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2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL – 2017 WEEK 4 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Mississippi St. faced off against the best defense they’ll see all season save Alabama and all the Bulldogs did was score 37 on LSU en route to a 30-point win. Hail State beat 3 ranked teams in a row (#8 LSU, #6 Texas A&M & #2 Auburn) back in 2014 before ascending to #1. They’ll get 3 this year (LSU, Georgia & Auburn) and the first domino has already fallen. Both teams have a chance to make a big national mark with a win here no question. Computer Hope
Computer Hope With Texas opening up 1-2, it would seem the Big XII’s top-3 teams are Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. & TCU. This is first tilt between two of these three teams. I think this game will depend on which TCU defense shows up. Is it the stifling D that held Arkansas to 7 points in Fayetteville or will the defense that gave up 36 at home to SMU!? Oklahoma St. is bringing a breathtaking offense to the field so TCU will have to play excellent defense and hope. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Kentucky rolling into South Carolina & beating the Gamecocks transform the East quite a bit. With Florida coming off a stunning last play win over Tennessee, you’re left wondering how the Gators will handle the following week after such an emotional win. Kentucky hasn’t played particularly well, but they’ll be difficult to beat at home & their rush defense is tight. A win here would place Kentucky as a prohibitive favorite in the East with Georgia. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Colorado brought back only 3 starters on defense from their 10-4 season a year ago so there was some thought that the Buffs might struggle a bit to contain teams, but so far Colorado has allowed just 27 points in their first 3 games en route to a 3-o start. It’s true they haven’t really played anyone of note outside a decent Colorado St. squad, but we’ll get a good feel for how good the defense is when they go up against the Huskies. UW wins this big. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think Iowa gets exposed here. The Hawkeyes have played pretty well to start and QB Nate Stanley looks great, but a deeper look at the stats show that Iowa cannot get loose off the edge on defense. Josey Jewell is going to go up against Saquon Barkley which is going to be a FANTASTIC match-up, but I think Trace McSorley is going to get loose a bit. One thing that is interesting is Iowa’s O-Line. If it controls the trenches, Iowa keeps it close. Computer Hope
Computer Hope NC State has rebounded nicely after losing a stunner to South Carolina to open the season. The D-Line hasn’t gotten as loose as many of us thought going into the season, but this is a big ACC game now that Florida St. has lost Deondre Francois but also because of the rest they might have had after missing the last two weeks of games. QB James Blackman is going to have a hard time against a D-Line as fierce as NC State, but FSU has talent. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Both teams are coming off odd losses. UCLA to Memphis and Stanford to San Diego State. I think both teams are on the cusp of either an abyss or possibly getting their seasons back on track. A win for the Cardinal might show that the SD State loss was a fluke & they still have a shot at the Pac 12 North. A win for UCLA means they are still players in the South. A loss for UCLA might mean the season goes down in flames. It’s a huge contest. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This will be an interesting test for Notre Dame. The Spartans always play the Irish tough and Sparty has gotten off to a  nice 2-0 start after heading into the season thinking it would be a rebuild year. They are going to play tough up front so if the Irish can run the ball on Michigan State then you could maybe make an argument that ND made some adjustments after Georgia. If MSU wins, however, then the Spartans will get more attention. Computer Hope
Computer Hope UCF has a pretty nice offense led by QB McKenzie Milton, but they’ve been hampered a bit by the hurricane season so this is their 2nd game instead of their 4th. With Texas going into USC and taking the Trojans to double-OT, things for Maryland get a bit more interesting. If Texas keeps playing well & Maryland keeps winning, then the Terps make a big case for ranking pretty high. A tricky game for the Terps but I think they’ll prevail here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Red Raiders picked up a big win this past week beating Arizona State in Lubbock to improve to 2-0. The slate this week is a little weak in college football, but I think this is an under the radar game. Texas Tech is 2-0 while Houston has started 2-0 as well. I thought Kliff Kingsbury’s seat was a little warm going in, but starting 3-0 would be a great start for the head coach & a win at Houston would be a big one. A win & 7-5 is on the table for TT. Computer Hope
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September 17, 2017 Posted by | AAC, ACC, Big 10, Big Games, Big XII, Colorado, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan St., Mississippi St., Must See Games, NC State, NCAA, Notre Dame, Oklahoma St., Pac 12, Penn St., SEC, Stanford, TCU, Texas Tech, UCF, UCLA, Washington, Week 4 | Leave a comment

TERRIFIC 20: TOP 20 CB FOR 2017 NCAA FOOTBALL

Almost finished! I cover cornerbacks today and all I have left with are safeties. Corners are really interesting to watch considering how important these players have become given how pass happy most offenses have become both at the NFL and NCAA levels. I think to a certain degree with the advent of 7-on-7 camps and practices, the skill position players on offense have gotten so good that only ELITE level athletes can do a good job with the corner position meaning the players need size AND speed AND coverage ability AND run support ability AND being able to be a sure tackler! You get a guy like that and he’s in consideration for the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Go ask Jalen Rasmey about this. For these reasons I think corners become a fascinating position given all the responsibilities they have.

This position also is interesting from a roster construction perspective. I’ve written before about roster construction and where corners play into the equation. In my estimation, corners fall behind quarterbacks and edge rushers, but a team wanting to build their squad around ELITE level defensive backs isn’t going about it in a wrong way. For all their faults, the New York Jets made some interesting moves by taking Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye with their first two picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, both safeties that should be able to anchor their secondary for years to come. Whether or not this turns into victories will yet to be determined but if the Jets can get one of the best college QBs in the 2018 draft, you can hardly fault them for going with a talent like Adams followed by a QB the following year. Granted we are talking about safeties instead of cornerbacks, but the gist is the same in that drafting coverage ability isn’t foolhardy even if you don’t have a QB in place.

I think my Terrific 20: Cornerbacks has a lot of potential 1st round NFL talent. I even had to leave quite a few corners that deserve to be recognized. This is a talented group we’ll get to watch this season.

A quick reminder, the 20 players are listed alphabetically by their team. As I’ve said before, I don’t try to actually rank the top-20 because I’m not entirely sure how much value added I’d receive by doing so. The margins are fairly thin between some of the players.

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope Anthony Averett/6’0/185lbs/rSR: Alabama is a CB factory and Averett is next in line. Averett didn’t have a great start to 2016 but righted the ship pretty fast and ended up as an excellent coverage CB with 8 passes defended. Teams don’t pass against the Tide for obvious reasons so Averett didn’t see a ton of balls. He’s a little bit shaky in run defense although to be fair he doesn’t mind mixing it up with opposing runners. With Minkah Fitzpatrick sliding over to safety, Averett is Bama’s #1CB so he makes the list.
Computer Hope Tony Brown/6’0/198lbs/SR: Brown ran primarily as Alabama’s nickle CB last season. Like with Averett, it’s always difficult to tell how good the Alabama corners are considering last year the Tide’s starters were Marlon Humphrey (1st Rd. pick in 2017) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (will be a 1st Rd. pick in 2018). Brown checks all the boxes to be sure and is a tremendous instinctive DB that can do a variety of things. He’s fast and at 6’0/200lbs is really just now coming into his own as a CB with Fitzpatrick moving to safety.
Computer Hope Carlton Davis/6’1/202lbs/JR: With so much talent in the secondary among SEC squads, it’s easy to overlook Carlton Davis who wasn’t that highly touted coming out of high school. He has ELITE size for a corner &  all he’s done since stepping foot on campus is produce. He became a starter his freshman season and has started 19 games in his first two seasons & has recorded 21 passes defended! He hasn’t had an interception yet, but he can develop his ball skills then Davis will be a FORCE to be reckoned with.
Computer Hope Trayvon Mullen/6’2/185lbs/SO: Mullen wasn’t overly productive last season, but he was just a true frosh playing on a national championship team that also featured CB Cordrea Tankersley. Mullen is an ELITE athlete with ELITE size at 6’2 and 185lbs. He’s a bit lean at this point but it explosive and I think he’ll be a key cog in Clemson’s defense this season preparing him for potentially being a 1st Rd. pick in 2019. The thing to watch for is whether or not Mullen eventually winds up at safety due to his size.
Computer Hope Isaiah Oliver/6’1/190lbs/JR: Oliver played behind Chidobe Awuzie & Ahkello Witherspoon last year and both of those guys were NFL draft picks so Oliver didn’t get as much run time as he could have. In that limited time however, Oliver was fantastic with 7 pass defended & a pick. He’s got solid size to go up against #1 wideouts. He’s got great balls kills and coverage skills. Oliver is an incredible athlete as he also is a competes in the decathlon for Colorado’s track team! I think he’ll be in for a huge year with Colorado!
Computer Hope Chauncey Gardner/5’11/204lbs/SO: I could have went Duke Dawson here if I wanted a Florida CB, but I went with Gardner because last year the true frosh was freakish recording 32 tackles with 3 passes defended & 3 interceptions. Gardner should be a 1st Rd. pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and now that he’s going to get significant run time in 2017, I’d expect him to put up crazy numbers & shut opposing receivers down. I love his ball skills so it’ll be interesting to see if other QBs try to test him on deep balls.
Computer Hope Tarvarus McFadden/6’2/198lbs/JR: McFadden has TREMENDOUS ball skills as evidenced  by his 8 interceptions which lead the nation. He’s a big time press man corner that NFL teams will drool over making him an almost guaranteed 1st Rd. pick. He plays reckless at times though as well. The 8 picks are sometimes due to how much teams testing him & McFadden isn’t the best tackler despite his size. A 1st Team All-American last season, McFadden can get A LOT better which is nuts given how good he already is.
Computer Hope Rashard Fant/5’10/175lbs/rSR: Along with LB Tegray Scales, Fant was a big reason the Hoosiers saw such a dramatic improvement in their defensive numbers going from allowing 37.6PPG In 2015 to 27.2PPG in 2016 & also allowing 509YPG in 2015 to allowing 380YPG! Fant was the very definition of a shut down corner recording 17 passes defended along with 3 picks. Not a huge guy, Fant needs to tackle better because offensive skill players can get away from him at times, if they can get the ball!
Computer Hope D.J. Reed/5’9/188lbs/JR: The smallest guy on the list, Reed spent his freshman year at a junior college after hardly generating any interested as a high school player. He then transferred to Kansas St. and EXPLODED on the scene with 16 passes defended & 3 picks in his first year garnering 1st Team All-Big XII honors. Reed also was 2nd on the team with 75 tackles showing his ability to wrap up despite being smaller in size. Reed is a legitimate All-American candidate that projects as a nickle CB in the NFL.
Computer Hope Jaire Alexander/5’11/192lbs/JR: Alexander is almost an exact replica of Tarvarus McFadden of Florida State. Alexander was outstanding in coverage last season & he has exceptional ball skills. Alexander had 9 passes defended with 5 interceptions although he wasn’t targeted as much as McFadden so his big play ability on deep passes might be even better than anticipated. Like McFadden, Alexander could get a lot better with his tackling, but he’s a legitimate All-American candidate that can take over games.
Computer Hope Kevin Toliver/6’2/193lbs/JR: Toliver is a beast at 6’2/193lbs. One of the most touted DBs in his high school class, Toliver hasn’t seen as much of the field as you’d like to see. He made 8 starts as a freshman back in 2015, but last year was plagued with injuries that limited him to 5 starts. Off the hoof, Toliver is everything you’d expect from an ELITE corner playing for LSU. He has that elite size/speed combination that has scouts envisioning him being a 1st Rd. NFL draft pick. LSU needs him healthy this season.
Computer Hope Denzel Ward/5’11/191lbs/JR: It’s crazy to think this since Ohio St. just sent Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker & Gareon Conley to the NFL, but Ward might be a better DB than any of those 3. The Buckeyes have ENORMOUS talent on defense so Ward gets overlooked a bit, but he has ELITE SPEED and exceptional coverage & ball skills. Ward had  9 pass defended yet no picks last season. That will change fast in 2017. Don’t be surprised if he’s a first team All-American & a 1st Rd. NFL Draft pick in 2018.
Computer Hope Jordan Thomas/6’0/186lbs/SR: Like his conference mate DJ Reed up at Kansas St., Jordan Thomas had a fantastic year for the Sooners despite playing in the pass happy Big XII. Thomas recorded 17 passed defended along with 2 interceptions & 49 tackles. Thomas has made 28 starts at Oklahoma & was a 1st Team All-Big XII CB last season after being a 2nd teamer the year before. Thomas has a chance at being a 1st Team All-American on an Sooners defense that should be their best in quite some time.
Computer Hope Jordan Wyatt/6’0/192lbs/rJR: Wyatt is a thinner CB but he’s unique in that he likes to mix it up and get in on tackles. He’s solid in run support and also possesses solid coverage skills. Wyatt also hardly allows any yards after the catch so if a receiver does manage to make the grab, he’s not making a big play out of it. Wyatt recorded 7 passes defended last year along with 4 picks showing his solid ball skills. Wyatt could maybe add a couple of pounds but this is a complete corner in all phases of the game.
Computer Hope Jamarcus King/6’1/186lbs/SR: Horribly overlooked, King had an outstanding junior season for the Gamecocks after coming out of the junior college ranks. King has great size and speed at 6’1/186lbs and showed off his solid coverage & ball skills with 9 passes broken up along with 3 picks. King is big enough to help support the rush defense as well as evidenced by his 56 tackles which was 6th on the team last year. The SEC has a lot of cornerback talent to be sure, but King is one of my favorites & can be All-SEC.
Computer Hope Quenton Meeks/6’2/204lbs/JR: I could have went with Alijah Holder here too and maybe I should have put both Stanford CBs here. I went with Meeks because teams avoided him like the plague last year & Holder dealt with injuries. Meeks doesn’t have a lot of counting stats (6PBU, 2INT) but that’s because he completely shut down his side of the field. He has ELITE size at 6’2/204lbs and is very twitched up. He could become a better force against the running game so he still has a chance to get much better. Scary!
Computer Hope Nick Harvey/5’10/185lbs/SR: Another overlooked SEC corner, Harvey finally got a chance to start last season for the Aggies and cashed in recording 66 tackles, 10 passes defended & 1 interception. Harvey even had a couple tackles for loss. Not overly huge, Harvey has great athleticism and can man up on another team’s #1 WR. Texas A&M loses a lot up front on the D-Line which I think is going to put a bit of pressure on the corners to hold their coverage longer. I think Harvey will be able to hold it down.
Computer Hope Parry Nickerson/5’11/180lbs/rSR: Not a household name by any stretch and Tulane won’t be outstanding this season but Parry Nickerson might be the best CB you haven’t heard of….yet! All the Louisiana product has done since arriving on campus is produce. Last season he had 9 passes defended with 4 picks. He’s a coverage nightmare & a pretty good tackler as well. He has 34 career starts & leads a veteran Tulane defense this year although the Green Wave’s schedule isn’t the easiest. He’s a big time CB.
Computer Hope Iman Marshall/6’1/200lbs/JR: Phil Steele rated Marshall as the #1 DB in the 2015 high school class and with Adoree Jackson moving on to the NFL, he becomes the man in the secondary for the Trojans. He won’t have problems. Marshall has great size/speed and has done nothing but produce becoming a starter as a true frosh. Over his first two seasons Marshall has 17 passes defended & 6 interceptions. Marshall also doesn’t getting dirty. He has 118 tackles over his first 2 seasons & likes to hit.
Computer Hope Brandon Facyson/6’2/197lbs/rSR: Facyson has big size on the edge for the Hokies and that is part of his game for sure. He likes to get nasty and wrap up running backs which certainly helps Virginia Tech defensively. He uses his size to man up receivers but does get  prone to giving up big plays. If he can keep receivers from taking the top off, he’s a shutdown corner. Facyson along with teammate Adonis Alexander are listed as corners, but you almost wonder if they aren’t safeties at the next level given their skill set.

