Kale's Korner

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Looking Forward to Championship Weekend

The final weekend of the regular season is here. By Sunday night, we will know who’s going the the BCS National Championship and the rest of the 35 bowls. This weekend features a lot of conference championship games and there are some important Big 12 games as well. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest games on this final weekend before the bowls.

  • Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Noon ET, ABC. This year’s Bedlam matchup will be Oklahoma State’s chance to win its second Big 12 Championship in three years. Oklahoma State has been on a roll lately, beating Texas and Baylor by a combined score of 87-30. The Sooners are coming off a nice win of their own, winning at Kansas State 41-31. The weather (15 degrees at kickoff) will be a major factor tomorrow, as will the Boone Pickens crowd. We saw what happened to freshman QB Bryce Petty when Baylor came to Stillwater. I don’t see the Sooners freshman QB Trevor Knight having much more success. Oklahoma State 31, Oklahoma 20.
  • SEC Championship Game in Atlanta: Missouri vs Auburn, 4 ET, CBS. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Auburn’s miracle season continued last week with a last second win over Alabama. So Auburn has to win this game right? The crazy thing about Mizzou playing in this game is that two years ago they were a middle-of-the-road Big 12 team. Now, they find themselves in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn 27, Missouri 21.
  • Texas at Baylor, 3:30 ET, FOX. This game doesn’t mean much if OSU beats OU earlier in the day. But if OU wins, the winner of this game will win the Big 12 and head to the Fiesta Bowl. As long as Bryce Petty doesn’t trip over the turf monster at the one-yard line again, Baylor’s ability to rush the ball with quarterback will be a huge advantage for the Bears. Texas doesn’t have the offense to keep up with Baylor in a track meet in Waco. Baylor 45, Texas 22.
  • Pac-12 Championship Game: Stanford at Arizona State, 7:45 ET, ESPN. I’m not sure how they did it, but ASU finished the Pac-12 season with the best conference record. Better than Stanford. Better than Oregon. ASU’s lone conference loss was to….Stanford. But the Sun Devils get the Cardinal at home this time around. In the first meeting, Stanford destroyed ASU on the ground, rushing for 240 yards. Arizona State rushed for only 50 yards in that game and if they have similar issues rushing the ball this Saturday, it will be up to Taylor Kelly to lead the passing game. I like Taylor Kelly when Marion Grice and D.J. Foster are doing well on the ground, but if ASU gets one-dimensional they are in trouble. Stanford 31, Arizona State 27.
  • ACC Championship Game in Charlotte: Duke vs Florida State, 8 ET, ABC. Duke has had a tremendous year, but the Seminoles are way too talented. Florida State 56, Duke 20.
  • Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis: Ohio State vs Michigan State, 8:17 ET, FOX. This could be the game of the day. Ohio State is undefeated and controls its own destiny, while Michigan State only has one loss and finished the Big Ten conference slate undefeated (If the Spartans didn’t lose at Notre Dame, this would be the BCS National Championship play-in game.) Michigan State has done it with defense all year long, allowing the third least points per game in Division I. Ohio State has been the exact opposite, averaging the third most points per game. They say defense wins championships and I agree. Michigan State 24, Ohio State 21.

The Week 12 College Football Preview

No Nonsense on The Farm.

**PROGRAMMING NOTE: My good friend Kevin Read and I are working on our annual Sean Mallon All Stars for the 2013-14 college basketball season. I’m really excited about this year’s team. Look for the post to be up on Sunday.**

Three stories from Week 11 of the college football season:

