No Sleep Till Football

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NCAA POWER 15 – FINAL 2014

Better late than never! Like the NFL Power 15, the college Power 15 was a little late but it’s always fun to go back over last season to get ready for the next. Hopefully I can get some previews coming up soon as the college football season is going to be on us a lot quicker than we think!

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Beat Oregon 42-20 in National Championship. The QB story was THE story all year long, but I don’t want to overlook the fact that the Ohio St. won a better than people thought Big 10 conference. They won in East Lansing & beat down Wisconsin 59-0 in the B1G Championship game. They took down Alabama & Oregon and if you’ll note, Ohio St. has 3 wins against 3 Top-5 teams in my final power rankings! Ohio St. earned the national championship. They didn’t luck into it. Ohio St. hammered Oregon 42-20 in the championship game! A couple of other things not to overlook. RB Ezekiel Elliott was a monster but the B1G also had Melvin Gordon & Tevin Coleman, a couple of 2,000-yard rushers! Joey Bossa was an All-American DE and likely the best defender in college football in 2014. Don’t look now but Ohio St. returns almost everyone and has a great chance to repeat. The QB story between Braxton Miller, JT Barrett & Cardale Jones will be there, but it didn’t bother the Buckeyes in 2014.
#2 Computer Hope Beat Mississippi 42-3 in Peach Bowl. If there was one team Ohio St. didn’t beat on their way to the championship that leaves the door open for argument, it’s that TCU didn’t get their chance. When TCU got left out of the first football college playoff, you sort of got the feeling they were looking for revenge, so I’m sure the Ole Miss Rebels were none too happy to be facing off against the Horned Frogs i the Peach Bowl. TCU entered the game as 3 point favorites & won by 39 points in the most dominating performance in a bowl for the season. Ole Miss rushed the ball 37 times for 9 years, and TCU looked the part of the defense that Gary Patterson dominated the Mountain West for so long. I’ll never understand how Ohio St. got into the playoff but TCU didn’t when TCU’s lone loss was a 3-point road loss to #5 Baylor while Ohio St. got beat by 14 at home against an unranked Virginia Tech squad. If there was an argument to having a conference championship game in the Big 12, TCU getting screwed made it.
#3 Computer Hope Lost 20-42 to Oregon in National Championship. Oregon got to their 2nd national championship game in 5 years and once again came up just short of winning their first national title. In 2010 the Ducks fell to Auburn. In 2015 they lost by 22 to Ohio State. Except for a slip up against Arizona, Oregon dominated everyone they played including defending champ Florida State who they beat 59-20 in the Rose Bowl! They actually played a solid game against Ohio St., but had absolutely no answer for Ezekiel Elliott who ran for 246yds & 4TD. The Ducks closed to 21-20 late in the 3rd but Elliott took over scoring a late TD in th 3rd to give Ohio St. a 28-20 lead & Elliott pounded Oregon in the 4th while QB Marcus Mariota went 5/12 with a pick in the final quarter. It wasn’t exactly a horrible year for the Ducks. A lot of teams would take a 13-2 season including a berth in the national championship game and a Rose Bowl victory. They won’t start over but losing Mariota is huge.
#4 Computer Hope Lost 35-42 to Ohio St. in Sugar Bowl. The college football world is in completely turmoil! Alabama hasn’t won a national championship since 2012 & the SEC hasn’t won a title since the Tide won that year! What’s even crazier is that an SEC team didn’t even play in the championship game in 2014! Alabama losing to Ohio St. is a good example of QB play at the collegiate level. The Tide only lost by 7, but they were hampered a bit by their inability to convert on 3rd down & turnovers. I’m not saying Bama wins here but how does this game turn if Greg McElroy or AJ McCarron are under center instead of Blake Sims? It’s tough to say. Like Oregon, Alabama had no answer for Ezekiel Elliott running the football so maybe it doesn’t matter, but I have a hard time believing McCarron or McElroy make those mistakes. Given how Oregon/Ohio St. turned out, we can now conclude that Alabama/Ohio St. was probably the real national championship game.
#5 Computer Hope Beat Baylor 42-41 in Cotton Bowl. Early season loss in Eugene probably dosen’t hurt Sparty, but couldn’t figure out a way to beat Ohio State. If Michigan State beats Ohio State then given that tOSU beat the Badgers 59-0 in the B1G Championship game, you could safely conclude MSU would have went 12-1 & probably had found themselves in the playoffs. Instead, Sparty settled for the Cotton Bowl where they beat #4 Baylor 42-41 which gave even more legitimization to the Big 10 conference. In one of the best comebacks in bowl history, MSU was down 41-21 going into the 4th quarter. Three TDs later & solid defensive stands by the Spartan defense gave Michigan St. a 42-41 win over a team that was one spot shy of the playoffs. In their final 2 possessions, Michigan St. was able to block a FG & intercept a Bryce Petty pass to keep Baylor from scoring. Michigan St.’s only losses in 2014 came against the 2 teams who played for the national championship.
