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RANKING POWER-65 COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES – #50 to #65

Let’s get back into action with some college football talk. This marks the beginning of my ranking the 65 Power college football coaches in the nation. I looked all the head coaches from the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Notre Dame. I took the last 5 years and looked at their records, conference records, history, recruiting efforts, bowl records and the overall trends of their team over these past 5 seasons. I’ll go in reverse order starting at the bottom and working my way up by 10 spots. This beginning post will start with the bottom 15. Here we go!

#65 – Chris Ash – Rutgers

Ash didn’t exactly walk into the best situation given the Kyle Flood controversy but in his first year in New Brunswick, the former Ohio St. DC finished 2-10 with a conference record of 0-9. His 2016 recruiting class also ranked #78 according to Rivals meaning talent isn’t pouring into New Jersey either. Most of Rutgers games weren’t even that competitive. In their games against Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St. and Penn St., the Scarlet Knights were outscored 224-0! The Big 10 East isn’t the easiest division to play in, but good grief Rutgers can’t get HAMMERED like that. Ash probably has a little more rope but another 2-10 (0-9) season might spell disaster.

#64 – David Beaty – Kansas

Beatty has gone 2-22 in his first two seasons in Lawrence with a Big 12 record of 1-17. There has been improvement. Beatty went 0-12 his first season at the helm and improved by 2 games last season to 2-10. He also improved his conference record from 0-9 to 1-8. The powers that be at KU thought enough of that improvement to give Beaty a contract extension through 2021! Beaty did lead Kansas to their first win over Texas since 1938 and they came pretty close to beating Iowa St. and TCU! Recruiting it up a bit and Beaty has a chance to improve this ranking quite a bit. Sure Kansas only won 2 games, but in 2015, their average margin of defeat was 30.8 PPG. In 2016 it was 17.0!

#63 – Barry Odom – Missouri

Almost impossible to replace a HC like Gary Pinkel who had tremendous success at Missouri, but if there is anyone that knows Pinkel it’s Odom. Another positive about Odom is that there can’t possibly be a more dyed in the wool Mizzou Tiger than Odom himself. There will never be a lack of passion for Missouri football coming from the head coach! Odom’s first year as HC wasn’t a great one as the Tigers went 4-8 (2-6). That was the worst record the Tigers have had since 2000 when Missouri went 3-8 the year before Gary Pinkel was hired. Pinkel’s worst record in 15 years was 4-7. Odom has his work cut out for him and he needs to recruit better, but Pinkel did more with less so maybe he can too.

#62 – Bronco Mendenhall – Virginia

Mendenhall is a tough one to evaluate. His first year in Charlottesville was a disaster as the Cavaliers went 2-10 with a 1-7 conference record. I don’t think much was expected of Virginia in Mendenhall’s first season, but Virginia should have been at least comparable to their 2015 version which went 4-8. Instead, they regressed. Sometimes seasons can go sideways and that seems to be the case with Virginia. They shouldn’t have lost to FCS Richmond to open the season. They let road games at UConn and Wake Forest get away from them as well. Those 3 games turning to wins would have at least allowed UVA to get to 5-7. There is a lot of room to move up this season for Mendenhall.

#61 – Lovie Smith – Illinois

Before last season, the last time Lovie Smith coached in the college ranks was 1995 when he was DB coach for Ohio State. He was the head coach for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 11 years leading the Bears to a Super Bowl in 2006, so it was quite an odd move that Smith would leave the NFL for collegiate football and all the headaches involved with recruiting 16 and 17 year old boys. Smith got a rude awakening his first season. The Illini finished 3-9 (2-7) with one of their wins coming against Murray State. The games weren’t even that competitive and Smith didn’t exactly tear it up on the recruiting trail. With Jeff Brohm and PJ Fleck joining the Big 10 West, it’s not getting any easier.

#60 – Dino Babers – Syracuse

Babers was an assistant coach for almost 30 years before he finally got his shot at Eastern Illinois and made the most of it. He went 19-7 with EIU winning back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships. He parlayed that job into the head coaching gig at Bowling Green and did well there too. Babers posted an 18-9 record with the Falcons, winning the MAC East in both years and the MAC championship in 2015. He traded that job for a Power-5 conference job with Syracuse. Unfortunately for Babers, he didn’t do as well at Syracuse as he did with EIU and BG. A 4-8 (2-6) record wasn’t fantastic and Babers didn’t kill it on the recruiting trail either. He still has plenty of time left.

#59 – Justin Wilcox – California

Wilcox has never been a head coach but for the last 11 years he’s been the defensive coordinator for Boise St., Tennessee, Washington, USC & Wisconsin. In those seasons here is how his defenses ranked in scoring defense:

2006: #20 (Boise St.)
2007: #26 (Boise St.)
2008: #3 (Boise St.)
2009: #13 (Boise St.)
2010: #56 (Tennessee)
2011: #36 (Tennessee)
2012: #39 (Washington)
2013: #29 (Washington)
2014: #46 (USC)
2015: #50 (USC)
2016: #4 (Wisconsin)

Clearly Wilcox has a track record of success which is good for Cal because the Bears haven’t had anything resembling a decent defense these past 5 seasons. Losing QB Davis Webb will be tough, but Wilcox will do a good job if he can keep Cal from giving up 40PPG.

#58 – Tom Allen – Indiana

Allen did a stellar job as a defensive coach at Ole Miss and South Florida before coming onto Kevin Wilson’s staff last season as the defensive coordinator. Allen didn’t disappoint, improving the Hoosiers’ scoring defense by 10PPG! That’s good news for Indiana as their problem has always been on the defensive side of the football. Allen has never been a head coach and his ascension to the throne was somewhat odd in light of the dismissal of former HC Kevin Wilson, but I think Indiana is in a much better place with Allen leading the charge than with Wilson, even if Wilson guided the Hoosiers to back-to-back bowl appearances. It doesn’t get any worse than the Big 10 East, but Allen has started recruiting well which is a good beginning.

#57 – D.J. Durkin – Maryland

Durkin’s first year in Maryland doesn’t look horrible when you consider the Terps were 6-6 during the regular season and getting bowl eligible before losing the bowl game to finish 6-7. A deeper look is a little more rough as Maryland started the season 4-0 against garbage competition and then finished 2-6 in their final 8 with wins over Rutgers & Michigan State, two team who combined for a 1-17 conference record. That’s hardly awe inspiring. Maryland also lost to Ohio St., Michigan and Nebraska by a combined score of 149-13. That’s not Rutgers territory, but it’s not great either. Durkin is recruiting well in College Park and he’s in a fertile recruiting ground which makes it easier. Still a lot of room to make up on Ohio St., Michigan & Penn State.

#56 – Ed Orgeron – LSU

I get the pull of Orgeron being a Louisiana native and who in their right mind isn’t in love with the guy, but I wonder if LSU made the right call in bringing their native son back home to head up the Bayou Bengals? For Orgeron, this is a shot at redemption. There is no question that Orgeron can recruit with the best of them and he’s in a prime spot to bring in a top-5 class annually. There is also no question that Orgeron is a helluva defensive coach as well and the Tigers will most certainly have his fingerprints all over their defensive identity. The question will be whether or not Orgeron can pull it all together. He’ll need a strong staff around him, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Orgeron will get it done.

#55 – Matt Campbell – Iowa State

It wasn’t a banner year in Matt Campbell’s first year in Ames has head coach of the Cyclones, but the 3-9 record hid some exciting trends. The Cyclones let a close to Northern Iowa get away from them but they also played Oklahoma, Kansas St., Oklahoma St., and Baylor very close. ISU picked up conference wins over Kansas & Texas Tech, even beating the Red Raiders 66-10 which was Iowa St., most lopsided win since the Cyclones beat Colorado St. 69-0 back in 1980! Campbell is young and energetic. He had tremendous success at Toledo and he has recruiting trending the right direction. There is no reason to believe that Iowa St. can’t be a bowl eligible team on a yearly basis under his watch.

#54 – Matt Rhule – Baylor

Hard to argue with Rhule’s bonafides. His first year at Temple was 2-10. His 3rd year the Owls were 10-4 and AAC East champions. His 4th year they were 10-3 and AAC Champions! The only thing that was tough to argue about Rhule was his taking the Baylor job to begin with. Rhule is a Penn St. graduate and all of his experience is just not east, but east of Ohio! Now he’s smack in the middle of Texas against some HEAVY HITTERS in Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. That’s not easy, and I’m not even mentioning the inroads that places like Notre Dame, Alabama and LSU have made the Lone Star State. Rhule will definitely have the Bears playing outstanding defense early.

#53 – Will Muschamp – South Carolina

I’m probably being a little hard on Muschamp here seeing how in his first season he took the Gamecocks to bowl eligibility when nobody except the most dedicated Gamecocks fans though SC would do anything but finish in the basement of the SEC East. My only caveat is that South Carolina and Muschamp worked the schedule which allowed SC to finish 6-6 and get to a bowl. Their non-conference wins included those against East Carolina, UMass and Western Carolina. Missouri was in the tank last year and Vanderbilt wasn’t great so there is 5 wins there. An upset win, which they got over Tennessee, was all SC needed. Muschamp will recruit well enough. Let’s see how his 2nd stint through the SEC East goes.

#52 – Jeff Brohm – Purdue

Brohm wasted little time building off of what Willie Taggart and Bobby Petrino did before him at Western Kentucky. Brohm finished his time in Bowling Green with a 30-10 record with a 19-5 mark in Conference USA play. In his last two seasons at WKU, Brohm led the Hilltoppers to a 22-5 mark including 2 bowl wins and a CUSA record of 15-1 which led to back-to-back conference championships. Brohm had Western Kentucky’s offense flying and the Hilltoppers actually led all of FBS in scoring offense in 2016. Brohm inherits a mess at Purdue, but he’ll get the offense rolling and if the defense follows suit, the Boilermakers could definitely start making noise in the Big 10 West.

#51 – Steve Addazio – Boston College

Addazio’s a tough one to figure out. I think what you have to wonder is what kind of ceiling does a program like Boston College really have? Addazio has went 7-6 in 3 of his 4 years on Chestnut Hill and is 1-2 in bowl games. That’s isn’t terrible when you consider that BC plays in the same division as Clemson, Florida St., and Louisville. In reality, BC is probably looking at a ceiling like 8-4/9-3 and Addazio is pretty close to having the Eagles at this mark with some aspect of sustainability. I think he could recruit better to be sure. Boston College should be able to get better players than what they have. Matt Ryan & Doug Flutie showed how good BC can be when they get elite level talent on the roster.

#50 – Rich Rodriguez – Arizona

Rodriguez is better than this but his teams certainly aren’t playing like it. Rodriguez had somewhat of a breakthrough in 2014 when the Wildcats went 10-4 and won the Pac 12 North, but it was colored a bit by a 51-13 loss to Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game followed up by a 38-30 loss to Boise St. in the Fiesta Bowl. In 2015 the Wildcats dropped to 7-6 and last year Arizona completely collapsed finishing 3-9 with a 1-8 mark in conference play! Arizona’s conference record over the past two seasons is 4-14 and Rodriguez’s recruiting classes have been trending downward. USC seems to be stabilizing under Clay Helton. Colorado is emerging. That doesn’t play well for RichRod in the Pac 12 South.

May 14, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Arizona, Baylor, Big 10, Big XII, Boston College, California, Coaching, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa St., Kansas, LSU, Maryland, Missouri, Pac 12, Purdue, Rankings, Rutgers, SEC, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia | 4 Comments

