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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 | 2 Comments

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HOT SEATS!

With so much talk about coaches potentially being fired, I thought it would be a good idea to go over the coaches that could be/are on the hot seat at this point. The college football season is entering Week 6 while the NFL is at the quarter mark for all teams but two (Philly & Green Bay). I’ll get to the NFL in a later post but for now let’s evaluate what is going on at the collegiate level at the Power 5 conferences and Notre Dame.

Les Miles/Ed Orgeron-LSU

Miles has already been fired and the seat didn’t cool simply because Orgeron took over as the interim head coach. LSU has a Nick Saban problem more than they do a coaching problem. That said, the Tigers are entirely TOO TALENTED to lose the games they’ve been losing. Sure Wisconsin & Auburn are better teams than people expected heading into the season, but LSU still should have been able to win those games. In fact, with the way LSU recruits, it’s hard to believe LSU would lose any games other than road dates to Alabama. That might have not been the historical norm, but Nick Saban showed LSU Nation would could be in Baton Rouge and now that is the standard. LSU could lose 3-4 more games this season but Phil Steele in his 2016 annual noted that LSU was the 3rd most talented team in college football. That shouldn’t equate to a 6-6/5-7 season. In 2015 Steele ranked them 10th and the Tigers finished 9-3. In 2014 Steele ranked them 14th and they finished 8-5. If anything, LSU should expect their head coach to get the most out of their talent. That hasn’t happened and I seriously doubt Orgeron winds up with the HC job after this season.

Gus Malzahn-Auburn

I think the notion of Malzahn being on the hot seat is absurd but he did take Auburn to the BCS Championship game in his first year in 2013 and finished 12-2. He’s declined every year since going 8-5 in 2014 and 7-6 in 2014. I like Auburn this year more than most but like LSU they have a Nick Saban problem and an SEC West problem. Auburn could wind up 8-4 and have an excellent year, just not a national championship year. The fanbase gets a little spoiled an impatient when you take the program to 2 national championship games in a 4-year span and Malzahn is dealing with that fallout. Gene Chizik won a national championship in 2010 and was fired two years later for crying out loud! The heat is on Malzahn to be sure but I think he could probably survive another 7-5 season although at that point 2017 would be make or break for him.

Mark Stoops-Kentucky

Stoops is feeling a little heat after a couple of 5-7 seasons but Kentucky isn’t playing awful. I thought they could be a surprise team in the SEC East this year but when they opened up the season with a loss to Southern Miss, I think it took a lot of air out of their expectations. The Wildcats did get a win over South Carolina and they have their next 2 games at home against Vanderbilt & Mississippi State. Win those games and UK is 4-3 with a game against Austin Peay on the schedule which would give them 5 wins & needing just one more to get to a bowl game. That game might have to come on the road against Missouri or at home against Georgia. If Stoops falls short again then Kentucky might make a change, but Stoops is close to the Rich Brooks formula that worked so well. Maybe another year & he’ll have it down although playing Louisville every season isn’t going to do them any favors considering that is practically an automatic loss as long as Bobby Petrino heads the Cardinals.

James Franklin-Penn State

It might be a bit premature for Franklin to be on the hot seat in just his 3rd year, but I think the problems are mounting. They lost a road game against in-state rival Pittsburgh. They were humiliated on the road against Michigan and they needed OT to get a home win over Minnesota. They needed OT to beat the Golden Gophers in Beaver Stadium! Let that sink in for a second. Penn St. might have more of a Jim Harbaugh/Urban Meyer/Mark Dantonio problem than they do a coaching problem, but if the Nittany Lions as a program want to be mentioned in the same breath as Ohio St. and Michigan, then they need to figure out FAST if Franklin is the guy because if he’s not they might be missing out on pretty big opportunities by being slow and measured. It’s an odd type of situation to be in but it’s closing in on a decade since Penn St. has been nationally relevant and that doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon under Franklin.

Darrell Hazell-Purdue

I don’t see a conference win for the Boilermakers this year unless they can get a home win over Northwestern, but the Wildcats just took it to Iowa so that even seems like a stretch. Regardless of outcomes this year, Hazell right now is 8-32 in 40 games as Purdue HC. In Big 10 play he’s 2-23 to this point and coming off a 50-7 road loss to Maryland! Recruiting is taking a big beating for Purdue as well and Phil Steele noted they had the worst recruiting class of any program in the Big 10 in 2016, and it was by a decent margin. Danny Hope wasn’t very good in West Lafayette, but at this point he’s looking like Vince Lombardi compared to Hazell. The Boilermakers are a long way away from the Joe Tiller era and if Purdue turns in another 2-10 season, it’s hard to imagine they won’t make a change.

Mark Helfrich-Oregon

Oregon went 46-7 from 2009-2012 under Chip Kelly before Kelly left Eugene to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. Mark Helfrich came in and went 11-2 his first season and then led Oregon to a national championship game that ended up a 42-20 loss to Ohio State although Oregon finished the season 13-2. Last year the Ducks went 9-4 and this year they are 2-3 with going through a 3-game losing streak with losses to teams such as Washington St., Colorado and Nebraska. This isn’t your older brother’s Oregon Ducks team and Helfrich is feeling the heat. When you look at the remaining schedule, I think it’s certainly possible that the Ducks miss a bowl game! Helfrich gets judged a little harshly with the 9-4 season a year ago. That was a lot closer to 12-1. The loss to Michigan St. probably should have been a win. It took Wazzou 2OT to beat Oregon and the bowl loss to TCU was a 47-41 affair that went into triple OT! Oregon needs to figure the defense out fast. They’ll score points in spades but a big difference the last years under Helfrich is that the defense is giving up 35+PPG! Brady Hoke is the new DC here & he needs time. Hopefully that time doesn’t cost Helfrich his job.

Clay Helton-USC

I don’t know what to make of this situation. Last year everyone seemed very pleased that Helton got the job and there was a lot of chatter from the players that they were very happy Helton was getting the gig. Fast forward to this season & it looks like Helton has long control of the football team and he & players are coming to physical altercations! Who knows what to think at this point. I don’t think losing to Alabama to open the season or follow up losses to Stanford & Utah on the road are killer although you wouldn’t have seen that under Pete Carroll. With that said, there has to be some rebuilding aspect to this program & the Trojans came out and looked great in beating Arizona St. 41-20. A win this week over Colorado could have the Trojans back on track & it looked like a great move to insert QB Sam Darnold into the starting lineup. The schedule is absolutely NASTY so I could see it going either way but an 8-4 season with a bowl win gets USC to 9-4 and sets them up for a BIG 2017. Helton probably survives if they get to 9-4. If they fall apart and wind up 4-8 or 3-9 then he’s gone.

Charlie Strong-Texas

Strong is feeling heat after dropping 2 straight to California and Oklahoma State, but I still wonder if anything will happen in Austin. Beating Oklahoma would definitely cool his critics but even a loss to the Sooners doesn’t completely end the season. A loss does probably destroy their chances at a Big XII title, but their toughest games remaining would be against TCU & Baylor, two games that will be played in Austin. Lose to Oklahoma but win out and get a bowl win and the Longhorns are looking at a 10-3 season after being 13-14 in Strong’s first two seasons! Do you can the guy after a 10-3 season which is a 5 win improvement!? Seems doubtful. On the other hand, Texas’ defense is downright terrible and the Big XII does nothing but put up points. Let’s assume they can’t beat Baylor & TCU. That’s 2 losses right there, but they have road games against Kansas State & Texas Tech! Can they win a shootout game against the Red Raiders in Lubbock? I think at a minimum Strong has to win 8-9 games. Otherwise where is the program going?

Mike Gundy-Oklahoma St.

It’s ridiculous to list Gundy. The Cowboys are 3-2 at the moment. One loss came on the road against a ranked Baylor team that is still undefeated. It happens. The other loss was on a brutal call by an official that screwed Oklahoma St. out of a win over Central Michigan. You could certainly argue that OK-State should have never been in a close game with Central Michigan and I wouldn’t disagree, but the Cowboys should be 4-1. To be fair, Oklahoma St. should win out until their final 2 games when they play TCU & Oklahoma on the road. That means they’d be 8-2 going into the last 2 weeks of the season. A coach at 8-2 is on the hot seat? T. Boone Pickens might be getting a bit senile. If not for his inane comments about Gundy, I wouldn’t even have dreamed of putting Gundy on any hot seat list. OK State should be happy he hasn’t gone to greener pastures like Jimmy Johnson & Les Miles did.

Brian Kelly-Notre Dame

I’m not sure Kelly is on a hot seat per se but he’s in Year 7 of his tenure in South Bend and he’s losing home games to Duke and has a defense that is utterly atrocious despite recruiting at a high level since the day the man stepped on campus. With the home loss to Duke, the Irish open themselves up to potential losses each week for the rest of the season. Maybe they don’t have to worry too much about beating Army but they still have NC State, Stanford, Miami-FL, Navy, Virginia Tech & USC on the ledger! Since Kelly got lucky in 2012 & led the Irish to the national championship where they got HAMMERED 42-14 by Alabama, the Irish have gone a combined 27-12 over the last 3 seasons and this year they are going to be SUPER LUCKY to get to 8-4. If they were to lose the bowl and finish 7-5 then over the past 4 seasons Kelly would be 34-17. That’s 8.5 wins per season. That’s not going to cut it at Notre Dame.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Auburn, Coaching, Kentucky, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Penn St., Purdue, Texas, USC | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 6 – BIG GAMES

Week 5 already!! This is crazy! I hate how fast the college football goes by. After this week there will be some teams that are one win away from bowl eligibility. That sounds crazy but it’s true. Let’s get to this week best 10 games.

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope How much longer can Tennessee flirt with disaster before it finally catches up to them? College Station isn’t going to be an easy place to play & Tennessee hasn’t seen anything like the combination of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall coming off the edges. The Aggies rank 16th in the nation in sacks. Tennessee ranks 65th in sacks allowed. That’s a problem. Another problem is that A&M’s offense is too good for UT to spot them a big lead & then try to come back & win on a miracle. Computer Hope
Computer Hope What makes Alabama so tough is that you really can’t run a ball-control offense on their defense. Their LBs are typically too good and with a guy like Rueben Foster laying wood, it’s almost impossible for an opposing RB to get loose. The Tide can also load the box up pretty well considering they put their corners on islands a lot of the time which is how you beat them. Austin Allen has been fantastic this year but I’m not sure he can shoulder the load & get a win over the Crimson Tide. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Oregon’s defense has been porous to say the least and they have yet to see a team as fast on offense as the Huskies. Washington’s defense on the other hand just gave up 6 points to Stanford & held made Christian McCaffrey a non-factor. This seems like a blowout win for the Huskies, but Washington hasn’t beaten Oregon since 2003 and hasn’t won in Eugene since 2002. Washington is the new force in the North but it feels like they need to beat the man to be the man! Whoooooooo! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Charlie Strong got the dreaded vote of confidence for the rest of the season which means he’s pretty much a dead man walking. Beating Oklahoma could give the Texas administration pause, but I think ultimately unless the Longhorns win the Big XII, Strong will be looking for new employment. The funny thing for both of these teams is that they could still win the Big XII if they win out. This would seem easiest for Oklahoma and I think the Sooners are flying a bit under the radar. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It will really be interesting to see what type of energy the Tar Heels bring to the game considering the wild emotional win they had last week over Florida St. in Tallahassee. Virginia Tech hasn’t played anyone of note except Tennessee & they beat the Vols for a half. This could be the win they are looking for to get them back atop the ACC Coastal. The Tar Heels are a sleeper playoff team. They need this game & they need to beat Miami-FL but the ACC title game should be within their grasp. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Nobody is quite taking Colorado seriously just yet, but a road win over the Trojans is going to open up some eyes. The road win over Oregon would have done so if the Ducks weren’t completely in the tank, but road wins over USC & Oregon combined with how well they played Michigan should get a lot of eyes on the Buffaloes. The Buffs are 4-1 with a point differential of +113. The last time they were as good this early was 1995 when they started 5-0 at +145. Colorado finished 10-2 that year. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s great that the Hurricanes are 4-0 and it certainly brings back memories of their dominance in years past but to this point they haven’t played anyone. That’s about to change as a wounded & humiliated Seminoles team comes to town to try and get their season back on track. Miami has done a good job this year of running the football well & playing great defense. FSU’s defense has been putrid so as long as Dalvin Cook doesn’t get silly, Miami-FL should be able to win this one. Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE BATTLE OF THE PURDUE QUARTERBACKS!!! Danny Etling & Austin Appleby weren’t particularly good at Purdue so it’s amazing that both of these guys are squaring up against one another as starters for LSU & Florida respectively. The LSU story is so layered. From a talent perspective they could certainly win the SEC and let’s not forget that if LSU wins out they are SEC West champions. If Ed Orgeron leads LSU to an SEC West title, is there any way that LSU doesn’t give him the job? Computer Hope
Computer Hope This actually might be the most interesting game of the week. Houston’s defense has been playing extremely well especially Steven Taylor & Ed Oliver, but the Navy triple option attack is an unusual formation that can beat you up. Last year the Cougars took Navy down 52-31 so this might not seem like a game Houston could lose, but when you look at their schedule, this one makes sense to be a tough out. The one issue for Navy is that they have nothing on defense that can stop Greg Ward. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Great barometer game for the Tigers. Mississippi St. generally plays extremely well at home, but this year Auburn should come out with a convincing win. Sean White is gaining more and more confidence as the season goes a long and I think the offense will only benefit. When War Eagle is running well they are very tough to handle & I’d expect them to get rolling in Starkville. They might not beat Ole Miss & Alabama on the road this year but enough with the Gus Malzahn firing rumors! Computer Hope

October 3, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big Games, Colorado, Florida, Florida St., Houston, LSU, Miami-FL, Mississippi St., Must See Games, Navy, NCAA, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Texas AM, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, Week 6 | 2 Comments

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 4 – BIG GAMES

Week 4 will probably not be as good as Week 1 or Week 3, but it’s definitely a week where there should be quite a bit of separation. A lot of teams have the opportunity to consolidate and it’ll be interesting to see if they take advantage because it could catapult them towards a special season. It’s weird to think about, but we are a fourth of the way through the season for most teams. After this week a lot of teams will be a third of the way finished with their season. We just started!!!!