#6 Computer Hope Lost 20-59 to Oregon in Rose Bowl. You knew it was going to happen at some point but Florida State completely collapsed in the 3rd quarter of the Rose Bowl, committing 4 turnovers which led to a 3Q score of Oregon 27, Florida State 7! Before the plethora of turnovers commenced, FSU was down 18-13 at half with a total yard advantage. After 3 quarters Oregon led 45-20! FSU played with fire all season long. They were 8-0 in close games which is almost unheard of, and regression is a terrible friend. The Seminoles had no answer for Oregon’s running attack, something we’d see in sharp contrast the following week as Ohio St. bottled up the Quack Attack efficiently. Some critics might point to Jameis Winston not having as good a year but don’t forget he was missing Davonte Freeman, Kelvin Benjamin & Kenny Shaw. The defense lost 5 of their top 6 tacklers. Sure they lost to Oregon badly but including that loss the Noles are 29-1 in their last 30 games.
#7 Computer Hope Beat Mississippi St. 49-34 in Orange Bowl. Probably the most underrated team in 2014, the Yellow Jackets finished the season 11-3 with their 3 losses coming by a combined 13 points! Georgia Tech’s “Best Case” record is a whopping 14-0 which goes to show you how amazing a season they had. GT took care of business against Mississippi St. in the Orange Bowl, running a top-10 Bulldogs team into the ground. GT ran for 452yds and did what they do. They controlled the clock. Converted on 3rd down. Limited penalties & turnovers. I think GT also did a good job defensively holding MSU to FGs on a couple of trips to the red zone that proved to be critical early on in the game that never really allowed Mississippi St. to get momentum. Another interesting tidbit is that GT was 5-1 in games they were an underdog in. He won’t win it because Paul Johnson’s offense is somewhat of a gimmick but QB Justin Thomas should be a Heisman contender in 2015.
#8 Computer Hope Beat Louisville 37-14 in Belk Bowl. Georgia did what Georgia does in a beat down of Louisville in the Belk Bowl. RB Nick Chubb went wild against the Cardinals defense, posting 266 rushing yards and a couple of TD while averaging 8+ypc! The Dawg defense came to play as well limiting Louisville’s running attack & intercepting 3 balls. Georgia’s running attack really was a sight to behold. Todd Gurley barely played but still managed 911yds/9TD/7.4ypc while being a top-10 NFL Draft pick. No Gurley? No problem! True Freshman Nick Chubb picked up the slack going for 1547yds/14TD/7.1ypc including the dominating performance in the bowl game. The 10-3 season looks pretty good, but UGA lost 3 games they should have won which kept them out of the SEC Championship game. Before losing to GT in OT, UGA had posted 152pts in their last 3 games. It would have been pretty cool to see Chubb & Co. try to run on that Alabama defense.
#9 Computer Hope Lost 41-42 to Michigan St. in Cotton Bowl. A huge let down in the 4th quarter to Michigan State prevented Baylor from finishing 12-1 with a real argument saying they should have been in the playoffs. At the same time, can you really blame Baylor for not really caring or breaking down in the end? They were 11-1 & Big XII champions and didn’t get into the playoffs. Winning a glorified exhibition game didn’t matter much except for pride. Baylor had a horrible final quarter against Michigan State. A blocked FG, a Bryce Petty interception. A onsides kick not recovered. If it could go wrong it went wrong for Baylor in that quarter. Still a great season finishing 11-2 & Baylor has now won 40 games in their last 4 years & is 22-4 in their last 2. I don’t know what the move is for the Big XII at this point but grabbing BYU & Boise State might not be a bad idea to get to 12 teams to reintroduce the conference championship game. TCU & Baylor definitely suffered for it.
#10 Computer Hope Lost 34-49 to Georgia Tech in Belk Bowl. Georgia Tech isn’t an easy team to face defensively although I would have thought the Bulldogs would have put forth a little more effort into their defensive schemes than it appeared in losing to GT 49-34. The Bulldogs gave up almost 500yds rushing to the Ramblin Wreck! It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed as MSU was 9-0 to start the season & ranked #1 for 4 straight weeks. They went 1-3 in their last 4 to drop out of the final top-10. College football is interesting in this way. If MSU got by LSU early then they should have went 9-0. The schedule called for it. The problem is that 2 of their last 3 came on the road to Alabama & Ole Miss. Losing those games don’t make you a bad team. The 10-3 season was masterful. It was the most wins MSU has had since 1999 and you have to go all the way back to 1940 when Mississippi St. finished 10-0-1 & won the Orange Bowl. This was the best season in 64 years!
