No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – WEEK 15 2014

#1 It doesn’t get much clearer than Alabama’s 42-13 demolishing of Missouri in the SEC Championship game. Alabama led 21-3 at halftime & while Missouri pulled to within 8 at the start of the 4th quarter, Alabama outscored the Tigers 21-0 in the 4th quarter. Blake Sims was pretty much perfect. Amari Cooper caught 12 balls. Derrick Harvey rushed for over 100. Alabama dominated 3rd down. The defense was incredible. The team wasn’t sloppy. The Tide looked precisely what a national championship team would look like in winning their own conference championship. I want to mention what a great job QB Blake Sims did this season. Replacing AJ McCarron is no small feat & Sims did it without hardly a drop off in production. That’s bigger than you’d think at first glance.
#2 Speaking of teams that look like national champions, Oregon had no issues hammering an Arizona squad that was responsible for the Ducks only loss earlier in the season. Oregon led Arizona 30-0 before the Wildcats score & cruised to a 51-7 lead before Arizona scored a garbage time TD to make it a 51-14 final! There wasn’t a single aspect of this game Oregon didn’t dominate. At this point it’s fairly easy to concede that at this minute Oregon & Alabama are the 2 best teams in the nation. In the BCS Era we would have probably seen Florida St. battle Alabama for the national championship. Instead we will get a chance to see the gave everyone wants to see which is Alabama/Oregon. Who doesn’t want to see Mariota play for it all against arguably the best defense in the entire country?
#3 You have to hand it to Florida State. They simply don’t get phased when playing tight games. The 37-35 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game was their 7th game decided by 7pts or less. They are 7-0 in those games! No matter how you look at things, Florida St. isn’t nearly as dominant as they were a season ago. That’s not necessarily a gripe about this year’s Seminoles but rather a retrospective thought about how great the 2013 Florida St. edition truly was. The national championship game was probably stolen a bit from Auburn but FSU dominated every team they played last season. This program hasn’t lost since November 24, 2012. They are riding a 29-game winning streak. That’s downright amazing regardless if you aren’t a big fan of how many close games Florida State wins.
#4 As you can see, I believe the Bears should be the #4 team. A lot to say here. The Kansas St. win was big & that was the deciding factor between TCU & Baylor. The Frogs were ranked ahead of Baylor all year it seemed based on schedule but really that schedule was just that TCU had a K-State win on their resume. Once Baylor got it, the committee ranked Baylor higher. Head to head mattered. I think the 38-27 win over K-State was even more impressive than the score. Bill Snyder worked up a tremendous game plan, kept the ball away from the Baylor offense & ran ran ran the ball! It still didn’t work. Bryce Petty was decent & the Bears ran the football well. Baylor will get a chance to make the committee look terrible if they put the hammer down on Sparty in their bowl game.
#5 Yes it was Iowa St. but TCU didn’t use the last week of the season to cruise. Instead the Frogs made a statement in a 55-3 win that they hoped would earn them a few style points in their bid for the 4th & final playoff spot. I think TCU did everything it could. It held ISU to 3 points showing a swarming defense. QB Trevone Boykin passed for 460yds/4TD. The TCU rushing attack almost gained 200yds. You can argue it’s a travesty that TCU didn’t get into the playoffs although I’d argue that Baylor should have been their before & even Gary Patterson has said that TCU had the playoffs in their hand yet lost to Baylor 61-58 in what has to go down as the game of the year. As a consolation Boykin could have got a Heisman invite. Even that didn’t happen. Disappointing.
#6 It doesn’t get more convincing than a 59-0 BEATING of Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. Obviously the 13th game helped Ohio State & the fact they won their conference championship game by a 59-0 margin is nothing short of outstanding but if you are looking at the season as a whole, it’s hard to pick Ohio St. ahead of TCU when TCU lost to Baylor on the road by 3 points while OSU lost to Virginia Tech at home by 2TD! I think Baylor’s loss at West Virginia is more impressive than the Buckeyes loss to the Hokies. With that said, if JT Barrett would have been healthy then I could completely understand putting a 12-1 Buckeyes team with a QB who should be a Heisman finalist. Without Barrett it was a little tougher to see. A gift for Ohio St.
#7 Losing the Egg Bowl 31-17 sealed the Bulldogs fate, but to be honest I can see MSU not being completely motivated. The loss to Alabama pretty much ended Hail State’s chances at a playoff berth because Oregon & Florida St. were definitely getting in & it was going to be difficult to take an 11-1 MSU team over an 11-1 TCU, 11-1 Baylor or 12-1 Ohio St. squad even if their only loss was a road loss to Alabama by 5 points. Mississippi St. will take on Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl now that should be one of the marquee matchups of the bowl season. Mississippi St. will improve their record to 11-2 with a win & I think it goes without saying that this will probably go down as the most successful season in MSU history & they have a shot at being better in 2015!
#8 With Ohio St.’s demonstration of superiority over Wisconsin in the B1G Championship, it seems to go without saying that Michigan St. truly was the 2nd best team in the B1G & was rewarded with a berth in the Cotton Bowl against an extremely motivated Baylor team looking to show the playoff committee that they made a mistake. There is certainly a lot going on with Michigan State. QB Connor Cook could return next year along with RB Jeremy Langford which would give Sparty a tremendous push going into 2015. On the other hand both could leave & MSU is likely rebuilding. What’s most important at this point is staying competitive with Baylor & hopefully getting their 11th win. It almost becomes a matter of conference reputation. Something the Big 10 sorely needs improving.