FIVE FRESHMAN WHO COULD MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN 2017

Darnay Holmes/UCLA/5’11/190lbs: HC Jim Mora did a good job with this recruiting class especially on defense as he brings in arguably the best pure pass rusher in the class in Jaelan Phillips but also arguably the best corner in the class in Darnay Holmes. Holmes is expected to start immediately for the Bruins and there is no doubt that both he and Phillips could have a significant impact on the fortunes of the UCLA defense. UCLA has an interesting opening week game against Texas A&M and it would be interesting to see Holmes go up against an incredible receiving talent like Christian Kirk. The true freshman would probably get schooled, but you can be sure he’d take those lessons and get better. A freakishly athletic DB, Holmes will get a lot of opportunities to shine this season & that is as much as you could ask for with a freshman.

Jamyest Williams/South Carolina/5’9/174lbs: Williams was an Under Amrour All-American last year as a HS senior and I think he could have a significant on South Carolina’s defense. This size makes him an obvious nickle CB in the slot and that actually makes sense with the Gamecocks because they have two senior CBs returning in  Jamarcus King & Chris Lammons. They also have JUCO transfer Kaleb Chalmers who was originally a Clemson commit in the fold. That is a lot of high level experience for Williams to learn from. There is something about this South Carolina team and I think a lot of people are sleeping on them. They’ll get a HUGE test in Week 1 when they play NC State but I think they can win that one. Offenses will surely be paying massive amount of attention to King, Lammons and safety DJ Smith meaning Williams could be in for some big plays. That is until offenses catch on that he’s something to worry about.

Byron Murphy/Washington/5’11/177lbs: Murphy is actually a rFR so this and is Murphy’s 2nd year with the Huskies, but his role couldn’t be bigger as he’s penciled into start. Washington loses a TRUCKLOAD of talent from their secondary from a year ago as CB Kevin King, CB Sidney Jones and S Budda Baker are now playing in the NFL. Washington definitely has national championship aspirations now that they’ve reached the playoffs and have a lot returning. If you were pointing to a weakness of the team however, it would have to be cornerback especially considering the passing attacks Washington will see from teams like Arizona St., UCLA, Washington St., Oregon and potentially USC in the Pac 12 championship game. This means Murphy’s play is going to be immensely important meaning he could make a significant impact on Washington’s hopes and dreams in 2017.

Thomas Graham/Oregon/5’11/188lbs: Graham could make an impact in much the same way Murphy can, but it might be even more pronounced in Graham’s case. He’s coming to Eugene as a true freshman and he’s going to see even more prolific passing offenses than even Murphy & Washington. Graham gets Nebraska & Wyoming in non-conference play meaning he’s going up against QBs Tanner Lee & Josh Allen. Allen is already being talked about as a potential #1 pick in the NFL Draft and don’t be surprised if Lee sneaks his way into the first round as well. Beyond those two teams, Graham will have to face Luke Falk (Washington St.), Manny Wilkins (Arizona St.), Keller Chryst (Stanford), Josh Rosen (UCLA), and Jake Browning (Washington). GOOD GRIEF! If you think Oregon can win the Pac 12 North then you can also potentially add Sam Darnold (USC) to the mix! Oregon has a tremendous amount of talent coming back this season and new HC Willie Taggart has won wherever he’s been. Their schedule isn’t the easiest with road trips to UCLA, Stanford, Washington & Arizona State, but Oregon is going to be a difficult team to beat given their roster and Thomas Graham could be a HUGE part of their success if he can have a big year in coverage. Huge opportunity for the true freshman.

Lamont Wade/Penn State/5’9/193lbs: Wade is interesting in my opinion because of his size. At 5’9 he’s a bit smallish at CB but he is exceptionally talented and enrolled early for the Nittany Lions meaning his familiar enough with the schemes to make a difference. What’s interesting about his size is that Penn St. returns one starting CB, Grant Haley. Haley himself is 5’9/183lbs. If Wade finds himself as the corner opposite Haley or even as the nickle in sub-packages, it gives Penn St. some corners that are very short. Contrast this with Michigan’s and Ohio St.’s receivers who are very tall. Those are matchup problems and it’ll be interesting to see how Penn St. plays given their size limitations. Maybe it won’t matter and Penn St. has MORE than enough offense to keep pace with anyone, but the Lions gave up over 25PPG last season and there does seem to be a hole there for other teams to exploit. It’ll be interesting to see if Wade plays bigger than  his size and can help PSU neutralize some very good receivers who are very tall.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, Cornerbacks, Florida, Florida St., Indiana, Kansas St., Louisville, LSU, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn St., SMU, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas AM, Tulane, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington | Leave a comment

2017 PAC 12 PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

When I think of the Pac 12 this season the word that I can’t escape is “TRANSITION”. When you take a look at the Pac 12 South, you find that 3 of the coaches find themselves on the hot seat. UCLA HC Jim Mora has done an excellent job of recruiting talent for the Bruins, but last year UCLA finished 4-8 in a year that saw star QB Josh Rosen miss time due to injury. The year prior, UCLA finished 8-5 meaning the Bruins are 12-13 over the last two seasons which is far below their expectation given the amount of talent walking on campus. Arizona HC Rich Rodriguez looked to have Arizona headed in the right direction after starting with back to back 8-5 seasons before improving to 10-4 with a Pac 12 South division title in 2014. The last two seasons have seen the Wildcats regress to 10-15 including last year’s 3-9 disaster. It’s also trending down for Arizona St. HC Todd Graham who was saddled with injuries all season long as Arizona St. just missed out on a bowl and finished 5-7 but was humiliated by a terrible Arizona squad in the season finale.

On the flip side, Colorado’s HC Mike MacIntyre massive overachieved with the Buffaloes last season netting Colorado a Pac 12 South title and a double digit win season at 10-4. USC also transitioned heavily during the season. After starting 1-3, the Trojans put Sam Darnold in as the starting QB and ripped off 9 straight wins including an incredible 52-49 win over Penn St. in the Rose Bowl. USC finished 10-3 and ranked #3 in the nation! USC hitting stride this early can only mean dire consequences for the rest of the Pac 12 because as we’ve seen recently in the Pete Carroll days, when USC is going well, they are practically an unbeatable college football program.

The Pac 12 North is a little more stable, but there is also quite a bit of transitioning happening in that division as well. Both California and Oregon have new coaches & both squads have track records of success when things are going well, especially in Oregon’s case as the Ducks feature a football program that have proven good enough to win national championships. Oregon St. is still transitioning under HC Gary Andersen who enters his 2nd year with the Beavers. Andersen has a proven track record of success so it only seems like a matter of time before Oregon St. become a factor in the North. In certain ways both Washington & Washington State have been transitioning. It’s easy to forget but Chris Petersen is entering just his 4th year with the Huskies and let’s not forget that UW was a combined 15-12 in Petersen’s first two years before last year’s 12-2 breakout that resulted in Washington getting to the playoffs yet losing to Alabama 24-7 in the Peach Bowl. Mike Leach enters his 6th year in Pullman, but Leach is starting to hit his stride as the Cougars are 17-9 over the last 2 seasons as compared to their 12-25 record over Leach’s first 3. Some of that is due to Luke Falk I’m sure, but more is probably due to Leach finally having implemented his brand & culture of football.

Stanford of course is the mainstay. David Shaw consistently turns out winners and this year will be no different for Shaw and the Cardinal, but if you are looking for great story lines in the Pac 12, look for the transitions of the teams and how each program is progressing on their paths. These stories are a bit more subtle in nature, but very interesting. The Pac 12 is an interesting conference that probably should get more media scrutiny but is hurt because of their time zones. It could look much different in 2018 than it does right now in 2017 and that is the exciting part heading into the season.

# TEAM PAC 12 SOUTH
1 Computer Hope USC isn’t back to their Pete Carroll/Matt Leinart/Reggie Bush days but they are a lot closer than they’ve been coming off a Rose Bowl win over Penn St. & finishing 2016 ranked #3! QB Sam Darnold returns & is arguably the best QB in college football. So does RB Ronald Jones. USC needs to break in a lot of starters on the O-Line & at receiver, but the talent is there. On the defensive side of the football, USC returns 7 starters led by DE Porter Gustin, LB Cameron Smith & CB Iman Marshall, all guys who could be All-Americans. The Trojans are legitimate championship contenders & they get Stanford at the Coliseum!
2 Computer Hope The schedule makers didn’t do UCLA any favors this season giving them road games against Stanford, Washington, Utah & USC while also getting a home game against Oregon! HC Jim Mora has done an incredible job recruiting for the Bruins so talent shouldn’t be an issue. QB Josh Rosen is healthy & is playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder which could be a scary proposition. Defensively UCLA has some big shoes to fill as Tak McKinley & Eddie Vanderdoes are now playing on Sunday, but the secondary should be a strength & talent is plentiful. The catch for UCLA is turning all that talent into productive victories.
3 Computer Hope There might not be a better looking team coming off the bus than Arizona St,. but HC Todd Graham & the Sun Devils haven’t been able to do much the last couple of seasons as ASU has gone 11-14 in that span. This year ASU should be explosive on offense with QB Manny Wilkins returning along with skill players Demario Richard, Kalen Ballage & N’Keal Harry. The O-Line returns 3 starters so points will be scored. Defensively I love Arizona St. because they are so aggressive & blitz heavy. It can get you beat, but it’s NASTY when working. I think Jojo Wicker has a huge year. The schedule isn’t easy, but ASU gets back to winning.
4 Computer Hope On the one hand, Colorado had a MASSIVE year last season finishing 10-4 with a Pac 12 South title. On the other, Colorado got exposed against Michigan, Washington, USC & Oklahoma State, the best 3 teams they faced all season. A 10-5 win at Stanford really cemented Colorado’s year & they came close to winning at USC but against ELITE talent, Colorado was outscored 145-63! The Buffaloes return 9 starters on an offense that averaged 31.1PPG last year so I think they get better. The problem is that UC returns just 3 starters on defense losing 8 of their top 11 tacklers. The defense will be key for Colorado to keep trending up.
5 Computer Hope It’s so difficult to call for Utah to have a down year because it seems like no matter what happens from year to year, HC Kyle Whittingham gets the Utes to 9-10 wins. I think this year resembles more of 2012-2013 as Utah returns just 9 total starters & loses RB Joe Williams. They do return QB Troy Williams, but I think he’s a limited QB having completed just 53% of his passes last year with a 15:8 TD:INT ratio. Utah also has 4 new starters on the O-Line. Defensively Lowell Lotulelei returns, but the losses are HEAVY including Hunter Dimick, Marcus Williams & Pasoni Tasini. It feels like Utah is going into transition mode.
6 Computer Hope Arizona returns 14 starters from a 3-9 squad including QB Brandon Dawkins. On some level I think the Wildcats should be in for an improved season, but that 3-9 is very troubling. Arizona wasn’t even competitive outside of their first 4 games. Yes they beat Arizona State, but the Sun Devils were so injury depleted at the time that Arizona was essentially beating the 2nd team & they still allowed ASU to score 35pts. Take that game out & you have an Arizona squad with wins over Grambling & Hawaii! That’s it. HC Rich Rodriguez isn’t recruiting that well & you have to wonder if he can survive another season with 3-4 wins?

