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September 30, 2010

College Football Report - Thursday & Friday Picks - Week 5

(Thursday Game)

Texas A&M (3-0) vs. Oklahoma State (3-0)


7:30 ET ESPN, Thur. Sept. 30, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK

Texas A&M: With Jerrod Johnson leading the offense, Texas A&M has a chance to be real special this season. Johnson, who accounted for 38 total touchdowns last season, has gotten off to a slow start, though. His eight touchdowns look nice through three games, but his four interceptions last week against FIU say otherwise. The key for A&M will be getting the rushing game and running back Christine Michael going early and keeping it going throughout. In the Aggies six wins last season the offense rushed for at least 200 yards on the ground. They failed to do so in its seven losses. Through three games this season, A&M is averaging 204 yards on the ground. PLAYER TO WATCH: Von Miller, Sr. DE

Oklahoma State: The production out of junior quarterback Brandon Weeden has been phenomenal so far this season. In his first year as the starter, Weeden has passed for 11 touchdowns through three games. The rushing game has been as effective for the Cowboys to start the year, with running back Kendall Hunter back from a 2009 season ending injury. Hunter ranks within the top of the country in rushing with 473 yards and six touchdowns. The Cowboys defense, however, has been a different story, giving up an average of 27 points to opponents this season. PLAYER TO WATCH: Justin Blackmon, So. WR

The Pick: Expect a lot of scoring. And then more. The Cowboys are averaging 57 points a game, while the Aggies lag not far behind averaging 41 points an outing. Both are also bringing in more than 500 yards of total offense. While A&M may bring the better defense to Stillwater, a shaky performance by Johnson last week has me worried if the offense will be able to keep up with a team that will score at will. No team has won three straight games in the series, though, something Oklahoma State is looking to do. Steaks and records are meant to be broken. Oklahoma State 47 – Texas A&M 42

(Friday Game)

BYU (1-3) vs. Utah State (1-3)


8:00 PM ET, ESPN, Fri. Oct. 1, Romney Stadium, Logan, UT

BYU: Maybe the Cougars didn’t pick the best year to decide to head out as an independent the next season. The only thing that has looked worse than the BYU offense this year is the BYU defense. The Cougars have been unable to hold any opposing offense at bay, nor have they been able to hold their own offensively. True freshman quarterback Jake Heaps takes over fulltime as the starter, but has yet to excite. His 45 pass attempts last game proves he’s ready to handle a large load of snaps, though. Running back JJ Di Luigi has been impressive, leading the team in rushing and receiving through four games. PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Pendleton, Jr. OLB

Utah State: Utah State has been impressive at times this season and shown glimpses of turning the corner. The Aggies took Oklahoma down to the wire in their first outing of 2010. Since then, however, it has been ugly football. A win over FCS Idaho State doesn’t scream much at all and two straight losses to Fresno and SDSU don’t look good on a resume either. When quarterback Diondre Borel has time in the pocket, he can be a special player. Borel has passed for 832 yards, 341 of which came against the Sooners. Utah State is ranked No. 80 in the country in sacks allowed having given up 10 so far. If they can protect Borel, the Aggies may be able to exploit the Cougars secondary. PLAYER TO WATCH: Michael Smith, Sr. RB

The Pick: The Cougars are heading to Logan with a bit of a problem in the injury department. Not only was quarterback Riley Nelson lost for the season last week, but three defensive starters won’t play against the Aggies. Utah State should be able to find success on the ground which should open passing lanes downfield. BYU has won 10 straight against the Aggies, but if there was any year for Utah State to steal a win, it’s against this young Cougar team. One of the two teams has to move on to two wins on the season. When in doubt, its root, root, root for the home team. Utah State 27 – BYU 21

Last: 13-0 - Season: 33-9

College Football Report - Dropping the Labels - Part 2:

Part II of Label Breaking:

Quarterbacks were meant to throw:

What quarterbacks were some of college football’s current best looking up to as kids? By the looks of it, it wasn’t Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or even Brett Favre.

For Denard Robinson, Taylor Martinez, Cameron Newton and Colin Kaepernick, it may have been Donovan McNabb and Vince Young may as role models when they were kids.

Michael Vick was the first in a new generation of quarterback, a player who not only could pass at a high level, but also had the elusiveness of a running back and speed of a wide receiver. Since Vick, there have been many to continue the trend. West Virginia’s Pat White and Texas’s Young ran through opponents for years at their respective universities, while Tim Tebow ran over opponents on his way to two National Championships at Florida.

No year until now, however, has there been such a heavy dose of quarterbacks who offer multiple threats to defenses than in 2010. Three players – Michigan’s Denard Robinson, Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez and Auburn’s Cam Newton – rank within the top 10 in rushing in the nation through four weeks, another, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, ranks 13th.

