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RANDOM NCAA FOOTBALL THOUGHTS AFTER 2 WEEKS

I thought it would be interesting to go over some random thoughts about the college football world  now that we are 2 weeks into the season. What has been surprising? Disappointing? Unusual? Let’s take a look by conference.

SEC

  • I’m surprised that Kentucky has had as hard a time as they have in their first two games against Southern Miss & Eastern Kentucky. EKU gave the Wildcats all they could handle before Kentucky pulled away late, but so far Kentucky has outscored both of their opponents 51-33. Benny Snell has not run the ball well and Denzil Ward has not been nearly as dominant off the edge as I thought he’d be. Getting South Carolina this week on the road could expose Kentucky.
  • Missouri QB Drew Lock went from completing 62% of his passes for 521 yards & 7TD in Week 1 against Missouri St. to completing 44% of his passes for 245 yards & 1TD including 2 picks in Week 2 against South Carolina. Lock can be a very good QB, but we might want to pump the brakes on his Heisman candidacy. He learned quickly that Missouri St. doesn’t exactly play SEC style defense. With that said, Missouri could win 6 games and get to a bowl which should set up a monster 2018 season for the Tigers.
  • He’s not getting attention but Ole Miss’s Shea Patterson has had an incredible first two games. The QB has completed 77% of his passes for 918 yards including 9TDs to only 1 interceptions. Over 12 games that equates to 5,508 passing yards & 54TD. You have to allow for competition as the Rebels have beaten South Alabama & UT-Martin, but given the distractions around the program the last few months, Mississippi has to be thankful for this kind of start and seeing how good Patterson can be.
  • They aren’t ranked yet but South Carolina is a real threat to win the SEC East. Their first two wins over NC State and Missouri are impressive considering neither were home games & SC did a great job in each game. Against NC State the Gamecocks scored 30+ against one of the best D-Lines in the nation. Missouri was coming off a 70+ point scoring effort against Missouri St. and the SC defense held the Tigers to 13 points & made Drew Lock look bad. SC QB Jake Bentley is the best QB nobody is talking about.
  • It was very disappointing to see Arkansas have such a hard time running the ball effectively against TCU. They didn’t look all that explosive against Florida A&M in Week 1 either meaning this could be a long road ahead for the Razorbacks. Seeing Bobby Petrino take this program to the brink of playing for a national title has only hurt Bret Bielema. Arkansas has road games against Alabama, LSU & South Carolina. All are almost certain losses meaning AT BEST Arkansas can go 7-5, but that assumes they can beat Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn. Lose 2 of those 3 and Arkansas doesn’t make a bowl. Can Bielema survive?

BIG 10

  • The dominance of Michigan’s defense has to be an incredible surprise to many. You knew Michigan was going to be good but over their first two games, the defense is allowing just 1.4 yards per rush and opposing QBs are completing just 43.9% of their passes and have thrown for only a single TD while being picked off twice. The Wolverins are +4 in sack differential, +2 in tackles for loss differential, and +1 in TO margin. Those differentials show that Michigan could get even better.
  • I’m surprised at Iowa so far. The Hawkeyes did a good job of shutting down potential NFL 1st Rd. pick QB Josh Allen when the Hawkeyes opened up with a 24-7 win over Wyoming. There was every reason to think Iowa was going to lose their rivalry game against Iowa State, but the Hawkeyes pulled out a huge win in OT on the road to get to 2-0. Akrum Wadley is running well and QB Nate Stanley has been EXCEPTIONAL! He’s on pace for 50+TD passes which is amazing from an Iowa offense! LB Josey Jewell is playing out of his mind. He on pace for almost 140 tackles this season & is playing like a 1st Team All-American.
  • Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised at Wisconsin and how dominant they’ve been. Granted they’ve only played Florida Atlantic and Utah State, but the defense has been outstanding. What surprises me most about the Badgers is how much they lost from last year’s team and the squad seemingly hasn’t missed a beat. Losing guys like TJ Watt, Vince Biegel, and Jack Cichy would impact the defense. I thought losing Corey Clement would be hard, but Wisconsin has absorbed these losses and looks even better than they did in 2016!
  • Completely surprised with Maryland! The Terrapins opened up on the road against Texas and beat the Longhorns in Austin 51-41 behind HUGE games from RB Ty Johnson, QB Tyrrell Pigrome and WR DJ Moore. Pigrome had to miss Week 2, but Maryland barely noticed as they took down Towson 63-17. I knew Johnson was a home run hitter at tailback but how could you see what was coming? Johnson is on pace to rush or over 1600 yards while averaging 15+ypc! Texas might stink and I’m sure the Terps are going to be tested more fiercely but right now the team is averaging 57PPG & you can be sure they won’t be intimidated in any situation after winning at Texas.
  • How good really is Ohio State? They lost the 1st half to Indiana in Week 1 by the score of 14-13 before blowing the Hoosiers out in the 2nd half. In Week 2, the Buckeyes hosted Oklahoma and had the doors blown off. If you look at quarters, Ohio St. has basically lost 6 of the 8 quarters they’ve played. JT Barrett doesn’t look good and you have to wonder how far Ohio St. can run this year. The Oklahoma loss doesn’t hurt too much if Ohio St. can run the table, but with Michigan progressing much faster than expected and Penn St. being Penn St., Ohio St. might have a very difficult road ahead.

BIG XII

  • Utterly shocked is the best way I can describe what is going on at Baylor. I’m sure when Matt Rhule left Temple for Waco, he didn’t imagine opening up the season with back to back losses to Liberty & UT-San Antonio, but the absolute worst case scenario has played out for the Bears and now they sit at 0-2 and that record could easily run to 0-8 before they get a road game against Kansas that might not be a victory at all. It would be insane to think Baylor could finish 0-12 and the odds are against it because going 0-12 isn’t easy, but it’s in play.
  • It’s one thing for Baker Mayfield to be a good QB. It’s completely another for the guy to be completing 84% of his passes and being on pace for 5,000 yards & 50TD. As good as Lamar Jackson has been for Louisville, if Mayfield completed 80% of his passes and the Sooners finish 13-0, then I don’t see how he’s not the Heisman Trophy winner. The Big XII has been incredible so far, but right now it looks as if Oklahoma is a notch ahead of anyone. They won’t face a defense as tough as Ohio State’s in conference play and the Sooners absolutely shredded the Buckeyes in Columbus.
  • Speaking of great QBs, Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma St. is completing 73% of his pass attempts and is on pace for 4,000 yards & 40TD. Rudolph might even be posting bigger stats through the passing game if it wasn’t for RBs Justice Hill and JD King who are running the ball extremely well. The Mayfield shadow is so big that Rudolph gets swallowed up by it, but the Oklahoma St. QB is a legit 1st Rd. NFL QB playing for a team that has a tremendous shot at getting to the playoffs. How in the world does a QB like this get overlooked!?
  • I’m not completely shocked by TCU’s 2-0 start but the Frogs absolutely dominated Arkansas in Fayetteville this past week. I think QB Kenny Hill has to play better for the Frogs to challenge either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, but TCU has a real shot at 10-2 and a possible 11-2 season with a bowl assuming they lose to both Oklahoma & Oklahoma State. Having those two games on the road is a schedule nightmare, but TCU’s defense has been unbelievable so far so who knows. TCU’s defense has been off the charts when it comes to statistics. They’ve only played Jackson St. & Arkansas but right now they look like the best defense in college football.
  • I’m really surprised at how good West Virginia has played. They shouldn’t have lost their opener to Virginia Tech and they followed that up by absolutely destroying East Carolina. QB Will Grier has been amazing and West Virginia can really run the football behind Justin Crawford & Kennedy McKoy. The Mountaineers need to play a bit better on defense, but that is a common theme among Big XII teams. It does seem though that WVU might be able to air it out with anyone if Grier can keep up this pace. Dana Holgorsen is an exceptional HC. I’m very curious to see if he ever gets a top-10 job because the guy can win national championships. Of course it would be awesome if he did so in Morgantown.
  • Overall I’m really impressed with how competitive the Big XII is. Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Kansas St., TCU and West Virginia are really good teams. Texas is super talented although the Maryland loss is a bit rough. Iowa St. probably should have beaten Iowa given they were playing at home & the Hawkeyes gave them plenty of chances. Baylor has had it extremely rough and we don’t really know too much about Texas Tech & Kansas yet, but the Big XII has the chance to go 6-7 deep possibly and that is a lot more than most other conferences.

PAC 12

  • How about the play of the two stud QBs in the Pac 12!? Josh Rosen is on fire. So far this season he’s led the Bruins to a 2-0 mark including an INCREDIBLE come from behind victory over Texas A&M! He’s thrown for 820yds/9TD without a pick while completing 68% of his passes! Rosen is on pace to throw for 5,330 yards with 59TD! Sam Darnold of USC has been pretty darn good too. Darnold had thrown for 605yds/4TD with 4 interceptions while completing 75% of his passes. Darnold shredded a great Stanford defense & re-established USC has a national title contender after a difficult outing against Western Michigan to open up the season. Darnold has been plagued by drop passes and bad routes as well so his numbers could be even better. There is a good shot these two guys are the first two taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. I’d say it’s even likely.
  • I’m pretty surprised at UCLA’s defense. The pass defense is allowing opposing QBs to complete just 47.8% of their passes and are allowing just 4.7 yards per pass attempt. The Bruins are +1 in sack differential and +4 in tackle for loss differential. They are -2 in TO margin which outlines a couple of tendencies with the defense. They don’t create a lot of turnovers and their rush defense is absolutely horrible giving up 6.3ypc! If UCLA can fix those issues then this team could compete with USC for the Pac 12 South.
  • I’m pretty surprised Arizona State has looked as bad as they have. They were able to open up the season with 2 home games against New Mexico State and San Diego State. They got by New Mexico State, but by only 6 points. They were dominated by San Diego St. for the most part losing 30-20. RB Kalen Ballage has had a tough time getting off rushing for only 3.7ypc without facing any real stud defenses. Todd Graham was on the hot seat coming into the season, but I don’t see how he survives it. The Sun Devil defense is atrocious and if Ballage has a rough time this year, I can’t see them winning many games. I think 0-10 is a real possibility before the finish the season up against Oregon State and Arizona. Wow!
  • I was shocked to see Stanford get destroyed by USC. I don’t know if that was a blip or just one of those game where everything goes wrong, but Stanford matches up well with the Trojans & yet were dominated. The loss doesn’t kill Stanford as they are more  than capable of winning out (They get Washington in Pao Alto) and meeting USC again in the Pac 12 championship but they have a couple of tricky games the next two weeks playing San Diego St. (who just thrashed Arizona St.) and UCLA who has proven extremely dangerous no matter the situation. I didn’t see any of this coming.
  • I think everyone has to be pleasantly surprised with the job Justin Wilcox has done so far at Cal. I don’t think anyone really expected Cal to go to Chapel Hill and beat North Carolina, but they did and then followed that up with a shaky win against Weber State. Carolina wasn’t awful against Louisville so if you extrapolate, California could be more competitive than we initially though. QB Ross Bowers is playing well. RB Patrick Laird was dominant against Weber St. and the Bears have a real talent at WR in Demetris Robertson. The Bears are also +3 in TO margin which certainly helps.
  • I do want to mention Oregon. I thought their 2nd half against Nebraska was a disaster but the Ducks were playing not to lose & barely held on to that one. If they can get consistent defensive play, Oregon is going to be factor in the Pac 12 North if anything because they’ll be hard games for Washington & Stanford, but QB Justin Herbert is for real and Royce Freeman can run the ball. I’m not sure I thought this team could win 10 games before the season began, but I think that win total is in play.

