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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 5 2014

#1 Leaving the Ducks at #1 for now although the spot is tenuous at best. Oregon was on bye last week which might have saved them the #1 ranking but ominous winds are blowing in Eugene. Oregon pretty much needed a miracle to come back at home & beat Michigan State. They only beat Washington St. by 7 points & last week Michigan St. scored more points against Wyoming than Oregon did when they played the Cowboys. That isn’t great considering Oregon is supposed to be one of the dominant offensive teams in the nation while Sparty is considered a plodding B1G team. Arizona is up this Thursday. Oregon has something to prove.
#2 The Crimson Tide were on bye last week but this gives us a chance to reflect on Alabama & where they’ve come in only 5 short weeks. Since their opening week 33-23 win over West Virginia, the Tide have gone 3-0 & have outscored their opponents 135-33! That averages out to 45-11. Blake Sims in his last 3 games has completed 73% of his passes for 841yds with 8TD & 1INT. The defense is getting close to being on par with recent Alabama defenses. The running game is incredible & Amari Cooper is pretty much unstoppable. You could make an argument for keeping Alabama out of the #1 spot to this point not if they beat Ole Miss Saturday.
#3 I’m not sure any team in college football has 2 better wins right now than Texas A&M with victories over South Carolina & Arkansas. It’s not enough that both teams might be 2 of the 15 best in college football, A&M beat both of them away from College Station which is remarkable. The win over Arkansas last week was ridiculous. Down 28-14, the Aggies outscored Arkansas 21-0 when it mattered most in winning the games 35-28 in OT! It’s amazing that Texas A&M gave up almost 300 rushing yards & yet still won the game. The road doesn’t get easier this week with a road game in Starkville, but A&M has proven they can win away from home.
#4 Of all the top teams everyone thought would be elite to start the season, Oklahoma is probably the one team who has looked the part each week to start the season. Alabama was a little shaky against West Virginia. Oregon almost lost to Michigan St. & Washington State. Florida St. hasn’t looked anything like we imagined. UCLA hasn’t played particularly well. Michigan St. has a loss. Auburn hasn’t really played anyone. The Sooners’ 34-10 beating of Tennessee looks a lot better now that the Vols almost upended Georgia in Athens. This week we’ll finally get to see if the Sooners can flex a little bit when they go on the road to play TCU.
#5 War Eagle has been fairly relaxed at this point but the schedule over the next 6 games is NASTY! In fact, 6 of the remaining 8 teams Auburn will face are ranked & one of the unranked teams is South Carolina! If Auburn finds itself in the playoffs at the end of the year, you can be certain they’ve earned it. It might be silly to harp on such things because Auburn passes the ball less than 34% of the time, but I think Nick Marshall has to play better if the Tigers want to win a national championship. Something doesn’t look right there but it’s hard to criticize it because Auburn is such a run oriented team. It helps when you are +5 in TO margin through 4 games!
#6 This certainly doesn’t look like the Florida St. team from a year ago, but 4-0 is 4-0 & maybe FSU can coast to a 13-0 record into the playoffs given how the ACC has looked thus far. Through 4 games in 2013, FSU outscored their opponents 205-60 which averages out to 51-15. This year FSU has outscored their opponents 153-101 which averages out to 38-25! Neither the offense nor the defense are playing to the 2013 standard, but almost losing to NC State? Florida State is 4-0 which is nice but a VERY credible argument could be made that they really are a 2-2 team. With the ACC looking atrocious so far, Florida St. certainly isn’t getting many style points.
#7 Since the loss to Oregon, Michigan St. has outscored E. Michigan & Wyoming 129-28! That’s not the greatest of competition & both were in East Lansing, but the Spartans offense is clicking on all cylinders going into this weeks games against Nebraska. I think the 56-14 win over Wyoming is solid. The Cowboys aren’t awful & are a pretty good defensive team when they aren’t playing top-5 teams like Oregon & Michigan State! I want to mention WR Tony Lippett. If the Spartans play 14 games, Lippett is on pace for 77rec/1474yds/21TD! The senior has been outstanding & All-American worthy. I think the Spartans roll Nebraska this weekend.
#8 It’s always nice to get perspective a couple weeks outside of a big game. Mississippi St.’s road win over LSU looks incredible & while I’m more than willing to rank the Bulldogs this high, it would be nice to see MSU drop Texas A&M & Auburn in the next 2 weeks! What’s interesting about the MSU/LSU game is that outside of each other, neither team has played anyone of consequence outside of LSU beating Wisconsin to open the season. LSU gets Auburn while Mississippi St. hosts Texas A&M. If both teams win their games, then all of a sudden the win looks great. If both teams lose, they are still very good teams, but probably not playoff worthy.
#9 Anthony Jennings was Wally Pipp’d on Saturday against one of the worst teams in college football, New Mexico State! Jenning went 2/5 for 11yds & 2 picks before Les Miles went to freshman Brandon Harris. Harris went 11/14 for 178yds & 3TD without turning the ball over as LSU routed the Aggies 63-7! Jennings wasn’t playing well to begin with, but the best thing that could possibly happen to LSU is to settle their QB issues with a starter. Making Harris the starter not only allows the issue to be resolved for this season, but for at least 2 more seasons to come if in fact Harris is capable. This is entirely too good a program to flounder under center.