All four have given new meaning to the term play-action and have given their team’s new hope following down times of their programs.

Michigan looks like a Big Ten contender with Robinson at the helm. The sophomore is averaging 172 yards on the ground and set a Michigan quarterback record with 258 yards on the ground against Notre Dame.

With Martinez running the offense, Nebraska looks poised to make their last season in the Big 12 one of its best ever. Just a red-shirt freshman, Martinez brought in 137 yards and three scores in a hostile environment against Washington.

Auburn’s Newton has rushed for over 170 yards twice on the season, including 176 last week in an effort to beat the No.12 team in the country at home against South Carolina. Newton’s five total touchdowns accounted for all of the Tigers points.

The Kaepernick led pistol offense has put Nevada on the national scene and given the Wolf Pack a spot in the top 25 poll for the first time since 1948. Kaepernick’s 148 yards and three scores on the ground gave the Wolf Pack a win over PAC-10 opponent Cal this season.

Perhaps the two most impressive things about the quarterbacks, though? Their ability to throw and win. All four are currently completing at least 60 percent of their passes and have gotten their teams off to 4-0 starts on the season. Denard ranks No. 7 in the country in completion percentage (71.3) while Newton sits tied for No. 4 nationally with nine touchdown passes.

All are giving new meaning to what a quarterback can do for a team. Whether or not they can keep up the ridiculous rate of all-purpose yards they’re on pace for, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however, they’re all a rush to watch.

Freshman need time to develop:

Remember the days when a red-shirt wasn’t given just to an injured player? Me neither. Every year it seems more and more freshman are finding the field on opening weekend. In the past, freshmen have played, though. Who can forget the memorable season Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne posted as a freshman with over 1,800 yards rushing. Or Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson rushing for 1,925 yards and 15 scores as a true freshman. Perhaps the most memorable was Ohio State’s Maurice Clarett, who rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 scores, but it was his thinking of one season of college football was enough that makes him most memorable.

Now, however, freshman players have become the norm and players rarely take redshirts. One of the strongest recruiting pitches coaches now offer high school players is the chance to compete early. In an age of instant everything. Success and winning comes at no different demand. Coaches will play the best players, no matter how old they may be.

Last season, Alabama running back Trent Richardson received half the carries Heisman winner Mark Ingram brought in and still managed 751 yards and eight scores on the ground. Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis brought in a Big East freshman record 1,799 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns. It wasn’t just offensive players, though. Boston College linebacker Luke Keuchly finished second nationally with 158 total tackles. Arizona State freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfacit finished second on the ASU roster with 69 stops and received all PAC-10 honors.

This season, were seeing the trend pick up right where it left off. On Oklahoma’s opening day roster, nine true freshmen made the two deep depth chart. On just the Florida Gators two deep defensive depth chart, six true freshmen were listed.

Four running back’s on BCS teams currently lead their teams in rushing. Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State ranks third in the country with 532 yards through four games. Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell (above) ranks first in the Big Ten with seven touchdowns.

Quarterbacks are getting into the action as well. Penn State quarterback Robert Bolden has started for the Nittany Lions since day one. A first under head coach Joe Paterno. BYU quarterback Jake Heaps is the Cougars fulltime starter. While Memphis true freshman, Ryan Williams, is the fulltime starter for the Tigers.

As long as the players prove to succeed on the field, I say play them. Who knows, maybe redshirts will be just for the injured in the future of football.

Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/ the Grand Rapids Press

FCS Games are pushovers:

Playing an FCS school seems like the perfect scenario. A lot of teams schedule games against lower division FCS schools early in the season. A sort of “walk through” before a big game, or a time for younger players to gain some experience. Or so they used to be.

Of the 78 games played between Football Bowl Subdivision teams (FBS) and Football Championship Series teams (FCS) 14 were separated by a touchdown or less, with six FBS programs falling to lower division teams. As far as how it looks to fans and BCS rep’s, that’s 14 close games too many. Four of the six losses came from teams in BCS conferences – Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Mississippi and Kansas.

No other FBS vs. FCS game sticks in minds of college football fans more so than Michigan’s opening day loss to Appalachian State in 2007 (left). The No. 5 Wolverines fell to App State 32-42 that day.

The current risk-to-reward for FBS schools playing a FCS program seems to outweigh the latter. If an FBS team wins, good they were supposed to. A loss, however, devastates a season and perhaps any chance at a BCS bowl. For the FCS school, it’s a win-win situation. The teams collect on an enormous payout from the opposing schools and take off with a signature win or a loss that doesn’t count toward their season of FCS play.

I’m sure a team like Mississippi is wishing Louisiana Monroe, an FBS team, would have been on the schedule as a push over game rather than Jacksonville State at this point. At least a loss to LA-Monroe would have been more acceptable.

