No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

RANKING POWER-65 COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES – #19 to #11

Now we are inside the top-20! What’s interesting about these guys to me is that all of them could make moves that would land them inside the top-10 if they had a championship caliber season, which for most of them is the last hurdle they need to overcome to get into that very elite category. As I wrote previously picking from #19 to #11 is probably based more on preference, but if you keep reading, there are some very interesting story lines with these guys that could affect their rankings going forward. Every coach/team mentioned here definitely has a story line that will be scrutinized in 2017. If you need to catch up, here are the links the previous articles in this series:

#50-#65
#49-#40
#39-#30
#29-#20

#19 – Bill Snyder – Kansas State

Coach Snyder is a tough one to rank because on the one hand you can argue he’s one of the all time great coaches in college football history. He’s unique in that he got the Kansas State job and kept it for as long as he wanted. He even came back after leaving at the conclusion of the 2005 season. In today’s football world, a coach at a school like Kansas St. would have bolted for another opportunity if they had had the success that Snyder has had at KSU. From 1995-2000, Snyder posted a 63-12 record with a 39-8 mark in Big XII play which included 3 Big XII North titles. Any other coach would have bolted for Georgia or Clemson or Auburn or Miami-FL. What keeps Snyder a bit lower is that he hasn’t won a ton at Kansas St. nationally. He’s never won a national championship. He’s only won the Big XII twice in 25 years of coaching. He’s 8-10 in bowl games. That mostly speaks to the ceiling of Kansas St. football. Snyder came back to Manhattan because Ron Prince lowered the standards. Snyder raised them again, but he can’t quite get KSU to national prominence. His hope was that Prince could do it. His hope when he retires is that the Wildcats get it right the 2nd time.

#18 – Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State

Gundy might be underrated by a long shot. Remember that Gundy has to go up against Oklahoma within his own state and Texas in his own region. Those are two college football Goliaths that are almost impossible to beat on the recruiting trail yet Gundy over the last 7 seasons has failed to win at least 10 games only twice. Gundy is coming off back to back 10-3 seasons and has posted 10-3 seasons in 3 of the past 4 years. Gundy almost won a national championship in 2011. If the Cowboys don’t completely blow it late in the year against Iowa St., then they would have played LSU in the national championship game that year instead of Alabama. The Tide beat LSU 21-0 in a revenge game after LSU beat the Tide earlier 9-6 in Tuscaloosa, but you’d have to think Oklahoma St. would have had a good shot at upending the Bayou Bengals. Oklahoma St. finished #3 in the rankings, but you have to wonder where the program could have been catapulted to had they brought home a national championship. What sticks out about Gundy to me as well is that he almost accomplished what Jimmy Johnson thought was impossible with Oklahoma State, namely winning a title. Gundy is about as Oklahoma St. as you can possibly get. He’ll be there forever if he wants and I can’t see him leaving which makes him quite a bit like Bill Snyder. Because of 2011, I’m not sure there is a ceiling to OK State football, so it’ll be interesting to see if Gundy can get over the hump and win a title.

#17 – Gus Malzahn – Auburn

It’s easy to forget that Malzahn led War Eagle to a national championship game his first season as head coach of the Tigers. That was a tall order beating a Jameis Winston led Florida St. squad so you can’t exactly blame him for losing. Malzahn has caught quite a bit of heat the past couple of seasons because he hasn’t replicated the success of that 12-2 squad from 2013. Malzahn is an offensive savant, but people forget just how good Auburn’s defense was in 2013. They didn’t create a lot of turnovers but they got after the ball quite a bit with quite a few sacks and tackles for loss. The O-line was dominant giving Tre Mason & Nick Marshall plenty of room to run. The defense & O-Line took a step back in 2014 and in 2015 Malzahn really didn’t have a QB as Jeremy Johnson wasn’t the answer. He entered 2016 with the same problems and Auburn struggled early, but when Auburn finally settled on Sean White, they reeled off 6 straight wins and won 6 of 7 after starting 1-2. The season didn’t end well with losses to Alabama & Oklahoma, but losing to Alabama in Tuscaloosa is hardly cause for concern and by season’s end Oklahoma was a top-5 team. Malzahn recruits extremely well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Auburn really take off. Malzahn has his system in place and there is loads of talent here. Sean White is the unquestioned starter now and I”m willing to bet that Auburn gets back to double digit wins. In the SEC West, that is an incredible coaching job.

#16 – Pat Fitzgerald – Northwestern

What Fitzgerald has done at Northwestern is nothing short of amazing. Over this last 9 seasons, he’s lead the Wildcats to 7 bowl games. In the 114 seasons before Fitzgerald got to Evanston, Northwestern played in a total of 6 bowl games! It’s almost impossible for Northwestern to recruit on any major level unless some kids simply want to wind up in Evanston or have ties to Northwestern. While the Wildcats might not necessarily have it as bad as Vanderbilt because the Commodores play in the SEC, that might change given how good the coaching in the Big 10 is getting. I guess it could be worse and Northwestern could be in the Big 10 East, but Nebraska, Wisconsin & Iowa are pretty darn good. Lovie Smith is recruiting better to Illinois and Purdue & Minnesota just hired solid young coaches. It’ll be interesting to see how Fitzgerald adjusts to an influx of talent in the coaching ranks. He’s never gotten Northwestern to the Rose Bowl the way Gary Barnett was able to but he’s won 10 games in 2 of the past 5 years. Regardless of what happens around him, I have a feeling that Fitzgerald is going to keep winnings games. One thing I do want to mention about Fitzgerald and Northwestern is that if I had to pick any place for my son to go to college and play football, Northwestern would be in the discussion along with Michigan and Stanford. There really isn’t a better compliment to pay a head coach.

