Playoff Push Prediction League Participants Confirmed!

Including rules and procedure for the league

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This is the article that precedes what is sure to be nonstop trash-talking. The participants for the Playoff Push Prediction League have been confirmed!

Our newest After the Whistle blogger joins me in taking on Joel Deering of Fourth Quarter Sports. Week 8 will begin the drama, leading all the way up to the Super Bowl. The winner will be the one who scores the most points overall. If you are actually interested in the scoring, here you go.

Each blogger will post their picks on their blog before 7:00 PM CT Thursday evening, except for this week. Due to a limited amount of time between the league announcement and Thursday Night Football, every blogger will automatically be assessed one point for TNF tomorrow. This week’s deadline is 11:00 CT Sunday morning.

The first part of each blogger’s weekly post should include picks for all the games taking place within the week. One point will be awarded for each correct pick. That’s where the simplicity ends. The second part of the post should include an upset pick, a lock, and a marquee matchup pick. The last of these is decided on via strawpoll. Every correct pick in this section will double the awarded points for the selected game.

Better put: Suppose the Bears are playing the Panthers. Obviously Carolina is favored. If I pick Chicago as my upset pick and they win, I get two points. If that game is also the week’s marquee matchup, I would get four points. If Carolina wins and I pick the Bears, I get zero points regardless.

One thing for the locks: Any team involved in our picks for a lock from the previous week may not be picked as a lock the following week. So if my lock is Patriots over Browns, (uh, duh) next week my lock can’t have anything to do with either team. But in two weeks it’s fair game.

 

If you sat through this wall of text, you must be a dedicated reader. Kudos to you! Be sure to weigh in on who wins in the comments, and let Fourth Quarter Sports know it!

After the Whistle’s Playoff Push Prediction League

Last week didn’t have any meaning. Sure, my NFL predictions were new and exciting. But there was always something missing. Something like a competition. Something. . . like a prediction league.

So we at After the Whistle have done it. I will face off against other bloggers leading up all the way through the Super Bowl. More details will be released later today, so be sure to stay tuned throughout this otherwise boring Wednesday.

College Football Power Rankings Week 8

There weren’t any big surprises this week, but USC and Michigan cannoned downwards after big losses. Georgia retained their grip on the number two spot despite big wins from top ten teams, and a new Pac-12 team enters the rankings.

1. Alabama

Tennessee is not very good this year, are they? The Crimson Tide rolled to a 45-7 victory and retain the top spot.

2. Georgia

The Bulldogs’ resume keeps them above a surging Penn State, and the Notre Dame win looks really good now.

3. Penn State

The Lions were expected to beat Michigan. They were not expected to win by 29 points. Penn State remains stationary, but if they beat Ohio State. . .

4. TCU

A shutout against any other Big 12 opponent would’ve done wonders for TCU’s ranking, but Kansas is hardly a Top 25 team. The Horned Frogs need to keep winning, otherwise Clemson and Notre Dame could easily leapfrog the Toa—er, Frogs.

5. Clemson

Clemson comes off their bye staring at NC State’s undefeated record in ACC play. Whoever wins will be in control of the conference.

6. Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish catapulted into the top 10 after blowing out USC in an instantly forgettable game. Saturday at NC State will define the rest of both teams’ seasons.

7. Miami

The Hurricanes escaped again, this time a 27-19 win at Syracuse. Miami will begin to fall unless Malik Rosier and Co. pick up some convincing victories. But for the meantime, Miami is undefeated.

8. Oklahoma

For the THIRD week in a row, the Sooners would be out of the top 10 if not for receiving some help. Oklahoma escaped in a 42-35 thriller against. . . Kansas State? Not exactly Playoff material.

9. Ohio State

Ohio State falls one spot due to Notre Dame’s big win. The Buckeyes had an extra week to prepare for a massive game against Penn State. What a slate of games we have in store!

10. Wisconsin

Rounding out the top 10, Wisconsin took care of Maryland 38-13. Matchups with Iowa and Michigan over the coming month will determine the Badgers’ Big 10 fate.

11. NC State

The Wolfpack had an extra week to prepare for Notre Dame, a daunting test that could elevate or eliminate NC State’s Playoff chances.