2015 NCAA WEEK 13 – BIG GAMES

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Computer Hope This is a great rivalry game but is growing into an incredible rivalry. Over the last 4 seasons both teams have been ranked in the top-25 while one of the teams have been ranked in the top-10. To me this is the game of the week because of the rivalry but what also could happen. It’s a must win for the Irish who are outside of the playoff top-4 & need a signature win with some style points. Stanford ranks #9 in the playoff poll but could get to #5 if they win out! Computer Hope
Computer Hope BEDLAM! The last time these two met with this much on the line was 2011 when Oklahoma was 9-2 & Oklahoma St. was 10-1. The 3rd ranked Cowboys would blow out the 13th ranked Sooners in that game 44-10! Don’t expect a repeat. The playoff committee has been very impressed with Oklahoma the last 2 weeks with wins over Baylor & TCU which have OU #3 in the poll! Win & the Big XII is theirs. OK State has to hope for a win & a Baylor loss. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Before the season began we thought we were going to get an insane matchup between Trevone Boykin & Seth Russell. Instead we get Bram Kohlhausen v. Jarrett Stidham! Baylor isn’t out of the woods yet. A win here puts the Bears at 10-1 with a home game against Texas left. The tricky part here is if Baylor won & Oklahoma lost, would an 11-1 Baylor team be good enough to jump an 11-1 Notre Dame team if the Irish win? Oklahoma did so why not Baylor too? Computer Hope
Computer Hope The good news is that it looks like Conner Cook is going to be ready to play Penn St. this weekend. The bad news is that gnawing feeling I have about Michigan St. that has been there all season with their propensity to play with fire. They didn’t exactly hammer Ohio St., and let’s not forget that Sparty has loved playing close games. Penn St. should lose but if Christian Hackenberg goes off then it gets interesting. A win & Sparty wins the Big 10 East. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Don’t count out the Huskers in this one. At 5-6, Nebraska needs this win to get bowl eligible and they are coming off a bye week which gave them an extra week to prepare for Iowa while the Hawkeyes had to take of Purdue last week. Iowa moved into the top-4 of the college playoff poll this week so if they win out they are going to be playing for a championship. I hope the good times keep rolling for Iowa, but they have to be careful to let down at the end. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Amazingly enough these teams are meeting to decide who represents the Pac 12 South in the Pac 12 Championship game against Stanford. It’s an interesting game for a lot of reasons least of which is that both teams could beat Stanford & go to the Rose Bowl. I think what will be sharp contrast is USC having a 5th year senior QB Cody Kessler under center while UCLA throws out true frosh Josh Rosen. UCLA has won 3 straight so you know USC wants revenge. Computer Hope
Computer Hope From a personality standpoint this is the best game of the week and I’m probably ranking it too low although the outcomes doesn’t determine much if Michigan St. beats Penn State. Urban Meyer & Jim Harbaugh could combine to give us the 2nd coming of Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler. This game means everything if Michigan St. loses, but even if they don’t, this is a HUGE game across the college football landscape! I can’t wait to watch this! Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’m not sure you can completely throw out the records when these two teams meet in the Iron Bowl. The last two times Auburn & Alabama have faced off with Auburn not being ranked was in 2011 and 2012. Alabama won both games by the combined score of 91-14. Another problem for Auburn is that this will be a very motivated Alabama team. They have to win this game to win the West and move into the SEC Championship game. Roll Tide! Computer Hope
Computer Hope If the last 4 years hold true, then this year is Mississippi St.’s turn to win the Egg Bowl. There is quite a bit to play for here. For Ole Miss they can still win the SEC West if Alabama somehow loses. Both teams a win here keeps a 10-win season in play. For Mississippi St., the game could be bittersweet. It’s the last home game for QB Dak Prescott but it could also be the last home game for HC Dan Mullen as the Bulldogs HC if he decides to take another job for ’16. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Despite the loss last week to UConn, the Cougars can still win the AAC-West with a win over Navy this weekend. That would push Houston to 11-1 & potentially a 12-1 season if they win the AAC which would put them in a Big 6 Bowl. The same holds true for Navy. A win here puts them at 10-1 & likely 11-1 with a win over Army. They’d have to win the AAC title game but a 12-1 Navy squad is playing on New Year’s. I’m pulling hard for the Middies to win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope When was the last time Florida St. & Florida met when their combined record was at least 19-3? It’s not as far back as you think. Both squads were 10-1 in 2012 which resulted in a 37-26 win for the Gators. I’m not sure that will happen this year with as bad as Florida has been playing of late. How amazing is it that Florida St. could be 10-2 with a win here & 11-2 with a bowl yet most people view them as an afterthought? I think FSU gets the win & 10 wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Wolfpack have actually won 6 of the last 8 meetings between the two. NC State is the perfect example of manipulating an easy schedule to get bowl eligible. UNC has sort of done the same thing but Carolina is the superior team & I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tar Heels blow the barn doors off this on in Raleigh. I hope UNC doesn’t let up because a 12-0 Clemson taking on an 11-1 North Carolina squad could be interesting in the ACC title game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope UConn played spoiler last week to Houston and could do the same thing this week to Temple if they were to manage a victory over the Owls. At 6-1 in the AAC, a Temple win ensures the Owls the AAC-East division which will put them in the title game against the Houston/Navy winner. A loss here combined with USF beating UCF puts South Florida in the title game. I’m pulling for Temple & Navy as I think those are the best teams in the AAC. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t often discuss CUSA, but Marshall & WKU play each other to decide the CUSA-East division. This one should be fun as it’ll be contrasting styles. WKU’s offense is dominant & they want to get out & move the ball quick with QB Brandon Doughty who is having an INCREDIBLE year. Marshall on the other hand wants to play hard nosed defense with their top-10 ranked unit & manipulate time of possession. Both teams are 9-2 so a win equals 10! Computer Hope
Computer Hope While Marshall & WKU determine the CUSA East, Southern Miss & Louisiana Tech will determine the CUSA West! It’s a big weekend for Conference USA! Both teams are going to try to beat you with offense & when you look at them in a vacuum you wonder why either team didn’t garner more attention, but when each squad played big time teams they lost. The QB matchup between Jeff Driskel & Nick Mullens should be fun as they light up the scoreboard. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s amazing to this game is virtually meaningless, but right now these might be the two worst teams in the SEC West which seems ridiculous. The game is significant however because it could be Les Miles’ last game as LSU head coach. How amazing is it that this offseason we are going to have both the LSU job and the USC job open for hire!? Miami-FL, Virginia Tech & South Carolina are also looking for a head coach. Those are big time programs! Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game would be a lot more interesting if we knew if Wazzou QB Luke Falk was playing. Falk’s status right now is up in the air but I hope he plays & is effective because Washington’s defense is the best in the Pac 12 & it would be a great matchup between Falk & HC Mike Leach going up against the UW defense. The Huskies have a lot of incentive to play. They need a win to get to 6-6 & bowl eligibility. I like UW but it’s impossible to root against the Pirate! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The battle for the Oaken Bucket! Kevin Wilson & Tom Crean pretty much run the same team strategy of big time offense combined with little to no defense. To be honest, IU should destroy Purdue. They are better & the Hoosiers’ “best case” record is 9-2. On the other hand, you can never know what to expect from Indiana & a loss here could mean Kevin Wilson loses his job. Either Indiana earns a bowl berth here or they need to make a change. Incredible. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Frank Beamer’s final home game in Blacksburg didn’t go as well as he would have liked as the Hokies missed an opportunity to finish Beamer’s career with a home victory that would have also provided bowl eligibility, but Virginia Tech gets a 2nd chance at the elusive bowl with the season finale in Charlottesville against in-state rival Virginia. I almost feel like it would be fitting for Beamer to lose because it would allow his final game to be in Virginia. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A cool rivalry game Kentucky needs to win to get bowl eligible. I think both of these teams feel like they’ve had disappointing seasons. Both teams took on quite a few close losses which would have completely changed their seasons if they had been just a little luckier. What’s great is that these two teams are led by excellent football coaches and the teams are relatively youthful. This game should keep getting bigger & bigger with the stakes getting higher. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Gary Andersen’s first year in Corvallis hasn’t went well & it’s not going to get any better playing the Ducks in Eugene for the 119th edition of the Civil War! The teams couldn’t be coming into this one on more opposites sides of the spectrum. In their last 5, the Beavers are o-5 & have been outscored 38-11 on average. The Ducks are 5-0 in their last 5 & have outscored their opponents 43-33. I love the Civil War but this one is going to be very lopsided for Oregon. Computer Hope
Computer Hope How can you not love a rivalry game that is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate!? It’s the best rivalry nickname in college sports! I’m interested in the fallout of this game if Tech loses. They’ll finish the year 3-9 & if you remember, the seat was getting pretty hot with Paul Johnson before GT’s run last year to the ACC title game. That heat could come back which would be interesting if Georgia Tech was another program looking for a head coach for 2016. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The only MAC game that is intriguing, there is a lot going on here for Toledo. The Rockets had a perfect season until Northern Illinois upset the apple cart with a 5-point win over the Rockets. It was a tough loss because despite NIU’s 3 losses, none of them were in MAC play & this effectively knocked Toledo from the MAC West. If Ohio beats NIU this week Toledo could win the West with a win here. A win in the MAC title game puts them at 12-1. Enough for New Year’s? Computer Hope

November 26, 2015 Posted by | Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Big Games, Connecticut, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Must See Games, Navy, NC State, NCAA, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Oregon St., Penn St., Purdue, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Texas AM, Toledo, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington St., Week 13, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan | Leave a comment

2015 NCAA WEEK 8 – BIG GAMES

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Computer Hope There aren’t any other games on the schedule that Utah can’t win, but this one looks odd. USC will have had some time to digest the loss of their HC & I still think Clay Helton has a legitimate case for being the permanent head coach. It’s not like the Trojans are getting blown out either. Two of their 3 losses have come by 10 points. The other was a 17-12 loss to Washington amidst the Sarkisian insanity. From a talent perspective USC is better & Cody Kessler is the type of QB that can win a game all by himself. Vegas has USC as 3.5pt favorites for a reason! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Third Saturday in October. What a great name to a rivalry! I was reading an article that was talking about how this rivalry wasn’t what it used to be, but when you look at this rivalry historically it’s nothing but runs. Alabama has won 8 straight but before that Tennessee had won 10 of 12. There is an argument to be made that recently Alabama’s run has been particularly heavy. In the last 8 meetings Alabama has won by an average score of 35-12. I think this one is closer. UT has a “best case” record of 6-0 & the East is still in play for them I think. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A lot of validation for both teams on the line here. The Sooners are so odd. They get beat by Texas in the Red River Rivalry 24-17 & then turn around & beat Kansas St. 55-0! That’s nuts. The Red Raiders are 5-2 with their only losses coming against Baylor & TCU, but haven’t really played anyone outside of Arkansas. A win over Oklahoma clearly makes Texas Tech the 3rd best team in the conference with a legit shot at an 11-2 record. A Sooners wins still allows OU to determine their own fate as they could still get to 11-1 with wins over TCU & Baylor. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Interesting game in that the stud Pac 12 QB of right now (Jared Goff) is going up against the stud Pac 12 QB of the future (Josh Rosen). California is still very much a part of the playoff race at 5-1. Their only loss is a 6pt affair on the road against Utah. The Bears schedule toughens up from this point forward, but I think it’s a great story of Sonny Dykes rebuilding this program and taking it to heights that Jeff Tedford couldn’t quite get to. UCLA seems like a snake bitten team getting ready for a HUGE run in 2016, but the talent is still incredible. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s going to be very interesting to see how Ole Miss plays the rest of the season out. The SEC could easily get squeezed out of the playoff picture should Ole Miss play well. They get Texas A&M & LSU at home & their road games are winnable. Even with the loss to Memphis, if Ole Miss finishes 10-2 & Alabama finishes 11-1, Ole Miss wins the SEC West. An Aggies win here puts those fears to bed & also keeps hope alive with Texas A&M in their quest to be considered the 2nd best team in the SEC West. Let’s see if Ole Miss can follow Bama’s blueprint. Computer Hope
Computer Hope You can’t help but think Texas beat Oklahoma 24-17 and then Oklahoma beat Kansas St. 55-0, so what is Texas going to do to Kansas State? The Wildcats are 3-3 & haven’t really beaten anyone but they came pretty close against TCU & Oklahoma St. before the blowout loss to Oklahoma. I think a lot more is on the line for Texas in this one. This should be a game they can win & it will reinforce the notion that UT is a lot better than people think & losses to California, Notre Dame, Oklahoma St. & TCU aren’t all that bad. A big win here gives UT a boost. Computer Hope
Computer Hope You look around & Florida St. is a top-10 team, but it feels off because despite being 6-0, FSU hasn’t beaten a good team convincingly that would give you the impression that they are a serious playoff threat. Clemson is getting that attention from the ACC at the moment. Then you look at how well Everett Golson is playing. RB Dalvin Cook should be a Heisman favorite. The defense is playing incredibly well. What is there not to like about this team!? GT has been disappointing but I still think they have a game or two in them that could surprise some people. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think this is an interesting SEC inter-divisional game. I think Mississippi St. has done a good job beating teams they should beat which has led them to a 5-2 record & just one win shy of bowl eligibility. Kentucky is a better team than you think. They are 4-2 but their 2 losses have come by a total of 8 points & the Wildcats lost to Florida by a 14-9 final score! Starkville isn’t an easy place to play, but I think Kentucky can make this a close game especially if Patrick Towles is on. The Bulldogs keep grinding though. They could get to 9-10 wins this season. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t think Clemson is going to get this far only to lose to Miami-FL who has a HC that is essentially walking on thin ice every time he comes onto the field. On the other hand, Miami-FL probably isn’t as bad as we think. They have wins over Nebraska & Virginia Tech. Granted, they are wins in 2015 and not 2005 or 1995, but they were solid home wins. They also played Florida St. pretty tough in Tallahassee in a 29-24 loss. Outside of the meltdown in Cincinnati, THE U has been fairly decent & they get Clemson at home. There is upset potential here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope At this rate there is no team falling further than Northwestern. Even Ole Miss can justify a loss to Memphis given how well the Tigers are playing. Northwestern has gone from 5-0 & potentially a top-5 team to 5-2 & everyone wondering how in the world this team managed to beat Stanford & Duke! Northwestern can get back on track with a solid road win over a Nebraska team that is feeling quite jilted this season. The Cornhuskers are 3-4 but their “best case” record is 7-0! If Lady Luck turns around Nebraska could easily give the Wildcats their 3rd loss in as many games. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Owls got a lot of early season love with wins over Penn St. & Cincinnati to open up the season, but playing in the AAC isn’t difficult & Temple hasn’t played Memphis, Houston or Navy yet. East Carolina is no slouch either. The Pirates are 4-3 but their 3 losses have come to BYU, Navy & Florida with the Florida & BYU losses being close. All 3 losses were also on the road. Teams have done a good job running on ECU & Temple is run heavy. That’s a good thing but the Owls need to stay focused. With Notre Dame next week, they can’t overlook East Carolina. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Old school Big East match up & I love these kinds of games. Pittsburgh has quietly started the season 5-1 with their only loss being a 27-24 loss at Iowa. That’s getting it done. I wasn’t sure how well the Panthers would adjust after losing James Connor but Qadree Ollison has stepped up & QB Nate Peterman is having a fine season. The problem here is Pittsburgh proving themselves. They haven’t played all that difficult of a schedule & you could argue 4 wins have been close. The ACC Coastal is theirs for the taking but Syracuse is a tough team. They’ll show up. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A lot bigger game before the season began, these two teams are 2 of the more disappointing teams in the nation. Auburn comes into this game at 4-2 while Arkansas limps in at 2-4. I think this game could be an interesting jump off point for both teams. Arkansas can play with anyone. A win here could catapult them & a 7-5 season could definitely be in the works. For Auburn, it’s easy to forget their only losses are to LSU & Mississippi St.! This is a very talented team who gets Alabama at home. Would anyone be completely shocked if they finished the year 10-2? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Boston College ranks 4th in the NCAA in scoring defense. They rank #1 in rushing defense. They rank #5 in passing defense. They rank #1 in total defense. By all accounts you can easily make the case that Boston College has the best defense in the nation. Boston College is 3-4. Statistically speaking there isn’t a thing Boston College doesn’t do right. They’ve already played Clemson, Florida St. & Duke. All 3 were losses. If they can beat Louisville then there is 4 wins on the schedule to get them to 7-4 with a game against Notre Dame. It’s one of the more fascinating stories of 2015. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sort of like Texas, Virginia might be a lot better than you think, but their schedule has been so difficult it’s hard to see it through the losses. UVa has lost to UCLA, Notre Dame, Boise St. & Pittsburgh. That’s 0-4 for a lot of teams. Last week they beat Syracuse 44-38. Nothing great, but Virginia isn’t a bad team. North Carolina under Larry Fedora could potentially be turning a corner this year. The Tar Heels are 5-1 with a fluke loss to South Carolina to open the season. They get Duke at home & don’t draw Clemson or FSU. I think 11-1 is on the table & maybe 12-1? Computer Hope
Computer Hope MAC game of the week! Toledo is beating down everyone in their path & UMass is 1-5 so I don’t expect this game to be much different, but it is a road affair for the Rockets & UMass has shown signs of being decent in the past. They have a couple of close losses so 1-5 could easily be 3-3. They put up 38 on Bowling Green & played with Notre Dame for a half before getting blown out. Toledo’s defense is probably going to be overwhelming. It’s a legit top defense statistically & I don’t think there is a MAC team with their kind of ability. Hopefully they can get to 13-0. Computer Hope

