No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 8 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Hail State keeps the #1 spot despite Florida St. winning a thrilling game over Notre Dame. The FSU win wasn’t exactly convincing and I’m not sure the right call was made at the end of the game which prevented the Irish from pulling off the upset & potentially elevating themselves to top-3 status. As it stands, it’s going to be hard for any team to replicate the Bulldogs 3-game win streak over LSU, Texas A&M & Auburn. The Bulldogs had to enjoy watching Kentucky get blasted by LSU. The Wildcats were showing a little something but proved they are still not up to the task of defeating the SEC Elite. Same thing with Arkansas. All sights are set to 9-0 heading to Bama!
#2 It took a quarter & a half for Ole Miss to get going, beginning the game down 3-0 with just 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. From that time period on the Rebels outscored Tennessee 34-0 and the route was on in Oxford & Ole Miss improved to 7-0 with a 34-3 win over the Vols. The defense once again was ridiculous forcing Tennessee into 4 turnovers, holding them to ZERO yards rushing & causing UT to go 3/16 on 3rd down! Bo Wallace turned in another good performance. In his last 3 games, Wallace is 44/78 (56.4%) for 628yds/6TD/0INT! Those aren’t Heisman numbers but they’ve come in Ole Miss’ 3 biggest games. They’ll keep winning if he avoid mistakes.
#3 Even though the win was unimpressive in the way the entire Florida St. 2014 campaign has been unimpressive, you have to give credit to the Seminoles for resiliency. Every team in college football is going to view playing FSU as a mini National Championship game. Florida St. never led once against Notre Dame except when the clock struck zero & they had preserved a 31-27 win. Florida St. trailed against Clemson, NC State & Notre Dame yet found ways to win. They also had a tough time with Oklahoma State. Playing at Louisville in a couple of weeks could be tricky but nothing stands in the way of FSU going 13-0 again. I think it gets interesting for them in the playoffs.
#4 Good grief you think Nick Saban was upset? The Crimson Tide came out guns BLAZING and put up 45 on Texas A&M in the first half. That caused a little bit of a Twitter storm in wondering if the Tide were going to try and hang 100 points on Kevin Sumlin’s bunch! Alabama called off the dogs in the 2nd half but still won 59-0! Bama put on a clinic. They outgained A&M 602-172. They outrushed them 298-31. They had 22 more first downs. Alabama didn’t commit a single penalty nor did they have a turnover. TJ Yeldon, Blake Sims, Derrick Henry & Amari Cooper were lights out. I still think the Tide control their own destiny. If they go 11-1 & rack up style points, they’re in.
#5 Like Mississippi St., War Eagle was on bye this week and given how impressive Alabama was against Texas A&M, I flipped the two Alabama schools in the rankings. Despite losing to Mississippi St. last week, Auburn’s schedule has actually done them a few favors. Kansas St. beating Oklahoma in Norman makes Auburn’s win at Kansas St. even more impressive now that K-State looks to be the front runner in the Big XII. The win over LSU is looking better now that the Bayou Bengals are playing better. Beating Kentucky & Florida isn’t beating SEC West opponents, but LSU has looked good doing so which makes Auburn’s 41-7 demolishing of LSU look even better.
#6 Oregon has put up a couple of really impressive wins since losing at home to Arizona. Last week they took down UCLA 42-30 in SoCal and this week they welcomed in Washington & beat up the Huskies 42-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Washington is actually a pretty good team with a very dominant front-7 on defense. It didn’t matter to the Ducks who scored 42, gained 554yds & rushed for 218yds. Oregon improved to 6-2 & given how Stanford is playing, they have no real competition in the P12 North. With no USC or Arizona St. on the schedule, it’ll be hard for Oregon to avoid 11-1. Marcus Mariota has to be the Heisman favorite now.
#7 All the talk now about Notre Dame is centered on if the 31-27 loss to Florida St. in Tallahassee has ended their playoff hopes & dreams? The answer is no in my opinion. ND has some good games left on the schedule in Louisville, USC & Arizona St., but Brian Kelly really does need to tear a page out of Nick Saban’s playbook. Style points matter so the Irish need BIG wins over Navy & Northwestern. ND’s biggest problem against FSU is that they had a hard time with FSU passing game in the 2nd half when it looked like Winston got into rhythm. ND should have won the game because the end of the game call was horrible, but it’s not the end of the world….yet.
