Week 12 Fantasy Football Results

The Confidential is running a fantasy football contest each week and during the regular season.  Here are the rules.  Remember, you can enter in Week 13 and still be eligible for the overall prize–which is given to the entrant who wins the most weeks.  But, for now, let’s recap the Week 12 results:

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Confidential Survivor Pool Update: Week 13

An then there were six.  With Duke and Notre Dame losing, 10 entrants were eliminated, leaving only six in the running for the prize.

Here are the folks still in the running, as well as the picks that they have used to date:

1 CDWHIT09 BC DUKE PITT NCST VTC FSU ND LOU CLEM
ND
MIA
CLEM
LOU
NCST
FSU
2 DREW_WMS GT CLEM PITT NCST VIRG LOU ND DUKE BC
ND
MIA
CLEM
DUKE
FSU
NCST
3 JFLIPPEN NCST LOU MIA DUKE VIRG FSU ND CLEM BC
MIA
ND
CLEM
FSU
NCST
UNC
4 MSU_DAWGS02 SYR WF ND BC VIRG FSU MIA LOU CLEM
ND
MIA
CLEM
DUKE
FSU
NCST
5 TWOHOOS SYR WF ND NCST VIRG LOU MIA CLEM BC
ND
MIA
DUKE
FSU
FSU
NCST
6 WAHOO 88 SYR WF GT BC VIRG CLEM ND LOU MIA
MIA
ND
DUKE
FSU
NCST
UNC

Randy Moss & FSU… What Could Have Been?

This week I set some time aside to watch ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary: “Rand University.” I generally enjoy these films, as they often provide both an entertaining and enlightening perspective on athletes and teams.  I even enjoyed the famous “The U” film in the series.  My only gripe with the series is that the name no longer fits… we are well past the 30th anniversary for ESPN, and certainly past 30 films in the series.  Regardless, the films have generally been good, and its most recent installment was solid.

The part of the film I had the most interest in was of course his brief stint at FSU. If you know your college football or watched the film you know that Randy Moss’ was not permitted to attend Notre Dame for being involved in a fight where is friend beat up a kid who allegedly left some racially charged comments for Moss’ friend.  As a result of this fight he was charged with a felony (reduced to a misdemeanor), and sentenced to 30 days in jail which was served under a work release program in 1996.  Despite signing his letter of intent to the Irish he was allowed to go to FSU in 1995, and had to sit out that season as a redshirt freshman.  As the film recounts he regularly burned great FSU defensive backs in practice, and even recorded the second highest 40 time in school history… only behind Prime Time himself.  Unfortunately, as a result of smoking some “herbal remedies” during his work release in 1996, he was kicked out of FSU.

It was at this point of the film I began to participate in a common practice among many Seminole fans, which is to wonder: “What could have been, if Randy stayed out of trouble and remained a Nole?” Trust me when I tell you, that any FSU fans over 25 will discuss this scenario amongst themselves at least once a season. Even Lebron James lamented on the fact that Moss could not continue his FSU career beyond being a redshirt freshman.

So how different would history have been if Moss was able to play as a Nole through the late 90’s? I mean, he is just a wide receiver, right?  Well… yes and no.  Yes, he is just a wide receiver, but he is not just any wide receiver.  Remember what he did on the field in college and NFL throughout the late 90’s.  As a wide receiver at Marshall, his next stop after FSU, he was a top 4 finalist for the 1997 Heisman.  You know, the Heisman race with the most stacked finalists in modern history with likely three future NFL Hall of Famers in it (Woodson, Manning, Moss… and well yeah Leaf was the black sheep in that bunch).  Side Note/Trivia Question: Is there another group of Heisman Finalists that can match that season?

Once Moss was done with college, he left early for the NFL. In 1998 he proceeded to turn a regular wild card caliber team of the Vikings under Green, into a Super Bowl caliber team.  If you doubt me, look at what he did in that year.  His numbers were staggering, the team was 15-1 in the regular season, and he was essentially the only major addition to an established team.  If it was not for a major upset by the Falcons, I think Elway may have one less ring on his finger.  Does anyone doubt that the 1998 Vikings would match up a heck of a lot better against the Broncos than the Dirty Bird Falcons?