October 22, 2015 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big Games, Boston College, California, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida St., Georgia Tech, Kansas St., Kentucky, Louisville, Massachusetts, Miami-FL, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Must See Games, NCAA, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Texas, Texas AM, Texas Tech, Toledo, UCLA, USC, Utah, Virginia, Week 8 | Leave a comment

2015 NCAA WEEK 2 BIG GAMES

ROAD QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope A rematch of last year’s game that saw the Ducks take down Michigan St. in Eugene 46-27! The score last year is misleading as Michigan St. led 27-18 late into the 3rd quarter before completely falling apart & giving up 28 unanswered points! The first week was odd for both of these teams. Michigan St. couldn’t quite do away with W.Michigan while Oregon gave up 42pts & 550yds to a D2 school! The matchup here is Michigan St.’s rush defense against Oregon’s rushing attack. Those units looked outstanding in the first week. The winner of this game will emerge with the year’s biggest win to date. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I really like Tennessee this year but last week the Vols got TORCHED through the air against Bowling Green. It might go a bit unnoticed because UT still ended up beating the Falcons 59-20, but Oklahoma’s defense is going to be a little stiffer and their offense is going to be vastly superior to what Tennessee saw in Week 1. You put those together & it looks tragic for Tennessee. Tennessee is good we know that. A blow out win by Oklahoma on the road could reestablish the Sooners as one of the nation’s elite. I hope Tennessee puts up a fight but looking at the first week doesn’t bode well for the Vols. Computer Hope
Computer Hope LSU caught a really tough break having their opening game canceled against McNeese State. There is a lot of coaches who believe teams make the biggest jumps in improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 because you can see what you do well & what still needs work. LSU didn’t get this opportunity & now they travel to Mississippi St. to take on a Bulldogs team who has a Heisman candidate at QB in Dak Prescott. MS State beat LSU last year 34-29 in Baton Rouge so LSU is looking for revenge, but the Bulldogs looked pretty good on the road last week beating Souther Miss 34-16. Huge SEC West game! Computer Hope
Computer Hope UL-Lafayette is a pretty good Sun Belt team, but I was expected more from Kentucky than winning 40-33! That’s too many to give up. South Carolina on the other hands surprised me by taking on North Carolina in Charlotte & coming away with a hard fought victory. I really like this game but I like it a lot more from Kentucky’s angle. A win here is huge for the Wildcats because it’ll be an SEC road win over an East Power. It’s unlikely, and if SC ends up winning it’ll look like business as usual, but a 2-0 start by the Gamecocks with wins over UNC & UK is impressive leading up to SC traveling to Athens! Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’m not sure this game ends up being as big as it is if Boise St. doesn’t beat Washington and BYU doesn’t pull off the Hail Mary in Lincoln to upset Nebraska. Now all of a sudden things get really interesting for both teams. With the football playoffs, I think it impossible for either team to crach the party but a win by Boise St. really opens up the possibility of the Broncos running the table & finishing 13-0. BYU’s road is a lot tougher as they travel to UCLA next week & Michigan the following, but a win here could mean 11-1/10-2! It’s too bad QB Taysum Hill will miss it which is why Boise should win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Virginia stinks but this game has implications in my opinon for a couple of reasons. The first is that last week Virginia went on the road to UCLA and lost 34-16. With Josh Rosen looking as good as he did & with UCLA being as stacked as they are, the 34-16 win is a benchmark for the Irish. If ND plays like they did last week against Texas, then the Irish should leave Charlottesville with a 55-10 or 52-3 win. This would elevate them higher than UCLA based on the comparison game. It’s important for ND in light of 2012. No matter what happens, nobody is going to believe Notre Dame can win it until they do. Computer Hope
Computer Hope One of the best intra-state rivalry games in the nation. Last week Iowa beat Illinois St. 31-14 while Iowa St. dispatehed Northern Iowa 31-7. I thought the Iowa St. win was impressive given how Northern Iowa is always a tough out for both the Hawkeyes & Cyclones. I think Iowa St. has a QB in Sam Richardson that can lead them to some victories & it’s fortuitious that Iowa St. draws the Hawkeye in Ames because they need all the breaks they can get to get to an elusive bowl. Iowa ran well against Illinois St. & Iowa St. didn’t look amazing against the run. It’s something to wach that will be key to the outcome. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sure it was Weber St. but true frosh QB Sth Collins looked OUTSTANDING for the Beavers passing for 92yds/2TD while rushing for 152yds on 17 carries. I don’t think Oregon St. can live that way & be successful but Michigan will have their hands full. Oregon St. HC Gary Andersen is familiar with the Big 10 having just left Wisconsin so he won’t be overly intimidated walking into Ann Arbor. Oregon St. will be well-coached & up for the game. Michigan probably should win given how they played against Utah, but this game should be interesting to watch because it would be crazy for the Harbaugh era to start 0-2! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Battle of the Brothers! The big rivalry everyone knows with Utah is The Holy War between the Utes & BYU, but Utah St. & Utah played every year from 1944-2009! They took 2 years off in 2010-2011 before Utah St. won in 2012 & Utah won in 2013. Last year they didn’t play & this year’s game between the 2 schools is the only one scheduled. With Utah St. really emerging as a football school, this is becoming a GREAT game. Utah is one of those teams with a couple of awesome rivalries in Utah St. & BYU but with 3 non-conference games, it really limits their OOC schedule & subsequent exposure. Computer Hope
Computer Hope UC-Davis did a pretty good job passing the ball on Nevada last week which could mean trouble for the Wolfpack against an Arizona team led by QB Anu Solomon who passed for 229yds/4TD last week against UT-San Antonio. On the other hand, this should be a pretty good matchup for Arizona because the Wildcats struggled defensively against UT-San Antonio & Nevada ran the ball extremely well with Don Jackson last week. Nevada has a good team & Brian Polian is doing a good job in Reno. I think Arizona should win this game going away, but it’ll be a solid road win for Arizona. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Sure it was Grambling St., but California racked up 73 points in the week 1 opener! They produced almost 700 total yards & almost 500 total passing yards! California is another under the radar team in my opinion & QB Jared Goff could be a Heisman candidate by the time the year is through. With Oregon’s defense looking awful & Stanford completely tanking against Northwestern, it’s not unreasonable to think California can’t win the Pac 12 North. Enter San Diego St.! Rocky Long is a helluva coach & the Aztecs have a solid defense. This will be a solid test for the Bears & a win here is bigger than at first glance. GREAT GAME! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Nick Stevens WORKED Savannah St. in a 66-13 win over Savannah State. The sophomore QB passed for 289yds & 5TD as Colorado St. took their season opener. This is an interesting game because the Rams aren’t bad & TCU is coming off a tight loss at home to TCU. Jerry Kill is so good its ridiculous so I think Minnesota can go on the road & get a victory. I’m rooting for the Gophers because I like Kill so much. Given how Nebraska & Wisconsin played, why can’t Minnesota sneak up & win the Big 10 West? This one will be interesting to see how Minnesota bounces back as CSU isn’t a pushover. Computer Hope

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Arizona, Big Games, Boise St., BYU, California, Colorado St., Iowa, Iowa St., Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, Mississippi St., Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon St., San Diego St., South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Utah St., Virginia, Week 2 | Leave a comment

