Deciphering What’s Left of the Season: the Non-AQ Edition

Colby Cameron's Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are just one of the teams looking to take a non-AQ conference title.

Following on from Wednesday’s look at the AQ conferences and how each is likely to pan out this season, CasinoReview takes you to the non-AQ conferences in search of finding those teams looking to take home a division title, or even conference title, this season.

 

CONFERENCE USA

East Division

Central Florida (8-2, 6-0 CUSA) – The Knights need to win one of their two remaining games this season to be awarded the East Division crown. Thanks to a head-to-head win over East Carolina, UCF can still win the title even if it loses both games, providing the Pirates lose two also.

East Carolina (6-4, 5-1 CUSA) – First the Pirates need to win out to have any chance of taking the division and then they need help from Tulsa and UAB, who would both need to win against UCF for East Carolina to be awarded the title.

West Division

Tulsa (8-2, 6-0 CUSA) – The Golden Hurricane can afford to lose this weekend against UCF, but only just. This race will go down to the final game of the season – which has Tulsa traveling to SMU – if the Mustangs win at Rice this weekend. If the Mustangs lose this weekend, Tulsa takes the West.

SMU (5-5, 4-2 CUSA) – The Mustangs need to defeat Rice this weekend in Houston to be in with a shot at the division title. A victory sets up a winner-takes-it-all clash with Tulsa next weekend.

 

MID-ATLANTIC CONFERENCE (MAC)

Eastern Division

Kent State (8-2, 6-0 MAC) – Ohio’s loss to Ball State on Wednesday means the MAC’s Eastern Division will be decided between Kent State and Bowling Green, who conveniently play each other on Saturday. A Kent State win gives the Golden Flashes the division title. A loss means not only would Kent State need to beat Ohio next week, but Bowling Green would also have to lose to Buffalo, in order for the Golden Flashes to head to the championship game in Detroit.

Bowling Green (7-3, 5-1 MAC) – The Falcons must defeat Kent State this weekend or it’s game over. A win would give Bowling Green a huge advantage going into the last week of play. The Falcons would merely need to match Kent State’s result to win the division.

Western Division

Northern Illinois (10-1, 7-0 MAC) secured a spot in the championship game with a 31-24 win over Toledo (8-3, 5-2 MAC) on Wednesday night. With one game to go, neither Toledo nor Ball State (8-3, 5-2 MAC) can catch the Huskies.

 

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (MWC)

The MWC does not use a tiebreaker to determine the conference champion should two or more teams finish with the same record. Those in a tied position at the top of the table would be considered co-champions.

San Diego State (8-3, 6-1 MWC) – The Aztecs can win outright with a victory over Wyoming (Nov. 24) so long as Fresno State loses to Air Force and Boise State loses one of its last two. In a best case scenario, a loss would likely generate a co-champion scenario.

Fresno State (8-3, 6-1 MWC) – Fresno State can win outright with a victory over Air Force (Nov. 24) and losses for San Diego State and Boise State. The latter would need to lose both of its final games. A loss leaves the Bulldogs vulnerable to a co-champion scenario or losing out on the conference title altogether.

Boise State (8-2, 5-1 MWC) – The Broncos can win the division outright with two wins accompanied by losses for San Diego State and Fresno State. One loss could generate a potential three-way tie with both San Diego State and Fresno State.

 

SUN BELT

Arkansas State (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) – In all likelihood, the Sun Belt championship will come down to Arkansas State’s game against Middle Tennessee (Dec. 1). The winner of that game is likely to be crowned champion. Before that, the Red Wolves need to beat Troy.

Middle Tennessee (6-3, 4-1 Sun Belt) – If the Blue Raiders can navigate their way past South Alabama and Troy, they’ll likely set-up a conference championship game with Arkansas State. A loss to either of those sides could prove very costly.

Louisiana-Lafayette (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) – The Ragin’ Cajuns’ only hope of winning the conference is to win out and finish tied at the top of the table with Middle Tennessee at 6-2. The two teams do not play this season so further tiebreakers may play out in Lafayette’s favor. It’s unlikely though.