ACC

  • Look we knew the Clemson defense was going to be good, but that defense is insane. The D-Line completely bottled up Auburn last week which has to be a harbinger for things to come. I honestly don’t think there is a team in the nation outside of Alabama & Oklahoma and I’m not sure that is going to be enough. I don’t want to minimize the the loss of Deshaun Watson because it was a huge loss, but Kelly Bryant looks more than up for the task. I’d be surprised at this point if Clemson doesn’t finish 13-0 especially with Deondre Francois out for the year at Florida State.
  • I’m not sure there has been any real thoughts on the ACC outside of Clemson’s incredible start defensively. We haven’t really gotten to see Florida St. or Miami-FL outside of their first games because of hurricane issues and neither team will play this week. UNC getting beat by Cal is a bit surprising but it’s a rebuild year in Chapel Hill. Louisville having a hard time against Purdue & North Carolina is a bit troubling but Lamar Jackson has been outstanding. Duke’s start is incredible but they haven’t played anyone yet. At best I think we can say we have an incomplete grade on the ACC thus far.
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September 13, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Arizona St., Arkansas, Baylor, Big 10, Big XII, California, Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Pac 12, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, UCLA, USC, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL – WEEK 3 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope What happens when an unstoppable force comes up against an immovable object? We’re about to find out when Clemson’s D-Line goes up against Louisville QB Lamar Jackson! Louisville’s defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone so I think Clemson won’t have any issues scoring points & winning. What will be interesting is to see how Clemson stops Jackson. They dominated Auburn’s run game last week, what will that defense do this week? Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think whoever wins his game starts garnering a bit more attention. LSU is sniffing the top-10 while the Bulldogs have laid the wood against inferior competition in their first two weeks. Last year LSU beat Hail State 23-20 in Baton Rouge despite being 13-point favorites. I think Mississippi St. is better this year so a win is clearly possible. I’m guessing LSU DC Dave Aranda’s going to stop MSU’s run game so Nick Fitzgerald is going to have to throw. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Florida seems like a mess right now. They were humiliated by Michigan on national television in Week 1 & had to miss their 2nd game because of a hurricane. Instead of working out the kinks against N.Colorado, Florida will now host a 2-0 Tennessee team that gutted out a win over Georgia Tech & then dominated Indiana State. This is a huge confidence builder for the Vols, but an opportunity for Florida to right the ship & get back on track. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The last time these two squads met was the 2005 Rose Bowl where a Vince Young led Longhorns squad upset a Matt Leinart led Trjoans squad for the national championship. USC is going to win this game & they are going to win big. When you consider that Texas gave up 51 points to Maryland, USC might end up scoring 60 points. The key will be Texas not being embarrassed which I think will be difficult. Tough start for Tom Herman. Computer Hope
Computer Hope They aren’t beating Clemson & USC, but a win here by South Carolina will put the Gamecocks at 3-0 with a 2-0 record against SEC East teams & a win over a solid NC State squad. That’s a tremendous start to a season when a lot of teams are feasting on Sun Belt & FCS schools. Kentucky has been a bit surprising too. I’m not surprised they are 2-0 but I thought they would have dominated more. This is a big game for both programs. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Stanford has to be VERY careful here. The USC loss stings but this is still a very formidable football team that can win the Pac 12 North & get a rematch with USC in the Pac 12 championship game in which case a win probably means the playoffs. The Sun Devils are for real though. They are coming off a convincing road win over Arizona St. & RB Rashaad Penny is nothing short of outstanding. Stanford should be on upset alert. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BYU should be better than the 1-2 they’ve posted. The offense is downright dreadful & QB Tanner Magnum has been awful. I still think there is some value in this game because LSU beat the Cougars 27-0 & Utah just finished beating them 19-13. Wisconsin has looked outstanding in their first two games so it’ll be interesting where they fall on the spectrum established by LSU & Utah. A 28+ win for Wisconsin puts them with LSU. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Oregon St. hasn’t been able to stop anyone as their defense is allowing 46PPG! That doesn’t bode well in going up against a Mike Leach led offense! I still think this one is interesting though because Wazzou the last few years lets an early one go & I think Gary Andersen is a great head football coach. I’d love to see Washington St. get to 5-0 before hosting USC on September 29th, but they need to keep avoiding oddball upsets. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Ole Miss entered the season a disaster but so far the on-field results have been amazing. QB Shea Patterson has completed 77% of his passes for 918 yards & 9TD to only 1INT! He’s on pace to throw for over 5400 yards & 54TD. AJ Brown & DeMarkus Lodge have been ELITE. California, like Ole Miss, finds itself 2-0 after their upset win over UNC in Week 1. The winner here gets to 3-0 which I think is surprising for either program. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Week 3 isn’t the best slate of games, but I have Purdue/Missouri on here because it’ll be a chance for you to see QB insanity as David Blough and Drew Lock go head to head in what should be a “Defense Optional” backyard pick up game! Lock threw for over 500 yards with 7TD in Week 1 against Missouri State. Blough has the ability to throw for 700 yards whenever the mood strikes him. A meaningless game, but tons of fireworks! Computer Hope

September 10, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Big 10, Big Games, Big XII, BYU, California, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, Must See Games, NCAA, Oregon St., Pac 12, Purdue, San Diego St., SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Washington St., Week 3, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2017 SEC PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

My college previews kick off with the Southeastern Conference! I think there are some very interesting storylines going on within each division this season. In the West I think it’s going to be very difficult to knock off Alabama given all the weapons they return on offense along with what should be another top-10 defense, but after Alabama it gets really interesting. Auburn draws the Tide at home this year and if Jarrett Stidham takes the reigns for War Eagle and starts rolling, Auburn could make a legit run for the SEC West. I don’t think you can say the same about LSU because their QB situation isn’t ideal and they have to travel to Tuscaloosa, but if they beat Auburn on October 14th in Baton Rouge, then LSU could very well be 8-0 and coming off a bye against a potentially 8-0 Alabama team coming off a bye as well. Those 3 teams will make it interesting but the Auburn/LSU game could determine quite a bit.

After the Big 3 in the West it gets interesting. I think Mississippi St. has some of that 2014 feel to them when they started 9-0 and were ranked #1 in the nation before traveling to Tuscaloosa and dropping a game to Alabama 25-20. Nick Fitzgerald could be on the cusp of being a star and it’ll be interesting to see how he plays. Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat in College Station and I could see the bottom dropping out on on the Aggies as they try to replace so many players on defense and at receiver. Arkansas should be better or even Bret Bielema could start feeling heat and of course the Ole Miss situation is unfortunate as the Rebels looked to have a talented team with a very talented QB in Shea Patterson. The #4-#7 spots could get interesting in the West and I even think Mississippi St. has a chance to climb into that top-3.

The East is even more interesting as I think teams like Kentucky and South Carolina have a real chance to upset the apple cart and move ahead of division stalwarts Florida and Tennessee. Mark Stoops has built up the Kentucky roster to where I think it can compete if it is a veteran led squad with a favorable schedule. The Wildcats have 17 returning starters and get both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington! South Carolina can be a squad that can compete with Florida and Tennessee on the recruiting trail, and I think Will Muschamp is on his way to doing so with the Gamecocks. Carolina returns 10 starters on offense, but QB Jake Bentley is special. SC gets both Kentucky & Florida at home which I think pushes them to 2nd place behind Georgia in the East. I also think it’ll be interesting to see how much heat Jim McElwain’s seat gets in Gainesville if the Gators have a disappointing season and if Butch Jones can survive another year in Knoxville without an SEC title or even a 10-win season. Would 5-years be enough?

Finally, keep an eye on Missouri & Vanderbilt. Missouri under Barry Odom is quietly getting better and while I think they should be better than last year’s 4-8, it’ll be interesting to see what strides they can take in 2017 because 2018 should be their coming out party. Vanderbilt is also interesting to watch. The program is making strides under HC Derek Mason and it’ll be interesting to see if Mason can take the Commodores to the heights that his predecessor James Franklin reached.

The SEC is the best conference in college football for a reason so it’s no surprise the storylines are endless as we head into the 2017 season!

# TEAM SEC WEST
1 Computer Hope Impossible to go against the Tide at this point. QB Jalen Hurts returns behind a dynamic O-Line. Bo Scarbrough & Damien Harris return at tailback and WR Calvin Ridley is poised to become a 1st Team All-American. Lose LT Cam Robinson? Replace him with Jonah Williams! Defensively the Tide lost a truckload of star talent to the NFL, but it’s Alabama where there are 3-4 five star players on the depth chart. Minkah Fitzpatrick could move to safety alongside Ronnie Harrison. Da’Ron Payne & Da’Shawn Hand are going to dominate up front. I think the 2016 version is better, but they’re still good enough to win it all.
2 Computer Hope If the Tigers didn’t travel to Tuscaloosa on November 4th, I probably would have taken the Bayou Bengals to win the West. Derrius Guice is a MAN playing against boys in college. What makes him scarier is that he’s playing in front of a couple of interior O-Linemen in Will Clapp & Maea Teuhema who could be All-Americans. I think QB Danny Etling will make fewer mistakes & keep LSU away from turnovers. The Tigers lost a TON on defense but return Arden Key who is the best pass rusher in American and DC Dave Aranda is outstanding. With the talent LSU has, they’ll post another top-10 defense in 2017.
3 Computer Hope I’m buying QB Jarrett Stidham and he could be the best QB Auburn has had since Cam Newton was screaming War Eagle and we saw how that worked out in 2010! Gus Malzahn is an offensive genius so if Stidham works out Auburn is going to score in spades with weapons like RB Kamryn Pettway, WR Darius SLaton, WR Nate Craig-Myers & WR Kyle Davis. Defensive the Tigers bring back 6 of their top-7 tacklers but losing Montravius Adams & Carl Lawson will be felt. I think DE Marlon Davidson will need to be huge. This Auburn team has crazy upside & gets Alabama at home. They are playoff contenders.
4 Computer Hope In case you didn’t know, his name is Nick Fitzgerald and the QB is a MONSTER! Last year Fitzgerald passed for 2423yds & 21TD while also rushing for 1375yds & 16TD! The Bulldogs have a little but of that 2014 feel to them and if they can beat LSU at home and upset Georgia & Auburn in back-to-back road games, they have a clear path to 9-0 before they welcome in Alabama on November 11th, a week after the Tide host LSU. That’s a lot to ask but back in 2014, Mississippi St. beat 3 top-10 ranked teams in a row (at LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn) en route to 9-0 and the #1 ranking before being upended by Alabama 25-20.
5 Computer Hope Things haven’t gone exactly to plan for Bret Bielema since leaving Wisconsin, but this season should provide him with a chance to play his style of football. The Hogs lose RB Rawleigh Williams, but Devwah Whaley has immense talent and should be able to replicate Williams production because the O-Line he’ll be running behind is tremendous led by All-American C Frank Ragnow. QB Austin Allen is a senior and should be solid. Defensively Arkansas returns 6 starters and 5 of their back-7. They’ll struggle to get pressure on opposing QBs which I think limits their upside but if they ball control they could win close ones.
6 Computer Hope I don’t know if there is a better RB/WR duo in college football than Trayveon Williams & Christian Kirk, but the Aggies are going to try and break in a rFR at QB in Nick Starkel behind a fairly inexperienced O-Line. Even with Kirk returning, the Aggies lost a ton of outside talent. Defensively I don’t even know how A&M replaces Myles Garrett, Daeshon Hall, Justin Evans & Shaan Washington! HUGE LOSSES. I think there is a good chance A&M loses their opener at UCLA and if that happens then HC Kevin Sumlin’s seat is going to be blisteringly hot! A&M also has some brutal home games. This could get bad in a hurry!
7 Computer Hope Ole Miss is somewhat of a wild card with Hugh Freeze leaving the program and Matt Luke taking over as interim HC. It’s too bad really because the Rebels have some upside to this team. The offense has a potentially outstanding O-Line with 4 starters returning and Greg Little manning LT. QB Shea Patterson has some tremendous upside and the Rebels have solid skill position players. Defensively, Ole MIss returns 6 starters & 5 of their top-7 tacklers. DE Marquis Haynes returned for his senior year & he’ll be one of the best edge rushers in the nation. NT Benito Jones should also be a force up front. Very tough to predict.