  • How the heck did Stanford lose to Utah? Stanford beat previously-undefeated Oregon 26-20 last Thursday night, but the game wasn’t even that close. Stanford was up 26-0 in the fourth quarter before the Ducks rattled off 20 points in a row to at least make the loss look respectable. The close score line should not diminish just how dominant Stanford was last Thursday. They kept the high flying Oregon offense off the scoreboard for three whole quarters. (Oregon’s lowest point total before last Thursday was 42.) And the Stanford offense did a great job of keeping Marcus Mariota off the field. Stanford rushed 66 times for 274 yards while holding onto the ball for 42 minutes and 34 seconds. If Stanford didn’t lose to Utah, you could argue that it should be Florida State and Stanford in the National Championship, with Alabama out in the cold.
  • Auburn and Missouri will not go away. Auburn and Missouri both played conference games on the road last week and they both took care of business. Missouri beat Kentucky 48-17 and Auburn beat Tennessee 55-23. While I didn’t expect either team to lose last weekend, I am still shocked every time I see them in the top 10. Both teams have difficult final regular season games. Missouri hosts Texas A&M and Auburn hosts Alabama.
  • Thanks for playing, Texas Tech. Tech had not played anyone until October 26th when the Red Raiders traveled to Oklahoma. They lost there and now they’ve lost back-to-back home games in blowout fashion to Oklahoma State and Kansas State. It doesn’t get any easier this week for Tech as they head to Jerry’s World to play Baylor. Even though the record may not show it (currently 7-3, about to be 7-4), Tech is going in the right direction. But in order for them to take the next step, the defense has to get better.

My Top 25 (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

  1. Florida State (1) – Florida State went on the road last week and beat Wake Forest 59-3. They head home to play Syracuse this week.
  2. Alabama (2) – Alabama survived a big scare from LSU last Saturday.
  3. Stanford (5) – What an impressive win by the Cardinal last weekend. Stanford will try to avoid a letdown when they head to USC this week.
  4. Ohio State (4) – After a bye week, the Buckeyes head to Illinois.
  5. Baylor (6) – Baylor took care of OU last Thursday and now they get to face whatever is left of Texas Tech.
  6. Clemson (8) – Clemson’s only loss came against Florida State. But boy, was that a bad loss.
  7. Oregon (3) – Oregon got pushed around by a physical Stanford team. Oregon faces Stanford’s nemesis, Utah, at home this weekend.
  8. Auburn (9) – Auburn hosts Georgia on Saturday.
  9. Texas A&M (10) – The Aggies put up 51 against Mississippi State last weekend in what might have been Johnny Football’s final home game.
  10. South Carolina (12) – If South Carolina beats Florida on Saturday and Missouri loses to Texas A&M in a few weeks, the Gamecocks will likely head to the SEC Championship as the winners of the SEC East.
  11. Missouri (13) – Missouri has a bye this week.
  12. UCLA (14) – The Bruins are still in a good spot to win the Pac-12 South, but they can’t afford to lose to Washington this Friday.
  13. Oklahoma State (16) – OSU beat up on lowly Kansas. A much more significant test comes up this weekend as the Cowboys head to Austin.
  14. LSU (7) – LSU is the best three-loss team in the country. So there’s that.
  15. Fresno State (17) – Just win, baby.
  16. Wisconsin (18) – Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Wisconsin’s only two losses are on the road at Ohio State (not a bad loss) and at Arizona State (a very weird loss).
  17. Louisville (19) – I wonder how Teddy Bridgewater is doing.
  18. Northern Illinois (20) – #MACtion will be in full force this Wednesday with 9-0 Northern Illinois playing 9-1 Ball State.
  19. Oklahoma (11) – A very ugly loss for the Sooners against Baylor. Iowa State visits Norman this weekend.
  20. Ole Miss (21) – Ole Miss hosts Troy this weekend.
  21. Michigan State (22) – Michigan State puts its perfect Big Ten Conference record on the line at Nebraska on Saturday.
  22. Arizona State (23) – ASU hosts Oregon State on Saturday. Hopefully the Sun Devils aren’t looking ahead to the game at UCLA the next weekend.
  23. Miami, FL (15) – How the mighty have fallen. After being 7-0, Miami has lost two straight and now face a good Duke team.
  24. Central Florida (24) – Good win against Houston last week.
  25. Texas (25) – Texas survived at West Virginia last weekend. The Longhorns can make another big statement by beating Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Games to Watch in Week 12

