just left of the uprights. His next attempt hit the horizontal crossbar and failed to go through. The Spartans need every point when they’re playing at this level, so I hope and pray that Geiger can do a bit better than 60%.

Jake Hartbarger had a clean game including a really nice long punt of 61 yards. I wouldn’t say that Harbarger is a weapon, but I will say that he has improved throughout the year and he could be difference maker next year and beyond.

SUMMING UP

No TDs in three quarters of play was even more “defensive battle” than I expected, but it was never a boring game. Both teams played well and played hard, but the match-ups were so even that neither could really get enough traction to take control. Leaving six points off the board on missed FGs didn’t help the Spartans any, that is for sure. But in the end, that final 22-play drive is what it all came down to. Endurance and perseverance carried the day. The Spartans never gave up and never lost focus, even when things looked bad. To me, that is a championship team. That belief in one another and confidence that together anything can be accomplished. It wasn’t one player, it was all the players. It wasn’t one play, it was the entire game. It was pure B1G football at it’s very best.

Cottondual-rev

Next up we’ve got the Crimson Tide at JerryWorld for the Cotton Bowl Classic. Nick Saban and his Bama squad flattened the Spartans 49-7 back in 2010 so it sure would be nice to beat those SEC boys and erase that loss from memory. It would be pretty nice to make it to the College Football Championship Game too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Being selected for the playoffs as the #3 team in the country is one hell of an accomplishment so let’s focus on that for a minute.

Was the trip to Indy worth it? Hell yes. Would I do it again. Hell yes. I won’t be able to make it to the Cotton B0wl, but you can bet your ass I’ll be watching and going ape-shit crazzy-balls nuts for my Michigan State Spartans. I hope you will too.

Go GREEN!!!

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2015 Week #13 Rankings & Ramblings & Standings & Picks.

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Look at the bunch-O-B1G in the Top10! Pretty sweet.

Hawkeyes

The Iowa Hawkeyes remain at #4 with their win against Nebraska.

Spartans

The Michigan State Spartans remain at #5 after their win against Penn State.

Buckeyes

Ohio State moves up from #8 to #6 after crushing Michigan in the Big House. Nice work there Buckeyes.

Wolverines

The Michigan Wolverines fall from #10 to #15 after said thrashing by the Bucknuts.

Wildcats

Finally, the Northwestern Wildcats move up from #16 to #14 after their win over Illinois.

The AP poll is pretty similar…

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The Hawkeyes dropped a tick to #4 to make room for the Sooners at #3, the Spartans moved up a tick to #5, the Buckeyes moved up two spots to #6, the Wildcats moved up four spots to #13, the Wolverines fell seven spots to #19 and whoa, what the, the Badgers appear for the fourth time this season coming in at #25.

Turning out attention to the B1G Conference, we have our East and West winners.

EAST

Michigan State locked up the East with a win over Penn State leaving Ohio State in second and Michigan third.

WEST

It was a done deal last week but let’s  give it up again for an undefeated Iowa for winning the West. Northwestern was second and Wisconsin third.

Spartans VS. Hawkeyes

The B1G Championship Game is this Saturday and it will be the Spartans vs. the Hawkeyes. Should be a great match-up

2015-16 Football Standings

EAST DIVISION
Overall Conference Division
W-L % W-L % W-L %
1. Michigan State* 11-1 .917 7-1 .875 6-0 1.000
2. Ohio State 11-1 .917 7-1 .875 5-1 .833
3. Michigan 9-3 .750 6-2 .750 4-2 .667
4. Penn State 7-5 .583 4-4 .500 3-3 .500
5. Indiana 6-6 .500 2-6 .250 1-5 .167
6. Rutgers 4-8 .333 1-7 .125 1-5 .167
Maryland 3-9 .250 1-7 .125 1-5 .167
WEST DIVISION
Overall Conference Division
W-L % W-L % W-L %
1. Iowa* 12-0 1.000 8-0 1.000 6-0 1.000
2. Northwestern 10-2 .833 6-2 .750 5-1 .833
3. Wisconsin 9-3 .750 6-2 .750 4-2 .667
4. Nebraska 5-7 .417 3-5 .375 1-5 .167
5. Illinois 5-7 .417 2-6 .250 2-4 .333
Minnesota 5-7 .417 2-6 .250 2-4 .333
7. Purdue 2-10 .167 1-7 .125 1-5 .167

Although I’m done with my B1G picks for the year, I still like to make picks for the post-season even if they don’t factor in to my win percentage. So, let’s look at the B1G Championship Game…

SpartansHawkeyesGAMEDAY

#5Michigan State vs. #4 Iowa – 8:00pm on Fox. The Spartans head back to Lucas Oil Stadium for the third time in five years to face the Hawkeyes who are making their first trip to the CCG. ESPN’s College Gameday will be there to cover making this the fourth time this season that they have been on-site for a Spartan game. It should be a spectacular environment and one hell of a game. The stats on these two squads are incredibly similar and neither team has a clear advantage. The Hawkeyes are undefeated and are solid in all facets of the game. They also haven’t really played anyone of merit and are new to the big stage. The Spartans are finally healthy and gelling, they have beaten several highly ranked opponents and they are veterans of big game situations. With stats being so even, I need to give the edge to the Spartans in this one. Michigan State is a 4-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover.

There you go, one big-ass mega-post as we wrap up the season and head to CFC and bowl season. It’s been fun. It’s not over year (well, it is for some) so make sure you don’t miss the action. Maybe even consider waking up early Saturday morning and driving to Indy, buy a scalped ticket and watch the game like the adventurous superfan that you are. Hell, I’m toying with the idea myself. As always…

Go B1G!

B1G

Go GREEN!!!

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