#10 Baylor is doing what they always seem to do that last few years which is score 50 points a game & win! The 49-28 win over Iowa St. last week doesn’t look incredible I suppose, but a deeper look at the Cyclones reveals a road win for the Bears that has some teeth. Iowa St. is a fairly experienced team that is going off a great road win over Iowa. They came THIS close to upending Kansas St. in Ames. Iowas St. might not be a bowl team this year but it’s a pretty good win nonetheless. I’d love to see Baylor increase the non-conference strength of schedule to toughen up the defense a bit before conference play hits. Up next is Texas in Austin.
#11 I don’t know why it took so long but UCLA finall y decided to start playing the kind of football we expected from them when the season began. The Bruins went into Tempe & hammered Arizona St. 62-27! That’s incredible. QB Brett Hundley looked amazing going 18/23 for 355yds & 4TD! Hundley also rushed for 72yds & a TD! It was his best game of the year. Paul Perkins ran for 137yds on just 14 carries & the UCLA defense forced 4 turnovers. Arizona St. was clearly hampered by not having QB Taylor Kelly, but Mike Bercovici wasn’t horrible going for almost 500yds! Huge step in the right direction. Utah is next before Oregon!
#12 There was a little bit of talk about how Memphis could have been a trap game for the Rebels with Alabama coming in the next week, but Ole Miss didn’t let allow the upcoming battle with the Tide to diminish focus as they took down the Tigers 24-3. Defensively the Rebels are playing as well as anyone in the nation ranking 4th in total defense & 3rd in scoring defense. The offense could use some tighening up. Ole Miss committed 4 turnovers & 10 penalties for 117yds against Memphis. I can assure you that if they turn the ball over 4 times & commit 10 penalties against Alabama, they are getting beat by at least 20. I hope Ole Miss shows up!
#13 It wasn’t a great game for Georgia, but Todd Gurley simply takes games over. Tennessee doesn’t have a bad defense, and the team is big overall yet Gurley still rushed for over 200yds in a whild 35-32 win for the Bulldogs even with Peyton Manning roaming around the hedges in Athens! The loss to South Carolina stings a little more now that the Gamecocks dropped a home game to Missouri! The SEC East is sort of messy but it does seem ripe for either Georgia or Florida to bring it home. Gurley is on pace to rush for over 2000yds with around 20TD. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if he is the reason Georgia wins the division.
#14 I think Syracuse will be a bowl team by year’s end so this win is important for Notre Dame. The Irish have some skeptics because of their schedule. Michigan not playing well & Purdue completely bombing hurt the Irish, but the 31-15 beating of Syracuse looks good especially when you consider the Orange had a defensive TD & the Irish committed 5 turnovers & had 80 yards in penalties. QB Everett Golson didn’t have a great game & was STILL 32/39 for 362yds & 4TD! Stanford comes in this Saturday & if the Irish can play a clean game they should win. Beating Stanford would mean only Florida St. stands between ND & 12-0.
#15 If you think there are 15 teams better than Arkansas you are nuts. Sure the Razorbacks are 3-2 and coming off a loss but I have Texas A&M ranked 3rd & Auburn ranked 5th. Those are the two teams that have beaten Arkansas. The Hogs could easily make a case for being the 6th best team in the nation & they probably should have beaten Texas A&M. Sometimes crap happens & you lose a game. QB Brandon Allen is doing a helluva job setting the games up for RBs Jonathan Williams & Alex Collins. Arkansas needs a signature win at this point & they’ll have plenty of chances. Their next two games are at home against Alabama & Georgia.



South Carolina (#11): I don’t really know what to think of South Carolina. They get embarrassed by Texas A&M to open the season but have wins against East Carolina & Georgia. This past week they lose 21-20 to Missouri who was coming off a home loss to Indiana of all teams! The worst part is that SC was up 20-7 midway through the 4th quarter & still managed to lose. With all that said, there is only one more game on the schedule that looks like a DEFINITE loss. Would anyone really be surprised to see SC 9-3 at season’s end & then get a bowl win to get to 10-3 and be ranked in the top-15? There are too many parts not working for SC to be really competitive but the West isn’t the East so SC could still look pretty respectable.

East Carolina (#15): East Carolina didn’t do anything to drop out of the top-15 but I think Notre Dame & Arkansas did enough to sneak in. The South Carolina loss looks a little bit worse now that SC lost to Missouri. The wins over Virginia Tech and North Carolina are decent, but it’s possible both of those teams simply aren’t that good. The only rough game ECU has remaining is a road date to Cincinnati, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Pirates roll to an 11-1 season & be a top-15 team. I hope they get a really good opponent in the bowl game because I’d like to see what they do in that situation.


October 2, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, East Carolina, Florida St., Georgia, LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, South Carolina, Texas AM, UCLA, Week 5

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