 

# TEAM PAC 12 NORTH
1 Computer Hope A lot of people have Washington winning the North but I’m going with Stanford. The Cardinal return a truckload on offense. I think QB Keller Chryst has a great year given his returning weapons: WR Trenton Irwin, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside & TE Dalton Schultz. I think RB Bryce Love picks up where Christian McCaffery left off & the OL returns 4 starters. Defensively the Cardinal returns DT Harrison Phillips who could be a 1st Team All-American & a 1st Rd. NFL draft pick. They also return 8 of their top-10 tacklers including the entire LB corps led by OLB Peter Kalambayi. Stanford gets UW at home which gives them the North.
2 Computer Hope Almost impossible to pick against Washington & HC Chris Petersen but the road date against Stanford is the game that hurts UW’s playoff hopes. Offensively the Huskies should be just as good as last season despite losing WR John Ross. QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, WR Dante Pettis & LT Trey Adams all return & all are outstanding with Browning be a legit Heisman contender Defensively UW returns 6 starters but will also get a full year from LB Azeem Victor who is one of the best LB in the nation. The corners are raw & Washington needs to figure out their pass rush, but this is a helluva football team.
3 Computer Hope QB Luke Falk surprised some people when he decided to return to Pullman for his senior season after having a 2016 year that saw him pass for almost 4500 yards, complete 70% of his pass & throw 38TD to just 11INT. Wazzou can score. They can score a lot & they’ll continue to do so as they have a solid rushing attack behind James Williams & Jamal Morrow long with a solid O-line. What puts the Cougars over the top for me is they return 9 starters on a defense that allowed 26PPG last year. They’ll need to replace Shalom Luani but the defense gets better. Beat Stanford & Wazzou could be playing for a playoff spot against UW!
4 Computer Hope Oregon gets Washington St. at home so it might be folly for me to have Oregon in 4th instead of 3rd, but I think the new transition to HC Willie Taggart costs them a game & pushes them behind the Cougars. The cupboards are certainly not bare in Eugene. The Ducks return 17 starters from a HORRIBLY underachieving 4-8 team from 2016. The Ducks return QB Justin Herbert who is going to be outstanding along with 5 starters on the O-Line, their top-2 receivers & RB Royce Freeman! Defensively Oregon returns 9 starters from a terrible unit but new DC Jim Leavitt is outstanding so the D should improve.
5 Computer Hope HC Gary Andersen is one of the best HCs in college football so it’s easy to see how he could take a middling Oregon St. program & have them on the rise. Andersen went 2-10 in his first year Corvallis and improved that to 4-8 last year in his 2nd season. It’s not inconceivable to think the Beavers could get to 7 wins this year although the schedule isn’t easy & they’ll have to win a couple of tough road dates. Offensively Oregon St. improved by 7.2PPG from 2015 to 2016 and the defense improved by 6.5PPG. If that happens again in 2017, Oregon St. would average 33.4PPG on offense & allows just 24.0PPG on defense. Nice!
6 Computer Hope New HC Justin Wilcox takes over a Bears program that hasn’t been that relevant since 2008. Phil Steele ranks California’s schedule as the 2nd most difficult in the nation this year which means Wilcox & his staff need to brace for a tough go. Cal does have an ELITE WR in Demetris Robertson but the Bears will need to put something around him to keep defenses from honing in on him on every down. Wilcox came up as a defensive coach & he’ll be sorely needed as Cal allowed 42.6PPG a year ago! There is some talent in different spots but Wilcox simply needs to find ways his players can succeed & keep building the roster.



PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

NORTH PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP SOUTH
Computer Hope This one is going to be amazing! Interestingly enough, Stanford travels to USC on September 9th so by the time this game comes around the two teams should be significantly different in execution and rhythm considering it’ll almost be 3 months since they played. The key here will be how USC transitions through the year. Right now I’d give the edge to Stanford because on paper I think the Cardinal are better, but USC has Sam Darnold & if the offense & defense gel, then the Trojans are SO TALENTED. I still say Stanford finds a way to win. Computer Hope

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Arizona, Arizona St., California, Colorado, NCAA, Oregon, Oregon St., Pac 12, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington St. | Leave a comment

RANKING POWER-65 COLLEGE COACHES – #39 to #30

Here are the links for the first two installments:

#50 – #65
#49-#40

if you need to catch up. Today we hit the thirties and I think the rankings start to become quite a bit more interesting as we start to hit some pretty big names in the coaching world. Let’s get to it.

#39 – P.J. Fleck – Minnesota

Yeah I’m rowing the boat! It’s difficult to argue Fleck’s track record as a first time head coach at Western Michigan. In his first year he led the Broncos to an 1-11 season. By his 4th year, WMU finished with a perfect 13-0 season before losing to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl 24-16. Western finished 29-11 (20-4) in Fleck’s last 3 years as HC. Fleck brings an excitement to Minnesota that Gophers fans haven’t experienced since Murray Warmath led Minnesota to back-to-back Rose Bowls in 1960-1961! You probably don’t even remember those teams unless you were born in the 1940s or early 1950s! It’s hard to argue with his success, but Fleck faces a completely different animal in the Big 10. Iowa, Nebraska & Wisconsin aren’t Ball St., Kent St. and Bowling Green. It’ll be interesting to see if Fleck can raise the ceiling for Gopher football.

#38 – Tom Herman – Texas

The hottest coaching prospect last season who happened to have deep roots in Texas wound up as the new HC for the Longhorns after the university had had enough of Charlie Strong’s leadership. As with Fleck, it’s almost impossible to deny Herman’s track record. He was Urban Meyer’s OC at Ohio State before jumping to the head coaching job at Houston where in his first season, Herman led the Cougars to a 13-1 record and a final ranking inside the top-10! I think Herman is a better fit within the Texas culture than Strong was and he’ll do well. He’s a good solid coach that connects with players and it won’t be long before he’s tearing it up on the recruiting trail once he gets the foundation of the program built. As with Fleck, the road will be a bit tougher. Playing in the American isn’t the Big XII and instead of Tulane, East Carolina and Memphis, Herman will go up against Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., TCU, Baylor and Kansas State.

#37 – Willie Taggart – Oregon

Taggart was an interesting hire for Oregon, but once it was known that Chip Kelly wasn’t coming back to college football, the Ducks had to move on and all Taggart has done as his time as a college football coach is build winners. Taggart played prep ball in Florida and then played his college ball at Western Kentucky where he was an assistant for 8 years before taking the RB coaching job at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh. From there he came back to his alma mater to be HC. He inherited a WKU team that went 0-12 the year before Taggart arrived, but in Taggart’s 2nd year, he had WKU at 7-5. In his 3rd and final year he had WKU bowling. Taggart left WKU to return to his home state of Florida and coach USF where he took over a Bulls team that went 3-9 before he arrived. By year 4 the Bulls were 11-2. Now he is going to attempt to bring Oregon back to the heights reached by Chip Kelly. Unlike Herman & Fleck above, Taggart has hit the recruiting trail hard and it is paying off early. It’ll be interesting to see how Taggart does at an elite program with massive resources. His track record speaks for itself.

#36 – Bret Bielema – Arkansas

The decision to leave Wisconsin for Arkansas was an interesting one for Bielema a few years ago and after the Hogs 2016 campaign, the shine is off of Arkansas’s head coach. Bielema took over a program that was in pretty bad shape after a year of John Smith as HC coming off the Bobby Petrino scandal. Bielema’s first year wasn’t pretty as Arkansas went 3-9 without a win in conference play, but by year 3 (2015), Arkansas 8-5 (5-3) and poised to potentially step into the role of challenger to Alabama in the SEC West. It wasn’t meant to be as Arkansas regressed last season to 7-6 (3-5) with a bowl loss. The 7-6 isn’t completely awful, but the losses were terrible. Arkansas was blown out in all of their losses except a close loss to Missouri which itself was inexcusable. I’m not completely sold on Bielema’s style of offense working in the SEC West, and truth be told, the worst thing for Bielema is having to live up the incredible expectations Bobby Petrino set when he was in Fayetteville. LSU has been dealing with a similar situation after Nick Saban took the Tigers to top-5 status.

#35 – Gary Andersen – Oregon State

Andersen is one of my favorite head coaches in college football and Oregon St. is one of my favorite teams. The two coming together was great for me as I think college football is better when Oregon State is relevant. That’s probably just me, but so what! It’s interesting that I ended up with Bielema and Andersen together as both left Wisconsin for other jobs. Andersen is a helluva head coach. He turned Utah State into an 11-win team with a WAC championship in 4 season. He took Wisconsin to a Big 10 West title in his 2nd year. When Mike Riley left Oregon St. for Nebraska, their was quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Beavers program. Andersen came in and struggled his first year going 2-10 (0-9) but in his 2nd season last year, the Beavers improved to 4-8 (3-6) with conference wins over California, Arizona and hated rival Oregon! The scoring defense and scoring offense were also improved by 7 points each. The Pac 12 North is getting scary good with Chris Petersen doing work at Washington, Mike Leach winning at Washington St. and Willie Taggart taking over at Oregon, but something tells me Andersen is going to make life hard for those guys.

#34 – Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech

Absolutely love what Fuente did with the Hokies last season. Fuente had a lot of success at Memphis before taking the Virginia Tech job, but he’s been nothing but spades since landing in Blacksburg. Keeping Bud Foster on staff as DC was a genius move and speaks volumes as to the kind of man Foster is. Fuente also brought a run heavy attack to Virginia Tech which I think works in their favor. The Hokies have always been known under Bud Foster for having a very intimidating, turnover causing, very fast defense that hits exceptionally hard. Keeping those guys fresh and healthy by dominating time of possession is outstanding strategy that Fuente used last year to win the ACC Coastal in his first season where VT finished the year 10-4 and ranked #16 in the AP. Fuente is making deep strides in recruiting already and once the talent is assembled, Virginia Tech is going to be extremely difficult to handle.

#33 – Hugh Freeze – Mississippi

Like Bielema, the shine has dulled a bit on Freeze’s tenure in Oxford. After improving by a win each year for 3 straight years after a 7-6 campaign in 2012, Freeze and the Rebels took a tremendous step back last season finishing 5-7 (2-6). The overall records can also be a bit misleading as Freeze’s 5-year record in SEC play is not even .500 at 19-21. The bigger problem is the controversy surrounding the Ole Miss program and the NCAA violations. Ole Miss has taken a hit in recruiting already and if recruiting dries up for the Rebels then that spells disaster in arguably the most competitive division in all of college football. There is no question that Freeze can make Ole Miss great. He proved that in 2015, but how he deals with a potential fall out from these mistakes will be telling. The best news for Freeze at this point is that he’s still head coach and that QB Shea Patterson decided to stick around. With no bowl eligibility this season, Ole Miss should be playing like a teach with a chip on their shoulder.

#32 – Mike MacInytre – Colorado

You knew it was only a matter of time before Coach Mac had Colorado on the cusp of greatness. When MacIntyre got his first job as a HC at San Jose State, he finished 1-12 (0-8) in his first season as the Spartans leader. In year 3, San Jose St. went 10-2 (5-1) and beat Bowling Green in the Military Bowl! MacIntyre used that success to grab the Colorado job and what he did in Year 4 in Boulder almost defies reality. The Colorado rebuild wasn’t going to be easy. Not by a long shot. MacIntyre’s first 3 years as HC witnessed Colorado post a combined record of 10-27 with a conference record of 2-25!!!! Those were 3 straight last place finishes in the Pac 12 South! Last season, MacIntyre broke though HUGE as Colorado went 10-4 (8-1), won the Pac 12 South and drew Oklahoma St. in the Alamo Bowl. The Buffs posted wins over Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Utah, and Washington State! It was a BANNER year that was dampened a bit by losing 41-10 to Washington in the Pac 12 championship and 38-8 to Oklahoma St. in the Alamo Bowl. Was the breakthrough real, or did Coach Mac take advantage of an unusually weak Pac 12? Oregon was way down. UCLA was down. Arizona St. & Arizona were down. They beat Stanford 10-5 in an ugly contest and drew Utah & Washington St. in Boulder. I’m betting on MacIntyre. I think Colorado is good, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buffaloes regressed just a bit in 2017.

#31 – Larry Fedora – North Carolina

This feels low considering it was just two years ago that Fedora led the Tar Heels to an 11-3 (8-0) record that saw the UNC win the ACC Coastal relatively easy. A deeper look though and you come away disappointed just a bit. That 2015 season was smoke and mirrors as UNC finished the regular season 11-1 but didn’t play a ranked opponent all season. They lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship game and then lost to Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Last season, the Coastal was again ripe for the taking but UNC gags at home to NC State in the season finale 28-21 and loses to Duke in Durham two weeks before 28-27! That seems ridiculous when you consider just how much offensive firepower the Heels had last season. Fedora has had some good seasons in Chapel Hill but no great ones and that task is going to get tougher and tougher now that Virginia Tech is in seemingly good hands with Justin Fuente and Miami-FL now has one of the best coaches in all of college football in Mark Richt. I really like Fedora and believe he can climb the rankings, but at this point it seems as if UNC has missed a couple of opportunities.