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope It’s nice to have the Big 10 back in the spotlight this week with the marquee game. Based on last week’s games, these two teams look far apart as the Badgers struggled with Georgia St. while the Spartans handled their business against Notre Dame on the road. The winner of this game gets a huge conference but will also have 2 great wins on the schedule. Wisconsin needs to figure out their QB situation quickly because Malik McDowell is coming!! Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think this game is really interesting when looked at through the prism of open windows. Tennessee has had an open window for the SEC East when Will Muschamp was the HC at Florida because he wasn’t able to take Florida to the heights that Spurrier & Meyer did. I think Jim McElwain can get to those heights, but he’ll need a year or two. That’s an open window for the Vols specifically this year with their experience. Tennessee has to take advantage. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I love the contrasting styles of this game. Texas A&M’s front 7 is fairly dominant but that has a lot to do with their ability to get to the QB via Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. Arkansas wants to run the football so if Garrett & Hall are getting up the field while Arkansas & Rawleigh Williams are running inside, it’s a big help for the Razorbacks. They control the clock and move the ball all while keeping the A&M offense & their receivers off the field. Great strategy game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think Auburn is getting a raw deal with Gus Malzahn being under the gun after losing to Clemson & Texas A&M to start the season. Auburn isn’t doing much different than what they’ve done in the past. Last year QB play was bad & the RBs didn’t really dominate. In 2014 they were 8-5 but not far from 10-3. In 2013 they were playing for a national championship. I think War Eagle gets somebody this year & that might be LSU this week which would be a big win for them. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Georgia has to be thrilled to be 3-0 when they could just as easily be 0-3 and completely demoralized! Navigating the SEC with a true freshman at QB isn’t going to be easy no matter how good Jacob Eason is and Ole Miss should be a HUGE test. For the Rebels, they’ve lost to Alabama & Florida St., but at times looked like the best team in the nation. If that is true then Ole Miss should handle UGA relatively easy. It would be nice to see Ole Miss put two halves together. Computer Hope
Computer Hope So far UCLA has a been a big disappointment. Losing to Texas A&M might not look bad as the weeks go by & the Aggies keep winning, but UCLA also struggled with BYU. They haven’t been able to run the ball well & Josh Rosen has looked terrible in his 2nd season under center. The Bruins can right a lot of wrongs with a big win over Stanford this weekend and reestablish themselves as the front runners for the Pac 12 South. Christian McCaffrey has other ideas. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Big XII is a complete mess at this point with Texas losing to Cal and Oklahoma already having two losses, but Baylor is still undefeated at 3-0 and a win at home over Oklahoma St. could give them a little more credit than they’ve had so far with a cupcake filled schedule. I’m interested to see how Oklahoma St. comes back after 2 emotional games. The bizarre ending to C.Michigan and the incredible win over Pittsburgh. They have something to prove. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’m not saying Colorado is going to win anything this season, but you knew something was different about the Buffs when they blitzed Colorado St. 44-7 to open the season. Colorado blitzed Michigan last week in the first quarter & stunned the Wolverines before Michigan recovered for a win, but in years past Colorado wouldn’t have gotten off a punch. You can be sure they won’t be intimidated going into Oregon after going into Ann Arbor. This game will not be a blowout. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s worth remembering that Georgia Tech was 11-3 in 2014 & THIS CLOSE from turning in a perfect 14-0 record. That was an experienced squad under HC Paul Johnson. Last year the Yellow Jackets took a step back as they regrouped but now they are a lot more experienced. I don’t know if that predicts a win over Clemson, but it’ll be an EXTREMELY tough game for the Tigers regardless and remember that Clemson has Louisville the very next week. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Like Ole Miss, USC has gotten a tough schedule early & suffered losses to Stanford & Alabama. Like Ole Miss the Trojans get a good but not great team in Week 4 to show they really do belong as contenders for their conference. Utah has played well so far this season getting big plays from their receivers with a solid ground attack. Utah has done a good job replacing Travis Wilson & Devontae Booker from last season. Getting a win here would be huge moving forward. Computer Hope

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Big Games, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan St., Mississippi, Must See Games, NCAA, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas AM, UCLA, USC, Utah, Week 4, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 3 – BIG GAMES

I’m trying my best to stick to 10 games a week during the college season but I’m already breaking that rule for Week 3. I extended the important games out to 12 because I felt the storylines for the 12 games were enough to merit inclusion. Maybe a better rule will be a minimum of 10 games?

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Wow! This is definitely the game of the week. Louisville gets its first real test in the Seminoles, but with the way the Cardinals have played thus far, don’t think they aren’t believing they can compete for national championships. It’s amazing that Bobby Petrino is year 3 and if L’ville wins this game, they probably jump to top-3 in the polls. The football landscape definitely gets shaken with a Cardinal win & it can happen. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Clearly losing to Ole Miss doesn’t hamper Alabama’s championship aspirations. Last year Ole Miss beat Alabama 43-37 in Tuscaloosa & the Tide still won a national championship. In 2014, Ole Miss beat them 23-17 & the Tide still got to the playoffs. With that being said, I’m sure Nick Saban is not too happy with those losses and given how disappointed he was after beating WKU, he’s looking to take out frustrations. Computer Hope
Computer Hope There is a lot riding on this game for Oklahoma. If the Sooners lose to Ohio St., then they’ll fall to 1-2. They can argue they’ve lost to two of the top-3 teams in the country, but a 2-loss team isn’t getting into the playoffs. Their season will effectively be over outside of playing for a Big XII title. For the Buckeyes this is a statement game. They’ve played well to this point but a win here shows how effective Ohio St. can reload the roster. Computer Hope
Computer Hope These two teams haven’t played since 2013 & currently the Irish are on a 3-game winning streak. This will be a good barometer game for both squads. A Michigan St. win certainly gives Spartan Nation some hope at a 13-0 season considering they get both Michigan & Ohio St. at home. For the Irish, a playoff spot is still up for grabs as it would be hard to pass up an 11-1 Notre Dame as one of the final four playoff teams. Computer Hope
Computer Hope There is a lot going on here for both teams. I love how Auburn turned to Sean White as QB & ran the ball EXTREMELY well last week. Their defense is going to shine so if the offense works out then they are formidable. For Texas A&M, a win over Auburn puts them at 3-0 with wins over UCLA & on the road against Auburn. It’s entirely possible that when Texas A&M heads to Tuscaloosa, they could be playing for the SEC west. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Big opportunity here for USC to get back into the national picture with a win over a highly ranked Stanford squad. The Trojans might have been left for dead after the Alabama debacle in Dallas, but I still think USC is a supremely talented team that can play with the Cardinal. Stanford needs a solid win to keep up appearances. The opening week win over Kansas St. wasn’t inspiring and they were on their bye last week. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s fun to see Nebraska being relevant in a national game. The Huskers are an experienced team that has had little trouble hammering Fresno St. & Wyoming early on. Oregon will be a completely different animal for them, but a win puts Nebraska in the top-25. As for Oregon, QB Dakota Prukop looks incredibly good so a win over Nebraska in Lincoln gets us talking about the Ducks once again among the nation’s elite programs. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Greg Ward was cleared to play in this game and that’s great news for Houston fans as I think the Bearcats pose a tricky proposition for the Cougars. QB Hayden Moore has done a great job as Cincy QB & can get the Bearcats moving. The one issue I see here for Cincy is that last week Purdue put up 401 passing yards against their defense. Even with a hurt shoulder, the Houston receivers are so good, Greg Ward will find a way. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is going to be one helluva test for Michigan. A lot of people are overlooking Colorado but Mike MacIntyre has done a great job rebuilding this program. They are THIS close to coming through. Last year UC was 4-8 but 2-5 in close games but 7-5-1 against the spread. They have 18 returning starters back & are 2-0 with a point differential of +84. It’s Michigan in Ann Arbor so I don’t expect them to win, but they’ll play tough. Computer Hope
Computer Hope North Dakota St. has won 5 straight FCS championships and have won their last 5 games against FBS opponents! The Bison are actually on an incredible run these past 5 years posting a record of 71-5! Iowa is unlike any FBS team they’ve seen during that time period and I wouldn’t expect the Hawkeyes to let down, but I also don’t think North Dakota St. is going to get run over. This game might be tighter than we anticipate. Computer Hope
Computer Hope There is quite a bit on the line for Miami-FL in this game. As you could see in Week 1 when Appalachian St. nearly knocked off Tennessee in Knoxville, the Mountaineers are going to come to play & they are going to hit hard. On the other hand, if the Hurricanes can get a blow out win in Kidd Brewer Stadium, what does that say about Miami-FL as they relate to Tennessee? If App State wins, they don’t lose again and go 11-1. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Lots of talk in the ACC about Louisville, Florida St., Clemson and Miami-FL but not so much about Pitt. The Panthers are coming off a solid rivalry win over Penn State. They are an experienced team & Pat Narduzzi is a solid coach. They haven’t gotten much national attention but a win in Stillwater can change that. The Cowboys should be very charged up after the disaster last week that saw them fall to C. Michigan on a bad call. Computer Hope

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Appalachian St., Auburn, Big Games, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida St., Houston, Iowa, Louisville, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Must See Games, NCAA, Nebraska, North Dakota St, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas AM, USC, Week 3 | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 WEEK 2