-Have more label breaking ideas? E-mail me them at

September 29, 2010

College Football Report - Dropping the Labels - Part 1:

It’s time to drop a few labels that have been hanging over college football for a while now. Teams, players and even coaching styles are changing in football. Twenty years ago Boise State was fighting for wins as a member of the Big Sky Conference in the NCAA Division II-A. A decade ago Sports Illustrated was calling for the University of Miami to drop its football program, tagging it “broken beyond repair.” A year ago one quarterback nationally finished within the top 25 in rushing. This season, three are on pace to finish within the top 10. It’s time to break some labels.

Part 1:

Charles Woodson - the only defensive player to win the Heisman:

This one was almost busted last season. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting, the highest for a defensive player since Woodson won in ’97. Suh was without a doubt one of the most influential and dominant players in college football and rightfully so deserved to be recognized as one.

This year, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson (left) brings back flashes of Woodson and through four weeks of the 2010 season, you’d be hard pressed to find a watch list that doesn’t include Peterson. He has racked up two touchdowns on punt returns and brought in two interceptions on defense. Peterson has also blocked a field goal. It’s hard to argue against the impact he has on his undefeated LSU team, especially with their offensive struggles. The argument against Peterson is that he doesn’t play any offensive snaps, while Woodson scored three offensive touchdowns during his Heisman season. Peterson, however, is already halfway to Woodson’s total of four touchdowns, without playing a snap of offense.

Players like Peterson come around once in a decade - while there have been quarterbacks and running backs repeating one another season after season. Shouldn’t a player like Peterson be recognized as one of the greatest college football players, no matter what side of the ball he plays on?

Notre Dame as a premiere coaching job:

Imagine a generation that only knows Notre Dame Football as a losing program. Sadly, we’ve reached that. The days of Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz as coaching icons on the Notre Dame sidelines feels like centuries ago. Rather than a coach’s dream job, the Irish position has turned into a nightmare scenario. Bob Davie was unable to follow the footsteps of Lou Holtz from ’97-2001. Tyrone Willingham was thrown out of the program in just three years of work. Charlie Weis, the offensive genius, forgot about the defense for five seasons. All stepped into the treasured position with high hopes. And all three left with their tails between their legs and the feeling that leaving town in the middle of the night might be their safest option.

Before the 2008 Hawaii Bowl, when the Irish defeated the Warriors on their home field, the Irish had not won a bowl since the 1993 Cotton Bowl. During that span the Irish lost nine straight bowls. Not typical of Notre Dame Football, but it has been modern Notre Dame Football.

So now, Brian Kelly steps into the vacated Irish football job. With the same high hopes and passion as the ones before him. The current results? A 1-3 record that rests on the shoulders of Kelly and his 2010 team to start the season as questions arise about whether or not this once storied program can really be brought back to its glory days.

Because If I was a coach right now, I might take my chances with building another program rather than Notre Dame.

Florida’s ‘Tebow’ Innocence:

The golden child Tim Tebow has moved on. Departed from the University of Florida and with him, the programs innocence. The poster boy of a student athlete for four years, Tebow also happened to be a part of a team that produced the most player arrests in college football. This month, Florida tailback Chris Rainey became the 30th player in head coach Urban Meyers tenure at Florida to be arrested. What was so special about number 30 making a splash around the college football world, though? Weren’t 20 or 25 arrests enough to sound the alarms in Gainesville? Perhaps it’s a problem now that Tim Tebow isn’t there to overshadow the arrests with dramatic speeches and missionary trips.

Its good Meyer will take stronger action now, though. It only took a text that read “time to die,” by Rainey to his ex-girlfriend to get Meyer’s attention. Rainey has since been released and Meyer has since had a headache figuring out how to bring up not only his own reputation, but the reputation of Gator football. New Message - "Time to change."

The University of Miami as Thug U:

The University of Miami has had its time in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The last decade, however, hasn’t been one of those times. The program that invented on field celebrations and a brash attitude has since been quiet. A gloomy 2006 brawl between Miami and FIU hangs over the program from the last decade, but Clemson, South Carolina and Ohio State have gone through their own instances of on field disasters. In Head Coach Randy Shannon’s four years as the programs leader just one player has been arrested, that player being current Purdue quarterback Robert Marve.

This offseason the football program was recognized by the NCAA for their Academic Progress Report Score (APR), which recognizes programs that finish with a multi-year top 10 percent score. Of the 26 teams recognized, the Hurricanes were the only BCS team that finished the 2009 season ranked, and along with Duke, the only other ACC school.

The past four seasons, Shannon has taken a bad rep in recruiting as fans declared the coach was missing out on some of South Florida’s top ranked players. It appears now, Shannon knew he was recruiting character and dignity. These days, led by the strict direction of Shannon the ‘Canes have dropped the Thug U label and moved onto just The U, a self proclaimed swaggar directed label. So much for the Sports Illustrated's claims of a program “broken beyond repair.”

