No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 12 2014

#1 Alabama proved its point after being snubbed by the playoff committee, beating Mississippi St. 25-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. The Tide played mistake free football for the most part while the defense lived up to its billing by harassing MSU QB Dak Prescott all game long, forcing the Heisman hopeful to throw 3 picks, sacking him once & forcing him to run the ball on 22 occasions! Alabama was up 19-0 before the Bulldogs scored a late first half FG to get on the board. The Tide now have wins over MS State, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M & West Virginia. At 9-1, what else can they do to get some attention? A win over Auburn seals the West for Saban’s bunch.
#2 It took awhile for Mississippi St. to get rolling but after being down 19-0 through the first 29 minutes of the game, the Bulldogs went on to outscore Alabama 20-6 in Tuscaloosa. The turnovers hurt quite a bit, but on the bright side, MSU had 9 more first downs, had almost 100 more total yards, put up 428 total yards on the Tide defense, ran for 138yds & committed fewer penalties than Alabama. It didn’t seem like Alabama was ever not in control of the game, but when MSU cut the lead to 19-13 with 14 minutes left in the 4th, you could sense the Tide faithful feeling a touch of distress at the thought of the Tide losing a 19pt lead. I can’t drop MSU that much for losing by 5 on the road to Alabama.
#3 At some point Florida St. is going to dance with the devil one too many times & come up short. This simply doesn’t look like a national championship team, and I get the feeling Florida St. is going to be in for a rude awakening if it has to play Alabama, Mississippi St., Oregon, Baylor, TCU or Ohio State. The ACC is downright awful this season & if anyone tries to say it’s a better conference than the Big 10, they’d be lying. FSU was down 23-7 midway through the 2nd. Down 23-10 at halftime. Down 26-20 midway through the 4th. They still won. Being 10-0 is great, but where is the big win on the schedule? Clemson? Miami-FL? Notre Dame? You can make an argument this is a 6-4 team.
#4 Oregon was on a bye week, but a few things happened that are of interest to the Ducks. It would seem Oregon has a couple of easy games left on the schedule to get to 11-1, but Oregon St. beat Arizona St. yesterday so the final game against the Beavers could be better than initially though especially with the game in Corvallis. With Arizona St. losing, the South is now open to UCLA who lost to Oregon in Eugene 42-30. It’s hard to beat a good team twice on one season. The other development is that with Dak Prescott laying an egg, Marcus Mariota might be the Heisman favorite, but now has to hope Melvin Gordon calms down. With his 400yd day against Nebraska, he’s has a good case.
#5 Like Oregon, the Bears were on a bye week but saw a development that could & should help their case with the playoff committee, but also might hurt their playoff chances. TCU going into Kansas & escaping with a 34-30 win over the lowly Jayhawks hurts the Horned Frogs chances at staying ahead of Baylor. Remember that the Bears will get to play Kansas St. next & they beat Kansas 60-14! It also appears to escape people that BAYLOR BEAT TCU!!! People are also forgetting that Baylor beat Oklahoma 48-14 while TCU beat them 37-33. What has TCU done that Baylor hasn’t exceeded? The other development though is the continued excellent play from Ohio State. Watch out.
#6 Speaking of TCU, it’s interesting that TCU & Ohio St. have a common opponent now in Minnesota. The Buckeyes went up to Minneapolis and dispatched the Gophers 31-24 to improve to 9-1 & the likely favorite to come out of the B1G at 12-1 & conference champions. TCU beat the Gophers back in Week 3 in Ft. Worth 30-7. You can’t extrapolate anything from those 2 games, but if you were to look at it, then you could put TCU ahead of the Buckeyes & I think Baylor is ahead of TCU so it diminishes Ohio St.’s playoff chances. On the other hand, no team might be hotter than the Buckeyes right now. Wins over Michigan St. & Minnesota and now a potential game against Wisconsin. Don’t be shocked to see Ohio St. slip into the playoffs.
#7 34-30 over Kansas? Seriously? As I wrote in my comments about Baylor, I don’t see how TCU ranks ahead of the Bears even when you look at totality of schedule. Their non-conference win over Minnesota isn’t that much of a difference maker & when you start looking at common opponents, Baylor has bigger margins of victory. Sure TCU put up 80 on Texas Tech, but Baylor hasn’t played the Red Raiders yet which has to make the Baylor offense giddy with anticipation that they might actually seal the deal & score 100! TCU is an excellent team & I think they get to 11-1, but that won’t be enough to win the Big 12. At this point they are praying for Kansas St. to beat Baylor.
#8 In order for Ole Miss to win the SEC West, they need Alabama to beat Mississippi St., Auburn to beat Alabama & then for the Rebels to win the Egg Bowl. The first of those 3 legs happened yesterday when the Tide took down Mississippi St. 25-20. Unfortunately for Johnny Reb, Auburn got HOUSED by Georgia 34-7 yesterday in Athens and with the Tide smelling blood in the water, it will seem like a long shot for Auburn to go into Bryant-Denny and come away with a win, especially after what happened last year. Alabama will want revenge. Still, if Ole Miss can finish 10-2 & get a little bit of help, they can make their case for picking up that 4th spot in the college football playoff.
#9 The Spartans bounced back admirably after losing to Ohio St. by going into Maryland and beating the Terps 37-15. This was vintage Michigan St. football. Jeremy Langford ran wild on Maryland, racking up 138yds & 2TD. The Spartan defense was outstanding, holding Maryland to 6 rushing yards, 11 first downs, 2 of 13 on 3rd down conversions & forcing 4 turnovers. Maryland QB CJ Brown didn’t know what hit him. With Ohio St. having home games against Indiana & Michigan remaining, the best Sparty can hope for now is a 10-2 finish & a New Year’s Day bowl. It won’t be last year’s B1G Championship, Rose Bowl win, 13-1 season & #3 finish, but those seasons are hard to duplicate.
#10 War Eagle drops to 7-3 after their embarrassing 34-7 road loss to Georgia. Sometimes your guys simply don’t show up to play. Auburn’s defense was throttled last night as both Todd Gurley & Nick Chubb ran for over 100 yards. The Tigers offense committed 3 turnovers & could never get their running game going against a Georgia defense that was playing inspired football. The loss definitely curtailed any notion of Auburn winning the SEC. That’s impossible, but they can still get to double digit victories if they can stun Alabama & win their bowl game. Getting to a national championship game is hard enough. Getting to back-to-back title games is even harder. Very tough loss for Auburn.
#11 With Arizona St.’s loss to Oregon St. on Saturday, the way was opened for the Bruins to become Pac 12 South champions & earn a rematch with Oregon for a potential spot in the playoffs. With 2 losses it would be difficult for the Bruins to get in, but there is still a couple weeks worth of football to be played. UCLA needs help (and a P12 championship) to get in, but it’s possible. Fun fact about the Bruins is that they are 6-0 on the road & just 2-2 at home. Their final 2 games against USC & Stanford are at home so the Bruins could knock themselves out entirely if their home woes continue. His Heiman talk has died down, but QB Brett Hundley has had a great season. Hope he comes back.
#12 Talk about a statement game! Georgia welcomed in an Auburn team who still had playoff hopes & absolutely buried them between the hedges 34-7! Georgia rushing attack led by Todd Gurley & Nick Chubb was outstanding while the Bulldog defense held Auburn’s rushing attack in check the entire night. Auburn’s lowest offensive output before Saturday was 359yds in their 20-14 win over Kansas State. Georgia held War Eagle to less than 300! It was a bittersweet win though as returning RB Todd Gurley tore his ACL! Some guys just can’t get lucky. I still have UGA below Auburn however. The Florida & South Carolina losses look awful. Now Georgia just needs Missouri to lose one more game.
#13 It’s amazing enough to know that Melvin Gordon broke the single game rushing record with his 408yds on Saturday against Nebraska. What’s even more amazing is that he did it in only 3 quarters & 25 carries! Gordon averaged 16.3ypc in the B1G West game of the year as the Badgers cruised passed Nebraska 59-24 in Madison. Wisconsin is on pace to play 14 games and if Gordon stays healthy he is on pace to finish the season with 2673 rushing yards & 32TD while averaging 8.6ypc! I know Marcus Mariota is playing well but how in the world do you not give the Heisman to Gordon? Wisconsin is ROLLING at the moment but get Iowa & Minnesota in their last 2. They should get to 10-2.
#14 Give a lot of credit to Arizona in surviving against Washington and coming away with a 27-26 win. Washington completely dominated ARizona offensively & had the ball for 12 more minutes than the Wildcats. Luckily Washington played fairly sloppy with 11 penalties & 3 turnovers. Games like this are great for football teams, because they don’t play well but have the perseverance to get the win. Arizona needs massive help to win the P12 South because they have losses to both USC & UCLA, but if UCLA beats USC & Stanford beats UCLA then all Arizona needs to do is beat Arizona St. in Tuscon & they are a 10-2 squad facing off against Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game.
#15 After 17 straight SEC losses, Arkansas finally got a conference win with a 17-0 victory over LSU. It’s a program defining win at this point & certainly the biggest win of Bret Bielema’s career as HC of Arkansas. I’m glad I got to see this game as it was a defensive struggle througout with very conservative game plans from both teams. Neither team ran the ball particularly well but Arkansas had enough things go their way to get a 17-0 win. At 5-5, Arkansas needs to beat either Ole Miss or Missouri to get bowl eligible. It doesn’t seem likely, but this is one of the most dangerous teams in college football along with West Virginia. They are this close to being 8-2 against a tremendous schedule.



