No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 6 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma, & Texas A&M lost while Florida St. keeps NOT playing like the #1 team in the nation. In the battle of attrition, Auburn stands alone as the #1 team in the nation. LSU might actually be the worst team in the SEC West which makes them still a top-20 team, but Auburn’s 41-7 demolishing of the Tigers was impressive. Nick Marshall had a mistake free game at QB while the War Eagle defense held LSU to just 3.8ypc and 0/13 on 3rd down! There are still quite a few landmines for Auburn to avoid to take down the SEC West but they are 5-0 with wins over LSU, Arkansas & Kansas State. They play in Starkville this week so #1 is tenuous.
#2 The Bulldogs didn’t just get a win over Texas A&M, they absolutely hammered the Aggies! Mississippi St. led 28-7 late in the 2nd & 34-10 late in the 3rd! When you look at the overall stats, Mississippi St.’s defense didn’t have a great game but they forced A&M QB Kenny Hill to throw 3 picks while A&M’s defense had no answer for MSU QB Dak Prescott or the MSU rushing attack. With the Bulldogs starting the season 5-0, Prescott is getting some Heisman mentions that are well deserved. The only silver lining in all of this is the questionable rigor of playing A&M. How good is Texas A&M really? MSU has a chance to leave no doubt this week when they play Auburn!
#3 Give credit to where it is due. If there are better defenses in the nation than Ole Miss & Alabama, then I haven’t seen them yet. The most interesting aspect to me of Ole Miss’ 23-17 win over the Crimson Tide is the way Ole Miss made halftime adjustments & almost made it seem as if Alabama was tired as the Rebels outscored Nick Saban’s boys 20-3 in the 2nd half! QB Bo Wallace had a spectacular game with the pressure ratcheted up to its highest level. With recruiting going the way that it has under Hugh Freeze, you knew a breakout season was in the future for Ole Miss. I hope they capitalize on this win & make the most of it. Johnny Rebel deserves it!
#4 The Seminoles got back to playing like FSU in their 43-3 win over Wake Forest but a few interesting things happened along the way. It took the Noles a bit to get warmed us Wake actually led 3-0 after the 1st quarter! FSU’s offense wasn’t particularly dominating either. Jameis Winston wasn’t that sharp and the running game wasn’t especially dominant against a much weaker opponent. Getting to 5-0 is worthwhile & FSU has a huge target on their back for being national champions but something seems drastically off. The Winston off the field issues are creeping back up & FSU cannot overlook Syracuse this week by looking ahead to Notre Dame. They could lose.
#5 At some point I think we were going to see how the loss of AJ McCarron affected Alabama and their 23-17 loss to Ole Miss in Oxford was that moment. TJ Yeldon ran for 123yds & Amari Cooper caught 9 balls for 91yds, but Blake Sims was just 19/31 for 228yds/0TD/1INT. Alabama was a little sloppy & committed a couple of turnovers. You get the feeling McCarron wouldn’t have allowed Alabama to wilt in the 2nd half the way they did even with Bo Wallace having the game of his life. The defense is still nasty & Alabama still has games against Texas A&M, Mississippi St. & Auburn. They aren’t out of the national championship race by a long shot. Arkansas is next.
#6 In his first 4 games of the season, QB Kenny Hill was 97/139 (69.8%) for 1359yds/13TD/1INT. In his last 2 games he’s 58/103 (56.3%) for 751yds/8TD/4INT. Decent numbers but nothing like the torrid pace he was on to start the season. I’m hesitant to drop Texas A&M very far after losing a road game to a Mississippi St. squad that could be the best team in the nation. On the other hand, the signs for A&M are ominous. The Aggies are allowing 35PPG in conference play. The defense is terrible. Kenny Hill isn’t as good as people thought he was. The South Carolina win doesn’t look so hot now. They probably should have lost to Arkansas. It adds up fast.
#7 The 27-22 win over Nebraska can be spun a few different directions, but I’m not going to get too upset because the Spartans didn’t come out & beat Nebraska by 30. This game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score dictated. Michigan St. led 27-3 after 3 quarters. Nebraska outscored the Spartans 19-0 in the 4th quarter but that was garbage time. The fact of the matter is that Michigan St. dominated the game for 45 minutes & that is enough. What is especially important is that Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah was completely shut down while Michigan St.’s offense didn’t look very sharp. This is a tremendous football team holding the flag for the Big Ten.
#8 I still can’t get over the historical significance of where Baylor is compared to where Texas is. Baylor went into Austin and absolutely dominated the Longhorns in a 28-7 win. The amazing part is that Baylor didn’t even have to play that well to get it done. The Bears ran the ball almost all night long & not even particularly well averaging just 4.6ypc but running the ball 60 times! Baylor actually let 28-0 before Texas scored in the final 3 minutes to avoid the shutout. Baylor is coming off 3 straight road games where they outscored their opponents (Buffalo, Iowa St. & Texas) 140-56. Their reward is coming home for a home date against TCU in what could decide the B12.
#9 How do those apples taste Michigan fans? Looking at the big picture, Arizona’s season comes down to a road game against UCLA. The same UCLA team that just lost at home to Utah. I’m not sure Arizona gets to 12-0 but the schedule is definitely favorable to an 11-1 mark & a P12 South title. As to their 31-24 win over Oregon, you sort of had a feel that Arizona was going to win while watching the game. They were only down 7-3 at halftime & they were getting good pressure on Mariota & not allowing Oregon to convert on 3rd down. Oregon meanwhile had a difficult time stopping Nick Wilson & Terris Jones-Grigsby from running. Is this really the P12’s best program?
#10 The win over Oklahoma was HUGE and ranking TCU at “just” #10 is a disservice to the Horned Frogs. Remember that TCU was a 4-8 team last season so a win like this means a lot more than what you might think. As to the game, it could have went either way. TCU won 37-33 but when you look at the stats, the teams couldn’t have been more close. IT was a push/pull affair the entire time but Oklahoma just couldn’t get much going offensively even when they got the 2-pt safety after blocking TCU’s PAT that made it 37-33. Note that the score was tied after every quarter save the 4th. I’m hedging my ranking here a bit because TCU plays Baylor this weekend.
#11 Losing to Arizona stings like crazy but the Ducks still control their own destiny in the P12 North. Oregon definitely has the kind of team that could win out & get to 11-1. If that happens then they could get a rematch against Arizona & avenger their only loss getting to 12-1 with a P12 championship. Oregon still owns a win over Michigan St. which will look amazing by year’s end. Oregon is ravaged by injuries along their offensive line. Even Oregon’s skill position guys haven’t been that healthy. Defensively they’ve been relatively healthy but haven’t played well. Marcus Mariota has played out of his mind but Oregon needs to regroup. A win over UCLA would work fine.
#12 Losing to TCU 37-33 certainly puts a damper on the season but that game could have went either way & the Sooners simply came away with the short end. All isn’t lost for the Sooners. The Big 12 is in quite the conundrum if Baylor upends TCU this weekend & Oklahoma beats Baylor later in the season. I’m not even taking into account Oklahoma St. at this point which could make things even more interesting. Everyone assumes the SEC will get 2 teams into the playoffs but if TCU beats Baylor & Oklahoma runs the table then you might have a 12-0 TCU team & an 11-1 Oklahoma team at season’s end both ranked in the top-5. Could both get into the playoffs?
#13 When Notre Dame needed him most, TE Ben Koyack planted his feet just inside the endzone & Everett Golson hit him with a 23-yd bullet with a minute left to give the Irish a 17-14 win over Stanford in South Bend! It was an amazing victory for the Irish and one that announced that ND just might be for real. The Irish defense was OUTSTANDING in this game. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan had a terrible game. Ty Montgomery was completely shut down & Stanford couldn’t run the ball at all against the Irish front-7. At this point there doesn’t seem to be a moment too big for Notre Dame & if the defense plays like it did against Stanford, the Irish could stun Florida State!
#14 The Razorbacks were on a bye this past week which is pretty nice considering they’ll host Alabama this weekend! I wrote about this earlier but this will be an interesting game for Arkansas. They have a ton to play for & it’s certainly possible that Alabama could come in lethargic seeing how Saban’s teams play in bowls that don’t matter. If Alabama feels the season is done then maybe they don’t show up. As for Arkansas, a win here could bolster significant confidence & the Hogs have a lot of home games remaining. I think Arkansas is going to continue to get better as the season progresses & I’ll be the first one to say this team could finish 10-2. They’re scary!
#15 Georgia pasted Vanderbilt last week 44-17, but the real story for the Bulldogs is the indefinite suspension of RB Todd Gurley for signing autographs. Are you kidding me? Georgia fans have to be beside themselves that Gurley did the same thing Johnny Manziel did last year. Don’t these guys learn? What will be interesting is how Nick Chubb replaces Gurley as the lead back. Chubb hasn’t been all that different than Gurley on a yards per carry basis although Gurley has about 3x as many carries as Chubb. The true frosh assumes the role of lead tailback against Missouri this week. UGA has Missouri, Arkansas & Florida in their next 3. We’ll learn a lot in this period.