#15 – James Franklin – Penn State

From semi-mess to Rose Bowl in 3-years!? Franklin has more than earned ranking this high even if hadn’t took the Nittany Lions to a Big 10 championship in year 3. Franklin didn’t necessarily inherit the mess that descended upon Happy Valley in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but Bill O’Brien was never going to be a long term solution and bolted for the NFL the first chance he got. Franklin didn’t shy away from the task of making Penn St. nationally relevant again and in just 3 years he had the Lions playing the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2008 and ranked inside the top-10 in the final AP poll for the first time since 2009! Franklin recruited at a high level immediately when taking the job, but he’s been able to sustain that success despite having a couple of 7-6 seasons to start his tenure. That success would only seem to increase the more Franklin wins because as a football purist, there isn’t many places more special to play than at Penn State! The only wild thing about Frankin’s success will be his ability to keep it going. He’s ranked #15 on this list which is fantastic, but he’s just 4th among coaches in the Big 10 East. That division is without a doubt the most feared and difficult division in all off football with Penn St. emerging as a national threat. Michigan St. isn’t always going to have off years and it’ll be intriguing to see what Franklin can do once Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State are firing on all cylinders. I think Franklin can handle the difficulty.

#14 – Kyle Whittingham – Utah

Did you know that Whittingham is 10-1 in bowl games since taking for Urban Meyer as HC of Utah!? That’s downright amazing and if I’m not mistaken that is the best record of any FBS coach in bowl games that have coached at least 6 of them. All Whittingham does is win football games, but what is most impressive about him is the transition Utah made into the Pac 12. In their last 3 years in the Mountain West, Whittingham guided the Utes to a 33-6 record including their perfect 13-0 year in 2008 which saw Utah finished ranked #2 in the nation! The transition to the Pac 12 was never going to be easy and Utah took some lumps early going 9-18 in conference play in their first 3 seasons. Their next 3 seasons have seen a complete turnaround as Utah has posted a 28-11 record from 2014-2016 with a conference mark of 16-11, winning a share of the Pac 12 South in 2015. A by product of playing in a better conference and winning is that recruiting has massively improved for the Utes since 2014 and the program has a lot more talent on hand to compete with other Pac 12 schools. Last season Utah almost broke through expoentially. The Utes finished 9-4 with a bowl win over Indiana, but their 4 losses came by a total of 19 points! The year before (2015) Utah finished 10-3 with 2 of their losses coming by a combined 15 points. Utah & Whitingham win their fair share of close games as well, but winning a lot more of those games than you lose is a clear indicated of a great coach, which is exactly what Whittingham is.

#13 – Mark Richt – Miami-FL

Richt is another tricky coach because of perception versus reality. There is a lot of sentiment that Richt was somewhat of a disappointment at Georgia despite coaching in Athens for 15 years and averaging 10 wins a season while also averaging a 6-2 conference record during those 15 seasons! Did I mention Georgia plays in the SEC? That’s outstanding but at Georgia that’s only close. During those 15 seasons, Richt won just 2 outright SEC titles and hadn’t one one since 2005 when Georgia parted ways with him after the 2015 season. Richt is a tremendous coach and a tremendous recruiter. There can be no doubt about that, but what’s interesting about Richt’s time in college football is that he got to Georgia in 2001. Urban Meyer got to Florida in 2005. Richt won 2 SEC titles from 2001-2005 and 3 SEC East divisions. It’s also worth noting that Nick Saban was at LSU from 2000-2004 and then at Alabama from 2007 to present. Richt is fantastic. Everyone would agree, but Meyer & Saban and absolute Hall of Fame locks. Saban is arguably the greatest college football coach of all time and Meyer is easily in the top-5 if not #2 behind Saban. Richt’s only real crime is being born at the wrong time, between Saban (9-years later) and Meyer (4-years prior). Richt will do an outstanding job at Miami-FL. Recruiting will be fantastic. He already went 9-4 in his first season and came pretty close to winning the ACC Coastal. He’s not in the Atlantic with FSU & Clemson so the real story here is can Richt take Miami-FL a step further than he took Georgia? Do that and he leaps into the top-10 of these rankings. Stay 10-3 every year and Richt is a top-15 coach for sure, but not quite elite of the elite.

#12 – Gary Patterson – Texas Christian

It took Patterson a couple of years to figure out the Big XII, but once he did, the Horned Frogs started dominating in much the same fashion that destroyed the competition in the Mountain West. From 2014-2015, TCU posted a 23-3 record with a couple of top-10 finishes and a share of the Big XII title in 2014. The 2014 season stung a bit as TCU dropped a 3 points game in Waco to Baylor which nailed their coffin for a shot at the college football playoffs. Florida St. was going to be in as they were 13-0 and defending champions. Alabama was 12-1 and SEC Champs. They weren’t being left out regardless. Ohio St. is Ohio State. At 12-1 they weren’t going to be left out. They had won 11 straight games and was coming off a 59-0 beating of Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship. The one team TCU could have argued against is Oregon, but Baylor might have had a better argument as Baylor beat TCU, but the Bears also lost to West Virginia. The thought was that if TCU can’t win the Big XII outright, should they be in the playoffs? I don’t know who they bump out and I don’t know how TCU would have fared, but that was a tremendous team and Patterson showed that he could take TCU from the Big XII and make them legitimate national title contenders. Last year was a bump in the road for Patterson and the Frogs and you could sense some let down after the Trevone Boykin/Aaron Green/Josh Doctson era ended on offense. TCU has a lot coming back in 2017 and my guess is Patterson jumps back into the top-10 of these rankings.