 

# TEAM SEC EAST
1 Computer Hope There might be some questions surrounding the offense with the O-Line being young and QB Jake Fromm potentially pushing QB Jacob Eason for starting time but worst comes to worst how hard is it to hand the ball off to Nick Chubb or Sony Michel? These hairy dogs have enough talent on the outside to keep defenses honest. What stands out about UGA is their defense. Trenton Thompson might be the best DT in college football while Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter might be the best pair of edge rushers. Georgia returns their ILBs and secondary as well. HC Kirby Smart knows a thing or two about top defenses!
2 Computer Hope This could be the most surprising team in college football this season. QB Jake Bentley completed 66% of his passes last year as a true frosh and the Gamecocks have 10 returning starters back on offense including all their skill players. TE Hayden Hurst has a chance to make a HUGE impact. Defensively South Carolina is going to need Dante Sawyer to provide a legitimate threat off the edge but LB Skai Moore returns & will combine with Bryson Allen-Williams to give SC a solid pair of LBs. Both corners return & I think Will Muschamp is going to do some great things in Columbia just like another former Florida head coach.
3 Computer Hope I think the SEC is a little topsy-turvy this season and Kentucky benefits by getting both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington. If they can get those wins I think the Wildcats could have a banner season. HC Mark Stoops has a talented roster and UK returns 8 starters on offense & 9 on defense. If there is going to be a time for Kentucky to make a move, it’s this season. CJ Conrad, Benny Snell & Stephen Johnson should keep the offense humming with 4 returning starters on the O-Line. Denzil Ware, Jordan Jones & Mike Edwards should be solid up front on defense. Kentucky could potentially get to 8-9 wins this season.
4 Computer Hope I think Florida is in a precarious situation. They are probably already behind Florida St. when it comes to recruiting the top tier talent within the state, but Mark Richt going to Miami-FL makes things extremely difficult as well. I love Jim McElwain as a HC, but right now I’d say he’s behind Richt & Jimbo Fisher in recruiting. Florida also already has turmoil coming out of the program with the suspensions including WR Antonio Callaway for the opener against Michigan. Florida isn’t sold on Luke Del Rio being the starting QB either & the defense returns just 5 starters. After 2 SEC East titles, this year feels like transition.
5 Computer Hope Like Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, I’m going to be surprised to see Butch Jones make it out alive in Knoxville this season. The Vols have talent to be sure, but I think losing guys like QB Josh Dobbs, DE Derek Barnett, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and CB Cameron Sutton are going to be hard to overcome. UT also has road games against Florida, Alabama, & Kentucky. They get LSU, Georgia & South Carolina at home which are going to be exceedingly difficult games to win. I think losing Alvin Kamara is going to be bigger than people think. Josh Malone is a loss too. I like the talent here but a lot of key pieces are gone from 2016.
6 Computer Hope It is going to be very difficult for Derek Mason to recreate what James Franklin did here at Vanderbilt but Mason is trying his best. In his first year, Vandy went 3-9. Last year in his 3rd,  the Commodores were 6-7 and got to a bowl game. This year Vandy returns 9 starters on offense including QB Kyle Shumur who has generated some buzz this offseason. Ralph Webb is a work horse out of the backfield & Vandy returns their top-9 receivers from a season ago. Defensively, Vanderbilt has made huge strides since Mason’s first season & while they do lose Zach Cunningham, they return 7 starters from a unit that was solid.
7 Computer Hope I would have had Missouri in 6th but they play at Vanderbilt so I put the Commodores one spot ahead. HC Gary Pinkel is a legend in Columbia, but I hope Barry Odom sticks around because he’s on the cusp of doing something great at Mizzou. This season the Tigers have a TON coming back on offense, but I want to see QB Drew Lock improve his accuracy. Missouri has a chance to be REALLY SPECIAL in 2018 assuming Lock comes back. RB Damarea Crockett is a MONSTER. Defensively I think Missouri misses Charles Harris & Aarion Penton quite a bit. They return 5 starters but again look towards 2018 for this unit.



SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

EAST SEC CHAMPIONSHIP WEST
Computer Hope I think this could be a lot closer game than people would expect and here is why. Alabama is going to try and run the football which they should, but Georgia is STOUT in the middle with Trenton Thompson & John Atkins on the line and LBs Roquan Smith & Natrez Patrick filling it up. If Alabama goes pass then UGA has some ELITE pass rushers in Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter. This of course is assuming that Alabama’s offense can actually be stopped and Georgia can get anything going against what will surely be a tough Tide defense. Alabama wins. Computer Hope

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, NCAA, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas AM, Vanderbilt | Leave a comment

TERRIFIC 20: TOP 20 OL FOR 2017 NCAA FOOTBALL

THE BIG UGLIES!!! One thing that is incredible about learning as much as you can about football is realizing how important the O-Line play is. If your team can’t block then it’s screwed. I think the evolution of talent evaluation and where it ranks in building a team roster is interesting though. As teams become more pass heavy, it’s important to realize how to build a winning team. You always have to build your team up with a QB, but for the longest time the thought was that after QB, your LT was the most important position. I think in recent NFL drafts you have seen that change in that teams will now be more likely to build their teams at QB first, but then start in with edge rushers, corners and interior defensive linemen. In an odd way this legitimizes just how important the offensive lineman are, because if teams are valuing D-Linemen at an all time high, then the O-Linemen needed to block them must be equally as important.

One things seems certain. You might be able to have a bad team with a good offensive line because you haven’t properly surrounded that particular O-Line with the right pieces, but it’s practically impossible to have a good team with a bad O-Line. This should illustrate just how important these positions are.

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 Jonah Williams/6’5/301lbs/SO: Williams immediately stepped into the starting role at right tackle as a true freshman and didn’t disappoint earning 3rd Team All-SEC honors playing opposing Cam Robinson who was himself a 1st Team All-American. According to Alabama statistics, Williams actually graded out as a better O-Lineman than Robinson which is crazy. Earned Alabama’s offensive player of the week 5 different times. Didn’t allow a sack in games against LSU or Texas A&M! Williams looks like a 1st Rd. pick.
Computer Hope Frank Ragnow/6’6/319lbs/SR: Ragnow is the best center in college football and should have no problems being a 1st Team All-American. He’s incredibly smart and will be an NFL starter sooner rather than later. In what has to be one of the most amazing stats of current college football players, Ragnow hasn’t allowed a QB sack for two straight seasons! Arkansas should be a lot better on the O-Line this year with 4 starters returning. Devwah Whaley should run well & Austin Allen will be well protected by Ragnow.
Computer Hope Braden Smith/6’6/305lbs/SR: Smith turned down overtures from the NFL last season to return to Auburn for his senior year. A big nasty on the interior of the Tigers O-Line, Smith will kick out to right tackle this year to help protect new QB Jarrett Stidham, the transfer from Baylor. Smith was a 3rd Team All-American as a junior. He was a 2nd Team All-SEC player as a sophomore and made the All-SEC freshman team as a true frosh. He’s made 27 straight starts. He’ll have no trouble moving to RT this year.
Computer Hope Mitch Hyatt/6’5/295lbs/JR: Hyatt stepped in as a freshman in 2015 and started at LT for 15 starts, protecting Deshaun Watson’s blindside as Clemson barely lost to Alabama 45-40 in the national championship game. He did the same as a sophomore except this time Clemson closed the deal and beat the Crimson Tide 35-31. In two seasons as a starter at LT, Clemson is 28-2 during Hyatt’s tenure. Hyatt was a freshman All-American in 2015 and was 1st Team All-ACC in 2016. He’ll be an integral part for Clemson.
Computer Hope Martez Ivey/6’5/305lbs/JR: An outstanding talent, Ivey was considered the best O-Line prospect in the 2015 high school recruiting class by Phil Steele. The Florida native chose the Gators over practically ever other program in the country. Has made 20 starts at LG over his first two seasons but Florida is finally moving him to LT where they had hoped he would eventually wind up. Ivey should handle the transition well. He earned 2nd Team All-SEC honors last season. Florida has yet to not win the SEC East with Ivey.
Computer Hope Will Clapp/6’3/309lbs/rJR: Clapp was an outstanding interior O-Lineman last year for the Tigers helping Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette combine to rush for 2230 yards & 23TD! Those numbers aren’t a typo! Clapp earned 1st Team All-SEC honors last year at LG and will make the switch to C after Ethan Pocic moved on to the Seattle Seahawks. Pocic was a 2nd Team All-American and I’ve read reports where quite a few people felt Clapp outplayed Pocic at times in 2016. If true, Clapp is in for a monster year.
Computer Hope Maea Teuhema/6’5/315lbs/JR: Big and nasty! Teuhema hasn’t gotten a ton of national attention just yet but I think that is about to change as he’s a legitimate All-American candidate who is going to pave the way for Derrius Guice to have a monster year that should put him in the Heisman discussion. Teuhema was a freshman All-American back in 2015 when he started at LG. Last year he kicked out to RT as a starter but should kick back in to RG this year as his run blocking is outstanding. He could be a 1st Rd. pick.
Computer Hope Mason Cole/6’5/305lbs/SR: Mason Cole became the first player in Wolverines history to start a season opening game on the O-Line back in 2014. Cole has bounced around a bit on Michigan’s O-Line being a tackle in 2015 before being move to center in 2016 an earning 1st Team All-Big 10 honors. Cole will bounce back out to LT this season as the most veteran offensive lineman on Michigan’s line. He’s started in every Michigan game since arriving in Ann Arbor. Cole will be extremely important this year for Michigan.
Computer Hope Brian Allen/6’2/305lbs/SR: Allen is somewhat of an undersized interior lineman who has spent most of his career playing guard for the Spartans but will slide into the center’s role in 2017 for a Michigan St. squad that should be pretty young. Allen is very smart and plays with a mean streak which you see oftentimes in the Big 10 with their interior linemen. He’s been a 2nd Team All-Big 10 lineman the last two seasons. The Spartans will need an outstanding leader on the O-Line and Allen should provide that for Michigan St. in ’17.
Computer Hope Greg Little/6’6/332lbs/SO: Little is HUGE at 6’6/332lbs and has the athleticism and quickness to stick at LT despite his weight. Little really started to get attention in Ole Miss’ 29-28 win at Texas A&M when he held Myles Garrett to just one tackle. Little was considered the best O-Lineman in the 2016 high school class according to Phil Steele and eventually became the starting LT for the Rebels over their last 5 games. He’ll have the responsibility of protecting Shea Patterson’s blindside in what will be a trying season for Ole Miss.
Computer Hope Martinas Rankin/6’5/305lbs/rSR: Rankin came from the junior college ranks to Starkville and didn’t waste much time making an impression. He became the Bulldogs’ starting LT after 3 games and did a great job pass protecting for MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald who had a great season. Rankin also did a solid job in a highly effecting MSU rushing attack. He tested the NFL waters after last season but was given a 2nd round grade so Rankin decided to come back to Mississippi St. and try to improve his draft stock.
Computer Hope Mike McGlinchey/6’8/312lbs/rSR: Amazingly enough Mike McGlinchey never played LT until last season and wound up a 3rd team All-American. McGlinchey is a natural left tackle with a mean streak. He has great size at 6’8 and almost 320lbs. Has elite athleticism and arm length combined with heavy hands. He loves to run block and I’ve read reports where some scouts think he’s quite a bit better than his former teammate Ronnie Stanley who was the 6th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He can get even better.
Computer Hope Quenton Nelson/6’5/329lbs/rJR: Big and nasty, Nelson is arguably the best guard in college football. He’s huge at 6’5/330lbs and has done a great job opening up holes on the defense during his tenure with the Irish. Nelson has somewhat of a mean streak and is incredibly smart. He’s good in pass protection as well and has had excellent coaching from Notre Dame OL coach Harry Hiestand. Combined with McGlinchey, the Irish have two potential All-Americans who could be 1st round picks. I think he’ll get better.
Computer Hope Billy Price/6’4/312lbs/rSR: Price isn’t flash but all he’s done since arriving in Columbus is start every game for the Buckeyes during a 3-year period in which Ohio St. posted a record of 37-4 and was the starting LG for the national championship team of 2014. Price is moving to center and Phil Steele makes him a 1st Team All-American in his annual, putting him above Arkansas’s Frank Ragnow. He’s gotten much better in pass protection and is already an outstanding run blocker. Price is extremely valuable.
Computer Hope Orlando Brown/6’8/360lbs/rJR: Not quite as big as Washington St.’s Cody O’Connell but Brown is enormous at 6’8/360lbs. Brown had a banner year last season earning 2nd Team All-American honors and being named the Big 12’s offensive lineman of the year. Brown will be a tricky NFL grade. He’s outstanding for the Sooners protecting Baker Mayfield in their high octane offense but he has trouble being in a 3-point stance and is obviously not very quick at the point of attack. Gotta love his size though.
Computer Hope Connor Williams/6’6/288lbs/JR: Immediately started at LT for the Longhorns as a true freshman and earned Freshman All-American honors. Followed that up last season as a sophomore by become only the 4th player in Texas history to be a 1st Team All-American as a true sophomore! Williams will be immensely important in Texas’s ability to compete in the Big XII because he needs to keep QB Shane Buechele upright. He needs to put on a bit more weight to his frame, but he’s probably NFL ready right now.
Computer Hope Scott Quessenberry/6’4/315lbs/rSR: Quessenberry has racked up 30 career starts for the Bruins and is the most veteran lineman for UCLA’s squad this season. I think Quessenberry is going to be an integral part of UCLA’s season because of the return of Josh Rosen. Rosen needs to have a huge season after his disappointing 2016 campaign and obviously having a great center would be important. Quessenberry is a smart savvy player on the interior and should do a great job quarterbacking the O-Line for UCLA.
Computer Hope Trey Adams/6’8/320lbs/JR: Adams enters the 2017 collegiate football season as arguably the best O-Line prospect in college football. He’s ENORMOUS at 6’8/320lbs with the athletic ability to play LT. Last season Adams was a 1st Team All-Pac 12 lineman and also garnered 2nd Team All-American honors. Adams really got noticed with how well he played against Alabama’s fantastic edge rushers in last year’s playoffs. He has great athleticism for his size & should continue to get better. He’s a top-5 pick in the NFL Draft.
Computer Hope Cody O’Connell/6’8/370lbs/rSR: When your nickname is “THE CONTINENT” you belong on a Terrific 20 list! O’Connell is obviously enormous and it’s interesting that he plays guard in the sense that he’s so tall at 6’8 that most coaches feel that a man of his size would clog up the passing lanes. Oddly enough Luke Falk had no problems passing for almost 4500 yards with almost 40TDs! He’s obviously not athletic enough to play in the NFL at a tackle spot but he was a 1st Team All-American guard last year!
Computer Hope Beau Benzschawel/6’6/316lbs/rJR: A kid from Wisconsin with the name Beau Benzschawel is simply destined to play on the offensive line for the Badgers. Benzschawel started in all of Wisconsin’s 14 games last year at RG and earned 2nd Team All Big 10 honors. Benzschawel is a terrific interior lineman with excellent size at 6’6 and almost 320lbs. He’s got a real chance to be a 1st Team All-American this year & make himself into a 1st Round NFL Draft pick. Wisconsin always turns out solid O-Lineman.