 

DROPPING OUT

LSU (#9): It’s one thing to lose to Auburn, but to lose 41-7!? The 34 point loss was the worst in the Les Miles era and is the worst loss LSU has suffered since 1999 where oddly enough Auburn beat LSU 41-7! The issue for the rest of the season is how bad things could get in Baton Rouge. If LSU can’t win home games against Ole Miss & Alabama then they very likely finish the season at best 5-7. If they lose to Kentucky at home then they could easily finish 4-8. Miles’ worst season in Baton Rouge is the 8-5 year he had in 2008 which was the beginning of the Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson era which was horrible even for LSU detractors. Brandon Harris or Anthony Jennings needs to be the QB & left alone. You would think Miles would have remembered how bad things were with Jefferson/Lee. If he makes it a 2-man race for the next 3 seasons then he won’t last as HC of LSU. The SEC West is getting too good & right now LSU looks to be the worst team.

UCLA (#11): Go to Arizona St. and destroy the Sun Devils. Come back home & can’t beat Utah. It doesn’t make any sense. You could make a pretty case for UCLA being 1-4 at this point instead of 4-1. They’ve gotten lucky in some instances, but they still aren’t out of it just yet. The loss to Utah is nuts but the Bruins are definitely capable of running the table, getting to 11-1 & playing for a P12 championship they could easily win to get to 12-1 & into the playoff discussion. They get Oregon at home this week. Beating the Ducks would certainly help the Bruins rehabilitate their image after the Utah loss, but would it make even less sense? They beat both Arizona St. & Oregon but couldn’t get it done against Utah between the 2? If you are going to overlook Utah you had better beat Oregon. A loss this week & UCLA is finished.

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October 11, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Florida St., Georgia, LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, Texas AM, UCLA, Week 6

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