12. Virginia Tech

VT demolished North Carolina 59-7, and rise four spots due to others’ resume flaws.

13. Auburn

The Tigers are here based on their preseason ranking. Auburn failed their only tests against Clemson and LSU. . . but I’m keeping them here because that offense’s potential is boundless. All it takes is one marquee win against Alabama or Georgia.

14. Washington

Notre Dame’s meteoric rise has claimed another minor victim. The Huskies fall one spot after their bye week, and will need to win out to have any chance at the top four.

15. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys’ offense struggled against Texas, but the defense bailed them out. A win’s a win!

16. UCF

17. USF

Memphis’ rise and USF’s struggles against Tulane mean the Golden Knights are top of the ranked AAC schools. USF can get back on track if they beat Houston in Tampa.

18. USC

49-14.

That was bad.

19. Memphis

A good win in a shootout against Houston combined with some help launches Memphis up five spots. The third Tigers in the rankings can clinch a visit to the AAC title game with wins over Navy and SMU.

20. Stanford

USC’s capitulation looks bad for Stanford, victim of when Sam Darnold wasn’t throwing five interceptions per game.

21. Arizona

Here’s your surprise entry. The Wildcats are 3-0 since freshman Khalil Tate took over the starting job. Arizona will either rise upwards or fall out of the rankings, as they face Washington State and USC in consecutive weeks.

22. Washington State

Ehh Colorado’s terrible anyways.

23. Michigan State

What is Michigan State’s luck in Indiana? First the Spartans get destroyed against Notre Dame. Then they barely escape from Indiana with a 17-9 win. Huh.

24. West Virginia

Make up your mind, Will Grier. The Mountaineers look like world-beaters one week, and then do something like oh, I don’t know. . . need a fourth quarter comeback to beat lowly Baylor?

25. Michigan

The final question of the day is answered. Michigan will not fall out of my rankings yet. The loss to Penn State hurts, but did anyone expect anything else to occur? One more loss and the Wolverines are out.

 

Next week promises to be dramatic! Notre Dame—NC State and PSU—OSU are both at 2:30 on Saturday, and highlight the fun slate Week 9 brings. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and any feedback in the comments.  Adios!

Tracking my Week 7 NFL Predictions!

I will update the post as new scores occur. Put your feedback in the comments!

Find my predictions here.

Chiefs over Raiders 😡

Blast it.

Vikings over Ravens 😀

Lantavius Murray has his first 100-yard game as a Viking! Baltimore scored a late touchdown, but it was never really close in a 24-16 Minnesota win.

Trap game, my foot. 5-2! 5-2!

Saints over Packers 😀

The Saints have defeated Brett Hundley’s Packers 26-17. In other news, Ted Ginn’s stat line reads 7-141-0. Wow!

Dolphins over Jets 😀

Matt Moore has led Miami back! Kenny Stills tied it at 28 with six minutes to go, and clutch receptions from Jarvis Landry led to a game-winning field goal from Cody Parkey. The Dolphins are very much alive in the playoff race.

Panthers over Bears 😡

Mitchell Trubisky won a game in which he had four completions.

Skip.

Rams over Cardinals 😀

Saint—er, Los Angeles destroyed Arizona 33-0. Sean McVay has done wonders for this Rams offense.

Bills over Bucs 😀

Buffalo scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to defeat Tampa Bay 30-27. What a game!

Jaguars over Colts 😀

T. J. Yeldon put Jacksonville up 27-0, and that’s how the game ended. The Jags’ defense has also limited Indianapolis to 78 total yards in the first three quarters. . . and notched ten sacks.

Titans over Browns 😀

Joe Thomas’ (10,363 consecutive) snap streak is over, as the lineman left the game due to injury. How many field goals are we going to see today?

Seven field goals, as Ryan Succop delivers for a 12-9 Titans victory.

 

Early window roundup: Out of the eight early games, I predicted seven correctly. The Raiders’ thrilling win on Thursday night joins the Bears to give me a 7-2 record early.

 

LATE WINDOW

 

Cowboys over 49ers (DAL 40-10 SF)

Steelers over Bengals (PIT 29-14 CIN)

Seahawks over Giants (SEA 24-7 NYG)

Broncos over Chargers (LA 21-0 DEN)

SNF: Falcons over Patriots

MNF: Eagles over Redskins

NFL Predictions Week 7

This is new.