2015 NCAA WEEK 1 BIG GAMES

ROAD QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Easily the best game of the week. I love the parallels to last year’s game. Virginia Tech should not be overlooked, but it’s entirely possible for the Hokies to lose their home opener & then run the table. A 12-1 Virginia Tech team who won the ACC Championship probably makes the playoffs assuming there are 4 undefeated teams from the other 4 big conferences. This is exactly what happened with Ohio State last season. Of course the same could happen to Ohio St.! Don’t count out Virginia Tech. This game will not be a blow out & I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hokies win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I like Corey Clement but replicating Melvin Gordon’s production is impossible & QB Joel Stave completed just 53.4% of his passes a year ago. Alabama might be retooling, but that’s on the offensive side of the ball. Wisconsin is going to have an extremely difficult time moving the ball & if Stave is prone to making mistakes, I can’t think of another defense that can exploit those mistakes to a more fuller extent than Alabama. It really feels like Nick Saban is out to prove something this season which is a scary though, but Alabama hasn’t won a national title in 2 years so everyone’s on edge! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Texas is going to get better & better under Charlie Strong, but I don’t think the improvements are going to be immediate. I think Tyrone Swoopes might be the handcuff that Strong can’t get away from this season. As for the Irish, this is the best team HC Brian Kelly has had since coming to South Bend. The schedule is absolutely brutal, but this should be a good early season test for new starting QB Malik Zaire, and getting off to a good start is paramount for the Irish. This is also an exciting game just because of the jerseys. These 2 teams are historically great & that is always fun to watch. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This should be an amazing game. I have Auburn picked to win the SEC West which is just as good as saying I have Auburn picked to win the SEC & represent the conference in the football playoffs. Getting Louisville on a neutral field will be tricky for War Eagle though. Despite quite a bit of turnover, the Cardinals still have some good pieces & Bobby Petrino is an outstanding football coach. This is also a good matchup from Louisville’s perspective. If they show well even in a loss, it could put the ACC Atlantic on notice. Clemson & Florida St. would rather Louisville be down a bit in 2015. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Definitely an overlooked SEC game because Alabama plays Wisconsin & Auburn battles Louisville, but there might not be a better game this weekend than Texas A&M/Arizona State! These are amazing games as far as implications are concerned. Also the winner gets off to an amazing start with a huge win in their pocket. There is so much to see in this one. How does Bercovici do as the unquestioned starter? How much improvement has Kyle Allen made? How will ASU’s defense deal with A&M’s size at receiver? How will ASU’s O-line deal with Myles Garrett on the edge? Tons to see here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game will be more about Jim Harbaugh’s return to coaching, especially because he’s coming home, but don’t forget about Utah! The Utes led the nation in sacks last season giving rise to the nickname “Sack Lake City”. They lose Nate Orchard but they are still going to get after the QB. Utah has a ton coming back this year especially on offense. With USC, UCLA, Arizona & Arizona St. being in the Pac 12 South, they get overlooked a bit but HC Kyle Whittingham is great. It’s taken a bit to get adjusted to the Pac 12, but Utah arrives this year in my opinion. This game is about Harbaugh but Utah wins it. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is an interesting game to me because I have Stanford winning the Pac 12 North but I think Northwestern will get a lot better after having a couple of down seasons. I’ve mentioned before the concept of sticking with a QB that isn’t that great & I think Northwestern was victim to this with Trevor Siemian. The Wildcats should be a lot better which should be good for Stanford. The Cardinal should rip through this game if they are for real. It’ll be interesting to see if they dominate. A close would be disappointing, but it would show Northwestern is better than people think. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Chris Petersen comes back to Boise State! This is a homecoming for Petersen but if you are thinking about this game in terms of national viability then it’s about Boise State. I don’t think the Broncos lose at home, but they need a win here & in Week 2 against BYU to set up their season for a possible undefeated run. The Huskies are going to play tough & they’ll keep it close but UW is probably a year away from really coming into their own under Petersen. This will be bittersweet for Petersen because I think he loses, but moving forward I don’t think he loses to Boise! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Jerry Kill & Gary Patterson actually have a close relationship which makes this game sort of fun. The thing that makes this game intriguing is how good Minnesota is. The Gophers are always going to have trouble because it’s not necessarily a top echelon football school, but if the Gophers can recruit their area & get great coaching, they can be a viable player in the Big 10 West especially if Nebraska, Iowa & Wisconsin are having down years. I don’t think the Gophers win this game, but it’s CLOSE. If I’m a TCU fan I don’t get worked up by the score. Getting a win here is good enough. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Very interesting game on 2 accounts. BYU actually has quite a bit of talent with a lot of players coming back on offense, especially QB Taysom Hill who missed last year with injury. The early season schedule is tough (at Nebraska, Boise St., at UCLA, at Michigan) but the Cougars could easily get through this 3-1. If that happens then BYU probably gets to 11-1 on the season & what do you do with them? As for Nebraska, the Huskers welcome in new HC Mike Riley. I picked Nebraska to win the Big 10 West & this is a GREAT game to see what the Huskers bring to the table. A win is huge here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Virginia is terrible but this game is worth watching because of UCLA’s new starting QB, true frosh Josh Rosen. Widely considered to be the best QB in the Class of 2015, Rosen is the key to UCLA’s success this season. The Bruins essentially have a stacked team & if Rosen comes in & plays to his potential then UCLA goes from a nice top-15 team to arguably the best team in college football! That isn’t hyperbole! This isn’t a huge test for Rosen or UCLA, but it’s a solid game to get his feet wet & work out the kinks. He has 3 games before a road trip to Arizona & Rich Rodriguez! Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game has no national implications and I’m not even sure it’s a big rivalry game, but it is one of those games that will be important for bowl eligibility & seeing just how good each team is. North Carolina has a lot of players back & should be relevant in the ACC Coastal. A win here puts them on the right track & at least has people talking about their division possibilities. For SC, I think it’s just another chance to show SEC’s superiority. It’s not an overally critical game when it comes down to the SEC East but a win here could mean the difference between 7 or 8 wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Purdue is going to be a lot better than they’ve been the last couple of years & I think some of the heat under Darrell Hazell’s seat will be cooled. Purdue has some conference home games they can win to be sure & getting 3 wins out of their OOC schedule is almost a requirement. Marshall on the other hand isn’t an easy team to beat especially in Huntington. Remember that Marshall last year was 13-1 & ended the season in the top-25! They lose a lot on defense & QB Rakeem Cato, but this is still a good football team. A win here for Purdue would be bigger than you’d think. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This looks like a throw away game but beware Trojan fans! Remember that the last 3 Arkansas St. HC’s were Hugh Freeze (now at Ole Miss), Gus Malzhan (now at Auburn) & Bryan Harsin (now at Boise St.!). In the last 4 years Ark State is 35-17! They return 15 starters including 9 on offense. The Red Wolves put up good fights against Miami-FL & Tennessee last season so they won’t be wowed by the Coliseum & USC. I don’t think Arkansas St. can escape with the biggest upset of Week 1, but they’ll put up a fight and we’ll get to see how USC responds to that fight. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Iowa St. should be a much improved football team from a season ago when the Cyclones went 2-10 and they should have a decent shot at getting bowl eligible if a few things break their way. Of course, getting a win against Northern Iowa is necessary but remember than NIU came to Ames to open up the season 2013 & Iowa St. suffered a 28-20 loss en route to a 3-9 season. Paul Rhoads is too good of a coach to keep wasting away at Iowa State. It’s a tough place to coach but the Cyclones have a legit shot at starting the season 4-0 & needing just 2 wins in their last 8 to go bowling. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Oregon starting QB Vernon Adams spent the last 2 seasons tearing it up at Eastern Washington so this game is somewhat interesting from that perspective. EWU has been a pretty good team during that time, but they aren’t any match for Oregon. Still, if there is a program that knows Adams, it has to be EWU so it’ll be interesting to see what the coaching staff has in store defensively for Oregon. With that being said, this game should still be a blow out & we’ll get a chance to see what Oregon’s offense looks like in the post Marcus Mariota era. I see 50-60 points ahead for the Quack Attack. Computer Hope

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Alabama, Arizona St., Arkansas St., Auburn, Big Games, Boise St., BYU, Eastern Washington, Iowa St., Louisville, Marshall, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oregon, Purdue, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas AM, UCLA, USC, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Week 1, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2015 ACC PREVIEW and PREDICTIONS

RANK ATLANTIC COMMENTS
#1 OFFENSE: Clemson is close to taking a big leap & it should come this year when the offensive cupboard comes back full. The Tigers are 42-11 the last 4 seasons. It’s time to get to the next level. QB Deshaun Watson returns after being DOMINANT in his first 6 games before suffering an injury. A QB with the ability to run, Watson could emerge as the league’s best QB if he stays healthy. Clemson also returns their top rusher in Wayne Gallman & their top-3 receivers including Mike Williams who had over 1000yds last season with an 18.1ypc average! Gallman ran for 769yds as a true frosh. WR Artavis Scott was a great possession receiver. He, Williams, Watson & Gallman all could be 1st team All-ACC! The one weakness of the offense could be the O-line which loses 3 starters, but the talent coming in is ridiculous & LT Isaiah Battle could be all-conference. Clemson will get back to scoreing 40+PPG this year. DEFENSE: The losses are IMMENSE! Clemson runs mostly out of a nickle package & runs a 4-2-5. The front-6 is gone & 4 of those 6 players were NFL Draft picks, 1 was a 1st team All-American & 3 were 1st team All-ACC! Most notably gone is Vic Beasley, but Grady Jarrett, Stephone Anthony Garry Peters & Tony Steward were also big time losses. The secondary returns 3 of 5 starters & there is some extreme talent in CB Mackensie Alexander & S Jayron Kearse. As with the offense, there is a lot of talent spread out here with the only question being production. The D-line averages 6’4/293lbs!!! DEs Kevin Dodd (6’5/275lbs) & Shaq Lawson (6’3/275lbs) will be fun to watch. The defense won’t be nearly as good, but they don’t have to be. SCHEDULE: Notre Dame & South Carolina in the OOC is tough but both at home. They also get GT & FSU at home! They avoid Virginia Tech. I think Clemson takes the next step. BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 5-7
#2 OFFENSE: It’s Florida St. so it’s not like they’ll fall off the map, but there was a special group of players in Tallahassee that was able to win 29 straight games including the 2013 National Championship. Gone from the offense this season is QB Jameis Winston, WR Rashad Greene & 4 starting O-Linemen. Also gone is all-world TE Nick O’Leary who was a tremendous difference maker. The Seminoles have some nice pieces returning including former ND QB Everett Golson but even Winston couldn’t replicate the magic of 2013 last year when FSU dropped from 51.6PPG to 33.7! The skill position players should also be outstanding with RB Dalvin Cook & WRs Travis Rudolph, Ermon Lane, George Campbell & Jesus Wilson. Cook could be a sneaky All-American candidate. Everyone here is talented but it’ll be a matter of how well this unit gels. DEFENSE: FSU brings back 7 starters on defense & 5 of their top-6 tacklers but the losses are enormous. DE Mario Edwards, DT Eddie Goldman, CB PJ Williams & CB Ronald Darby! These weren’t just 4 NFL Draft picks. They were 4 NFL Draft picks in the first 3 rounds! It’s worth noting that even with thse 4 playing last season, FSU still allowed 25.6PPG which was up from 12.1PPG in their championship season. Obviously there is talente everywhere & FSU has a couple of potential All-Americans in CB Jalen Ramsey & LB Terrance Smith. What Florida St. didn’t do a great job of last year is putting pressure on the QB. OLBs Chris Casher & Trey Marshall are going to have to edge rush. The interior D-line is going to have to get pressure too. I like the LBs so FSU just needs to gel. SCHEDULE: FSU avoids VA Tech from the Coastal, but has road games against Georgia Tech & Clemson. Outside of those 2 games, this schedule is ridiculously easy which portends well for a playoff run. BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 6-6
#3 OFFENSE: Give a lot of credit to HC Dave Doeren who in his 2nd season improved NC State’s offense by almost 8pts & took the Wolfpack from 3-9 to 8-5 & a bowl win. The offense returns 8 starters from a unit that averaged 30.2PPG & I love how the offense is doing it. NC State is a run first football team that is relying on QB Jacoby Brissett not to make errors. RBs Shadrach Thornton & Matt Dayes combined to rush for 1480yds/17TD while Brissett chipped in 500+ of his own! Brissett also took care of the football throwing just 5 picks to 23TD! The QB compelted just 60% of his passes, but if his accuracty gets better, the Wolfpack just get more dangerous. NC State returns 3 of their top-4 receivers & 4 O-Linemen from a line that blocked for runners who averaged 5.2ypc! That’s amazing. I really like what this team could do. DEFENSE: While the improvement wasn’t as big, NC State improved its defense by 3pts & return 8 starters! I think all 3 levels will be better this year. Six of the back-7 return including the entire secondary! CB Jack Tocho has some skills & could be all-conference as could LB Jerod Fernandez. Overall I like the secondary. Both corners are 6’0 or better & the safeties are 6’2. The D-Line has me excited. Mike Rose is a player at DE & can cause some disruption. That should allow the opposite DE some room and I think Bradley Chubb & Darian Roseboro can take advantage. BJ Hill & Kentavius Street are the DTs. A big key to NC State’s season will be the continued improvement from the defense. I like the players here as NC State keeps getting better & better. SCHEDULE: They do get Clemson at home although it won’t be easy. They also draw a road game against Virginia Tech out of the Coastal but that’s about it. This is an easy schedule with a lot of home games. The Wolfpack could get to 10 wins. BEST CASE: 9-3; WORST CASE: 6-6
#4 OFFENSE: It’s pretty amazing that HC Bobby Petrino can come in and lose a QB who compelted 70% of his passes & was close to QBing an NFL team to the playoffs and yet still get the offense to come in just 4pts short on average of what the team did the year prior under a different HC! Petrino might make some questionable decisions in his personal life, but the man can coach a football team! The Cardinals bring back just 5 starters but included in those 5 are QB Will Gardner, RB Brandon Radcliff & WR James Quick. That might be enough! There are defenitly some losses as WR DeVante Parker is a big loss, but Quick & Ja’Quay Savage & Jamari staples & Keith Towbridge are going to make a tremendous receiving corps! Gardner already makes good decision. The O-Line took on losses but I’m not sure it matters. This offense will be potent. Petrino guarantees it! DEFENSE: The D suffers some losses as only 4 starters return but 3 of those 4 starters were 3 of the top-4 tacklers from a season ago. The front-7 will have to figure out a way to get pressure in their 3-4 scheme. Losing OLBs Lorenzo Mauldin & Deiontrez Mount has to be overcome by Ketih Brown & Devonte Fields. DE Sheldon Rankins is an all-conference DE that can get pressure on the QB so he should provide some help there. LBs Keith Kelsey & James Burgess should clean up the messes. L’Ville loses their entire secondary & it’s troubling. Gerod Hollimon is a HUGE loss. CB Charles Gaines is a HUGE loss. There is a lot talent back there including UGA transfers Josh Harvey-Clemons & Shaq Wiggins. I’m bullish on the defense as I think it’ll come together. SCHEDULE: They draw NC State on the road & Petrino hasn’t put enough talent together yet for Florida St./Clemson. Auburn/Kentucky OOC won’t be easy but this schedule isn’t too bad really. This feels low. BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 6-6
#5 OFFENSE: HC Steve Addazio loves running the football & Boston College has used this strategy to some degree of success in his first 2 seasons as BC has posted a couple of 7-5 records although they are 0-2 in bowls. This year the Eagles return 4 starters, losing their starting QB, starting RB, leading receivers & their entire O-Line! That might spell disaster but remember last year that BC returned just 2 starters & lost All-American RB Andre Williams. That didn’t seem to matter as BC actually rushed for more yards per game than they did with Williams! Despite these losses, I think Addazio is so good with the offense that it might not matter. A couple of things need to happen though. Last year QB Tyler Murphy made too many mistakes. New QB Darius Wade needs to cut those down. Also RB Jon Hilliman needs to run better. Those things happen & BC will be fine. DEFENSE: Under Addazio the Eagles have been A LOT better at getting pressure on the QB. This year BC brings back their entire D-line & I’d expect DEs Kevin Kavalec & Mike Strizak to get even more pressure than they did last season. DTs Truman Gutapfel & Connor Wujciak are 6’3/300lbs DTs who get pressure as well giving BC arguably the best D-Line in the ACC. MLB Steven Daniels returns as well. BC loses their entire secondary except for S Justin Simmons who led the team in tackles a year ago. Josh Johnson & Isaac Yiadom will have to hold the edges down but with such a good D-line they shouldn’t feel a ton of pressure. I like the makeup of this defense a lot. SCHEDULE: You can win a lot of games by having a good running attack paired with a great pass rush! BC avoids the big boys out of the Coastal although they do get VA Tech. An OOC against Notre Dame won’t be easy either. They’d be a lot higher if they weren’t so inexperienced. BEST CASE: 8-4; WORST CASE: 3-9
#6 OFFENSE: I think what is unfortunate sometimes about teams is that they get locked into tough QB situations and really don’t know how to get out of them. This isn’t as pronounced in college football as it can be in the NFL due to contracts and what not, but you sort of find Syracuse in this predicatment with Terrell Hunt. Hunt is a pretty nice talent at at 6’3/234lbs definitely looks the part of a QB, but he’s never really been that good and Syracuse has never really had anyone better behind him to come & take his place. Last year Hunt went down & clearly Syracuse’s offense was dreadful as AJ Long & Austin Wilson tried to pick up the pieces, but neither QB was inspiring. The Orange averaged 17.1PPG last year & Hunt returns with 4 starting O-Linemen but he loses a bunch of skill players. Overall this just doesn’t look good for HC Scott Shafer. DEFENSE: Syracuse had been decent defensively the last few years, but this year the Orange return just 3 starters from a unit that allowed 24PPG & lose their top-5 tacklers and 7 of their top-8 top tacklers! DE Ron Thompson has some talent off the edge, but like the offense this is another work in progress for Shafer & his staff. The problem I’m seeing mostly with Syracuse is that physically they don’t match up well. The DEs seem a bit small, even Thompson. One of the DTs is 6’0 & they have a LB at 5’11 & a safety at 5’8. That’s all well and good if your LB is Chris Borland and your S is Bob Sanders, but that isn’t the case with Syracuse. It looks like this might be a tough year. SCHEDULE: Syracuse is tough because I think having them good at football is a positive, but it’s a positive when they are coming out of the Big East. It’s not as necessary if them being good prevents an historically good ACC team from being competitive. Syracuse is finding the road a bit tough in their conference: BEST CASE: 4-8; WORST CASE: 1-11
#7 OFFENSE: Most of the time you are beholden to your QB if you want to have success in football. Just look at the QBs who were in last year’s first ever college football playoffs? There were 2 Heisman winners! Last year QB John Wolford was the first QB in about 40 years to start his first game at Wake Forest. The results were predictable as Wolford completed 58% of his passes for 2037yds with 12TD to 14INT. The Demon Deacons’ offense was split 50/50 between rush & pass so HC Dave Clawson wasn’t exactly throwing Wolford to the wolves, but the young QB did have to make some plays. Wake averaged just 14.8PPG en route to a 3-9 record headlined by an incredible 6-3 OT victory over Virginia Tech! Wolford has some weapons returning this year & a year of experience. They aren’t going back to the Riley Skinner days just yet, but should score more than 14 per game! DEFENSE: Wake Forest has been pretty decent defensively the last couple of seasons & that should continue this year. Wake returns 6 of it’s front-7 including their top-3 tacklers. S Ryan Janvion, LB Brandon Chubb & LB Marquel Lee all posted 100+ tackles a season ago. Chubb, Lee & LB Hunter Williams could be all-conference giving Wake a dynamite LB corps. The Deacons also return 3 starters on the line including NT Tyler Harris who could be All-ACC. DEs Duke Ejiofor & Wendell Dunn have great size and while Wake loses both corners from a season ago, the front-7 should be able to take some pressure off the new starters. This is a solid defense so the offense needs to catch up. SCHEDULE: Tough break getting both Syracuse & Boston College on the road or else I probably would have had Wake at #5. OOC against Army, Indiana & Notre Dame is tough. Atlantic is top heavy & they draw UNC from the Coastal. BEST CASE: 6-6; WORST CASE: 1-11