FIVE FRESHMAN WHO COULD MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN 2017

Alex Leatherwood/Alabama/6’6/327lbs: Arguably the best O-Lineman in the 2017 recruiting class, Leatherwood enrolled early at Alabama and is now the projected starting RT for the Crimson Tide going into the season. Leatherwood was a Parade All-American as a HS senior and also an Under Armour All-American. It’s not like Alabama’s depth chart is devoid of talent. There are high school All-Americans everywhere so the fact that Leatherwood immediately steps into the starter’s role means something. It means even more considering Alabama is the odds on favorite to win the national championship. Leatherwood should move to LT when Jonah Williams moves on and I’m guessing that Leatherwood is a 1st round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Foster Sarell/Stanford/6’7/320lbs and Walker Little/Stanford/6’7/315lbs: It feels wrong to have a Terrific 20 list of offensive linemen and not see anyone from Stanford or Iowa make the list. Sarell and Little could rectify that problem for the Cardinal as soon as this year. According to Phil Steele, Sarell was the best O-Line recruit in the 2017 class while Little was considered a top-10 O-Lineman. Both immediately become the most talented O-Linemen on the Stanford roster the minute they hit campus and I can’t help but think they won’t get significant playing time early. Both are tall. Both have the requisite bulk to play at the collegiate level so neither should require any redshirting to get their size up enough to play in the Pac 12. David Bright is the projected starting LT this year but Bright is 6’5/299lbs and spent time at left guard last season. The projected RT is AT Hall who is 6’3/287lbs, hardly the right size to play a mauling tackle position on the strong side. Hall started 13 games at tackle last year with 11 of them coming on the left side, but he’s projected to slide right. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sarell and Little take over the tackle spots at some point this season.

Jack Anderson/Texas Tech/6’5/315lbs: A Texas Tech legacy, Anderson was a high school All-American who turned down offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami-FL, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA for a chance to play for the Red Raiders. He was the crown jewel for Kliff Kingsbury’s 2017 recruiting class and is projected to start right away fro the Red Raiders at guard. Anderson is an incredibly smart and intense O-Lineman that likes to maul. Guard suits him well and that is probably where he will wind up in the NFL, but at Texas Tech I could see him eventually move to RT. I think it’s a big year for Texas Tech. They break in a new starter at QB after Pat Mahomes left for the Kansas City Chiefs, but if Anderson works out then the O-Line should be really good with 3 starters returning at WR. Kingsbury & Texas Tech need to get to a bowl. Anderson could be a big part of that up front on the interior line.

Tommy Kraemer/Notre Dame/6’6/313lbs: Kraemer is arguably the most talented O-Lineman in the 2016 recruiting class but actually redshirted last season because the Irish O-Line depth was so deep. Mike McGlinchey & Alex Bars were the starting tackles. Quenton Nelson & Collin McGovern were the guards while Sam Mustipher held down the center position. Bars is moving to RG because ND can’t keep Kraemer down any longer and he’s projected to be the right tackle. The Irish are in a unique situation because in reality they could have as many as 4 potential All-Americans on the O-Line in McGlinchey, Nelson, Bars & Mustipher. ND also has a TREMENDOUS amount of weapons on offense with guys like Josh Adams, Alize Mack, Durham Smythe and Equanimeous St. Brown, Miles Boykin, CJ Sanders, Chase Claypool and Dexter Williams. What will be interesting is the play of QB Brandon Wimbush who is coming off a redshirt year watching Deshone Kizer. The left side of the O-Line has McGlinchey & Nelson. Those guys are going to hold up, but that leaves Kraemer on the right side. If he can hold up his end then Wimbush should have all day to do whatever he wants with the weapons around him.

Obinna Eze/Memphis/6’8/283lbs: Eze is a name probably a bit off the beaten path but I thought this situation was intriguing. Memphis returns practically their entire team except the LT spot which is open. Eze seems like an ideal candidate to red shirt seeing that he’s 6’8/283lbs which is HUGE but light for sure. He could stand to gain 40lbs and he’d still be fairly thin for a guy 6’8. Even so, he’s the most talented O-Lineman on the Memphis roster and right now the projected LT is Harneet Gil who is pretty light himself at 6’7/277lbs. Gil is also coming off a redshirt so he has as much playing time at Memphis in 2016 as Eze does. Memphis is going to score and they are going to score a ton with guys like Riley Ferguson, Dorland Dorceus, Tony Pollard and Anthony Miller. Whoever plays LT for the Tigers will be responsible for Ferguson’s blindside which is going to be very important. If Eze becomes that guy, he’ll have a significant impact on how good Memphis can be in 2017.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., NCAA, Notre Dame, Offensive Linemen, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Stanford, Terrific 20, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington, Washington St., Wisconsin | Leave a comment

TERRIFIC 20: TOP 20 EDGE RUSHERS FOR 2017 NCAA FOOTBALL

EDGE RUSHERS!!!!! The most exciting position in football in my opinion! This position was tough because there were quite a few edge rushers who probably deserved to be included yet missed the cut since I limited my selections to the top-20. One thing that stood out is that the SEC & ACC have tremendous pass rushers this season. Catching those conference games almost ensures you’ll see a couple of elite pass rushers. What also stuck out is that you could make a decent argument that Ohio St. has 4 of the top-20 edge rushers in the nation! If there is going to be a single reason why the Buckeyes could potentially win a national championship, it’ll be because of the RELENTLESS pass rush their edge rushers can generate! It should be mind boggling.