#11 Computer Hope Beat Minnesota 33-17 in Citrus Bowl. HC Gary Pinkel has been at the helm the entire 3 years Missouri has been in the SEC and all the Tigers have done now is win back-to-back SEC East titles and finish 23-5 in 2 years including 2 bowl wins over Oklahoma St. & Minnesota. Mizzou did a good job bottling up Minnesota RB David Cobb in the bowl game. It took all 4 quarters as Mizzou only led 19-17 after 3, but a few key stops in the 4th & Missouri blew it open for a convincing win. The 23 wins is telling. Missouri is the winningest SEC team over the last 2 seasons & the only teams with more than 23 wins in the last 2 seasons are: Ohio St., Michigan St., Oregon, and Florida State. It’s elite company. Missouri has the task of getting back to the SEC championship game for a 3rd straight year. That hasn’t happened since Florida did it from 1994-1996. Oddly enough Florida was 3-0 in those contests whereas Missouri has come up short in their first 2.
#12 Computer Hope Beat Auburn 34-31 in Outback Bowl. It took OT to get the victory but the Badgers got to 11 wins despite getting humiliated 59-0 at the hands of Ohio St. in the B1G Championship. The win over Auburn was a wild one. Melvin Gordon & Corey Clement ran wild on the War Eagle defense, but Wisconsin couldn’t keep Auburn from scoring either. Even the coaching was odd as HC Gary Andersen left for Oregon St. before the bowl game forcing AD Barry Alvarez to go back to coaching & getting another bowl win for the Badgers, their first since 2009! The coaching situation at Wisconsin is more than odd. Since 2009 the Badgers have averaged 10 wins a season but Bert Bielema left Madison for Arkansas and Gary Andersen left for Oregon State. It would seem that at your very optimistic, these are lateral moves, but frankly they seem to be moves downward. Paul Chryst now takes over after being in Pittsburgh for 3 seasons where he won just 19 games.
#13 Computer Hope Beat Kansas St. 40-35 in Alamo Bowl. I’m sure UCLA was hoping for more but QB Brett Hundley was able to go out a winner beating Kansas St. 40-35 and earning double digit wins for the 2nd straight season. Before 2013, UCLA hadn’t won 10 games since 2005 and now HC Jim Mora has posted back to back 10-3 season and is 29-11 in his 3 seasons with the Bruins. Amazingly enough, this is the first time in UCLA football history that the Bruins have won 29 games in a 3-year period and you have to go back to 1997-1998 for the last time UCLA won 10 games in back-to-back seasons. It was also nice to see LB Eric Kendricks go out winning too. The 1st team All-American was a 2nd round draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings & racked up 149 tackles & 4 sacks for the Bruins. UCLA in on the verge of becoming one of the nation’s truly elite programs. The one issue they’ll have going forward is keeping Jim Mora in Westwood & not letting him jump to the NFL.
#14 Computer Hope Beat Arizona 38-30 in Fiesta Bowl. Dan Hawkins’ last season with Boise St. was 2005 when the Broncos went 9-4. Chris Petersen took over & Boise went 13-0 in his first season 2006. Petersen’s last year with Boise was 2013 when the Broncos went 8-5. Bryan Harsin takes over in 2014 & goes 12-2 with a Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona. Like Hawkins & Petersen, Harsin can coach & it was evident last season with Boise coming THIS close to 13-1 and not 12-2. The only issue now is which big time program Harsin will leave Boise for in the next 7-8 years? The win over Arizona was pretty sweet in my opinion. I think the Wildcats are on the come with RichRod as HC and they were P12 South champions last year. Maybe it was a little bit of stretch given how they did lose to UCLA & USC but I still think this was a solid win for Boise State. The more things change the more they stay the same & Boise State is still a class football team. When is the B12 going to come calling?
#15 Computer Hope Lost 3-42 to TCU in Peach Bowl. You can’t really blame Ole Miss for not showing up in the Peach Bowl. After starting the year 7-0, Ole Miss dropped games to LSU & Auburn which essentially left them out in the cold in the SEC West. Their last remaining goal was to destroy Mississippi St.’s season by winning the Egg Bowl, which they did 31-17 despite being 3-point dogs at home! Mississippi St. was essentially playing for the SEC title & Ole Miss ruined it. After that the Rebels hadn’t much else to play for while TCU had a mission to show everyone on the planet how badly they messed up by not giving TCU the nod into the playoffs. I think losing WR Laquon Treadwell against Auburn was a huge blow too down the stretch. It sounds crazy but Ole Miss was actually 2-4 in their last 6 games. Hugh Freeze is definitely the right guy for the job & in his first 3 seasons Ole Miss has won 7, 8, and 9 games. The last time Ole Miss had 3 seasons which improved in Years 2 & 3 was 1988-1990.