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Alabama cruised to a 38-10 home opening win over Western Kentucky, but what stood out to me in this game is the attitude of Nick Saban. The Tide were CRUSHING Western & at the end of the game Saban is still screaming at Lane Kiffin. In the presser after the game Saban said he couldn’t have been more disappointed after a win. This is a guy with 5 national titles & 4 in the last 7 years. I don’t think there is a coach in college football or in sports period that wants to win as much as Saban does. Alabama could go out tomorrow and beat Florida St. 74-0 and Saban would say they had work to do! The guy is amazing.
#2 Computer Hope The Greg Ward injury is a bit disconcerting given how early it is in the season & shoulder injuries are never pleasant, but at this point Houston has to be this high. The win over Oklahoma looks amazing especially so considering that the game wasn’t as close as the final. Despite the Ward injury & a lot of weather delays, Houston still came out and hammered Lamar 42-0 with 3 players going over the century mark in rushing yards. That was quite a different blue print for winning than what the Cougars showed Oklahoma, but it shows me that Houston has quite a few tricks up their sleeves when they need it.
#3 Computer Hope Florida St. got off to a much better start against Charleston Southern than they did Ole Miss last week, leading the Bucs 28-0 after the 1st quarter and 35-6 at the half. FSU DE Demarcus Walker was held relatively in check yesterday after having an incredible game against Ole Miss the week prior. Walker had 4.5 sacks in Week 1 but not much in Week 2. He still leads the NCAA in sacks right now & FSU has 9 sacks as a team. Over 14 games, Florida St. is on pace to record 126 sacks! There is a lot of talk about Dalvin Cook & Deondre Francois, but if FSU finishes the 126 sacks this year, that’s the story to talk about.
#4 Computer Hope UTEP isn’t Notre Dame but you can’t help but be impressed by Texas true freshman QB Shane Buechele. I think he has the best arm in college football right now & he improved upon his tremendous game against the Irish by going 22/27 for 244 yards & 4TD against the Miners in a 41-7 blowout. Former QB Jerrod Heard got in on the action with 2TD, his first 2 as a WR in his career in Austin. Dont’a Foreman didn’t even play & WR John Burt wasn’t targeted all that much. The Notre Dame win will look better & better. Outside of Alabama, I’m not sure there is a defense right now that can stop the Longhorn offense.
#5 Computer Hope There was no let down for Wisconsin after their big upset of LSU. The Badgers took Akron to the woodshed in a 54-10 stomping of the Zips in Camp-Randall. QB Bart Houston came back off a bad game against the Tigers to shred the Zips defense. Wisconsin also ran the ball exceedingly well which is what you’d expect from this team year after year. Corey Clement is staying healthy & the defense is salty. The Badgers get another home tune-up against Georgia St. before taking on a 5-game stretch that is nothing short of brutal. The LSU win keeps them this high but they will definitely earn it in the coming weeks.
#6 Computer Hope The wins are coming although they aren’t pretty. Clemson & Arkansas are playing a little bit alike in that the are winning ugly. People forget that Clemson had some off games last year too but those games were against Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida State & South Carolina. I wouldn’t expect the Tigers to have problems with Troy even if they had to trot out their 2nd string teams. The close win against Auburn in Auburn looks good & I think it’ll continue to look good as Auburn starts playing to their talent level, but the Troy game is worrisome. Clemson can’t afford to have a game like that against FSU.
#7 Computer Hope There was a weather delay, it rained all game, and Ohio St. needed a quarter to warm up, but after battling Tulsa to a 3-3 standoff in the 1st quarter, the Buckeyes outscored the Golden Hurricane 45-0 the rest of the way en route to a 48-3 win. I know it’s only Bowling Green & Tulsa and both games were in Columbus, but Ohio St. has outscored their opponents 125-13 to start the season! Everyone talks of JT Barrett being a Heisman candidate but don’t sleep on Curtis Samuel! The guy is on pace for 2800+ all purpose yards and 21TD. Ohio St. has one a tremendous job replacing Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.
#8 Computer Hope DOMINANT. So far this season Michigan is beating their opponents by an average score of 57-9! Michigan went a lot more pass heavy against UCF this week and QB Wilton Speight responded going 25/37 for 312 yards & 4TD to 0INT! Hats off to Jim Harbaugh for making Speight the starter over John O’Korn. O’Korn came in with a lot more experience but I think strategically this set up well for the Wolverines because O’Korn is a senior while Speight is a junior. If Speight plays well then Michigan has a returning starter next season which is a huge bonus. That’s long term strategical thinking.
#9 Computer Hope If Lamar Jackson keeps up this pace for 13 games he’ll finish the season with 4531 passing yards with 45TD to 7INT. He’ll also rush for 2,067 yards & 39TD. That would be 84TD responsible for. The record is 63! The most Tim Tebow ever had in a season was 53 his sophomore year when he won the Heisman. I know the Cardinals have only beaten up on Charlotte & Clemson, but they are averaging 66PPG so far & I don’t see the offense slowing down. Jackson is a monster & I can’t wait for this weekend when the Cardinals host Florida State. Win that game and Louisville can start talking national championship.
#10 Computer Hope Maybe it took Tennessee 5 quarters of football to finally warm up? After going down to Virginia Tech 14-0 at the “Battle of Bristol”, the Vols turned it on & outscored the Hokies 45-10 en route to a convincing 45-24 win at the largest attended college football game in history! A crowd of 156,990 saw Josh Dobbs & Jalen Hurd turn it on after the first quarter while the Tennessee defense clamped down on VT QB Jerod Evans. I came away thinking Virginia Tech was a lot better than people think after watching the game. The win is a good one but I think it’ll be on that keeps getting better & better for Tennessee.
#11 Computer Hope Sure it was Prairie View but a 67-0 win is a 67-0 win. When you look at Texas A&M, it’s almost ridiculous how much talent the team has. That’s one of the reasons why the last couple of seasons have been so disappointing in College Station. There was some heat on Kevin Sumlin’s seat coming into the season & that heat has definitely lessened with a solid OT home win over a ranked UCLA team, but a 67-0 blowout at home also adds quite a bit of confidence to a team that could be very dangerous if it plays up to its talent level. Next up is a road trip to Auburn. Win that one & we can start to get really excited.
#12 Computer Hope Rutgers & Idaho aren’t great football teams, but Washington is getting a little lost in all the hype that has surrounded college football over the first two weeks. All they’ve done is be completely dominant in outscoring their opponents 107-27. The Huskies have outscored their opponents 69-3 in the first half showing they come to play early! QB Jake Browning is dicing up defenses. Against Idaho this past week he went 23/28 for 294yds & 5TD! Browning is on pace to pass for 52TD! Expect more of the same as Washington welcomes in Portland St. next week before Arizona.
#13 Computer Hope It took the Irish a quarter to warm up but it poured it on Nevada from the 2nd quarter on going up on the Wolfpack 32-0 late in the 3rd before Notre Dame started subbing heavily. Brian Kelly decided the Deshone Kizer is the man going forward & Kizer responded going 15/18 for 156 yards & 2TD while also rushing for 35 yards & a TD. The Irish ran the ball extremely well going for 259yds/3TD. Tarean Folston is the lead back but Josh Adams & Dexter Williams are outstanding. Equanimeous St. Brown is turning into a legit #1 WR & the defense tackled much better than against Texas. Big improvement.
#14 Computer Hope Forget the Houston loss. Oklahoma went back to Norman & throttled UL-Monroe 59-17. Baker Mayfield got his swag back and Joe Mixon looks like a 1st round NFL draft pick. Defensively the Sooners could tighten things up a bit. They actually gave up more yards per play to ULM than they did to Houston. If Houston keeps winning then the loss will keep looking better and better. If the Sooners can take care of business at home this week against Ohio State then all returns to normal and Oklahoma will be a top-5/top-1o team again with an early season loss to a top-ranked team. Lose to Ohio St. though?
#15 Computer Hope Ole Miss was very efficient in beating Wofford 38-13 in Oxford. Chad Kelly was pulled early after throwing for 219yds/3TD and the Rebels rushed for 174yds as a team. Mississippi is THIS close to being the #2 team in the nation after dominating Florida State in the 1st half of last week’s game which is arguably the best half of football played this year by any team. They couldn’t sustain that over a full game which resulted in a loss to the Seminoles, but the Rebels proved they can play with anyone. Like Oklahoma, if Ole Miss wins this week they’ll shoot up the poles. They’ve beaten Alabama the past 2 years.
#16 Computer Hope Auburn displayed what Auburn football can look like under Gus Malzahn this past weekend when the Tigers put the hammer down on Arkansas St. 51-14! Malzahn quit screwing around with the QB situation & went with Sean White which was a great move as White went 17/23 for 244yds/3TD! It doesn’t get much better than that. Auburn ran for 462 yards/3TD as Kamryn Pettway & Kerryon Johnson each went over the 100 yard mark. Auburn’s defense can be exceptionally good & if the running game keeps this up, they’ll be extremely difficult to handle. The Clemson loss isn’t a bad one.
#17 Computer Hope Josh Rosen didn’t look so hot against UNLV in a 42-21 win. The Bruins had a great 2nd quarter which put them far ahead of UNLV but the Rebels got close at 28-21 late in the 3rd quarter before UCLA pulled away. I could be overrated the Bruins at this point, but they still are probably the class of the Pac 12 South and the loss over Texas A&M is going to keep looking better. The next two weeks are important for UCLA. They have a couple of games against BYU & Stanford while Texas A&M plays Auburn & Arkansas. If the Bruins & Aggies escape with wins in both weeks, then UCLA’s ranking will be justified.
#18 Computer Hope They haven’t been pretty wins, but they’ve been wins. Arkansas took TCU to double OT and beat the Horned Frogs 41-38. The Hogs are 2-0 & have beaten TCU & Louisiana Tech by a combined score of 62-58! You could argue Arkansas should be 0-2 but this is different than the last couple of season. Last year Arkansas had early close losses to Toledo & Texas A&M. The year before they got bit by Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama. This year Arkansas won some early season close games which is important. Austin Allen is playing solid football & this is a pretty darn good football team with a lot of home games. Watch out.
#19 Computer Hope Leonard Fournette didn’t play. Brandon Harris was benched after two possessions. LSU came away with a 34-13 win over Jacksonville St., but this team is a critical loss away from implosion & Les Miles has to feel like one foot is already out the door. I like the Tigers moving forward at QB with Danny Etling, but Etling’s 2nd half was abysmal underscoring just how big the problems are in Baton Rouge with the QB position. RB Derrius Grice was more than ready to pick up for Fournette, rushing for 155yds/1TD on 19 carries. The defense is outstanding so maybe there is still a slight chance of playoffs hope.
#20 Computer Hope Georgia had problems with Nicholls which I thought was surprising but it was surprising in that Nick Chubb was only able to muster 80 yards on 20 carries after having gone for 222 yards on 32 carries against a North Carolina squad you’d assume would have a little more ability to stop the Georgia rusher. This underscores how good Jacob Eason has to be. Teams are going to key on Chubb and there are going to be games where he can’t get it going. At these times, Eason is going to have to keep teams honest by beating them with his arm. If Chubb is on, this team is hard to beat, but if he’s stopped, UGA is vulnerable.
#21 Computer Hope Stanford falls quite a bit due to inactivity. A lot of teams are showing fairly well while Stanford beat Kansas St. by 13 and then had a bye week. They’ll need it as the Cardinal’s next 5 games come against USC, at UCLA, at Washington, Washington St., and finally at Notre Dame. That’s a nasty 5-game stretch & it’ll be interesting to see how Stanford comes out. If they end that stretch with a 6-0 record, I think we can easily start talking about a possible Stanford/Alabama national championship game and Christian McCaffrey will have gone a long way towards cementing his place among Heisman front runners.
#22 Computer Hope Iowa St. didn’t put up much of a fight against their in-state rival as the Hawkeyes blasted the poor Cyclones 42-3! The 39-pt win for Iowa was the most lopsided game since Iowa beat ISU 63-20 back in 1997! It was the biggest margin of victory in the Kirk Ferentz era. This could be the best offensive team Ferentz has had at Iowa. CJ Beathard, Leshun Daniels, Akrum Wadley & Matt VandeBerg all had fantastic games and at times looked virtually unstoppable. Iowa could have scored 60-70 points if they wanted to. North Dakota St. presents an interesting challenge to Iowa next week and I think we’ll learn a lot.
#23 Computer Hope Granted they’ve both been home games and the opponents (Florida A&M and FAU) have hardly been awe inspiring, but the Hurricanes have taken care of business outscoring their opponents 108-13! The last time Miami-FL started the year 2-0 with a point differential of around +95 was back in 2001 when THE U opened up with wins over Penn St. & Rutgers by the combined score of 94-7 (+87). All the Canes did in 2001 was go 12-0 & win a national championship. Miami is doing an exceptional job running the football, but the defensive front is getting massive pressure! They are on pace for 130 sacks!
#24 Computer Hope Like Stanford, Michigan St. is coming off a bye. Their first week they put in a ho-hum effort against Furman and walked away with a 28-13 victory. That’s Michigan St. kind of football, but it doesn’t light up scoreboards & it certainly doesn’t convey style points to the Spartans. Also, like Stanford, the Spartans don’t have to wait around any longer to prove their credentials. This week they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame before going back home to host Wisconsin. Come out of those games with a 3-0 record and I’m sure the Spartans will be right back in the top-10 along with rivals Michigan & Ohio St.
#25 Computer Hope The Alabama loss looks bad but USC did what they were supposed to do by regrouping and destroying a pretty good Utah St. 45-7. The defense looked a lot better this time around I continue to be impressed with Max Browne at QB. The game is certainly not too big for him and he had a good day completing 70+% of his passes with a couple of TDs. I think he’ll continue to get better as the season goes along. Like LSU, the Trojans are entirely too talented not to remain competitive & I think USC might be the best team in the Pac 12 South. Losing in week 1 to a team likely to go 14-0 should hardly be a concern.

DROPPING OUT

#20 BAYLOR: Baylor didn’t do anything to drop out and my guess is that they’ll be in the top-25 soon enough. They put up a solid 40-13 win over an SMU team that had a lot to play for in this game. The Bears should go fairly untested to get to 6-0 before traveling to Austin to take on the Longhorns on October 29th.

#24 FLORIDA: The Gators blasted Kentucky 45-7. Again, Florida didn’t do necessarily anything to drop out of the top-25. In fact, I think Florida will keep getting better and better. The defense is solid and so far Luke Del Rio has been great at QB. It’ll be interesting to see what Florida does in Knoxville, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they won. Jim McElwain is the real deal and I think Florida is the team to watch in the SEC East.