-Check back tomorrow for Part II of dropping labels.

September 28, 2010

College Football Report - BCS Bowl Predictions - Week 4

It’s the beginning of conference play and teams are starting to show their true colors. Who will make the big dances at the end of the season? I break down who to expect in the BCS games come January:

BCS National Championship

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-0) vs. Oregon Ducks (12-0)


Why: The only BCS conference teams to make it through the regular season undefeated. I like the Cornhuskers chances of reaching the BCS title game, even after a close one against an FCS team last week. Standing in Nebraska’s way will be an Oct. 16 matchup against Texas and a meeting against probably Oklahoma in the conference championship. Besides those games, its clear sailing for the Huskers who face a weak Big 12 North scheduel. The Ducks have rolled over everyone they’ve faced this season, in criminal fashion. Oregon’s biggest tests in the PAC 10 will come from Stanford this weekend and Arizona, Nov. 26. Both of which are home games. However, don’t sleep on the ‘Civil War’ battle between the Ducks and Beavers in the last game of the season. Who wins: Nebraska 30 – Oregon 26

Rose Bowl

Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) vs. Boise State Broncos (12-0)


Why: The Buckeyes won’t be able to make it through a grueling Big Ten schedule undefeated. Whether the loss comes at Wisconsin Oct. 16 or at Iowa Nov. 20, one of the stout defenses will get the best of Pryor and the Buckeyes. Don’t sleep on the Wolverines to knock off the Bucks in their own backyard either. The Big Ten is a far more balanced league this year, which is also why I don’t think another team will reach a BCS bowl besides the Buckeyes. Yet another year for Boise to make its claim that it deserves to be in a BCS bowl. Unfortunately the Bronco’s two best victories came against Virginia Tech, who doesn’t look done losing games, and Oregon State, who looks far from a team that lost its last game. Boise needs to not look too far down the line, however. A Nov. 26 meeting at Nevada on a Friday night will be no push over. Who wins: Boise State 27 – Ohio State 20

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (12-0)


Why: After last week’s comeback win at Arkansas, I can actually see the Tide dropping a game in the SEC this season. Florida at home this week will be no easy test, but it's actually at South Carolina Oct. 9 that should have the Tide more worried. I’m not a set believer in the Gamecocks, but I think their defense is best suited to stop the run. Because it became apparent last week; stop Ingram and Richardson and you'll win the game. At LSU Nov. 6 and Auburn at home to end the year both just became very intriguing matchups. The Horned Frogs, like Boise, may make it through yet another season unscratched, but so will their intensity level after picking on the likes of UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State throughout the year. The best chance to upset the Horned Frogs? At Utah, Nov. 6, but don’t bet on it. Who wins: Alabama 38 – TCU 27

Orange Bowl

Miami Hurricanes (12-1) vs. Auburn Tigers (11-1)


Why: The Hurricanes loss to Ohio State looks more and more unfortunate after watching the ACC from week to week. With Virginia Tech struggling and Georgia Tech not putting up much of a fight against anyone, the Hurricanes could have a reserved seat in the ACC championship game. Two games stand in the way of what could be an undefeated ACC season in at Clemson this week and Florida State at home, Oct. 9. Both happen to be ACC Atlantic division opponents, though. A visit from the Hokies late in the season will also be a test. But the Canes defense will prove to be too much. Auburn has something special in quarterback Cam Newton. The Tigers have survived early season tests and may head to Tuscaloosa undefeated at the end of the regular season. Home games against Arkansas and LSU in back-to-back weeks will test the Tigers, however. Who wins: Miami 31 – Auburn 28

Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (10-2)


Why: The Sooners may get through the regular season without a scratch. This week’s rivalry game against the Longhorns will be the deciding factor in who makes it to the conference championship. The Sooners will prove to have too much offense to go around for the Longhorns, though. A Nov. 13 meeting against Texas Tech will also be a test for the Sooners secondary. The Mountaineers make it to the BCS clinging to a Big East title. With Pittsburgh struggling and Cincinnati beating themselves, West Virginia may coast to a Big East title. Pitt has been known to knock the Mountaineers off the top in the past and a Nov. 26 Thursday night meeting against the Panthers will be a tough matchup. Who Wins: Oklahoma 41 – West Virginia 23

September 27, 2010

College Football Report - Heisman Watch - Week 4

Tracking the Heisman contenders: Week 4

*1.) Denard Robinson – Soph. – Michigan – Quarterback

Last week: 4-4 passing, 60 yds – 5 rush, 129 yds, 2 TD – Beat Bowling Green

Season: 57-80 passing, 731 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT – 79 rush, 688 yds, 6 TD

Robinson’s stock is heading down following an injury that pushed him from the Bowling Green game. It wasn’t a serious injury and he was cleared to return, which is why he remains at No. 1. The decision to keep Robinson from the rest of the game was a smart one by Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Big 10 play begins for the Wolverines this week with a trip to Indiana.