During this same time FSU was in its Golden Era. From 1996 to 1999, what could have been Moss’ four years of playing time at FSU, the Noles had just 4 losses.  Also, the school effectively played in 3 national titles games (96, 98, 99), and in 1997 FSU only lost on the road at the Swamp or it would have been 4 straight shots at the title in Bowl games (actually 5 because the 2000 team also went to the title game… of course there is no way Moss could have played that year).  FSU also had its wire to wire national title run in 1999.

Now, perhaps Moss would not have stayed all five years (including the redshirt 95 season), after all he did leave Marshall after the 1997 season in reality. I tend to think he would have a hard time leaving such elite teams that winning titles, and a major reason he likely left Marshall was the fact that at the time he was trying to get out of the state of West Virginia.  Remember he never considered WVU as an option (if you want to ever piss off a Mountaineer… just say Randy Moss), and looked to schools in other states.  So, I tend to believe he would have played the full 4 non-redshirt seasons at FSU, but I am also a biased Seminole fan… so yeah.

In considering how much better FSU would have been in the 4 years of 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, one has to look at the players on those teams. The defenses, which were elite during that era, would be the same, so we will only focus on the offenses.  In 1996 a solid QB in Thad Busby would be throwing him the ball, and the best there never was Dan Kendra (look up this guy’s story, talk about could have beens) would also throw some balls that season.  Warrick Dunn was the running back that year.  Peter Warrick and EG Green would have been fellow receivers.  In 1997 you would have a much improved Busby, Minor at running back, and Laveranues Coles/Warrick/Ron Dugans/Snoop Minis as fellow receivers.  In 1998 you would have the same teammates, but Weinke would be QB.  In 1999 it would again be the same team, minus Coles most of the year, and add a young Anquan Boldin.  In a nutshell, you would have some stacked offenses, with the current UGA coach calling the plays.

So let us look at the individual seasons, specifically the losses, to see how much difference Randy Moss would have made. FSU went unbeaten during the 1996 team then was blown out in the 1997 Sugar Bowl in a rematch against UF.  Odds are Moss is not worth 32 points in that Sugar Bowl, but one has to wonder if Moss played in that last regular season game at FSU against the UF team if it would have led to a much bigger win.  FSU only won by 3 against unbeaten number 1 UF in that game.  If Moss plays, I think FSU likely wins by at least 10, probably 17, if not 24 points.  You have to remember FSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead in that game, and Moss is the exactly the big play guy who could continue to put the pressure on and not letting UF back in the game.  If FSU wins by 17 or 24 points it likely drops UF much further than 4th before its Alabama game, and it is unlikely UF could jump up to 3 before the Sugar Bowl.  In that case, perhaps UF doesn’t get a rematch against FSU in the Sugar Bowl.  Generally Bowls hate rematches, but the 1996 regular season UF vs. FSU game was such a classic I am sure organizers didn’t mind the rematch that year.  Well if FSU destroys UF in that last regular season game, odds are FSU is facing a different opponent that bowl season. ASU was unbeaten, but was going to the Rose Bowl due to the Pac 12 tie-in.  The likely team FSU would face then would have been Nebraska or maybe BYU (yeah they were good then).  FSU would likely match up well against both teams, and with ASU losing the Rose Bowl, FSU wins another title.  I will admit of all the seasons in play, this is the one least likely to have been greatly aided by Randy Moss playing.