#8 The final score said 45-32 but in no way was Arkansas ever in this ballgame as the Bulldogs got out to a 38-6 lead at halftime in Fayetteville that left the home crowd stunned & speechless. This was almost the too perfect upset special this past Saturday which should have warned us that there was no chance Arkansas had of upending Georgia. Georgia completely took Arkansas out of their game plan. Nick Chubb ran for over 200yds while QB Hutson Mason was darn near perfect. Arkansas is a run heavy team so they can’t behind big & come back. Forcing Brandon Allen to throw the ball almost 50 times is a recipe for disaster for the Hogs & Georgia dialed it up.
#9 I’m happy for Michigan St. that their next 3 games are pretty good ones against Michigan, Ohio State & Maryland. I think the Big 10 is a better conference than the ACC this year so at least they have that going for them, but while the top teams have at least one win over a legitimate opponent, Michigan St. is stuck in the woods. Beating Indiana 56-17 looks good but IU was down to their 9th string QB. The Spartans big win has come against Nebraska. Nebraska’s big win this year has come against….Northwestern? It’s a slippery slope but like Notre Dame, I think the Spartans have to start thinking about style points. Missing Iowa, Minnesota & Wisconsin hurts.
#10 Now that is how you respond to a loss! TCU didn’t spend much time grieving their 3-point loss to Baylor! They hosted a 5-1 Oklahoma St. team that was gaining traction nationally. The Cowboys had won 5 games straight & played Florida St. tough. The Horned Frogs proved they were for real by completely humiliating Oklahoma St. 42-9 in Ft. Worth! The Frogs ran for 261yds/3TD while QB Trevone Boykin passed for 400+yds/3TD! TCU did whatever they wanted to offensively while stifling a pretty good Oklahoma St. defense. TCU got help from West Virginia this weekend. If Baylor loses to Oklahoma & TCU runs the table, then the 11-1 Frogs win the Big XII.
#11 The 62-27 home loss to UCLA doesn’t make any sense unless you think it was a tough game for ASU as they were playing their first game of the season without starting QB Taylor Kelly & it was going to take a game or 2 to get new QB Mike Berovici’s feet. Also on paper UCLA is as talented as any team in the nation so when they play to their talent they are going to be EXTREMELY hard to beat. ASU has followed that loss up with wins over USC & Stanford. It might not be the 3-game stretch Mississippi St. pulled off but it’s solid nonetheless & ASU stands at 5-1 as the favorite of the P12 South. Kelly is coming back & this team looks primed to make a real push.
#12 QB Cody Kessler broke a USC passing record with 7TD passes against Colorado en route to a 56-28 win over the Buffaloes. Kessler was just 19/26 for 319yds but 7 of those 19 completions were in the endzone! RBs Javorius Allen rushed for 128yds while Justin Davis added in 97 in what would have been an incredible rushing day for the Trojans had Kessler not decide to got TD crazy! I’ve been saying all year how good Kessler has been but he could finish the season with close to 4000 passing yards & 40TD. If USC runs the table & gets to 10-2 & wins the Pac 12 to finish at 11-2, does Kessler not get quite a bit of Heisman play simply because he’s playing for USC?
#13 Is this the best team in the Big XII? How amazing was the 41-27 win over Baylor especially considering that Baylor barely beat TCU last week in Waco? The Mountaineers only losses have come at a neutral site against Alabama & a road loss to Oklahoma. Keep in mind that WVU gets both TCU & Kansas St. in Morgantown which is a difficult place to play & with the win over Baylor, the Mountaineers have to be riding super high on confidence. QB Clint Trickett is having an incredible year & WR Kevin White is on pace for 129rec/1894yds/13TD. If WVU can avoid turnovers they could easily finish the season 10-2 with a Big XII title. HC Dana Holgorsen is AMAZING!
#14 The loss to West Virginia stings a bit but it doesn’t completely ruin the season for the Bears. West Virginia is actually a pretty good team, but their remaining schedule is difficult so Baylor could still be in good position to win the Big XII providing they can take care of business in Norman & upset the Sooners. They also get K-State & Oklahoma St. in Waco so 11-1 still isn’t out of the question. The Bears had a hard time running the ball against WVU and killed themselves with penalties. Baylor is still pretty good & it’ll be interesting to see how they rebound after a loss. The win over TCU is still impressive, but Baylor now needs quite a bit of help moving forward.
#15 Everyone is going to have Kansas St. pretty high in their rankings and I can see why. The Wildcats went into Norman and got a win against Oklahoma. The last time Oklahoma lost a home conference game was back in 2012 when Kansas St. beat them 24-19 despite OU being 16-point favorites! The problem I have with the Big 12 is that they haven’t beaten anyone outside of themselves. K-State’s only loss came against Auburn but you can argue Auburn is the 5th best team in the SEC. They beat Oklahoma, but Oklahoma’s big win came against West Virginia, a Big XII team with 2 losses. Oklahoma has 2 losses & might be the 4th best team in the Big XII. It’s really tough to gauge how good the teams in the Big XII are.