Photo source: http://vikingswire.usatoday.com

Inspired by Fourth Quarter Sports, (it’s a great blog; check it out!) I am starting my own weekly post of NFL predictions/picks/conjectures/not-at-all-wild guesses. Week 7 is the first of these to be subject to disapp—er, discussion.

Chiefs vs. Raiders

Derek Carr looked awful in Oakland’s narrow loss to the Chargers, and I expect that to continue against one of the NFL’s finest secondaries.

Ravens vs. Vikings

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan. Minnesota is in control of the NFC North after dominating the Packers, and the Ravens look out of shape. SKOL Vikes!

Saints vs. Packers

Brett Hundley is a decent quarterback, no doubt. Green Bay’s defense is. . . well, still Green Bay’s defense, and Drew Brees should have a field day. The Packers can’t match New Orleans score for score.

Jets vs. Dolphins

Miami figured something out last week in a terrific come-from-behind win against the Atlanta Falcons. A win ties them with the Patriots atop the AFC East, and the Jets like tanking.

Panthers vs. Bears 

No discussion. Chicago can’t cope with Cam Newton and Co.

Cardinals vs. Rams

Jared Goff has looked mediocre against star-studded defenses, but Arizona isn’t banged up. Look for S—.er, Los Angeles to take control of the game.

Buccaneers vs. Bills

Tampa Bay consistently rolls over against strong defenses, and Buffalo is looking to get back on track in the playoff race. The Bills win, but it will be close.

Jaguars vs. Colts

Jacksonville’s defense is very, very good. Now they face Indianapolis.

I’ll take the Jags!

Titans vs. Browns

It won’t be long until Cleveland wins another game. I think. Maybe?

Cowboys vs. 49ers

Dallas will take a boost from Ezekiel Elliott’s off-field problems being somewhat resolved, and Dak Prescott stands to benefit the most. The Niners haven’t played well against multi-dimensional offenses.

Bengals vs. Steelers

Cincinnati lives and dies by A.J. Green’s production. It should be a wild game against the team that beat Kansas City at Arrowhead. Pittsburgh will prevail due to its explosive offense.

Seahawks vs. Giants

Do you expect Seattle to give the Giants their first win? I don’t. Russell Wilson leads a competent offense that will do enough on the backs of the Seahawk defense.

Broncos vs. Chargers

Where is this mentality coming from? The Chargers are 2-4! Yet everyone expects San D—er, Los Angeles to destroy one of the best defenses in the league. Not happening!

Falcons vs. Patriots

This one is tough to call. Atlanta is angry they let a 17 point lead slip to the Dolphins and need a win. But it’s still New England. I expect Matt Ryan to lead Atlanta past the champions in a tight, medium scoring game.

Redskins vs. Eagles 🦅 

Philadelphia is on a roll, and Carson Wentz should rip apart Washington’s below average defense.

That concludes my first NFL predictions article. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Takeaways from NBA Opening Night

A buzzer-beater wiped off, a rookie putting up 25, a forward coming off the bench to drain six threes. . . basketball is back.

Cavaliers 102-99 Celtics

LeBron James did exactly what he needed to propel Cleveland to victory. It was a game marred by Gordon Hayward’s horrific leg injury, and someone needed to fill the hole. Jaylen Brown put up 25 points to give Boston a fighting chance, and Jayson Tatum’s double-double kept it close. The Cavs escape with a narrow victory over a terrific opponent.

 

Rockets 122-121 Warriors

While the late start probably shifted viewers to the early game, the West’s two best teams produced a thriller. Nick Young came off the bench to drain six three-pointers for Golden State, and James Harden did—well, James Harden things. A last-second Kevin Durant shot appeared to beat the buzzer and give the Warriors a dramatic victory. . . but it was wiped off. The champs are 0-1.

 

What are your opinions of last night’s games? Let me know in the comments. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and come back tomorrow for more!

