No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – 2013 WEEK 1

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Alabama hammered a solid Virginia Tech squad 35-10 to open the season but it was somewhat interesting in how they did it. The Tide were up 28-10 at halftime but only outscored the Hokies 7-0 in the entire 2nd half. Defensively Alabama played well holding Virginia Tech to just 7 first downs & completely shutting down VT QB Logan Thomas, but the Tide could have been a bit better against the run & their offense sputtered all night long. TJ Yeldon & Derrick Harvey didn’t run the ball all that effectively. AJ McCarron was off. Alabama scored 3TD off of defense & special teams. Take those 21 points away & Bama is up just 14-10! I don’t think it’s too much cause for concern. Virginia Tech returned 9 starters on defense & Bud Foster always has the Hokies playing well. Alabama should have an OUTSTANDING offensive attack & Virginia Tech held them to 14 points. That says a lot for Virginia Tech’s prospects in the future, but I’m not sure exactly how much it says for Alabama. Most likely nothing, but the Tide have plenty to work on in their bye week before traveling to College Station to play Texas A&M!
#2 You couldn’t have scripted a better first game for QB Jameis Winston than what the youngster did against Pittsburgh Monday night! Winston completed 25 of 27 passes (92.6%) for 356 yards & 4TD! Winston also ran for 25 yards & a TD! For the game, Florida St. rolled up over 500 yards of total offense & ended up +2 in TO margin! Offensively FSU is a beast. Devonte Freeman & James Wilder are an excellent 1-2 punch that should keep the running game fresh. Winston is a dual threat QB. WRs Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene & Kenny Shaw did a great job as did TE Nick O’Leary. The O-Line played well. Defensively FSU held Pittsburgh 13 points. While that unit is inexperienced, they have massive amounts of talent. Most thought FSU’s ceiling would be determined by how well Winston would play under center. If FSU’s 41-13 beating of Pitt showed us, the ceiling could be extremely high! This game probably showed us that the Seminoles are likely to be 5-0 when they head to Death Valley on October 19th.
#3 By far the best game of the week, Clemson’s 38-35 win over Georgia was an instant classic as both of these teams traded blows for almost the entire game before Georgia tired out which gave way to Clemson taking the lead late in the 3rd quarter & holding on for dear life. If any player really garnered some Heisman hype it was Clemson QB Tajh Boyd. Boyd wasn’t particularly great going 18 of 30 (60%) but he passed for 270 yards & 3TD without throwing an interception. Boyd also rushed for 2TD which made him accountable for every TD Clemson scored in the game. Clemson also has to be happy that Roderick McDowell was great running the football (132 yards) & WR Sammy Watkins proved to be a huge weapon (6rec-127yds-1TD). I also think RB Zac Brooks is going to be a factor. You can point to Clemson having problems with the Georgia offense (Todd Gurley rushed for 154yds & 2TD on only 12 carries) but Clemson was more physical with the Georgia offense & you can be sure Georgia’s offense will score. Aaron Murray had a bad game which is a positive! With this game out of the way, Clemson has a home date against Florida St. and a road game against South Carolina that stands in the way of 12-0.
#4 What can you really say about a 66-3 hammering of Nicholls St.? It looks as if there is no difference between Chip Kelly & Mark Helfrich. The Ducks rolled up 500 rushing yards which is just insane. De’Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall & Marcus Mariota all ran for over 100 yards each, totaling 365 yards on the ground! For the game, Oregon recorded 32 first downs and 772 total yards. You can’t really learn anything from a game like this in my opinion. If you want to nitpick you could say that Oregon did give up 20+ first downs & over 300 total yards to an FCS team which can’t bode well moving forward especially seeing what Washington did to Boise State. Nicholls St. also held the ball for over 40 minutes. If Oregon can’t score points like this against Stanford & Washington while only having the ball for about a quarter, they could easily wind up losing games. Still, it was 66-3. Oregon has no business playing Nicholls State.
#5 Nobody had Washington as high as I did and keep in mind that Boise St. isn’t a bad football team. Most people had Boise St. running the table at 13-0 in the Mountain West before the season began and I’m not sure there is another loss on the schedule for the Broncos. All Washington did was beat them down for the worst loss Boise St. has ever suffered under Chris Petersen! Washington beat Boise St. up in the first half & wore them down before absolutely blasting them in the 2nd half outscoring Boise St. 28-3 in the final 2 quarters. This was the type of game Washington fans were hoping for. Keith Price played well at QB passing for over 300 yards. Bishop Sankey & Dwayne Washington ran the ball exceedingly well as UW put up 592 total yards! The Huskies were even playing without All American TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins! Washington could have been a bit better defending the run but the pass defense was great. This should spell a 4-0 start before back-to-back games against Stanford & Oregon. At least a 10-2 record seems attainable.