 

ACC ATLANTIC OVERALL OUTLOOK: This is probably the most top heavy division in college football. You have Clemson & Florida St. who dominate this division in recruiting & then there are the other 5 teams. This division essentially comes down to the Noles & Tigers, but something to watch for this year if you want to go a little deeper into the conference is how the other teams are trying to adapt without having the superstar talent that Clemson & Florida State do. With Lousville you obviously have a superior coach that loves to run that spread offense. With NC State & Boston College, you definitely have a couple of teams that like to ground & pound while controlling the clock. I think Syracuse & Wake Forest are still finding an identity, but it is intersting to see how the other 5 will combat the dominance of the other 2. I think Louisville will join them shortly. Petrino is too good and he’s already shown he can take a program to the top. Remember what he was doing at Arkansas before he was let go. That is him getting it done in the SEC West for crying out loud! I also think NC State & Boston College are good programs with some history behind them. It’ll be Clemson & Florida State once again this year, but the others are coming.

 

RANK COASAL COMMENTS
#1 I want to look at Georgia Tech holistically rather than breaking them down. Before last season there was some talk of HC Paul Johnson being the hot seat and that maybe the best solution was for him to take his triple option offense & move on. Then stemmed primarily from what happened to GT from 2010 to 2013. That was a 4-year period where GT had records of 6-7, 8-5, 7-7 & 7-6. Not great. But in that 4 year span Georgia Tech was 7-15 in close games. Obviously this cuts both ways, but if GT wins their close games in those 4 seasons, their records would have been 10-3, 10-3, 10-4, and 10-3. That isn’t national title worthy but if you add those records to GT’s 11-3 in 2014 then you’d have 51 wins in 5 years. The only other BCS teams to do that are: Alabama, LSU, Ohio St., Michigan St., Stanford, Oregon, Oklahoma & Florida State! That’s ELITE company! Don’t forget either that GT won the Coastal in 2012 & 2014 and lost both ACC Championship games to FLorida St. by a combined 8 points despite being a combined 18-point dog! Of course you can’t look at it that way, but I think GT gave us a glimpse of what happens when you have an ELITE QB like Justin Thomas running the triple option & the Yellow Jackets catch a couple of breaks. What’s scary this year is Thomas returns & the GT O-Line returns 4 starters! Even better is that the defense returns 8 starters including 8 of their top-10 tacklers & 15 of their top-18! LB Quayshawn Nealy is a big loss but I think GT can overcome that. The bad news for the ACC is that Thomas is just a junior. The schedule is brutal for GT in that they have Georgia & Notre Dame OOC and also draw Florida St. & Clemson from the Atlantic! They do host Virginia Tech but play at Miami-FL. I’m not sure it matters. This is the kind of team you simply DO NOT want to face in a playoff game! BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 6-6
#2 OFFENSE: Virginia Tech hasn’t had an offense this good since Tyrod Taylor’s final year in 2011 when the Hokies won the ACC & finished with an 11-3 record. Tech returns 8 starters from a unit that averaged 24.1PPG, but I’d expect those numbers to rise significantly in 2015. QB Michael Brewer comes into his 2nd season as a starter after throwing for almost 2700yds & 18TD. He’s got to get better with his accuracy (59%) & his decision making (18TD/15INT), but he’d got quite a bit of help. RBs Marshawn Williams & JC Coleman give the Hokies some “thunder & lightning” flavor. Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips. Buckye Hodges & Ryan Malleck all return to form a solid & big recieving corps. The O-Line returns 3 starters with LT Jonthan McLaughlin having All-ACC potential. They need to get better in pass protection, but I think they will. This is a good offense with upside. DEFENSE: The D returns 8 starters from a unit that allowed 20.2PPG including the entire D-Line which has to be a scary thought given that DC Bud Foster is arguably the best DC in the nation! DEs Dadi Nicolas & Ken Ekanem are monsters. DTs Corey Marshall & Luther Maddy can collapse a pocket & get pressure from the inside. This is the best D-line in the ACC & arguably the best D-Line in the nation! The Hokies were #4 in the nation in sacks with 48! Expect more of the same. The secondary is SCARY. Kendall Fuller is an All-American at CB. Brandon Facyson was a 1st Team Frosh All-American last year & is a 6’2 CB! S Chuck Clark was beast! Arguably the best secondary in the nation & this might be the best defense in the nation. Look out! SCHEDULE: At GT makes me put VT in 2nd. They draw Ohio St. OOC which will be tough but avoid Florida St. & Clemson. Only other difficult road game is in Coral Gables. This team is excellent! BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 9-3 (they are that good!)
#3 Like Georgia Tech, I’m not going to break down the Panthers according to script. In fact I think publications would be ranking them a lot higher if not for new HC Pat Narduzzi getting his first taste of leading a program & even then it might not matter. I would not sleep on this team. RB James Conner is an All-American RB & rushed for 1765yds/29TD last season! WR Tyler Boyd racked up 1261yds/8TD as the go to receiver & QB Chad Voytik will not be a veteran starter instead of a 1st timer. The O-line returns 3 starters & averages 6’5/318lbs! Boyd & Conner could be 1st Team All-Americans! Defensively the Panthers return 7 starters. I think they’ll improve at every level outside of LB where they lose Anthony Gonzalez & Todd Thomas who were their 2 leading tacklers. There are no obvious standout players but I’d watch CB Avonte Maddox & S Patric Amara. DT Tyrique Jarrett & LB Mat Galambos could also make qutie a bit of noise. It’s easy to forget that Pittsburgh is a traditional power in college football. I think the move to the ACC was an interesting one & I think their situation is somewhat comparable to Syracuse in that I love it when Pittsburgh is good & I think PITT being good is good for college football but there are only so many spots at the big table & when you get these giant conferences, some schools get edged out. I think this is inherently what happened with the Big East. The Big East was an amazing conference and I hate that it isn’t around any longer. For the season I wouldn’t sleep on the Panthers. I don’t think they’ll be quite as good as either Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech, but they can make noise especially getting UNC & Miami-FL at home. The OOC is rough with Iowa & Notre Dame and they also draw Louisville from the Atlantic, but their toughest road games are VaTech & GaTech. This should be a good year. BEST CASE: 10-2; WORST CASE: 5-7
#4 OFFENSE: The Tar Heels have to be feeling FANTASTIC this season returning 10 starters on offense! Their only loss was TE Jack Tabb who wasn’t much of a factor. QB Marquise WIliams after having a solid season last year completing 63% of his passes for 3068yds & 21TD. He also led the team in rushing but the combo of Elijah Hood & TJ Logan  should really give the Heels multiple options to carry the ball. UNC returns their top-4 receivers including Ryan Switzer who led the team in passing but also Mack Hollins (6’4) & Quinshad Davis (6’4)! Switzer is the ultimate slot receiver between those two giants. The O-line returns intact & had 3 potential 1st Team All-ACC players with G Landon Turner being an All-American candidate. The O-Line should be amazing this season & one of the best in the ACC. UNC averaged 33.2PPG last year. That should get close to 40 in 2015. DEFENSE: The HUGE problem! Carolina returns 7 starters from a unit that allowed 39PPG last season! EEK! DT Ethan Farmer could be a decent sized loss but for the most part this was just a terrible defense. Carolina can recruit football so there is talent here. Jalen Dalton is a 6’6/260lbs DE who could make an immediate impact. I think Dajaun Drennon (6’4/250lbs) would be good at the other DE now that he isn’t a frosh. CB Brian Walker as skills & the entire secondar returns intact. DT Nazair Jones & LB Jeff Schoettmer could be all-ACC players. Carolina is interesting because everything seems to work. The D-Line is big in the right places. The LBs are big & talented. The secondary is experienced. There should be a marked improvement. SCHEDULE: They draw Wake & NC State from the Atlantic & get Miami-FL at home. They do have to travel to GT & VT which is a huge disadvantage, but if not this year then when? Ten wins is definitely possible. BEST CASE: 10-2; WORST CASE: 5-7
#5 OFFENSE: Miami returns 5 starters from an offense that averaged 29.2PPG. There are some significant injuries here with RB Duke Johnson, WR Phillip Dorsett, TE Clive Walford, C Shanke McDermott & LT Ereck Flowers. Four of the 5 players were All-ACC a year ago so their loss will be felt. On the other hand, Miami gets QB Brad Kaaya back  for his sophomore season. Kaaya did OK for a frosh throwing for 3200yds/26TD. Like a lot of young guys in college he can improve his decision making & accuracy but he’s light years of where he was last season. Joe Yearby takes over for Johnson & Yearby is solid. Stacy Coley, Herb Waters, Malcolm Lewis & Braxton Berrios return at WR. The O-Line has just 2 starters returning but they are all big & talented. The O-Line is a big question mark but “THE U” has plenty at the skill positions. I think they’ll be fine. DEFENSE: What makes the Hurricanes “THE U” is the defense. Sure the offense has produced some amazing football players, but when I think Hurricanes football I think big time defense. The Canes bring back 6 to a unit tht allowed 24.3PPG which isn’t horrible but not exactly Miami standards either. The losses of Anthony Chickillo, Denzel Perryman & Ledarius Gunter are going to be felt but there is some talent returning. The LBs are strong with Raphael Kirby, Jermaine Grace & Tyriq McCord. That should be the strongest level of the defense, but I wouldn’t count out the D-Line either. DEs Chad Thomas & Al-Quadin Muhammad could be exceptional. The secondary returns both safeties with Deon Bush being possible All-ACC. There is immense talent here to be sure & now we just need to see how it gels. SCHEDULE: They draw Clemson & FSU out of the Coastal! They also play at UNC & Pitt. GT & VaTech come to Coral Gables. OOC against Nebraska & Cincinnati. It’s tough! BEST CASE: 12-0; WORST CASE: 3-9
#6 OFFENSE: Duke hasn’t scored less than 30PPG since 2011! The Blue Devils bring back 6 starters on offense & lose their QB & top-2 WRs but I’m not sure it’ll be that big of a deal. Duke returns RBs duo Shaquille Powell & Shaun Wilson who combed to rush for over 1200yds & 7TD last year. They run a little lightning & thunder act that is effective if not spectacular. Duke also returns 3 O-Linemen but 4 of the 5 starters are upper-classmen who I think will work out fine. They do lose QB Anthony Boone but I’m not so sure that isn’t a bad thing. Boone completed just 56% of his passes with 19TD to 8INT. Thomas Sirk steps in to take his place. Sirk is a kid who can run but has a big arm that get the ball down the field. The 3 returning starters on offense could be all-ACC type players so Sirk should be protected. David Cutcliffe’s resume speaks for itself. Duke will find a way to score. DEFENSE: Duke returned 5 starters in 2014 & allowed a spectacular 21.4PPG! This year they return 7 starters including 7 of their top-10 tacklers. LB David Helton is a HUGE loss at MLB but Kelby Brown was a 1st Team ALL ACC player in 2013 before missing all of last season with an injury & he’ll replace Helton so the loss might not be as bad. LB DeVon Edwards racked up 133 tackles himself so the LB unit is outstanding! Another important factor in Duke’s defense is that their entire secondary is back! Ohio St. transfer Jeremy Cash wa an all-ACC player lasst year leading this veteran unit. The D-Line might not be as good as the back-7 but are are some upside guys here although they aren’t overly. Duke is 19-8 over the last 2 seasons! WOW. SCHEDULE: OOC is a joke outside of Northwestern. They draw Wake & BC out of the Atlantic whic is a HUGE bonus & get Pitt & Miami-FL at home. It’s really a schedule that Duke can take advantage of & go bowling. BEST CASE: 8-4; WORST CASE: 3-9
#7 OFFENSE: The Cavaliers return 5 starters from an offense that scored 25.8PPG last season. It’s sort of a mixed bag really. The good news is that UVA didn’t lose anyone in particular that could be considered a big loss. The bad news is that Virginia didn’t have anyone that really performed all that great to being with. Matt Johns looks to be the starting QB but if last year is any indication, Johns needs to improve his decision making & accuracy. The skill players do have some talent. RB Taquan Mizzell looks decent and the Wahoos have some decent receivers in UNC transfer TJ Thorpe, Canaan Severin & Keeon Johnson. The O-Line had 5 returning starters & if they remain healthy should probably be the best unit on offense. I think we’ve been waiting awhile for things to click under HC Mike London but he’s so far been unsuccessful with his offense. DEFENSE: Virginia’s defense was solid last year giving up 24.1PPG but the problem is that they lose 5 of their top-6 tacklers & 7 of their top-11. DE Eli Harold is a big loss as is LBs Henry Coley, Daquan Romero & Max Valles who combined for 217 tackles! S Anthony Harris is also gone & he had 108 tackles! UVA also lost both corners. The good news is that the D-Line could be decent. DT Andrew Brown has some talent while Kwontie Moore & Mike Moore have great size at the DE. S Quin Blanding was a freshman All-American as a true frosh last year & led the team in tackles with 123! Blanding, Brown, DT David Dean & S Maruice Canady could all be all-ACC type players so there is some legit potential here. The corners & LBs will need to come through though and both are talented albeit youthful. SCHEDULE: It’s not or never for Mike London who might be coaching for his job. It’s the wrong time though as the top-5 in the Coastal are peaking & Notre Dame, UCLA & Boise St. are OOC! BEST CASE: 3-9; WORST CASE: 1-11