College Football Power Rankings Week 7

Week 7 was our reminder of why we follow this crazy sport. Four top ten teams lost, all to unranked opponents. Missouri put up three first half touchdowns on Georgia’s vaunted defense, and the state of Virginia has three ranked teams.

1. Alabama 

The Crimson Tide remained unblemished in a week of upsets, destroying Arkansas 41-9. They take the top spot after Clemson’s loss.

2. Georgia

I said in last week’s post that the SEC might go 1-2 in my power rankings at some point. Did I expect Clemson to lose to Syracuse? No, but Georgia took advantage. Missouri matched the Bulldogs score for score in the first half, but the second was a different story. Does 53-28 sound familiar?

3. Penn State

The Lions must be happy to have had their bye last week. They leap to third. . . but face both Michigan teams and Ohio State the next three weeks. Have fun!

4. TCU

The Horny Toads decided to destroy Kansas State, to the tune of 26-6. All it takes is one Penn State loss (root for Michigan) and TCU will be third. Their best case scenario is winning everything in the Big 12. . . and hoping things break their way in the SEC. If Auburn beats Alabama, look out!

5. Clemson

Calm down. Syracuse is a good team, and would be ranked if not for their three losses. Clemson is going to be just fine, and the surprising strength of the ACC will only boost the Tigers’ resume.

6. Miami

Malik Rosier has done it again. Georgia Tech gave the Hurricanes all they could handle before the star quarterback led Miami down the field for another game-winning drive. Miami benefits from half of the top 10 falling on their faces, and the ACC Championship Game could be superb. Virginia Tech looms.

7. Oklahoma

Texas is better than most think. Oklahoma delivered a 29-24 victory, and a win is a win. Unless it’s a game decided by a referee screwup on a lateral attempt.

I’m sure Duke doesn’t mind.

8. Ohio State

At this point everybody’s beating Nebraska by 40+ points. It’s not surprising.

9. USC

See Oklahoma and substitute Utah for Texas.

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers faced their first real test of the season against Purdue. The offense fell flat on their faces, but the defense came through. Wisconsin is the third B1G team in the top ten this week.

11. North Carolina State

Nobody expected the Wolfpack to be in the top 25 this year, much less leading the ACC. If NC State beats Clemson on November 4th. . .

12. Auburn

Out of all the SEC teams, the Tigers had to lose to LSU. The team that lost to Troy. Auburn had to lose at the last minute on national television.

In fairness LSU played well, and a close loss to an SEC team is never a terrible thing. But now Auburn can’t lose again if they want to make the Playoff.

13. Washington

Jake Browning was limited to 139 yards passing by Arizona State, the defense that had given up more than 30 points to the opposition in every single game. . . until the Sun Devils held Washington to seven.

14. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys did as expected, demolishing a horrendous Baylor team 59-16. Mason Rudolph and Co. move up due to upsets and Michigan.

15. Michigan

Indiana forced the Wolverines to overtime before Michigan prevailed. They’ll have to be much better they have any hope of a top 10 place.

16. Virginia Tech

The Hokies were on their bye week. Virginia Tech remains stationary in the rankings.

17. Notre Dame

The Irish also rested on their bye week, but rise one spot due to Washington State’s collapse.

18. South Florida

USF took care of Cincinnati with shutdown defense. UCF looms.

19. UCF

Speaking of the Golden Knights, UCF’s explosive offense ran up and down the field against East Carolina, winning 63-21. Whoever wins their matchup with USF should make the New Year’s Six.

20. Stanford

Oregon isn’t that bad. Stanford beat them by 42 points. How’s that for replacing Christian McCaffrey?

21. Washington State

They lost 37-3 to Cal.

Weber State lost by 13 to Cal.

22. Michigan State

The Minnesota game wasn’t anywhere close until the final minute. MSU dominated for 50 minutes against a solid Gophers team.

23. West Virginia

Back into the rankings comes West Virginia, who put up 46 on Texas Tech. The Mountaineers played a good game against TCU two weeks ago, and could move higher.

24. Memphis

The one-loss Tigers defeated a good Navy team with ease, and the AAC might not be a two-horse race.

25. Virginia

The Cavaliers have some quality wins over ACC teams, and we all know how stacked the ACC is this year. Virginia enters the rankings, but might not be here for long. Miami waits.