#6 I didn’t have LSU in my initial Power 15 because in the back of my mind I figured that they would lose their opener to TCU and I’d have to drop them anyway. The Bayou Bengals had lost a tremendous amount of talent on defense and the offense didn’t look that fantastic outside of their rushing attack which could be very good. Then LSU goes out and drops 37 points on a TCU defense that returned 9 starters from a team that allowed just 22PPG a season ago! The best part was that QB Zach Mettenberger didn’t play well. RB Jeremy Hill didn’t even play & RB Kenny Hilliard only had 4 carries. LSU grinded out this victory behind Terrence Magee & Alfred Blue who combined to rush the ball 32 times for 184yds (5.8ypc) & 2TD. TCU had no answer for WRs Odell Beckham & Jarvis Landry who combined for 13 receptions for 227yds & 1TD! LSU gave up a KO return so the defense only gave up 20 points & TCU didn’t really do anything offensively. I’ve never been a believer in Les Miles as a HC but this was an impressive win & TCU is a very solid football team who could win the Big XII. LSU is likely 4-0 before traveling to Athens on September 28th!
#7 I didn’t have South Carolina ranked in my preseason Power 15 for mostly the same reasons as I didn’t have LSU. I thought South Carolina would win their home opener against North Carolina but I thought it would be very close and that SC would barely escape with a victory. It didn’t exactly work out that way. UNC isn’t a bad football team, but South Carolina made them look like a high school team on size alone! SC jumped out to a 17-0 lead before you could blink. It was 20-7 at halftime and then a weather delay happened in the 2nd half which pretty much sealed the game. RB Mike Davis ran all over the UNC defense & QB Connor Shaw did a solid job. The big story out of the game was how out of shape DE Jadeveon Clowney looked! Defensively Chaz Sutton looked great which is what I thought would happen. I’m not going to read too much into really, but Clowney has to be 100% against Georgia in Athens this week for SC to win. This was a more than solid win by the Gamecocks. All the pieces are there for them to make a serious run at an SEC title.
#8 Like Washington, Ole Miss is another team I have ranked high that people passed on before the season started. You can argue that a top-10 team should have to score a late 4th quarter TD to beat Vanderbilt in Nashville 38-35, but this isn’t your bother’s Vanderbilt team and the Commodores are going to show they can hang with anyone. Offensively I really liked what the Rebels showed. QB Bo Wallace completed 66% of his passes and while he didn’t throw a TD in his 47 attempts, he didn’t throw an interception either! Last season Wallace threw a pick once out of every 22 attempts. That means he would have thrown 2 picks last night & Vandy would have won. Instead he didn’t make a mistake & Ole Miss is 1-0. I also thought Jeff Scott did a good job rushing the football. WR Laquon Treadwell caught 9 balls for 82 yards. That isn’t great YPC numbers but the 6’3/200lbs true frosh was a difficult matchup. Defensively the Rebels could have been better on 3rd down, but they didn’t let Vandy run the ball all that well & intercepted two passes. This was a solid opener & way more difficult than you’d think against a very good team.
#9 Stanford was idle but there was much to think about in Week 1. Oregon ran the ball like crazy, but Nicholls St. had over 300 yards against the Ducks defense! Stanford beat Oregon last year 17-14 and I think Stanford’s rush defense is going to be VERY GOOD. Oregon St. was thought to be competitive in the Pac 12 North but they lost to Eastern Washington to open up the season! USC didn’t look that dominant against Hawaii. A couple of other things stood out. Washington’s 38-6 of Boise St. adds another dimension to the Pac 12 North. I also think it was interesting seeing UCLA beat Nevada 58-20 and Arizona beat Northern Arizona 35-0. Stanford wouldn’t play Arizona unless they met in the Pac 12 Championship game, but they do draw UCLA which could be a tougher game than expected. Despite being off, Stanford had quite a bit to learn this past weekend. This week they open with San Jose State.
#10 You can’t drop Georgia that far and even having them at #10 seems odd. Before the season began I ranked the Bulldogs #3. They went into Clemson against a top-5 team and lost 38-35 while suffering quite a few injuries on the day. If you believe Clemson is the #3 team in the nation then you can make a significant case for Georgia being the 4th best team in the country. What hurt Georgia a bit on Saturday is that QB Aaron Murray played poorly. The running game was fine but they couldn’t mix it up the way Clemson was able to do with Sammy Watkins. You can also point to the defense as being problematic, but we knew that going in. Clemson is going to hang a lot of points on a lot of teams. I’m not going to kill UGA for that. Looking at the big picture, Georgia isn’t completely out of it, but they need to win out & win the SEC Championship game. They have to get to 12-1 to have any hopes of playing for a national championship. They’ll have to rebound quickly because South Carolina comes calling this weekend. Interestingly enough, this could be a year in which the SEC catabolizes itself. If UGA beats SC and somehow the SEC West devolves into chaos, we could wind up with Ohio St./Texas, Ohio St./Oregon or Clemson/Oregon in the national championship game.
