College Football Playoff Predictions 2014: Projecting NCAA Field After Week 13

Week 13 was supposed to be the calm before the proverbial college football storm. Instead, several of college footballs top teams found themselves riding the waves to survive.

Florida State once again showed that their ability to slide through the first three quarters of games is unparalleled. Just one week after needing every minute of game time to come back on the road against Miami, the Noles beat the Boston College Eagles on a last-second field goal to remain undefeated on the season.

They werent the only team who didnt quite live up to expectations, though. Ohio State was a massive favorite over Indiana, but you wouldnt have known it by watching the game. Crucial mistakes and turnovers kept Indiana in the game before the Buckeyes were able to pull away in the end.

However, college football is truly a game of survive and advance. When it was all said and done, there was very little impact made on the projected field. Heres a complete look at the projections based on current rankings, the schedule that lies ahead for these teams and current level of play:

State Farm Raising Rates in Louisiana

Auto insurance rates will rise an average of 4.4 percent beginning Dec. 8 for Baton Rouge customers of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

State Farm is Louisianas largest auto insurer, covering about one in three vehicles. The company said it will increase auto premiums for liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers losses from theft, storm damage, fire, vandalism and windshield damage.

The Advocate reports State Farms auto rates will rise an average of 3.7 percent statewide.

The auto rate increase will generate $40.4 million annually from State Farms 1 million customers.

New Orleans customers will see their rates rise an average of 5.7 percent.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has said Orleans motorists paid 40 percent more for auto coverage than the average statewide.

You’ll Never Guess College Students’ Biggest Regret

You might think that when people look back on their college years, their biggest regret would be not being more involved socially, choosing the wrong major or partying too much. In reality, the biggest regret college grads face is a much more grown-up one, and its one with repercussions that can follow them well into their adult years.

In favor of a college football Bill of Rights: Column

When youre a civics nerd who loves college football, December can be very frustrating. Thats because college footballs annual beauty contest to select which contestants vie for the national championship concludes just before Bill of Rights Day on Dec. 15.

And while these events seem completely unrelated, thats actually the problem. Strangely.

You see, college football has sought in recent years to create the gridiron equivalent of a Constitution for determining its national champion. First, it developed a two-team selection process which relied upon polls and computer rankings; then, a four-team playoff chosen by a committee.

Just as the US Constitution represented a major upgrade over the Articles of Confederation, college footballs establishment of a championship process has been a welcome improvement over the regional bowl alliances that once dominated the post-season landscape.

Nevertheless, the current system remains seriously flawed because it fails to provide the equivalent of a Bill of Rights that guarantees playoff slots to teams that meet certain pre-determined objective criteria.

Without such guarantees, teams begin every season not knowing to what degree various subjective factors – eye tests, signature wins, bad losses, etc. – will decide who advances. Given this unpredictability, many top-tier teams reduce their slate of losable games by scheduling multiple lower-tier opponents.

To illustrate how risk-averse scheduling has become, consider: Georgia (my alma mater) won the 1980 national championship by going 12-0 against schools from what are now called the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC). Conversely, four teams from Georgias Southeastern (SEC) Conference – Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Texas Aamp;M – scheduled one-third of their 2014 games against lower-tier schools . And Arkansas played only three Power 5 opponents the week after another Power 5 game – thanks to a timely sprinkling of cupcakes, breathers, and bye weeks.

So, what would a College Football Bill of Rights look like? I believe itd need two main rules.

First, the four teams that amass the most wins over Power 5 opponents will be guaranteed slots in the championship playoff. This rule would be modeled after the National Football League. In the NFL (as in all pro sports), teams dont benefit from losing narrowly – or suffer from winning unimpressively. They play to win each game. And they advance to the playoffs if they win the most games in their grouping. Thats fair. Clear. Objective.

Second, in breaking ties, preference will be given to the team with the higher preseason Intended Strength of Schedule, based on their opponents combined Power 5 win totals in recent season(s). The key word here is intended. Teams should be rewarded for what they can control (the intended rigor of their schedule), not for what they cant control (the actual rigor of their schedule). Playing a perennial powerhouse should count more than scheduling a perennial bottom-feeder – even if these opponents reverse roles in a given year.

Adopting this Bill of Rights would spur an increase in teams willing to play a pro-style gauntlet of Any Given Saturday games. This year, only four schools – Florida State, UCLA, USC, and West Virginia – scheduled 11 games against Power 5 teams. Not only would that number grow, but college fans (and TV broadcasters) would also get more inter-regional clash of the titans match-ups since Intended SOS would be so important.