1997 is where the fun would really begin. FSU only lost by 3 on the road to UF that season.  I have to believe if Moss plays, that is a Seminole win.  FSU was number 1 going into that game, and likely remains number 1 with a win.  That would mean they would have the inside track to a championship game against other unbeaten teams.  That regular season would have had three unbeaten teams, Michigan (3), Nebraska (2), and FSU (1).  In that scenario odds are FSU plays Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, instead of going to the Sugar Bowl.  That Nebraska squad was good, but struggled with an okay Missouri team that season.  I think FSU wins that game, and probably gets a share if not takes the title outright from fellow unbeaten Michigan.  Remember, Michigan only played Washington State, not even a top 5 team.

1998 would add Weinke as QB, and FSU’s second ACC loss. NCSU would upset FSU by 17 early in the season, so odds are Moss does not make enough of a difference for a different score.  Despite the upset, FSU would go on to play in the first BCS National Title game against Tennessee thanks in large part to one of the craziest finishes to a regular season in history.  FSU only lost to Tennessee by one score in that game, and the Volunteers were arguably one of the worst teams to have ever won the title.  I think Randy Moss gets FSU another title that season.

Obviously FSU won it all without a loss in 1999, but could you imagine how much better an already elite offense would be with Moss? The Virginia Tech game would not have even bewn close.  Weinke would have had an even more impressive season.

Perhaps history works out the same with Moss playing, but I think he is good for at least one more title at FSU. If Moss plays and maxes out his college career at FSU, the Seminoles likely have at least 1, and maybe as much as 3 more titles.  FSU could very well be a three-peat or even a four-peat champion, and 5 straight title appearances.  How different would have the 2000’s been with that legacy?  Would recruiting have been better? Maybe not different, but I would have loved to have witnessed the games in the late 90’s with Moss as a player.  I especially would have liked to have witnessed how much fun that offense would have been to watch.  Of course, this pondering is nothing more than fantasy, but hey isn’t that part of being a fan?

ACC Basketball Confidential Roundtable: Season Preview

As we have done with football, the Confidential plans to get some or all of the Confidential contributors together weekly during the season to provide a summary of their school, the ACC, and other topics of note.  This week is the preview session:

Q1: What are your expectations for your team this season–best-case scenario, worst-case scenario, and reasonable expectations?

John (North Carolina): I have huge expectations for my team this season. With the collection of talent that North Carolina has, there’s no reason to think that a return to the Final Four isn’t possible. With 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, 5 Mr. Basketballs (including Joel Berry, a three-time winner in the State of Florida) and a two-time National Championship Hall of Fame coach, the Tar Heels may finally be poised to live up to the lofty expectations set upon them.

Best Case Scenario- Marcus Paige continues his run as ‘Mr. Clutch’ and is the nation’s best point guard once again. Forward Brice Johnson thrives under his increased minutes, and someone on the team finally learns to shoot a three-point shot. With high-scoring, and the fast-tempo that is consistent with a signature North Carolina team, the Tar Heels win the third National Championship of the Roy Williams era. Also, Duke flames out in the first round of the tournament again, this time, losing to local rival NC Central. There are riots in the streets of Durham, NC (but no one is hurt).

Worst Case Scenario- The NCAA decides that the information in the Wainstein Report is bad enough for them to take away the Tar Heels’ 2005 National Championship, a first for the governing body. Bogged down by sanctions, scholarship reductions and the early retirement of Coach Roy Williams, North Carolina limps to a 20-loss season where Marcus Paige regresses, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks tear their ACL and no one figures out how to hit a three-point shot. Duke wins their fifth National Championship, passing the Tar Heels non-vacated number of championship seasons and Justin Jackson leaves early for the NBA. There are riots in the streets of Chapel Hill, NC (multiple injuries are reported).

Reasonable Expectations- It seems reasonable enough that with the talent Roy Williams has this year, that the Tar Heels 1) Contend for the ACC Regular Season Title 2) Advance to the Semi-Finals of the ACC Tournament and 3) Qualify for the Sweet Sixteen. But those expectations are almost too reasonable. North Carolina has a great shot at both the ACC Regular Season and Tournament titles, and has the skill to make it to college basketball’s final weekend. But will they? The Tar Heels have underperformed the last few years, struggling under the weight of the academic scandal, the PJ Hairston saga and their own inability to hit free throws. Time will tell.

