No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 11 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Beating UT-Martin 45-16 isn’t anything to write home about, but it pushes the Bulldogs to 9-0 & sets the stage for the game we’ve all been waiting for as Mississippi St. heads to Tuscaloosa. Dak Prescott & Josh Robinson barely ran the ball Saturday. Despite a 30pt victory, you almost got the feeling MS State was playing the JV squad. This is the most difficult 4 weeks of the season for Hail State. Two of their last 3 games come on the road to Alabama & Ole Miss. Win out & they’ll most likely get either Missouri or Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Win those games & you probably are looking at Oregon or TCU. The road to a championship is simply ridiculous!
#2 It is becoming increasingly difficult to look at the ACC with a straight face. Sure a 34-20 win over Virginia is decent I suppose but who has Florida St. really beaten this year? Clemson? The Tigers are ranked but haven’t won a single meaningful game. Notre Dame? The Irish just got blasted by Arizona State. Louisville? Like Clemson they haven’t beaten anyone. Oklahoma St.? The Cowboys are terrible. FSU has Miami-FL this week in Coral Gables and judging by the lines in Vegas, it should be a tight game. What is Miami’s biggest win? Duke! The first real opponent the Seminoles will play this year will be in the playoff. It’s hard ranking them this high with their schedule. Terrible.
#3 It took everything the Tide had, but they went into Baton Rouge & picked up a win 20-13 in OT! It was incredibly impressive watching the Tide drive the ball 55yds in the final minute of the game without any timeouts in order to set up a 27yd FG by Adam Griffith to get the game into OT. I though the game would be about LSU’s rushing offense & pass defense. Alabama did a good job holding the LSU running game to 3.3ypc. LSU ran the ball a lot but didn’t kill the Tide with big runs. Bama didn’t throw particularly well but Blake Sims avoided mistakes which certainly helped. Now Alabama is in prime position to get into the playoffs. Win out & it’s a foregone conclusion they’re in.
#4 It’s interesting to speculate what could have happened had Kaelin Clay not put the ball at the one instead of holding onto it for a TD which would have given Utah a 14-0 lead. Instead, he showboated a little too early which led to an Oregon fumble return that made the score 7-7! Coming into the game Utah was 6-2 & 3-1 at home. They would have had a 14-0 lead probably until at least midway through the 2nd quarter. Would that have been enough to derail Oregon’s chances at a playoff berth? The answer is most definitely. Sometimes you need luck to propel you through. Marcus Mariota put on another clinic. How does he not win the Heisman?
#5 I know you have to look at overall body of work rather than an individual game, but I had to rank Baylor quite a bit higher for a couple of reasons. Oklahoma has been proven beatable all season long, but Baylor showed COMPLETE domination of the Sooners in Norman, outscoring Oklahoma 45-0 after the 1st quarter! That’s INSANE! The other reason is that you can’t deny Baylor beat TCU. Sure the game was in Waco & it was by 3pts, but it’s ridiculous to think TCU’s overall body of work is that much better. A non-conference game against Minnesota doesn’t make TCU. Forget the West Virginia loss. TCU almost lost there too & the Mountaineers are very good. Baylor is going to win the Big XII.
#6 TCU is coming off a great win over Kansas St. 41-20 and while the win looks particularly good now, timing is everything and I doubt the win over the Wildcats will be nearly as impressive by season’s end. K-State still has road games against West Virginia & Baylor which means an 8-4 season is likely. TCU is a great story. Trevone Boykin is playing out of his mind, but the big problem TCU has is how do they make the playoffs when both they & Baylor are 11-1 & Baylor wins the Big XII because of their win over the Frogs? Baylor has essentially 3 home games left against Texas Tech, Oklahoma St. & Kansas State. TCU has to become the biggest Kansas St. fans the world has ever seen!
#7 I can’t drop Auburn too far because there is a very real chance the Tigers could wind up beating Alabama which could create quite a bit of havoc should Alabama beat Mississippi State. The loss to Texas A&M is brutal especially in the way it happened. Auburn was down 41-38 late in the 4th. On the next to last possession, Nick Marshall fumbled the ball on the Texas A&M 2-yard line. That should have put Auburn up 45-41. On the last possession Marshall & his center had a bad exchange on the Texas A&M 27-yard line. THAT should have put Auburn up 45-41. You can’t blow those types of opportunities and win football games. Auburn is still viable but the loss hurts badly.
#8 Some people certainly thought Arizona St. would come out and beat Notre Dame, but I don’t think anyone would have thought the Sun Devils would come out, get up on the Irish 34-3 before Brian Kelly blinked, and wind up scoring 55pts on an Irish defense that has been pretty good this season up until recently. The ASU defense forced 5 turnovers. They sacked Irish QB Everett Golson 7 times & picked him off on 4 occasions. The Sun Devils still have a road game against Arizona to end the season, but they will make things pretty interesting should they win out & get by Oregon in the Pac 12 championship game. It would be difficult to keep them out of the playoff.
#9 I haven’t ranked Ohio St. in the Power 15 since after Week 1 when the Buckeyes defeated Navy, but their 49-37 win in East Lansing over Michigan St. was the kind of statement game the Buckeyes have been waiting to make all season long after suffering a loss to Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes might not get a chance for another statement game. They get Minnesota on the road this week, but this is the same Minnesota team that lost to Illinois! If Ohio St. wants to at least make an argument for the playoffs, they’ll need lots of help but they really need both Nebraska & Michigan St. to win out. Beating an 11-1 Cornhuskers squad in the B1G championship will help as will having a win over a 10-2 Spartans squad.
#10 Talk about crazy! How many times does LSU lose 2 home games in one season!? Les Miles catches a lot of flak about his coaching style. I hate doing that to a guy who has been as successful as Miles has been during his tenure at LSU, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why in OT he’d let Anthony Jennings throw the ball 4 times. All 4 passes ended up incompletions & Alabama escaped with a 20-13 victory. Up to that point LSU had ran the ball 56 times compared to 22 passes. Miles just saw Alabama score by running the football and yet during the most decisive point in the game, Miles abandons the run & goes strictly to passing? I guess that goes with life as Miles as your HC.
#11 The Rebels got a welcome reprieve this past week after losing 2 straight to Auburn & LSU. Sure a 48-0 hammering of Presbyterian sin’t much, but there is no rest for the weary as Ole Miss travels to Arkansas to play the Hogs before coming back home to play Mississippi St. in the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss isn’t completely out of the playoff pictture just yet. If they win out, Alabama beats Mississippi St. and then Auburn beats Alabama, it will create a 4-way tie between Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss & Mississippi St. at 6-2 in the SEC. In that scenario, Ole Miss would win the SEC West & move on to the SEC Championship. A win there would definitely put an 11-2 Rebels team into the 4-team playoff!
#12 Getting beat that badly at home by Ohio St. is a tough pill to swallow, but Michigan St. now has 2 losses coming against Ohio St. & Oregon. In the same way that you can’t completely drop LSU for losing to game to the most ELITE teams in the nation, it’s hard to quarrel with Michigan St. being at top-15 team when their 2 losses have come against a top-5 team & a top-10 team. Michigan St. was a little sloppy & they let the 3rd quarter get away from them, but overall it was a tighter game than the 49-37 final score. Michigan St. simply couldn’t contain the Buckeyes rushing attack behind Ezekiel Elliott & JT Barrett. The playoffs are out of the picture but Sparty can still do a lot for the B1G reputation.
#13 It’s interesting to note that right now there is a lot of buzz surrounding Arizona St. and the idea that if they were to win out & beat Oregon, then they would make a compelling case to get into the playoff race. That is interesting because the one team that has beaten Arizona St. is UCLA & the Bruins did it handily 62-27! If UCLA wins out & Arizona St. loses to Arizona then the Bruins win the South. A win over Oregon in the P12 championship game makes UCLA an 11-2 squad. It’s an interesting question to think about. A lot of people had UCLA down as a playoff favorite before the season began & they never really dominated to start the season. If they finish 10-2, it’ll be a very quiet 10-2.
#14 I’ve been reluctant to add a 3rd Big 10 team because the Big 10’s reputation has taken such a beating in recent memory but the Cornhuskers are 8-1 coming off a bye week & heading to Wisconsin this weekend to put the B1G West out of the question & book their date against Ohio St. in the Big 10 championship. Nebraska’s only loss came on the road to Michigan St. by 5 points. If they run the table & finish 12-1, can they get into the playoffs? It’s a lot better story than you might think. Nebraska is a storied program. They have a QB who wakes up certain echoes in Lincoln. Ameer Abdullah is a Heisman Trophy candidate & the blackshirts are starting to play like the blackshirts.
#15 It’s worth remembering that Arizona St. is currently 8-1 while Florida St. is 9-0. When your strength of defeat schedule is 17-1 then you can hardly hang your heads about being 7-2. What hurts the Irish just a bit is that their wins don’t look as stout as some would hope. That can change if the Irish can beat Louisville & USC, but right now the Stanford, Michigan, Syracuse & North Carolina wins don’t look so hot. It’s hard to get the Irish mindset back to the beginning of the season but coming into the year we had an extremely young team. They had lost both OC & DC & the expected starting QB missed the entire previous season. Notre Dame could finish 10-2. How is that not a successful season? The Irish are a top-15 team. Not a top-4 team.