Louisiana-Monroe (6-4, 4-2 Sun Belt) – Although not mathematically eliminated, ULM faces an uphill struggle. That struggle would include winning out in the division and then hoping the other contenders continue to lose leaving ULM and Middle Tennessee tied at the top of the conference with a 6-2 record. ULM holds the tie-breaker in that scenario, and that scenario only.

 

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (WAC)

Utah State (8-2, 4-0 WAC) – A win for the Aggies over the Bulldogs this weekend is enough to take the WAC title thanks to the fact that Utah State has already beaten San Jose State. A loss to Louisiana Tech would end all hopes of a division title.

Louisiana Tech (9-1, 4-0 WAC) – The Bulldogs play both their remaining rivals to close out the season. A win over both ensures an undefeated season in the conference and a WAC championship. A win over Utah State this weekend, and a Utah State win next weekend is also enough to take home the championship. A loss to both eliminates the Bulldogs.

San Jose State (8-2, 4-1 WAC) – Spartan hopes are pinned firmly on Louisiana Tech defeating Utah State this weekend. If the Aggies are victorious, San Jose State cannot win the division. A Bulldogs win however would set up a showdown with the Spartans next week. San Jose State would need to win that game and hope the winless Idaho can defeat Utah State. Don’t count on it.

 

So there you have it (almost). There’s still an awful lot up for grabs on the non-AQ side of the BCS. Some champions may be decided as early as Saturday, while others might not be crowned until December 1. One thing’s for sure though; the excitement really starts here.

Week 12 College Football Tips

Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will look to win the Pac-12 North Division title this weekend, setting up a potential rematch with the USC Trojans, who can claim the South Division on Saturday.

The thing with Week 12 on the college football schedule this year is that there are a lot of bump games that are of very little interest to anybody. That is to say that there are plenty of high-profile teams taking on schools so far down the pecking order, they’re practically starving. Of course, much of this has to do with the incoming Rivalry Week which will see fierce games galore next week.

Regardless, CasinoReview has taken a look through the schedule and picked out some choice cuts for you to take a look at, starting with both Pac-12 divisions, which could be decided by the end of play on Saturday. After that, we’ve thrown in a few of the less high-profile but very relevant games to give you a jumpstart over the bookies this weekend.

 

#13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon

With a win on Saturday, Oregon (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) will take the Pac-12 North Division. Were the Ducks to unsuspectingly lose to Stanford (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) however, they would need to beat Oregon State in the Civil War game next weekend, or allow Stanford to possibly sneak the title.

So, there’s plenty on the line before you even take into consideration Oregon’s National Championship aspirations.

Oregon will enter the game confident knowing that the team has won the previous two outings against Stanford, as well as nine from the last 10 and 10 from the last 11. In short, over the past decade, Oregon has had Stanford’s number.

But complacency had better not slip into Chip Kelly’s side or they’re sure to face a rude awakening.

Odds: Oregon is the favorite to take this one by a big margin, opening with a 21½-point edge. The over/under is 66.

Take: Oregon – Nothing that has happened on the field this season suggests that either Stanford or Oregon State can stop Oregon on its march to the National Championship Game. Of course, college football was made for upsets, but this doesn’t look like one of them. Stanford simply isn’t accomplished enough offensively or defensively to handle the Ducks. However, 21½-points is a huge margin this late in the season, so take Stanford to cover the spread. Take the total to go over; this is the number one scoring team in the league.

 

#18 USC @ #17 UCLA

Whilst it’s likely the Pac-12 North Division will be decided this weekend, the South Division will definitely be decided, as the two teams in contention take to the field against one another.

USC (7-5, 5-3 Pac-12) would take the title with a win over UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) and vice versa. It’s that simple.

USC’s off-color season has been well-documented, while the Bruins have either side of the BCS rankings most of the season. A showdown at the Coliseum is a just way for the title to be decided.

Odds: The line opened with USC as favorites (-3) to win a close game. The over/under is 63½.

Take: USC – There’s no denying that seeing the Trojans fall to the Bruins would be a rewarding end to a season that has seen far too many ridiculous and underhand tactics coming out of Los Angeles this season. Alas, the Trojans will take this one though as they have the last five and 12 of the last 13 (dating back to 1999), setting up a rematch with the Ducks for the conference championship. Take USC to cover the spread and the total to go over with these two high-scoring offenses.