2.) Cameron Newton – Jr. – Auburn – Quarterback

Last week: 16-21 passing, 158 yds, 2 TD – 25 rush, 176 yds, 3 TD – Beat South Carolina

Season: 43-68 passing, 683 yds, 9 TD, 3 INT – 75 rush, 485 yds, 5 TD

Newton continues to rise in my rankings not only because Auburn continues to win much in part to Newton, but because of whom the star quarterback is putting up numbers against. Newton has now beat Mississippi State in Oxford and Clemson and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks. His five total touchdowns against the No. 12 ranked Gamecocks last week were one of the season’s most impressive performances so far.

3.) Terrelle Pryor – Jr. – Ohio State – Quarterback

Last week: 20-26 passing, 224 yds, 4 TD – 7 rush, 104 yds, 1 TD – Beat Eastern Michigan

Season: 71-107 passing, 939 yds, 10 TD, 2 INT – 43 rush, 269 yds, 3 TD

Pryor’s last week stats are a bit weighted down. Having Pryor play late in the third quarter in an already 45-14 game tells me OSU is letting the quarterback pad his stats. I never like to see players raking in huge numbers in hopes of making season numbers look better. This was a game Pryor and the rest of the OSU starters could have been out at halftime.

4.) Kellen Moore – Jr. – Boise State – Quarterback

Last Week: 19-27 passing, 288 yds, 3 TD – Beat Oregon State

Season: 62-95 passing, 873 yds, 8 TD, 1 INT

Moore continues to display the accurate passing that brings comparisons to Drew Brees. Unless a slip up comes later in the season, Moore could equal or surpass last season’s numbers in which the junior quarterback brought in 39 touchdowns and just three picks.

5.) Mark Ingram – Jr. – Alabama – Running Back

Last week: 24 rush, 157 yds, 6.5 avg. 2 TD – 2 rec. 27 yds – Beat Arkansas

Season: 31 rush, 308 yds, 9.9 avg. 4 TD – 2 rec. 27 yds

Ingram’s 308 yards in just two games shows how special the running back is. Against Arkansas, Ingram displayed the vision, power and balance that brought him the Heisman last season. A major reason Alabama still sits at No. 1 in the polls can be credited to Ingram’s performance against the Razorbacks.

6.) Andrew Luck – Jr. – Stanford – Quarterback

Last week: 19-32 passing, 238 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT – 4 rush, 23 yds – Beat Notre Dame

Season: 64-102 passing, 912 yds, 11 TD, 2 INT – 17 rush, 163 yds, 1 TD

Luck’s stock drop comes after throwing his first two interceptions of the season against Notre Dame. The Irish defense proved to be above average as they threw Luck out of his season grove, something no defense has been able to do yet. The junior quarterback has a chance to impress this week with a trip to Oregon in store.

7.) Colin Kaepernick – Sr. – Nevada – Quarterback

Last week: 16-25 passing, 196 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT – 17 rush, 82 yds, 1 TD – Beat BYU

Season: 73-106 passing, 924 yds, 7 TD, 1 INT – 56 rush, 451 yds, 8 TD

Surprisingly, last week’s performance against BYU was Kaepernick’s worst of the season and he still accounted for nearly 300 yards and two scores. He still remains one of the most exciting players in college football, however. With wins against Cal and BYU, Kaepernick has the Wolf Pack rolling this season.

8.) LaMichael James – Soph. – Oregon – Running Back

Last week: 28 rush, 114 yds, 1 TD – Beat Arizona State

Season: 58 rush, 475 yds, 4 TD – 1 rec. 9 yds

James has been impressive in three games this season following the one game suspension. The LaMichael James of 2009 remains to be seen yet, though. A big win and a Heisman like performance at home against Stanford this week will propel James up in the rankings.

9.) Ryan Mallet – Sr. – Arkansas – Quarterback

Last week: 25-38 passing, 357 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT – 3 rush, -7 yds, 1 TD – Lost to Alabama

Season: 95-138 passing, 1,438 yds, 10 TD, 5 INT – 2 rush TD

For three quarters against Alabama it looked as if Mallet was having his Heisman moment, while also knocking off the No. 1 ranked team in America. Two fourth quarter interception may have knocked Mallet out of any chances of the prestigious award. The three total picks were the most Mallet has ever thrown.