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 Harold Landry/6’3/250lbs/SR: Landry didn’t play much as a freshman, but flashed quite a bit as a sophomore as he tied with LB Matt Milano for the BC lead in tackles for loss in 2015 with 11. That was a harbinger for things to come as Landry exploded last year racking up 16.5 sacks which led all of college football! While a 4-3DE for Boston College, Landry projects as a 34OLB at the NFL level. Regardless, the Eagles are going to get back to a bowl this year & Landry will have an incredible season.
Computer Hope Clelin Ferrell/6’5/265lbs/rSO: It was easy not to concentrate so much on Ferrell last year during Clemson’s run to a championship because the defense had guys like Ben Boulware, Kendall Joseph, Carlos Watkins, Cordrea Tankersley, Dexter Lawrence & Christian Wilkins, but Ferrell was a huge part of the success racking up 6 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and a team leading 9 QB hurries. Oh by the way he was only a rFR! He returns with a ton of supporting players. He’ll go double digit sacks.
Computer Hope Jabari Zuniga/6’3/245lbs/rSO: Like Ferrell, Zuniga was another redshirt freshman having a helluva year. Zuniga finished the season for the Gators with a team leading 5 sacks, which also happened to be the most sacks by a freshman since 1987! Zuniga wasn’t highly thought of coming out of high school, but he proved to be an incredible get. In limited time last season he still managed the 5 sacks and an astonishing 11 QB hurries. If those hurries turn into sacks, Zuniga becomes an All-American.
Computer Hope Brian Burns/6’5/218lbs/SO: Burns has perfect height to be a 4-3 DE at the next level, but he’s a little light at 218lbs so it’ll be something to watch moving forward. While he might not have ideal bulk at the moment, it’s impossible to overlook the numbers the true frosh put up last season. In limited time, Burns recorded 9.5 sacks which was 2nd on the team to DeMarcus Walker’s 16. With Josh Sweat on the opposite end, Burns should be in for another huge year in what should be a playoff run for Florida State.
Computer Hope Josh Sweat/6’5/250lbs/JR:Opposing teams are screwed with FSU’s edge rushers because Burns and Josh Sweat make the list. Sweat is more of a complete package seeing that he’s 250lbs although his ceiling might not be as high as Burns. Sweat really came on down the stretch in FSU’s last 3 games against Syracuse, Florida & Michigan. In those 3 games, Sweat had 4.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. If Sweat keeps that momentum going in 2017 and improves from his ’16 campaign, then look out!
Computer Hope Davin Bellamy/6’5/240lbs/rSR: Bellamy is almost the ideal size for an NFL 4-3 DE. At 6’5 and almost 250lbs, Bellamy has elite physical size, but one thing that he hasn’t been able to do is transform his QB hurries into sacks. In 2015 Bellamy had 9 QB hurries yet only 3 sacks. Last season he recorded a ridiculous 17 QB hurries but manged only 5 sacks! Those numbers should be reversed! Georgia is a big time threat to win the SEC East and you’d have to think Bellamy could be a deciding factor in the SEC East.
Computer Hope Lorenzo Carter/6’6/242lbs/SR: Everything I wrote above about Bellamy is somewhat true about Carter as well. Despite his IDEAL size for a 4-3 DE, Carter has had trouble converting QB hurries to sacks. In 2015 he had 6 QB hurries but no sacks. Last year he recorded 13 QB hurries but just 5 sacks. Neither Carter or Bellamy show up on first round mock drafts for 2018 so something is up. I’m betting on both of them. The upside is simply too strong there for me to ignore them. I think they both dominate.
Computer Hope Dorance Armstrong/6’4/256lbs/JR: There wasn’t a lot to be excited about regarding Kansas football last year but along with the win over Texas, Dorance Armstrong was a HUGE bright spot for the Jayhawks campaign. Armstrong wasn’t fantastic in 2015, but he exploded last season with 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss! Armstrong was consistent all season & he put up big numbers against some very tough offensive lines. He could be KU’s 1st first team All-American since CB Aquib Talib back in 2007.
Computer Hope Jaylon Ferguson/6’5/255lbs/rJR: Guys like Ferguson are always interesting because you wonder who exactly they got to where they are. Ferguson is from St. Francisville, LA which is about 30 or so miles north of Baton Rouge. How in the world did this guy NOT grow up an LSU fan, and how in the world did LSU NOT want to recruit the guy? It doesn’t look like LSU even offered the guy so maybe it was never on the table. Ferguson exploded last year with 14.5 sacks! He’s an All-American candidate for 2017.
Computer Hope Arden Key/6’6/255lbs/JR: Speaking of Ferguson to LSU, could you imagine the LSU defensive line if it has Ferguson and Key coming off the edge!? Good grief! How in the world would opposing QBs not get killed!? Key is a MONSTER! HC Ed Orgeron is already saying can be as good if not better than former Texas A&M, and #1 overall NFL draft pick, Myles Garrett! Those are lofty words, but Key is fully formed & is an outstanding pass rusher. Coming off shoulder surgery, let’s hope it doesn’t hinder him.
Computer Hope Joe Jackson/6’5/258lbs/SO: I wavered on throwing Jackson on this list because he’s not even projected to be a starter for THE U at DE. The Canes have seniors looking to start in Chad Thomas & Trent Harris. Both are solid players, but it’s hard to ignore what Jackson did last season as a true freshman. He led Miami in sacks with 8.5 and recorded 11.5 tackles for loss which also led the team. Jackson has incredible size at 6’5/260lbs. I’d be shocked if Jackson doesn’t get a ton of reps & net double digit sacks.
Computer Hope Marquis Haynes/6’3/222lbs/SR: Haynes doesn’t have ideal size as a 4-3 DE, but he fits the position well and has a ton of natural pass rushing ability. It’s hard to ignore his production. As a sophomore Haynes posted 10 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Last year as a junior Haynes had 7 sacks & 11 tackles for loss but also had 8 QB hurries. It was somewhat of a surprise to see him come back for his senior season, but Haynes has the ability to post numbers that could make him an All-American candidate.
Computer Hope Marcell Frazier/6’5/265lbs/rSR: Incredible size for a DE, Frazier could think about gaining 25lbs and becoming a 3-4 DE who could provide pocket pressure off the edge. He’ll have no problem taking over for the departed Charles Harris who the Miami Dolphins took in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Frazier might be one of the most important players in college football this season because if he provides significant pressure, Missouri has a chance to shock a lot of people given their schedule.
Computer Hope Bradley Chubb/6’4/275lbs/SR: Chubb flashed enormous potential for the Wolfpack as a sophomore netting 5.5 sacks & 12 tackles for loss. Those numbers are gigantic but Chubb ranked 2nd on the team in tackles which is amazing for an edge rusher. Last year Chubb flashed for real, racking up 10.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss along with 7 QB hurries. Chubb has tremendous bulk at 275lbs, but he’s got a lot of speed for that size. There are a lot of very good edge rushers in the ACC, but Chubb is the best.
Computer Hope Sam Hubbard/6’5/265lbs/rJR: Hubbard didn’t go nuts last year with his stats with only 3.5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss, but he’s roundly considered a first round draft pick and if you watch Ohio St. for very long, it’s not hard to see why Hubbard has as much hype surrounding him as anyone. What could prevent Hubbard from having a huge statistical season is Ohio St. having so much depth on the edge. This will be true for Tyquan Lewis as well but Nick Bosa & Jalyn Holmes are going to need reps too!
Computer Hope Tyquan Lewis/6’4/265lbs/rSR: Lewis has always been an elite pass rusher but playing in the shadow of Joey Bosa, it isn’t easy to get noticed for you own play. In his first season without Bosa, Lewis led the Buckeyes in sacks with 8, in tackles for loss with 10.5 and in QB hurries with 5. He didn’t get to come out of the Bosa family shadow for long though as little brother Nick came in and had a fantastic true frosh season. Like Hubbard, Lewis is a 1st round NFL DE, but his reps won’t be as high because of depth.
Computer Hope Breckyn Hager/6’3/227lbs/JR: KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS GUY! Hager had an outstanding sophomore campaign for the Longhorns despite only making 5 starts. Hager made the most of his opportunities finishing 2nd on the team in tackles, 1st in sacks and first in tackles for loss. He has a relentless motor and is constantly on the move regardless of play/position. Hager is a little light but Texas is moving to a 3-4 base defense which forces Hager to a 3-4 OLB spot which he’s more suited for. Scary!
Computer Hope Porter Gustin/6’5/260lbs/JR: Gustin didn’t get a ton of run time as a true frosh back in 2015, but he flashed hard last season for the Trojans picking up 5.5 sacks and a team leading 13 tackles for loss. Gustin is an edge rusher with incredible size at 6’5/260lbs, but he’s quick off the line and he does a great job holding the edge and containing the running game. He’s not a one trick pony to be sure. USC is this close to being back to the glory years under Pete Carroll. Gustin is a big part of that as the defense is solid.
Computer Hope Tremaine Edmunds/6’5/236lbs/JR: A 3rd team All-American last season, Edmunds is a scary sight off the edge down in Blacksburg. Giving Bud Foster an ELITE edge rusher is a thing of beauty. The last time VT had an edge rusher the caliber of Edmunds was back when Jason Worilds was playing in 2008-2009, but Worilds isn’t as good as Edmunds, wasn’t as big or have near the upside. Edmunds only had 4.5 sacks last year but 18.5 tackles for loss! He has the potential to reverse those numbers.
Computer Hope Duke Ejiofor/6’4/275lbs/rSR: Ejiofor was a big part of Wake Forest getting to a bowl game last year for the first time since 2011 and winning a bowl game for the first time since 2008. The 2008 season was also the last time Wake had a winning season before the 2016 campaign. Ejiofor got spot duty his first couple of seasons after redshirting but flashed last year when he became the starter. He led the team in sacks with 10.5 and recorded 17 tackles for loss. The ACC has a lot of outstanding edge rushers.

FIVE FRESHMAN WHO COULD MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN 2017

Jaelan Phillips/UCLA/6’6/250lbs: A consensus 5-star defensive end out of Redlands, CA, Phillips is a man-child at 6’6/250lbs which is already IDEAL size as a 4-3 edge rusher. Phillips enrolled early at UCLA and was on campus for spring practice. The Bruins hardly have anything coming back as far as pass rush is concerned so Phillips could get some run time early getting a chance to show the coaching staff that he can be an impact player right away. The only downside to Phillips potentially is his size. The kid is already 6’6/250lbs and UCLA runs a 4-3 defense. If he gains 25-30 pounds then Phillips will be a prototypical 34DE at 6’6/280lbs! There isn’t much by way of production last season in front of Phillips and opportunity is half the battle for these newcomers. I think Phillips gets a chance to shine as a true freshman.

A.J. Epenesa/Iowa/6’5/270lbs: I wanted to mention Espnesa because he is the most highly decorated recruit that committed to Iowa that I can remember. Typically the Hawkeyes don’t nail down too many no doubt 5-star studs, especially on the defensive line, but the Illinois native signed with the Iowa and Kirk Ferentz couldn’t be happier. I think opportunity is what is key for freshman contribution and that isn’t easy to see with Epenesa in Iowa City this year. Iowa already has a solid 3-man rotation at edge rusher featuring Parker Hesse, Matt Nelson and Anthony Nelson. What makes it so intriguing however, is that the Hawkeyes could easily make that a 4-man rotation by adding Epenesa  making their D-Line deeper and even more talented. It would also be incredibly BIG! Matt Nelson is 6’8/285lbs. His younger brother Anthony Nelson is 6’7/260lbs. Hesse is 6’3/260lbs and Epenesa is already 6’5/270lbs! Pass rush counts for a lot in football and because of this 4-man rotation, Iowa has a shot at the Big 10 West. I think Epenesa gets a chance to help Iowa.

Jake Lawler/North Carolina/6’3/220lbs: Lawler is a little light for an edge rusher but he’s a true freshman so you’d have to think the weight will come at some point. That being said, Lawler looks like a prime candidate to redshirt, but as I’ve said repeated times, opportunity is a good sign a freshman might have an impact and Lawler might have a shot to get solid reps. The Tar Heels have Malik Carney returning who will be their primary pass rusher, but UNC is a little thin on the opposite side which is where Lawler could come into play. You could make an argument that Lawler is the most talented edge rusher on the squad so that might garner him some opportunities. Admittedly this might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s worth noting because Lawler enrolled early and Carolina needs the help on the edge.

Drew Jordan/Duke/6’2/255lbs: Staying on Tobacco Road, Jordan as a true freshman immediately steps into the starting role for Duke and is easily the most talented edge rusher the Blue Devils have heading into 2017. Typically a team like Duke (or Vanderbilt or Indiana or Northwestern) can sometimes get a solid blue chip recruit along the O-Line or at QB. Even LB, but getting a blue chipper as an edge rusher is a rare thing, yet HC David Cutcliffe managed to pull this off with Jordan, a Georgia native. Jordan has ready make bulk at the collegiate level at 255lbs and to be honest, he’ll need to figure out a way to keep his weight under control unless he shoots up to 6’4-6’5. One thing I like about the impact Jordan could have is that it improves Duke’s pass rush from the edge because the Blue Devils do a pretty good job getting QB pressure from their LBs. Joe Giles-Harris and Ben Humphreys get after it a big and a solid edge rusher like Jordan could open up lanes for the LBs to swarm a little bit better. If Jordan gets a lot of reps and his numbers don’t look great, but Giles-Harris & Humphreys get big bumps, it’ll be because Jordan freed them up a bit.

Bryan Jones/Houston/6’5/245lbs: It’s a different coaching staff at Houston with Tom Herman going to Texas, but what sticks out to me about Jones is the presence of Ed Oliver. Jones is a fully formed 43DE at 6’5/245lbs and he was a highly recruited DE. Oliver as a true frosh last season was a 1st team all-american and he’ll be clogging up the middle while Jones is on the edge. Jones is the most talented edge rusher on the Cougars team and it’s not even close. He should get opportunities and Houston’s front-7 is good enough that Jones should see a lot of one-on-one matchups on the edge which could lead to some big plays. Given how well Oliver did as a freshman, I wonder if Jones can come in and have a similar impact especially with Oliver coming back for his sophomore season. Houston lost both of their starting edge rushers from a season ago so competition should be wide open.

