Phil is here!
If Oregon runs the table, they're in the NCG, right?
No question about it. If they run the table, they're playing in the title game, yes. There's a big enough margin between 2 and 3 that it can't be closed.
Plus they'd have impressive wins against Stanford and UCLA down the stretch, plus the Pac-12 title game.
Who do you see winning it all on and off the field in CFB land and the Capital One Mascot Challenge??
I picked the Tide No. 1 in the preseason (went out on a limb there). I'm sticking with them. My No. 1 mascot the last few weeks have been Rocky The Bull from.....South Florida. He's as big a favorite as the Tide.
Stanford had big hopes this season....how big was that loss last weekend?
Massive. Now, even if they beat Oregon, they're probably on the outside looking in. I felt that Stanford had a team that could play with Alabama. They're balanced. They're big and strong, but with more speed than most think. But they could still beat Oregon and make it to the Rose Bowl. But that looks to be the ceiling right now.
I think this season could come down to this question....a one-loss SEC team or a one-loss Pac-12 team go to the NCG?
Pac-12 one loss? No. If they're two undefeateds. SEC one-loss team? Possibly. I could even see that team getting over a OSU team, possibly. Defintely over Louisville.
Phil, have been a fan of your work since the late 90s. Appreciate all the hard work you put into the preview magazine. When reviewing a box score, what are the first three things you focus on?
Thanks for the kind comments. The first two factors I look at are first downs and yards. They give you an idea of how the game was played. If you're getting first downs, you're moving the ball. And if the losing team has a lot of first downs and yardage edge, that jumps out.
I don't want to read too much into the Penn State loss to Indiana or the win versus Michigan. What do you see as a realistic record for PSU in their remaining games? Thank-you.
They're currently at 4-2. Best case, would be 8-4. Worst case would be 7-5.
Who is an underrated mascot in this challenge that you could see breaking out?
Well, it would have to be Monte of Montana, because I've never heard of him, first of all. He's 5-1. We've seen in the Challenge an FCS mascot win. I think the whole FCS nation gets behind the FCS mascot.
Hello Phil, Does a one loss SEC champion get into the NCG over an Ohio State team riding a 25 game win streak?
That's a big question. I think it depends on how impressive they are down the stretch. If they win big, I would say no. If they have a lot of close games and the Big Ten has only 1 or 2 ranked teams, then there's the potential. But I would say 60-40, no.
How often do you go back and see how correct your predictions are?
I check how the magazine is doing every week during the season. So, very often. The main thing is when you make predictions early in the year, you have to stick with it. I check back often. It's like getting a report card.
Phil, who will beat Oregon? They look unstoppable. Stanford obviously has the guts to beat them, but do they have the horses?
Even after last week's performance, I think Stanford still has the talent to knock them off. They held Oregon to 14 points in regulation and overtime in that game. Stanford has the offense and defense and schemes to match up with them. That's Oregon's only threat the rest of the year.
But, for the record, I pick Oregon to win that game.
Are you on the Baylor bandwagon? Lots of stats, but I'm thinking they lose three games down the stretch.
I've been very impressed with Baylor. The Big 12 seems to be weaker this year. I can poke holes in OSU, OU, Texas. I don't see them slipping up three times. At this point they're playing the best of the Big 12 teams.
I know you had FSU as your preseason #3, do you see Winston silencing the crowd and critics this Saturday vs Clemson?
Yes. It won't be easy, playing in Death Valley. FSU is the stronger team. I knew they had to play at Clemson when I wrote the magazine. I'm acutally higher on FSU because Winston is playing better than I thought when I wrote the magazine.
I am very impressed with the job Coach Cutcliffe is doing at Duke. Are you suprised?
No. I was surprised Mississippi let him go after a rare non-bowl season. I thought he would be able to turn the program around, which he has.
Do you predict NIU to go undefeated the rest of the year? If so, with a stronger SOS and an additional game do they jump Fresno State in the rankings?
NIU has been winning, but not as large of margins as last year. This year, they're only outgaining foes by 46 yards per game. Ball State and Toldeo are very dangerous games. Both could beat them. If they do run the table, I still think Fresno State's ahead of them.
Phil, what are your thoughts on Texas from here on out? A lot left to prove in my book, but what is a realistic outcome for this team? Thanks!
Yeah, it's been a roller coaster season for them. They're going back to Baylor. I think the Big 12 is a very winnable conference. You can poke holes in all of the teams. The potential is to be favored in their next five games. I picked them in my top 10 at the start of the year, so I'm a little gun shy on them.
Is FSU back? I know that phrase is easily thown around, but really. Has Jimbo done enough to honestly say they're back on the rise to dominance?
Well, last year, they were a two TD favorite in all but one game. That one game they were a one TD favorite. I will annoint them as being back when they don't lose any games they're supposed to win. But the talent is there with any team in the country.
I believe Florida's defense is very good. BUT, LSU got prideful and wanted to show they could pound it down Florida's guts, only scoring a couple of times... I see Mizzou's spread, getting 1-on-1 looks with DGB, Washington, Lucas, etc etc., exploiting the smaller UF secondary. Yes? No? What to expect?
I expect it to be low scoring. Florida's defense is holding teams offense to 212 yards below their season average. Missouri doesn't have their starting QB. The backup is mobile and accurate and has good receivers. Florida's defense will do the job. The surprising stat is that in the last five weeks, a Missouri DL has been the DL of the Week four times.
Is the ACC the 3rd best coneference in the nation right now? 4 teams in the polls, 3 teams in the top 10, 2 in the top 5.
I agree with that assesment. Clemson and FSU are potential national championship contenders. SEC is No. 1, Pac-12 2 and the ACC is clearly No. 3.
I appreciate all of you coming on today and asking questions. For more on the Mascot Challenge go to CapitalOneBowl.com. A lot of interesting matchups this week.