#11 – Mark Dantonio – Michigan State

I think we can all agree that Dantonio is a helluva football coach and is deserving of this ranking and maybe #11 is too low, but I do think there is a trend here that needs to be looked at because it involved Dantonio going forward. Dantonio really started to up his value as a HC starting in 2010 when he led the Spartans to an 11-2 record with a share of the Big 10 title. From 2010 to 2015, Michigan St. went 65-16 (39-9) with 3 Big 10 titles and 3 Big 10 division titles. Sparty won the Rose Bowl in 2013 and finished ranked in the top-14 in five of the 6 seasons and in the top-6 from 2013 to 2015! The 2010 to 2014 era is significant because of what was going on at Michigan during this time. From 2010-2014, the Wolverines were 38-26 (21-19). Michigan wasn’t Michigan in those 5 seasons and historically speaking, Michigan St. took on the role of Michigan while Michigan took on the role of Michigan State. What happened in 2015? Jim Harbaugh showed up in Ann Arbor! You could argue that the 2015 season showed that Dantonio could handle both Ohio State and Michigan, but that is tough because Michigan St. won a road game over Michigan when the Wolverines game it away. They also beat Ohio St. in Columbus in a game they shouldn’t have and then beat Iowa in the Big 10 championship in a game Iowa should have won. The playoffs exposed Michigan St. a bit when Alabama beat them 38-0, but maybe the Tide would have beat Ohio St. and Michigan by 40 points too! The proof might have come in 2016 when Michigan St. fell off considerably and finished 3-9 with a 1-8 mark in Big 10 play which included losses to Indiana, Northwestern, Maryland and Illinois. Winning those games would have pushed MSU to 7-5 potentially which would have gotten them bowl eligible at least with a shot at 8-5.  Maybe Connor Cook was that important!? Recruiting was down in 2017 for the Spartans while Michigan dominated. The trick with Dantonio is staying relevant while Michigan starts to dominate under Harbaugh. I think geography plays a role here. Auburn and Alabama can coexist as superpowers because they are in Alabama and the southeast. Florida and Florida St. can exist because they reside in Florida. The state of Michigan can’t resemble that type if relationship between it’s two football powers. Is Dantonio an outstanding head coach who can weather a bad year and get right back to the top of the Big 10 East or is he merely a solid head coach who took advantage of Michigan being down?

May 20, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Auburn, Big 10, Big XII, Coaching, Kansas St., Miami-FL, Michigan St., Northwestern, Oklahoma St., Pac 12, Penn St., Rankings, SEC, TCU, Utah | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL – BOWL SEASON PREVIEW!

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

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

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 12 – BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope This is the game of the week by a long shot because of all the implications. In my opinion the game is bigger for West Virginia. This is the game Dane Holgorsen and his staff have been preparing for since arriving in Morgantown. A win doesn’t guarantee a Big XII championship but it gets them VERY close. I think it also puts them into playoff contention if a couple of other conferences have 2-loss champions. A win here obviously is a big step for the Sooners to win the Big XII championship. Computer Hope
Computer Hope If you believe the big players in the Pac 12 this year are Colorado, Utah, USC, Washington & Washington St., then this is the Cougars first real challenge despite them being 8-2. The same can be said for Colorado who did have a test game against USC but lost which is keeping their credibility in check just a bit. It’s hard to pick against either. I’d love to see Mike Leach win out because Wazzou would be amazing in the playoffs, but I’ve been on Colorado’s bandwagon all year. Should be amazing! Computer Hope
Computer Hope If Tennessee doesn’t botch it up against Missouri or Vanderbilt, Florida is essentially playing for their lives here against LSU. The bigger question to me is whether or not Florida actually wants to win the SEC East? If they beat LSU then all that means is they’ll be facing Alabama. That game has 55-0 written all over it which begs the question of whether it’s worth it to win the East just so you can get murdered on national television? I don’t think it’ll matter though as LSU is destroying opponents. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Remember after Houston beat Oklahoma that everyone circled this date on their schedule as the game Houston had to win in order to get to 13-0 and make a push for making the playoffs? Two losses later and now this is a game Louisville needs not only to win but to dominate in order to push themselves higher in the playoff rankings in order for them to sneak in. Louisville needs bigger wins and they need them by bigger margins. This would accomplish both goals, but it shouldn’t be easy. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This might not seem like that big of a game, but the Demon Deacons are 4-1 in Winston-Salem and they’ve given Florida St. & Louisville all they could handle despite losing games. Wake almost pulled off a stunner last week in Louisville. Note also that while Clemson is on a different level, Wake went on the road to beat both Indiana & Duke. What does Clemson losing mean? It opens the door for Louisville as they would take the Atlantic and I can’t imagine them losing to Virginia Tech or North Carolina. Computer Hope
Computer Hope These one off games can be fun. It’s never easy going into Ft. Worth and pounding on the Frogs, but this is really the game that sets up THE GAME for Oklahoma St. assuming the Sooners beat West Virginia. The Cowboys can’t overlook TCU because they are playing for everything. Even if Oklahoma loses to West Virginia, OK-State can win the Big XII if they win out because they gave the Mountaineers their only conference loss. Oh, and by the way, TCU is playing for bowl eligibility! Cant’ wait! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Irish have been taking a lot of heat for being 4-6, but those 6 losses have come by a combined 29 points. That’s about 5PPG. The Irish are one of the few teams with a “best” care scenario record of 10-0 so while the 4-6 looks dreadful and Brian Kelly deserves the heat he’s gotten, remember that two wins & the Irish get to a bowl. Also keep in mind that Virginia Tech is coming off a loss to Georgia Tech, and teams that play teams like GT are very beat up the following week. This one is interesting. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The year hasn’t went anything like UCLA would have wanted, but remember they are in much the same situation as Notre Dame is in. At 4-6, the Bruins can win their last 2 games and get to a bowl which would be a minor victory. Their 6 losses have come by a combined 42 points. I don’t expect USC to have much trouble with the way they’ve been playing. The Trojans could still win the Pac 12 South so I don’t expect a letdown. This is the most beautiful game of the season with the jerseys. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game doesn’t have any national implications but I like the two teams involved. Minnesota has had a nice season. They haven’t beaten anyone of note, but they are 7-3 with their 3 losses coming to Nebraska, Iowa & Penn St. by 17 points. They might lose to Northwestern & Wisconsin to finish the season but if they are closes losses, it’s a helluva season to build on. Northwestern has become a dangerous team. If the team now started at the beginning, I think they finish 10-2 and maybe 11-1. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is a neat rivalry game and it should be a pretty cool contrast in styles. Stanford is going to run the ball behind Christian McCaffrey while the Bears are going to want to air it out behind Davis Webb. If Cal wins out they’ll finish 6-6 and get to a bowl, but I think Stanford has become the forgotten team nationally. They have a great shot at winning out which would mean 9-3. A bowl win gets the Cardinal to 10-3 which is a very good season. They can’t win the North so it seems they are forgotten. Computer Hope