Adopting this Bill of Rights would also render meaningless the time zone bias against Pac-12 teams. In countless hours of ESPN-watching this year, Ive yet to hear a single analyst note that the top five teams in the Pac-12 South have as many Power 5 wins (32) as all seven teams in the SEC West (32) . Remove subjectivity from the selection process and it wont matter if influential sports talk shows ignore such data when catering (somewhat understandably) to larger audiences in Eastern and Central time zones.

Most importantly, adopting this Bill of Rights would ensure that college footballs cream rises to the top. That its most deserving teams routinely advance. While a pro-style system would not eliminate occasional oddities – this years NFC South winner will make the NFL playoffs with a poorer record than most, if not all, of the AFC North teams – it would still be better to have an objective process using pre-determined criteria than a subjective beauty contest that rewards public relations as much as play on the field.

We are, after all, a nation governed by laws not by the arbitrary whims of a king (or a selection committee). And just as our founders recognized the need for a Bill of Rights to protect citizens, college footballs leaders need to protect gridiron teams by adopting playoff selection rules based on pre-determined objective criteria.

William Mattox is a resident fellow at the James Madison Institute and a member of USA TODAYs Board of Contributors.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the opinion front page or follow us on twitter @USATopinion or Facebook.

How Applying to College Made Me Grateful For the Little Things

After editing one sentence of one essay of what feels like a million you have left to write for the 37th time, cursing at the CommonApp for crashing yet again and realizing just how close the deadlines are as you cross off another day on the calendar; you may want to give up hope. But even in the most bitter, agitating, stressful moments of our lives, its not hard to find something sweet. It can be as simple as a bowl of ice cream.

During an impromptu speaking round at my speech and debate tournament this past weekend, I began to reflect on how the simplest moments can be the most beautiful. I was given the topic of ice cream to speak about, and instead of discussing the merits of chocolate vs. vanilla (vanilla is obviously better), I reflected on how small moments can often be the sweetest. Because when we get too caught up in anything and everything thats wrong with our lives, its too easy to overlook the little things.

Recently I have come to realize that something simple like going for coffee with my dad after school or finally nailing my hashtag hand motion for my forensics speech can be just as exciting as any major milestone. It may not be a college acceptance letter, but its definitely worth appreciating.

As a senior in high school there are a lot of things I am not thankful for: the CommonApp is my most viewed website, I still dont know where I am going to college, the fact that I just want to be in college already (okay maybe all of it has to do with college). However, if we get too caught up in all the stress of applying to college, we forget to appreciate our senior year. An admissions counselor during an information session at a college I toured said it the best dont make senior year the year you apply to college, make it a powerful culminating year to your high school experience.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage all the seniors to turn off your laptop and put away those applications for a little bit. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family; dont spend your whole weekend holed up in your room with writing supplements. Take a moment; think about where you are right now. Now think ahead one year in your life, how you will be coming home from college to celebrate Thanksgiving. In less than nine months, you will be heading off to college whether you go across the country or 10 minutes from home.Its important to live in the moment, instead of living in the future.

Right now, I am thankful to be a high school senior with a loving family, two adorable cats, the best forensics team to spend my Saturdays in suits with, a newspaper to be an editor for, all of my amazing friends and the opportunity to blog for the HuffPost Teen along with the community of brilliant bloggers I contribute beside.

The things we take for granted are the sweetest, just like a bowl of ice cream.

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You pick ’em: Week 14 college football predictions

If you cant see the polls, refresh your browser. Mobile app users, visit http://noconow.co/yourweek14picks to view this feature.

THE CHALLENGE SO FAR:

Readers 49-16; sports staff 44-21

All season long, our sports staff will predict winners for five of the weeks college football matchups. We invite you to play along and see if you can beat our staff. We will keep track of the results and bragging rights are up for grabs at the end of the season. Who do you think will come out on top: Coloradoan sports staff or Coloradoan readers?

1. CSU at Air Force

Rams have won nine games in a row and still have a chance to host the Mountain West title game next weekend if they can beat the Falcons and get some help in the form of a loss by Boise State against Utah State.

Heres what the staff is saying:

7 Ways to Relieve Boredom by Hustling for Extra Cash

At the last company I worked for, I spent hours bored at work. One day, it just clicked in my head that I needed to start something.I began by blogging and making money on the site. That turned into real cash, to the point where I was making more outside work than inside work.

No matter what your status in life, we could all use a little extra money. College students need cash for pizza. Homeowners could use some assistance for inevitable home repairs. If youre unemployed, you may have to rely on a part-time job to pay the monthly bills.

Related:Do the Side Hustle: 5 Better Ways to Earn Extra Cash

There are, of course, several different ways to make money. You could sell unwanted or unused items on eBay or Craigslist; donate blood or plasma; rent out a bedroom or parking space; or just go out and land a part-time gig. While these tried-and-true methods can put some additional cash in your pocket, you cant do all of these while sitting there, watching the clock slowly tick by, during your full-time gig.