#30 – Mike Riley – Nebraska

The problem with Nebraska is that haven’t found anyone that can take the program to the heights that Tom Osborne did. Frank Solich wasn’t horrible actually and had a few top-10 squads in Lincoln, but not enough big time wins against bit time teams. The hiring of Bill Callahan was a disaster and Bo Pelini couldn’t quite get Nebraska past the 9-4/10-4 mark. Now Mike Riley gets his chance. Riley did wonderful things at Oregon St., and I was a bit surprised that he took the Cornhuskers job, but Oregon St. isn’t Nebraska and Riley now has every resource available to him. In his first season Nebraska wasn’t great at 6-7 (3-5) but last year Riley improved to 9-4 (6-3) with a perfect 7-0 record at home. Nebraska was even ranked #7 in the nation at one point after starting 7-0! It wouldn’t last as Nebraska would go on to lose games to Iowa, Ohio St., Wisconsin & Tennessee, but the season was a win. Riley is making big strides in recruiting and I think he’s putting an emphasis on the Black Shirts which is getting back to Nebraska football.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Arkansas, Big 10, Big XII, Coaching, Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Oregon St., Pac 12, Rankings, SEC, Texas, Virginia Tech | 3 Comments

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 FINAL RANKINGS

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Deshaun Watson might not have won the Heisman but he proved he was the best player in college football by taking down the Tide 35-31 in dramatic fashion and handing Clemson their first national title since 1981! The Tigers did the ultimate by beating both Urban Meyer and Nick Saban in the playoffs which makes the championship all the sweeter. Watson was huge. The defensive effort was fantastic. And Dabo was well…Dabo! Swinney is now 70-13 the past six seasons. He’s proven ELITE.
#2 Computer Hope What if Bo Scarbrough doesn’t get hurt in the 3rd quarter? The Tide were up 17-7 when Scarbrough went down & then were outscored 28-14. Why didn’t Alabama hold on the last play of the game forcing Clemson to kick a FG to send the game into OT? Lots of question surrounding this loss for the Tide, but you can’t deny that Jalen Hurts was terrible, the offense couldn’t convert on 3rd down and the defense couldn’t find a way to get off the field against Watson’s passing attack. The best team won.
#3 Computer Hope If you don’t believe full games out of Jake Butt and Jabril Peppers is worth at last 2 points for the Wolverines then I have no idea what to tell you. If you watched them all season, it was easy to see that Michigan was right behind Alabama & Clemson. They were possibly with them assuming full health. The Wolverines dominated the Buckeyes in Columbus yet lost. They dealt with injuries against Florida St. & lost by one point. This ranking is based on “What if?”, but I think Michigan deserves it.
#4 Computer Hope What an unbelievable way to win the Rose Bowl!? The Trojans go up 20-7 on Penn St. only to see the Nittany Lions roar back to take a 49-35 lead into the 4th quarter by outscoring USC 28-8 in the 3rd quarter. Not to be outdone, the Trojans outscore PSU 17-0 in the 4th capped off by a last second FG that gave USC a 52-49 win! USC won 9 straight to end the season including wins over Penn St., Colorado, Washington, UCLA & Notre Dame. USC definitely proved they were the class of the Pac 12.
#5 Computer Hope The season ended on a disappointing note with the loss to USC in the Rose Bowl, but how amazing has the transformation of Penn St. been under James Franklin? Franklin in his 3rd year led the Lions to an 11-3 record which included wins over Ohio St., Iowa, Michigan St. & Wisconsin en route to a Big 10 championship, their first since 2008. The best part is that it can only get better. QB Trace McSorley & RB Saquon Barkley return next year & Penn St. is recruiting well. The Lions are B-A-C-K!
#6 Computer Hope I’ve been making FSU pay all season for the disastrous loss to Louisville back on September 17th, but if you simply consider it a loss, FSU lost to Louisville, North Carolina by 2 and Clemson by 3. Dalvin Cook was arguably the best RB in the nation. FSU ended the season 10-3 on a 5-game winning streak including a stunning 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Defensively, the Noles were A LOT better than their stats would indicate. If their TO margin was great, FSU could be the champs.
#7 Computer Hope In much the same way the Seminoles paid for their loss to Louisville, the Buckeyes lived off their early season demolition of Oklahoma. The Buckeyes were definitely exposed in a 31-0 embarrassment at the hands of Clemson, but Ohio St. didn’t look so good for a lot of the season. They lost to Penn St., but barely escaped games against Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan St. & Northwestern. The playoff committee backed themselves into a corner with Ohio St. & they shouldn’t have played Clemson.
#8 Computer Hope The Badgers took care of business in the Cotton Bowl beating a feisty Western Michigan squad to end the year 11-3. It’s hard to rank Wisconsin any lower than this. They beat LSU to start the season & their only 3 losses came against Ohio St., Michigan & Penn St., all by 7 points. Paul Chryst seems like the heir apparent to Barry Alavarez & he should be in Madison for a very long time. In his first two years with Wisconsin, Chryst is 21-6 with a Big 10 West title & 2 bowl wins. I think they only get better.
#9 Computer Hope Like Michigan, this is more of a ranking based on top end talent. When LSU was healthy, they combined an efficient passing attack with Danny Etling behind a DEVASTATING rushing combination of Leonard Fournette and Derius Guice. The defense was arguably the best in the nation which really begs the question of how it was possible for LSU to lose games behind an ELITE rushing attack and an ELITE defense? That is the riddle Ed Orgeron needs to solve because LSU is too good for 8-4.
#10 Computer Hope Losing to Alabama 24-7 in the national semifinal dulled an amazing season for the Huskies who finished 12-2 as Pac 12 champions in Chris Petersen’s 3rd season in Seattle. The loss to Alabama should be instructive going forward & the Huskies are poised to dominate the Pac 12 North for years to come. The one knock is that UW has to beat quality teams. They lost to USC & Alabama with their big wins coming against Stanford, Utah & Washington State. I think it’s a problem they’ll rectify.
#11 Computer Hope The Sooners paid dearly for early season losses to Houston & Ohio St., but roared back winning 10 straight games, going undefeated in Big XII play and then routing Auburn in the Sugar Bowl to finish 11-2. Given their competition, the Sooners possibly saved the best for last. The defense held a solid Auburn running attack in check while the offense rolled behind Baker Mayfield, Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook and Samarje Perine. Given Ohio St.’s & Washington’s performance in the playoffs, Oklahoma makes a case with a great year.
#12 Computer Hope Even if Colorado was completely unmotivated to play in the Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma St,’s dismantling of the Buffs 38-8 was impressive no matter how you slice it. The Cowboys were up 31-0 going into the 4th quarter in dominant fashion surpassed only by Clemson’s demolition of Ohio State. If you believe the refs robbed the Cowboys in the C.Michigan loss then OK-State’s only real losses were on the road to Baylor & Oklahoma. The 10-3 reads more like 11-2. The Cowboys will be in the national title chase in 2017. You’ve been warned!
#13 Computer Hope Down 24-0 at halftime to Arkansas in the Belk Bowl, the Hokies stormed back outscoring the Hogs 35-0 in the 2nd half to end their season 10-4 with an ACC Coastal title. Take out oddball losses to Georgia Tech & Syracuse & the Hokies could have been 12-2 with a much better bowl slot. First year HC Justin Fuente was a huge success in Blacksburg in his first season. JUCO QB Jerod Evans was a revelation & the Hokies rushing attack gave VT a new offensive identity. That attack with a Bud Foster defense is a dangerous combo.
#14 Computer Hope Losing to Oklahoma 35-19 in the Sugar Bowl isn’t that bad considering Oklahoma probably had their best game of the year and if the Sooners played like that against Ohio St. & Houston, they would have been 12-0 & in the playoffs. War Eagle got off to a rough 1-2 start but their eventual 8-5 record includes losses to Clemson, Alabama & Oklahoma! Those 3 teams finished a combined 39-4! They also lost to Texas A&M early when the Aggies looked like a playoff team & Georgia when Kamryn Pettway was hurt. Very good team. Tough schedule without solid QB.
#15 Computer Hope Let’s just assume Colorado simply wasn’t interested in the Alamo Bowl, and frankly who could blame them considering they were angling for the Rose Bowl and missed out to a team they finished ahead of in the Pac 12 South. The Buffaloes had a banner year finishing 10-4 with a Pac 12 South title when most pundits predicted them to finish dead last before the season began. The real question is whether or not the Buffaloes can build on this breakthrough season. QB Sefo Liufau & a ton of defensive players won’t be returning in 2017.
#16 Computer Hope The Cardinal held off a pretty good North Carolina rally in the Sun Bowl to preserve a 25-23 win & finish the year 10-3. Stanford suffered a bit with 3 losses in 4 games in the early/mid season to start the year 4-3. With Washington & Washington St. playing so well in the North, Stanford was out before they really started. The losses weren’t so bad though. UW on the North. Colorado won the South & Wazzou finished 2nd in the North. Those 3 combined to finish 30-11. Tough way to finish for Christian McCaffery’s career,  but 10-3 isn’t awful.
#17 Computer Hope Early season losses for teams like Oklahoma & LSU took those squads out of the national spotlight. For the Redbirds it was almost the opposite. Louisville lived off a 63-20 hammering of Florida St. to a 9-1 start with their only loss coming at Clemson by 6 points. At that point they were still in the mix for a playoff spot. Then they lost to Houston and then to Kentucky and then to LSU in the Citrus Bowl where Lamar Jackson was exposed against an excellent defense. This is a top-20 team but the 9-4 certainly feels disappointing. They should have been 12-1.
#18 Computer Hope The Broncos proved they belonged by outscoring Wisconsin 16-10 over three quarters of the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, Wisconsin outscored them 14-0 in the 1st quarter giving the Badgers a 24-16 win and ended WMU’s perfect season. The loss was tough. Even worse was losing HC PJ Fleck after the season to Minnesota. It’s an odd move to be sure considering WMU could have potentially went 13-1/14-0 next season & Fleck would have been in even more demand. Then again, it’s the Big 10 West and not the Big 10 East. Fleck might be on to something.
#19 Computer Hope Utah probably got more than they bargained for from Indiana in the Foster Farms Bowl. If Richard Lagow was any kind of QB, Utah probably falls to the Hoosiers & doesn’t rank in the top-25. Fortunately, Joe Williams put on a show & ran for 222 yards against an overwhelmed IU defense. Utah had a solid year going 9-4 although the loss to Colorado had to hurt because it cost them the South. They lived off their USC win but it’s worth nothing that the Utes’ 4 losses came by a combined 19 points. Like Colorado, it’ll be interesting to see how Utah reloads with USC back.
#20 Computer Hope Florida isn’t back to where they want to be, but I think the program scored a big win with Jim McElwain staying in Gainesville when rumors were swirling he could have taken off for Oregon. In his 2 seasons at Florida, the Gators have won SEC East titles. Sure they have lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game both years & they have lost to Florida St. each year but progress takes a bit of time. Last year they were blown out by Michigan in their bowl game. This year they blow out Iowa. They aren’t back to being a top-10 program but they aren’t far.
#21 Computer Hope It was SO REFRESHING to see that Hurricane swagger on display in the Russell Athletic Bowl. THE U came to play & destroyed a solid West Virginia team 31-14. QB Brad Kaaya put on a clinic while the Miami defense held a Dana Holgorsen offense to just 14 points & 11 first downs! It was a tale of 3 season for Miami. They started off by winning 4 straight. Then they lost 4 straight before ending with 5 straight wins. Three of the 4 losses were close & those 4 losses came to Florida St., Notre Dame, Virginia Tech & North Carolina. Pretty good for Mark Richt’s first year.
#22 Computer Hope It took the Bulls overtime to defeat South Carolina, but USF pulled it out 46-39 to finish 11-2 which is the best record in the history of the program that started back in 1997! QB Quinton Flowers and RB Marlon Mack had outstanding years leading a dominating running attack that ranked 5th in the nation at a tick above 285 rushing yards per game. An untimely loss to Temple kept the Bulls from potentially winning the AAC championship but what a season. Taggart bolted USF for Oregon, but the Bulls landed Charlie Strong! I think USF will be fine in the transition.
#23 Computer Hope On the one hand you have a San Diego St. team the destroyed Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl 34-10 with a massive defensive effort that all but destroyed the Cougars rushing attack and picked off Houston QB Greg Ward four times. That Aztec team finished as MW Champs with an 11-3 record. RB Donnel Pumphrey ends his career as the all time leader in rushing yards in D1 history. On the other you have a SD Stat team that lost to S.Alabama, Colorado St. & Wyoming. Weird. HC Rocky Long has put together back to back 11-3 seasons. He’s got the program humming.
#24 Computer Hope I would have liked the Mountaineers coming out a little motivated to play than they showed against Miami-FL in the bowl, but it’s hard to argue a 10-3 season in which your only losses came against Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. and Miami-FL. Nobody picked WVU to finish 3rd in the Big XII so the season was a rousing success. HC Dana Holgorsen has now improved WVU in each season since 2004. His guys are in place & the program is definitely his. I think he has WVU at a point where they need to start competing with Oklahoma for conference titles. That’s the next step.
#25 Computer Hope BYU flew under the radar for most of the season because of their 1-3 start, but the Cougars finished 8-1 in their last 9 games including a 24-21 bowl win over Wyoming that was a lot more impressive than it looks. You can argue BYU didn’t beat anyone of note although they did post wins over Michigan St., Mississippi St., Cincinnati & Arizona, but their 4 losses came by a combined 8 points! Those losses were to UCLA, Boise St., West Virginia & Utah. If BYU finishes 12-0 they were playing in a New Year’s 6, but could they have had an argument for a playoff berth?

DROPPING OUT

#16 WASHINGTON ST. COUGARS: Love the Cougs but they ended the season on a 3-game losing streak to finish 8-5. They were better than this. They also lost their bowl game to Minnesota which is hard to justify considering the mess that Minnesota football during this time. If Wazzou can quit losing early games to FCS teams they can turn into a consistent 10-win team which would put some pressure on Chris Petersen and Washington. Luke Falk coming back next season is going to be interesting.

#17 PITTSBURGH PANTHERS: Really an odd year. Pitt finished 8-5 with 4 close losses but also posted wins over Penn St. & Clemson. I kept them out of the top-25 due to the 5 losses and the bowl loss to Northwestern which didn’t make a lot of sense although Northwestern did become “that” team that nobody in the Big 10 wanted to play. No team in college football had two better wins than Pittsburgh, but the five losses?

#20 IOWA HAWKEYES: It was somewhat of a disappointing season for Iowa given that they went undefeated last year during the regular season, but the Hawkeyes had a chance to salvage a disappointing season by beating Michigan & Nebraska down the stretch. The problem was losing 30-3 to a Florida team looking to crash for the 2nd season in a row. This lead to an 8-5 finish for Iowa which isn’t awful all things considered, but still left something to be desired. The losses to Northwestern and North Dakota State probably should have been wins which could have meant a 10-3 finish which would have looked better as a follow up to 2015’s 11-2 season. I’d love to see Iowa breakthrough and get to the playoffs and even win a national championship. I think it would amazing for college football, but I’m not sure Kirk Ferentz is the guy to get that done.

