College Football Fast Five and Power Rankings: Week One

Fast Five:  Week One Storylines

Alabama beats Florida State convincingly

The #1 vs #3 showdown to start the season on Saturday–possibly the biggest opening weekend game ever–ended with Alabama winning convincingly, 24-7.  The overall stats were, for the most part, fairly even for the game, except for turnovers.

The Crimson Tide, who didn’t turn the ball over in the game, intercepted Deondre Francois twice, blocked a field goal and a punt and recovered a fumble on a kickoff.  That, coupled with Florida State being held to 40 rushing yards, left Alabama to dominate the ‘Noles, winning comfortably even though the Tide themselves had just 269 yards of offense.

Florida State loses a game… and a quarterback

The Seminoles loss naturally hurts their Playoff chances, as they now they likely have to win out to qualify.  But their season took an additional unfortunate turn when QB Deondre Francois went down in the fourth quarter with a season-ending patella injury.

Francois hadn’t played his best game–he was 19-for-33 for XX yards with a touchdown and two interceptions–but the sophomore quarterback would have been a big key for the ‘Noles the rest of the way.  Now the offense is in the hands of true freshman James Blackman, who did not throw a pass Saturday after coming in for Francois late in the game.

Moderate struggles for Ohio State and USC

Ohio State won 49-21 Thursday night at Indiana, but didn’t score a touchdown until the 5:17 mark of the first half and trailed 21-20 with 4:56 left in the third.  After a sluggish start for the Buckeyes, they finished with 29 unanswered points, led by J.K. Dobbins’ 181 rushing yards, an Ohio State freshman record.

Western Michigan led 21-14 at USC for most of the third quarter, then after USC took a 28-21 lead tied the game at 28-28 with 7:54 to go before the floodgates opened for the USC offense and the Trojans won 49-31.  The USC defense allowed 263 rushing yards to the Broncos, and the Trojans were saved by 521 total yards of their own and 28 fourth-quarter points.

Both highly-ranked clubs had moderately inauspicious starts, and both can’t afford to repeat those performances this weekend.  Ohio State hosts #5 Oklahoma, while USC hosts #14 Stanford in their Pac-12 opener.

Michigan muscles past Florida

Florida was shorthanded, especially on offense, after the suspension of 10 players for the Gators’ game against Michigan.  The lack of depth showed, as the Gators were held scoreless in the second half and Michigan turned a 17-13 halftime deficit into a 33-17 win.

The Gators were outgained 433-192 and held to just 11 rushing yards, while the Wolverines had a very balanced attack, passing for 218 yards and rushing for 215.  Michigan’s Ty Isaac rushed for 114 yards on just 11 carries.

UCLA’s comeback

When UCLA scored with 2:06 left in the third against Texas A&M it seemed insignificant, as it only pulled the Bruins to within a 44-17 deficit.  But, as it would turn out, the second-largest comeback in FBS history had just begun.

The Bruins scored four more unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter–the first two on Darren Andrews runs and the last two on Josh Rosen passes–to stun the Aggies, 45-44.  Now, after his team seemed to stop paying attention with over a quarter to go, A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat more than ever, and I agree that firing him may be in the school’s best interests this coming offseason.

 

Week One Power Rankings

1. Alabama (1-0, Last Week: 1st, AP Poll: 1st)
After maybe the biggest opening-weekend game ever, the Crimson Tide don’t play another ranked team until October 21, and don’t leave Tuscaloosa until September 23.

2. Ohio State (1-0, LW: 4th, AP: 2nd)
The Buckeyes didn’t play their best 60 minutes against Indiana, but they will if they want to beat Oklahoma on Saturday.

3. Penn State (1-0, LW: 5th, AP: 4th)
Penn State quietly had no trouble whatsoever with Akron (52-0 win), and now will try to avenge last year’s loss to Pittsburgh that kept them out of the Playoff.

4. USC (1-0, LW: 2nd, AP: 6th)
If the Trojans play Stanford like they played in the fourth quarter against Western Michigan, they’ll be fine.  If they don’t, they may be in for a long night.  Stanford won their opener against Rice, 62-7 in Australia.