Len K (Louisville): The Cards brought in a 6 men class so they will be young this season. The class was loaded with much needed size and came with a top 5 ranking but only two have shown to be a factor as of now. Two are 7′ foreigners who will need time to develop their game and physically. One arrived in school in August so he is behind while another is still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA. The good news is that two who should make an early impact are the Cards top rated PG and C. We know who the starting 5 will be and these two freshman will be the first to off the bench. Best case they compete for the conference championship. Worst case they finish mid-pack in the ACC. There’s 20+ wins on the schedule so a top 5 ACC finish is perfectly reasonable. We will learn a lot more about the Cards on Friday, 11/14, when they open the season in Puerto Rico against Minnesota. Yup, Rick vs Richard in a battle of the Pitino’s to start the season.

Brian (FSU):

Best Case: FSU shocks the world and wins the ACC, after all this is the best team FSU has had since it won the ACC Tournament.  Then gets to the Tourney, and then finishes in the Final 4. Am I dreaming? Probably, but this is a best case scenario… if you want a more reasonable best case scenario I would say this team is capable of winning the ACC, not likely, but not inconceivable.  In that scenario FSU could be good enough to get to the Sweet 16.

Worst Case: FSU goes to a third straight NIT tournament, and doesn’t even get to host a game.  I will admit odds are far better this scenario happens than FSU being a Final 4 squad. 

Reasonable: I think FSU getting to the Semis of the ACC tourney is not out of the question, and then gets to the Sweet 16.  I just have a good feeling about this year’s team.

Mike (NC State):

Best case:  Senior Ralston Turner fills the scoring void left by TJ Warren, a slimmed-down BJ Anya dominates in the paint, and Chris Corchiani Jr. lives up to his genes.  The Pack finishes in the top 5 of the conference and makes a deep NCAA run, perhaps Elite Eight.

Worst case:  Turner can’t fill those big shoes and Anya suffers a relapse.  Corchiani proves to be just another walk-on benchwarmer.  State struggles and misses the Big Dance.
Realistically, the Pack should have the guns to finish in the upper half of the conference barring major injury trouble. Scoring will likely be an issue early on as the team figures out their roles After TJ, but if Cat Barber continues to improve everybody should get chances.  The Wolfpack should make the NCAA tournament field without a play-in, though two wins may be the limit once they arrive.

Anthony (Syracuse): Some of Jim Boeheim’s best runs in the Big Dance have been with teams with very low expectations.  This 2014-2015 team may not have NIT expectations, but nobody is talking about the ‘Cuse right now.  The upside for Syracuse is always a Final Four run.  This can happen if the freshmen are as advertised and the sophomores take the next step… and if Trevor  Cooney/Rakeem Christmas become consistent.  The downside for Syracuse is the aforementioned NIT.  That is less likely than a Final Four run, but far from impossible.  If the sophomores do not develop, and Cooney/Christmas continue to be “no shows” too often, it is not clear that the freshmen will be able to carry the load.  The reasonable expectations are that Syracuse will do well in November/December… but then come back to reality as the ACC schedule hits.  One would expect a Big Dance seeding in the #5/#6 range.   

Q2: Who do you think the top 3 and bottom 3 teams in the ACC will be at season’s end?

John (UNC): I expect the top three of the ACC to be North Carolina, Duke and Louisville in no particular order. Virginia has a good team, but I’m not sure I see them maintaining the same level of momentum without mainstays Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell. Other teams like Syracuse, NC State and Pittsburgh will be good, but I don’t think there will be any surprise winners like Miami in 2013. The bottom three teams are actually harder to predict. Will new coach Buzz Williams make an immediate impact on Virginia Tech, leading the Hokies out of the basement? Or will they be stuck there with Boston College, an almost lock for the cellar? I’m betting on quick improvement in Blacksburg, and regression in Atlanta and Clemson. My bottom three- Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson.