#21 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS: Completely collapsed in the 2nd half against Virginia Tech in the bowl game to finish 7-6. When Arkansas was playing at full tilt they were one of the most difficult teams to handle let alone defeat, but the team couldn’t find any real consistency from week to week. There isn’t a bad loss on the schedule outside of Missouri, but that also describes the perils of living in the SEC West. If you play anyone of note out of conference, you could easily be a top-20 squad with 4-5 losses on the year.

#22 TEMPLE OWLS: Top-25 teams shouldn’t be losing bowl games to Wake Forest. Temple was without HC Matt Rhule who bolted for Baylor, but the Owls were still able to win the AAC and get to 10 wins. It’s more interesting that Rhule would jump ship at Temple for Baylor. Art Briles showed you could potentially compete for championships in Waco and I suppose Rhule thinks he can get the Bears over the hump. That’s tough. I wonder why he wouldn’t potentially wait for other jobs to open up given the state Baylor’s program is in currently.

 

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, BYU, Clemson, Colorado, Final Rankings, Florida, Florida St., Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, NCAA, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Pittsburgh, Power 25, San Diego St., South Florida, Stanford, Temple, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL – BOWL SEASON PREVIEW!

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl seems fitting. You really can’t say enough about what a tremendous job Bob Davie has done for the Lobos. New Mexico was a combined 3-33 in the 3-years before Davie took over. How he has them at potentially a 9-4 season with back-to-back bowl games in his 5th year. As for the game, New Mexico has the nation’s best rush offense so UTSA will need to figure out a way to stop it if they’re to win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Las Vegas Bowl: Talk about a consolation bowl for early watching! The 9-3 Cougars take on the 10-3 Aztecs! Both of these teams were thought to win their respective conferences. Houston didn’t but SD State did get their revenge win over Wyoming to take the Mountain West. Tune in for Houston QB Gary Ward & DT Ed Oliver. Both guys have been outstanding this season. The Cougs won’t have Tom Herman but this is a fantastic early game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Camellia Bowl: Jason Candle did an outstanding job in his first year as HC of Toledo. The Rockets went 9-3 and won the MAC East. Their 3 losses came against W.Michigan, Ohio & BYU. Not bad at all. Appalachian St. has an outstanding defense. At 9-3 they have 2 losses to Tennessee and Miami-FL! It’ll be interesting to see if the Mountaineers can put a stop to Toledo’s Cody Thompson, Logan Woodside & Kareem Hunt. This game will be very compelling. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cure Bowl: Somewhat of a ho-hum bowl game as 6-6 UCF takes on 7-5 Arkansas State. UCF has a couple of tremendous corners in Shaquill Griffin and DJ Killings. They’ve been a terror to QBs all season long & that shouldn’t change. Helping them is OLB Shaquem Griffin who has totaled 11 sacks and 19 TFL on the season. Ark State is mostly a running team although they don’t do it particularly well. I’d tune in for the Knights defensive playmakers. Computer Hope
Computer Hope New Orleans Bowl: A couple of 6-6 teams going at it from CUSA and the Sun Belt conference. Obviously this is going to be one of those games that nobody is paying particular attention to but both teams feature a pretty good running back. Southern Miss’ Ito Smith ran for 1300+ yards & 15TD averaging 5.5ypc, while ULL’s Elijah McGuire ran for 1,028 yards & 7TD. This is HC Mark Hudspeth’s 5th bowl in 6 years as HC for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He’s done well. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Miami Beach Bowl: This game is played in Marlins Park which is the home of the Miami Marlins which is pretty cool. This is a bad matchup for C.Michigan. After a nice 3-0 start which saw them beat Oklahoma St., CMU went just 3-5 in MAC play & 3-6 in their final 9. Tulsa’s offense is prolific! They have a couple of thousand yard rushers, a thousand yard receiver & a three thousand yard passer. I think Tulsa scores 50+ in this game & dominates. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Boca Raton Bowl: Every time I hear the words Boca Raton I always think of Episode 9 of Season 1 of The Sopranos entitled Boca about Junior Soprano going down to Boca with one of his girlfriends, Bobbi Sanfillipo. The entire episode revolves around Junior’s amazing cunnilingus skills that eventually gets out. The part I always liked best is the end when Junior shoves Bobbi’s head in pie. Oh the game! Lots of scoring here with two good offenses. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Poinsettia Bowl: This is one of the underrated bowls I’m interested in. Wyoming HC Craig Bohl did a helluva job this year with the Cowboys. Nobody picked them to be this good, but Wyoming pulled off a coup to win the MW Mountain division & posted wins over Boise St. and San Diego State! BYU is tough. They went 8-4 but their 4 losses came by a total of 8 points! The Cougars are THIS CLOSE to being 12-0! Kalani Sitake did a GREAT job at BYU! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Idaho Potato Bowl: What a job Paul Petrino has done in Moscow! The Vandals were 3-21 the two years before Petrino took over and in his first two seasons they were even worse at 2-21. Last year they improved to 4-8 & in Petrino’s 4th season the Vandals are bowl bound at 7-5! They also went 6-1 in their last 7 games! They’ll have it tough with Colorado State. The Rams can score with a very balanced offense. Tough game for Idaho but great year. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Bahamas Bowl: If Old Dominion doesn’t lose on the road to W.Kentucky, the Monarchs finish 10-2 and undefeated in CUSA. The probably win the conference title and get to 11-2. HC Bobby Wilder has this program humming & I wouldn’t doubt if they become THE premier team in CUSA. A win here makes them 10-3 on the season & I expect them to take care of E.Michigan. EMU HC Chris Creighton was 3-21 his 1st 2 seasons. This year EMU went 7-5!! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Armed Forces Bowl: How is this for disappointing! If Navy blows out Temple in the AAC Championship game, they had an outside shot at jumping W.Michigan & getting to the Cotton Bowl to play Wisconsin. Instead the Middies are playing Louisiana Tech in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Bulldogs had a solid year but their defense is suspect & if Navy comes to play they should have no issues forcing the issue on offense. Win & Navy finishes at 10-4. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Dollar General Bowl: Frank Solich has done an outstanding job with the Bobcats. Western Michigan got all the publicity this season, and rightly so, but Ohio’s 8-5 record is a bit misleading. The Bobcats never lost a game by more than 9 points and 4 of those 5 losses were by 7 points or less. That 8-5 record is close to 12-1! Troy is exactly the same. The Trojans had a great 9-3 season but 2 losses were close so 9-3 could be 11-1. This should be a very good bowl. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Hawaii Bowl: And this is where we make the case for too many bowl games as the 6-7 Rainbows get in via exemption to play Middle Tennessee State. A lot of credit has to go to Hawaii 1st year HC Nick Rolovich for getting Hawaii into a bowl given that over the past 4 seasons the Rainbows have an 11-39 record. Hawaii’s last bowl game was in 2010 & their last bowl win was in 2006. Tune in for MTSU QB Brent Stockstill & RB I’Tavius Murray. They’re big! Computer Hope
Computer Hope St. Petersburg Bowl: LOVE THIS GAME! Talk about a wild season for Miami-OH! They lose their first 6 games, but win their final 6 to get bowl eligible! Some of that was schedule, but the switch to QB Gus Ragland made a HUGE difference. Ragland is 6-0 as a starter this season with 15TD to ZERO picks! Nobody picked Miami-OH to get to 6-6 & now they get an SEC team in a bowl! Outside of WMU/Wisconsin, this is the MAC bowl game to watch! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Quick Lane Bowl: Potentially a snoozer, Maryland and Boston College are a couple of high major squads coming off 6-6 regular seasons. These are a couple of teams still finding their way. Steve Addazio at BC is still figuring out his rushing attack without Andre Williams and Tyler Murphy. DJ Durkin obviously has a defensive reputation & the Terps improved defensively but still have a ways to go. The bowl is nice here but both teams actually need the reps. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Independence Bowl: The funny thing about Vanderbilt is that their 6-6 record could easily be 10-2. The Commodores have some excellent wins on the resume. They beat MTSU, WKU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Georgia. Four of their 6 losses were close! Derek Mason has done an outstanding job! They’ll be competitive. I want to see which NC State shows up. The NC State against Clemons & Florida St? Or the NC State against Louisville? I hope the former. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Heart of Dallas Bowl: The Black Knights get to their first bowl since 2010! If you feel like you are having deja vu, don’t worry. These two teams actually played each other on October 22 when North Texas upended Army 35-18! Making matters worse? North Texas got to a bowl game by exemption given their 5-7 record. That’s too bad. Army deserves better. How amazing is it that the Knights have wins over both Temple & Navy? What are the odds? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Military Bowl: Temple wins the AAC so they get Wake Forest in the Military Bowl? No wonder Matt Rhule left out in a hurry for Baylor!! This feels like a huge slap in the face to the Owls. Temple is on a 7-game winning streak. They are 10-3 & a conference champion. Wake Forest is 6-6 & 2-6 in their last 8 games. They finished 5th in the ACC Atlantic with a 3-5 conference record. I get the conference tie ins but this is a huge opportunity lost for college football. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Holiday Bowl: This should be a pretty cool game regarding contrasts in styles. Minnesota wants to control the clock with their running game while Wazzou obviously wants to light up the scoreboard with their passing attack. What’s interesting here is the Gophers have a very good run D but a suspect pass D. I wonder if they’ll try to rush 3-4 and drop 7-8 and dare the Cougars to run the football? Teams have tried this and the Cougs have made them pay! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cactus Bowl: A couple of close road losses to Wyoming & Air Force prevented the Broncos from a 12-0 & potentially 13-0 season which would have robbed Western Michigan of the Cotton Bowl. WMU is a better story so I’m glad it worked out, but Boise has to be fairly happy it was able to keep Bryan Harsin. There was some rumor about a move to Oregon which would have been tough. A win here make Harsin 32-8 in his first 3 years on the blue turf. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Pinstripe Bowl: This is a pretty neat bowl game that will be played in Yankee Stadium. I thought the Panthers had a good shot at winning the Coastal this year but 3 close losses took them from 11-1 to 8-4. The same could be said for Northwestern. I thought the Wildcats became the team nobody wanted to face in the Big 10. A couple of odd losses early & a loss to Minnesota took a potential 9-3 & made it 6-6. Both teams are going to try & run the ball. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Russell Athletic Bowl: OLD SCHOOL BIG EAST!!! I love this game. Couple of interesting subplots here. Miami-FL isn’t great but the Mountaineers are still looking for some validation of their 10-2 record. A win here to get to 11-2 at least shows they can win outside the Big XII. For the Canes, they were 0-3 in close games so that 8-4 is VERY close to 11-1. They’ve won 4-straight & really want to go out on a high note. Brad Kaaya can improve his stock here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Foster Farms Bowl: Getting better by subtraction? Former Indiana HC Kevin Wilson led the Hoosiers to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in 25 seasons yet resigned over philosophical differences and DC Tom Allen takes over. I don’t think Hoosier Nation could be any happier with Allen as HC and some think it was a preemptive move to keep Allen from taking a different HC job. What a wild ride in Bloomington! GO HOOSIERS! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Texas Bowl: This is an intriguing game on paper given that both teams are 8-4, but this has the feel to me of a K-State blowout win potentially because I’m not sure a lot of the A&M players will feel like this one is worth playing. Guys like Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall have nothing really to gain here. On the other hand, would Texas A&M dare to make a move away from Kevin Sumlin should the Aggies get blown out and turn in another 8-5 season? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Birmingham Bowl: Outstanding season for the Bulls and former HC Willie Taggart. Unfortunately Taggart has taken his talents to Eugene Oregon as the next HC of the Ducks so a new era in USF football starts with Charlie Strong! I love the move for South Florida because I think Strong is an OUTSTANDING recruiter and putting him in Florida should put a lot of teams on notice. It would be pretty cool to see USF finish the season 11-2. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Belk Bowl: This should be a really fun game. In his first season at Virginia Tech, HC Justin Fuente has really done some solid things with the Hokies offense making more of a run-centric unit and that will pay massive dividends down the road given Bud Foster’s defensive prowess. It’s not unlike what Arkansas does under Bret Bielema. VT will utilize their pass a bit more, but you get the gist. I really hope VT gets that 10th win but Arkansas needs a W too. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Alamo Bowl: This is the first game you can really start looking at conference strengths. By all accounts, Oklahoma St. was the 2nd best team in the Big XII. I’d say the Buffaloes were the 3rd best team in the Pac 12 behind Washington & USC. Does a #3 Pac 12 team beat the #2 Big XII team? The big matchup here will be the UC secondary against Mason Rudolph. I don’t think the Cowboys are going to able to air it out & Coach Mac gets the Buffs to 11-3! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Liberty Bowl: I think some people are a bit disappointed in Kirby Smart’s first season as HC of the Bulldogs but Georgia’s 7-5 record includes 3 games that were lost by a total of 4 points. The ball bounces the other way & UGA is 10-2 & SEC East champs. They beat UNC & Auburn. I don’t think Nick Chubb was 100% all season & Jacob Eason was a true frosh QB. Leonard Floyd & Jordan Jenkins were huge losses. Win or lose here, Georgia did well. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sun Bowl: Not saying this was a wasted season because the Tar Heels could still get a bowl win & finish 9-4, but when you look at back at their season, the Tar Heels should be 11-1. That would have won the Coastal & given UNC a good shot at New Year’s 6 bowl even if they lost to Clemson. Don’t dismiss Stanford in this one. I think the Cardinal is looking for respect & getting to 10-3 could potentially put them in the final AP Top-15. Love this game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Music City Bowl: Games like this are sort of neat because both are historically great programs and if you look at the jerseys alone it’s cool to see them, but this isn’t the mid-1990s. Nebraska is Big 10 #6 going up against The Vols are are SEC #6/7. What could make this game interesting is a blowout win for the Huskers. Butch Jones is on thin ice as it is. Could a blowout win for Nebraska combined with the 49ers firing Chip Kelly lead Kelly to Tennessee? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Arizona Bowl: It’s pretty cool for South Alabama to get to a bowl game even if it is with a 6-6 record, but this is a massive mismatch that the Falcons should take advantage of. Air Force is 8-4 and on a roll having won 5 straight including wins over Colorado St. and Boise State. They have one of the most dominant rushing attacks in the nation & South Alabama is going to be overwhelmed when they see it. This opened with AF -15. They cover. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Orange Bowl: I’d expect Michigan to come out and dominate this game. Florida St. is better than their 9-3 record, and as talented as Dalvin Cook is at tailback, I have a hard time believing he’s going to get away with running against Michigan when Ohio State couldn’t. If Deondre Francois tries to air it out, it’s turnover season & the Wolverines really start blowing it out. This might be the sexiest game outside of the playoffs, but Michigan kills it. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Citrus Bowl: Love the storylines here. For LSU this is a chance for Ed Orgeron to really put this program at 100% going forward. It’s also a chance for Lenoard Fournette to boost his draft status & for Derrius Guice to start a Heisman campaign in 2017. For Louisville it’s a chance to end the season on a high note & a chance for Lamar Jackson to prove what a great player he is by taking on and beating by far the best defense he’s seen all season. Can’t wait. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Taxslayer Bowl: Great bounce back season for Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech was 3-9 last year & has a shot at 9-4 this year with a win over Kentucky. It was also a solid year for the Wildcats who got to a bowl game for the first time under HC Mark Stoops and beat Louisville to finish the regular season. I think this is a big jump off game for the 2017 season as both teams return a lot of players & should be even better in 2017. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Peach Bowl: Chris Petersen is an exceptionally creative coach so the thing to watch here is how well the Huskies can play in the 1st quarter while Alabama could potentially be taken off guard. At some point in time talent is going to settle in and the Tide have a GIGANTIC advantage here, but if UW gets out to a 14 point lead, can they hold on for dear life? This is best case for Washington. Worst case is that they’ve never seen anything like Bama’s front-7 and lose by 30. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Fiesta Bowl: I’m not a fan of this game. I understand the reasoning behind putting Ohio St. in the playoffs but Penn St. beat them and won the Big 10 championship. I think the Nittany Lions got a raw deal which taints the playoff regardless. A lot of talk here about how this game is Deshaun Watson against JT Barrett, but I think Clemson’s defense is going to be tough & the Tigers have so many weapons on offense against a fairly young defense. Still should be a great game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Outback Bowl: This is a great game for Iowa to end the season on a high note. The Hawkeyes have won 3 straight games which includes wins over Michigan and Nebraska. Their 8-4 record is a lot closer to 11-1 given their close losses than people imagine & it’s easy to forget that some thought Iowa had the schedule this year to set up another 12-0 run. Finishing 9-4 is great albeit somewhat disappointing. As for the Gators, they really need to avoid another late season collapse. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cotton Bowl: ROW THE BOAT!!! The Western Michigan story is a fantastic one, but this is a situation for Wisconsin that is almost unwinnable. Lose and you lost to a MAC school. Win and all you did was beat a MAC school. It’s interesting to note that WMU is 2-0 against Big 10 schools this year having beat Illinois and Northwestern by a combined 25 points. The Badgers beat both by a combined 59 points. It would be so cool to see PJ Fleck pull of a 14-0 season! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Rose Bowl: Two teams couldn’t be any hotter coming into this one. Penn St. has won 9 straight games including wins over Ohio St. & Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game. USC has won 8 straight games including wins over Colorado, Washington, Notre Dame & UCLA. I really think these teams are out to prove they should have been in the playoffs. USC beat both UW & Colorado. Penn St. beat Ohio State. This might be the best bowl outside of the national championship. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sugar Bowl: Love this game. If the season started tomorrow and the Tigers were healthy, knowing what we know now, I think they’d go 11-1. War Eagle has a top-5 defense that is massively underrated in my opinion. Their running game is also exceptional so Auburn can put a lot of pressure on Oklahoma. I think OU is playing for respect. A win over Auburn legitimizes them as a team that maybe should have been in the playoffs. A loss here hurts the Big XII quite a bit. Computer Hope

