No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 4 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 I don’t really want to overreact to Oregon’s 38-31 win over Washington State. We all knew the Cougars offense was going to be good this year but a couple of hard luck losses to Rutgers & Nevada have diminished Wazzu a bit. That shouldn’t matter too much. Marcus Mariota has another spectacular game & the Ducks remained perfect at 4-0. They didn’t run the ball all that well & WSU QB Connor Halliday had an outstanding game. It’s going to happen. Also give credit to the Ducks for winning a trap game. Wyoming isn’t awful & Wazzu came before a tough stretach of conference games. Oregon escaped with a win. It doesn’t look great but WSU is better than 1-3.
#2 This simply isn’t the Florida St. team from a year ago. Granted, Jameis Winston didn’t even play yesterday against Clemson in the ‘Noles 23-17 win, but even in the 2 games before Clemson, Florida St. wasn’t playing that well. FSU couldn’t run the ball at all against Clemson which is troubling considering what Georgia did to the Tigers. FSU is in dangerous territory here because Georgia hammered Clemson. South Carolina beat Georgia. Texas A&M beat South Carolina. You can easily argue that Florida St. at the moment is barely a top-10 team. The only thing saving FSU this week is that Winston didn’t play. If he had & the same score resulted, they’d drop big!
#3 Another week, another clinic the Aggies offense staged, this time on the road at SMU as Texas A&M beat the Mustangs 58-6! Texas A&M took a break from their high powered passing attack to focus on the run. It resulted in Texas A&M rushing for close to 300yds & 4TD! We are talking SMU here so take it for what it is, but it’s still an impressive performance even if Eric Dickerson wants SMU to get rid of the program if they can’t turn things around. Over the last 3 weeks Texas A&M has outscored their opponents 169-19! Their opponents have been Lamar, SMU & Rice. The South Carolina win is a month old. It’s time to play somebody. Arkansas up next will play nicely.
#4 I love the 45-33 win over West Virginia because I think some people are sleeping on the Mountaineers. West Virginia might be 2-2, but their 2 losses have come against Oklahoma & Alabama. You could almost make an argument that WVU deserves to be in the top-20 or so because they didn’t get blown out in either game. Samaje Perine played OUT OF HIS MIND rushing for 242yds/4TD/7.1ypc. Trevor Knight was decent but the Sooners really relied on the running game to establish dominance. It was excellent strategy to keep the WVU offense off the field. QB Clint Trickett played well. This win will look better & better as the year progresses. Road conference wins aren’t easy.
#5 I say it every week but Amari Cooper GOOD NIGHT!!! Cooper put on a magnificent display of WR skills catching 10 balls for 201yds & 3TD in Alabama’s 42-21 victory over Florida. If Alabama plays 14 games this season, Cooper is now on pace for 151rec/2293yds/18TD! I know Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley & Kenny Hill are playing great, but Cooper is playing at the highest level I’ve ever seen a collegiate receiver play! I still think Florida is going to be a solid team & I still think the Gators win the SEC East which makes this win look better & better as the season progresses. Blake Sims is playing great & Alabama is always going to run the ball well. They look fantastic.
#6 It looks like a close win with Auburn beating Kansas St. 20-14 this past Thursday night, but you can’t minimize just how difficult it is to play in Manhattan especially at night in a big game. This win is actually more meaningful than if they had beaten K-State 44-0. Auburn couldn’t run the ball very effectively. Nick Marshall didn’t play all that well at QB. For the most part this game was a defensive struggle & Auburn was able to keep their wits and get a very tough road win by playing good defense. The defense recorded 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss and created 3 turnovers. War Eagle is 3-0 but I think a big key going forward is getting Nick Marshall playing a lot better.
#7 I told people not to sleep on Dak Prescott! All the MSU QB did against LSU in Baton Rouge is pass for 268yds/2TD & tacked on 105 rushing yds & a rushing TD! I think it’s interesting that Wisconsin couldn’t run the ball on this LSU defense yet Mississippi St. torched the LSU defense for 300+ rushing yards! Note also that LSU couldn’t do anything on the ground against the Mississippi St. rush defense. That’s an EXTREMELY dangerous combination. I’ve been waiting awhile for MSU to take that leap into national prominence & a win in Tiger Stadium accomplishes that. When was the last time a road underdog came into LSU & walked out a winner? 5, 10 years?
#8 Let’s not get too crazy about LSU’s 34-29 loss to Mississippi State. The Bulldogs might have the best rushing defense in the nation right now & Dak Prescott might be the BEST QB you haven’t heard of until now. LSU outscored Mississippi St. 19-3 in the 4th quarter & scored the last 19 points of the game. If the game had been 5 quarters instead of 4, you could easily argue that LSU would have probably pulled off the comeback. Like Auburn I think the Tigers need to work on getting better production out of QB Anthony Jennings. I also think LSU would benefit giving Leonard Fournette the ball more. One loss doesn’t change how dominant this team can be.