 

Quick Takes…

#10 Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) can win the ACC Atlantic Division with a win over Maryland (4-6, 6-1) this weekend. A loss opens the door for Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) who plays North Carolina State (6-4, 3-3 ACC). Both the Seminoles (-31) and Tigers (-17) are favorites in their respective games. Take: Florida State and Clemson, giving the Seminoles the division crown.

#20 Louisiana Tech (9-1, 4-0 WAC) hosts Utah State (8-2, 4-0 WAC) in a game that will in all likelihood decide the winner of the WAC, although San Jose State still has a shot. The Bulldogs open as three-point favorites with the over/under at 68. Take: Louisiana Tech.

Despite not being postseason eligible, Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) can win (even though it won’t feel like a win) the Leaders Division with a win over Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten). Wisconsin is favored (-2½) at home. Take: Ohio State to play spoiler and to finish the year unbeaten.

In theory, both Tulsa (8-2, 6-0 CUSA) and Central Florida (8-2, 6-0 CUSA) could win their respective divisions in Conference USA this weekend, but for the Golden Hurricane it’s a little simpler; win on Saturday and win the division. UCF will still need to rely on help from elsewhere. Tulsa is a narrow favorite (-2½). Take: Tulsa, thanks to home-field advantage.

A win for Kent State (9-1, 6-0 MAC) over Bowling Green (7-3, 5-1 MAC) is enough to secure the MAC’s Eastern Division. Bowling Green is favored (-2) at home. Take: Kent State for the upset.

 

 

BCS Top 25 Schedule (Week 12)

#1 Kansas State @ Baylor

#13 Stanford @ #2 Oregon

Wake Forest @ #3 Notre Dame

Western Carolina @ #4 Alabama

Georgia Southern @ #5 Georgia

Jacksonville State @ #6 Florida

Ole Miss @ #7 LSU

Sam Houston State @ #8 Texas A&M

Wofford @ #9 South Carolina

#10 Florida State @ Maryland

North Carolina State @ #11 Clemson

#12 Oklahoma @ West Virginia

Minnesota @ #14 Nebraska

California @ #16 Oregon State

#18 USC @ #17 UCLA

Utah State @ #20 Louisiana Tech

Iowa @ #21 Michigan

#22 Rutgers @ Cincinnati

#23 Texas Tech @ #24 Oklahoma State

#25 Washington @ Colorado

#15 Texas – Bye

#19 Louisville – Bye

Big Games Still on the College Football Slate

Thanks to an elaborate sequence of events, a win over Wisconsin this weekend could find the Indiana Hoosiers representing the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship Game.

On Tuesday CasinoReview took a look at the biggest rivalry games still to be played this season. There’s a whole chunk of them and College Football is going to be exciting down to the last play of the season.

Today we’ve trawled through the remaining schedule and picked out the biggest (non-rivalry) games left on the slate, most of which focus on those teams looking to play their way into a conference championship game or a conference title itself.

Below is a list of the top ten(ish) fixtures left on the schedule.

Editor’s Note: Much of the content is based on assumptions that the formbook will remain true. Of course, College Football is all too good at throwing upsets out there, so there’s (always) a chance that those games played towards the end of November may take on a whole different meaning. For now, let’s play nicely in the world of theoretical football. As a final note, the games included on this list generally feature two sides that will be impacted by the same game. Yes, we know Alabama-Texas A&M is going to be a big game, but more so for the Tide than the Aggies.

 

Wisconsin @ Indiana (Nov. 10)

Big Ten: Indiana could represent the Leaders Division at the Big Ten Championship Game. This might seem a little beyond the realms of plausibility, but it’s true. Due to both Ohio State and Penn State – the two table-toppers – being ineligible, Wisconsin currently fills the ‘top’ spot, one-game ahead of the Hoosiers. If Indiana beats the Badgers, in theory it has an ‘easier’ schedule (at Penn State, at Purdue) than Wisconsin (Vs. Ohio State, at Penn State). That means this Saturday’s game could ultimately decide the Leaders Division’s representative. Shocking.