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Air Force, Alabama, Appalachian St., Arkansas, Arkansas St., Army, Auburn, Baylor, Boise St., Boston College, Bowl Season, BYU, Central Michigan, Clemson, Colorado, Colorado St., Eastern Michigan, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Houston, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas St., Kentucky, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Memphis, Miami-FL, Miami-OH, Michigan, Middle Tennessee St., Minnesota, Mississippi St., Navy, NC State, NCAA, NCAA Playoffs, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Texas, Northwestern, Ohio, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Old Dominion, Penn St., Pittsburgh, San Diego St., South Alabama, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, Texas AM, Toledo, Troy, Tulsa, UCF, USC, Utah, UTSA, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington St., West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Wyoming | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 WEEK 14

The last ranking before the final rankings. As you can see, I’d have Alabama, Ohio St., Michigan & Clemson in the playoffs. The committee is going with Washington over Michigan and given the circumstances it makes perfect sense. I might make a separate post about this at a later date, but one thing that kept coming back to me while watching Virginia Tech/Clemson in the ACC Championship game was this thought, “What if the ACC is the worst conference in college football?” There was a lot of talk about Washington potentially not making the playoffs because they played ridiculous teams in their non-conference slate and the Pac 12 was somewhat down, but could you apply the same metric to the ACC? It’s hard in Clemson’s case because they do have two non-conference wins over SEC schools in Auburn & South Carolina. They also have wins over Louisville and Florida State, two schools who are probably better than any team Washington has faced the entire season that they beat (they lost to USC). Hey I’m not complaining. Clemson’s in and I have them in too, but I wonder just how good the ACC really was in 2016.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope As if they needed to make a statement, Alabama DEMOLISHED Florida 54-16 in the SEC Championship holding the Gators to ZERO yards rushing and forcing 3 Gator turnovers. The Tide really don’t have a Heisman candidate outside of Jalen Hurts who isn’t being considering a potential winner. It goes to show you the balance of the team. WR Calvin Ridley & TE OJ Howard are NFL stars in the making and Alabama rarely uses them. This squad might be historically great if 15-0.
#2 Computer Hope It sort of bothers me that Ohio State is in the playoffs despite not even winning the Big 10 East, but it actually does make some sense when you think about it. It’s absurd to put 10-2 Oklahoma over Ohio St. when the Buckeyes beat the Sooners 45-24 in Norman. Ohio St. also beat Michigan. That leaves Penn State. Sure Ohio St. lost to the Nittany Lions, but Penn St. has a loss to Pittsburgh that Ohio St. doesn’t have. This also reinforces that ALL regular season games matter, and I LOVE that!
#3 Computer Hope Michigan can’t complain all that much. It’s one thing for Ohio St. to be 11-1 after having a bad day against Penn St. to get a playoff nod, but Michigan has a couple of losses and wound up in 3rd place in the Big 10 East. At least the Buckeyes can say they have a 1st place record. Michigan now gets Florida St. in the Orange Bowl which isn’t a bad consolation prize. A win there puts Michigan at 11-2 and Harbaugh at 21-5 in his first two seasons in Ann Arbor! And maybe Peppers gets the Heisman!
#4 Computer Hope The 42-35 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game looks closer than it actually was. Clemson never really was in trouble. The Hokies would pull to within a TD and then Clemson would score once or twice to get back to a big lead. It doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t change anything but I was happy to see the committee slide Clemson into the #2 spot ahead of Ohio State. Clemson’s loss was to Pittsburgh who beat Penn St. who beat Ohio State. The Tigers deserve #2.
#5 Computer Hope How amazing is Clay Helton’s first season at USC? At one point the Trojans were 1-3 & there were rumors swirling that Helton wouldn’t survive the season. He made the switch to Sam Darnold at QB and USC ripped off 8 straight wins & are playing in the Rose Bowl! I know they are my power rankings, but if Michigan & Clemson lose while USC hammers Penn St., I’d move the Trojans to #3 in the final rankings. At this very minute they are the 2nd best team in the NCAA behind Alabama.
#6 Computer Hope The Huskies put an exclamation point on the season with a dismantling of Colorado 41-10! Sure they won by 31, but they dominated in every facet of the game. QB Jake Browning threw for 2TD. Myles Gaskin & Lavon Coleman each ran for over 100 yards. UW had the ball for almost 39 minutes! The defense held Colorado to just 9 first downs and 163 total yards. I think the Huskies could have beaten either Ohio St. or Clemson so it’s a tough draw to get Alabama, but they’ll put up a fight.
#7 Computer Hope BIG 10 CHAMPIONS! In just his 3rd year at Penn St., James Franklin has Penn St. winning the Big 10 and playing in the Rose Bowl! What a comeback! It’s tough to decide who has the better comeback story: Franklin bringing Penn St. back to prominence or Tom Crean bringing Indiana basketball back to prominence? You could make a TREMENDOUS case that the playoff teams should be Penn St., Alabama, Oklahoma & USC. The Pittsburgh loss cost PSU one of the playoff spots.
#8 Computer Hope I thought Oklahoma would beat the Cowboys by 20 points. Instead they beat them by 18, 38-20. I thought Oklahoma St. would keep it close for awhile before Oklahoma pulled away. The game was tied 17-17 at the half before OU outscored OK-State 21-3 in the 2nd half. If the Sooners destroy Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, they’ll have won 10 straight games. Assuming Ohio St. & Alabama play in the championship, that could very well mean Oklahoma is the #3 team in the nation by season’s end.
#9 Computer Hope Playing for a Rose Bowl, Wisconsin completely disintegrated in the 2nd half being outscored 24-3 en route to losing 38-31 in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Watching that game, I couldn’t figure out just what in the hell went wrong with the Badgers secondary. Trace McSorely would under throw balls and sometimes make bad passes entirely yet PSU receivers would haul them in inexplicably! What a tough way to end the regular season. Even worse? They get W.Michigan in th Cotton Bowl!
#10 Computer Hope LSU got a whale of an opponent in Louisville when they play in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Eve. The bowl game might be more important for LSU than almost any other team in football. A win certainly sets the table for LSU going forward with Ed Orgeron at the helm trying to replicate what Dabo Swinney has built at Clemson. A loss could create quite a few questions. Getting Lane Kiffin as OC after the season would also be a MAJOR coup and would be seen as a huge win over Alabama.
#11 Computer Hope Colorado can’t complain too much about losing the Pac 12 and losing out on the Rose Bowl. Almost every single publication picked the Buffaloes to finish last in the Pac 12 South. They won the South & finished 10-3! They also get Oklahoma St. in the Alamo Bowl which is a game they can win & would give UC an 11-3 final record, their best since 1996! I think Coach Mac stays in Boulder and Colorado doesn’t go anywhere. It’ll be tougher with USC getting good but Colorado should do very well.
#12 Computer Hope I like Auburn and I really like Gus Malzahn but drawing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl is about the worst thing that could have happened to them. The War Eagle nation isn’t going to think about the fact that Auburn started 1-3 and ended up in a New Year’s Six Bowl if the Sooners blow them out. They’ll be thinking that Auburn finished 1-3 with losses to Oklahoma, Alabama & Georgia and Malzhan will find himself on a very hot seat in 2017. Auburn has to be perfect to pull out a victory.
#13 Computer Hope The ACC Championship didn’t go the way Virginia Tech had hoped, but I think they showed out well against Clemson. The Hokies fought hard the entire game before falling 42-35. I was very impressed how the team competed even though there were many chances to fold. It has been a tremendous year in Justin Fuente’s first season. An ACC Coastal championship & a shot at 10 wins if they beat Arkansas in the Belk Bowl which is entirely possible. They’ll be even better next season.
#14 Computer Hope Oklahoma St. actually did a pretty good job moving the football against Oklahoma, but the defense couldn’t keep Oklahoma off the field & that resulted in lots of points for the Sooners and an eventual loss for Oklahoma State. Maybe OSU gets a win if the game is in Stillwater? The Cowboys will get to 10 wins if they beat Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. That will probably be a tall order as I don’t expect Coach Mac to let the Buffaloes coast. That said, this has been an underrated football team.
#15 Computer Hope Dana Holgorsen had to reinvent the Mountaineers program in his image & the finished product is almost complete. If you believe the building block starting point was 2013 when WVU went 4-8, note that in 2014 they improved to 7-6 and then 8-5 in 2015. This year WVU is 10-2 with a shot at 11-2 if they defeat Miami-FL in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The only hurdle left is Oklahoma. The trick now is keeping Holgorsen in Morgantown, something West Virginia couldnt’ do with Rich Rodriguez.
#16 Computer Hope Hard to hammer Washington St. for finishing 7-2 in the Pac 12 considering their only losses were to the Pac 12 South and Pac 12 North champions although they did manage to avoid USC. I still feel like this season is somewhat of a “could have been” season for Mike Leach and the Cougars. They shouldn’t have lost to E.Washington & Boise St. this year meaning 8-4 should be 10-2. That said, a bowl game against Minnesota should put them at 9-4. Back to back 9 wins seasons since 2002-2003.
#17 Computer Hope A lot of people are knocking Pat Narduzzi for Pittsburgh’s lack of defense, but I’d be careful. While it is true that the Panthers allowed 35.6PPG this season, Pittsburgh ranks #10 in the country in sacks and #37 in tackles for loss. They also ranked 2nd in the ACC in QB hurries. This is the kind of defense that can get SCARY good SCARY fast. Pittsburgh’s takeaways don’t match the defensive production. When that starts happening, the Panthers could reach into being a top-10 type of team.
#18 Computer Hope Destroy LSU in the Citrus Bowl and a lot of concerns about Louisville go away pretty fast. Lose to the Tigers in the Citrus Bowl and all of a sudden you have a 9-4 Louisville squad that dropped their last 3 games and lived the entire season on a Week 3 win over Florida State. It also won’t look fantastic for Lamar Jackson if the Redbirds lose to LSU either as it would have been a great statistical season feasting on the dregs of the ACC. Petrino still hasn’t found the magic he had from 2003-2006.
#19 Computer Hope I simply can’t rank FSU ahead of Louisville given how the Cardinals hammered the Noles. If a loss to Pittsburgh early in the season essentially cost Penn St. a chance at being in the playoffs, then a Louisville blowout win can keep a 9-3 Louisville team ahead of a 9-3 Florida St. team. That will change if FSU can beat Michigan in the Orange Bowl! To be fair I think FSU is a lot better than #19. The loss to Louisville was just one of those days & their other losses were to Clemson & UNC.
#20 Computer Hope Like Washington St. this seems like a year that “could” have been for the Hawkeyes. Coming off a 12-2 season with the firepower they had returning, Iowa shouldn’t have dropped games to North Dakota St. and Northwestern meaning their 8-4 should be 10-2. They draw a VERY beatable Florida team in the Outback Bowl so at least the Hawkeyes could get to 9 wins. An 11-2 season on the back of a 12-2 season would have been huge for the program though. Football is better when Iowa wins.
#21 Computer Hope Ouch, Arkansas picked up a bad draw in the bowl game getting a feisty Virginia Tech squad in the Belk Bowl which is played in Charlotte, the scene of the ACC Championship game. It’s a bad draw in a way because the Razorbacks finished the season 4-5 in their last 9 games. A loss would put them at 4-6 in their last 10 but would also have them finish 7-6 which is a game worse than last season. Arkansas can hang with anyone when they are playing well, but this might be game they feel pressure.
#22 Computer Hope Temple just didn’t beat Navy, they CRUSHED the Middies when Navy had EVERYTHING to play for. Western Michigan had a tough time beating Ohio 29-23 so if Navy blows out Temple, the committee had to give thought to jumping Navy ahead of the Broncos. Instead, Temple puts the hammer down & takes home an AAC championship! That’s Matt Rhule’s 2nd 10-win season and he could get to 11 wins with a win over Wake Forest. If you are Oregon, how do you not hire this guy?
#23 Computer Hope People lost sight of Stanford I think because at one point they were 4-3 with the 3 losses coming within a 4-game stretch. That’s tough to overcome but their losses were to Washington (13-1), Washington St. (8-4) and Colorado (10-3). The Cardinal draw North Carolina in the Sun Bowl, a game they could win and get to 10-3. It’ll be interesting to see if Christian McCaffrey comes back for his senior season. It feels like he has unfinished business. If he comes back, Stanford is a title contender.
#24 Computer Hope ROW THE BOAT TO 13-0! It wasn’t the prettiest game but the Broncos got by Ohio 29-23 in the MAC Championship game to finish the season 13-0! The Navy loss guaranteed WMU a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl and they draw Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl! To be honest, this was a great draw for the Broncos because they’ll have a decent chance at beating Wisconsin. A team that likes to run will typically keep scores down so W.Michigan could be in a close game where anything could happen.
#25 Computer Hope How great does South Florida look now that the season is over and they are sitting on a 10-2 record with their only losses coming against Temple and Florida State!? Drawing South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl seems a little thin but it would give USF a chance to finish 11-2. HC Willie Taggart has truly done a fantastic job. He did an outstanding job at W.Kentucky before here and now he’s a hot coaching commodity. Does Taggart play the long game & hope for the Big XII?