 

ACC COASTAL OVERALL OUTLOOK: From 1-6 this is a fantastic division. It’s not on par with the SEC West, Pac 12 North or Pac 12 South, but it’s not bad either with 6 of these teams probably going to be bowl eligible. I think the main focus in this division will be playing to the highest level. I think any of my first 5 teams could win the division so parity is through the roof. The coaches might be the most intriguing of this bunch. What separates the the SEC or Pac 12 division from this one is the coach. Narduzzi is new at Pittsburgh. You have to think Fedora (UNC), Goldon (Miami-FL) & London (Virginia) are on short leashes. Also Johnson (GT), Cutcliffe (Duke) & Beamer (VT) are all sort of getting up there in age and they are probably at their destination jobs although I could see Johnson coach if GT had decided to make a change. How well the old guard does is also interesting. The other thing to look for here is upside. We know GT & VT are going to be great, but it’ll be intersting to see if Pitt, UNC or Miami-FL can make a leap this year & join the top-2. One things is for certain, you can’t really go wrong with this division. I really like it, but I’m still saying Georgia Tech takes down the crown!

September 2, 2015 Posted by | ACC, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida St., Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami-FL, NC State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Predictions, Previews, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest | Leave a comment

2014 NCAA WEEK 11 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

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Big 10 naysayers won’t particularly get that this is the biggest game of the week, but this is most likely the de facto Big 10 championship game with the winner likely moving on to a 12-1 record & a Big 10 title. The conference has a lot riding on Michigan St. in my opinion. If Ohio St. manages to win the game then the Big 10 probably doesn’t get its champion into the football playoff. Getting the Spartans there is a long shot but given Ohio St.’s strength of schedule & a brutal loss to Virginia Tech in Columbus, the Buckeyes have no chance should they win the Big 10. One great thing that could come out of a Big 10 team not making the playoffs is that it will force Big 10 teams to schedule more difficult teams.
If I could only watch one game I’d pick Alabama/LSU over Michigan St./Ohio St., and it should live up to its billing. Everything is on the line for Alabama from this point forward. The Tide get LSU, Auburn, and Mississippi St. in 3 of their last 4 games. I love the strategy inherent in the game. LSU has to run the football & they’ve been most successful when they are running effectively. Of course, running on Alabama’s defense is suicide. On the other side of the ball, LSU seems weakest in their rush defense. LSU has grown up a lot this season, but this is a tall task. If LSU comes out ahead can we just have a 5 team playoff between Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi St. & LSU?
Things start to get really tough for Kansas State at this point. The loss to Auburn looks better & better as War Eagle keeps winning, but the Wildcats now finally get into the meat of their schedule. Arguably the 3 best teams in the conference make up 3 of their last 4 games. Sure they did get a win over Oklahoma in Norman so you can’t count K-State out. They should be confident, but I still hold some sort of skepticism about their chances. This of course is TCU’s biggest game left. What’s amazing is that if TCU wins this game they sill need to hope that Baylor loses just one more time. If that doesn’t happen, Baylor is B12 champs.
The Irish are taking a flogging regarding their schedule of late, but this weekend gives them an opportunity to go on the road & get a sizable win. With as much talk as Alabama receives about their current #5 ranking in the playoff picture, the Irish garner almost as much attention from their #10 ranking! The Irish shouldn’t be overly worried. If Kansas St. & Michigan St. lose this weekend, then a win by the Irish could propel ND to #7. If Baylor wins out the committee can’t put TCU over the Irish which puts them at #6. The same is true for Arizona State. If they win & Sparty & K-State lose they’ll jump to #7. They won’t need as much help but a 12-1 ASU team has a legit claim.
Oklahoma is pretty much done as far as playoffs are concerned with their 2 losses, but the Sooners still have a shot at finishing 10-2 & possibly 11-2 if they win a bowl game. That’s an incredible season by any metric. With West Virginia dropping a game to TCU last week Baylor’s loss to the Mountaineers doesn’t look as horrible now that the Bears have a win over TCU & haven’t played Kansas St. yet. They need to get by Oklahoma, but KSU proved you could win in Norman. Baylor is #12 in the playoff so they have a ton of work to do, but if they win out they’ll get wins over Oklahoma and Kansas St. down the stretch. That should catapult them at least a little.
Not any playoff implications here but both teams are 6-2 overall & 3-1 in conference play. It seems like we say this every year about Iowa, but there isn’t any excuse for the Hawkeyes not to be 8-0 right now. Losing at home to a terrible Iowa St. team looks dismal as does a 3pt road loss to Maryland. Iowa has the schedule to wind up 10-2 & Big 10 West champions. That could mean bad news for either Ohio St. or Michigan State. The same could be said of Minnesota who had no business losing to Illinois. Minnesota has to be careful here. A loss here probably dooms them to a 6-6 season given their backend schedule. A win could propel them to an upset or two.
I really like this Washington team for some reason but when I look at their schedule they simply haven’t beaten anyone of note. Against the 3 toughest teams they’ve played this season, Washington has lost all 3 games! That’s good news for UCLA who still can win the South. UCLA gave Arizona St. their one loss & hasn’t played USC yet. If they can win both of those games then the Bruins have a shot at winning the South. To this point I feel as if UCLA has been disappointing, but if they win out & finish 11-2, they could make it interesting. At #18 right now they seem like long shots. The loss to Utah really hurts them. If they avenged their loss to Oregon in the P12 championship, it would be easy.
The loss last week to TCU buried WVU’s chances at a Big XII championship but there is still quite a bit to play for. West Virginia hosts Kansas St. next week in Morgantown so the Mountaineers still have quite a bit of say as to who will win the conference even if it isn’t them. They also have quite a bit to play for in regards to getting to 10 wins. At 6-3, WVU needs to win out & win a bowl game & those are very doable. Going into Austin won’t necessarily be easy but WVU should win the game. I think it’ll be really interesting to see how West Virginia deals with the loss. After their 2 previous losses, WVU is 2-0 having outscored their opponents 87-14. That’s not good news for the Longhorns.
With Ole Miss losing, the Ducks now find themselves in the 4-team playoff although their landmines haven’t completely ended. Oregon played for the national championship back in 2010, but it always seems like they have the ability to shoot themselves in the foot. With the 4-team playoff the Arizona loss hasn’t been disaster, but to me this game against Utah has the same feel as maybe last year’s game at Arizona or even the 2009 game against Stanford. That isn’t to say Utah isn’t good. The Utes are incredible & could make a GREAT argument at being 8-0 right now & in the playoff mix. They’ve already beaten USC & UCLA so don’t expect them to be intimidated.
While the heat might have died down just for a bit following Michigan’s 34-10 win over Indiana, the Brady Hoke storyline is still something I think terribly interesting. What I find pretty interesting is that I think Michigan pulled the trigger on Rich Rodriguez way too early, but they might be making the same mistake. While Michigan is an unacceptable 4-5, they are -13 in TO margin with essentially no QB. Michigan’s defense has actually played well & there are the makings of a decent offense. This week’s game against Northwestern will be interesting because the Wildcats do have a home win over Wisconsin. Assuming Michigan loses to Ohio St. to end the season, this is a MUST WIN for bowl eligibility.
I’m not saying Kentucky is going to win this game, but I don’t think Georgia should in any way overlook the Wildcats. Remember that Kentucky put up 31 on Mississippi St., beat South Carolina (something Georgia couldn’t do) and should have beaten Florida (something else Georgia couldn’t do). Kentucky is 5-1 in Lexington with their only loss coming to the #1 ranked team in the nation. This game has huge meaning for Kentucky as well. They can’t win the SEC East but they are 5-4 with 3 left to play. This is their last home game before finishing up their season with back-to-back road games against Tennessee & Louisville. This might be their last chance for bowl eligibility & it could be an initial nail in Mark Richt’s coffin.
I don’t give Virginia hardly any chance to win this game, but the Cavaliers can make an argument they should have wins over UCLA, BYU, Duke & North Carolina. They do have wins over Pittsburgh & Louisville. I think Virginia could play Florida St. fairly tough and given how well Boston College has played lately & Florida’s win over Georgia, FSU might have a serious run at the end of the season beginning with this game. Florida St. has faced more & more adversity as the season has progressed but they almost get better when the going gets even tougher. That’s a dangerous game because you expect to always turn it on when you have to. Can UVA get out to a big lead when FSU has to turn the light on only to find it burnt out?
I’m really interesting to see how Louisville bounced back after suffering a heart wrenching defeat at home to Florida State. Boston College QB Tyler Murphy is having an incredible year & his star has made Boston College much better than I anticipated. At 6-3 with 2 home games left, BC could finish the season 8-4. They get a road game against Florida St. in a couple of weeks which could be extremely interesting especially in light of how well this game turns out against L’Ville. if Boston College handles the Cardinals then the game against FSU takes on added meaning. Steve Addazio is proving himself to be a helluva coach which begs the question of how much longer he’s at BC….or how long before BC is ACC champs?