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Edge Rushers, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Miami-FL, Mississippi, Missouri, NC State, North Carolina, Ohio St, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Terrific 20, Texas, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest | 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 WEEK 9

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope If it was possible for Alabama to look better by not playing a game then it happened this weekend as Michigan, Clemson, Washington, Louisville & Ohio State all had tough times despite all five teams pulling out victories. One important development while the Tide was resting is the Auburn 11-point win over Ole Miss in Oxford. Auburn isn’t going away and is getting better week by week. All of a sudden, Alabama looks like it has its two toughest tests of the year still to come when they take on LSU and an excellent Auburn team.
#2 Computer Hope For the first time all season a RB got off against Michigan as Spartans RB LJ Scott got loose for 139 yards & a TD on 22 carries. Michigan has been dominant on the ground all season long but the Michigan St. front-7 did a good job containing the Wolverines running attack. Anytime you can go into East Lansing & pull of a 9-point win you have to be pleased. This is Michigan’s first win against Sparty in 4-years with Michigan being 2-7 in their last 9. This was Michigan St.’s 6th straight loss! Good grief what has happened?
#3 Computer Hope There is a lot of talk about Clemson making this huge rally, but the Tigers were never that far out of the lead against Florida State. It looks big because the Tigers outscored the Noles 17-6 in the 4th quarter, but it was 28-20 FSU going into the 4th. Since 2012, Dabo Swinney is 14-2 in games decided by 7-point or less! That’s an incredible statistic when you think about how regression should take hold. At some point it doesn’t point to luck but rather that Swinney is a tremendous coach. Nick Saban’s record in that time: 9-5.
#4 Computer Hope Going into Utah & getting a 31-24 win is a huge get for the Huskies unless you believe that Utah isn’t a good team & Washington should have won by more than 7. Frankly, I don’t know where I stand on this one. Utah is 7-2 which is solid & losing by 7 to UW is impressive to me. On the other hand, who has Utah beat? UCLA without Josh Rosen? Beating USC before they figured things out? Beating BYU? I like the punishing way Utah plays football so I think it’s a solid win but when you look at resumes, UW needed a bit more.
#5 Computer Hope Speaking of resumes, Louisville needed Lamar Jackson to turn into Superman to escape Charlottesville with a 32-25 win over a Virginia team that currently sits at 2-6! The Cardinals need to be really careful from this point because they need a lot of style points to potentially make the playoffs as an 11-1 team. All I’m seeing now is a team that is living off a win over Florida State, but who has struggled against Virginia & Duke! Louisville should win out, but they need to beat teams by 25-40 points a game instead of seven!
#6 Computer Hope Beating New Mexico State 52-10 was a mere formality for the Aggies. Given the way Louisville & Ohio State has been playing recently, you’d have to think that Texas A&M is the likely 1-loss team to gain admission to the 4-team playoff given their only loss is a road loss to Alabama. The win over Auburn looks better and better while beating Arkansas by 21 points is signficant. When everyone is healthy & things are falling right on defense, this is arguably the 2nd best team in the nation at the moment. They shouldn’t lose again.
#7 Computer Hope Kamryn Pettway had his best game of the season, torching the Rebels defense for 236 rushing yards and a score on 30 carries. In Auburn’s last 3 games, Pettway has rushed for 597yds/6TD (6.2ypc) all of them being victories. Beating Ole Miss 40-29 was Auburn’s last big hurdle before traveling to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl. Keep in mind that if Texas A&M loses to LSU and Auburn beats Alabama, then Auburn would win the SEC West! I’m not sure that happens, but there isn’t a team hotter than War Eagle at the moment.
#8 Computer Hope Northwestern is proving to be an exceptionally feisty team, but 24-20 in Columbus? The Buckeyes have to do better than that. Nothing really stands out to be honest. You have to be impressed with the Wildcats here who have come a long way from the beginning of the season when they opened with back-to-back losses against Western Michigan and Illinois State. The Buckeyes aren’t out of the woods either. This week they have Nebraska with Michigan St. and Michigan still waiting. They need to figure things out quickly.
#9 Computer Hope The Badgers had to withstand a furious Nebraska comeback and take the game into OT, but the Badgers defense was able to stiffen up resulting in a 23-17 win over an undefeated Nebraska squad. Wisconsin still needs Nebraska to lose another game in order to win the Big 10 West, but the Cornhuskers travel to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes which should get the job done. The Badgers can’t overlook Northwestern next week in Evanston. The Wildcats have suddenly become a difficult team to manage so game faces on!
#10 Computer Hope Like Alabama, LSU was on a bye before the enormous SEC showdown. I think it’s really interesting that Nick Saban has referred to LSU as an undefeated team considering the Tigers haven’t lost since Ed Orgeron took over for Les Miles. To be fair, Orgeron has played in Baton Rouge for 3 games against Missouri, Southern Miss & Ole Miss, but 3-0 is better than 0-3! LSU can still win the SEC West if they win out. It’s amazing that despite all the hype around Alabama, there are still 4 teams in the West that could win it!
#11 Computer Hope THEY CAME THIS CLOSE!!! Right now Nebraska has to forget the 23-17 loss to Wisconsin and move on to Ohio State. It’s not going to get easier in Ohio Stadium, but I think the Cornhuskers proved they can stay with anyone in the Big 10. Nebraska still has a shot for a fantastic season. If they beat Ohio State they should be able to win out & get to 11-1. That mean they are likely facing an 11-1/12-0 Michigan team in the Big 10 championship. A win there & it’s playoff time. A loss and they still probably go to the Rose Bowl.
#12 Computer Hope I think there are a few ways to read the Utah/Washington game, but I think Washington is an ELITE team and Utah did a good job playing its game and imposing their will on a Huskies squad that has been utterly dominant all year long. The Utes will probably get a shot at revenge if they can walk into Boulder and beat Colorado in their season finale. At this point I don’t think Utah can crash the playoff party but they could play HUGE spoiler by winning the Pac 12. It would take UW out of the playoffs & out of the Rose Bowl.
#13 Computer Hope The Trojans have really started to figure things out. The 45-24 win last Thursday over California wasn’t insignificant. The Bears have played spoiler a couple of times this year & can put up quite a few points. USC gave Cal their first blowout loss of the season & held the Bears to their lowest scoring output of 2016. Sam Darnold once again was outstanding at QB with 5TD passes giving him 16 in his last 4 games! USC could still win the Pac 12 South. They need Colorado & Utah to each lose another game but it’s possible.
#14 Computer Hope A completely gift of a ranking considering Tennessee just lost to South Carolina. Hard to rank the Vols lower considering they beat Florida fairly easily early on in the season but that win is going to mean less and less as time passes. It has to be brutal in Knoxville right now. If Butch Jones can’t win with the current roster then it’s very difficult to see him getting it done in the next few years. Maybe 4 years isn’t enough but Tennessee at worst this season should have won the SEC East and that is all but a lost possibility now.
#15 Computer Hope QB Luke Del Rio played better against Georgia than he did against Missouri which is a good sign going forward for the Gators, but Florida’s defense is becoming downright disgusting! Florida held Georgia to 21 yards rushing on 19 carries. UGA managed just 8 first downs and less than 150 total yards in UF’s 24-10 victory. Florida now ranks 2nd in scoring defense, 9th in rush defense, 2nd in pass defense & 2nd in total defense. They’ll win the SEC East and then get murdered for the 2nd straight year by the Crimson Tide.
#16 Computer Hope Colorado finally had a bye week this past Saturday after 8 straight weekends where they ended 6-2. Even the most fervent Colorado fan might not have seen the breakout the Buffs are having this season under Coach Mac. With 3 homes games left in the next 4 and their lone road game coming against a terrible Arizona team, Colorado should have their sights set on 10-2 and a Pac 12 South championship. The playoffs are probably out of the picture but if Colorado could see the Rose Bowl if Washington goes undefeated.
#17 Computer Hope The Hogs were on a bye this past week which gave them time to lick their wounds after a soul crushing 56-3 hammering at the hands of Auburn. I’m not going to get too critical of Arkansas for the loss. Auburn might very well wind up in the playoffs. The Razorbacks have losses to Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M. So would probably 110 other teams who play FBS football. At this point I think a 10-win season would do wonders for HC Bielema & his staff. They’ll have to win out & win the bowl, but they have the schedule to do it.
#18 Computer Hope You really can’t say enough about how much 1st year HC Justin Fuente has improved the Hokies offense. Virginia Tech sits at 6-2 after a FANTASTIC 39-36 win at PITT this past week & offensively they are averaging 36.3PPG. It sounds absurd but the Hokies haven’t averaged that many points per game since 2000 when they finished 11-1 & ranked #6 in the final poll. VT is probably better than #18 but the loss to Syracuse & Tennessee look rough. They should win out & get to 10-2. Then the fun starts when they play Clemson.
#19 Computer Hope The Tar Heels are coming off a by sitting at 6-2 with a schedule they should win out with. Unfortunately for North Carolina, their one loss came to Virginia Tech meaning they wouldn’t win the ACC Coastal unless Va Tech lost again which doesn’t look likely. At this point UNC could get another 11 wins season assuming they win out & get a bowl win. That would be back-to-back 11-win seasons for Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels have a lot coming back next season especially if Mitch Trubisky & Elijah Hood stick around.
#20 Computer Hope Dalvin Cook tried his best but even he wasn’t good enough to beat Clemson by himself as FSU fell to the Tigers 37-34. Florida St. isn’t completely out of the woods just yet. They still have road games against NC State & Syracuse combined with a season finale against Florida who has a defense that should be rowdy. Hard to complain about the Noles at this point. They have losses to Louisville, Clemson & North Carolina. There is no more room for error though. A season in which FSU didn’t win 10 games would be disappointing.
#21 Computer Hope The Cougars showed incredible resiliency against Oregon St. last week as they came back from being down 24-6 at halftime on the road to finishing the game with a 35-31 win which gave Wazzou their 6th straight win & their 3rd straight road win. QB Luke Falk was outstanding throwing for 415yds/5TD. Washington St. now gets back-to-back home games against Arizona & California meaning they should be 8-2 when traveling to Colorado. They are winning close but they are winning and that is all that matters right now.
#22 Computer Hope The good news is that Oklahoma finally looked like Oklahoma in a 56-3 win this past weekend. The bad news is that they did it against Kansas so it’s like it never really happened. With Baylor & West Virginia losing games, Oklahoma is the last undefeated team in conference play. It seems like a disappointing season because of the early losses to Ohio St. & Houston, but if Oklahoma wins out they’ll finish 11-2 as Big XII Champions, on a 10-game winning streak and likely top-5/top-7 ranking. That’s nothing to be ashamed of!
#23 Computer Hope It took Penn St. a half to get it going against Purdue, but the Nittany Lions poured it on the Boilermakers, outscoring them 45-7 in the 2nd half en route to a 62-24 victory. RB Saquon Barkley was unstoppable leading PSU with 207 yards rushing and also receiving with 70 yards. QB Trace McSorley looked very efficient and the Penn St. defense looked loose. They held Purdue to 46 rushing yards & forced 4 turnovers. The difference to me is Penn St.’s defense the last couple of weeks. The Lions should win out & get to 10-2.
#24 Computer Hope The 37-20 win over West Virginia was impressive and it’s good to remember that if the refs would have screwed OK State against Central Michigan, the Cowboys would be sitting at 7-1 with their only loss coming at Baylor by 11 points. Keep in mind that Oklahoma St. isn’t beating cupcakes either. They have wins over Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Texas. The schedule is rough over the next 4 weeks including a road finale in Norman that could very well be for the Big XII championship. This team is a lot better than most think.
#25 Computer Hope West Virginia has won this year by defending the pass exceptionally well in a pass happy league & avoiding bad turnover margins. In their 37-20 loss to Oklahoma St., Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph went 26/36 for 273yds/3TD. WR James Washington was a big play machine & WVU committed 3 turnovers while getting ZERO take aways. It’s extremely hard to win in Stillwater playing like that. WVU can still finish 11-1 and win the Big XII but they need Oklahoma St. to lose another game. Is 11-1 enough for playoff discussion?