#11 How is this game for crazy. Texas ended up beating the tar out of New Mexico St., 56-7 but the game was scoreless through the first quarter and the first TD scored in the 2nd quarter was by the Aggies who took a 7-0 lead against Texas up until 2 minutes left in the entire first half! Texas would score 2 late TDs to go up 14-7 at intermission before completely HAMMERING New Mexico St. by the score of 42-0 in the final 2 quarters! Texas had a very good game. They played solid defense not allowing much of anything to New Mexico State. Offensively they rolled up huge amounts of numbers although they did commit 3 turnovers. That’s nitpicking to be sure but you have to look for something when you win by 49 points! Texas had 350+ rushing yards & QB David Ash had an outstanding game throwing for 4TDs. He did throw 2 picks, but Texas has been looking for a QB since Colt McCoy left. Ash is the guy that could take Texas back to where they need to be. A 12-0 record is easily within reach for the Longhorns which would be a welcome respite after the last couple of seasons they’ve had.
#12 Another odd sort of game, Ohio St. scored 23 points in the first quarter to take a 23-0 lead, but for the next 3 quarters, Buffalo outscored the Buckeyes 20-17. Ohio St. won the game 40-20 but it was such an odd type of game that you wondered what was happening. After the 23-0 outburst this game looked to be headed towards a final score akin to Oregon beating Nicholls St. or Texas beating New Mexico St., but Buffalo hung around. Overall Ohio St. played well. Braxton Miller had a solid game although he did throw a pick-6. RB Carlos Hyde was suspended but Jordan Hall ran for 159 yards & 2TD in his absence. The defense was solid too holding Buffalo’s rushing yards down. Sure the Bulls racked up a few passing yards but after getting out to a 23-0 deficit, all Buffalo could do at that point was throw the football. I’d love to be more excited about Ohio St., but good grief they don’t schedule ANYONE! Wisconsin & Michigan played very well to open the season so a 12-0 record isn’t a foregone conclusion for the Buckeyes just yet.
#13 Another odd type of game. There were a million questions surrounding QB Tommy Rees before the season began but 6 plays into the 2013 season & the Irish were up 14-0 & Rees had thrown 2 TD passes! From that point on the Notre Dame offense seemed to bog down as the Irish would only outscore Temple 14-6 the rest of the way en route to a 28-6 victory. There is certainly a lot to like about the opening game. Rees threw for 300+ yards & 3TD without a pick. Amir Carlisle, Cam McDainel & George Atkinson looked solid running the ball. TJ Jones & Devaris Daniels looked excellent catching the ball. What was somewhat odd is that the Irish never really blew the game out and the defense couldn’t get any pressure on Temple QB Connor Reilly. If anything you came away thinking Reilly was a really good QB! The individual parts looked much better than the sum & you can tell that ND is going to miss Manti Te’o roaming the middle of the defense. Michigan looked pretty good beating Central Michigan this week & Notre Dame goes to Ann Arbor this weekend. The sum needs to match the parts for the Irish to walk away with a win.
#14 Hard to completely understand this game because Johnny Football only played a half of it. In the 2nd half Manziel was 6 of 8 passing (75%) for 98 yards & 3TD! That’s a way to make an entrance as Texas A&M beat Rice 51-32. Rice actually made this game pretty close & it was sort of like the Clemson/Georgia game in that the teams traded blows for quite awhile. Rice actually led 14-7 at the end of the 1st quarter. A&M went up 28-14 before Rice scored a late 2nd quarter TD to make it 28-21. A&M went up 38-21 to end the 3rd quarter but Rice scored early in the 4th to pull to within 10 points 38-28. The Owls actually had more first downs and more total yards than the Aggies despite playing at Kyle Field. I’m not sure what to make of it. On the one hand Manziel was outstanding & I think the outcome is different if he played the full 4 quarters. On the other, Rice scored 32 points! In your backyard! That isn’t going to hold in the SEC West.
#15 Solid win for USC beating Hawaii 30-17 on the road. What stands about about this game was how good the USC defense played. They held the Warriors to 27 rushing yards on 32 attempts! They also forced Hawaii QB Taylor Graham to throw 4 interceptions. Overall it was just a blase game for USC. RBs Tre Madden & Justin Davis played ran the ball well for USC but the Trojans passing attack wasn’t that formidable. Going across the Pacific Ocean is never an easy thing and USC made it look that way. If USC can maintain this type of defensive intensity for the season, then things will begin to look very interesting on a national level because the Trojans will get major play. They really shouldn’t be challenged in the first 4 weeks. On September 28th they travel to Tempe to play Arizona State. A win there and a 5-0 start would get the attention of the national audience.

DROPPING OUT

#14 Oklahoma State: The Cowboys opened up the season with a 21-3 home win over Mississippi State. I love Dan Mullen and the job he’s doing in Starkville but I thought OSU could show us a bit more offense. They did run the ball all over the Bulldogs, racking up 286 rushing yards but where was the passing fireworks?

#15 TCU: Casey Pachall didn’t play well at all in his return to the football team and the TCU defense gave up 37 points to LSU in a 37-27 loss in Jerry World. It’s not a season crushing loss for TCU but it does show them yet again that the Horned Frogs have a little way to go before being an elite level BCS conference team. They still should make noise in the Big XII but it looks like they are more of a 4th-6th place team.

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September 5, 2013 - Posted by | Alabama, Clemson, Florida St., Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oregon, Power 15, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas AM, USC, Washington

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