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Alabama, Arizona St., Baylor, Big Games, Boston College, Florida St., Georgia, Iowa, Kansas St., Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, Must See Games, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, TCU, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Week 11, West Virginia | Leave a comment

2014 NCAA WEEK 9 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

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Mississippi St. showed you could walk into Death Valley at night & come away with a win over this LSU team. That doesn’t mean it was easy as the Bulldogs won just 34-29. Ole Miss brings a similar approach, using a bonecrushing defense to stymie all offensive efforts by an opponent. The Tigers have averaged about 35PPG over the last 2 weeks in wins over Florida & Kentucky so the offense is showing improvement. The problem is that Ole Miss isn’t Kentucky or Florida. This is a huge game for Ole Miss which sets up an 11-0 season before going into Starkville. A win here is huge & LSU could really gum up the SEC if they win.
This is a tremendous Pac 12 South game as USC comes in 5-2 (4-1) while the Utes are a surprising 5-1 (2-1). What’s amazing is that in conference play, Utah is 2-0 on the road with their only loss coming at home to Washington State! Go figure? A win for Utah would be tremendous but their schedule down the stretch is so difficult. Even if they beat USC, their next 4 games are against Arizona, Arizona St., Stanford & Oregon! A win for USC is much more interesting because the Trojans could potentially lock up the South. Their only tough conference game after Utah is a road date with UCLA which is sort of like a home game anyway.
LOVE LOVE LOVE West Virginia! This is one of those trap games that trashes everything you thought. It really looks like the Mountaineers may have turned a corner with their home win over Baylor last week. With the schedule they have remaining, WVU could win the Big XII if they keep winning in Morgantown. Oklahoma was completely embarrassed last week against TCU which of course makes you think West Virginia should win the game. The problem of course is that the game is in Stillwater. I would LOVE to see West Virginia win. This is their toughest road game left. A win here & then beat TCU at home & they probably win the B12!
Lane Kiffin returns!!!! You know it’s serious when Lane Kiffin’s mom is coming out and saying she fears for her son’s life because he has to return to Knoxville, the place he spurned after just one year to go back to USC to become HC. How did that work out for ya Lane!!?? Alabama can win the SEC West still & if they finish 12-1 with an SEC title, they’ll be in the playoffs for sure. A road game against Tennessee is a tough cookie especially because the Vols should be hyped up to beat Kiffin. Tennessee is a lot like Arkansas. They aren’t good enough to win the SEC but they are a team on the cusp of closing out a big game with an upset.
Despite not having much coming back from last year’s P12 South champion team and having to endure injuries from their starting QB, Arizona St. finds themselves in a pretty good position in the P12 South. They’ve already beaten USC & Stanford. The loss to UCLA stings a bit but the Bruins can’t get out of their own way. Washington is a solid club too. I love their front-7 on defense which should make life hard on the Arizona St. QBs, whoever is out there taking snaps. UW has lost to Stanford & Oregon already, but they play 13 games & it would be fairly interesting to see them finish the year off 11-2 (7-2). Lots of upset potential here.
Frankly this might not be much of a game given the state of where each program is, but the Brady Hoke storyline is simply too juicy to pass up. Michigan basically has 3 main rivals in Notre Dame, Michigan St. and Ohio State. They’ve already lost to Notre Dame 31-0 & if you think the Spartans & Buckeyes are better than the Irish then things could get REALLY UGLY for Michigan. The best part is if Michigan St. puts up a 45-0 win on Michigan, I don’t think Hoke can survive. In fact I think they might pull a Kiffin and just strand Hoke in East Lansing, telling him to figure a way back to Ann Arbor himself where he’ll need to pack his stuff!
This game looked a lot more intriguing when Kentucky was 5-1 with 3 straight wins including a home win over South Carolina. Now it just looks like South Carolina sucks & LSU exposed the Wildcats for what they really where when they hammered Kentucky 41-3 last week in Baton Rouge! Maybe Kentucky just plays better in Lexington? Mississippi St. beat LSU at LSU 34-29. Kentucky lost to LSU at LSU 41-3. Does that mean Mississippi St. is going to beat Kentucky in Lexington by almost 40 points? I would bet against it, but then again I wouldn’t expect Kentucky to gain any yardage on the MSU defense either. This could be very ugly.
It’s amazing what time can do. Auburn is currently 5-1 with their only loss coming at Mississippi St., but because they were on bye last week & had the loss to MSU the week before, the only thing we’ve had to talk about with War Eagle over the last 2-3 weeks is a loss & a bye. The Tigers are still very much alive in the SEC West especially with Ole Miss & Alabama still remaining on the schedule. I wouldn’t think this game would be too difficult for Auburn as South Carolina is proving to be an average team, but this is still Steve Spurrier & SC has quite a bit of talent. I don’t want to count them out but I could see Auburn win 49-3 too.
Like Auburn, Arizona somewhat dropped out of the national conscious because of their schedule. They had the huge win over Oregon, but followed that up with a loss to USC only to have a bye the following week. It’s easy to forget that this team could easily wind up 11-1 by season’s end although if USC wins out too they wouldn’t be Pac 12 South Champions. Although they are 2-5, Washington St. is a lot better than the record. Close games & TO margin are killing them so this might be a tougher game than Arizona anticipates. A loss here would probably prove the Oregon win was a fluke. I want Rich Rod to keep winning just so Michigan suffers!
Maybe I’m overplaying him here a bit. North Carolina is indeed 3-4, but the ACC Coastal has turned into anyone’s game & UNC’s 1-2 conference record might not turn out to be that bad. On talent alone the Tar Heels should run away from everyone else they play. If they finish 8-4 (6-2), then they’ll win the Coastal & I think they can put a scare into Florida St. in the ACC title game. Carolina came close to beating Notre Dame in South Bend & then upended Georgia Tech last week. Virginia is a pretty good squad so if UNC goes into Charlottesville & wins then it’s worth monitoring. If not, then UNC’s last 2 games were anomalies.
With Baylor, Oklahoma & TCU falling, Kansas St. finds itself alone atop the Big XII with a 5-1 record & an undefeated mark in conference play. Last week’s win over Oklahoma was HUGE, but it’ll be interesting to see what Kansas St. does with it. Keep in mind that Arizona went on the road to beat Oregon only to come home the next week and lose to USC. The Trojans are quite a bit better than the Longhorns but who knows? Texas played Oklahoma & UCLA pretty tough so it isn’t like they are pushovers. There is still talent here & Charlie Strong is a good coach. It’ll be really cool to see how K-State handles life as the hunted.
I don’t expect this to be much of a game, but apparently Penn St. is going to be doing a white out and it’s pretty cool indeed to see Beaver Stadium completely whited out! Penn St.’s season is a little misleading with them being 4-2. They got pretty lucky beating UCF over in Ireland & followed that up with some very weak non-conference wins to get their record out to 4-0. In their first 2 conference games, Penn St. has lost to Northwestern & Michigan by the combined score of 19-47! There is starting to be talk of Ohio St. potentially making the playoffs should the Buckeyes run the table. They need style points & Urban Meyer knows this. It could get ugly.
Another ACC Coastal matchup, either team could get hot and run the table to get to the ACC title game. I’m pretty intrigued with Pittsburgh. They are 4-3 which doesn’t look so hot but those 3 losses came by a combined 20pts with the worst loss being an 11pt home loss to Akron! If Pitt plays Akron 100 times does Akron win 1-2 games? Probably, and the game Pitt lost just happened to be that 1% of games they would lose to Akron. Georgia Tech needs a win to stay relevant after losing to North Carolina last week, but along with UNC, I think Pittsburgh could be one of those teams that could scare Florida St. in the ACC title game.

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Arizona St., Auburn, Big Games, Georgia Tech, Kansas St., Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Mississippi, Mississippi St., Must See Games, North Carolina, Ohio St, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington St., Week 9, West Virginia | Leave a comment

ACC OUTLOOK WITH 6 WEEKS LEFT

The ACC has come under intense scrutiny this year with most people believing that they have fallen to “worst” conference of the Big 5 conferences. I’m not entirely sure of this. The ACC has somewhat devoured their own for the most part & having Florida St. not play well certainly doesn’t help the cause, but this is actually one of the more intriguing conferences in all of college football. The Coastal Division isn’t the SEC West, but every team is compelling with quite a bit to play for. The Atlantic is very top heavy with Florida St., Clemson & Louisville but all three are very good teams & let’s not forget Florida State is the defending national champions!

In a big picture sense, the ACC has to hope Florida St. wins out and gets to 13-0 because they’ll get to defend their title in the playoffs. If Florida St. tumbles or loses in the ACC Championship game then I think all bets are off & they are long shots to advance given their schedule & how it doesn’t look very good at all. Even with just the one playoff hope, this conference should be interesting to watch especially with the multitude of scenarios presented by the Coastal Division. It should be a very entertaining 6 weeks in the ACC.

 

ATLANTIC

 

TEAM REC WHAT TO WATCH FOR OVER LAST 6 WEEKS OF 2014
7-0 As defending national champions, Florida St. probably has the easiest road to the playoffs as any other team because an undefeated Florida St. team definitely goes to the playoff to defend their title. That doesn’t mean there aren’t significant doubts. The win over Notre Dame looks solid but FSU should have lost that game. Close calls too against Clemson & NC State don’t help. The Oklahoma St. win looked good for a while until the Cowboys got blown out by TCU. A Thursday night game at Louisville will probably determine if Florida St. can hang on & go unbeaten. The real question is whether or not a 1-loss FSU team who wins the ACC Championship would be good enough to get in? The ACC is terrible. FSU has to hope Notre Dame goes 11-1.
5-2 One of the more interesting teams in the country, Clemson hasn’t been a part of the national conscious thus far because they started the season 1-2. Since that 2nd loss they’ve won 4 straight defeating their opponents by a combined score of 131-65. Clemson’s 2 losses have come on the road to Georgia & Florida St., so the Tigers can at least make an argument of being a top-15 if not top-10 team. They’ve already beaten UNC, Louisville & BC. Their toughest game remaining is a road date to Georgia Tech so 10-2 is on the table. It’s too bad they won’t get a 2nd shot at Florida St. in the ACC title game. They can’t make the playoffs or win the Atlantic, but with a bowl win, Clemson could finish the season 11-2!
6-2 Bobby Petrino is quietly putting together a monster season & the Cardinals are actually one of the more intriguing teams out there. It would be almost impossible for them to win the Atlantic because of the loss to Clemson. L’Ville would have to beat Florida St., hope Florida St. loses again, & hope Clemson loses two more conference games. I think the Cardinals could beat Florida St., and I think Clemson could lose on the road to Georgia Tech, but that’s as far as it goes & L’Ville still finishes in 3rd place in their own division. Louisville could play big spoiler though down the stretch. They have games against Florida St. & Notre Dame plus a season finale against Kentucky. The Cardinals will be a featured team down the stretch.
4-3 With 2 conference losses already, it’s difficult to see the Eagles being a player in the ACC Atlantic especially with road games against Florida St. & Virginia Tech remaining. The Eagles need to think about getting a couple of more wins to get bowl eligible and they have a couple of games they could win. This week they’ll travel to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest in a winnable game. After that game & hopefully a win, they’ll have a 3-game stretch against Virginia Tech, Louisville & Florida State. They might come out of that with 3 losses putting them at 5-6 going into the season finale at home against Syracuse. It all starts with Wake Forest this week though. If they lose this week then bowl eligibility might be lost.
3-4 Syracuse has to be thoroughly disappointed in their season especially with home losses to Maryland (14pts) & Louisville (22pts). In, fact, Syracuse hasn’t beaten any team of note all season long. Their remaining schedule is daunting with road games against Clemson, Pittsburgh & Boston College. The Orange can forget about the Atlantic & it might be difficult to see them even winning 3 more games to get to bowl eligibility. If they can’t win a road game they won’t get bowl eligible but their home games come against NC State & Duke. They might go 1-1 there so it’s entirely possible to see Syracuse at 4-8/5-7. HC Scott Shafer was talking about a goal of winning 8 games before the season started. That isn’t happening.
2-5 Not a great season in Dave Clawson’s first as HC of the Demon Deacons. Wake showed a little bit of promise in their 1st ACC game playing Louisville fairly tough in a 20-10 loss, but in their last 2 games, Wake has been outscored 73-10 by Florida St. & Syracuse. With wins over Gardner-Webb & Army, Wake might be looking at a 2-10 season, ending the season on an 8-game losing streak. Their best bet for a conference win might be against NC State, but he game is in Raleigh, not Winston-Salem. At this point, Wake is just looking for moral victories & trying to gauge progress from the players who will return in 2015. If they can win another game or two then great, but I don’t think anyone is counting on it.
4-4 It’s amazing what you can look like with the right schedule. NC State faced GA. Southern, Old Dominion, USF & Presbyterian in their first 4 games. They won all 4 outscoring their opponents 161-74. In their next 4 games, the Wolfpack played Floridai St., Clemson, Boston College & Louisville. They lost all 4 games & were outscored 73-157. At 0-4 in the ACC, there is no way NC State plays any role in the outcome but they still have an outside shot at bowl eligibility given their 4 non-conference wins. The home game against Wake Forest is entirely winnable but to get that 6th win they’ll have to beat either Syracuse or North Carolina on the road or manage to beat Georgia Tech in Raleigh. They must go 2-2 in their last 4.