10.) Patrick Peterson – Sr. – LSU – Cornerback

Last week: 1 tkl, two punt returns (PR) – 86 yds, 1 TD – Beat West Virginia

Season: 11 tkl, 2 INT, 1 Blk kick, 9 PR – 253 yds, 2 TD

It’s never easy placing a defensive player in the Heisman rankings. In the case of Peterson, the senior corner and return man is without a doubt the best player on the LSU roster right now. A lot of quarterbacks won’t throw Peterson’s way, so don’t expect a lot of defensive stats. I would bet a lot of teams will stop kicking to the talented returner as well.

-On the brink: John Clay – Wisconsin RB, Nick Fairley – Auburn DT, Ryan Broyles – Oklahoma WR, Russell Wilson – NC State QB.

*Stock upStock downNeutral

College Football Report - Poll Release and Reaction: Week 4

AP Top 25 Week 4:

1. Alabama (4-0) – No move

2. Ohio State (4-0) – No move

3. Boise State (3-0) – No move

4. Oregon (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 5

5. TCU (4-0) – Moved down, Previously No. 4

6. Nebraska (4-0) – No move

7. Florida (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 9

8. Oklahoma (4-0) – No move

9. Stanford (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 16

10. Auburn (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 17

11. Wisconsin (4-0) – No move

12. LSU (4-0) –Moved up, Previously No. 15

13. Utah (4-0) – No move

14. Arizona (4-0) – No move

15. Arkansas (3-1) Moved down, Previously No. 10

16. Miami (FL) (2-1) – Moved up, Previously No. 19

17. Iowa (3-1) – Moved up, Previously No. 18

18. USC (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 20

19. Michigan (4-0) – Moved up, Previously No. 21

20. South Carolina (3-1) – Moved down, Previously No. 12

21. Texas (3-1) – Moved down, Previously No. 7

22. Penn State (3-1) – Moved up, Previously No. 23

23. North Carolina State (4-0) – Moved into Top 25 with win over Georgia Tech

24. Michigan State (4-0) Moved up, Previously No. 25

25. Nevada (4-0) Moved into Top 25 with win over BYU

Fell from poll: West Virginia, Oregon State

Others receiving votes: West Virginia 57, Florida State 51, Missouri 51, Air Force 32, Kansas State 27, Oklahoma State 24, Clemson 9, UCLA 9, Oregon State 7, Northwestern 4, Houston 3

Voters get it right…? There wasn’t a whole lot of movement once again at the top of the AP poll, apart from the Longhorns big fall. Texas looked like a team on the brink of having a collapse for a few weeks now, and I’m sure most Longhorn fans were hoping it wasn’t against winless UCLA at home. Dropping to No. 21 from No. 7 feels like a big drop, but after watching the UCLA rout, they’re lucky to get No. 21. Oregon’s jump above TCU feels right, with the way the Ducks have been beating on opponents so far this season.

Biggest Movers… Both Stanford and Auburn made big moves this week and rightfully so. The Cardinals shot up from No.16 to No.9 with a win at Notre Dame, and although the Irish may look like the Irish of late, whooping Notre Dame under the presence of Touchdown Jesus is never easy. Auburn’s move to the Top 10 came after beating No. 12 ranked South Carolina. I wasn’t sold on the Gamecocks high ranking, but I am on the Tigers. Cam Newton is now 2-0 in the SEC and has an impressive win against Clemson under his belt. The Tigers have shown resiliency the last two weeks and have stepped up their game when it matters. I would have like to see the Tigers in the No. 9 spot. The Gamecocks fall to No. 20 feels about right, with an impressive win against Georgia still on their resumes.

Welcome to the Top 25…Apparently mascot wolves travel in packs as well. The University of Nevada makes a move to the Top 25 for the first time since 1948, thanks much in part to quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Pistol offense. The Wolf Pack has now routed Cal and rolled over BYU in back-to-back weeks. A matchup of undefeated’s against Boise State could be coming later in the season. NC State makes a move to the Top 25 with impressive wins over Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. The one word Wolfpack may be the favorites to take the ACC Atlantic division.

We were snubbed...! No team was really left out of the Top 25 this week, as a few teams like Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Missouri are still waiting on marquee wins. Ironically the three are Big 12 teams. If anyone wants to throw out the snub card, it may be the USC Trojans, who continue to move down the polls making room for team’s that can actually play in a bowl. The Trojans, 4-0, probably can’t complain as a decent ranking really can’t go anywhere.

There’s always next week… A lot of teams have a chance to make big moves in the week five poll. Wisconsin will move into the Top 10 or dip into the twenties as they face a Michigan State team looking to make a move up. Clemson can move back into the Top 25 with a win over No. 16 Miami (FL) this week, and Texas has a chance to redeem itself in a game against No. 8 Oklahoma. The biggest movement and statements may come from games in Alabama and Oregon. The Tide take on Florida, while the Ducks try to tame the Stanford passing game. LSU always has next week to lose as well. The Tigers continue to rise in the polls with shaky performances and porous quarterback play by Jordan Jefferson. Could Tennessee pull a UCLA this week against the Tigers?