#25 OREGON: On the one hand you score 44 points on Virginia. On the other hand, it’s Virginia and you only beat the Cavaliers by 18 points. QB Dakota Prukop has been phenomenal in his first two games. Oregon needs to tighten up the defense a bit though if they are going to  go toe-to-toe with Washington and Stanford. We’ll learn a bit from them this week when they had to Lincoln to take on Nebraska.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, NCAA, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 25, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas AM, UCLA, USC, Washington, Week 2, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 WEEK 1

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope The 52-6 win over USC was the most dominant win I can remember seeing in college football. It’s scary to think that this might be the best defense Nick Saban has ever had as the head coach of Alabama. Jalen Hurts played like a veteran and it’s not inconceivable to think he could win 3-4 national championship in a row. Another scary thought? OJ Howard & Calvin Ridley combined for 5 catches & 48 yards with zero TDs. Alabama scored 52 points getting virtually nothing from 2 All-Americans! The O-Line is going to get better. Hurts is going to get better. The defense will actually get better. There isn’t a team remotely close to Alabama at this point.
#2 Computer Hope It took the Seminoles a half to figure things out but they came out BLAZING in the 2nd half against Ole Miss, outscoring the Rebels 32-6 in the 2nd half including a 23-0 3rd quarter! Dalvin Cook accounted for 192 yards. The big story here was redshirt freshman Deondre Francois making his first start and throwing for 419yards & 2TD while rushing for 59 on 9 carries. Defensively the Seminoles did a good job picking Chad Kelly off 3 times and I thought the secondary did a good job containing the Ole Miss receivers. Evan Engram had a big game, but edge receivers who could get vertical were pretty much held in check. The 45-34 final probably wasn’t that close.
#3 Computer Hope Bowling Green actually took an early lead 7-0 before the Buckeyes outscored the Falcons 77-3 the rest of the way. It’s not like Bowling Green is horrible. Sure they are a MAC team but they are favored to win the MAC East so it wasn’t like Ohio St. hammered away at Ball St. or Eastern Michigan. BG were MAC champions last season. There isn’t much you can say about a 77-10 beating. Ohio St. might not be as experienced as they were last year, but the talent they have on the roster is better than anyone’s save Alabama. QB JT Barrett accounted for 7TD (school record)! Curtis Samuel & Mike Weber ensured that nobody was missing Ezekiel Elliott.
#4 Computer Hope This ranking might not last given what Wisconsin has coming up, but the Badgers defense is for real which is going to keep them in a lot of games if the offense doesn’t blow it. QB Bart Houston didn’t look all that impressive and while a team can catch lightning in a bottle for a single game, it’ll be hard for the Badgers to sustain this type of play for extended periods of time. The Badgers get home games against Akron & Georgia St. the next 2 weeks but their 5 games after that are: at Michigan St., at Michigan, Ohio State, at Iowa and Nebraska. Not counting Wisconsin, those 5 are arguably the best 5 teams in the Big 10. The defense is for real.
#5 Computer Hope The Cougars destroyed Oklahoma in Week 1 solidifying themselves as a legit playoff threat after a 13-1 season last year that saw Houston ranked in the top-10 to finish the season. The final score had Houston beating the Sooners 33-23 but that score probably should have been 40-17 meaning this wasn’t even a contest. QB Greg Ward is one of the best in the game & I think people are severely underrated. Isaiah Johnson, Chance Allen, Steven Dunbar & Linell Bonner are all big time targets that are very difficult to cover as evidenced by Oklahoma’s inability to cover them. Houston did an outstanding job getting pressure on Baker Mayfield.
#6 Computer Hope The Wolverines got off to a tremendous start beating Hawaii 63-3 in their opener in Ann Arbor. It was the most points Michigan has scored in an opener since 1905! Michigan’s defense was utterly dominant with Jabrill Peppers looking like an All-American LB. I don’t think Hawaii had positive net yardage until the 2nd half! I loved the way Michigan played. RB Chris Evans was OUTSTANDING. I was a bit surprised that Wilton Speight beat John O’Korn out for the starting job at QB but Speight was great as Michigan really used the run to set up the pass which is textbook Jim Harbaugh football. The Wolverines have an air attack & they didn’t even use it while scoring 63 points!
#7 Computer Hope A little lost in arguably the greatest opening weekend in college football history was Washington’s complete dominance over Rutgers. Granted the Scarlet Knights aren’t a good team, but they were also a Power-5 conference team bringing back 16 starters with bowl aspirations. The Huskies had them down 34-3 at the end of the first half! QB Jake Browning looked great completing 18/27 for 287yds & 3TD. If Browning keeps this up he’ll finish the year completing 67% of his passes for 3700+ yards & 39-40TD to about 13INT. That’s a huge improvement from 63%/2955yds/16TD/10INT he had as a true freshman last season. Keep an eye on UW.
#8 Computer Hope Auburn couldn’t figure out a way to contain Mike Williams on the outside, but for the most part the Auburn defense bottled up Deshaun Watson & Wayne Gallman despite losing to Clemson 19-13. I’m not sure what to make of this game for Clemson. The Tigers didn’t look over good offensively and it seemed as Auburn was doing everything in their power to lose this game yet Auburn had opportunities to win the game late. This certainly could be a blip. I don’t want to make too much out of it. Auburn’s defense is for real. If it had any semblance of an offense, War Eagle probably wins this game but that is more telling of the talent at Auburn than a problem with Clemson.
#9 Computer Hope The Cardinal ended Week 1 with a workman like defeat of Kansas State 26-13. Christian McCaffery ran for 126 yards & 2TD while also catching 7 balls for 40 yards. Stanford was up 17-3 at halftime and the game was never really in doubt. I thought it was pretty interesting that HC David Shaw went with Ryan Burns as the starting QB over Keller Chryst. Chryst was the presumed starter but Burns ended up beating him out played well against KSU. Burns was 14/18 for 156yds/1TD without an interception. Stanford gets a week off next week before getting 5 straight games against USC, UCLA, Washington, Washington St., and Notre Dame! That’s brutal.
#10 Computer Hope Tennessee did not look like a team ready to challenge Alabama for an SEC championship in December as it needed overtime to defeat Appalachian St. 20-13 in Knoxville! While not quite as disappointing as LSU, this has to be the 2nd most disappointing team in Week 1. I thought the offensive strategy was poor in this game to be honest. Tennessee ran the ball 43 times to passing just 29. I thought the numbers probably should have been reversed. The Mountaineers did a good job taking away the run & instead of going pass to set up the run, the Volunteers seemed to sell out even more to the run which caused the offense to stall. It’s just one game though.
#11 Computer Hope It’s only one game, but if LSU wants to consider itself a national championship contender, it might seriously want to consider the fact that Les Miles is not the coach for them going forward. Yes he won a championship in 2007 but that was 10 years ago. You can’t live off that forever. The crazy part is that LSU really is an outstanding football team. If they hold on to home field advantage I think they could actually finish the season 10-2. If they win the bowl game then the Tigers end the year 11-2 which would be their best year since 2011 & they’d probably be ranked in the top-5 or very close. Is it really a failure to finish 11-2 & ranked #5?
#12 Computer Hope Ole Miss led Florida State 28-13 at the end of the 1st half! If Ole Miss doesn’t get blitzed in the 2nd half we could be talking about the Rebels as the #2 team in the nation right now with everyone salivating at the September 17th matchup against Alabama in Tuscaloosa! QB Chad Kelly passed for 313 yards & 4TD on a pretty stellar FSU secondary. Kelly is legitimate & will keep Ole Miss in a lot of games this year. Ole Miss needs to run the ball better and the defense can’t have letdowns in the 2nd half but if you are looking at 1st half alone, the Rebels are one of the 5 best teams in the country. They seemingly have Alabama’s number so they are far from dead.
#13 Computer Hope I know it was Charlotte but Louisville hammered them 70-14 and keep in mind that the Cardinals were up 56-0 at halftime! There was so much talk about JT Barrett opening game against Bowling Green, but what about Louisville QB Lamar Jackson!? This guy is a true sophomore and all he did was pass for 286 yards & 6TD while rushing for 119 yards & 2 more TDs! Say what you want about Bobby Petrino, but the guy is an outstanding college football coach. Louisville is being overlooked a bit because they are in the same division at Florida St. & Clemson, but the Cardinals get FSU, Clemson & Houston later in the year. They’ll get at least one win in those 3.
#14 Computer Hope With Nick Chubb being 100%, Georgia takes on an entirely different identity for 2016 season. What was most impressive about Chubb on Saturday isn’t that he ran for 222 yards & 2TD but that Georgia gave him the ball 32 times and he answered the call all 32 times. That’s an incredibly heavy workload for a guy coming back from a significant knee injury & Chubb didn’t hesitate for a single second. North Carolina is a good football team and Chubb carved them up in a 33-24 win. It was also a good sign for the UGA defense under new HC Kirby Smart. The Heels can light up a scoreboard so holding them to 24 has to be considered a huge win.
#15 Computer Hope A walk-on QB gets arrested for cocaine possession. A couple of defensive players get dismissed from the team for improper relationships with a car rental agency. THE U goes out Saturday & beats the tar out of Florida A&M 70-3! It feels like old times in Coral Gables! Miami physically dominated this game as Mark Walton, Gus Edwards & Joseph Yearby all rushed for over 100 yards as the Canes racked up 373 rushing yards & 5 rushing TDs! QB Brad Kaaya did his part throwing for 4 more! Miami actually outscored Florida A&M 42-0 in the 3rd quarter! That was a serious beating. Maybe Mark Richt needed a change of scenery from Athens to Miami.
#16 Computer Hope Outstanding win for Charlie Strong who really needed that win going into the 2016 season as his seat is heating up quite a bit in Austin. The Longhorns needed two overtimes but they got a 50-47 win over a helluva Notre Dame team. They will not face a QB nearly as good as Deshone Kizer the rest of the way. This Texas team is outstanding and I think ranking them 16th might be a bit too low. True frosh QB Shane Buechele is INCREDIBLE and the power running game Texas is using with D’Onta Foreman & Tyrone Swoopes is practically unstoppable. LB Malik Jefferson is a game changer in every way. I know it’s one game but Texas could finish 12-0.
#17 Computer Hope Expectations are a crazy thing. At LSU & Oklahoma you are expected to compete for national championships and win one every so often. That makes sense. The reason a guy like Kirk Ferentz is on pace to coach at Iowa for 30 years is because Iowa doesn’t have the expectation to win national titles every 5-6 years. College football is MUCH better when Iowa matters. No question but the expectations aren’t the same at Iowa as they are at Oklahoma or LSU. Georgia finally had to part ways with Mark Richt. I don’t see how Les Miles survives and I get the feeling that Bob Stoops might never get OU back to the heights that the program expects it to be.
#18 Computer Hope It was a good weekend for teams in Texas as Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, TCU, Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, UTEP, UT-San Antonio & Texas State all won games! The Aggies put up a great performance against UCLA in a 31-24 OT win. Like Charlie Strong, Kevin Sumlin needed this win as his seat is starting to warm in College Station. I think this is a solid A&M team that could get a lot better. The more Trevor Knight settles in the more the offense is going to roll as there aren’t many weaknesses. The defense is outstanding behind Myles Garrett & Daeshon Hall. I don’t think A&M can get by Alabama but they get LSU & Ole Miss at home. Is 11-1 possible?
#19 Computer Hope On the one hand Texas might be A LOT better than we thought and the Longhorns needed OT and a lot of luck to beat the Irish 50-47. On the other, Notre Dame’s defense gave up 50 points to an offense starting a true freshman QB. That’s unacceptable by any standard. DeShone Kizer is FOR REAL that is for sure. The Irish get their hard games at home this season and their one difficult game on the road is against a USC squad that got hammered this past weekend. The Irish could finish 11-1 and everyone would be happy. That’s the best spin you can put on the game. It’ll be interesting to see how the Irish do against Michigan St. in a couple of weeks.
#20 Computer Hope You can’t get too excited about beating Northwestern State 55-7 but the Bears were up 24-0 after the 1st quarter & 48-0 at halftime. The cheerleaders got in a lot of work in the 2nd half or else the Bears might have been able to hang 100 points on the Demons. It’s easy to get caught up in Seth Russell & Shock Linwood but how about the Baylor defense on Saturday! The Bears allowed just 9 first downs, 78 total yards & held Northwestern State to 1 of 15 on 3rd down conversions! Oddly enough, Baylor didn’t force a single turnover & the Bears were a little sloppy committing 12 penalties. Not a bad way to start the post-Art Briles era in Waco.
#21 Computer Hope The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter & coasted the rest of the way as they beat Miami-OH 45-21. Akrum Wadley & Leshun Daniels did a great job running the football taking over for Jordan Canzeri as Iowa racked up 212 yards rushing as a team along with 5 rushing TDs. QB CJ Beathard completed 65% of his passes for almost 200 yards & a score. Iowa’s defense played well early. Iowa is going to be interesting to watch because they essentially get 7 warm up games before the real season starts. After their first 7 they get Wisconsin, Michigan & Nebraska but all are in Iowa City. Iowa could post back-to-back 12-0 regular seasons.
#22 Computer Hope Vintage Michigan State football on Saturday as the Spartans opened up at home against Furman and took the Paladins down 28-13. In games like this you’d expect Michigan St. to win 56-0 or 49-3 but instead the Spartans played incredible consistent football scoring 7 points in each quarter & grinding their opponents down by running the football 70% of the time. To be fair, what else would you expect from a Mark Dantonio coached team? LJ Scott ran for 100+ yards. Tyler O’Connor was brutally efficient at QB. Michigan St. has a tricky road soon. They are one a bye next week but then it’s at Notre Dame, Wisconsin, at Indiana & BYU.
#23 Computer Hope USC was completely and utterly destroyed by an Alabama team that is head & shoulders above every other team in the nation. With that said, I wouldn’t count USC out just yet. This is still a supremely talented football program and the game didn’t look too big for QBs Max Browne & Sam Darnold. This team still has Ronald Jones & Justin Davis running the football. It still has JuJu Smith as a receiver. It still has Adoree’ Jackson as a playmaker & it’s still a team that returns 10 starters on offense & 5 on defense that are as talented as anyone. Given how UCLA played against Texas A&M, this is a USC team that could still wind up as Pac 12 South champs.
#24 Computer Hope Florida didn’t do anything fancy in a 24-7 win over Massachusetts but I thought new QB Luke Del Rio’s play was promising as he went 29/44 (66%) for 256 yards & 2TD without interceptions. Over 13 games, Del Rio at this pace would pass for 3,328 yards & 26TD which would be a SIGNIFICANTimprovement over the QB numbers the Gators got last year from the combination of Will Grier & Treon Harris. Keep in mind that Florida won 10 games & the SEC East last season with that type of QB production. Florida had problems running the football but they played well defensively. Next week against Kentucky should be a little more interesting.
#25 Computer Hope QB Dakota Prukop looked outstanding in his Oregon debut passing for 271 yards & 3TD as the Ducks took care of business against UC-Davis 53-28. This was vintage Oregon in recent years in that the team will score 50 points while giving up 30 and piling up the wins. RB Royce Freeman ran for 87 yards & 2TD on only 11 carries. I always wonder why Freeman doesn’t get more publicity as a runner. Last year he ran for almost 2000 yards with 17TD and averaged 6.5ypc. He’s 5’11/230lbs so he’s got tremendous size as an NFL prospect. Oregon was better than 9-4 last year so they are somewhat under the radar. They could open up 5-0 before UW comes to Eugene.