5. Oklahoma State (1-0, LW: 6th, AP: 11th)
The Cowboys had no problem with Tulsa and shouldn’t with South Alabama this week, but the schedule will get tougher after that (at Pittsburgh, TCU).

6. Oklahoma (1-0, LW: 7th, AP: 5th)
Oklahoma will have revenge on their mind against Ohio State after last year’s loss, but will be in a tough environment at The Horseshoe in Columbus.  The Sooners beat UTEP in their opener, 56-7.

7. Michigan (1-0, LW: 13th, AP: 8th)
The Wolverines may have had the most impressive non-Alabama win of the weekend; that inexperience that many pundits (myself included) were concerned about wasn’t a factor on the big stage against Florida.

8. Auburn (1-0, LW: 8th, AP: 13th)
After Auburn’s 2010 national title, their first loss the following season came at Clemson.  Can Auburn now return the favor?  The Tigers are coming off a 41-7 win over Georgia Southern.

9. Clemson (1-0, LW: 9th, AP: 3rd)
Clemson beat Kent State, 56-3, in the first game without many of their championship stars.  We’ll know soon how good some of their replacements are–Auburn comes to town Saturday night.

10. Florida State (0-1, LW: 3rd, AP: 10th)
I’m not sure which is worse for the Seminoles long-term:  the loss to an Alabama team that looked darn-near unbeatable, or the loss of QB Deondre Francois for the year.  The ‘Noles get Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, but can’t rest on their laurels with Miami looming next week.

Worth a Mention:  Howard (1-0)
The Bison of Howard, coming of a 2-9 campaign in the MEAC, became the biggest point-spread underdogs to ever win a game when they beat UNLV on Saturday in Las Vegas, 43-40, as 45-point underdogs.  Howard QB Caylin Newton, the brother of former NFL MVP Cam Newton, rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, also passing for 140 yards and a touchdown.  While the Runnin’ Rebels were 4-8 in 2016, beating them is still a high mark for Howard, in their first season under former Virginia coach Mike London.

11. Wisconsin (1-0, LW: 11th, AP: 9th)
12. Washington (1-0, LW: 12th, AP: 7th)
13. Georgia (1-0, LW: 14th, AP: 15th)
14. Miami (1-0, LW: 15th, AP: 16th)
15. Stanford (1-0, LW: 16th, AP: 14th)

16. LSU (1-0, LW: 17th, AP: 12th)
17. Kansas State (1-0, LW: 18th, AP: 19th)
18. Virginia Tech (1-0, LW: 22nd, AP: 18th)
19. Florida (0-1, LW: 10th, AP: 22nd)
20. Utah (1-0, LW: 21st, AP: unranked)

21. Louisville (1-0, LW: 20th, AP: 17th)
22. South Florida (2-0, LW: 19th, AP: 21st)
23. Northwestern (1-0, LW: 23rd, AP: unranked)
24. Tennessee (1-0, LW: 24th, AP: 25th)
25. UCLA (1-0, LW: unranked, AP: unranked)

Fell from Rankings:  West Virginia (0-1, LW: 25th)

Also Ranked in AP Poll:  Washington State (1-0, 20th), TCU (1-0, 23rd), Notre Dame (1-0, 24th)

 

 

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Twitter Picks for College Football Week One

Game of the Week
#1 Alabama vs. #3 Florida State
at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Alabama by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Alabama- 1st, Florida State- 3rd

 

Big Game Guarantee
#22 West Virginia vs. #21 Virginia Tech
at FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Virginia Tech by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  West Virginia- 25th, Virginia Tech- 22nd

 

Upset of the Week
Wyoming at Iowa
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, BTN
Betting Favorite:  Iowa by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

Correction:  Wyoming’s mascot is the Cowboys, not the Coyotes as listed in the above tweet.