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Big Games, California, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Houston, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Must See Games, NCAA, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Stanford, TCU, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington St., Week 12, West Virginia | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 8 – BIG GAMES

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

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

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 5 – 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 Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech last week was nice & the Tigers defense came out to play, but playing against an offense like Tech’s is inherently difficult because of the blocking scheme employed by those triple option types of offenses. We’ll really see how Clemson does this week after playing the Jackets last week. Lamar Jackson has to be licking his chops at this one. Louisville has destroyed everything in their path but this is the first real road test for the Ville! Computer Hope
Computer Hope If Wisconsin walks into Ann Arbor and does to the Wolverines what they did the Spartans last week, how are they not the #1 team in the nation with wins over LSU, Michigan and Michigan St. with NONE of them coming in Camp Randall!? I’d like to say Wisconsin hasn’t seen a rushing attack quite like Michigan’s yet, but they locked up Leonard Fournette for crying out loud. Michigan is averaging 52PPG. They aren’t going to come close to that even if they win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Huge game for both teams and probably the game that will decide the Pac 12 North. Washington was almost caught sleeping last week down in Arizona as they needed OT to pull out a win over the Wildcats because they were looking ahead to Stanford. Stanford on the other hand hasn’t been that great. Sure they’ve won all their games, but those wins haven’t exactly moved the meter. There’s no dominance to this Cardinal team. A win by either vaults them in the rankings. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It would be great if Tennessee could put together two halves of a football game so we could see how dominant the Vols can be. We were somewhat saying the same thing about Ole Miss last week before Georgia came into Oxford. Ole Miss didn’t disappoint taking Georgia to the woodshed early & often. Tennessee has the same opportunity this week & Nick Chubb might not be playing. Beat Georgia and there really isn’t anyone left in the East to challenge Tennessee. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Isn’t it amazing that TCU is ranked despite beating South Dakota St., SMU & Iowa St. but losing to Arkansas? This is a good game for Oklahoma to get back on track. The Frogs do a few things well, but defensively this is not one of Gary Patterson’s best units. Oklahoma should be able to exploit that and flex a bit on the TCU defense. I don’t think Oklahoma can tank the season simply because they have 2 losses. They still could win the Big XII & hope for a miracle. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Nobody is really talking about Memphis, but the Tigers beat Ole Miss last year 37-24 en route to starting the season 8-0 & being ranked #15. You’d think Memphis would be down a bit after losing their HC (Justin Fuente) & QB (Paxton Lynch), but new HC Mike Norvell has this team humming. In their first 3 games, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 155-27! QB Riley Ferguson is playing well, Memphis runs the ball well & the defense is great! Very interesting. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This should be a great game not many people will see. Utah has a window in the Pac 12 South that could catapult them into national contention if they keep winning. Cal has shown an ability to get loose at home with wins over Texas and Hawaii. If the Bears can allow Davis Webb to play within himself the Bears could win this thing. Cal hasn’t faced a defense as staunch as Utah’s though. If Utah can win this one they could be 8-0 before hosting Washington on 10/29! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Cool opportunity for the Hurricanes to once again show they are better than the team that just beat their opponent. Earlier in the year Tennessee needed OT to beat Appalachian St. in Knoxville. Miami went into Boone & hammered the Mounties 45-10. Last week Clemson went into Atlanta & beat GT 26-7. This week Miami-FL will follow & it’ll be interesting to see if “THE U” can win by a more convincing score. We’re still in wait & see mode with Miami at this point. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Texas had an extra week to stew over their road loss to California, but I’m excited to see what the Longhorns can do against Oklahoma St. in Stillwater. Last week the Cowboys went on the road to Baylor & played the Bears pretty tough despite losing. The win over Notre Dame doesn’t look so hot but it’s still hard to deny the talent on Texas’ roster & how exciting the offense & defense could be. Like Oklahoma, Texas still has a shot at winning the Big XII championship. Computer Hope
Computer Hope How cool is it that Navy and Air Force are 3-0 and facing off! This will be a great game if you like rushing offense, but I’m excited for this because of Air Force. Navy has Houston, Memphis & Notre Dame on the schedule, but if the Falcons can get a win here, they could be 11-0 when they host Boise St. on November 25th. Get by Boise St. and they’d get San Diego St. in the MW championship game. There is a lot going on outside the Power 5 with a few teams. Computer Hope

September 27, 2016 Posted by | Air Force, Big Games, California, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Memphis, Miami-FL, Michigan, Mississippi, Must See Games, Navy, NCAA, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Week 5, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2016 NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 2 – BIG GAMES

Week 2 is notoriously bad for college football and 2016 is no exception. Picking out the top-10 games were a bit rough, but these are the ten games I thought were most interesting for this week. To be honest, this is the one Saturday where, barring any major upsets, if you missed I don’t think you’d even notice. With that said, I do think there are some intriguing rivalry games and of course Tennessee & Virginia Tech will will play in an historic game because of an attendance record at “The Battle of Bristol.” Just be warned, this week’s action won’t come close to the tremendous week 1 we had.