If you have a job that is a little on theboring side,or youre bored at work with nothing to do like I was, here areseven ways you can turn boredom into cash.

1. Work freelance

There are more than enough websites that offer freelance work. When you join sites likeElance,fiverr,Rat Race Rebellion,TaskRabbitt,Gigbucks,FlexJobsorAmazon Mechanical Turk, youll have access to hourly jobs that include everything from writing, customer service, graphic design, data entry, and transcribing material into different languages.

Whats great about these jobs are that they are based on your skills and talents and you can work on them whenever you have free time at work.

2. Take online surveys

Another popular option to make money while at work is by taking online surveys. Just like the amount of companies that offer freelance work, there are a lot of companies that will pay you for simply taking a survey at your own convenience.

Some suggested sites areSurveyMonkey,SurveySpot,My Survey,Lightspeed Consumer Panel,Pinecone Research,Opinion OutPost,MyPoints,Springboard AmericaandToluna. Just keep in mind that prices vary from company to company and you may only earn a few cents or couple of dollars for your time – sometimes youll receive gift cards as compensation. However, if you have a lot of free time at work, taking online surveys can add up.

3. Become a virtual assistant

From personal experience, I can attest to the importance of having an assistant help me out when I get swamped with work. For example, while Im busy designing an app for my latest business endeavor, I dont always have the extra time to handle some minor, though important, daily tasks. This could be anything from providing research, sorting the emails of potential employee candidates or making lunch reservations with a prospective client.

Thankfully sites likeRed Butler,oDesk,LinkedInandZirtualare available to connect busy people with individuals looking to make a little extra cash on the side as a personal assistant. Try to use tools likeMarketing.aito track this.

Related:How to Brand Your Side Gig While Working a Full-Time Job

4. Sell Your Expertise

Were all experts in one field or another. And while you may be making a decent salary putting that talent to use from 9 to 5, there are plenty of other companies thatwould be willing to pay you for your services for providing advice.

Sites likeJustAnswer,HourlyNerd,Helpouts by Google,eHow,12ishandRocket Lawyerwill actually compensate you for the knowledge and experience that you already possess by answering questions, offering adviceor writing educational content.

5. Test websites/apps

If youve ever built a website or developed an app, you already know how difficult it can be to make sure that everything works. Actually, making sure everything works can be tedious work. Thats why companies likeUser Testing, Whatusersdo,EnrollandYouEyemake life a whole easier.

If you want to make sure a website is easy to navigate or an app works properly, then getting paid as a tester is a great way to burn some time at work.

6. Blog

Ill be honest here. Blogging takes a lot of work. You cant just launch a blog and attract a massive amount of followers without putting in the time and effort. But,how can that make you money? For starters, you can place advertisements on your site or become an affiliate partner.

While blogging will takemore time to earn money, its something that you can work on everyday. Furthermore, because youre running your own blog, you have the option to discuss whatever it is that you want. Ipersonallyhave been making money online for years, but here are a few peeps that I follow that make a living blogging:Zac Johnson,John Chow,Ian Cleary,Tim Sykes,Michael Stelzner,Syed BalkhiandLewis Howes.

Who would have thought sharing your love for knitting could lead to some additional income?

7. Turn your passion into money

This goes hand-in-hand with blogging, but it takes it a step further. If you have some creative ideas for clothing or home decor, you could sell your finished items on sites likeEtsy,ZazzleorCafePress. While you probably wont be able to create your product at work, you could spend those long hours designing and planning your finished work.

Other ways you can turn your passion into money is by selling or licensing photography throughShutterstockor listening to new music onSlicethepie.

Hey, sometimes it pays to be bored!

Related:Should an Employer Allow an Employee to Work on a Side Business?

Ranking 60 college football rivalry trophies

Nothing so clearly screams college football as Rivalry Week, when giant axes, territorial cups, and ruby-adorned Gaelic war clubs crash through our television screens. The traveling trophy game distills whats loved most about the sport and pumps it directly into our veins.

At the same time, trophy games are reduced to mere data points by a proliferating sports analytics sector and the Playoff committee, which in theory gleans insight from it. Composite rankings, whether dished in Tuesday night dictums, SP+ ratings, or your fave power index of choice, are woven into every corner of modern college football.

Waiting until college to teach about affirmative consent is too late

But what the bill ignores is that a persons approach to sexual behavior and relationships is often already firmly established by the time he or she reaches college. With dating and sexual activity increasingly starting in junior high or high school, ameliorative measures at the college level might come years too late. And by then, attempts to reprogram views on sex and relationship dynamics could prove difficult.

If we really want college students to get it right, we must begin educating them in junior high school about the necessity of affirmative consent. The most logical and cost-effective way to do that is to make it part of the mandatory sex education curriculum laid out in the states Education Code.