DROPPING OUT

#22 BAYLOR: Even if it was by just one point, losing at Texas pretty much finishes Baylor’s season. I suppose the Bears could still finish 11-1 and win the Big XII outright, but they could also lose out and finish 6-6 and I wouldn’t be surprised.

#24 MISSISSIPPI: It’s hard for me to rank Ole Miss when the Rebels are 3-5. Not only that but they’ve lost 3 straight games and 4 of their last 6. On the other hand, their 5 losses have come against Florida State, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU & Auburn. Ole Miss still has Texas A&M on the schedule so they could be looking at a 6-6 regular season, but if you add A&M to the list of losses, how many teams could do better than 6-6 with the schedule they’ve played? The big letdown in Oxford is the defense. Last year Ole Miss allowed 22.6PPG. This season that number has catapulted to 32.5! Giving up an extra 10PPG will cause quite a few more losses.

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida St., Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi, NCAA, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Power 25, Tennessee, Texas AM, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., Week 9, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 9 – BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope This might be our first legitimate game that will determine a playoff team. If Clemson can get by Florida St. this weekend then the Tigers have an easy road ahead which should portend to a 12-0 season & I don’t expect them to have trouble in the ACC Championship. A loss for the Seminoles has consequences too. It would mean a possible 9-4 season is a possibility meaning FSU’s last 4 seasons could be: 14-0, 13-1, 10-3 and now 9-4. I don’t think that’s a trend Jimbo Fisher wants to keep seeing. Computer Hope
Computer Hope To be honest I don’t think Utah has ANY IDEA what is in store for them this weekend when the Huskies come to town. If recent trends are any indication then the Utes might lose by 30+. Last week Washington beat Oregon St. 41-17. Two weeks ago Utah beat Oregon St. 19-14. Last week Utah gave up over 500 total yards & 45 points to UCLA. Washington’s offense can run circles around what the Bruins can do. Utah certainly needs the respect a win here would give them, but I think the task is too tough. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This should be a great Big 10 West game with a lot on the line for Nebraska. The once proud & storied program has definitely not seen the heights it achieved in the 1990s which is 20 years ago. A win in Madison could not only drive the Cornhuskers to 8-0, but it would certainly legitimize the team especially if they beat the Badgers by more than 7 which is by how many points both Michigan and Ohio St. beat Wisconsin. It would also set up a tremendous game between Nebraska & Ohio St. next week! Computer Hope
Computer Hope West Virginia has been proving how good they are the last couple of weeks with a dominant defensive win in Lubbock over Texas Tech & then last week’s romp of TCU, but there is still something impressive about going into Stillwater & getting a win. Keep this in mind if you are hoping WVU can get into the playoffs. Earlier in the year Central Michigan went into Stillwater and beat the Cowboys. If West Virginia is for real, this game shouldn’t be anything other than a minor speed bump to 12-0. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s not Alabama and it’s not even in Athens, but finally Florida plays AND finally they play someone of merit! The Gators are really hoping Luke Del Rio plays better in his 2nd game back from injury because last week against Missouri he was awful. Florida’s defense is outstanding & the running game did a great job against Mizzou last week, but Del Rio can’t throw 3 picks and expect to beat LSU. Florida can probably get by UGA, but they need avoid that 2nd SEC loss if they want to win the SEC East. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Ole Miss’ season is turning into a dumpster fire although you can hardly blame them given the schedule they’ve played, but this is a huge opportunity for the Rebels to get a win over a quality opponent. Unfortunately I’m not sure it is going to happen. Auburn is playing as well as anyone in the country! If you had to rank the SEC teams on how they are playing right now, I’d have War Eagle at #2 behind Alabama. Speaking of which, the Iron Bowl is going to be amazing if Auburn keeps winning! Computer Hope
Computer Hope You can certainly make an argument that you can throw out the records when it comes to a rivalry game, but in this case you can certainly keep them in! Michigan St. is having a terrible season while Michigan is making a good case for being the best team in the nation. Throw in the revenge factor for the Wolverines after losing in Ann Arbor last season & you have a recipe for a 59-3 blowout for the Maize and Blue. A bigger question might be what in the world has happened to Michigan St.!? Computer Hope
Computer Hope I really like this game. On the one hand I think it’s a good opportunity for Texas to get a solid road win & the Longhorns have been playing better in Austin than on the road. It probably doesn’t matter at this point but Charlie Strong needs all the help he can get. On the other hand this is a good opportunity for Baylor to bolster its resume a bit. No, Texas isn’t a top-20 team, but they do play physical football and it’ll be a good test for Baylor and a chance to get a valuable conference road win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Virginia Tech can lose this game and still win the ACC Coastal by virtue of having beaten North Carolina, but the even better question might be is whether or not Pittsburgh can win the Coastal if they manage to upset the Hokies!? The answer to that question is probably not because Virginia Tech and North Carolina have easy ACC schedules from this point forward while Pittsburgh has road games against Miami-FL and Clemson after they play VA Tech. Pittsburgh is better than their record. Tough year. Computer Hope
Computer Hope CATHOLICS v. CONVICTS…..well….not really. This is hardly the 1980s when this matchup would have been bananas! Notre Dame is coming into this one 2-5 without a meaningful win to speak of and really no football identity. Miami-FL has lost 3 straight including last week’s 37-16 humiliation in Blacksburg! Jimmy Johnson would have allowed for that when he was in Coral Gables! That said, this is still a cool rivalry game that is fun to watch if only because you are cheering the jerseys! Both need wins badly! Computer Hope

October 28, 2016 Posted by | Auburn, Baylor, Big Games, Clemson, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Must See Games, NCAA, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma St., Pittsburgh, Texas, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Week 9, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 WEEK 8

