Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bilo's College Football: Conference Title Chase Breakdown

With one more full week to go in the 2016 college football season, here is a breakdown on where every conference race stands:

East: USF, Temple
Temple still owns the tiebreaker here, having beaten USF 46-30 earlier this season. USF wraps things up next Saturday at home against UCF, which will not be a very easy task. Temple absolutely has the easier of the two roads, as they host East Carolina next Saturday as well. It is all down to this one game, and USF needs a Temple loss.
West: Navy
Navy is simply sitting back and waiting for the winner of the East. The Middies locked up the West this week by crushing East Carolina 66-31. Even if Navy were to fall to SMU next week, they have already beaten both Houston and Tulsa, the only two teams left in striking range.
Prediction: Navy vs. Temple in AAC title game

Atlantic: Clemson
Louisville was still hoping for a last minute conference loss by Clemson to Wake Forest, but it was not to be this week, as the Tigers took care of business in their final league game before taking on South Carolina next week in a non con rivalry game. Clemson crushed Wake Forest 35-13, and moves on to the ACC title game.
Coastal: Virginia Tech, North Carolina
Virginia Tech owns the tiebreaker here, but they cannot separate themselves from North Carolina, as the two are still locked in a tie heading into the final full weekend of the season. The Hokies get a solid draw for them next Saturday, as they will wrap up in their rivalry game against Virginia.
North Carolina gets a tougher draw this week, but not a terrible one, as the Tar Heels are coming off a 41-7 thumping of FCS member Citadel. That was the 2nd FCS opponent for UNC this season, which is just shameful.
If both win, Virginia Tech plays Clemson. All Virginia Tech needs to do is beat Virginia. If both lose, that, strangely enough, opens the door for Miami and Pitt to claim a piece of the pie, and then we are looking at a laundry list of tiebreakers.
Projection: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech in ACC title game

Big 12
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
The Big 12 title all comes down to one game with a unique name: Bedlam. Oklahoma has cruised through their Big 12 schedule after a 1-2 start to the season, and they find themselves unbeaten in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State has just one conference loss, but can win title by beating Oklahoma. Call this game the unofficial Big 12 title game before the real deal picks up next season.
Projection: Oklahoma wins Big 12 title

Big 10
East: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
Michigan has one path to a division title right now, and that is to beat Ohio State next Saturday. If Ohio State beats Michigan, and Penn State loses, Ohio State wins the East. If Penn State wins, and Ohio State beats Michigan, Penn State is division champ. Penn State finishes against Michigan State, who fell just a point shy of beating Ohio State this weekend.
West: Nebraska, Wisconsin
This division is complicated. Wisconsin has wins against Nebraska and Iowa, and wraps with Minnesota this week. If Wisconsin wins, the Badgers will play in the Big 10 title game.
Nebraska wins the title with a win over Iowa, and a Wisconsin loss. Nebraska lost to Wisconsin, but defeated Minnesota, and wraps with Iowa this week. In any event, a Nebraska win and a Wisconsin loss would send the Huskers to the Big 10 title game.
Iowa and Minnesota could pull upsets this week which would give them both a share of the West title that would be split four ways, but they lose all the tiebreakers in the end to someone else.
Projection: Penn State vs. Wisconsin in Big 10 title game

Conference USA
East: Old Dominion, Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky owns the tiebreaker between these two teams, having beaten Old Dominion 59-24 this season. WKU will play at Marshall this week, while ODU gets FIU to wrap the regular season. If both win, WKU gets the title game spot, but if they lose, and ODU wins, the Monarchs take it. If both lose, WKU still grabs the spot. I project that both will win their season finales this week.
West: Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs win the West last week, and simply await the winner of the East. Tech wraps against a very disappointing Southern Miss club this Friday.
Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech in CUSA title game

East: Ohio, Miami (Ohio)
This is the week for MAC divisional title games. The Bobcats of Ohio could have wrapped the East title last week, but rather fell to Central Michigan. That sets up a must win situation for Miami this week. Miami must win against Ball State to have a shot, and they need an Ohio loss to Akron to steal the division. If Ohio wins this week, they win the East. Should they lose, and Miami wins, Miami wins the division.
West: Western Michigan, Toledo
The West all comes down to this week, as WMU wraps the regular season against Toledo at home, with both the division and their undefeated record on the line. Expect fireworks this week, as this will be one of the biggest games of the week.
Projection: Western Michigan vs. Ohio in MAC title game

Mountain West
Mountain: Boise State, Wyoming, New Mexico
Boise State was rooting openly for San Diego State this week, but Wyoming slipped by with a one point win over the Aztecs, and so the Cowboys still control the tiebreaker here. If both win this week, Wyoming is in the MWC title game against San Diego State in a major rematch. If Wyoming loses to New Mexico, and Boise State beats Air Force on the road, Boise State wins the division. If both lose, New Mexico plays mainly to a spoiler roll, but a three way tie would make for an awkward situation with overall tiebreakers. New Mexico really blew their chance when they lost to Colorado State this week.
West: San Diego State
The Aztecs owned the division title two weeks ago, but that loss to Wyoming this week was not a welcome break. If all teams win out on the other side of the bracket, SDSU will end up with Wyoming back on their plate once again in 2 weeks.
Projection: San Diego State vs. Wyoming in MWC title game

North: Washington, Washington State
The Apple Cup has been billed as the conference game of the year for weeks now, and it is upon us. The Cougars host this grudge match for a division itle in Pullman for the first time since the conference expanded. The Cougars lost to Colorado this week, but it was an affordable loss that did not change the scope of the North at all. This was always set up as a win or die scenario. Washington bounced back from a bad USC loss to beat Arizona State badly, and so the Huskies can take this with the win, as can the Cougars.

South: Colorado, USC
With Colorado beating Washington State at home this week, they are now set up to win the South for the first time by beating Utah. Utah is coming off a horrible loss to Oregon at home, and now they are relegated to being spoilers in this race. If Colorado beats Utah, they win the South.
Should Colorado lose to the Utes this week, USC would win the South in a tiebreaker, as the Trojans had beaten the Buffs earlier this season.
Projection: Colorado vs. Washington in PAC-12 title game

East: Florida
The Gators may have picked up their biggest road win in years this week when they knocked off LSU in Baton Rouge 16-10. That win locked up the SEC East title that nobody seemed to want this season.
West: Alabama
Alabama locked up the West last week, but still has the Iron Bowl ahead this week. The Tide should be a rather large favorite to repeat as SEC champs.
Projection: Alabama beats Florida in SEC title game

Sun Belt
Arkansas State, Troy, Appalachian State
Arkansas State controls their own destiny with wins over Troy and Appalachian State in back to back weeks. Arkansas State can afford one loss, but if they should lose their final two conference games to UL-Lafayette and Texas State, Troy moves into position to win the conference title by winning out. If Both lose out, and Appalachian State wins out, the Mountaineers can still claim the title, but only in that scenario.
Projection: Arkansas State win the Sun Belt title

Bowl Eligible Teams
Florida State
Wake Forest
North Carolina
Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech
Oklahoma State
West Virginia
Kansas State
Ohio State
Penn State
Louisiana Tech
Western Kentucky
Old Dominion
Middle Tennessee
Western Michigan
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Boise State
New Mexico
Air Force
Colorado State
San Diego State
Washington State
Texas A&M
South Carolina
Arkansas State
Appalachian State

Bowl Ineligible

U Conn
East Carolina
Texas Tech
Iowa State
Michigan State
Notre Dame
U Mass
Ball State
Bowling Green
Kent State
Utah State
San Jose State
Fresno State
Oregon State
Mississippi State
Georgia Southern
UL Monroe
New Mexico State
Georgia State
Texas State

Playing For a Bowl This Week

NC State
Boston College
North Texas
Southern Miss
Miami (Ohio)
Arizona State
Ole Miss
South Alabama

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