 

DROPPING OUT

Kansas St. (#13): Kansas St. has largely benefitted by being a pretty good team taking advantage of a soft schedule early on to build up momentum. You can’t take away the Oklahoma win but the Sooners aren’t a top-10 program at the moment & K-State still has road games against Baylor & West Virginia. If they lose those games then this is an 8-4 team with one good win on the schedule. It just isn’t enough.

Oklahoma (#14): It looks bad right now because Oklahoma is 6-3, but the Sooners should win out given their schedule which will make them 9-3. A bowl win gives them a 10 win season. It’s disappointing to be sure given the preseason expectations, but getting 10 wins means something. The problem I have this past week isn’t so much that they lost to Baylor, but it’s that they lost to Baylor at home and got outscored 45-0 from the 2nd quarter forward. Winning national championships is difficult.

West Virginia (#15): I sort of had the feeling the game in Austin would be somewhat of a trap game for the Mountaineers & it proved thus as Texas hammered West Virginia 33-16 in a game that was never close. West Virginia had no answer for Texas’ rushing attack & the Mountaineers simply couldn’t convert a 3rd down. I still love this team and I hope Trickett comes back for his senior season.

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November 11, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona St., Auburn, Baylor, Florida St., Kansas St., LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, UCLA, Week 11, West Virginia

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