  • Michigan State at Nebraska, 3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2. The winner of this matchup will most likely represent the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. Also, Legends and Leaders are the worst names for divisions ever. Thank goodness the Big Ten is switching to East and West next year. Michigan State 31, Nebraska 24.
  • Miami, FL at Duke,  3:30 ET, ESPNU. Miami went from owning the Coastal Division of the ACC, with a chance for a statement win at Florida State, to losing two in a row and heading on the road to face a tough Duke team. Duke and Miami are both 3-2 in conference, but they are chasing Virginia Tech (4-2) and Georgia Tech (5-2). Miami will be playing without its outstanding running back Duke Johnson, who broke his right ankle last week. I like the Blue Devils in a close one. Duke 24, Miami 23.
  • Oklahoma State at Texas, 3:30 ET, FOX. Oklahoma State is going into Austin on a roll. The Cowboys offense has put up 58, 52 and 42 points in its last three games. But the Longhorns are playing well too. They haven’t loss since September 14th. One of the keys to the game will be quarterback play. Can OSU QB Clint Chelf complete enough passes to keep the Texas defense from putting nine guys in the box every play? And can Texas’ Cases McCoy limit the turnovers. McCoy has thrown six interceptions in the last four games and the Oklahoma State defense has been thriving on takeaways so far this year. Give me the Cowboys (Homer Pick!) because I think the Longhorns’ injuries finally start catching up to them. Oklahoma State 35, Texas 31.

Hello Thursday Night (The Week 11 Preview)

Bryce Petty and Baylor have dominated so far, but what happens now?

Three stories from Week 10 of the College Football season:

  • Florida State continues to impress. Florida State moved to 8-0 after beating previously unbeaten Miami, 41-14. It was another impressive performance by the Seminoles defense, which has allowed only 28 points in games against Miami and Clemson (In those two games, FSU scored 92.) Florida State’s toughest regular season game left will come in the season finale at Florida. But the way this team is rolling right now, it’s hard to see them getting beat.
  • Oklahoma State is starting to figure it out. And they are figuring it out at the perfect time. The Cowboys (7-1) lost their Big 12 Conference opener at West Virginia, but they’ve racked up four straight wins including a 52-34 win at Texas Tech last weekend. While QB Clint Chelf is no Brandon Weeden, he’s done an impressive job leading OSU since replacing J.W. Walsh. With Chelf under center the last two weeks, Oklahoma State has put up 50+ points in consecutive road games. And with the OSU defense forcing turnovers like they did in 2011, the Cowboys have a real chance at winning the Big 12.
  • Enough about last week, let’s talk about Thursday!! Is November 7, 2013 the best Thursday in college football history? Four BCS top-10 teams in two big games. Oklahoma at Baylor and Oregon at Stanford. There are national championship implications in both games. There are also huge conference implications in both games as well.  A very Thirsty Thursday indeed.

My Top 25 (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

  1. Florida State (1) – Another week, another dominant win by FSU. The Seminoles get to beat up on Wake Forest this week.
  2. Alabama (2) – Alabama had a bye last Saturday as they prepare to play LSU at home on Saturday night.
  3. Oregon (3) – Oregon will play at Stanford on Thursday night with a chance to get revenge from last year’s loss in Eugene.
  4. Ohio State (4) – The Buckeyes beat Purdue 56-0 last weekend. They have a bye this week.
  5. Stanford (5) – Stanford will host Oregon on Thursday night with a chance to spoil Oregon’s season once again.
  6. Baylor (6) – Welcome to the party, Baylor. Are you ready?
  7. LSU (7) – We know the Tigers won’t be intimidated by a trip to Tuscaloosa. But LSU has struggled on the road so far this year, with two losses (Georgia and Ole Miss) and one win (Miss. St.)
  8. Clemson (10) – Clemson beat up on Virginia 59-10 last weekend. They have a bye this week.
  9. Auburn (9) – “You’re still here?” – The rest of the Top 25.
  10. Texas A&M (11) – The Aggies get a visit from Mississippi State this weekend after beating up on UTEP 57-7.
  11. Oklahoma (12) – The Sooners have a chance to put Baylor back in its place on Thursday night.
  12. South Carolina (13) – South Carolina continues to plug along, waiting for Missouri to lose again so the Gamecocks can regain the top spot in the SEC East.
  13. Missouri (15) – Missouri looked pretty good last weekend, beating Tennessee 31-3. The Tigers go to Kentucky this Saturday.
  14. UCLA (14) – After getting beaten up by Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks, the Bruins got back on track last week by beating Colorado 45-23.
  15. Miami, FL (8) – The Hurricanes lackluster performances in late October finally came back to bite them at Florida State.
  16. Oklahoma State (18) – OSU is on a roll and the Cowboys get a visit from Kansas this weekend.
  17. Fresno State (17) – Fresno State remained undefeated by beating Nevada, 41-23. This weekend, the Bulldogs travel to Wyoming.
  18. Wisconsin (19) – Wisconsin beat Iowa last Saturday and they will get a visit from BYU this weekend.
  19. Louisville (20) – Louisville plays winless Connecticut on Friday. That will be fun.
  20. Northern Illinois (21) – Northern Illinois moved to 9-0 by beating Massachusetts 63-19 last Saturday.
  21. Ole Miss (22) – Ole Miss gets a visit from Arkansas this weekend.
  22. Michigan State (NR) – The Spartans beat in-state rival Michigan last weekend. MSU is now 8-1.
  23. Arizona State (23) – Arizona State went to Washington State on Halloween and dominated the Cougars, 55-21. ASU travels to Utah this weekend.
  24. Central Florida (24) – UCF plays Houston this Saturday in a matchup between the top two teams in the American Athletic Conference.
  25. Texas (NR) – Texas leads the Big 12 standings, along with Baylor, and the Longhorns will try to stay undefeated in conference at West Virginia on Saturday.