 

Closer Than the Experts Think
Appalachian State at #15 Georgia
Saturday, 6:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  Georgia by 14
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Appalachian State- unranked, Georgia- 14th

 

Not Closer Than the Experts Think
#25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Monday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  Tennessee by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Tennessee- 24th, Georgia Tech- unranked

 

Overhyped Game
#2 Ohio State at Indiana
Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  Ohio State by 21
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Ohio State- 4th, Indiana- unranked

 

Group of Five Game of the Week
BYU vs. #13 LSU
at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La. (relocated from Houston, Tex.)
Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  LSU by 15
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  BYU- unranked, LSU- 17th

 

Is This Futbol?
#11 Michigan vs. #17 Florida
at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tex.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Michigan by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Michigan- 13th, Florida- 10th

 

Is This Basketball?
Texas A&M at UCLA
Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Betting Favorite:  UCLA by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Toilet Bowl
California at North Carolina
Saturday, 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Betting Favorite:  North Carolina by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Miscellaneous:  A Border War In My Neck of the Woods
South Carolina vs. NC State
at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  NC State by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

 

For what it’s worth… here’s last year’s Twitter Picks results:

Overall Record: 80-54-1
College Overall Record: 67-48
NFL Game of the Week: 13-6-1

Game of the Week: 10-5
Big Game Guarantee: 3-7
Upset of the Week: 4-6
Closer Than the Experts Think: 4-6
Not Closer Than the Experts Think: 7-3
Overhyped/Bad Spread Game: 5-5
Group of Five Game of the Week: 7-3
Is This Futbol?: 8-2
Is This Basketball?: 8-2
Toilet Bowl: 6-4
Miscellaneous: 5-5

For an explanation of the categories for Twitter Picks, click here.

Fast Five: Sentimental Favorites in the Sweet 16

As the NCAA Tournament enters its second weekend, certain teams always seem to capture the hearts of fans, many of whom are looking for another rooting interest after their own team has been eliminated.

This year there are not necessarily any “Cinderella” teams, but there are still a fair share of teams who can be sentimental favorites as the Sweet 16 begins tonight.

Honorable Mention:  Arizona (32-4, 2-seed, West Region)
Sweet 16:  Tonight vs. #11 Xavier, 10:09 pm ET, TBS

It’s odd to include a traditional power like Arizona on this list (that’s why they’re an honorable mention), but a potential Wildcats run to the title has its share of storylines, considering the Final Four is in Phoenix, and Arizona is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their last national title in 1997.

Honorable Mention:  Whoever is playing UCLA
Sweet 16:  Friday vs. #2 Kentucky, 9:39 pm ET, CBS

The sports social media world keeps buzzing over the crazy things Lavar Ball, the father of Bruins point guard Lonzo Ball, has said.  I’m all for parents being involved in their kids’ lives and athletic careers, but Lavar Ball is completely over the top, considering at this point he’s making headlines on almost a daily basis.  If UCLA loses, maybe he’ll shut up–at least until his other two sons are playing college basketball in the near future.

5.  Gonzaga (34-1, 1-seed, West Region)
Sweet 16:  Tonight vs. #4 West Virginia, 7:39 pm ET, TBS

It’s strange to put a team on this list who is a 1-seed, and has participated in every NCAA Tournament since 1999.  However, the Bulldogs are still the little brother to fellow 1-seeds North Carolina and Kansas, and many aren’t even favoring the Zags to win the regional, since they may face Arizona in the regional final.  To even get there, they face a tough matchup with 4-seed West Virginia in tonight’s regional semifinal.

Gonzaga reaching the Final Four would be a feel-good story because they have come close but fallen short in their previous tournament runs.  Mark Few has led the Bulldogs to eight Sweet 16 appearances and two Elite Eights (1999, 2015), but have yet to reach the Final Four, despite having one of the most consistent programs in the nation.

The Zags play in the West Regional in San Jose, and the Final Four is in Phoenix, should they reach it; both locations should allow their fans to join them.

4.  Butler (25-8, 4-seed, South Region)
Sweet 16:  Friday vs. #1 North Carolina, 7:09 pm ET, CBS

The Bulldogs have been the sentimental favorite before–they were back-to-back national runners-up in 2010-11, losing national finals to Duke and UConn–and now they return to the list seeded higher than either of those years (Butler was a 5-seed in 2010 and an 8-seed in 2011), as they make their first Sweet 16 appearance since the 2011 run.