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope The Holy War!! This is as great rivalry game as you get the sense these two teams really hate each other. It had taken a couple of years off although last season in the Las Vegas Bowl we got the game due to bowl matchups which Utah won 35-28. The last time we played in Salt Lake City, the Utes won 24-21. Utah is 10-3 over the last 13 meetings & have won 5 straight. These are two solid teams. Remember last year Utah was 10-3 while BYU was 9-4. I’m excited to see what BYU QB Taysom Hill & RB Jamaal Williams can do against the Utah defense. BYU had a solid win over Arizona to start the year so their confidence should be high although their schedule is NASTY! I think college football as a whole is better when BYU is more relevant. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Tennessee had massive issues last week with Appalachian St., so this week should be interesting with the Hokies at QB Jerod Evans coming to town. Evans had an amazing debut last week against Liberty passing for 221yds & 4TD while rushing for 46yds. The Hokies are underrated. They have 15 returning starters from a year ago & this is a team that probably should have beaten Ohio St. last year if Michael Brewer doesn’t get hurt. VT’s “best” case record last year was 11-2 & they avoid both Clemson & Florida State. The Vols of course need to get on track. Needing OT at home to beat App State is ridiculous so they need to come out and prove they are worthy of being in the national title discussion. This game is about the Vols. Computer Hope
Computer Hope An OUTSTANDING rivalry that we haven’t seen since 2000 which is WAY TOO LONG! A lot is going on in this one as I think James Franklin could be feeling tremendous heat if he flubs up early. The Lions weren’t overly dominant over Kent St. last week and they now have 3 straight games against Pittsburgh, Temple & Michigan. If Penn St. emerges 1-3 from their first 4 then I doubt Franklin is around considering he’d still have games against Ohio St., Iowa, Indiana & Michigan St. with a team short on confidence. That could turn into a 5-7 season at best. I think Pittsburgh is a big time sleeper team in the ACC. Pat Narduzzi has 16 starters returning although the schedule isn’t kind to them. Pitt has more than enough to get by Penn St. though. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Last season Washington St. opened up with a 24-17 loss to Portland St. and then went 5-1 in their next 6 and 8-2 in their next 10 climbing to #20 in the nation. After the opening home loss to Portland St., the Cougars went on the road to Rutgers and beat the Scarlet Knights 37-34. This season Wazzou once again goes on the road after a home opening loss to an FCS team, but this time it’s Boise State which is a completely different animal than Rutgers, but the parallels between the situations are striking. Like most Mike Leach teams, Wazzou airs it out with the best of them & that’s about all they do. What makes this interesting is that Boise has a real shot at 12-0 & Washington St. might be the toughest game they have on the schedule. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Baby steps. Last week SMU opened the season with a 34-21 win over North Texas. That seems inconsequential but it was the first season opening win the Mustangs have had since the 2000 season where SMU beat Kansas 31-17. I think the hiring of Chad Morris was a helluva move by the administration at SMU. Morris is a born & raised Texan & has made recruiting the state his priority almost the point of recruiting ONLY the state of Texas. It’s what he should do. Last year SMU was only 2-10 but that was a 1-game improvement from where they were in 2014 & Morris has 16 returning starters. I don’t think they have any shot at beating Baylor in Waco, but I think they’ll play extremely tough & if Baylor beats themselves, SMU wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Both teams are coming off uninspiring opening weekends. Arkansas needed everything they had to beat Louisiana Tech 21-20 while TCU had all it could handle from South Dakota St. before pulling away with a 59-41 win. Still, it’s extremely hard to imagine a Gary Patterson led defense giving up 41 points to an FCS squad! The last 5 years have seen TCU’s defense get worse & worse. Through 1 game, that trend doesn’t appear to be changing. QB Kenny Hill did a great job for the Frogs last week and TCU was great at running the football. It’ll be interesting though with Arkansas because the Hogs will play a ball-control type rushing offense which should slow TCU down. If Arkansas can keep TCU out of the endzone early, this one will be interesting. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Tar Heels probably get a win over Georgia last week if they had run the ball a bit more. This would have served a couple of purposes. One, it keeps UNC’s defense off the field & allows them to rest. Two, it keeps Nick Chubb off the field running over your tired defense! On paper this isn’t much of a game. The Tar Heels are a legit national team while Illinois is trying to become average in the Big 10. On the other hand, the game is in Urbana-Champaign and you couldn’t help but feel the tangible excitement about the program last week in HC Lovie Smith’s debut! The Illini trashed Murray St. 52-3 & everyone was drinking the orange Kool-Aid! UNC is a different animal but Illinois could ride emotion at home to making this into a game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The bottom line is that last week USC was embarrassed on national television in primetime by an Alabama squad that showed everyone just how far away the Trojans are from being a serious national title contender. The bottom line also says that USC has as much talent as anyone in the nation. Utah State isn’t a bad program, but this is also the type of team that USC would beat 59-3 in the Pete Carroll era. If the Trojans come back this week in the Coliseum and completely dominate Utah St., then I think we can consider USC a top-20 team again & possibly better hoping that the Alabama game was simply one of those games that everything went wrong. If USC struggles here, then I think the season won’t be what we expected from the Men of Troy. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Battle for the Cyhawk Trophy! Like Colorado/Colorado State, the Iowa/Iowa State intra-state rivalry is one of my favorites. Matt Campbell did a great job at Toledo amassing a 35-15 & a couple of bowl wins. I was surprised that he took the Iowa St. job considering his star was on the rise. The Cyclones are in an almost unwinnable position in the Big 12. It’s impossible to recruit with Oklahoma or Texas, and Iowa is the state program & plays in the Big 10. The 2016 season didn’t start well as the Cyclones opened up with a 25-20 home loss to Northern Iowa. At best ISU can go 2-10/1-11 this season. That’s a tough road to hoe. In rivalry games you can throw out the records, but Iowa is playing extremely well so I think a blowout is coming. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This should be an interesting game for Notre Dame. Brian Kelly & DC Brian VanGorder are taking TREMENDOUS heat over last week’s defensive effort that yielded 50 points to Texas. Granted, the Longhorns might be a lot better on offense that I at first imagined, but the Irish were a potential national title contender & gave up 50 points in the opener. that’s inexcusable. Nevada has 10 returning starters on offense including their top-4 receivers, their QB & RB James Butler who ran for 1,342 yards last season & 10TD. Butler doesn’t have the same build as Texas RB D’Onta Foreman or QB Tyrone Swoopes who ND had enough problems stopping, but he’s effective. Like USC, Notre Dame needs a blowout in rather convincing fashion. Computer Hope

September 10, 2016 Posted by | Arkansas, Baylor, Big Games, Boise St., BYU, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa St., Must See Games, NCAA, Nevada, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn St., Pittsburgh, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Utah, Utah St., Virginia Tech, Washington St., Week 2 | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2016 PRESEASON