 

DROPPING OUT

Oklahoma (#8): Losers of 2 of their last 3, you almost start to wonder if maybe Bob Stoops doesn’t need a change of scenery. That isn’t to say Oklahoma can’t continue to win 10-11 games a season under Stoops but the last time Oklahoma was playing for a national title was 2008 and the last time they won a championship was 2000. The problem with Oklahoma is that the Big XII is a circle of uncertainty. Oklahoma’s biggest win has come against West Virginia who is 5-2 & really good, but WVU’s biggest win is over Baylor, who’s biggest win is over TCU who’s biggest win is over Oklahoma who’s biggest win is over West Virginia. At 5-2 you can make a case right now that Oklahoma is the 5th best team in the Big XII. That simply isn’t top-15 worthy. Oklahoma could still easily get to 10-2 and play in one of the New Year’s Bowls to finish the season an excellent 11-2 but it would fall short of expectations this season. The Sooners will likely be back in the Power 15 at some point, but they are probably out of playoff contention.

Texas A&M (#11): The win over South Carolina looks pedestrian now and who else has Texas A&M really beat? On the other hand, you can’t really blame A&M for losing 3 straight to Mississippi St., Ole Miss & Alabama. I think those 3 teams are 3 of the best 4 in the country at the moment so A&M could at least argue for being a top-10 team just playing an extremely difficult schedule. After all, the combined record of Ole Miss, Mississippi St. & Alabama is 19-1! The big problem with A&M is the way they have been getting beat. In their 3 losses they’ve been outscored 51-142! They shouldn’t have beaten Arkansas meaning their 5-3 (2-3) mark should be 4-4 (1-4). The Aggies get a by before taking on UL-Monroe which should be a tune up before their last 3 games against Auburn, Missouri & LSU. If A&M wins out to get to 9-3 (5-3) then they can argue being a top-10 team that just happened to play 3 top-5 squads.

Arkansas (#13): As much as I’ve wanted to show the Razorbacks love all season, you can’t argue they belong in the top-15 at 3-4 (0-4). Georgia for the most part blew Arkansas out in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Arkansas should beat UAB next week which will push them to 4-4 with games against Mississippi St. (road), LSU (home), Ole Miss (home) & Missouri (road) left on the schedule. They’d have to win 2 of those to get bowl eligible which is possible with LSU & Missouri and potentially Ole Miss at home although I don’t think Arkansas is going to be able to do too much offensively against the Rebels defense. If everyone comes back next season, Arkansas will have 8 starters back on offense & 5 on defense. They at least need to show they can get a conference win this season before potentially breaking out in 2015.

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October 19, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona St., Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Florida St., Georgia, Kansas St., Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, Texas AM, USC, Week 8, West Virginia

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