DROPPING OUT

#13 UCLA: I know it was a road game but I expected so much more out of UCLA than I got. If you look at the SEC, you can make an argument that Texas A&M might be the 7th best team in the conference. Josh Rosen didn’t look particularly good either. I know it was a close game that went into OT so maybe dropping the Bruins completely out is an overreaction but they were disappointing.

#21 AUBURN: I don’t know what Gus Malzahn was doing with that offense, but if the Tigers get any sort of offensive production then they probably open up the season with a win over Clemson and a likely top-10 ranking after Week 1. Auburn’s defense is really good but if they can’t figure out how to score points, they’ll have problems all year long. Very disappointed in Malzahn.

#23 NORTH CAROLINA: Losing to Georgia when Nick Chubb is on fire isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Remember that last year the Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina and the proceeded to win 11 straight games & climb to #8 in the rankings before losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship game. I don’t think North Carolina would mind a repeat performance.

#24 PITTSBURGH: Solid 28-7 win to open up the season. Villanova is a pretty solid FCS school & the Panthers had little to no trouble. Granted they didn’t hammer them 63-0 but that isn’t Pittsburgh’s game necessarily. James Conner coming back and playing well was a tremendous feel good story. I’m still high on the Panthers & they’ll have opportunity to jump right back into the top-25 as they get Penn St., Oklahoma St. & North Carolina in the next 3 weeks.

#25 BOISE STATE: Like Pittsburgh, Boise didn’t do anything to drop out of the top-25 after dominating Louisiana-Lafayette 45-10. The Broncos were up 35-3 at halftime & coasted the rest of the way. Next week is going to be interesting for Boise St. as Washington State comes to town. Wazzou dropped their season opener to Eastern Washington which would seem alarming but the Cougars lost their season opener last year to Portland State & still managed a 9-4 season including a bowl win over Miami-FL. Throw in the fact that Washington State has never lost on the blue turf & we could be in for an entertaining one in Boise!

September 6, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Boise St., Clemson, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, NCAA, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Power 25, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas AM, UCLA, USC, Washington, Week 1, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER-25 FINAL RANKINGS 2015

The regular season is finished and after the first 6-7 teams, the rankings get really dicey as you could make an argument for any of a number of teams for each slot. When compiling these rankings I tried to take the entirely of the season into consideration.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Heisman Trophy winner. National Champions! It was a banner year for the Tide as they rolled through the competition en route to Nick Saban’s 5th national championship, his 4th at Alabama. It’s amazing that every recruiting class Saban has brought in to Tuscaloosa has had the opportunity to be a part of a national championship team. You can make a good argument this was the weakest of Saban’s national title teams statistically. That says a lot. Alabama is nothing short of a machine at this point that is virtually unstoppable regardless of personnel.
#2 Computer Hope They came THIS CLOSE to winning a national championship but I think Clemson proved to everyone that they belonged on the field with Alabama and put every doubt to rest that they were the #2 team in the nation in losing to the Tide 45-40. Deshaun Watson played out of his mind, but the incredible onsides kick recovered by Alabama essentially gave momentum to Alabama & Clemson’s defense couldn’t quite stop the Tide. Dabo Swinney proved his among the nation’s elite & Watson should enter 2016 as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
#3 Computer Hope Oh what might have been had the Buckeyes gave the ball to Ezekiel Elliott as many times against Michigan State as they did against Notre Dame. Ohio St. had no issues putting away the Irish as Elliott racked up 149 yards & 4TD. Ohio St. led 28-7 late in the 2nd quarter & were never really challenged in the Fiesta Bowl. Based on the playoff outcomes, it seems as if Alabama & Clemson are clearly the two best teams in the nation but Ohio St. finished 12-1 & have to be in the discussion. It would have been interesting seeing Elliott run on Bama.
#4 Computer Hope It’s worth mentioning that Iowa is a tremendous football team & Stanford curb stomped the Hawkeyes like they were nothing more than a bottom feeding Mountain West school! It was 35-0 before halftime & 38-0 late in the 3rd quarter! Christian McCaffery was outstanding as usual, but that Stanford defense!!?? GOOD GRIEF! Stanford recorded 7 sacks! That was the highest total Stanford had all season & the most they’ve had in a single game since 2013. The opening season loss to Northwestern killed Stanford this year. This was a playoff team.
#5 Computer Hope It wouldn’t have been consistent with the season long theme if Notre Dame didn’t lose yet another superstar player in the bowl game. This time it was All-American LB Jaylon Smith who essentially missed the Fiesta Bowl after hurting his knee! The Irish never quit & made it respectable against Ohio St. although they couldn’t stop Ezekiel Elliott. Notre Dame finished 10-3 but you’ll notice their 3 losses were to Clemson (14-1), Ohio St. (12-1) & Stanford (12-2) & the losses to Clemson & Stanford were by a combined 4 points with both being road games.
#6 Computer Hope TCU beating Oregon, West Virginia beating Arizona St. & Baylor upending North Carolina gave the Big 12 more credence so Oklahoma losing to Clemson 37-17 in the semifinals doesn’t seem all that bad now that we saw with Deshaun Watson did to the Alabama defense. As good as Oklahoma was, they never saw an offense that had runners like Watson & Wayne Gallman. Both shredded the Oklahoma defense for a combined 295 yards & 3TD! Oklahoma also hadn’t seen a defense with guys like Kevin Dodd & Ben Boulware. Still a great season.
#7 Computer Hope I did not see a 38-0 loss to Alabama coming! The Spartans defense seemingly turned a corner against Maryland late in the season & Sparty put up great efforts in wins over Ohio St., Penn St. & Iowa to cap a Big 10 championship! Not a ton of star power on the roster, but Mark Dantonio comes from the Nick Saban tree & many thought Alabama would have a hard time against Michigan State. That didn’t happen & it actually calls into question how competent the Big 10 was as a conference this season. The Spartans are in for quite a rebuild in 2016.
#8 Computer Hope A terrible way to end the season, Iowa started the season 12-0 but lost their last 2 games to Michigan St. & Stanford which muddied an otherwise historic season in Iowa City. It’s tough to gauge how good Iowa was this year given their schedule. At their best I think Iowa is a top-10 team which is why I have them here and it’s hard to penalize them for losing to Michigan St. (Big 10 champions) & Stanford (Pac 12 champions). Would have been cool to see them beat a legit Big 10 East squad, but teams go 12-0 for a reason. Luck & schedule are definite factors.
#9 Computer Hope Forget the loss to UConn. Houston finished the season 13-1 with wins over Louisville, Florida State, Temple, Navy, Cincinnati and Memphis. You can argue Houston could have been the 2nd best team in the ACC behind Clemson & I wouldn’t complain. HC Tom Herman did an outstanding job in his 1st year as HC & Houston was lucky he stayed on as Herman was attached to several high profile jobs this offseason. The offense improved by 10PPG this season & the defense stayed rock solid. Since 2003, Houston has won 104 games. That’s 8 wins/year.
#10 Computer Hope Ole Miss had no problems destroying a 10-2 Oklahoma St. team in the Sugar Bowl 48-20. The Rebels got out to a 34-6 lead at halftime & it didn’t even matter that the defense was playing with All-American DT Robert Nkemdiche or LB Denzel Nkemdiche. QB Chad Kelly picked a part OK State’s pass defense for 300+yds/4TD while the Cowboys secondary had no answers for Laquon Treadwell & Cody Core. Ole Miss owned the best win of the season taking down Alabama in Tuscaloosa, but losses to Memphis, Florida & Arkansas boggle the mind.
#11 Computer Hope HC Gary Patterson did his best job to date as TCU battled injuries & oddities all year and still wound up 11-2 with a bowl win over an extremely hot Oregon team. TCU played out of their minds in the 2nd half of the Alamo Bowl! Down 31-0 at halftime, TCU outscored Oregon 31-0 in the 2nd half & then used 3OT to finally beat the Ducks 47-41! This was the worst defensive team Patterson has had at TCU since 2004 when the Frogs went 5-6. This year they finished 11-2 which is a miracle. The 30-29 loss to Oklahoma probably kept TCU out of the playoffs.
#12 Computer Hope The loss to Ohio St. was bad, but the Buckeyes probably should have been playing for a national championship while Jim Harbaugh was in his first year. Florida wasn’t the Florida we saw earlier in the year when Will Grier was under center, but HAMMERING the Gators 41-7 is impressive no matter the state of the program in Gainesville. Michigan can argue being 12-1. They beat Utah if they played later in the season & the fluke loss to Michigan St. never should have happened. Michigan improved by 5 wins to 10-3 but Harbaugh is just getting started.
#13 Computer Hope An unfortunate injury to QB Vernon Adams probably cost Oregon the Alamo Bowl. The 31-0 lead that evaporated in the 2nd half is inexcusable even if you are playing a backup QB, but crazy things sometimes happen in college football & it’s not like you didn’t face one of the best coaches in the game in Gary Patterson. Vernon Adams & injuries went hand in hand with Oregon losses this season. Adams was hurt in 3 of Oregon’s 4 losses. At worst Oregon’s 9-4 season should be 11-2, but Adams’ injury issues probably cost Oregon the Pac 12 title in ’15.
#14 Computer Hope In the same way Stanford hammered Iowa, Tennessee beat a solid 10-2 Northwestern team like they were nothing more than a has been FCS school looking for a payday by playing one of the big boys! Tennessee’s 9-4 record includes 2 losses to playoff teams (Alabama & Oklahoma) by a combined 12 points. They also lost to SEC East champion Florida by 1 point & Arkansas by 4. Tennessee’s “best case” record for 2015 is 13-0! By season’s end you could have made a strong case for them being a top-10 team. Ranking them 14th seems entirely too low.
#15 Computer Hope Another Big 10 team that is hard to figure. I keep viewing Wisconsin in a light that has them playing with RB Corey Clement, but Clement played in just 4 games this season so it seems like Wisconsin is more of a team without him than with him. The bowl win over USC pushed Wisconsin to 10-3 with their losses coming to Alabama (14-1), Iowa (12-2) & Northwestern (10-3). The losses to Iowa & N’Western were by a combined 10 points. You have to think that with Clement suiting up, Wisconsin might have went 13-1 & gotten into the playoff picture.
#16 Computer Hope Baylor put on an INSANE rushing clinic against North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl as the Bears beat the Tar Heels 49-38! Baylor beat the 11-2 Heels without starting QB Seth Russell, without starting RB Shock Linwood & without stud #1 WR Corey Coleman! Instead, Devin Chafin ran for 161 yards & Johnny Jefferson ran for 299 yards & 3TD! That isn’t at typo! Jefferson was one yard shy of rushing for 300 yards! Baylor racked up 645 rushing yards! It has to make you wonder how Baylor would have done if they weren’t hit by injuries to Russell.
#17 Computer Hope Kansas St. was no match for the Razorbacks in the Liberty Bowl as Arkansas cruised to a 45-23 win. Arkansas was BRUTALLY efficient as QB Brandon Allen missed on just 6 passes while RB Alex Collins cruised, rushing for 185 yards & 3TD on 23 attempts. Arkansas racked up 300+ more yards then K-State & had 17 more first downs. Arkansas went 7-2 in their last 9 & like Tennessee, were much better than their final 8-5 record would indicate. By season’s end this was the 2nd best team in the SEC West, but they have a significant rebuild for the 2016 season.
#18 Computer Hope Drawing Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl was a dream come true for Les Miles & LSU. A team that certainly can’t spell defense let alone play it, LSU ran Lenoard Fournette early & often en route to the RB racking up 212 rushing yards & 4TD! Fournette would tack on a 5th TD through the air as LSU beat the Red Raiders 56-27. LSU finished 9-3 & would have been 10-3 if their season opener against McNeese St. didn’t get canceled, but LSU has to get better. I think LSU should have kept Miles & they did, but he’s still arguably the worst coach in the SEC West.
#19 Computer Hope It couldn’t have gone any better for Mississippi St. to end the season. The Bulldogs drew NC State in the Belk Bowl, a game they easily won 51-28. It was also a bowl that allowed senior QB Dak Prescott to shine one more time as the QB threw for 380 yards & 4TD & ran for another 47 yards. Prescott accounted for 39 TD this season & leaves as Mississippi St.’s all time leading passer with 9,376 yards. Adding a cherry on top is HC Dan Mullen sticking around Starkville despite a plethora of head coach openings around the nation! He’s 55-35 at MS State.
#20 Computer Hope Like Iowa, North Carolina had a rough last 2 games falling to Clemson in ACC Championship & then to Baylor in the bowl game. On the other hand, UNC hadn’t won this many games since Mack Brown coached the Tar Heels back in 1997! UNC also improved their scoring defense by 14.5 points & improved by 5 wins! The schedule was a bit soft but winning 11 games is winning 11 games & Carolina won 11 straight. Larry Fedora is building something nice in Chapel Hill & UNC has a window here to crash the playoff party if they can upend Clemson or FSU.
#21 Computer Hope Navy destroyed Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl as QB Keenan Reynolds dominated for one last time, rushing for 144 yards & 3TD against a decent Panthers defense en route to Navy beating Pitt 44-28. Navy finishes with a tremendous 11-2 record with their only losses coming against Notre Dame (10-3) & Houston (13-1). I have the Irish ranked #5 & the Cougars ranked #9 so you could make an argument that the Middies could be a top-10 team. At least top-15! Also exciting was HC Ken Niumatalolo staying at Navy. He’s been outstanding here.
#22 Computer Hope It was an all around ugly year for Northwestern, but you can’t let the horrible performance against Tennessee color the entire season for you. When Northwestern lost, it lost BIG and it lost UGLY, but that covers the fact that Northwestern also won 10 games including wins over Stanford, Duke, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Penn State. Keep in mind that Northwestern had 10 wins combined in 2013 & 2014, and the last time Northwestern won 10 games in the regular season was 1995 when Northwestern won the Big 10! This was an AMAZING year in Evanston.
#23 Computer Hope After starting the year 10-0, Oklahoma St. lost their last 3 games against Oklahoma, Baylor & Ole Miss. It’s hard to bang on the Cowboys for those losses. I have both Oklahoma & Ole Miss in my top-10 & Baylor might well have been a playoff team had Seth Russell not suffered a season ending injury. Mike Gundy did and continues to do a helluva job in Stillwater. I picked Oklahoma St. to be the 6th best team in the Big XII, but they were in a tremendous spot at 10-0 with home games left against Baylor & Oklahoma. They’ll contend again in 2016.
#24 Computer Hope In a decidedly off year for the Seminoles, Florida St. still managed to go 10-3 and finish with a defense that ranked 9th in scoring defense and a RB in Dalvin Cook who rushed for 1691 yards & 19TD while averaging 7.4ypc! Cook had to have been the most overlooked RB in the country. The 10-3 record is a bit misleading really. The Georgia Tech loss was a fluke & losing to Houston seemed like a formality as Florida St. clearly had no interest in the game. FSU is 37-4 in the last 3 years with a national title. It’s safe to say that Florida St. is back.
#25 Computer Hope I was hoping Western Kentucky drew better in their bowl game, but they had South Florida in Miami Beach Bowl & dispatched the Bulls 45-35. It was an incredible year for the Hilltoppers as HC Jeff Brohm guided WKU to a 12-2 record including a CUSA championship & a bowl victory. QB Brandon Doughty passed for over 5,000 yards & leaves Bowling Green, KY as Western’s all time leading passer with almost 13,000 yards! WR Taywan Taylor also became Western’s all time leading receiver! Would have been cool to see them in a bigger bowl.