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope If not now then when for LSU? The Tigers bring back 17 starters including the Heisman front runner in RB Leonard Fournette, their QB in Brandon Harris, huge receivers in WRs Travin Dural & Malachi Dupre and TE Colin Jeter. The O-line is solid and the defense brings back 5 of their front-7 and the entire secondary. They have at least 11 guys who could be drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. Alabama and Ole Miss come to Baton Rouge so the schedule sets up well for the Bayou Bengals. If Les Miles can’t figure out how to win the SEC with this much talent and this much experience then LSU needs to be content with finishing 2nd in the SEC West until Nick Saban decides to call it a career in Tuscaloosa. I’m excited to see OLB Arden Key. He’s got top-5 draft pick written all over him.
#2 Computer Hope I hope college football enjoyed last year when the Seminoles weren’t dominant because they are about ready to get back to their 2013-2014 form when they went 27-1 and won a national championship! FSU might have a rFR QB starting in Deondre Francois but they return every other starter on offense including RB Dalvin Cook who could very well end the year rushing for 2,000+ yards & 25TD en route to running away with the Heisman! FSU isn’t quite as experienced on the defensive side of the football & losing a talent like Jalen Ramsey isn’t easy but I’m excited to see what kind of pressure DEs DeMarcus Walker & Josh Sweat can generate from the outside. The schedule isn’t easy with landmines at Louisville & Miami-FL but FSU should be ACC favorites if they win at home.
#3 Computer Hope Tennessee has lived through some dark years having not really been nationally relevant since 1998 when Tee Martin took over Peyton Manning & won a national championship. Peyton Manning just retired after 18 years in the NFL which gives you an idea of how long Orange Nation has been wondering in the desert. Much like LSU, if Tennessee can’t win the East & have a shot at an SEC title this year then it might never happen. The Vols bring back 17 starters from a 9-4 squad that lost those 4 games by a total of 17 points! The Vols didn’t lose anyone of consequence & bring back their top-QB, top-3 rushers, 7 of their top-8 receivers & 5 of their top-6 tacklers. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Derek Barnett & Cameron Sutton are all defenders with All-American potential. Florda & Bama come to Knoxville.
#4 Computer Hope There is no question that talent isn’t a question for Alabama this year. Alabama lost their starting QB, a Heisman trophy winner at RB and a slew of defensive players who went in the NFL Draft, but it’s amazing how much talent the Tide have coming back. WR Calvin Ridley, WR ArDarius Stewart & TE OJ Howard return as receivers to ensure Alabama has no problem inserting a new starting QB. LT Cam Robinson is arguably the best OL in the nation. Defensively Alabama lost a ton but they also have Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Reuben Foster, Eddie Jackson, Minkah Fitzpatrick & Marlon Humphrey returning! The hard part for Alabama this year will be schedule. They have a non-conference game against USC and road games against Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU. Don’t count them out.
#5 Computer Hope It might have been surprising to see Chris Petersen leave Boise State for Washington, but it isn’t surprising that Petersen has Washington in line to win a Pac 12 championship in just his 3rd year in Seattle. QB Jake Browning & RB Myles Gaskin made quite a formidable pair last season as true freshman. Browning threw for 2900+ yards & 16TD while Gaskin ran for 1300+ yards & 14TD averaging 5.7ypc! UW averaged 30.6PPG & that number should increase quite a bit. Washington also showed well defensively in Petersen’s 2nd year as DC Pete Kwiatkowski took just 4 returning starters & led Washington ranking 13th in the nation in scoring defense. There are 7 returning starters on defense this season so expect more solid play. The Huskies have a real shot at a 12-1/13-0 season.
#6 Computer Hope The Sooners are all about putting up a ridiculous amount of points on the scoreboard & that shouldn’t change in 2016 as Oklahoma returns QB Baker Mayfield, RB Samaje Perine, RB Joe Mixon & WR DeDe Westbrook. Mayfield threw for 3600yds/36TD while completing 68% of his passes. He’ll make a legitimate run for the Heisman if he improves those numbers. Perine ran for 1349yds/16TD while Mixon added in 753yds/7TD of his own! TE Mark Andrews was a 1st team All-Big XII player last year as a freshman & I think he gets better. Defensively Oklahoma takes on some losses but S Ahmad Thomas & CB Jordan Thomas are ball hawkers who have game changing ability in the open field. The O-Line is a bit young & the schedule is easy but Oklahoma is set up as the best of the Big XII.
#7 Computer Hope After finishing 14-1 & coming THIS CLOSE to beating Alabama for a national championship last season, I almost feel bad ranking Clemson this low. The offense won’t be a problem as the Tigers bring back QB Deshaun Watson, RB Wayne Gallman, TE Doran Leggett & WRs Deon Cain & Artavis Scott. The problem might be defensively where Clemson lost a heap of exceptional players to the NFL Draft (BJ Goodson, TJ Green, Kevin Dodd, Jayron Kearse, Shaq Lawson, & Mackenzie Alexander) & now bring back just 4 starters to a relatively young unit. There are still stars here such as DT Carlos Watkins & LB Ben Boulware but Clemson has to regress just a bit! Clemson also has road games against Auburn & Florida State. Beat FSU & Clemson gets another shot at the national title.
#8 Computer Hope Can Jim Harbaugh get Michigan back to National Championship contention in just his 2nd year in Ann Arbor? I don’t think it’s as far fetched as it seems. Michigan went 10-3 last year but if they played Utah in Week 10 instead of Week 1 they don’t lose a close game in Salt Lake City. They should have in no way lost to Michigan State which only leaves the blunder against the Buckeyes. That 10-3 goes to 12-1 & this year’s Wolverines should be better than last year’s version. Offensively, Michigan scored 31.4PPG last year & will look to QB John O’Korn and he has a boatload of talent surrounding him. Defensively Michigan returns 6 starters but the overall talent level is a lot higher. Road games against Iowa, Michigan St. & Ohio St. will the only think stopping Michigan.
