Rooting guide time!
We are half way through the season and things are going just according to plan for the UW. Sure, they’ve been criticized heavily for their strength of schedule. But we always knew that the east-coast bias of pollsters, voters and certain well-known broadcast companies would gravitate around that tired narrative.
The good news is that UW has done what they needed to do with such an easy schedule. They’ve won in dominant fashion and, in doing so, have boosted their statistical resume in both the advanced and traditional metrics.
There are just three teams in the nation that show up in the top 10 of both scoring defense and scoring offense: Washington (t10th and 3rd, respectively), Ohio State (10th and 4th) and Alabama (t10th with UW, 4th).
With the advanced stats - particularly those that are normalized for things like garbage time and strength of schedule - UW fares even better. The S&P system that utilizes Bill Connelly’s “five factors” formula and is derived from play-by-play analysis of every snap really likes UW. It has them ranked #3 overall (just behind Ohio State and Alabama). When you break it down, their offense is 13th in S&P+ while they defense is 5th overall.
Starting with ASU, the Huskies will no longer have to complain. According to ESPN, UW has the 9th most difficult strength of schedule in the nation from this point forward not counting a possible PAC 12 championship game. Style points have all ready been earned. It is now just a matter of winning and getting some help along the way.
Unfortunately, week 7 doesn’t promise too many surprises as there are no matchups anywhere in the country of ranked vs ranked teams. The upset opportunities look few and far between. That said, raise your hand if you had Iowa State beating Oklahoma in Oklahoma.
No, you didn’t. Sit down.
Still, there are some games that you ought to be paying attention to and hoping for the best.
#8 WSU at California
Root for: Cal
Look, I know that everybody wants an undefeated WSU at the Apple Cup. But I’m still not buying it. UW can’t go anywhere if it doesn’t first win the North. WSU still has Stanford and Utah ahead - both games that don’t lend themselves to the best kinds of matchups for the Cougs.
Since UW’s strength of schedule is pretty much what it is going to be at this point, I’m rooting for UW to have the North locked up before the Apple Cup. For that to happen, WSU needs to lose.
#6 TCU at Kansas State
Root for: an ugly game
I don’t see too many scenarios where K-State pulls out a win over TCU here. Still, a trip to Manhattan isn’t always the easiest kind of affair. The Wildcats have actually won three of the last five meetings of these two in Manhattan. It could happen.
But the best that you can probably hope for is one of those games that is competitive late in the fourth. Maybe the unranked home team has a lead in a baseball-score kind of game only to lose it on a last second luck-play ... kind of like some other team that played earlier in the year.
#10 Auburn at LSU
Root for: LSU (duh)
There is noise being raised that Auburn is being viewed as a playoff darkhorse. It could be. Their defense has a similar profile to UW both in look and statistical measurement. But their offense stinks.
And that is where LSU might have the opportunity to sneak in an upset. If the Tigers can beat a top 10 Auburn a couple of weeks after losing to lowly Troy, that would be a disqualification event for Auburn (but, wait ... Gus Malzahn?!?!).
#12 Oklahoma at Texas
Root for: Texas (duh, part 2)
It is remarkable how many talking heads have been talking about Texas being a good team as they try to build up hype for this matchup of traditional rivals.
Let’s be clear: Texas is not that good. What they are, however, is somewhere around average on both sides of the ball. With the kinds of athletes they have, you might be able to argue that they are underachieving as they struggle with Tom Herman’s new system.
This feels like an upset brewing to me. I know it would be weird to have it strike Oklahoma twice on two weekends, so I’m not exactly calling it. But I’m kind of calling it. I do like the Longhorns to make this a last series kind of game.
If they were to pull it off, it would send a teetering Big 12 into chaos and open the door for a one-loss PAC 12 conference champ to have a line of sight to the playoffs.
Baylor at #14 Oklahoma State
Root for: no defense
I’m not sure if Baylor can win. But OKST can’t play defense (51st in S&P+). Every time somebody puts that fact on display, it helps out a team that does play defense. Kind of like UW.
#9 Ohio State at Nebraska
Root for: some chink in Ohio State’s armor
Statistically speaking, Ohio State is probably the best team in the country. I’d like to see one side of the ball stub their toe simply to see UW’s resume continue to shine relative to their Big Ten rival. It really only matters if Ohio State becomes a non-champ playoff candidate again, but it could help.
And, hey, if Nebraska wins one for Mike Riley all the better.
That’s all I got for this week’s rooting guide. What games are you watching?
This is your Week 7 College Football open thread.
Friday’s Games - Pacific Time
|#2 Clemson at Syracuse||4:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#8 Washington State at California||7:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
Saturday Games - Pacific Time
|#6 TCU at Kansas State||9:00 AM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#17 Michigan at Indiana||9:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 NC State at Pittsburgh||9:00 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#24 Texas Tech at West Virginia||9:00 AM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida State at Duke||9:00 AM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Rutgers at Illinois||9:00 AM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Eastern Michigan at Army||9:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|BYU at Mississippi State||9:00 AM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|South Carolina at Tennessee||9:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas at Iowa State||9:00 AM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Connecticut at Temple||9:00 AM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Boston College at Louisville||9:20 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UNLV at Air Force||11:00 AM||AT&T SportsNet||None|
|Old Dominion at Marshall||11:30 AM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Purdue at #7 Wisconsin||12:30 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|#10 Auburn at LSU||12:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Georgia Tech at #11 Miami||12:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#12 Oklahoma at Texas||12:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Baylor at #14 Oklahoma State||12:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Virginia at North Carolina||12:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Northwestern at Maryland||12:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Vanderbilt at Ole Miss||12:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Akron at Western Michigan||12:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Miami (OH) at Kent State||12:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Northern Illinois at Buffalo||12:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Ohio at Bowling Green||12:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Toledo at Central Michigan||12:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#25 Navy at Memphis||12:45 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Houston at Tulsa||1:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Colorado at Oregon State||1:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Charlotte at Western Kentucky||1:30 PM||None||FloFootball.com|
|Wyoming at Utah State||1:30 PM||None||Facebook.com|
|Georgia State at Louisiana Monroe||2:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Appalachian State at Idaho||2:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at Georgia Southern||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Middle Tennessee at UAB||3:30 PM||beIN Sports||None|
|East Carolina at #22 UCF||4:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UT San Antonio at North Texas||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at Southern Mississippi||4:00 PM||None||WatchStadium.com|
|Tulane at Florida Intl||4:00 PM||None||CUSA.tv|
|Texas A&M at Florida||4:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas at #1 Alabama||4:15 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Missouri at #4 Georgia||4:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#9 Ohio State at Nebraska||4:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Cincinnati at #18 South Florida||4:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Utah at #13 USC||5:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#21 Michigan State at Minnesota||5:00 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|UCLA at Arizona||6:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|New Mexico at Fresno State||7:00 PM||AT&T SportsNet||None|
|Nevada at Colorado State||7:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Boise State at #19 San Diego State||7:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#5 Washington at Arizona State||7:45 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon at #23 Stanford||8:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|San José State at Hawai'i||8:59 PM||Spectrum Sports||None|