September 20, 2010

College Football Report: Saturday Review - Week 3

Reviewing the top games of Saturday, week 3:

Notre Dame (1-2) – 31 vs. Michigan State (3-0) – 34 OT


How it all went down…Some head coaches just have ice running through their veins. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio proved to have to be one of those coaches Saturday. On fourth down in the first overtime, following a field goal by Notre Dame to take the lead, Dantonio made a fake field goal call that would give the Spartans the win. The excitement and ice water proved to be too much for Dantonio, as he suffered a heart attack late Saturday. The head coach is OK, but remains hospitalized.

The fat lady starting singing when…

MSU place holder Aaron Bates connected with tight end Charlie Gantt (left) for the go ahead 29-yard touchdown in overtime. Bates, a former high school quarterback, executed the “Little Giants” play to perfection.

Where do we go from here coach...? For MSU, it’s a visit into the AP poll for the first time this season. The Spartans look like a talented football team led by a resilient Kirk Cousins at quarterback and two headed rushing attack. For Notre Dame, it’s the same old thing. Kelly was supposed to turn around a dying Notre Dame, yet so far the Irish still look like the Notre Dame of late. Hopefully Kelly won’t fall into a hole in the Graveyard of coaches.

It’s a numbers game… 10-1 – Dantonio is now 10-1 against nonconference foes at home as the Spartans head coach.

Player of the game…Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State, RB – 17 rush, 114 yds, 1 TD

Photo Credit: Al Goldis/ AP

Clemson (2-1) – 24 vs. #16 Auburn (3-0) – 27 OT


How it all went down… Auburn fought back from a 17-0 hole, taking the lead 24-17 in the third. The game would be knotted at 24-24 at the end of regulation, with the game headed to overtime. Clemson long snapper Dalton Freeman learned one very important rule. Not to ever double-clutch a snap again. In the first overtime, Freeman was called for a false start after of picking the ball up and clutching it before releasing it. The problem came when Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed the second attempt, after making the first. Auburn, who kicked a field goal the drive before in overtime, walked away with the win.

The fat lady starting singing when…Castanzaro’s second attempt in overtime flew wide left.

Where do we go from here coach..? For Auburn, it knows that quarterback Cameron Newton can show resiliency. Fighting back from a 17 point hole early in the game is no easy task. Newton didn’t put up the stats he did in the first two games, but refused to pack it in. For Clemson, at least it knows it can rely on the talent of running back’s Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper to keep them in games. Good news with a visit from Miami next.

It’s a numbers game….. 47 – Both teams wanted to establish a running game early and often, with each walking away with equal attempts on the ground. Auburn won the battle with 221 yards.

Player of the game…Nick Fairley, Auburn DT – 7 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, and 4 hurries

#9 Iowa (2-1) – 27 vs. #24 Arizona (3-0) – 34


How it all went down…Offense reigned supreme over defense in the desert. The powerful Wildcat offense, led by quarterback Nick Foles, dropped a 27-7 lead on the Hawkeyes. A tough defense kept Iowa in it late as the Hawkeyes were able to climb back from a 20 point lead to tie the game at 27 all. Foles would respond with a touchdown pass to wideout William Wright with just less than four minutes to play.

The fat lady starting singing when…Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi was sacked for the fourth straight time with just under two minutes to play.

Where do we go from here coach...? For Arizona, it was a job well done at shooting a warning shot to the rest of the PAC-10 that they’re for real this year. Head coach Mike Stoops, who looked like he was having a bad reaction to caffeine pills and Red Bull throughout the game, can finally calm down now. For Iowa, its back to beating up the Big Ten. Whether it was the time difference, heat or arm of Foles, they’ll remember their trip to the desert.

It’s a numbers game…6 – Number of sacks brought in by the Arizona defensive line, four of which came on the last drive when they needed them most. So much talk was made about the Iowa defensive front. It looks like the Wildcats four felt a little left out.

Player of the game….Nick Foles, Arizona, QB – 28-39 passing, 303 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT

#12 Arkansas (3-0) – 31 vs. Georgia (1-2) – 24


How it all went down… Georgia head coach Mark Richt was 5-0 against the Razorbacks. Richt is now 5-1 against Arkansas and 1-1 against quarterback Ryan Mallett. The Arkansas headhunter at quarterback led a resilient offense throughout Saturday, including connecting with wideout Greg Childs on a 40 yard play to win the game with 15 seconds remaining.

The fat lady starting singing when…Childs waltzed into the end zone after a 40 yard sprint ending a tie game that looked headed to overtime.

Where do we go from here coach..? For Arkansas, it’s strengthening the Mallett Heisman campaign. The Razorbacks know they can go as far in the SEC and country as their prolific passer takes them. For Georgia, it’s a ugly 1-2 start and a search for play-makers. Quarterback Aaron Murray has been impressive, but he can’t throw the ball to himself.

