Random Thoughts is BACK! 11-10-15

-So first off I must apologize for the incredibly long layoff.  I’ve been busy with other stuff, but still should have found the time to do this.  I’ll do my very best to post at least once a week going forward.  I probably won’t do any rankings or blogs that are updated weekly, but will try to post a lot more often again.  I’m not going to cover everything that I missed over the last several months.  Instead I’ll sort of hit the reset button and start fresh.

-The NBA season is off and running.  It’s been a solid season for the hobby so far, but a relatively uneventful season for NBA fans.  The reason I say this is because the league seems more top heavy this year.  The Warriors may never lose a game.  They look completely unstoppable.  The Cavaliers look really solid as well.  They lost on opening night, but haven’t lost since then.  And they’re doing this without Kyrie Irving or Iman Shumpert.  The Spurs look very solid as well.  After that there seems to be a bit of a drop off.  I’d honestly be shocked if we don’t see a Warriors/Cavs rematch in the Finals this year.  You never know what can happen, but they appear to be the best two teams so far.  And none of this is bad for NBA fans, but it could be a fairly boring regular season outside of individual player performances.

-Several young players are playing well in the young NBA season.  Both Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor look awesome so far.  The ROY race will be one of the best in recent memory if they both stay healthy.  Speaking of ROYs, Andrew Wiggins has been on fire his last two games.  He’s scored 30+ in 2 straight and will look to make it a 3rd straight tonight against Charlotte.  The Timberwolves look to finally be heading in the right direction.  With all their young talent, they could really be something special in a year or two.  It’s also nice to see Julius Randle and Jabari Parker back out on the floor.  Randle has had some nice games so far.  Parker is still working his way back, but it’s just nice to see him playing.  The future of the NBA is bright with all these young stars.

-College football is starting to get very interesting.  The 2nd version of the Playoff Rankings come out tonight.  I’m curious to see how far LSU drops.  No question that Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama will be in the top 4, but who will be the 4th team?  Will Notre Dame jump into it with their win over Pitt?  Michigan State and TCU all but eliminated themselves from the Playoff hunt with their losses this past week.  Will a team like Oklahoma State jump up a bunch with their win over TCU?  If you forced me to pick the best 4 teams right now I would say Clemson, LSU, Alabama and Notre Dame.  I believe Ohio State will lose before the end of the year.  And I would be shocked if Baylor, Iowa and Oklahoma State all end the season undefeated.  I believe if any of them do finish the year undefeated, they should be in the Playoff.  If you asked me who I thought would be in the Playoffs, that would be a much tougher question than who I thought were the best 4 teams right now.  I do think Clemson will make it.  They will be double digit favorites in every game they play until the ACC Championship Game.  I also think Alabama will be there.  Bama does still have 3 tough games to play though.  They play at Mississippi State this weekend, at Auburn the last game of the year and then they would play Florida in the SEC Championship game.  While it’s possible they could lose one of those games, I wouldn’t bet on it.  The third team will be the winner of the Stanford/ND game at the end of the year.  Stanford does still have to play Oregon and Cal before the ND game, but I see them winning both of those because they’re both at home.  Then they’d play in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  That would most likely be against Utah and I don’t see Utah beating Stanford.  Notre Dame has two relatively easy games before they travel to Stanford.  They play at home against Wake Forest and then at Boston College.  The 4th team remains a mystery to me.  Obviously if Ohio State remains undefeated they are in.  I just don’t see that happening with games against Michigan State, Michigan and the Big 10 Championship Game (if they win the other 2).  If they happen to stumble, I’m at a loss as to who gets in next.  Would a 1 loss Big 12 team make it?  So many of the top teams still play each other.  In fact, the only team who could make the Playoffs without playing another top 15 team is Clemson (This could change if UNC gets into the top 15).  Everyone else will have to fight their way in.

I wanted to dig a little deeper into the Playoff hunt.  Here are the top team’s remaining schedules:

Clemson- @ Syracuse, vs. Wake Forest, @ South Carolina, ACC Championship Game

Ohio State- @ Illinois, vs. Michigan State, @ Michigan, potential Big 10 Championship Game

Alabama- @ Mississippi State, vs. Charleston Southern, @ Auburn, potential SEC Championship Game

LSU- vs. Arkansas, @ Mississippi, vs. Texas A&M, potential SEC Championship Game

Notre Dame- vs. Wake Forest, @ Boston College, @ Stanford

Baylor- vs. Oklahoma, @ Oklahoma State, @ TCU, vs. Texas

Michigan State- vs. Maryland, @ Ohio State, vs. Penn State, potential Big 10 Championship Game

TCU- vs. Kansas, @ Oklahoma, vs. Baylor

Iowa- vs. Minnesota, vs. Purdue, @ Nebraska, potential Big 10 Championship Game

Florida- @ South Carolina, vs. Florida Atlantic, vs. Florida State, SEC Championship Game

Stanford- vs. Oregon, vs. California, vs. Notre Dame, potential Pac 12 Championship Game

Utah- @ Arizona, vs. UCLA, vs. Colorado, potential Pac 12 Championship Game

Oklahoma State- @ Iowa State, vs. Baylor, vs. Oklahoma

Oklahoma- @ Baylor, vs. TCU, @ Oklahoma State


That represents every team that I believe still has a shot at the Playoffs.  Clemson and Notre Dame have the 2 easiest remaining schedules.  Yes, ND has to play @ Stanford, but that’s it.  A team like Baylor could conceivably lose all 4 of their remaining games.  Based on this list, I’ll be shocked if we see more than 4-5 of these teams have only 1 loss come the end of the season.  There are a few 2 loss teams that are rooting for several of these teams to falter.  I would still be surprised if a 2 loss team made the Playoffs, but anything is possible.

-That’s it for today.  I’ll touch more on the card side in the coming days and discuss the ridiculous release calendar that is coming.  It’s good to be back.

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