Len K (Louisville): How can you not put Duke and North Carolina atop the ACC? The battle will be for #3. The top candidates here are Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse. Louisville plays NC, Pitt and Miami twice while also getting Duke at home. With all the young talent on the Cards roster I will put Virginia at #3 for now. My bottom 3 would be Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Manning will do will at Wake but it will take some time.

Brian (FSU):Duke, 2) UL, 3) UNC (I am sorry; I think UNC is overrated).  13) Wake, 14) BC, 15) GT

Mike (NC State): I like Duke to win the conference with UNC coming in a close second.  Louisville, my #1 in the preseason poll, should be third at season’s end.  As for the bottom 3, let’s say Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech.

Anthony (Syracuse): As much as I would like to add Syracuse to the top three, Duke is just too loaded.  North Carolina has the next most talent.  And Louisville’s Rick Pitino will have the Cardinals ready for the ACC.  It is possible that the Cards will develop slow and come on late, in which case Virginia’s system is more likely to put them in that spot than Syracuse or the rest of the field.  The bottom three are likely to be the usual suspects–Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Clemson. 

Q3: What ACC coach enters 2014 on the hot seat?

John (UNC): Brian Gregory has been the coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for four years now, and has not led his team past a 9th place finish in conference. Even though the fans in Atlanta are not known for their basketball fandom, Gregory’s predecessor, Paul Hewitt, led the team to 6 postseason appearances in 11 years and was much more successful in his early tenure, bringing players like Chris Bosh and Thaddeus Young to town. Four years is usually enough to tell the direction of a program. If Gregory can’t show visible progress, his time will be done in the increasingly competitive ACC.

Len K (Louisville): Being new to the ACC I wont put any coach on the hot seat this early but the situation in Chapel Hill will be worth monitoring. His performance on the sidelines certainly hasn’t warranted a removal but will a change be forced by the NCAA?

Brian (FSU): Mike Brey of ND.

Mike (NC State): Brian Gregory has to be feeling posterior-area warmth after three straight losing seasons at Georgia Tech.  If a fourth follows, and I think it might, the Jackets will soon be looking elsewhere.

Anthony (Syracuse): It has to be Brian Gregory, who joins Tom Crean of Indiana in being a coach from the Tom Izzo coaching tree that is in trouble right now.  Which reminds me… take a look at the Rick Pitino coaching tree over at ESPN.  Pretty impressive.  Of course, Pitino is part of the Boeheim coaching tree.  

The Confidential’s ACC Basketball Poll: Preseason

As football winds down, basketball starts up.  At schools like Syracuse and Wake Forest, it cannot come soon enough.  But with every looming season comes the predictions… and here we go.  This is how a quorum of Confidential correspondents see the ACC playing out in hoops:

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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 11/12

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 11) and the Week that will be (Week 12) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 11?

David (FSU): The week went pretty much as planned, though Clemson did struggle a bit more than I expected early, the week was pretty much the status quo.

Len (Louisville): All the blowout victories. Not surprised by the wins but by the margins. The way Arizona State dominated Notre Dame.

Mike (NC State): The way Wake Forest hung with Clemson, trailing only 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.  This does not bode well for NC State; of their remaining two opponents, Wake looks to be the most winnable game.  Or is it?

John (UNC): Nothing too surprising this week, honestly. All the teams that won were expected to win, even though the margins may not have been exactly the same. At times, Clemson struggled against Wake Forest, and Florida State looked sloppy against Virginia, but no one will remember that years from now when they look back at each team’s win-loss record. Pretty standard. Oh wait, Notre Dame got destroyed by Arizona State, completely ending the Fighting Irish’s chance at the College Football Playoff. Not entirely surprising given the way they’ve played against their questionable schedule, but fantastic for the ACC’s chances at having them join all-in at some point in the future.