DROPPING OUT

#25 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN: Talk about the worst time to throw up on yourself!? It was a tough loss but Navy still has Army to play next week and Louisiana Tech to play in the bowl game. Both games should be wins meaning Navy could finish the season 11-3 with a bowl win along with an AAC West division championship. The 11 wins would match last year’s totals giving Navy back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in school history and 22-5 record over the last 2 seasons!

 

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, Florida St., Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Navy, NCAA, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Pittsburgh, Power 25, South Florida, Stanford, Temple, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., Week 14, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 14 – BIG GAMES

With it being conference championship weekend, there wasn’t 10 games worth mentioning so I settled for eight. It should be an amazing weekend if nothing else because Michigan & Ohio St. (and even Oklahoma to a certain extent) are HUGE names that significantly factor into the playoff race yet aren’t playing. College football is nothing if not insanely interesting! There are massive implications for almost all of these games so let’s get to it.

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope The Pac 12 was going to be significantly upgraded with Mike MacIntyre & Chris Petersen took over programs and it’s already showing. Coach Petersen is in his 3rd year while Coach Mac is in his 4th leading the biggest program turnaround in Pac 12 history. I think if Washington wins they are in, but another interesting point is if Colorado loses, they can’t fall behind USC or else they risk losing out on the Rose Bowl. I think the Huskies win and win big. Computer Hope
Computer Hope So here is where it gets tricky. Western Michigan is the highest ranked team from the pack of 5 non-BCS conference. The highest ranked team out of that group of conferences plays in a New Year’s 6 bowl. We all thought it would be Houston this season. Turns out it’s Western Michigan. But is it? Navy ranks 19th so if the Broncos lose or if they win big & Navy blows out Temple, there is a shot that the Middies could usurp a 13-0 team. WMU needs a blow out! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Speaking of Navy….The Middies are 8-2 entering the AAC championship against the Owls who are a tremendous team in their own right. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Navy beats Army meaning they are playing for 10-2. They can’t overlook Temple. The Owls have won 6 straight, are looking for their 10th win and over their last 4 games have allowed 5.8PPG. Matt Rhule is an OUTSTANDING head coach so Temple is more than able to win the AAC. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BEDLAM! This should be a great game and I can see Oklahoma St. keeping this close for a bit, but the Sooners should pull away and win by 20 or so points. Oklahoma has been destroying everyone in their path while winning 8 straight games. The Cowboys are playing well too but OU has a lot on the line. They need a blowout for possible playoff considerations, but apparently WR Dede Westbrook could very well be playing for the Heisman Trophy! Computer Hope
Computer Hope On the field Alabama is going to destroy Florida worse than they did last year when they took the Gators down 29-15. What’s more interesting is the rumors that Gators HC Jim McElwain could bolt to Oregon! Does it make sense? Yeah I think it does. McElwain is a West Coast guy born in Montana & an E.Washington grad. Florida is a PREMIER job but what makes it for me is that the recruiting pressure at Oregon isn’t nearly what it is at Florida. It matters. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’ve seen a lot of commentators say they think Clemson is going to blow the barn doors off of Virginia Tech, but I’m not so sure that is a possibility. This actually might be the most strategic of the conference championship games. The Hokies have become a power running team under Justin Fuente in his 1st year. If they can keep Deshaun Watson off the field & control clock, VT should keep it close. Will it be enough to pull off the upset? Too hard to tell. Computer Hope
Computer Hope And here is where all the implications reside! I think the playoff committee having Ohio St. #2 really gums things up but it could get resolved rather quickly. If Wisconsin wins I can see Ohio St. making the playoffs despite not being Big 10 champs because they beat the Badgers. If Penn St. wins it gets tougher because PSU beat Ohio State. Dream scenario for Big 10? Clemson, Washington & Oklahoma lose putting 3 Big 10 teams in with Alabama! Nutty! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The one game on the list that isn’t a championship game or a de facto championship game, I wanted to note it because a West Virginia win would give the Mountaineers a 10-2 regular season record with a shot at 11-2 with a bowl win. It would be WVU’s best finish since 2007 when they ended the year 11-2 & ranked #6. I don’t know if they could climb that high but top-12 and maybe top-10 is a possibility. College football is much better when WVU is relevant. Computer Hope

December 3, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Baylor, Big Games, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Must See Games, Navy, NCAA, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Temple, Virginia Tech, Washington, Week 14, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 WEEK 13

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope The dismantling of Auburn in the Iron Bowl was complete as the Tide held an exceptionally strong Auburn running attack to 66 yards on 26 carries. I think I’ve finally figured out why this might be Alabama’s best team Saban’s ever had, and it’s the idea that Saban himself doesn’t think the team is very good. They are the only Big 5 team undefeated & they’ve destroyed every opponent, yet Saban still has doubts. The gulf between #1 and #2 seems miles apart. I think the Tide finish 15-0.
#2 Computer Hope The Buckeyes took advantage of Michigan mistakes and spotty officiating to defeat the Wolverines 30-27 in double overtime which ended up securing the Big 10 East for Penn State! JT Barrett and Curtis Samuel played really well down the stretch against a Michigan defense that looked tired, especially in the 2nd half/overtime. Now all the Buckeyes can do is wait for the playoff committee to decide on what to do. I think they are praying for Oklahoma, Washington & Clemson to lose.
#3 Computer Hope I thought Michigan was the better team on the field Saturday but a couple of turnovers led to 14 Ohio St. points and the Wolverines defense tired at the end when JT Barrett and Curtis Samuel had quite a bit left in the tank. Michigan’s playoff hopes are dashed, but they can still finish 11-2 which is a win better than last year’s 10-3. Harbaugh is going to win multiple championships in Ann Arbor. I would have loved to have seen Michigan play against Alabama, but it won’t be this season.
#4 Computer Hope Clemson made a statement in their regular season finale by DECIMATING in-state rival South Carolina 56-7! Deshaun Watson threw 6TD passes while Wayne Gallman ran for 100+ and a TD. South Carolina isn’t a horrible team so this was a solid win. I don’t think Watson can win the Heisman given his rushing numbers weren’t that dominant and he threw the 14 picks, but you never know really. If Clemson beats Virginia Tech they are going to the playoffs. It might be their toughest test.
#5 Computer Hope USC ended their regular season beating Notre Dame 45-27 but the game wasn’t really that close as the Trojans were in control from the jump and never let the Irish get close. The win was USC’s 8th straight victory & outside of Alabama, there isn’t a team playing better. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Colorado took care of business at home against Utah preventing USC from winning the Pac 12 South. In their 8 straight wins, the USC defense allowed on average 18.6PPG. That’s a big deal.
#6 Computer Hope Washington St. is a good team and the Huskies treated them like a low end FCS squad. I don’t understand why the Pac 12 isn’t getting much respect. If Washington wins the Pac 12 Championship, they deserve their shot. This is a very fast squad with an offense that is EXTREMELY difficult to contain. Forget the USC loss at this point. The Trojans might be the 2nd best team in nation right now. Does their resume look as good as Alabama’s? No, but the Pac 12 is a lot better than perception.
#7 Computer Hope So why drop Wisconsin from 4th to 7th despite the Badgers beating Minnesota 31-17? Here is the reason: Alabama-Jalen Hurts, Ohio St.-JT Barrett, Michigan-Wilton Speight, Clemson-Deshaun Watson, USC-Sam Darnold, Washington-Jake Browning, Wisconsin……..Bart Houston/Alex Hornibrook? The Badgers keep winning but I think their QB situation could keep them from being one of the ELITE teams in the nation. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens if they beat Penn State.
#8 Computer Hope What a game for Penn State!! I thought it was really interesting how Michigan St. sold out to stop the Penn St. ran and held the Nittany Lions to 77 rushing yards on 33 carries. The Spartans dared Trace McSorley to beat them through the air and he did just that throwing for 376 yards & 4TD going 17 of 23 without an interception. Penn St. has relied heavily this season on Saquon Barkley & McSorleyrunning the football, but McSorely must have gained a ton of confidence airing out against Michigan State.
#9 Computer Hope Oklahoma was on bye this past week but Saturday’s games didn’t fair that well for the Sooners. Ohio St. beating Michigan definitely worked in OU’s favor, but Washington & Clemson winning hurt the Sooners as it solidified both schools’ claim to playoff berths. They’ll get Oklahoma St. in Norman which should equal a win that would push OU to 10-2 and Big XII champs. It will be their 9th straight win. Oklahoma would be an interesting playoff team, but their defense has given up 30+PPG!? Ouch!
#10 Computer Hope Colorado came up with a BIG TIME play early in the 4th when they returned a Joe Williams fumble for a TD which took the Buffaloes 20-16 lead to 27-16 which essentially sealed the game for Colorado. The only two losses Colorado has suffered through are to USC & Michigan. I have both of those teams in my top-5 so Colorado could argue they belong at #6. Like Washington you can point to a weak schedule en route to a 10-2 record, but this is a well balanced team with a tremendous head coach.
#11 Computer Hope Is it OK to say out loud that Derrius Guice might be better than Leonard Fournette? Guice absolutely DESTROYED Texas A&M this past weekend going for 285 yards & 4TD on 37 carries. It brought Guice’s totals for the season to 1,249 rushing yards & 14TD! Over his career he’s averaging 8+ypc and he’s 5’11/225lbs which is IDEAL size for an NFL running back. Naming Ed Orgeron the head coach is a pretty nice move especially with Orgeron’s ties to Louisiana. All he needs to do is recruit! He can.
#12 Computer Hope Like I said with Oklahoma, the weekend didn’t do wonders for Oklahoma St.’s playoff chances, but I don’t even think it’s about getting the playoffs for the Cowboys. They lost earlier to Central Michigan which pretty much eliminates them regardless. Unfair? Absolutely but it is what it is. I think it’s more about OK-State winning the Big XII, getting to the Fiesta and finishing 11-2 with the prospect of having a huge 2017 season that could very well have them fighting for a playoff spot. I’m all in!
#13 Computer Hope No shame in losing to Alabama 30-12 in Tuscaloosa. Auburn was going to have trouble even if Sean White was able to go, but with their starting QB gone, their chances of pulling off a stunner were close to zero. I liked how the Tigers made the Tide work for it though. Sure Alabama ran for 203 yards but it took them 44 carries to get there. The Auburn defense also picked Jalen Hurts off twice. The Georgia loss was ridiculous & it’ll prevent a 10 win season, but 7-2 down the stretch was nice.
#14 Computer Hope You can’t really blame the Cougs for losing to Colorado & Washington in back-to-back weeks. Both those teams are playing for the Pac 12 Championship and are top-10 teams. Coming into their final two games, Wazzou had won 8 straight games and were the last undefeated team in the Pac 12. I actually thought Wazzou looked like the better football team when they played Colorado. The two early season gaffes prevented Mike Leach from having his first double-digit winning season in Pullman.
#15 Computer Hope The Hokies left NO DOUBT Saturday as they hosted in-state rival Virginia and promptly hammered the Cavaliers 52-10! Virginia Tech went up 38-0 before UVA even scored to make it 38-3. HC Justin Fuente wants to run the football and that’s a pretty good strategy if QB Jerod Evans can keep the chains moving against Clemson in the ACC Championship. Keep Clemson’s offense on the field. If the Hokies show up, they are going to make life difficult and I think they can pull off a stunner.
#16 Computer Hope If the best win of the year is Penn St. beating Ohio St., then the 2nd best win of the year is Pittsburgh beating Clemson. The Panthers & Syracuse decided defense was optional to finish the season as the Panthers came away with a 76-61 victory! It was the most points ever scored in an FBS football game and the 76 points allowed is the most in Syracuse football history! All in all the teams scored 20TD! INSANITY! Pittsburgh’s D is terrible, but they have wins over Penn St. & Clemson! Nuts!
#17 Computer Hope Losing to Kentucky? In Papa John’s Stadium? Are you serious Louisville? When Louisville is right and Lamar Jackson is playing well, they can probably beat anyone in the nation outside of Alabama. That said, losing to Houston & Kentucky to close out your season? That’s ridiculous. Louisville needs a bowl win to get to 10-3 which will be Petrino’s first double-digit winning season since returning to the Ville. Let’s hope that the Cardinals lacked for motivation after dropping the game to Houston.
#18 Computer Hope I have to rank the Seminoles behind Louisville because the Cardinals obliterated FSU 63-20 way back on September 17th, but from that point forward, it’s hard to argue the Seminoles haven’t had a great season. The record is sub-par at 9-3, but after the Louisville loss, Florida St.’s only other 2 losses came against North Carolina & Clemson by a combined 5 points. How is this for odd: If FSU beats Clemson & N.Carolina, it would have sent Louisville to the ACC title game despite FSU finishing 11-1!!
#19 Computer Hope Iowa finally played like Iowa over the last 3 weeks of the season. The Hawkeyes showed us why they started last season 12-0 against Nebraska in their season finale. CJ Beathard was brutally efficient while Akrum Wadley & LaShun Daniels ran all over the black shirts! Iowa’s defense smothered Nebraska all day allowing the Huskers just 217 total yards. The Hawkeyes beat Michigan, Illinois & Nebraska the last 3 weeks by the combined score of 82-23. When they were right in 2016, they were top-10.
#20 Computer Hope While Oklahoma & Oklahoma St. were taking the week off to get ready for the de facto Big XII championship game, West Virginia was putting in work against Iowa St., beating the Cyclones 49-19 to improve to 9-2 before taking on Baylor in the season finale. Iowa St. hung around for the first half before WVU dominated the last 30 minutes of the game. Skyler Howard had 300+yds/5TD while Martell Pettaway ran for 181yds/1TD. I hope WVU can close it out in Morgantown with a win for 10-2.
#21 Computer Hope Losing to Missouri 28-24 after taking a 24-7 lead into the half is almost unexplainable. The ranking is a gift obviously and Arkansas finishes 7-5, but in reality outside of the Missouri loss, this is still a team that has 4 losses to Alabama, Texas A&M (when they were rolling), Auburn & LSU (after Orgeron took over). You really think North Carolina or Nebraska deserves to be here over the Hogs? The disappointment is that at best Arkansas can finish 8-5 which is where they finished last season.
#22 Computer Hope The Cardinal might be the quietest 9-3 team in all of college football. After being routed by the Washington schools which effectively took them out of the Pac 12 North competition, Stanford went on to go 6-1 in their last 7 with the lone loss being a 10-5 loss against Colorado. And what about Christian McCaffrey? After Stanford’s bowl, he’s going to have over 2,000 total yards & close to 20TD! It won’t be last year’s Pac 12 championship season but finishing off the year 10-3 would be very sweet.
#23 Computer Hope Western Michigan completed the perfect regular season with a 55-35 win over Toledo to get to 12-0. The game wasn’t even that close as the Broncos took a 45-14 lead into the 4th quarter before the Rockets threw on some garbage time TDs. Ohio took care of business against Akron so the MAC Championship allows WMU to gain even more credibility. He can’t win it, but WMU QB Zach Terrell deserves an invite to NYC for the Heisman if WMU finish 13-0. He’s got 3000yds/30TD with 1INT! Nuts!
#24 Computer Hope If not for their loss to Temple, South Florida would be playing Navy in the AAC Championship game. HC Willie Taggart has done an amazing job with the Bulls taking over a team that was 3-9 in 2012 and improving that by at least 7 wins in just his 4th year in Tampa. The Bulls showcased one hell of an offense this year led by Quinton Flowers & Marlon Mack. They had an outstanding running game combined with big play passing ability. Now if only they had any idea on how to play defense!
#25 Computer Hope I consider the Middies to be 10-2 because I doubt that Army gives them much trouble when they face off in a couple of weeks. Like South Florida, Navy gives up quite a bit on the defensive side of the football, but the Midshipmen can score. How amazing has this year been? They lose Keenan Reynolds and still beat Houston, Memphis & Notre Dame. They also make it to the AAC Championship game, something they never did with Reynolds at QB. How amazing would it be if Navy finished 12-2?