DROPPING OUT

FLORIDA GATORS (previously #19): Opened 10-1 but lost their last 3 games to Alabama, Florida St. & Michigan. Florida’s other loss was a road loss to LSU which makes me think I was a bit hard on the Gators. On the other hand this was a different team without Will Grier & if I have FSU at #24, then it’s hard to see how the Gators crack the top-25. I wouldn’t worry too much about Florida. Jim McElwain is going to win a championship in Gainesville. I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen.

USC TROJANS (previously #24): A crazy season for USC, the Trojans would have liked to have beaten Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl, but despite the insanity surrounding the program with the Steve Sarkisian mess, USC still managed to win the Pac 12 South. USC loses QB Cody Kessler which will be hard to overcome but the talent is far from short.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Final Rankings, Florida, Florida St., Houston, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Navy, NCAA, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Power 25, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2015 NCAA BOWL GAMES PREVIEW

TEAM QUICK THOUGHTS TEAM
Computer Hope Las Vegas Bowl: The people in Vegas couldn’t have gotten a better bowl game than the HOLY WAR! After the 2013 season, this game was supposed to be on hiatus until 2016 due to Utah joining the Pac 12 & BYU going independent, but it’s awesome we get this rivalry back! Given how each team started, I think both are probably a bit disappointed to be here. I’d expect Utah to win. They are better & BYU is dealing with the loss of their HC, Bronco Mendenhall. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Camellia Bowl: This is a cool matchup between two extremely run heavy offenses. App St.’s Marcus Cox has had a tremendous year rushing for over 1200 yards while Jalin Moore has also chipped in over 600 as his backup! AJ Ouellette & Daz’Mond Patterson aren’t quite as dominant for the Bobcats, but Ohio is a run first squad behind that duo. Expect lots of running & I’d expect a Mountaineer win which would take Appalachian St. to 11-2! A great year! Computer Hope
Computer Hope New Orleans Bowl: Sun Belt champion Arkansas St. draws CUSA-West division runner up Louisiana Tech. The Red Wolves actually come into this bowl on an 8-game winning streak having gone perfect through conference play, but this is a bad draw. While both sport prolific offenses, Arkansas St.’s defense leaves much to be desired & LA Tech can hammer you in a myriad of ways. Tune in to watch former Florida QB Jeff Driskel light it up for the Bulldogs. Computer Hope
Computer Hope New Mexico Bowl: One of the more interesting teams this season, the Lobos of New Mexico have some convincing wins over the likes of Air Force, Boise St., & Utah State but a couple of close losses to the likes of Colorado St. & San Jose St. potentially kep the Lobos from a MWC championship. New Mexico is VERY run heavy which could cause some problems, but now that the questions surrounding Rich Rodriguez have halted, I think Arizona pulls it out. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cure Bowl: Does anyone really care about this game at all? San Jose St. is 5-7 while Georgia St. is 6-6. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to have a postseason bowl featuring 2 teams that are a combined 11-13! A couple of interesting points though. This is Georgia St.’s first ever bowl game & San Jose St.’s 10th so this is history for GA State, but did you know SJSU is 6-3 in their previous bowls? I wouldn’t have thought that. Will anyone bother to show up? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Miami Beach Bowl: Solid matchup here. It took a while for the Bulls to get going, but South Florida turned it on and went 7-1 down the stretch & finished the season as arguably the 2nd best team in the AAC behind Houston. The Hilltoppers are 11-2 & coming in as CUSA champions. WKU has a helluva program & QB Brandon Doughty has been EXCEPTIONAL this season as has WR Taywan Taylor. USF’s defense has been stingy & watch Bulls RB Marlon Mack! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Idaho Potato Bowl: Interesting matchup between the MWC & the MAC. Akron is coming on a 4-game winning streak while Utah St. has struggled to end the season going 2-4 in their last 6. Neither of these teams does anything particularly well obviously as Akron is 7-5 & Utah St. is 6-6. It will be the last game that Utah St. QB Chuckie Keeton will play in. The 41-year old 17th-year senior will finally lace them up with 3 of his grandchildren in the stands. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Boca Raton Bowl: This is only the Boca Raton’s 2nd year as a bowl, but this bowl so far has been excellent. Last year in its inaugural season, the bowl featured MAC Champion N.Illinois going up against CUSA Champion Marshall! Both teams were 11-1 & Marshall prevailed 52-23. This year Temple (10-3) plays Toledo (9-2) which is an OUTSTANDING game between two teams some thought could have been in a Big Six bowl by year’s end. Home run pairing. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Poinsettia Bowl: Bad memories for the Broncos here! The only other time Boise St. has played in the Poinsettia Bowl was back in 2008 when they came in 12-0 to play an Andy Dalton led TCU squad. Boise St. would take a 13-0 lead over the 10-2 Horned Frogs but would lose 17-16! This one won’t be as exciting as both teams come in with 8 wins, but still cool when you consider that both of these teams are 2 of the most winningest teams over the past 5 seasons. Computer Hope
Computer Hope GoDaddy Bowl: GA Southern has arguably the most prolific RB in college football. Matt Breida has ran for 1540yds/16TD this year while averaging 8.2ypc! Even more amazing is backup RB LA Ramsby ran for 700+/12TD! The MAC Champions have quite a bit of offense as well. QB Matt Johnson threw for 4700yds/43TD while WR Roger Lewis (1476yds/15TD) & RB Travis Greene (1220yds/14TD) are as explosive as they come. Lots of points here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Bahamas Bowl: Last year C.Michigan came back from a 49-14 deficit after 3 quarters to pull to within 1 but came up short 49-48 to W.Kentucky! Nothing fancy here as both teams come in at 7-5 with balanced offenses and suspect defenses. I think WMU HC PJ Fleck is an interesting case. Western Michigan went to great lengths to keep him in Kalamazoo & his star is definitely on the rise. His 1st year the Broncos were 1-11 & now he’s got them to B2B bowls. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Hawaii Bowl: Wow! Going to Hawaii is nice and all but the Mountain West champion deserves better than the AAC’s 6th best team! Cincinnati’s rush defense is terrible while SD State’s rushing attack is ridiculously lethal behind Donnel Pumphrey & Chase Price. Throw in a top-10 defense by the 10-3 Aztecs & you have the makings of a blowout. It took SD State a bit to get warmed up, but they come in on a 9-game winning streak & should improve to 11-3. Computer Hope
Computer Hope St. Petersburg Bowl: Bob Diaco has done a great job turning around the UConn program. Last year the Huskies were 2-10 in his first year & Diaco now has them bowl bound at 6-6 including a huge win over Houston which ended the Cougars perfect season. It’s not surprising that the Huskies like to pound the ball & play nasty defense as Diaco is a defense guy. Marshall is a good matchup for UConn as they’ll have trouble scoring & stopping the run. UConn wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sun Bowl: Our first Big 5 conference matchup pits the ACC against the Pac 12. This looks like ACC #5 v. Pac 12 #5. This one could get ugly. Miami-FL is going through a coaching transition as it is with Mark Richt set to take over for Al Golden but the bigger issues is Wazzou QB Luke Falk being cleared to play. The two closest offenses to Wazzou that the Canes have faced are Clemson & UNC & Miami gave up 58 & 59 to those teams respectively. The Pirate wins! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Heart of Dallas Bowl: Southern Miss had a nice season but Washington had the best defense in the Pac 12 & I think towards the end of the season the Huskies really started figuring things out. UW was 3-2 in their last 5 games & all 3 wins were HUGE blowouts. If Chris Petersen has the Huskies focused then this bowl is going to get out of hand. Southern Miss won’t have an answer for dynamic freshman duo Myles Gaskin or Jake Browning. Tune in for those two! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Pinstripe Bowl: ACC #7 v. Big 10 #9. Neither team is amazing as IU comes in at 6-6 while Duke is 7-5, but to me this game is more about Indiana’s imposition of will via their offense. Indiana can argue they almost beat Michigan, Ohio St., Michigan St. & Iowa! Those are 4 AMAZING teams. Duke shouldn’t be difficult at all by comparison which puts pressure on the Hoosiers to win this game, but Duke is solid in their own right. A sneaky good football game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Indepedence Bowl: Frank Beamer’s last stand! Both teams are 6-6 but Tulsa gives up almost 40 points a game so I think the Hokies should be able to send Frank Beamer out a winner. It has been interesting to watch the Hokies since Michael Brewer has come back as QB. He started the last 5 games of the season & Tech went 3-2 but those 2 losses were by a combined 5 points to Duke & UNC. If Brewer is healthy you almost wonder if Tech would have gone 11-1. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Foster Farms Bowl: In case you were wondering this used to be the Fight Hunger Bowl which used to be the Emerald Bowl which used to be the San Francisco Bowl. This is one of those bowl games that is better off dead than living. Nebraska doesn’t even have a winning record & these two teams met in 2013. I guess it’s a chance to watch Josh Rosen, but at the same time, UCLA is in a no win situation. They are playing a 5-7 team. A very unexciting bowl. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Military Bowl: This is the 8th installment of the Military Bowl & only twice before has one of the service academies been in the game & both times they lost! If the Notre Dame commonality means anything this should be a FANTASTIC bowl game. I think the Panthers have been underrated all season & this will also be Navy QB Keenan Reynolds’ last game. I’d love to see the Middies win & finish the season 11-2. What an amazing season for Navy. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Quick Lane Bowl: I think this is one of 3 games played in baseball stadiums. The Pinstripe Bowl is played in Yankee Stadium & the Alamo Bowl is played on Chase Field home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. This another bowl featuring a sub-.500 team in the Gophers who are 5-7 taking on Central Michigan at 7-5. Sort of a no win for the Big 10. If they win they should, but if they lose it’s embarrassing. The Gophers are a tough crew so I think they’ll pull this one out. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Armed Forces Bowl: This used to be the Ft. Worth Bowl! This an interesting game to watch as far as contrast in styles is concerned. Air Force is a run heavy team with their spread option attack & they should see some success as Cal’s defense is very porous. QB Jared Goff, on the other hand, should have no trouble moving Cal’s offense up & down the field. This might be one of those games where defenses don’t really matter & whoever has the ball last wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Russell Athletic Bowl: The first big game of the bowl season pits 9-3 Baylor up against 11-2 North Carolina. I’d be a lot more excited about this game if I knew that Seth Russell & Corey Coleman were suiting up for the Bears, but they aren’t. Even Jarrett Stidham is on the sidelines so we are only seeing a shadow of what Baylor really is. That said, Baylor still should move the ball but I think the Tar Heels prevail in this one & get to 12-2 & an incredible finish. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Arizona Bowl: The first non-championship bowl game to feature teams from the same conference since the 1979 Orange Bowl which featured Oklahoma & Nebraska. This is the worst bowl of them all this year. Two teams from the Mountain West? Even worse is that neither team is any good. Theoretically this game should be MW v. CUSA or MW v. Sun Belt, but neither conference could come up with a team so we get MW v. MW. What in the world went wrong? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Texas Bowl: How lucky is the Mad Hatter? Les Miles goes from essentially being fired to beating Texas A&M & then getting a bowl game against a team that Lenoard Fournette might actually rush for 300 yards against! Texas Tech throws the ball entirely too much for a defense like LSU! The Tigers are likely to come up with 2-3 interceptions to go along with Fournette’s dominance while spells blowout city for LSU. As always, Texas Tech really needs a defense. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Birmingham Bowl: Memphis let down at the end of the season. The Tigers started 8-0 but went 1-3 in their last 4 to finish 9-3 & 3rd in the AAC  West. For that they were rewarded with a bowl game against the SEC West last place team! Auburn is a big name of course, but it feels like Memphis deserved better than a 6-6 team if only to see how Paxton Lynch performs against at top shelf defense from one of the Big 5 conferences. Conversely, Auburn could win! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Belk Bowl: This is sort of an interesting game as both teams have decent records but you could certainly argue that both teams beat up on the dregs of their conference along with some non-conference cupcakes to get where they are. I love Mississippi St. & like where NC State is going, but both teams need to take that next step. The Wolfpack don’t have much to stop Dak Prescott who will be making his last start as a MS State QB. He’s had an amazing career! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Music City Bowl: Obviously the storyline here is Kevin Sumlin & his fate with Texas A&M. Kyle Allen & Kyler Murray are transferring. Last year Kenny Hill transferred meaning Sumlin has lost 3 ELITE QBs to transfer in the last 2 seasons. Sumlin needs the win here to take a little bit of the heat off, but I don’t see them getting it. Louisville is a solid football team & Bobby Petrino has time to prepare against a 3rd string QB. The SEC West is no joke my friends! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Holiday Bowl: I’ve read rumors that a lot of big money donors at USC did not want Clay Helton to be the next HC & that a lot of boosters preferred USC to make a splash & go hard after a candidate like Nick Saban! That seems crazy but it also points to the heat being on Helton to produce quick or face a fast exit. A win over Wisconsin would definitely buy some time but the Badgers could use this game to prove they are among the nation’s elite football teams. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Peach Bowl: A brutal draw for Florida State. Some big 5 conference team was going to draw Houston & it’s a no-win situation. Beat Houston & who cares? It’s Houston. Lose to Houston & catch flack for losing to a non-Big 5 conference opponent. Houston is a good squad but they haven’t seen ANYTHING close to Dalvin Cook! No team has average more than 4ypc on Houston’s D this year but Cook averages 7.9ypc & ran for 7+ypc on a nasty Florida D-line. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Orange Bowl: ACC champ versus Big XII champ! Clemson comes in at 13-0 while the Sooners have won 7 straight games. I have the sneaking suspicion that Oklahoma is going to roll Clemson pretty hard in this game. The Sooners have played the like the best team in football for the past 7 weeks & I don’t see that offense being stopped. The scary part is how good the Sooners defense has been as well. I think OU wins big & the ACC is exposed as very inferior. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cotton Bowl: SEC champ versus Big 10 champ. It’s worth noting that Tide QB Jake Coker is averaging 191 yards per game. That might not mean much, but this game is going to come down to how well Michigan St. can defend Derrick Henry in the Alabama running game. If they can limit Henry then it forces Coker to try & win the game & that is something he hasn’t had to do. I think Alabama wins, but if the Spartans defense of the last 4 weeks shows up…… Computer Hope
Computer Hope Outback Bowl: Touch matchup for Northwestern & this is a bowl I’m really looking forward to. At 10-2, you’d think the Wildcats would have an advantage over the 8-4 Vols, but I think by year’s end Tennessee was playing like the SEC’s second best squad so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see UT’s superior talent & athleticism overwhelm Northwestern. Then again, Northwestern has been ugly all season & figures out ways to still get wins. Should be a great game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Citrus Bowl: The Gators got some horrible news this past week when it learned of Will Grier’s intent to transfer! That’s awful news but somehow I don’t think it’ll mess up what Jim McElwain is going to do down in Gainesville. Florida didn’t draw well anyway & I think the Gators are in for a curb stomping at the hands of Jim Harbaugh & the Wolverines who definitely want to get that 10th victory. Although they’ll lose, Florida ends with an impressive 10 wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Fiesta Bowl: A playoff game that isn’t, Ohio St. at 11-1 & Notre Dame at 10-2 are likely the first two teams taken if the playoffs were to expand from 4 to 8. Ohio St. is the best team in the nation if it plays like it did against Michigan & I don’t see the Irish beating them. Then again, the Buckeyes sometimes don’t show up. They will against the Irish so I think ND needs to keep it close & see what happens. The worst case scenario for ND is shades of 2012 v. Alabama. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Rose Bowl: Like ND/Ohio St., it’s hard not to see this game as an extension of the playoffs as these 2 would have certainly been the other 2 if the field had expanded to 8. I’m in the tank for Iowa so I’m rooting hard for the Hawkeyes to win & finish 13-1! Iowa will also have their eyes on Michigan State. If the Spartans end up winning the national championship then Iowa has a legit claim to be the #2 team in the nation & probably should be so. Go Hawks! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sugar Bowl: Unfortunately we won’t get to see DT/DE Robert Nkemdiche. The 6’4/295lbs potential #1 overall draft pick is suspended. I love this game in that it’s a good test of overall conference strength. OK State is probably the 4th best team in the Big XII while Ole Miss is likely the 2nd/3rd best in the SEC. Should be a layup for the Rebels & that is what I’d expect. The closest defense OK State has seen to Ole Miss is Oklahoma’s and that was ugly! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Taxslayer Bowl: This is an exciting matchup when you look at the jerseys only as both programs are historically great, but right now neither is very good. These teams are a combined 0-7 against AP Top-25 teams which is an amazing stat considering. The Dawgs are probably the 7th-8th best team in the SEC while Penn St. is probably the 7th best team in the Big 10. It’s a good test to determine the overall depth of the conferences, but it won’t live up to the names. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Liberty Bowl: Brutal draw for Kansas St. as they don’t defend the run all that well & Arkansas is an ELITE rushing offense. Arkansas really turned their play on at the end of the season & if they didn’t struggle early on they probably would have been the 2nd place team in the West. I think Bret Bielema also wants to build which means the 7-5 Razorbacks need a win to get to 8-5 which is a game better than last year’s 7-6 team. K-State isn’t very good. Hogs roll. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Alamo Bowl: OUTSTANDING BOWL MATCH-UP! There were more than a few people before the season began that entertained thoughts that this game would be for the national championship. The good news is that TCU QB Trevone Boykin will play & maybe even WR Josh Doctson could get in on the action. The bad news is Oregon right now is a top-5 team & TCU’s defense is still atrocious. Both teams score but Oregon might score 60! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cactus Bowl: This is an important game for the Big XII. Arizona St. might be the 9th best team in the Pac 12 this year & I think the Big XII has a shot to lose quite a few bowl games. A win by the Mountaineers could at least add some credence to the depth of the conference. A loss here though could mean a clean sweep of the Big XII outside of Oklahoma, but given the state of college football right now, it seems like the ACC & Big XII are severely lacking. Computer Hope

December 22, 2015 Posted by | Air Force, Akron, Alabama, Appalachian St., Arizona, Arizona St., Arkansas, Arkansas St., Auburn, Baylor, Big Games, Boise St., Bowl Season, Bowling Green, BYU, California, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado St., Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia St., Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas St., Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Memphis, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Middle Tennessee St., Minnesota, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Must See Games, N. Illinois, Navy, NC State, NCAA, NCAA Playoffs, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Penn St., Pittsburgh, Playoffs, San Diego St., San Jose St., South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, Texas AM, Texas Tech, Toledo, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Utah, Utah St., Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER-25 WEEK 14 2015