But despite their recent success, the Bulldogs are still far and away the least accomplished team in the South Regional, which also includes North Carolina, who Butler meets Friday night, as well as Kentucky and UCLA.  Those three schools have combined for 24 national championships and 54 Final Four appearances.

Few expect Butler to make any noise in Memphis, but the Bulldogs program has been in this situation before.

3.  Xavier (23-13, 11-seed, West Region)
Sweet 16:  Tonight vs. #2 Arizona, 7:39 pm ET, TBS

The Musketeers are on this list at the lowest-remaining seed.  Xavier has reached the Elite Eight twice, in 2004 and 2008, but has lost in the Sweet 16 four times since that 2008 appearance.

Xavier, who has been a near-perennial NCAA Tournament team for the last two decades, has had tough luck losing good coaches to jobs at bigger programs:  Skip Prosser (Wake Forest), Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Sean Miller (Arizona).

Now current Xavier coach Chris Mack will face former coach Miller in the Sweet 16.  Miller, who was coach the last time Xavier reached the Elite Eight, left in 2009 to succeed Hall of Famer Lute Olson at Arizona.

This will be a tough test for Xavier; the Wildcats are one of the favorites to win it all, and the game is in San Jose, which should give Arizona a crowd advantage.  Even if Xavier wins tonight, the Gonzaga-West Virginia winner would be no easier of an opponent on Saturday.

2.  Michigan (26-11, 7-seed, Midwest Region)
Sweet 16:  Tonight vs. #3 Oregon, 7:09 pm ET, CBS

On Wednesday, March 8, as the Wolverines were departing Ann Arbor to head to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten Tournament, their team plane (with the team, coaches, family members, band and cheerleaders aboard) skidded off the end of the runway due to high winds.  Miraculously, no one was injured in the accident.

Michigan flew to Washington early the next morning to play their noon opener in the Big Ten Tournament, where they wore practice uniforms since their game jerseys were on the crashed plane.  The Wolverines beat Illinois comfortably that Thursday, before beating Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin to remarkably win the conference title.

After starting their NCAA Tournament with a 92-91 win over Oklahoma State, the Wolverines upset 2-seed Louisville on Sunday (and became a further sentimental favorite by knocking the scandalous Louisville athletic department out of the field), advancing to their third Sweet 16 in five years.

Since the accident, the Wolverines have seemed to play more loosely, and have no doubt played better than before.  Tonight, they face an Oregon team that lost its best player, forward Chris Boucher, in the Pac-12 Tournament.  Should the Wolverines advance to the Elite Eight, they would either encounter a Big Ten title game rematch against Purdue or a rematch of their classic 2013 comeback win over Kansas in the Sweet 16.

Sure, the Michigan program has had tremendous success in the past–the Wolverines have reached five Final Fours, including 2013, and won the 1989 national title–but the story of this team in their run to the Sweet 16 has been incredible.  Now, as they face an uphill climb as the lowest seed in the Midwest Regional, the Wolverines will try to continue to play out this movie-like scenario and write their Hollywood ending.

1.  South Carolina (24-10, 7-seed, East Region)
Sweet 16:  Friday vs. #3 Baylor, 7:29 pm ET, TBS

Sure, the Gamecocks happen to be a team I pull for, but that’s not why they are at the top of this list.

The Gamecocks are a sentimental favorite because of their program’s history (or, really, a lack thereof).  This tournament marks just the ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the program, and the first since 2004, after the Gamecocks were snubbed from the field last year.  Before last year’s NIT bid, the program had just one winning season since 2006.

After a first round win over Marquette–their first NCAA Tournament win in 44 years–the Gamecocks shocked the world and beat Duke 88-81, eliminating one of the biggest favorites to win the national title.

Beating Duke is enough by itself to make the Gamecocks a sentimental favorite for some, but especially when the win got South Carolina to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1973.  Now, the Gamecocks face Baylor (you know, that school that turned a blind eye to sexual assaults committed by student-athletes) as they try to reach their first Elite Eight in program history.

The East Region, at Madison Square Garden in New York, is wide open:  3-seed Baylor is the top remaining seed, and 4-seed Florida meets 8-seed Wisconsin (who beat 1-seed Villanova) in the other regional semifinal.  South Carolina, led by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell (21.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.9 APG), have arguably the best player on any team in the East Region.

South Carolina is trying to complete a unique trifecta for its state:  Coastal Carolina won the baseball national championship in June and Clemson won the football title in January.  Schools from one state have not held all three titles simultaneously since 1975.

 

 

Sweet 16 Schedule (all times ET)

Midwest Region (Thursday, Kansas City)
#3 Oregon vs. #7 Michigan, 7:09 p.m., CBS
#1 Kansas vs. #4 Purdue, appr. 9:39 p.m., CBS

West Region (Thursday, San Jose)
#1 Gonzaga vs. #4 West Virginia, 7:39 p.m., TBS
#2 Arizona vs. #11 Xavier, appr. 10:09 p.m., TBS

South Regional (Friday, Memphis)
#1 North Carolina vs. #4 Butler, 7:09 p.m., CBS
#2 Kentucky vs. #3 UCLA, appr. 9:39 p.m., CBS

East Regional (Friday, New York)
#3 Baylor vs. #7 South Carolina, 7:29 p.m., TBS
#4 Florida vs. #8 Wisconsin, appr. 9:59 p.m., TBS

Twitter Picks for College Football Week Eight

Game of the Week

#6 Texas A&M (6-0) at #1 Alabama (7-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Favorite:  Alabama by 18
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Texas A&M- 6th, Alabama- 1st

 

Big Game Guarantee

#23 Ole Miss (3-3) at #25 LSU (4-2)
Saturday, 9:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  LSU by 6
SOS Ranking:  Ole Miss- 20th, LSU- unranked

 

Upset of the Week

#19 Utah (5-1) at UCLA (3-4)
Saturday, 4:00 pm ET, FOX
Favorite:  UCLA by 7
SOS Ranking:  Utah- 25th, UCLA- unranked

 

Closer Than the Experts Think

NC State (4-2) at #7 Louisville (5-1)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite:  Louisville by 19
SOS Ranking:  NC State- unranked, Louisville- 7th

 

Not Closer Than the Experts Think

TCU (4-2) at #12 West Virginia (5-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ABC/ESPN2
Favorite:  West Virginia by 6
SOS Ranking:  TCU- unranked, West Virginia- 17th

 

Bad Spread Game

#17 Arkansas (5-2) at #21 Auburn (4-2)
Saturday, 6:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Auburn by 9.5
SOS Ranking: Arkansas- 19th, Auburn- 24th

 

Group of Five Game of the Week

Memphis (5-1) at #24 Navy (4-1)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBSSN
Favorite:  Memphis by 2
SOS Ranking:  Memphis- unranked, Navy- 24th

 

Is This Futbol?

#10 Wisconsin (4-2) at Iowa (5-2)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Wisconsin by 3
SOS Ranking:  Wisconsin- 10th, Iowa- unranked

 

Is This Basketball?

#16 Oklahoma (4-2) at Texas Tech (3-3)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, FOX
Favorite:  Oklahoma by 14
SOS Ranking:  Oklahoma- 12th, Texas Tech- unranked

 

Toilet Bowl

Syracuse (3-4) at Boston College (3-3)
Saturday, 12:30 pm ET, ACCN
Favorite:  Boston College by 5
SOS Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Miscellaneous:  The Former NFL Coaches Meet

Illinois (2-4) at #3 Michigan (6-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, BTN
Favorite:  Michigan by 36
SOS Ranking:  Illinois- unranked, Michigan- 4th

 

NFL Game of the Week

Seattle Seahawks (4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Sunday, 8:30 pm ET, NBC
Favorite:  Cardinals by 2

 

For what it’s worth…

Overall Record:  45-38
Last Week:  10-2
College Overall Record: 43-34
NFL Game of the Week: 2-4

Game of the Week:  3-4
Big Game Guarantee:  3-4
Upset of the Week:  2-5
Closer Than the Experts Think:  3-4
Not Closer Than the Experts Think:  6-1
Overhyped/Bad Spread Game:  4-3
Group of Five Game of the Week:  6-1
Is This Futbol?:  5-2
Is This Basketball?:  6-1
Toilet Bowl:  3-4
Miscellaneous:  2-5

For an explanation of the categories for Twitter Picks, click here.