San Diego State @ Air Force (Nov. 10)

MWC: It should be duly noted that the Mountain West isn’t simply about one big game; there are plenty to follow. With five teams still in the hunt, this weekend’s clash between the Aztecs and Falcons will not decide the conference, but it will make a massive dent. As well as this meeting with the San Diego State, Air Force still has an impending clash with Fresno State (Nov. 24) which puts the impetus firmly on the Falcons’ side of the field. Nevada’s games with Fresno State (Nov. 10) and Boise State (Dec. 1) could prove to have a huge impact too.

Arizona State @ USC (Nov. 10)

Pac-12: USC hosts the Sun Devils this coming weekend aware that a loss will effectively mean the end of the Trojans’ hopes for the South Division title. A win for USC sets up a must-win game with UCLA the following weekend, although Lane Kiffin’s side will still need to hope Stanford can knock off the Bruins in the last week of the season.

Oregon State @ Stanford (Nov. 10)

Pac-12: Big strides can be made in the Pac-12 North this weekend also, as the Beavers travel to the Farm to take on Stanford. Both sides currently have conference records of 5-1, and are within touching distance of the undefeated Oregon. A loss for either side will see those championship chances extinguished. Both sides still have to face Oregon, which brings us to…

Stanford @ Oregon (Nov. 17) or Oregon @ Oregon State (Nov. 24)

Pac-12: If Stanford beats Oregon State, the North Division title will be decided in Eugene, Ore., on Nov. 17. If the Beavers win, a Civil War showdown in Corvallis on Nov. 24 will be for all the marbles. Yes, we realize that this list wasn’t supposed to include rivalry match-ups, but this is one hell of a three-way dance.

Kent State @ Bowling Green (Nov. 17)

MAC: Bowling Green’s 26-14 win over Ohio on Wednesday night looks to have turned a three-horse race for the MAC’s Eastern Division into a two horse race. Providing the team wins this weekend, the Golden Flashes will visit Perry Stadium knowing that a win will all but secure the title.

Utah State @ Louisiana Tech (Nov. 17)

WAC: The Bulldogs of LA Tech have been bothering the rankings for what seems like the better part of the season now. Only a loss to Texas A&M mars the school’s record. But Louisiana Tech isn’t guaranteed a second straight WAC title. Utah State, still unbeaten in the conference, will have a say in who is crowned the final conference football champion. Essentially, barring any hiccups down the stretch, this game will determine who takes the prize.

Toledo @ Northern Illinois (Nov. 17)

MAC: Currently one and two in the MAC’s Western Division, the Rockets and Huskies will meet in DeKalb, Ill., next weekend in what could be the division decider. Toledo’s loss to Ball State on Tuesday night has given Northern Illinois the advantage for now, but a head-to-head win would propel Toledo above the Huskies.

Louisville @ Rutgers (Nov. 29)

Big East: With both sides facing two conference challenges between now and this New Jersey showdown, a lot of scenarios can arise. For now, it’s simple: if both teams steer the course, this clash will determine who closes out the season as Big East champions.

Arkansas State @ Middle Tennessee (Dec. 1)

Sun Belt: Finally, with four weeks of play left, the Sun Belt Conference is completely up for grabs. No fewer than seven teams (Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, and North Texas) are still mathematically in the mix, which makes this a bettors’ paradise or nightmare, depending how you look at it. Let’s keep it simple then; if the remaining schedule is true to the formbook, this clash between the Red Wolves and Blue Raiders could well decide the division. This weekend’s rivalry clash between Arkansas State and ULM could have a huge bearing also.

 

List of Conference Championship Games

ACC: Sat., Dec. 1 – Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)

Big Ten: Sat., Dec. 1 – Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)

C-USA: Sat, Dec. 1 – Hosted by team with highest winning percentage

MAC: Fri., Nov. 30 – Ford Field (Detroit, MI)

Pac-12: Fri., Nov. 30 – Hosted by team with best conference record

SEC: Sat., Dec. 1 – Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)

BCS National Championship Game: Mon., Jan. 7 – Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)