Brian (FSU):  Wake Forest putting up 20 points on Clemson’s defense.  I could not believe Wake’s anemic offense was able to score on Clemson.  On a side note I am surprised that OSU blew out Michigan State… you know the same OSU team that lost to the team currently in last place in the Coastal.  Of course if you watch ESPN the OSU hype machine is spinning that OSU is improving while asking us to ignore the VT loss.  Here is the thing, if you praise OSU you cannot do so without praising the ACC.  If one of the worst ACC teams can handily beat the best Big 10 team at their house, what does that say about the ACC?  You cannot brush off that loss for OSU when all they have played since the loss are other Big 10 teams and High School level competition, and the best Big 10 team should be able to handle the worst of any conference, even with a new QB.  Everyone has called JT Barrett one of the bright spots for OSU this year… well you cannot ignore what one of the worst ACC teams did to that QB in September. Sorry all BIG 10 homers, fact is the Hokies beat your best team.

Anthony (Syracuse): By far… it was Clemson allowing 20 points to Wake Forest. A close second was Notre Dame laying an egg against Arizona State.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 11?

David (FSU): I was surprised at not seeing Mario Pender & some others play either at all or very sparingly in the second half. FSU seemed to pack it in once they had a 2 score lead, appearing to just desire escaping with a W and as much rest as possible for key players still hampered by injury. 

Len (Louisville): I was surprised by how bad Boston College special teams were. I was disappointed in Dyers performance, I was expecting him to continue his high level of play. I was pleased that they weren’t caught looking ahead to Notre Dame. The 38-19 final score was surprising as well, it’s a solid road victory.

Mike (NC State): Zero momentum carried over from the Syracuse game and the Pack was pummeled.  Not that the Tech game looked too promising, but 56-23?  Really?

John (UNC):  North Carolina was off last week, so thankfully, we didn’t lose. The Tar Heels continued to be in the news though, as former player Michael McAdoo (no relation to former basketball player James Michael McAdoo) sued the school, claiming that the University ‘failed to provide him with a quality education.’ While that may be true on some level due to his involvement in the African American Studies Department’s paper classes, this is a guy who got kicked out of school for plagiarism and academic fraud that he committed, not someone else. While I agree that it’s the University’s responsibility to provide a quality education, I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. The blame falls solely on McAdoo for going along with the paper class system instead of waiting to speak out when it was more convenient for him. Much like fellow whistle blower Rashad McCants, McAdoo’s professional career has been a complete bust, in part because of his bad attitude.

Brian (FSU):   I was surprised and disappointed that the UM game is currently sitting at -1.5 FSU.  Yes, UM is a rival…. Yes, statistically they have better numbers… Yes, they have played better offenses, and their D is top 11… Yes, FSU has not looked like last year… I do not care!  Fact is FSU should be more of favorite than they are, and certainly not an underdog (trending that way).   FSU has actually faced far better run defenses and defenses that are far more aggressive than UM.  UM has actually played some of the worst run defenses, have Duke Johnson, and they are still not a top 30 team in rushing.  In two of the games they lost this year they played good run defenses (the only 2 all year ), and could not break a 100 yards rushing.  Fact is, if you stop UM’s ground attack they are in trouble.  Would you believe me if I told you with all the injuries and all the criticism that FSU has the third best run defense UM will have faced all year, sitting at 35? Well they are, and are coming in healthier in the front line than they have been all year.  Remember, FSU had 2 total linebackers going up against Louisville… that will not be the case against UM.  That being said… UM will likely shock FSU… I always assume the worst.

Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse keeps losing players and keeps performing at the same level.  For all the criticism lofted at Scott Shafer (e.g. here), he has kept this team together despite the losses.  Syracuse may not have talent, but it certainly has heart.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

David (FSU): I’m most looking forward to seeing how the run game works itself out on both sides of the ball. Getting Pender back should help FSU, and supposedly Cook will be able to play as well. Can the team finally have a dominate rushing game that we expected to see at the start of the year? As for MIA, they’ve already proven they can run the ball as well as anyone in the ACC not named GT. Will the FSU DL have gap composure and integrity? Exactly how healthy are Mario Edwards & Eddie Goldman, their play will be vital to FSU’s chances for success.