It’s a numbers game… 11.5 – What Mallett was averaging per pass attempt. The senior knows how to throw the long ball and Arkansas isn’t afraid to make the call with Mallett on hand. Of Mallet’s three scores, all went for 20 or more yards.

Player of the game…Ryan Mallett, Arkansas, QB – 21-33 passing, 380 yds, 3 TD

San Diego State (2-1) – 24 vs. Missouri (3-0) –27


How it all went down… Yet another late decision Saturday game. Leading by four after a late Aztec field goal by kicker Abel Perez, it looked as if SDSU had pulled the visiting upset. Missouri quarterback Garrett Gabbert would have one more opportunity to win the game with 1:39 remaining. Gabbert and the offense would need just 25 seconds. Wideout T.J. Moe (below) would take a dump-off pass from Gabbert 68 yards for a score.

The fat lady starting singing when… SDSU quarterback Ryan Lindley’s pass fell incomplete with zeros on the clock.

Where do we go from here coach...? For SDSU, at least they know they can put up a fight on the road. Running back Ronnie Hillman put up 228 yards on the ground. A good thing for any coach. For Missouri, it’s optimizing the talent of quarterback Garrett Gabbert before a slip up against Miami (OH) next.

It’s a numbers game… 9.9 – The rush average of Hillman against the Tigers. A little bit of rush defense would probably make winning the game a lot easier next time.

Player of the game…T.J. Moe, Missouri, WR – 7 rec. 119 yds, 1 TD

Photo Credit: Sarah Midgorden/ Missourian

Arizona State (2-1) – 19 vs. #11 Wisconsin (3-0) – 20


How it all went down… Extra points aren’t gimie’s. ASU found that out the hard way. In a power against finesse game, a back-and-forth scoring battle would come down to a simple extra point. Former ASU Lou Groza award winner Thomas Weber would have his extra point attempt that would have tied the game blocked, after a fourth quarter touchdown by running back Cameron Marshall.

The fat lady starting singing when… Wisconsin safety Jay Valai broke through the line to get a hand on Weber’s extra point.

Where do we go from here coach..? For ASU, it’s trying to believe what they saw. Too often players take extra point plays off, when they infact can decide a game. A visit from Oregon next may add salt to their gaping wound. For Wisconsin, it’s finding ways to get the ball to running back John Clay more. Clay does an excellent job of wearing down defenses and can seemingly handle more than his 22 carries Saturday.

It’s a numbers game…9The Badgers have now won nine straight games at home against BCS teams.

Player of the game…John Clay, Wisconsin, RB – 22 rush, 123 yds, 1 TD

Air Force (2-1) – 24 vs. #7 Oklahoma (3-0) – 27


How it all went down… The powerful offense displayed by the Sooners against the Seminoles would take a backseat to the Falcons option attack Saturday. Just a 10-3 lead at the half would be closed early in the third, with a 10-10 game on hand. Oklahoma would stretch the lead to 17 late in the third, but a resilient group of Air Force men would refuse to go away, cutting the game to three points late in the fourth.

The fat lady starting singing when… Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed a pass to Kenny Stills on third down late to keep the clock running duty of the Sooners going.

Where do we go from here coach...? For Oklahoma, it’s staying motivated before Big 12 play. The Sooners have struggled in two games against lesser opponents this season and a trip to Cincinnati next could be a trap game. For Air Force, it’s knowing you played a good Oklahoma team tough. After a win over BYU and a battle against the Sooners, the Falcons are poised for a good season.

It’s a numbers game…351 – The Falcons piled on 351 rushing yards on the Sooners defense.

Player of the game…DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma, RB – 26 rush, 110 yds, 2 TD

#6 Texas (3-0) – 24 vs. Texas Tech (2-1) – 14


How it all went down… Call it revenge of a 2008 visit to Lubbock or not, Texas continues to sneak out wins with shaky offensive production. Tied at 14 at halftime, the Sooners brought in a field goal and touchdown in the second half to take the lead and the win. With four turnover and 11 penalties under their name, however, maybe they’re lucky they did win.

The fat lady starting singing when… Texas’s Barrett Matthews brought in a one yard touchdown at 9:26 in the fourth. A stiff Texas defense would do the rest of the damage on the Red Raiders.

Where do we go from here coach...? For Texas, it’s sending a thank you note to its defensive backfield. The pas happy offense of the Red Raiders was held to just 158 yards through the air. For Texas Tech, its finding ways of protecting its quarterback. Taylor Potts was pressured constantly and sacked four times.

It’s a numbers game… -14 – The Red Raiders brought in a total of -14 rushing yards on the night.

Player of the game…Eddie Jones, Texas, DE – 5 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks

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