#9 Computer Hope The 16-6 opening week loss at Northwestern probably cost the Cardinal a shot at the national championship considering this team finished 12-2 & #3 in the nation! I don’t think you can overstate just how good of a football player Christian McCaffrey was last season. McCaffrey ran for 2,019 yards & 8TD while averaging 6.0ypc. He also led Stanford in receiving with 645 yards on 45 catches with 5TD. He had 1,070 kickoff return yards & 130 punt return yards. How in the world did McCaffrey lose the Heisman? Stanford loses a bit on offense & defense this year including QB Kevin Hogan, but the talent is there & I like how David Shaw coaches up the Cardinal on a weekly basis. Stanford has a brutal schedule so if they get to the playoffs, they’ll have definitely earned it.
#10 Computer Hope Like Tennessee, it’s amazing to think how long USC has somewhat been in the wilderness due to the Reggie Bush scandal. The last time USC has been nationally relevant is 2008 meaning 7 seasons in the dark! The scholarship issues were a problem as USC was not allowed to play at the 85 scholarship limit. This year they are just under that mark so clearly the Trojans are playing on the same field as the rest of college football now. That’s good news for HC Clay Helton who the Trojans kept after an interim basis after Steve Sarkisian departed. USC has as much talent as anyone in the nation but that talent is still relatively young. USC also plays a NIGHTMARE of a schedule so I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to remain in my top-10. The point is that they won’t be of it for long.
#11 Computer Hope HC Hugh Freeze has increased Ole Miss’ win total in each of the 4 seasons he’d been here taking over a 2-10 Ole Miss team in the dumps and going 7-6 then 8-5 then 9-4 and then last year getting to double digit wins as Ole Miss finished 10-3 The Rebels will be in games because Chad Kelly is OUTSTANDING, but Kelly isn’t alone. Ole Miss has the tools to have a great O-Line & their receiving options look fantastic. Defensively they lost a few players but I really like Marquis Haynes & Fadol Brown on the edges along with Tony Connor, Tony Bridges & Kendarius Webster in the backend. Freeze is a fantastic recruiter & Ole Miss it ready to take the next step but LSU & Alabama look so tough. The schedule isn’t kind getting a OOC game against USC & drawing Georgia out of the East.
#12 Computer Hope Tony Dungy couldn’t get it done in Tampa but could in Indianapolis. Jon Gruden couldn’t get it done in Oakland but could in Tampa. Jimmy Johnson couldn’t get it done at Oklahoma St., but could at Miami-FL. Was all Mark Richt really needed was a change of scenery? The U looks awfully good this year on offense. QB Brad Kaaya returns along with the entire O-Line, RB Joe Yearby, WR Sacy Coley & TE David Njoku. Miami scored 28PPG last year. It’ll go up. Defensively Miami returns 6 starters but return their top-4 tacklers and 6 of their top-7. The talent looks a lot better in Coral Gables than it has recently & we all know Richt is an excellent recruiter. A huge step in the right direction will be Miami winning the ACC Coastal. They get UNC at home so it should happen.
#13 Computer Hope The talk will be about QB phenom Josh Rosen but the story of the 2016 UCLA Bruins will be all about the defense. UCLA caught a brutal break last year when Eddie Vanderdoes didn’t play because of injury & ended up redshirting while Myles Jack was only available for 3 games, but while Jack is in Jacksonville now, Vanderdoes does return along with 9 other defensive starters. Vanderdoes is a 6’3/310lbs monster with a great inside rush game. Think about what Aaron Donald does with the Rams or what Sheldon Rankins did last year with Louisville. That’s Vanderdoes. UCLA has 8 defenders who will compete for a spot as 1st Team ALL-PAC 12 defenders. Rosen will do enough with the offense along with RB Sotonye Jamabo. Keep an eye on the defense because it’ll make the difference.
#14 Computer Hope The loss at home to Michigan St. was killer last year as the Buckeyes went on to beat Michigan & Notre Dame by the combined score of 86-41 in their last 2 games. Beat Sparty & Ohio St. beats Iowa & enters the playoff at 13-0. I don’t know if they upend Alabama for a 2nd straight year but they at least defend the title. Putting Ohio St. at #14 seems criminal but they lost a ton to the NFL. Offensively they’ll be fine with QB JT Barrett who is as good a Heisman candidate in the nation but almost every other position on offense is a question mark. Defensively I love Sam Hubbard & Tyquan Lewis at DEs. I love Raekwon McMillan at LB but after that, it’s a lot of question marks. There is no question about the talent which is second to none, but everyone is so young. They’ll figure it out in time.
#15 Computer Hope TCU ranks this high on the strength of a defense that should be outstanding with 8 returning starters. That’s pretty amazing considering this is a team that will have to deal with the losses of QB Trevone Boykin, RB Aaron Green & WR Josh Doctson. Despite an uncharacteristically bad defense last season (TCU gave up 27.2PPG), the Horned Frogs finished 11-2 with 2 losses coming in the state of Oklahoma to the Sooners & Cowboys. QB Kenny Hill takes over after transferring from Texas A&M and RB Kyle Hicks should be up for replacing Green. It’ll be interesting to see how TCU fits into the Big XII with Texas starting to show signs of life. The Frogs have sort of taken the Longhorns place alongside the Sooners recently, but that looks to change. How does TCU handle that?
#16 Computer Hope The firing of Art Briles in late May was a blow to a Baylor football program that was taken by Briles from the Big XII dumpster to top-15 rankings. Over the past 5 season, Baylor has posted a 50-15 record! That’s incredible. Interestingly enough, Baylor tapped Jim Grobe to take over for Briles, but Briles’ son Kendal remains the OC and DC Phil Bennett is still in place. That’s good news as QB Seth Russell, RB Shock Linwood & WR KD Cannon all return to an offense that scored 48+PPG last year! Defensively the Bears should have trouble up front with their front-7 but the secondary looks OK. What really hurts is Baylor has lost out on some big time recruits & that won’t show up until subsequent seasons. For now, I think Baylor would prefer everyone just focus on their play on the field.
#17 Computer Hope I’m not sure it was such a great idea to name both DeShone Kizer & Malik Zaire the dual starting QBs for ND’s opening game in Austin against Texas. When you have 2 quarterbacks you essentially have none & I think Kelly is going down a dangerous path. The Irish also have lost a ton on offense from last season. The receiving corps is talented but brutally young as is the running backs. The O-Line should be a strength but the skill positions must work themselves out. Defensively the Irish lost 6 of their top-8 tacklers from last season. Like the offense, talent is all over the place at every position but how that talent shakes out is the question. The Irish have a ROUGH schedule to boot. Texas, Michgian St, Stanford, Miami-FL, VA Tech & USC. The heat could find Kelly’s seat.