The regular season is finished and after the first 6-7 teams, the rankings get really dicey as you could make an argument for any of a number of teams for each slot. When compiling these rankings I tried to take the entirely of the season into consideration.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope With the regular season complete & a full body of work to analyze, Michigan St. comes out as the obvious #1 team in the nation. Michigan St. went on the road to beat both Michigan & Ohio State. They beat Oregon at home. Took down a 12-0 Iowa team in the Big 10 title game. Those 4 teams are a combined 41-8 and all 4 rank in my top-12! Over their last 4 games, the Spartans have allowed 12.5PPG which has made all the difference. If there is a team designed to beat Alabama, it’s Michigan St. & they play in the semis!
#2 Computer Hope No Big XII championship game, but that doesn’t change things for me with the Sooners. Oklahoma heads into the playoff as arguably the hottest team in college football. They’ve won 7 straight games saving their best for the likes of Oklahoma St., TCU & Baylor. The win over Tennessee looks great now. The loss to Texas galvanized this football team. After that defeat, Oklahoma has destroyed all comers. There was a scare against TCU, but Oklahoma bounced back after that with a road win over OK State by 35 points! Nuts!
#3 Computer Hope Clemson did it! They are 13-0 & the last undefeated team standing, but don’t be shocked if Oklahoma rolls them in the semifinals. While Michigan St.’s ugliness has been on display, Clemson’s is oftentimes overlooked because they are 13-0 but let’s not forget they should have lost to Notre Dame. They barely go by Louisville the week before. Syracuse played them tough. South Carolina almost pulled off a stunning win over the Tigers. They gave up 41 against NC State & struggled against UNC & FSU. Good team? Yes. Great team?
#4 Computer Hope Going by resume, I have to slide Alabama to 4th. It doesn’t matter because they are still in the playoffs and they are still facing off against Michigan St. which is what actually is happening, but the #4 ranking is merited because the Tide hasn’t won any elite games. Their toughest opponent this year has been Ole Miss & Alabama lost that one. I’d bet on them to win the national championship though. Your offense isn’t going to handle Alabama’s defense & your defense can’t contain Derrick Henry for all 4 quarters. Very hard to beat.
#5 Computer Hope Now that Michigan St. beat Iowa in the Big 10 championship game, it makes you wonder even more what in the world was going on with Ohio St.’s play calling in their game against the Spartans. It’s a complete shame that Ezekiel Elliott isn’t a Heisman finalist. Elliott was actually better than Derrick Henry on a per rush basis. Even not adjusting, Elliott ran for 1672yds & 19TD. Not a bad season. You could also make a case that Ohio St. should be in the playoffs over Alabama or Oklahoma, but winning your conference holds weight.
#6 Computer Hope Knowing what we know now, it might have been too much to drop Vernon Adams into East Lansing in his 2nd ever start for the Ducks, but even then Oregon lost by 3 to my #1 ranked team. The losses to Utah & Washington St. are odd but Adams was hurt. Oregon would have made a very interesting team with a healthy Adams. If they had gone 12-1 (which is likely) then I don’t think you could have kept Oregon out which means Oklahoma would have likely been a casualty. Oregon now gets tough TCU as a consolation prize.
#7 Computer Hope Hard to argue with an 11- 2 season which includes a Pac 12 championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon beats TCU then the loss to the Ducks is negligible, but what kills Stanford is their Week 1 loss to Northwestern. What would have been really interesting is how the playoff committee would have decided between Michigan St., Oklahoma & Stanford if all 3 teams had one loss yet Michigan St. lost to Nebraska, Stanford lost to Oregon & Oklahoma lost to Texas. Impossible to think Stanford would be left out.
#8 Computer Hope 50+ yard field goals and hurricanes prevented the Irish from a perfect 12-0 season and given the injury battles Notre Dame has faced, it’s a small miracle that the team finished 10-2. When healthy I’m not sure I saw a more complete team than the Irish. It took Brian Kelly a little longer than most people expected, but I think this year, year 6, is where everything came together. The big question facing Notre Dame now is how they’ll fare against Ohio State. Nobody wants a repeat of 2012 where ND was exposed in a big bowl.
#9 Computer Hope I have Michigan St. ranked #1 in the nation so the Hawkeyes could easily make a case they should be #2. They did nothing against Michigan St. to make me think they don’t deserve to be 12-1. A couple of thoughts on the Big 10 championship game. When Jordan Canzeri went down I thought Iowa was in trouble. Leshun Daniels & Akrum Wadley have done a good job but Canzeri is the man. Iowa needed him. LT Boone Myers GOT WORKED by Shilique Calhoun. Iowa lost that matchup big time & it probably cost them the game.
#10 Computer Hope It’s very bizarre how this team can go on the road and beat Alabama by 6, but then two weeks later go on the road & lose to Florida by 28 points! The win over Alabama is the best win in the nation this season so it’s hard to ignore. It’s impossible to figure out how Ole Miss loses to Arkansas, Florida & Memphis, but when the Rebels are playing well, they are not turning the ball over & QB Chad Kelly is slinging the ball around to a dominant WR corps that opens up the game for RB Jaylen Walton. I hope they show up for their bowl.
#11 Computer Hope The Tar Heels played Clemson tougher than I expected but I wouldn’t get too caught up in the 45-37 final score. Clemson had a 35-16 lead late in the 3rd quarter & Carolina never really could catch up. Carolina is going to get knocked for scheduling weak teams. The 11-2 record is a bit soft to be sure, but the ACC Coastal is going through some changes & Larry Fedora has the Heels ready to rock. There is a window here where UNC could potentially get into the playoffs if they can avoid let down games & win the ACC title game.
#12 Computer Hope After Ohio St. lost to Michigan St., some Michigan fans were talking about impressed they were with the Buckeyes that they’d throw their season just to ruin Michigan’s chances at a Big 10 championship. Turns out the opposite was true. Michigan’s loss to Michigan St. effectively ended Ohio St.’s opportunity  to win the Big 10 East which likely would have pushed the Buckeyes to 12-1 (sorry Iowa fans) & given them the chance to defend their national championship. GOOD JOB BLUE! Michigan shouldn’t have problems with Florida.
#13 Computer Hope I’m not penalizing Stanford for losing to Northwestern anymore, but consider how high the Wildcats could go if they win their bowl game. If Iowa & Michigan both win their bowls, NW could be an 11-2 squad with losses to Iowa (13-1) & Michigan (10-3). Speaking of a NW bowl win, the Wildcats draw Tennessee is what is easily one of the best bowl games of the year. Right now I’d rank Tennessee the 2nd best team in the SEC behind Alabama. If Northwestern can get a bowl win over the Vols then this might be a top 6-8 squad.
#14 Computer Hope Let’s go back to equalizing seasons to Derrick Henry’s workload. This time we’ll go with Dalvin Cook of Florida State. As previously mentioned, Henry is going to NYC as a Heisman finalist, but if Cook had the same workload as Henry, he would have rushed for 2,664 yards & 29TD! Cook averaged 7.9ypc & the only player to average more with at least 100 carries on the season was Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida who averaged 8.2ypc. It’s sort of amazing how much attention Cook doesn’t get given how good he has been.
#15 Computer Hope The good news for TCU is that they should be healthier by the time their bowl comes around. The bad news is that TCU has to play Oregon with at defense that isn’t exactly the finest that Gary Patterson has put out there. I feel like the Frogs should be higher, but once again I think it comes back to Big XII scheduling. With only 3 out of conference games, the impetus on Big XII teams to schedule difficult opponents is extremely high. Unfortunately for most of the Big XII teams, that wasn’t taken too seriously & thus they are penalized.
#16 Computer Hope The Cowboys’s bowl assignment is a very difficult one in Ole Miss, especially when you consider that the Rebels & Hugh Freeze are likely coveting a 10 win season. But it’s also an opportunity for the Big XII to prove they were a very powerful conference. An Oklahoma St. win over the Rebels would definitely make a statement showing that the Big XII can hammer elite competition even when it doesn’t schedule elite teams in their non-conference slate. OK State should have been 6-6 this year. Going 10-2 is a tremendous win.
#17 Computer Hope If you are going by resume, then placing Wisconsin this high is tenuous even though Wisconsin finished the year a very respectable 9-3. The problem is that all 9 wins came against losing teams. Wisconsin faced 3 teams all season with a winning record. They were 0-3. The flip side is Wisconsin lost to Iowa & Northwestern by a combined 10 points & they lost their opener to Alabama of all teams. I love the draw of USC in the bowl game. Beat the Trojans & Wisconsin is looking at a season of what might have been.
#18 Computer Hope Arkansas had no issues hammering Missouri 28-3 in the season finale to finish the season 7-5 & in a tie for 3rd in the SEC West. Alex Collins & Kody Walker rank wild over an overmatched Mizzou team. The Tigers were playing for a bowl, but it hardly mattered. In Arkansas’s last 8 games of 2015 & their last last 6 games of 2014, the Hogs are 10-4. That means they are 4-7 in their early games which shows that if the Razorbacks can avoid their early season swoons, they’d be a bigger factor in the SEC West & SEC itself.
#19 Computer Hope Florida was exposed once again this past week in their 29-15 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. In their last 2 weeks the Gators have been outscored 56-17 by Florida St. & Alabama. It happens. The basic narrative is that Florida took advantage of a very down SEC East to win the division in Jim McElwain’s first year, but this team was different when Will Grier got suspended. That’s a tough break. I love McElwain & believe he’s going to win multiple championships in Gainesville if he sticks around.
#20 Computer Hope Northwestern is a great draw for Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. You can do all sorts of contortions with schedule & opponents, but if Tennessee beats Northwestern & Northwestern beat Stanford then the Vols are in an interesting position in that they would finish the season 9-4 with losses to Alabama, Florida, Arkansas & Oklahoma by a combined 17 points. Northwestern beat Iowa & Michigan but if the Hawkeyes & Wolverines win their bowl games, a win for Tennessee should move them up considerably in the polls.
#21 Computer Hope Baylor beat Texas Tech & West Virginia by a combined 52 points. Oklahoma beat them by a combined 56 points & TCU beat them by a combined 33 points. Baylor played both of those games with Seth Russell as their starting QB. Russell missed Baylor’s last 5 games in which the Bears went 2-3. The losses to TCU, Oklahoma & Texas were by a combined 23 points. Does anyone seriously think Russell doesn’t make up the difference in those games? You can’t ignore the 1-3 finish but Baylor is much different without Russell.
#22 Computer Hope HC Les Miles & LSU sort of get screwed because the season opening game against McNeese St. was canceled due to weather. That is a certain win for the Tigers meaning LSU would be playing for a 10 win season in their bowl game rather than a 9 win season. I think it makes a difference. Texas Tech is a great draw for the Tigers. Leonard Fournette could rush for 300 yards against a brutal Red Raiders defense, and Texas Tech passes so much that LSU will probably come up with 2-3 picks. That will quiet the doubters for a second.
#23 Computer Hope I’m a little surprised that Dan Mullen is still the head coach in Starkville. I suppose BYU is still open but I’ve heard that Navy HC Ken Niumatalolo might be taking that job. That’s a huge win for Mississippi St. as they keep a premiere coach on the sidelines. NC State is a good bowl game for the Bulldogs as it should result in a win & a 9-4 record for MSU. That’s a tremendous season as most expected the Bulldogs to be down. It’ll be interesting to see if Mullen can take MSU to an annual 10-3/11-2 years with a possible 12-1.
#24 Computer Hope It would have been cool to see USC close out Stanford in the Pac 12 title game instead of losing 41-22, but the Trojans had absolutely no answer for Christian McCaffery & USC was punished with TOP as the Cardinal held the ball for almost 36 minutes. Given the Sarkisian mess mid-way through the season, you have to look at USC as a big success story given that they started the year 3-3 (1-2) and still managed to win the Pac 12 South! Drawing Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl is interesting. A win would be huge going into ’16.
#25 Computer Hope You have to give credit to the Cougars. The other 3 best teams in the AAC this year were Memphis, Navy & Temple & Houston beat all 3 in the last 4 weeks of the season. The only team  Houston didn’t beat that could have been interesting in conference play is South Florida that is nitpicking. The biggest news though is Houston keeping Tom Herman as their HC. The first year HC went 12-1 & drew plenty of interest. Instead he’s sticking. Houston gets Florida St. in the Peach Bowl. Let’s see how they deal with Dalvin Cook.

DROPPING OUT

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (previously #25): The loss to Kansas St. kills West Virginia. I think you look at this team a lot differently if they are 8-4 with losses to Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma & Oklahoma State. Those 4 teams are a combined 40-8! Finishing 7-5 with a loss to K-State changes things for me & I had to drop them out of the top-25. To me this is one of the most interesting storylines in college football. Remember that when Dana Holgorsen took over the Mountaineers in 2011, it was West Virginia’s last season in the Big East. Holgorsen won the Big East & then won the Orange Bowl in his first season. It hasn’t been easy sledding in the Big XII, but things are trending in the right directions. Let’s look at WVU’s rankings in scoring offense & scoring defense within the conference the 4 years since WVU’s been in the Big XII

2012: Offense = 39.5PPG; Defense = 38.1PPG; Overall Difference = +1.4
2013: Offense = 26.3PPG; Defense = 33.3PPG; Overall Difference = -7.0
2014: Offense = 33.5PPG; Defense = 27.6PPG; Overall Difference = +5.9
2015: Offense = 33.3PPG; Defense = 23.2PPG; Overall Difference = +10.1

The Mountaineers are getting it defensively. The offense had a little blip in 2013 and that is an easy explanation in that Clint Trickett wasn’t healthy that year & WVU had to expect a little decline after having Geno Smith in 2012. Still, the Trickett injuries probably kept WVU from getting back to 30+PPG.

What will be VERY INTERESTING is seeing if WVU’s administration sees how good a job Holgorsen is doing in Morgantown. The one point loss to Kansas St. was extremely disappointing but if WVU can go out & beat Arizona St. in teh bowl game, they’ll be 8-5 & on the upswing in 2016. The offense should be as good as it was in 2012 & potentially better as WVU might be able to score 40PPG. What is going to be interesting is seeing what West Virginia does defensively as they lose an awful lot of production from that side of the football.

Holgorsen might find himself on the hot seat, but he shouldn’t. Not by a long shot.

December 12, 2015 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Dana Holgorsen, Florida, Florida St., Houston, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., NCAA, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Power 25, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Week 14, West Virginia, Wisconsin | Leave a comment