 

COASTAL

 

TEAM REC WHAT TO WATCH FOR OVER LAST 6 WEEKS OF 2014
6-1 We live in a crazy college football era when instead of talking about Duke being longshots to get bowl eligible, we are discussing them becoming potential conference champions! What’s amazing here is that the 6-1 Blue Devils have to be in the playoff discussion. If they win out they’ll finish 11-1 with a likely rematch against Florida St. in the ACC title game. If Florida St. is 12-0 & Duke beats them to finish the season at 12-1, would that be enough to put Duke into the 4-man playoff? I think it wouldn’t unless you had a copule of conferences that wind up with 2-loss champions. More likely Duke is simply hoping for a big bowl. If they defend homefield then at worst they’ll go 9-3 & win the Coastal. David Cutcliffe is a ridiculous good HC.
4-3 The Wahoos can’t get into the playoffs with 3 losses & losing at Duke last week was killer. Both Virginia & Duke are 2-1 in conference play, but Virginia has road ACC games against Florida St., Georgia Tech & Virginia Tech. Those are all probably losses which would give Virginia 6 meaning they’d have to beat North Carolina & Miami-FL at home just to get bowl eligible! Mike London has to be up at night playing the “What If?” game. If Virginia wins their close losses against UCLA & Duke they are 6-1 (3-0) right now instead of 4-3 (2-1). They’d effectively be up 3 games on Duke with a schedule that if they finished 11-1 (8-0) could be playoff worthy. Then again, this team isn’t far away from 2-5 if they lost to L’Ville & Pitt.
4-3 Pittsburgh has to be one of the more disappointing teams in college football. I thought they had a real chance at potentially disrupting the nation by playing TOUGH & potentially winning the Coastal. I thought Pitt might have losses on their schedule, but I thought they would beat Iowa & Akron in Pittsburgh. At worst the team should be 6-1 with the road loss to Virginia, but they lost to the Cavaliers by just 5 points. The Panthers aren’t completely out of it. If they win out they’ll finish 9-3 (7-1) and win the Coastal. If they beat Florida St., they would finish 10-3 as ACC Champions with a huge bowl on tap. I hope they play to potential because college football is better when Pittsburgh is relevant. They must win at home.
5-2 At 5-2, the Yellow Jackets should become bowl eligible at worst with a win over NC State in Raleigh on November 8th. If GT wants more than that, then they have their work cut out for them. Their remaining schedule is: at Pitt, Virginia, at NC State, Clemson, bye, at Georgia. Their home games won’t be easy & they can probably forget about beating Georgia. For a second I thought Georgia Tech was going to sneak up on us. They started the season 5-0 with wins over Virginia Tech & Miami-FL! In their last 2 games they’ve lost to Duke & North Carolina. To be fair, GT could still do some damage. At 5-2 (2-2), it’s worth watching this week at Pitt. If they win, then GT could be 8-2 (5-2) hosting Clemson. They can still win the Coastal.
4-3 With 3 losses the Hurricanes aren’t going to the playoffs anytime soon. What will be interesting for Miami-FL is their ability to get bowl eligible. At 4-3, they need to at least 2-3 in their final 5, but their schedule is: at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, bye, Florida St., at Virginia, Pittsburgh. Each one of those teams will have something to play for & getting a couple of wins won’t be easy. I think what could be most interesting down the stretch in Miami-FL is how hot Al Golden’s seat gets. The Canes could easily finish the season with 5 losses, putting their record at 4-8! If that happens then at best you can argue the program has stalled. Could you imagine having job openings at Florida, Michigan & Miami-FL by the end of the season?!
4-3 With 3 losses, the Hokies are not going to the playoffs, but they could have legitimate say in who does. At 4-3 (1-2) the Hokies look disappointing & to a degree they are, but Lady Luck simply hasn’t been kind. Virginia Tech is 0-3 in close games & their 3 losses have come by a combined 15pts. They have a win at Ohio St. & their toughest road game remaining comes against Duke. If Virginia Tech wins out to get to 9-3 (6-2), would they win the Coastal? Yes, but Pittsburgh would have to lose 2 more conference games! The Hokies loss at Pittsburgh this past Thursday has huge tiebreaker implications! It doesn’t look like it now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the VT/Pitt game was the deciding factor in who goes to the ACC title game.
3-4 I though the Tar Heels were a darkhorse contender before the season began to shock the college football world, get to 13-0 & make the playoffs. Instead, here they are sitting at 3-4 (1-2) needing to win 3 of their last 5 just to get bowl eligible! What’s amazing is that UNC still has time to shock a few people. Should they win out, the Tar Heels will finish 8-4 (6-2) but because winning out means they’ll beat Virginia, Miami-FL, PITT, & Duke, the Tar Heels would own all the tiebreakers. The only problem is Virginia Tech. The Hokies beat UNC so Virginia Tech would have to lose another game in order for Carolina to finish first. Every game for the Tar Heels is important not only for bowl eligibility, but also because they are still division contenders.

October 21, 2014 Posted by | ACC, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida St., Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami-FL, NC State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Playoffs, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest | Leave a comment

2014 NCAA WEEK 4 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

It was a tough week to keep the Games of the Week to just 13! There is an awful lot going on this week with more playoff implications! This could definitely be a game changing week for playoff considerations.

 

ROAD WHY IT IS MUST SEE! HOME

Before the season began I thought Florida would win the SEC East which makes this game a sequel to the SEC Championship because I have the Tide coming out of the West. That seemed to be an OK selection with Florida humiliated Eastern Michigan in Week 2, but the Gators BARELY got by Kentucky in Gainesville in Week 3. That doesn’t bode well here as the Tide keep looking better & better since their 33-23 victory over West Virginia in the opener. I think the Tide have found their QB in Blake Sims which makes them more dangerous. As for the Gators, I can’t quite figure out how it took them 3OT to beat UK 36-30. Florida should have won that game handily if you look at just the stats. That’s not the best news for Florida. I thought they’d lose this game anyway, but I’m curious as to how close they can actually make it.

This game became a whole lot more interesting now that Sean Maguire is going to be playing QB for the Seminoles for the entire game instead of just a half. A lot is going to be made of Jameis Winston’s absence and it should, but it wasn’t like the Seminoles were lighting it up offensively while he was under center this year. FSU scored just 37 points on Citadel last week while Clemson put up 73 on South Carolina State! The Tigers have a new QB this year! More important is the playoff implications here. If Florida St. loses they are BEHIND the 8-ball badly seeing how Clemson was hammered by Georgia in Week 1 who was subsequently beaten by South Carolina who was humiliated by Texas A&M in Week 1. That’s convoluted to be sure, but it matters. Don’t be surprised to see Florida St. actually get better without Winston this week.
One of the more lesser known QBs in the SEC is Mississippi St.’s Dak Prescott. The Bulldogs haven’t faced the toughest of schedules this season but Prescott is on pace to pass for 3000+yds with 40TD. He’s also on pace to rush for almost 1200yds & almost 10TD. If he played for Texas we’d be talking about Heisman potential. I wouldn’t expect Prescott to tear up the LSU defense. If anything this should come down to a huge defensive effort, but it’s hard to go against LSU in Baton Rouge. I’m really looking forward to MSU taking a step up to the national stage & there is a possibility they could do it. Their next 3 opponents are all ranked in the top-8 (LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M) so it’s possible, but likely MSU falls to 3-3. They are better than that but such is life in the SEC West. I’d love to see MSU pull off a stunner though.
This one could be interesting. West Virginia has outscored Towson & Maryland in back-to-back weeks 94-37. The 37 was all against Maryland so the defense could be pretty awful but its possible that Dana Holgorsen is onto something in Morgantown related to the offense. WVU put up 23 on Alabama. That’s a huge number against the Tide defense. Now they get a superior Oklahoma team, but in Morgantown so is it possible that WVU can come out with a victory? My guess is no, but QB Clint Trickett is playing out of his mind & WVU’s pass defense is actually pretty good. If West Virginia can keep the ball & score on Oklahoma’s defense while not getting bogged down with Oklahoma staying on the field via their running game, West Virginia could make this a game. A close score at home & the Mountaineers could stun the world.
Going into Manhattan is never an easy place to play so while I think Auburn is the superior team here, they might struggle a bit in a close win. The only troubling thing for K-State is that they struggled 2 weeks ago against Iowa State. Sure it was a road game & Iowa St. beat Iowa but I’d say that’s a red flag. The good news is that Kansas St. had a bye week last week so that means extra time to prepare against the Auburn offense. They’ll need it. Auburn’s rushing attack has been of course dominant, but QB Nick Marshall hasn’t been fantastic under center this year which makes Auburn a bit one dimensional. It’ll be interesting to see how Gus Malzahn uses Jeremy Johnson in relief because Johnson has looked good in the passing game & War Eagle has some pretty amazing weapons on the outside.
Virginia is a close loss to UCLA away from being 3-0. I think UVa put the nation on notice last week when they took down a good Louisville squad & now they get a chance to be another ranked team, this time on the road against BYU. Looking at the big picture this game has quite a few implications. For BYU it could be the gateway to a perfect 12-0 season & a potential playoff spot. They have road games against Boise St. & Cal but Virginia has the best defense they’ll play all season. For Virginia this could be a breakthrough game that could make them serious contenders for the ACC Coastal. They have some tough road games ahead but if they take care of business at home, Virginia could wind up 8-1 before heading to Tallahassee. Watch BYU QB Taysom Hill against the Virginia defense. That’s the game right there.
Utah hasn’t really played anyone but they’ve opened the season 2-0 & are averaging 58PPG on offense! The Utes are using 5 primary rushers in order to keep everyone fresh while QB Travis Wilson is playing mistake free football. The Utes are trying to move in the right direction after falling off quite a bit since joining the Pac 12. A win over Michigan in Ann Arbor would be amazing. As for the Wolverines this is another must win game. Michigan is still reeling from their 31-0 humiliation at the hand of Notre Dame. They’ve beaten Appalachian St. (former FCS team) & Miami-OH (maybe worst FBS team) so the resume doesn’t shout great things. At this point every Michigan game is substantive because HC Brady Hoke is coaching for his job. UM loses to Michigan St. & Ohio St. so he needs to win every other game & he still might be fired.
Solid ACC matchup although not quite as much luster after Virginia Tech fell to East Carolina last week in Blacksburg. Last week’s game between the Hokies & Pirates illustrates why the ACC isn’t on par with the SEC despite sharing geographic location. I can’t imagine Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina or a host of other SEC schools going on the road & knocking off a top-10 team only to come home and lay an egg against a team you should blow out by 20 points. This is what Virginia Tech did & I think in turn it makes the ACC Coastal a mess. That’s good news for Georgia Tech who is 3-0, but at the same time it’s bad because how much can you bet that Virginia Tech isn’t going to lose 2 in a row at home? You can’t take VT seriously because of the loss to ECU but you can’t take GT seriously because they lost to VT. Let’s hope GT wins.
A win here by ECU and I think we should put the Pirates in the ACC Championship game as ACC Coastal champions! Over the last 2 weeks ECU has had stellar play. They went into Columbia & played South Carolina tough in a 33-23 loss. Last week they went into Blacksburg & beat a Virginia Tech team that has EVERYTHING to play for after beating Ohio State. Now the Pirates return home to another formidable test in the Tar Heels, but UNC hasn’t played well at all struggling with Liberty & San Diego St. in their first 2 outings. UNC was on bye last week so Larry Fedora had to have been working feverishly on the problems, namely their rush offense & Marquise Williams decision making. I thought UNC would win the Coastal before the season began & that still looks good but a dominant win over ECU would solidify that opinion. Should be great.
Another ACC team with everything to play for, I had Pittsburgh being a surprise team in the ACC Coastal before the season began and they haven’t disappointed going 3-0 to start the season & outscoring their opponents 134-45. They are coming off back-to-back road victories over Boston College & FIU & now welcome in Iowa who is reeling from a home loss to in-state rival Iowa State. Given what happened to Wisconsin & Northwestern early, the Hawkeyes schedule gave them a clear path to 12-0 & at least a date in the B1G championship where maybe anything could happen. If Iowa wins & gets to 13-0 they are in the playoffs. That dream is completely dead although they could still win the B1G West. Pitt has a good schedule to make a run too, but Iowa plays to their competition so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hawkeyes play very well.
Historically a great matchup but probably not as much buzz especially after Miami-FL dropped their opener to Louisville. Nebraska has started the season 3-0 and their rushing game behind Ameer Abdullah & Tommy Armstrong is ridiculous! As a team Nebraska is averaging 7.4ypc & 324 rushing yards per game. Armstrong is doing a great job under center in simply trying not to get fancy. He doesn’t complete a ton of passes but he doesn’t throw picks either. The key here will be whether or not Miami-FL can stop the run. The Hurricanes have their own rushing attack behind RB Duke Johnson who is one of the best in the nation & Miami-FL rush defense is only allowing 2.0ypc & 83 rushing yds/G! Nebraska’s rush defense isn’t as good as Miami’s so it’ll be a great game to see which team can run on the other & get the victory.
With Indiana losing to Bowling Green last week, this game takes on diminished significance by tenfold. Unfortunately with the way QB Maty Mauk is running the Missouri offense, this is a game where I’d be surprised if Missouri doesn’t win 50-14 or something ridiculous, but I’m still going to stay on the Hoosier bandwagon just a little bit & believe Indiana can score points with the best of them. They couldn’t beat Bowling Green on the road so I doubt very seriously if the Hoosiers can beat Missouri in Columbia. It’s unfortunate too because if HC Kevin Wilson can’t get it done in Bloomington this season, I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to get Indiana bowl eligible. On the other hand, if Indiana gets a win here it could definitely catapult their season. One of the more perplexing issues in college football is why a school like Indiana can’t make bowls!?
I know Texas Tech doesn’t play the most formidable defense in college football, but Arkansas going into Lubbock last week & HAMMERING the Red Raiders 49-28 was impressive. Arkansas has averaged 61PPG over their last 2 contests & in those 2 contests they have averaged almost 500 rushing yds per game! Like Mississippi State, Arkansas is a victim of playing the SEC West, but remember that the Hogs went toe-to-toe with Auburn for a half in Auburn. The Razorbacks and can & I’m not saying they are going to win 10 games, but they get Alabama, Georgia, LSU & Ole Miss in Fayetteville! NIU is a decent program & have won back-to-back games against UNLV & Northwestern. Those teams aren’t Arkansas. A blow out win puts the nation on notice in my opinion & the place to be for college football is Fayetteville with that schedule. Very exciting time to be a Razorbacks fan!

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big Games, BYU, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Florida St., Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas St., LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Mississippi St., Missouri, Must See Games, N. Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Week 4, West Virginia | Leave a comment