On the way out: Texas Tech 16, Michigan 25.

Games to Watch in Week 11

  • Oklahoma at Baylor, THURSDAY, 7:30 ET, Fox Sports 1. Baylor has had a very easy schedule so far, so it’s hard to know how good the Bears really are. Yes, they have an explosive offense, but the Baylor defense has looked really good because they have played inferior opponents. Oklahoma’s offense isn’t a juggernaut, but it will be enough to cause Baylor major problems. Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31.
  • Oregon at Stanford, THURSDAY, 9 ET, ESPN. Why did Stanford have to lose to Utah?? Even with Stanford’s loss, this game is still the biggest of the college football season so far. Oregon has a shot at the national title. With a Stanford win, the Cardinal will have a chance to play for the Pac-12 title, and an outside shot at a national title. Even though it will be a home game for Stanford, I still like Oregon because Oregon has the Heisman front-runner in Marcus Mariota. Oregon 35, Stanford 27.
  • LSU at Alabama, 8 ET, CBS. LSU and Alabama is always close and this year should be no different. LSU’s offense is legit, but the defense has struggled. In contrast, Alabama’s defense leads the country in points against, allowing only 9.8 points per game. Alabama 41, LSU 24.

A Return to Normalcy (And a Week 10 Preview)

The Oregon Ducks ran past UCLA last weekend and continued their pursuit of a Pac-12 title.

Three stories from a not-so-crazy Week Nine:

  • The favorites actually won! After the carnage of weeks eight and nine, week ten gave us more of what we expected. Only four ranked teams lost to lesser ranked teams last weekend and three of them (Missouri vs South Carolina, Texas Tech vs Oklahoma, Nebraska vs Minnesota) were toss-up games. The only real upset was Duke beating Virginia Tech, but the Hokies didn’t really impact the National Championship race.
  • Miami needs to figure things out quickly. Like before Saturday. After beating Georgia Tech 45-30 on October 5th, Miami has really struggled. The Hurricanes have played North Carolina (2-5) and Wake Forest (4-4) and yet they only beat those two teams by a combined seven points. Miami scored a touchdown win 16 seconds left to beat UNC and they scored a touchdown with 53 seconds left to beat Wake Forest last weekend. Miami better get back to how they were playing in September as soon as possible because they head to Florida State this weekend.
  • “Don’t forget about us!” – Alabama. The Crimson Tide are rolling. Since struggling to beat Texas A&M on September 14th, Alabama is 6-0 and is outscoring its opponents 246-26. If you break that up into points per game, Alabama is averaging 41 a game. Alabama’s opponents? 4.3.