Twitter Picks for College Football Week Four

Game of the Week

#11 Wisconsin (3-0) at #8 Michigan State (2-0)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, BTN
Favorite:  Michigan State by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Wisconsin- 10th, Michigan State- 8th

 

Big Game Guarantee

#12 Georgia (3-0) at #23 Ole Miss (1-2)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Ole Miss by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Georgia- 17th, Ole Miss- 22nd

 

Upset of the Week

Pittsburgh (2-1) at North Carolina (2-1)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ESPNU
Favorite:  North Carolina by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Pittsburgh- unranked, North Carolina- 19th

 

Closer Than the Experts Think

Kent State (1-2) at #1 Alabama (3-0)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, SECN
Favorite:  Alabama by 44
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Kent State- unranked, Alabama- 1st

 

Not Closer Than the Experts Think

#7 Stanford (2-0) at UCLA (2-1)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite:  Stanford by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Stanford- 7th, UCLA- unranked

 

Overhyped Game

#17 Arkansas (3-0) vs. #10 Texas A&M (3-0)
Saturday, 9:00 pm ET, ESPN
at Arlington, Tex. (AT&T Stadium)
Favorite:  Texas A&M by 6
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Arkansas- 25th, Texas A&M- 20th

 

Group of Five Game of the Week

East Carolina (2-1) at Virginia Tech (2-1)
Saturday, 12:30 pm ET, ACCN
Favorite:  Virginia Tech by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Is This Futbol?

#19 Florida (3-0) at #14 Tennessee (3-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Favorite:  Tennessee by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Florida- unranked (P.S. they’re the first team out), Tennessee- 9th

 

Is This Basketball?

Oklahoma State (2-1) at #16 Baylor (3-0)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, FOX
Favorite:  Baylor by 8
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma State- 18th, Baylor- 13th

 

Toilet Bowl 

South Carolina (2-1) at Kentucky (1-2)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, SECN
Favorite:  Kentucky by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Miscellaneous:  Game Most Likely To Be Won By Tigers, Volume II

#18 LSU (2-1) at Auburn (1-2)
Saturday, 6:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  LSU by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  LSU- 11th, Auburn- unranked

 

NFL Game of the Week

Houston Texans (2-0) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Thursday, 8:25 pm ET, CBS/NFLN
Favorite:  even

 

For what it’s worth…

Overall Record:  15-20
Last Week:  4-8
College Overall Record: 15-18
NFL Game of the Week: 0-2

Game of the Week:  2-1
Big Game Guarantee:  1-2
Upset of the Week:  0-3
Closer Than the Experts Think:  1-2
Not Closer Than the Experts Think:  2-1
Overhyped Game:  1-2
Group of Five Game of the Week:  3-0
Is This Futbol?:  1-2
Is This Basketball?:  2-1
Toilet Bowl:  0-3
Miscellaneous:  2-1

For an explanation of the categories for Twitter Picks, click here.

Twitter Picks for College Football Week One

With the return of college football comes the return of my Twitter Picks each week.  These are challenging to write because I only have 140 characters to explain the pick, and this year there are some different categories I am adding.

The old categories of Game of the Week, Big Game Guarantee, Upset of the Week, and Closer Than The Experts Think will still appear each week.

Not Closer Than The Experts Think will be the opposite of Closer Than The Experts Think, and will be a game that the spread does not indicate how big I believe the margin will be.

Overhyped Game will be just like it sounds, a game that I think is getting too much hype leading up to it.

The Group of Five Game of the Week will be the best game featuring one or both teams from the “Group of Five” conferences (non-Power Five).

Is This Futbol? will be a low-scoring game (that the score is soccer-like), and Is This Basketball? will be a high-scoring game.

The Toilet Bowl will be the worst game each week between two teams from Power Five conferences.