Len (Louisville): The Cards are on a bye week so I’m looking forward to them getting healthy again. Lorenzo Mauldin missed the game against BC due to a shoulder injury, that injury has been nagging him all season. Golson is struggling with turnovers and Holliman added 3 ints to his season total, giving him 13 to lead the nation, so I am looking forward to our trip to South Bend in two weeks. The Cards defense should be able to pressure Golson much like Arizona St did which should give the Cards the advantage.

Mike (NC State): The Wolfpack must focus and beat Wake to ensure bowl eligibility.  I have no confidence that they can go into Chapel Hill and beat the Heels in Week 14, especially if the bowl issue isn’t yet nailed down.

John (UNC):  It’s Homecoming, so I’m looking for a win against Pittsburgh. If we can’t pull it off against the Panthers, our shot at bowl eligibility decreases significantly since a win at Duke can’t be guaranteed, or even remotely expected, at this point. The Tar Heels need to take care of business against the Panthers in order to set up a crucial home game against rival NC State the final week of the season. Something to watch- If NC State loses at home against Wake Forest this Saturday (highly unlikely, but possible), the stakes of the Tar Heels’ end of the month meeting with the Wolfpack become even higher. NC State is only 5-5 with two games remaining.

Brian (FSU):  Not much, since I somehow expect to lose. I would say, with our great kicker it would not be due to a wide right field goal… but then he shanked one against Louisville.

Anthony (Syracuse): Rest and healing.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR THE ACC?

David (FSU):I’m actually going to take the Clemson v GT game here, the GT offense vs Clemson D should be a great matchup to watch, and both teams still have plenty on the line this year.

Len (Louisville): If FSU can remain unbeaten after traveling to Miami. Also the Clemson and GT game. You have two Coastal teams, Miami and GT, playing at their best right now hosting the two top dogs from the Atlantic. Pop open a cold one, grab your favorite snack and enjoy the games.

Mike (NC State): Florida State vs Miami.  One of the two rivalry games the Noles face as the season draws to a close.  The Hurricanes are peaking at the right time, and the Seminoles have looked vulnerable over most of this season.  Will this be the game that ruins the chance of getting an ACC team into the first College Football Playoffs?

John (UNC):  The spotlight is on the Florida State-Miami game, but the other four games have bigger implications. Will North Carolina get one step closer to bowl eligibility against the Panthers? Will NC State get to six wins with a victory over the lowly Demon Deacons? What will another (expected) loss for the Hokies do to Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech? And how will fierce rivals Clemson and Georgia Tech fare coming into a game with only four losses between them? There’s a lot at stake on Saturday, and it’s more than just pride.

Brian (FSU): I could say the only time ranked teams from the ACC are playing each other this weekend, and it is a rivalry game in GT vs. CU… but the Duke game is also important.  Right now it is a 3 way race for the Atlantic, in reality.  GT needs a lot of help. Duke controls its destiny.  UM is in a good tie-breaker position against Duke head to head.

 Anthony (Syracuse):Well, there are two top notch games between FSU/Miami and Georgia Tech/Clemson.  What else could anyone want?

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

David (FSU): 1) Miss State 2) FSU 3) Oregon 4) Alabama (obviously this changes after this weekend).

Len (Louisville): 1 Miss State, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon. I was expecting a bigger margin of victory from FSU so I put them at #2. The top 3 are.solid but #4 isn’t getting any easier. My top candidates for the 4 spot are Alabama, TCU & Baylor. I would give this spot to the Big 12 champ but for now I will put Baylor there.

Mike (NC State):1 Florida State, 2 Oregon, 3 Mississippi State, 4 Alabama

John (UNC):  Oregon, Mississippi State and Florida State were victors on Saturday, but Michigan State fell out of the race entirely when they lost to rival Ohio State. I’m not ready to put the Buckeyes in the rankings though, because Alabama has made a great case to be team #4 this week. Actually, make that team #3. With a loss against the Crimson Tide this weekend, Mississippi State falls out of the rankings too, and TCU moves in. Get ready for the Horned Frogs!