My Top 25 (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

  1. Florida State (1) – Florida State got revenge for last year’s upset loss to NC State. This week they face fellow unbeaten, Miami.
  2. Alabama (2) – Alabama beat up on Tennessee last week. The Crimson Tide have a bye this week.
  3. Oregon (3) – Oregon beat UCLA by 28 on Saturday and have a bye this week.
  4. Ohio State (4) – The Buckeyes crushed Penn State last weekend, winning 63-14. Ohio State heads to Purdue this weekend.
  5. Stanford (5) – Stanford held on for a big win at Oregon State late last Saturday. The Cardinal have a bye this week.
  6. Baylor (7) – Baylor beat Kansas and have a bye upcoming.
  7. LSU (11) – LSU took care of Furman last weekend. The Tigers have a bye this week.
  8. Miami, FL (6) – The Hurricanes needed a Duke Johnson touchdown run with 53 seconds left to beat Wake Forest 24-21 last weekend. They head to Tallahassee on Saturday night.
  9. Auburn (10) – Auburn beat FAU by 35 in week nine and they head to Arkansas on Saturday.
  10. Clemson (12) – Clemson beat Maryland in the first of back-to-back ACC road games. They travel to Virginia this week.
  11. Texas A&M (13) – The Aggies beat Vanderbilt by 32 at home last weekend. This weekend they face UTEP.
  12. Oklahoma (17) – Oklahoma got an impressive win over Texas Tech last weekend. The Sooners do not play this weekend.
  13. South Carolina (12) – South Carolina beat Missouri on the road and now they go home to host Mississippi State.
  14. UCLA (9) – UCLA failed in two attempts to beat the best teams from the Pac-12 North. Now they have to worry about possibly losing the Pac-12 South. They face Colorado this weekend.
  15. Missouri (8) – Missouri was finally exposed by South Carolina. They host Tennessee this weekend.
  16. Texas Tech (14) – The Red Raiders couldn’t beat Oklahoma, but they have a chance to beat the other Oklahoma school on Saturday night in Lubbock.
  17. Fresno State (15) – Fresno State almost lost its perfect season last week, needing overtime to beat 3-4 San Diego State. The Bulldogs host Nevada this weekend.
  18. Oklahoma State (21) – Oklahoma State has changed its QB (from J.W. Walsh back to Clint Chelf) and its starting RB (Desmond Roland over Jeremy Smith) in the last two weeks, but the Cowboys look better than they have in a while. OSU heads to Lubbock fresh off a convincing win against Iowa State.
  19. Wisconsin (19) – The Badgers are going to Iowa after having a bye last week.
  20. Louisville (22) – Louisville beat South Florida last weekend and have a bye this week.
  21. Northern Illinois (NR) – Northern Illinois beat a 1-6 Eastern Michigan team last week. This week they face 1-7 Massachusetts.
  22. Ole Miss (23) – Ole Miss beat Idaho by a lot last weekend. They have a bye this week.
  23. Arizona State (24) – The Sun Devils head to the Palouse this Thursday after having a bye last week.
  24. Central Florida (NR) – UCF beat Connecticut 62-17 last week. They have a bye this week.
  25. Michigan (NR) – Michigan takes on its in-state rival, Michigan State, on Saturday.

On the way out: Virginia Tech 16, Nebraska 20, Oregon State 25

Games to Watch in Week 10

  • Miami at Florida State, 8 ET, ABC. Miami has looked very vulnerable the last two weeks with close wins against UNC and Wake Forest. Florida State has done the exact opposite by crushing Clemson on the road and beating NC State handily. I expect both trends to continue. Florida State 45, Miami 17.
  • Michigan at Michigan State, 3:30 ET, ABC. Is Michigan State as good as their record indicates? Why isn’t Michigan getting more love, their only loss is in four overtimes on the road? Who knows? Who really cares? Michigan 34, Michigan State 28.
  • Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 7 ET, FOX. Texas Tech returns home after road games at West Virginia (close win) and at Oklahoma (tough loss). The crowd in Lubbock will be going crazy, which definitely gives the Red Raiders an advantage. Oklahoma State needs to have a great week running the ball like they did last week. But playing a noon game in Ames is a lot different than playing a night game in Lubbock. Texas Tech 31, Oklahoma State 17.

What the heck is going on here? (And a Week 9 preview)

Florida State sent a huge message on Saturday night.