 

DROPPING OUT

Auburn Tigers (Last Week #11): Lost to a Wisconsin team that was blown out 59-0 in their conference championship game. Auburn was a solid team throughout the season and they did finish 8-5, but they were 3-5 in their last 8. They were this close to a national championship in 2013 so there was let down to be expected.

Arizona Wildcats (Last Week #14): Rich Rodriguez has to be ecstatic to finish 10-4 with a Pac 12 South title under his belt in Year 3 in Tucson. The 10 wins was the most Arizona has had since 1998. It’s a little hard to complain when the only teams you lost to were Oregon (13-2), USC (9-4), UCLA (10-3) & Boise St. (12-2). The losses to USC, UCLA & Boise St. were by a combined 18 points so Arizona was pretty darn close to being 13-1! Dropping Arizona out of the top-15 might be a little harsh.

Kansas St. Wildcats (Last Week #15): I always feel like K-State is always a bit overrated, but then they just keep winning games. Last year K-State went 9-4 and since Bill Snyder came back to coach, the Wildcats have averaged 9 wins a season & have won 38 games in the last 4 years! Last year they beat everyone in the B12 save TCU & Baylor. Like Arizona, it’s hard to bang on Kansas St. for losing. Their losses came against Auburn (8-5), TCU (12-1), Baylor (11-2) and UCLA (10-3).

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July 12, 2015 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Boise St., Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas St., Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, Ohio St, Oregon, Power 15, TCU, UCLA, Wisconsin

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