Last but not least, the Miscellaneous category will be any other game worth picking, but there will always be a reason (like this week’s “Game Most Likely To Be Won By Tigers”).

Without further adieu, here are the week one Twitter picks:

Game of the Week

#11 Ole Miss vs. #4 Florida State
Monday, 8:00 pm ET, ESPN
at Orlando, Fla. (Camping World Stadium)
Favorite: Florida State by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Ole Miss- 10th, Florida State-4th

 

Big Game Guarantee

#18 Georgia vs. #22 North Carolina
Saturday, 5:30 pm ET, ESPN
at Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Dome)
Favorite: Georgia by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Georgia- 17th, North Carolina- 14th

 

Upset of the Week

#16 UCLA at Texas A&M
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Favorite: Texas A&M by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  UCLA- 21st, Texas A&M- unranked

 

Closer Than The Experts Think

#5 LSU vs. Wisconsin
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ABC
at Green Bay, Wis. (Lambeau Field)
Favorite: LSU by 11
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  LSU- 5th, Wisconsin- unranked

 

Not Closer Than The Experts Think

#20 USC at #1 Alabama
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC
at Arlington, Tex. (AT&T Stadium)
Favorite: Alabama by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  USC- 15th, Alabama- 1st

 

Overhyped Game

#10 Notre Dame at Texas
Sunday, 7:30 pm ET, ABC
Favorite: Notre Dame by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Notre Dame- 11th, Texas- unranked

 

Group of Five Game of the Week

Appalachian State at #9 Tennessee
Thursday, 7:30 pm ET, SEC Network
Favorite: Tennessee by 21
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Appalachian State- unranked, Tennessee- 7th

 

Is This Futbol?

South Carolina at Vanderbilt
Thursday, 8:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite: Vanderbilt by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Is This Basketball?

#3 Oklahoma vs. #15 Houston
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite: Oklahoma by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma- 3rd, Houston- 12th

 

Toilet Bowl

Georgia Tech vs. Boston College
Saturday, 7:30 am ET, ESPN2
at Dublin, Ireland (Aviva Stadium)
Favorite: Georgia Tech by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked

 

Miscellaneous:  Game Most Likely To Be Won By Tigers

#2 Clemson at Auburn
Saturday, 9:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite: Clemson by 8
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Clemson- 2nd, Auburn- unranked

Twitter Picks for College Football Week 13

Game of the Week

#3 Oklahoma (10-1) at #11 Oklahoma State (10-1)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite:  Oklahoma by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Oklahoma- 3rd, Oklahoma State- 10th

 

Big Game Guarantee(s)

#7 Baylor (9-1) at #19 TCU (9-2)
Friday, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Baylor by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Baylor- 7th, TCU- 19th

 

#22 UCLA (8-3) at USC (7-4)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ABC/ESPN2
Favorite: USC by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking: UCLA- 20th, USC- unranked

 

#18 Ole Miss (8-3) at #21 Mississippi State (8-3)
Saturday, 7:15 pm ET, ESPN2
Favorite: Ole Miss by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Ole Miss- 19th, Mississippi State- 22nd

 

#13 Florida State (9-2) at #12 Florida (10-1)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite: Florida State by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Florida State- 14th, Florida- 9th

 

#6 Notre Dame (10-1) at #9 Stanford (9-2)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, FOX
Favorite: Stanford by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Notre Dame- 4th, Stanford- 12th

 

(Extremely Mild) Upset of the Week

#8 Ohio State (10-1) at #10 Michigan (9-2)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite: Ohio State by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Ohio State- 8th, Michigan- 11th

 

NFL Game of the Week

New England Patriots (10-0) at Denver Broncos (8-2)
Sunday, 8:30 pm ET, NBC
Favorite: Patriots by 3

 

 

Season to Date
Overall Record: 55-42
Last Week: 6-6
College Overall Record: 46-36
Game of the Week: 7-5
Big Game Guarantee: 26-14
Upset of the Week: 6-12
Closer Than the Experts Think: 7-6
NFL Game of the Week: 8-6