DROPPING OUT

#17 UTAH UTES: The Utes were living all season on their early season win over USC. When you really break it down, they were 4-4 over their last 8 games. If not for three easy games early in the year combined with the USC win before the Trojans became what they are, Utah would essentially be a 6-6/5-7 team. Losing to California & Oregon were crucial. The Utes could still finish out the year 9-4 if they win their bowl game, but I think they’d have to feel pretty lucky to get there.

#18 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS: Easily the most disappointing team in college football and it isn’t even remotely close. The Vols finished their last 7 games with a 3-4 record including losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt! That’s ridiculous especially considering the Vols hammered Florida and the Gators wound up as SEC East champions. Losing to Alabama and Texas A&M? Fine. Finish 10-2 and at worst win your bowl game and end the season at 11-3. The fact that Tennessee finished 8-4 when every other SEC East team was in the toilet is telling. There is no way Butch Jones wins with this program.

#19 FLORIDA GATORS: If Tennessee sucks and you get waxed by Tennessee, how can you be in the top-25? Getting blasted by Florida St. was terrible and now Florida is 8-3 facing an Alabama team that should be favored by 50 points. To Jim McElwain’s credit, Florida’s defense the last two years has been exceptional and I shudder to think how good Florida could be should they ever find a legitimate QB to take over. I can’t rank  Florida in the top-25 because I’m not sure they deserve to be there, but McElwain is proving to be one of the elite coaches in the nation. Tennessee should take note. Their window is now closed.

#21 HOUSTON COUGARS: Beat Louisville and then turn around and lose to Memphis? If that wasn’t bad enough, HC Tom Herman took the job at Texas. When it rains it pours.

#22 BOISE ST. BRONCOS: That loss to Air Force was killer. It knocked the Broncos out of the MW championship game. Hard to knock a 10-2 squad but losses to Wyoming & Air Force hurt them. I couldn’t justify ranking Boise and not Wyoming and the Cowboys just lost to New Mexico.

#23 NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Losing to Iowa 40-10 relegated Nebraska to 3rd place status in the Big 10 West. Do 6 teams from the Big 10 deserve to be ranked in the top-25? Maybe, but Nebraska down the stretch showed who they really were. They went 2-3 in their last 5 games and struggled in wins over Indiana & Minnesota. That isn’t a top-25 squad.

#24 TEXAS A&M AGGIES: The Trevor Knight injury was terrible but 2-4 in your last 6 including losses to Ole Miss and Mississippi State? Destroyed a season when this very well was at worst a top-12 or top-15 squad. The team has a legitimate shot at ending up 8-5. After starting 6-0, that is terrible.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Boise St., Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida St., Houston, Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Navy, NCAA, Nebraska, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Pittsburgh, Power 25, South Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas AM, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., Week 13, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

DOES THE PLAYOFF COMMITTEE WANT TWO BIG 10 TEAMS?

The playoff rankings came out tonight (11/22) and they are thus:

1. Alabama 11-0
2. Ohio St. 10-1
3. Michigan 10-1
4. Clemson 10-1
5. Washington 10-1
6. Wisconsin 9-2
7. Penn St. 9-2
8. Oklahoma 9-2
9. Colorado 9-2
10. Oklahoma St. 9-2

Louisville clocks in at #11 at 9-2, but the Cardinals blew any chance they had at the playoffs with their loss to Houston. The Cardinals cannot win the ACC Atlantic and by virtue cannot get into the playoffs because of their two losses. If you’ll remember, Ohio St. moved up to the #2 spot the week after Michigan lost to Iowa, Washington lost to USC, and Clemson lost to Pittsburgh. To be honest, it was difficult not to slot the Buckeyes at the #2 slot. They were a one loss team that wasn’t coming off a loss and the week prior they were #5 behind the Wolverines, Huskies & Tigers respectively. It made sense for them to climb to #2, but in doing so the committee put themselves in somewhat of a bind because of Penn St.’s victory over the Buckeyes.

Somebody forgot to tell Penn St. they needed to lose another conference game. The Nittany Lions make things a bit messy for Ohio St. in that if the Buckeyes do beat Michigan and Penn St. takes care of Michigan State, Penn St. will win the Big 10 East. They will move on to play Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game.

The simple answer to all of this is for Michigan, Washington & Clemson to win out. Michigan beating Ohio St. would give the committee reason to drop Ohio St. below the other two conference champions. It would also be very neat because ostensibly we’d have the final 4 teams as:

SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide: 13-0
Big 10 Champion Michigan Wolverines: 12-1
ACC Champion Clemson Tigers: 12-1
Pac 12 Champion Washington Huskies: 12-1

Oklahoma or Oklahoma St. gets left out because they’d be 10-2 and the 2nd loss is a good enough reason to leave them out. Not only that, but if Ohio St. & Houston didn’t get in, it’s hard to envision an argument that Oklahoma would deserve a bid. As for Oklahoma State, while it seems a bit unfair, you can hardly have a team playing for a national championship that lost at home to Central Michigan. Possibly unfair, but ultimately Oklahoma St. at best is 10-2. Sorry Pokes.

Now what if Ohio St. beats Michigan and Penn St. beats Michigan State?

This is where it gets interesting. If the Buckeyes win they’ll be 11-1 with their one loss coming to Penn State. The Nittany Lions will most likely play Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. If you believe the Big 10 champion is going to get a playoff spot then here are Ohio St. arguments:

Penn St. beats Wisconsin: Ohio St. has only one loss on the road to Penn State. The Lions lost to Pittsburgh & Michigan (a team Ohio St. just beat). If Penn St. gets into the playoffs, Ohio St. has a good argument that it belongs too considering they have one loss and they also have wins over Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Michigan and Nebraska. They definitely deserve the nod over Oklahoma knowing they blew the Sooners out. Their resume stacks up a lot better than a possible 12-1 Washington team, and frankly it’s probably better than a 12-1 Clemson team. The only problem that Ohio St. could run into is the committee feeling like Penn St. doesn’t deserve the nod. Here is where the rankings get interesting. Penn St. ranks #7 and Oklahoma ranks #8. The committee is pretty slick to rank them this way because in theory Oklahoma can’t jump Penn St. if the Lions keep winning. However, could the committee allow the Sooners to jump Penn St. if Oklahoma blasts Oklahoma St. while Penn St. barely escapes Michigan State? It’s a possibility. If that is the case, then it might be possible for the committee to think a 10-2 Big XII Champion Oklahoma squad is more worth than an 11-2 Big 10 Champion Penn St. squad. It sort of seems absurd, but you could sort of argue that Oklahoma deserves it over Penn St., but they don’t deserve it over Ohio State. That doesn’t matter though because Ohio St. didn’t even win their own conference division. Again, this argument is paper-thin. You’d have to think Oklahoma couldn’t jump Penn St. should the Lions keeps winning.

Wisconsin beats Penn St.: This argument is a whole lost easier to make. If Wisconsin wins out and wins the Big 10 at 11-2, it’s hard to argue the Buckeyes don’t get in because they beat Wisconsin during the regular season. If the committee believes the Big 10 champion gets into the playoffs then how in the world can Wisconsin jump Ohio St. in the standings considering the Buckeyes win over Wisconsin? As with Penn St., the only way Ohio St. runs into trouble is if the committee somehow believes a 10-2 Oklahoma team is more deserving of a spot than an 11-2 Wisconsin team combined with the fact that both Washington & Clemson are 12-1. But that doesn’t make much sense given Ohio St.’s win over Oklahoma.

Of course, in this scenario the committee is saying that Ohio St. would get in over a 12-1 Washington or a 12-1 Clemson squad. We all know that Washington would get left out and that feels odd to me. Yes, the Pac 12 hasn’t been good. Yes, Washington didn’t have much of a non-conference slate, but 12-1 and Pac 12 champs being told not quite good enough in favor of a team that didn’t win their own division? That would be hard to swallow.

Michigan could make things a lot easier by beating Ohio State or by Penn St. losing to Michigan St., but you know it’s never that easy when it comes to college football.

What does seem certain however is that the committee is giving Ohio St. every opportunity to get into the playoffs. With their #2 ranking, it does seem like they are telling the Buckeyes that all they need to do is beat Michigan. It doesn’t matter that they would ultimately lose the Big 10 East. Beat Michigan and you’re in. That would give the Big 10 two teams which is seemingly what the committee wants.

November 22, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Clemson, Colorado, Michigan, NCAA, NCAA Playoffs, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Playoffs, Washington, Wisconsin | Leave a comment