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Texas A&M took a 14-13 lead early in the 3rd quarter but the Tide scored 20 unanswered to route the Aggies 33-14 in convincing fashion. People keep looking for that game that Alabama barely pulls through en route to a championship because teams usually have one game where they need a little help from Lady Luck, but I’m not sure that is coming for Alabama. They are THAT MUCH better than everyone else. Their close call might have been the game against Ole Miss, but still. This is the best Alabama team I’ve seen.
#2 Computer Hope It’s hard to do comparisons but Michigan beat Penn St. 49-10 and Penn St. just finished beating Ohio State! If there is a team that could possibly stop Alabama, it’s the Wolverines and their defense which continues to be incredible. You know the standards are high when a 41-8 route of Illinois is almost seen as a disappointment. QB Wilton Speight doesn’t beat himself & this is a brutally punishing rushing offense. Michigan ran the ball 59 times against Illinois using 14 different players. I think Harbaugh ran it once!
#3 Computer Hope I’ve been trying to watch as much Washington football as I can and what is amazing about this team is the speed. Everyone is fast especially the defense & skill players. UW put a beating on Oregon St. 41-17 but you can see that Chris Petersen is resting the players now. The Huskies were up 31-0 at halftime and at this point it’s about keeping the team healthy. If there are any doubters left, Washington is going to put them to rest over their remaining five games. I’d expect Petersen to understand that style points will matter.
#4 Computer Hope Clemson had an interesting bye week. On the one hand the wins over Auburn & Louisville keep looking better and better. On the other hand, Auburn isn’t the same team Clemson beat opening week and Louisville just demolished an NC State team 54-13 that should have beaten Clemson the week prior. The Tigers got a week off before going down to Tallahassee to face Florida State. If they can convincingly beat the Noles, nothing really stands in their way from 12-0 and a shot at the ACC Championship. They keep winning.
#5 Computer Hope GOOD GRIEF! Louisville put the HAMMER down on NC State 54-13 and looked like the Cardinals team we thought we saw earlier in the year before losing to Clemson and barely getting by Duke. Louisville actually led 44-0 at halftime! Louisville held NC State to 9 first downs & 14 yards rushing while forcing 3 turnovers. It wasn’t a flawless game offensively for the Cardinals but the defense showed up in a big way. NC State might have been tired after playing Notre Dame & Clemson before, but this was an impressive win.
#6 Computer Hope The 33-14 final looks bad but A&M had quite a bit of momentum in the game until Alabama DL Jonathan Allen recovered a fumble and took it 30 yards to the house to put the Tide up 26-14. Giving Alabama that much momentum in their own stadium was too much for the Aggies to overcome so the dream season is likely over. The Aggies aren’t completely out of it yet though. They still get Ole Miss & LSU at home so 11-1 is still on the table. There are a lot worse things than losing to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They’re alive.
#7 Computer Hope The blocked FG return TD in the 4th quarter that put Penn St. up 24-21 was brutal & the Buckeyes couldn’t find a way to win this time. Ohio St. is fantastic there is no denying that and I’m not trying to say the Big 10 East is equivalent to the SEC West, but I’m not sure it’s that far off either. If Penn St. really does elevate their game then the Big 10 East has Michigan, Michigan St., Penn St. & Ohio St. all playing well. Having to play in Madison the week before didn’t help matters & it’s hard to win 2 HUGE games consecutively.
#8 Computer Hope Gus Malzahn’s offense is beautiful to watch when clicking on all cylinders which is what happened this weekend against Arkansas as War Eagle to the Hogs to the woodshed & spanked them 56-3! Forget the fact that Auburn ran for almost 600yds & 7TD! How about the defensive effort by the Tigers in holding Arkansas to 25 rushing yards on 31 attempts! Before Auburn, Arkansas averaged 4.3ypc on 42 carries a game! Auburn completely dictated the pace of this game & they are proving to have an incredible defense.
#9 Computer Hope Iowa might not be last year’s version but it’s never easy to go into Iowa City and get a win. Wisconsin took care of business beating the Hawkeyes 17-9 in a game the Badgers controlled from the start. Wisconsin held the ball for 37+ minutes & didn’t commit a single penalty. The defense held Iowa to 83 yards rushing & 2 of 13 on 3rd down. The Badgers return home to take on Nebraska & it’s a MUST WIN for Wisconsin if it wants to win the Big 10 West. I think the Badgers win convincingly and head for a 10-2 finish.
#10 Computer Hope At what point does the national media have to start taking West Virginia seriously? They go into Lubbock and hold a Texas Tech team that was averaging 55+PPG to only 17. This is the same Texas Tech offense that dropped 59 on Oklahoma! This past week they welcome TCU into Morgantown and throttle the Frogs 34-10! West Virginia has done a good job defending the pass this season & when you look at the makeup of the secondary it makes sense. They are big & physical. Good pass defense equals a lot of wins in the Big XII.
#11 Computer Hope Welcome back Leonard Fournette! Fournette wasted no time in reminding everyone he’s the best RB in the nation by going for 284 yards & 3TD on only 16 carries against Ole Miss in a LSU 38-21 victory. Fournette went over 300 total yards by tacking on 25 receiving yards! The Bayou Bengals have been a different team under Ed Orgeron going 3-0 with an average victory of 42-13! The schedule stiffens considerably starting this week with Alabama, but note that if LSU wins out, they win the SEC West & likely the SEC!
#12 Computer Hope The Vols got a much deserved bye week after four straight games against Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama. Tennessee’s remaining five games should give them no pause to worry and a 10-2 regular season record is in the bag. What Tennessee has to be worried about is Florida figuring a way to win the rest of their games. It seems unlikely given that the Gators still have Arkansas, LSU & Georgia on the schedule, but if Florida wins out, Tennessee actually loses the SEC East to Florida despite beating them 38-28!
#13 Computer Hope The Trojans had a bye week after winning 3 straight games & improving to 4-3. USC has played a lot better since Sam Darnold has been inserted into the starting lineup as QB but the Trojan defense has gotten quite a bit saltier over the last 3 weeks than earlier in the season. USC gets a couple of home games against Oregon & California that should push them to 5-3 before trudging up to Seattle to take on Washington. That’s actually too bad because a loss there probably ends their slim hopes of winning the Pac 12 South.
#14 Computer Hope Sometimes you win ugly and Colorado did just that beating Stanford 10-5 in Pao Alto! If you want an indication of just how far coach Mike MacIntyre has taken this football team, consider that Colorado joined the Pac 10 in 2011 and since that time has played Stanford 3 times. They’ve lost all 3 by the combined score of 138-17! Last year Stanford beat UC 42-10 in Boulder. Now Colorado is winning! When was the last time Colorado beat Stanford? It was 1990 which also happened the be the year Colorado won a national title!
#15 Computer Hope It was an embarrassing loss to Auburn to be sure, but in a game like that the winner was going to be the one who could establish the run and dictate the time of possession. The Razorbacks tried to do this and succeeded at some level because they won the time of possession battle but turnovers & 3rd down conversions did them in. Auburn simply imposed their will & made too many big plays on defense. It happens. I can’t knock Arkansas too much. They have losses to Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama. What can you do?
#16 Computer Hope RB Joe Williams had a record setting day going for 332 yards & 4TD in Utah’s 52-45 win over UCLA, but the 45 points given up is the problem itself. Josh Rosen didn’t even suit for the Bruins in this one. UCLA rushed for 46 yards & committed 5 turnovers yet Utah squeaked it out by 7 points? A win is a win and 7-1 is 7-1, but Utah is living off a win over USC in Sam Darnold’s first start. This week they host Washington. A victory over the Huskies will get everyone’s attention, but right now the schedule seems like a lot of fluff.
#17 Computer Hope It feels like Florida has barely played this year given that they’ve had 2 off weeks in the last 3 given their bye week and then the rainout game against LSU that they’ll make up. Florida was on their bye week this past week. The schedule starts to get interesting this week with Georgia. Florida’s 5-1 but their 5 wins have come against Kentucky, UMass, North Texas, Vanderbilt & Missouri. It’s the softest 5-1 in the nation! At least Utah has a win over USC. The SEC East is starting to become a punchline and that’s a problem.
#18 Computer Hope Nebraska is being ranked the top-10 by the polls because they are 7-0 and they’re Nebraska, but the past two weeks have seen the Cornhuskers play those DOMINANT Big 10 teams Indiana & Purdue and come away beating both by the combined scored of 54-36. They barely escaped Bloomington with a win & when you look at the schedule, their best win to date might actually be the road win over the Hoosiers! Nebraska finally plays someone this weekend. Let’s see how they do when they walk into Camp Randall Stadium!
#19 Computer Hope Another week another win for the Cougars who took down Arizona St. 37-32 in Tempe which makes it Wazzou’s 5th straight win & improved their record to 5-2. How is this for an amazing statistic. Washington St. ran for -52 yards in the game. They were out rushed by the Sun Devils 113 to -52 yet won! The big news coming out of the game was Mike Leach accusing ASU of stealing signs, but the Cougs still got a win. Washington St. has a real shot at getting to 9-2 before hosting Washington to see who takes the Pac 12 North.
#20 Computer Hope If you like offense then you loved Oklahoma 66-59 win over Texas Tech. Baker Mayfield passed for 545 yards & 7TD while Joe Mixon ran for 263yds & 2TD. For the Red Raiders, Patrick Mahomes passed for 734 yards & 5TD & Texas Tech averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Big picture this was a terrible effort for Oklahoma considering that West Virginia came in the week prior and held Texas Tech to 17 points & 379 total yards. Oklahoma gave up 59 points & 854 total yards! Oklahoma almost gave up 1000 yards on defense! Awful.
#21 Computer Hope It’s really tough to figure out how Virginia Tech can beat North Carolina 34-3 one week. Follow that win with a 31-17 loss to Syracuse and then follow that loss with a 37-16 win over Miami-FL. The Hokies remind me of some of Frank Beamer’s great teams. They ground & pound on offense effectively. QB Jerod Evans is playing extremely well. They get after it on defense with a lot of pressure on the opposing offense. They really should win out and get to 10-2 which would be fantastic but they can’t have another Syracuse game.
#22 Computer Hope Baylor and Florida might as well be the same team. Neither team has beaten anyone and both teams have played once in the last 3 weeks. The Bears are 6-0 which I guess means something if Nebraska being 7-0 means something. The schedule gets quite a bit tougher for the Bears moving forward starting this week with a road trip to Austin. Baylor should start moving up the rankings with more wins under the belt and if they & West Virginia can hold serve, both could be 11-0 when they meet on December 3rd in Morgantown.
#23 Computer Hope The Tar Heels would be much higher if they didn’t have the huge blunder against Virginia Tech. North Carolina went into Charlottesville and hammered Virginia 34-16 behind great efforts from Mitch Trubisky, Elijah Hood and a good defensive effort. You have to wonder what sort of impact Hood would have had on the Virginia Tech outcome. He’s missed one game this season & it was against the Hokies. Carolina certainly has the talent to win out but they need another Va Tech loss to win the Coastal & get to Charlotte.
#24 Computer Hope What a year Ole Miss has had!? They are 3-4 with their losses coming to Florida St., Alabama, LSU & Arkansas. Three of those 4 games were on the road and the lone home game came against Alabama! It’s hard to believe that the 23 teams I have ahead of Ole Miss are actually better than the Rebels but this is life in the SEC West. It doesn’t get any easier either. This week the Rebels strap it up against Auburn, and they still have Texas A&M later in the year. A 6-6 season is a distinct possibility & that would be a disappointment.
#25 Computer Hope OK Penn State! You had no business winning that football game, but you got the signature win over Ohio State. Let’s see you run with it! Penn St. has a couple of landmines to dodge in Indiana & Iowa, but Michigan St. shouldn’t be a problem so the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot at 10-2 & 2nd place in the Big 10 East. That’s a major win for James Franklin and the program & hopefully Franklin can use to his benefit on the recruiting trail & get Penn St. back on par with Michigan and Ohio State. I’m rooting hard for them!

DROPPING OUT

#20 BOISE ST.: The Broncos didn’t do anything to not be ranked, but the schedule is so soft. I would have liked to have seen a better performance against BYU. They are pretty much living off the Washington State win at this point although I’m not sure Boise could beat the Cougars if they played tomorrow. What’s even more sad is that this week’s game against Wyoming is being billed as a competitive game. Come on!

#21 HOUSTON: You can’t lose to SMU 38-16. Tom Herman’s star is fading just a bit after losses to both Navy & SMU! He better take that LSU job while he can!

#25 NC STATE: I don’t want to bang NC State too hard after getting crushed by Louisville. Just ask Florida State what that feels like. When Louisville is firing on all cylinders they are probably the 2nd or 3rd best team in the nation. NC State is still arguably the 3rd best team in the ACC and they can make a pretty good argument they are the 2nd best team behind only Louisville.

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Boise St., Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Houston, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi, NC State, NCAA, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Penn St., Power 25, Tennessee, Texas AM, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., Week 8, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 8 – BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Settle in because up to this point this is the most important game of the season. The Aggies got a week of rest while the Tide were in Knoxville destroying Tennessee 49-10. The task here is to try and figure out a way for Texas A&M to win on the road. I think more than anything QB Trevor Knight cannot turn the ball over and DEs Myles Garrett & Daeshon Hall have to have big games getting pressure on Tide QB Jalen Hurts. This is essentially the de facto SEC Championship game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It was interesting to watch the Wolfpack defense defend Deshaun Watson last week in a game NC State should have won & gotten themselves on the national map. They’ll get another chance this weekend in Louisville which shouldn’t be as difficult a place to play. Watson couldn’t get loose against NC State’s defense & I think his draft stock went down a bit because of it. I’m curious to see how Lamar Jackson plays against the Wolfpack & if he can keep his Heisman campaign going. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A white out in Beaver Stadium is  a beautiful sight to behold so there will definitely be pressure on Ohio St. to get it done in yet another road game on the heels of their OT win over Wisconsin in Madison. I don’t think the atmosphere will be insane as it was in Camp Randall, but it might not matter because JT Barrett seems impervious to pressure! Keep in mind though that this is a huge game for James Franklin & the Lions. They need to start proving they belong with Ohio St. and Michigan. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This could turn into the most interesting game of the weekend. Wisconsin is in the middle of brutal stretch of their schedule but they are coming off a home game against Ohio St. and next week they are at home against Nebraska. In the middle is a road game against Iowa against a Hawkeyes team who is starting to play a lot better. Wisconsin’s win over LSU seems like a lifetime ago so they need to start building up some wins. A win here is one step closer to the Big 10 title game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Both teams come in with 2 losses but while Arkansas had a rough game at home against Ole Miss, the Tigers of Auburn had the week off. I think this is a really cool game because either team has the chops to finish 10-2 which would be a huge win for both programs and huge confidence boosters for the teams & coaches. Auburn is likely to lose to Alabama to end the season so a win here allows the possibility for a 10 win season. Same goes for Arkansas with a win. Both teams need it. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Lost in all the uproar over the Les Miles firing is that the Tigers still control their own destiny despite the losses to Wisconsin & Arkansas. If LSU wins out, they win the SEC West. Win the SEC championship game & make it to the playoffs! It sounds odd, but this is still a very talented & experienced team. Danny Etling gives them a better chance to win over Brandon Harris & Derrius Guice has proven to be a monster. A big win over Ole Miss will start to get people discussing their chances. Computer Hope
Computer Hope While Charlie Strong might not get fired after this game, coaches are now starting to drop. Les Miles was first and now Darrell Hazell from Purdue was let go. Kansas St. isn’t a bad team and a loss here could definitely be the difference between a bowl for Texas. At 3-3, the Longhorns aren’t in any danger of winning the Big XII, but the job is a huge one & everything Strong does is going to be under the microscope which almost makes every week a must watch affair. Another must win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The loss to North Carolina last week all but killed Miami-FL’s chances at winning the ACC Coastal, but Virginia Tech still controls their own destiny even after the road loss at Syracuse this past week. The Coastal is a complete mess at this point and it’s hard to see if anyone is really good considering their out of conference opponents haven’t been so hot. VT lost to Tennessee. UNC lost to Georgia. If Virginia Tech wants to win the Coastal, they need to win this game & beat Pitt next week. Computer Hope
Computer Hope TCU’s defense hasn’t been what it has been known for under Gary Patterson so West Virginia should be able to score some points, but this will be the biggest win to date for WVU if they can get the W in Morgantown. TCU is 4-2 & flying a bit under the radar but both losses were close ones against Oklahoma & Arkansas which is more than understandable. Holding Texas Tech to 17 points in Lubbock was a statement for the Mountaineers. Beating TCU & getting to 6-0 will be another. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Last week against UCLA, Wazzou QB Luke Falk was held without a passing TD for the first time in his career & the Cougars were held without a passing TD for the first time since 2013! Don’t expect a repeat against a Sun Devils defense that currently ranks as the worst pass defense in college football! This is one of those tricky games because ASU can score points too & they’re 5-2. Washington St. is coming off 3 GREAT wins over Oregon, Stanford & UCLA. I hope they don’t let down here. Computer Hope

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arizona St., Arkansas, Auburn, Big Games, Iowa, Kansas St., Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Mississippi, Must See Games, NC State, NCAA, Ohio St, Penn St., TCU, Texas, Texas AM, Virginia Tech, Washington St., Week 8, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment