Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM
In past years, college football’s regular season created a “virtual” tournament that eventually launched two teams into the championship game. It wasn’t called a tournament. But, the matchups naturally laid out in an elimination format. Here in 2014, we’re looking at something that more resembles a wrestling “pay-per-view” event. Maybe a promoter is calling the shots!
FIRST SEMIFINALIST: WINNER OF THE SEC WEST BATTLE ROYAL
The participants are:
#6 Texas A&M
#10 Ole Miss
(With LSU, Mississippi State, and possibly even Arkansas lurking as lumberjacks ready to storm the ring!)
This looks to be the single most exciting thing about the 2014 season, because teams in this loaded division will be playing so many games against each other. No other conference can match this. Most don’t even come close. Frankly, college football this year is mostly THIS much anticipated Battle Royal with a few other events sprinkled here and there.
SECOND SEMIFINALIST: WINNER OF A “LOSER LEAVES TOWN” MATCH BETWEEN
#4 OKLAHOMA AND #7 BAYLOR
Oklahoma will host the meeting on November 8. It’s true that both teams will have other challenges in the Big 12. But, Oklahoma and Baylor both get to host Kansas State and Oklahoma State (currently on the fringes of the top 25), and will be clear favorites in those games. Barring major upsets, the winner of Oklahoma/Baylor is extremely likely to earn a bid into the Final Four, while the loser is unlikely too unless they get a lot of help elsewhere. What seems to be a fading Big 12 isn’t going to be offering any strength of schedule kickers in the selection process.
THIRD SEMIFINALIST: WINNER OF #1 FLORIDA STATE VS. #8 NOTRE DAME
This classic “quarterfinal” game is set for October 18 in Tallahassee. Currently, no other FSU opponent offers up a true threat unless the team completely falls off the map because of off-the-field distractions or arrogance. Reaching the Final Four is very simple for the defending champs. Just take care of business as big favorites.
Notre Dame is far from a sure-thing even if they win in Tallahassee. And, they could technically be knocked out of the brackets if they lose to Stanford in the lead-in to FSU. Beating Stanford and FSU would definitely have the Irish in the mix at midseason at least. They would then have to survive road games at Arizona State and USC. For now, let’s assume FSU beats Notre Dame as a big favorite and this isn’t even an issue.
FOURTH SEMIFINALIST: #2 OREGON IF IT SURVIVES A GAUNTLET MATCH
Here, the heel promoter has set up a series of challenges for Oregon to prove its worthiness. It’s so unfair for the Quack Attack! (Imagine 10,000 fans in a wrestling arena pointing their arms in the air and rhythmically shouting “Quack! Quack! Quack!”)
October 11: at UCLA
October 18: vs. Washington
October 25: at improved California
November 1: vs. Stanford
November 8: at dangerous Utah
November 29: at state rival Oregon State
December 5: Pac 12 Championship (if they qualify, played at 49ers home stadium)
Oregon will be favored in each of those games. But, a poor road result this past weekend at Washington State makes it clear that surviving trips to UCLA, Cal, Utah, and Oregon State is far from a sure thing for this group. Can they play well on the road four times in a row? If so, can they THEN seal the deal vs. a talented Pac 12 South survivor in Santa Clara? If so, they’re definitely in football’s Dance, possibly as a #1 seed. If not, that’s where a door could open for someone else.
There you go….that’s your FINAL FOUR
*Winner of the SEC West Battle Royal
*Winner of Oklahoma/Baylor
*Florida State as long as they beat Notre Dame
*Oregon if it runs its gauntlet
Looking to sneak in with some at least one high profile win and some luck are aforementioned Notre Dame, Georgia if it can run the table and upset the SEC West champ in the conference finals, Stanford if it can knock off Oregon while running the table, and the runner-up in the SEC West Battle Royal, who may have a terrific resume even with a loss on it come December. For now, the Big 10 champion is likely to be on the outside looking in because the conference is so weak this year…and their best teams flunked September tests in glaring fashion.
College football resumes Thursday with some nice conference matchups. It will be UCLA at Arizona State in the Pac 12, and Texas Tech at Oklahoma State in the Big 12. You can always purchase game day BEST BETS in all sports right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office before the earliest kickoffs at 1-888-777-4155.
Football coverage continued through the week in the NOTEBOOK with:
Wednesday: NFL Notes
Thursday: NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…NY Giants at Washington
Friday: College Football Preview (either Arkansas/A&M or Mizzou/SC)
Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Notre Dame vs. Syracuse
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…New Orleans at Dallas
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…New England at Kansas City
Insight and analysis every day here in the NOTEBOOK…then BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!