#9 Eastern Michigan is probably the worst team in the FBS & the Spartans treated them as such in a 73-14 BEATING in East Lansing. The crazy part is that Michigan St. wasn’t really trying to run up the score. They were up 49-0 at halftime! Michigan St. Connor Cook threw just 6 passes while the Spartans for the most part kept the ball on the ground rushing the ball 60 times for 336yds & 7TD! MSU had a great day defensively holding the Eagles to 5 first downs, 1/13 on 3rd down, 135 totals yards & 20 rushing yards! Michigan St. also created 6 turnovers including 5 forced fumbles ! The Spartans are the class of the B1G & it’ll be nice to see them start to play meaningful games.
#10 Baylor had a bye week before starting Big XII play with back-to-back road games against Iowa St. & Texas. The Bears enter their conference play averaging almost 60PPG on offense & allowing just 9 games on defense. Unfortunately you can’t put too much stock in those numbers considering Baylor has played SMU, Northwestern St. & Buffalo! SMU & Buffalo is a combined 2-6 while NW State is a FCS team. Although you might think the schedule toughens up with conference play, it’s worth noting that Baylor did pretty much the same thing last season in their first 3 games & they beat Texas & Iowa St. by the combined score of 101-17! Good grief!
#11 You can spin SC’s 48-34 win over Vanderbilt a couple of ways. The Gamecocks did win the game to improve to 3-1 with their only loss coming against Texas A&M who has as good a claim to the #1 title as anyone in the nation. It was a conference road game in their own division & those games are never easy. The score was 48-34 but Vandy had a couple of special teams TD so maybe the score is 48-20. The other way you could spin this is that this is a brutal win for SC. Vandy barely got by UMass & was hammered by both Ole Miss & Temple. SC is close to being 2-2 with an ugly win over Vanderbilt. They did beat ECU who looks to be the best in the ACC!
#12 This is somewhat like the Michigan St./Eastern Michigan game. Georgia rolled Troy 66-0 but the Bulldogs tried to their best to keep the ball on the ground. Georgia didn’t even give Todd Gurley an opportunity to pad his stats for the Heisman, taking him out after rushing for 73 yards on 6 carries. Instead Sony Michel ran for 155yds/3TD on just 10 carries. UGA ran for 367yds & 5TD while holding Troy to just 47 rushing yards. Saturday was an odd day for Georgia’s schedule. On the one hand, the loss to South Carolina looks a little worse because of SC’s showing against Vandy. On the other Clemson almost beat Florida St. in Tallahassee! Who knows what to think.
#13 The Bruins had a bye week this week & that might have been a good thing. I was interested to see how Virginia played against BYU because it would have been another opportunity for UCLA’s win over the Cavaliers to look better & better. Unfortunately Virginia came up short against BYU out in Provo so the win for UCLA doesn’t improve. The win over Texas doesn’t improve either as the Longhorns were on bye too. UCLA had a lot of things to work on defensively so the bye couldn’t have come at a better time. The Bruins travel to Tuscon to take on Arizona St. this week so they needed the extra week. UCLA’s spot here is tenuous so a win over the Sun Devils would be great.
#14 The Rebels were on bye this past week, but Ole Miss represents the 6th SEC West team in the Power-15! If you believe in South Carolina then Ole Miss got a little bit of help this week as the Gamecocks went into Nashville & beat the Commodores 48-34. Two weeks ago Ole Miss went into Nashville & beat Vandy 41-3! Johnny Reb hasn’t been challenged yet even with them playing Boise St. in the season opener. They get Memphis this upcoming week before welcoming in Alabama to Oxford. It’s easy to forget about Ole Miss & Arkansas in the SEC West, but those two teams have favorable schedules with games at home so they could be very exciting to watch.
#15 East Carolina should be the ACC Coastal champions after knocking off Virginia Tech & North Carolina in back-to-back weeks! The Pirates took care of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg & then took care of the Tar Heels in Greenville! Offensively ECU has almost no flaws. QB Shane Carden is the real deal while ECU’s rushing attack is ridiculous averaging 6.3ypc & 190yards/G! RB Breon Allen ran for 211yds & 2TD on just 18 carries while Carden threw for 438yds/4TD! The Pirates only loss came in Columbia to South Carolina 33-23. ECU’s toughest game left is a road date against Cincinnati! The Pirates have a chance to finish the year 11-1 with their only loss to SC!

 

DROPPING OUT

Notre Dame (#12): As an IRISH homer, I’m disgusted that I have to drop the Irish out of the Power-15, but Notre Dame’s win over Michigan doesn’t look as sweet now that Utah came into the Big House & handed the Wolverines their 2nd loss of the season. ND struggled with a Purdue team that got HAMMERED by Central Michigan. Central Michigan was beaten badly by Syracuse who subsequently lost to Maryland who lost previously to West Virginia. The Irish have Stanford, North Carolina, Louisville & Syracuse coming up. They’ll be back in the Power 15 should they keep winning games.

Missouri (#15): Missouri drops out after losing at home to an Indiana team who couldn’t beat Bowling Green. After beating Indiana last week, Bowling Green was beaten by Wisconsin 68-17 this week. You can’t stay in the top-15 when you lose a home game to a team that had only beaten Indiana St. to this point. A disastrous loss for the Tigers and at this point you’d have to think Missouri is no better than the 6th best team in the SEC East, ahead of only Vanderbilt.

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September 21, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, East Carolina, Florida St., Georgia, LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, South Carolina, Texas AM, UCLA, Week 4

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