#9 They hung around for such a long time, but like a lot of teams that have almost beaten Florida State, the Yellow Jackets seemed to wear down & didn’t have enough left at the very end to overcome the Seminoles, losing 37-35. Nobody picked GT to win the Coastal division but they did & finished 10-3 with their 3 losses coming by a total of 13pts! Their “best case” record is 13-0 while their “worst case” is 7-6 which are some of the best marks in the nation. Paul Johnson just keeps churning out winners in Atlanta. You could argue that North Carolina, Virginia Tech & Miami-FL didn’t play well this year but give credit to the Johnson & his staff. New QB Justin Thomas had an incredible year which nobody suspected. A win over Mississippi St. would match the best year GT has had under Johnson back in 2009.
#10 It’s easier to find perspective after the season is complete as opposed to when you are going through the fire. Georgia was coming off of a MASSIVELY disappointing 2013 season where they were #5 in the preseason & finished 8-5. This year the Bulldogs finished 9-3 which was a huge gain considering they had to replace the most prolific passer in Georgia history & deal with the loss of RB Todd Gurley at times. If UGA beats Louisville in the Belk Bowl then they’ll finish 10-3. What gets Georgia & their fans is playing the what could have happened game. What if they don’t lose to Alabama in the 2012 SEC Championship? What if they don’t blow games this year against South Carolina & Georgia Tech while actually showing up for Florida? They could be working on their 2nd title in 3 years!
#11 Not the senior season QB Nick Marshall was hoping for after Auburn came THIS CLOSE to winning the national championship last season. Like Georgia, perspective plays a role here. The Tigers lost road games to Georgia, Mississippi St. & Alabama, all 3 teams I have in my Power-15 top-10! They did drop a close game at home to Texas A&M but the Aggies played out of their mind which they did at times. That’s 4 losses to teams that could beat anyone. Remember too that Auburn has wins over Arkansas, Kansas St., LSU, South Carolina & Ole Miss. How many other teams in the nation can go 5-0 against that quintet? Auburn draws Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl which probably means a win for them given the state of the Badgers at the time. Going 9-4 is a tremendous accomplishment in the SEC West!
#12 Ole Miss started the season 7-0 & ended the year 2-3. Despite the dampened finish, Ole Mill still won 9 games, beat Mississippi St. in the Egg Bowl & landed a spot in the Big 6 bowls by getting TCU in the Peach Bowl! A win over TCU would give the Rebels their first 10-win season since the days of Eli Manning! You can’t really fault Ole Miss too much. Their defense was incredible & really the season tanked when they lost 2 straight VERY CLOSE games to LSU & Auburn. They laid down for Arkansas, but now it’s a matter if Ole Miss can really step up in 2015. Offensively the Rebels should be outstanding as their only legit loss is QB Bo Wallace (which could be addition by subtraction). Defensively they’ll have to replace a few key guys like Serderius Bryant & Cody Prewitt, but Ole Miss should reload in 2015.
#13 When you talk about the best coaches in college football, I don’t know how Mizzou HC Gary Pinkel isn’t in your top-5. I’ll give you Nick Saban, Urban Meyer & Gary Patterson, but after those 3 Pinkel has to be in the discussion. The guy has taken Missouri into the SEC East and has won the division twice in their first 3 seasons. The SEC East, if you’ll remember, has stalwart programs such as Florida, Tennessee, Georgia & South Carolina. The Tigers were left for dead after losing to Indiana & getting blown out 34-0 at Georgia. It cuts both ways though. Georgia blew it this year against Florida. Last season South Carolina blew it against Tennessee. They draw Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl which should push them to 11-3. They’ll be good again next year although they may replace their entire D-Line.
#14 Yeah they got blown out by Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game, but you could sort of see that one coming. It’s hard not to notice that Rich Rodriguez guided Arizona to a couple of 8-5 seasons in his first 2 years & then won the Pac 12 South & finished 10-3 in his 3rd. All the while Michigan is looking for yet another HC to try and bring that program back to prominence. Arizona isn’t Michigan, and the expectations aren’t quite as high, but you’ll also note that in Hoke’s first year, Michigan went 11-2. That would have been Rich Rod’s 4th year which is first recruiting class becoming seniors. With more of Hoke’s players, the Wolverines got worse. With more of Rodriguez’s players, Arizona got even better. I didn’t like Michigan getting rid of Lloyd Carr, but firing RichRod set Michigan back 10-15 years at least.
#15 I’ve hammered Kansas St. all season long but what can you really say about them? They have 2 road losses to Baylor (11-1) & TCU (11-1). They lost a TOUGH home game to Auburn 20-14 where the K-State defense played incredibly well. They have wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas & West Virginia. QB Jake Waters had an incredibly year. WR Tyler Lockett should get some All-American consideration. So should LB Jonathan Truman. But this is the genius of Bill Snyder in certain ways. K-State is always tremendous under Coach Snyder, but never quite good enough to break through as THE dominant team in the Big XII. They draw UCLA in the Alamo Bowl which won’t be an easy game to pick up that 10th win, but this is a program that should rank from #15 to #20 which is what they are doing. Well done.



WISCONSIN BADGERS (#12): I understand losing to Ohio St., but 59-0!? The worst part I suppose looking at it now is that the Badgers lose the Big 10 championship game in humiliating fashion, Melvin Gordon announces he’s turning pro & HC Gary Andersen leaves the teams for……Oregon State? It can’t get any worse for Wisconsin football. They play Auburn in a bowl game which probably means a loss. That’s a final record of 10-4.


December 14, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas St., Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, Ohio St, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, Week 15, Wisconsin

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