Brian (FSU): Right now: 1) Miss St, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon, 4) TCU… of course I think Baylor having the tie-breaker over TCU should count for something.  At year end: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) Baylor (I think TCU will choke at UT… calling it now), 4) Miss St (With 1 loss, they beat a battered Ole Miss squad but by losing to Bama they avoid the SEC Title game, but resume trumps a 1 loss OSU BIG winner…  the BIG then literally flips a… cannot finish that sentence.) 

Anthony (Syracuse): I am going with Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon, and TCU. I have zero issues with the way the playoff committee has things right now.  Except… why is Florida State #3?  They beat Notre Dame… who was good enough to propel Arizona State UP three spots.  Meanwhile, Oregon has a MUCH worse loss and just had their Michigan State win downgraded.  I think that they were just trolling #FSUTwitter

What do you think?  How would you answer these questions?

Proposed Changes in Sports #1

Everyone has some opinions on what they would like to see change–both in the sports world and outside of it.  For whatever its worth (and it probably is not worth much), there are plenty of changes throughout sports that this author would like to see.  Here is the first:

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Why are there ranked standings for this in November?  As we speak #FSUTWITTER is afire as to how Florida State has dropped from #2 to #3, just by winning its 25th straight game.  Admittedly, the drop makes NO sense.  The team jumping FSU is Oregon, whose signature win was Michigan State, who just lost to Ohio State, who lost to Virginia Tech–the worst team in the ACC Coastal that Florida State currently leads.  The transitive game is risky, but it has to mean something.

My proposed change is that the committee stop releasing actual rankings, and instead just release a top 4, next 6, middle 5, next 5, and last 5 for the first three weeks. To strike a balance between no disclosure and full disclosure, the tiered disclosures would (a) allow some transparency; (b) keep everyone interested, (c) stimulate discussion, (d) encourage speculation as to where teams fit within a tier, and (e) allow the committee to defer having to make actual ranking decisions until teams have played at least 10 games.  Thus, for this week, the committee would issue this alphabetical ranking:

Top 4: Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon

Next 6: Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Ohio State, Ole Miss, TCU

Middle 5: Arizona, Georgia, Kansas State, MSU, UCLA

Next 5: Clemson, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Wisconsin

Last 5: Duke, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Texas A&M, Utah

This way, the committee would only be indicating a general rank–giving teams a preliminary idea of where they stand.  The top tier would have an idea that the committee seems to like what they have done so far, but no certainty.  And the lack of certainty also adds hope for all teams and fan bases.  And does it really matter right now who is #1?  If #1 or #4 loses, they are in jeopardy.

These rankings mean very little right now because there are so many important games left to play.  In a 12-game season, where the first 4-5 weeks are primarily OOC games, there is little to go by.  Moreover, many top conferences games that fall short of being rivalries (i.e. the slate of games this past Saturday) are played towards the end of the season.

Also, what is the point of having a team at #7, if #7 can leapfrog #4 with a win even if #4 also wins.  And so on.  Why did Arizona State move up to #6  for beating Notre Dame, but Florida State moved down despite beating the same team?  Either beating Notre Dame is impressive or it is not.  That is the problem with rankings.  Each new standings only reveals the weakness in the prior rankings–as the committee seemed to miss the boat.  Only we all know that the committee can only work with what it has at the time.

In March, the committee makes its final decisions in the hours up until the bracket is announced.  The fact that there is any transparency is great.  And, at some point, the committee can and should show its full hand.  The Confidential proposes the third Tuesday of November.  At that point, every team would have at least 10 games played.  That is a fair time to finally put numbers on things.  But in these early weeks of providing guidance, the need for transparency is reduced and the need to know that the committee is only temporarily ranking teams is justified.

Not the most dramatic change ever, but one that this author thinks is appropriate.