Arizona St. (#8): A pretty big fall for the Sun Devils but I couldn’t see putting them in over the other 15 teams I have ranked. Oregon St. was 1-5 in conference play heading into this game & absolutely carved up the Sun Devils defense. ASU allowed 247 rushing yards & might have cost themselves a P12 South title. We’ll see moving forward if ASU can sneak their way back into contention.

LSU (#10): I don’t think the loss to Arkansas is a bad one. At some point the Hogs were going to win a conference game & LSU just happened to be the victim of a “right place right time” scenario. With that said, LSU is still 7-4 and has their final game in College Station against the Aggies. They could finish the season 7-5 which would be an incredible disappointment.

Nebraska (#14): Completely destroyed by Wisconsin, Nebraska probably didn’t deserve to be in the Power 15 anyway. They aren’t completely out of it. If Wisconsin loses their last 2 & Nebraska wins their last 2 then Nebraska would win the B1G West.

Notre Dame (#15): Losing to Northwestern at home is abominal for the Irish program. After losing to Arizona St., I thought Notre Dame was still a top-15 program, just not a top-4 program. Now I think they might have a hard time convincing anyone they are a top-25 program. Talk about a free fall. The Irish started the season 7-0 but have now dropped 3 of 4 to Florida St., Arizona St., & Northwestern! Thank goodness Navy was in there! With Louisville & USC to go, Notre Dame might be looking at 7-5 which would mean they finished their season losing 5 of their final 6 games!


November 17, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Arizona St., Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Florida St., Georgia, LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, UCLA, Week 12, Wisconsin

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