#18 Computer Hope You might not like him, but WOW Bobby Petrino can run a college football program! The Cardinals are likely the 3rd best team in the ACC, but unfortunately play in the same division as Clemson & FSU! QB Lamar Jackson played well last year as a true throwing for 1840yds/12TD & running for 960yds/11TD/5.9ypc! The 6’3/200lbs QB is a physical freak with incredible athleticism. Louisville has big tough receivers in Jamari Staples, James Quick & Jaylan Smith. Petrino also uses TE Cole Hikutini as a big mismatch in the seam. L’Ville should easily eclipse their 28.7PPG mark last year. I love watching edge rushers Devonte Fields & Trevon Young get after it while Keith Kelsey gets pressure up the middle. It’s a pressure driven defense that exploits big plays. Don’t sleep on this team.
#19 Computer Hope Iowa had a storybook season all the way until the end when it lose to Michigan St. 16-13 in the Big 10 championship game and then to Stanford 45-16 in the Rose Bowl. The Hawkeyes could be in store for another run. I love QB CJ Beathard. He’s an incredible leader that has a good offense behind him. The O-Line returns 3 starters & despite losing RB Jordan Canzeri, the Hawkeyes should once again have a solid offense. Defensively, Iowa returns 8 starters from a unit that ranked 19th in the nation in scoring defense. Josey Jewell & Desmond King are All-American candidates & I would pay special attention to Iowa’s D-Line as it could be exceedingly special with Parker Heese, Jaleel Johnson, Nathan Bazata & Matt Nelson. The schedule is set up for Iowa to make another 12-0 run.
#20 Computer Hope By all accounts Michigan St. is becoming a national power under Mark Dantonio. Over the last 3 seasons Michigan St. has gone 36-5 with 3 top-6 rankings. Over the past 6 seasons, they’ve gone 65-16 meaning Sparty has averaged 11-wins per season for 6 straight years! Going back to 2008 it’s interesting how they’ve done specifically in 2009 & 2012 when they’ve had QB changes. The 2009 season was before Kirk Cousins established himself. The 2012 season was before Connor Cook established himself. This is why the decision to have Tyler O’Connor be the starter is odd to me because there is no consolidation. This feels like the ultimate test for Michigan St. to see if they’ve become a national program that really does reload & continue to win rather than taking a year to rebuild.
#21 Computer Hope Welcome back War Eagle! After going 12-2 & getting to the national championship game in his first year, HC Gus Malzahn has taken steps back going 8-5 in 2014 & 7-6 last season. I’m not sure this year gets any easier for Malzahn and his seat is certainly going to be hot but the Tigers don’t look awful & should be in games. John Franklin should give Auburn some stability at QB & better play. I was disappointed to see Jovon Robinson dismissed from team, but they have solid skill players to make up for it. What is most exciting to me is the Auburn defense who gets back Carl Lawson this year. Lawson is an IMPACT defensive player who can change games, You combine him with Montravius Adams & Dontavius Russell on the D-Line & Auburn is going to get pressure which equates to wins.
#22 Computer Hope Back to back losing seasons isn’t helping Charlie Strong’s cause in Austin, but the man has recruited well & Texas is now primed to establish itself back as a national player. They won’t be a playoff team this year but they’ll be significantly better & should have a winning record. I’m a little bummed that Strong didn’t name freshman Shane Buechele the starter at QB and go from there. Buechele seems tailor made for the starting job but senior Tyrone Swoopes is fighting tooth & nail. Texas will open with both playing against Notre Dame, something the Irish are doing with Kizer & Zaire. The talent level won’t be a question in Austin but they are young so inexperience could rear its ugly head. I don’t think Strong can survive a 3rd straight losing season. I think Strong survives.
#23 Computer Hope If the Heels don’t lose to a bad South Carolina team in the opener then they run the table to 12-0 before losing to Clemson in the ACC title game by just 8 points. Is a 12-1 Carolina team good enough to get into the playoffs? You almost have to believe they were better than Michigan St. given how the Spartans played Alabama. It took Larry Fedora 4 years to get Carolina to have its best season since 1997 but remember that it took him 4 years to get Southern Miss to 12-2. North Carolina is on the most fascinating stories from this point forward because it’s generally a school that recruits well. This year the Heels have 14 returning starters including RB Elijah Hood & WRs Mack Hollins & Ryan Switzer. UNC has to figure out a way to replace QB Marquise Williams, but that’s it.
#24 Computer Hope The Panthers are a team I think everyone is sleeping on. HC Pat Narduzzi held serve is first year with the Panthers & got Pitt to 8-5 with all 4 of Pitt’s regular season losses coming by a total of 27 points. Three of them were home games. The Panthers bring back 16 starters. They bring back 4 of 5 starters on the O-Line & a ton of experience with QB Nathan Peterman, RB James Connor, RB Qadree Ollison & WR Dontez Ford. Tyler Boyd will be difficult to replace but Pitt has lots of weapons at receiver. Defensively I think Pitt takes a big step forward in Narduzzi’s second year. Ten of their top-12 tacklers return including DE Ejuan Price & DE Rori Blair both of which should provide a ton of pressure off the edge. The schedule isn’t easy but Pitt has a shot at an 8-0 start to the season.
#25 Computer Hope Expect the Broncos to once again get some national hype after having 3 years away from the spotlight. Boise’s toughest 3 games are probably Washington St., BYU & Utah St. and all those games are on the blue turf. They do travel to Oregon St., but I think Boise gets that done so this is a team that could very well wind up 13-0 going into the bowl season which will certainly suggest to some they should be in the playoffs or worse yet, the playoffs should be expanded to allow for teams like Boise St. a legitimate shot to compete. I’d rather see Boise St. schedule better and play a team like Oregon, USC, Ohio St., Alabama, Florida St. or Oklahoma early so we can either put the Boise St. conversation to rest or know they’ve earned the right to be an undefeated team. Beating Wazzou is key.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Boise St., Clemson, Florida St., Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, NCAA, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Power 25, Preseason, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Washington | 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