Three stories from another crazy weekend in college football:

  • Congratulations if your team survived Week 8. It all started on Friday night when #8 Louisville fell at home to Central Florida. Then Saturday came and #6 LSU, #11 South Carolina, #15 Georgia and #20 Washington all lost to unranked teams. Throw in #3 Clemson, #7 Texas A&M, #9 UCLA and #22 Florida all losing to ranked teams and a grand total of NINE Top 25 teams lost last weekend.
  • Sean Mannion is quietly having a ridiculous year. No one is talking about Oregon State’s quarterback. Maybe it’s because they began the season by losing to an FCS school, Eastern Washington. But since then, the Beavers have rattled off six straight wins and Mannion is putting up crazy numbers. Mannion is putting up Peyton Manning-like numbers. He’s thrown for less than 400 yards in only two games (In those, he threw for 372 and 367). He’s thrown for three or more touchdowns in every game and he already has 29 passing TD’s on the season. He’s also only thrown three interceptions, which means he’s not being careless back there. It’s time to start watching Sean Manning Mannion.
  • Florida State is really, really good. At one point in the fourth quarter of Florida State’s game at #3 Clemson, the Seminoles were winning 51-7. FIFTY-ONE TO SEVEN!! That score pretty much sums up the game. Florida State looked great on defense, making Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense look like a shell of itself. And freshman QB Jameis Winston continued to look great. What a statement win by Florida State.

My Top 25 (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

  1. Florida State (5) – Florida State absolutely destroyed a top-5 team on the road. No team, including Alabama, has had a more impressive win than that. The Seminoles host NC State on Saturday.
  2. Alabama (1) – Alabama beat Arkansas 52-0 and will host upset-minded Tennessee this weekend.
  3. Oregon (2) – Oregon beat up on Wazzu and face a desperate UCLA team in Eugene on Saturday night.
  4. Ohio State (4) – Even though they are undefeated, the Buckeyes are going to need a lot of help to make the BCS National Championship Game. After being tied with Iowa going into the fourth quarter last week, Ohio State pulled away in the fourth quarter. They host Penn State on Saturday.
  5. Stanford (12) – Stanford salvaged its hopes of winning the Pac-12 by beating UCLA last weekend. Stanford travels to Corvallis to face Mannion and Oregon State late Saturday night.
  6. Miami, FL (11) – Miami was one of the biggest winners of last weekend. They needed a late score to hold off UNC on Thursday night, and then they sat around all weekend and watched top-10 teams lose all over the place. Miami hosts Wake Forest at noon on Saturday.
  7. Baylor (13) – Another big winner from Week 8. Baylor beat Iowa State 71-7 at home and now they travel on the road for a bye week game against Kansas.
  8. Missouri (14) – Missouri took advantage of Florida’s inept offense to move to 7-0. The Tigers host South Carolina on Saturday.
  9. UCLA (6) – UCLA suffered its first loss of the season at Stanford last weekend. While it wasn’t a bad loss, the Bruins can not afford to lose back-to-back Pac-12 games. The problem is, UCLA plays at Oregon this weekend.
  10. Auburn (23) – Auburn pulled off one of the many upsets by beating Texas A&M in College Station. Auburn plays FIU this weekend.
  11. LSU (8) – LSU suffered its second SEC loss at Ole Miss last Saturday night. They host Furman on Saturday.
  12. Clemson (3) – Clemson disappointed on a big stage at home last weekend. Look for them to get some revenge at Maryland this weekend.
  13. Texas A&M (9) – Manziel and company are all but out of it in the SEC West. They have two conference losses, after losing to Auburn, and Alabama has yet to lose while holding the tiebreaker over the Aggies. A&M hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.
  14. Texas Tech (16) – The Red Raiders struggled with West Virginia into the second half, but they were able to remain undefeated behind their third QB of the year, Davis Webb. Texas Tech will have a chance to prove they are for real when they head to Norman this weekend.
  15. Fresno State (15) – Just keep winning, baby. Fresno heads to San Diego State this weekend.
  16. Virginia Tech (18) – The Hokies had a bye last week. Duke visits on Saturday.
  17. Oklahoma (20) – It wasn’t always pretty, but OU beat Kansas last weekend. The Sooners host Texas Tech on Saturday.
  18. South Carolina (10) – With Georgia’s injuries derailing it’s season, South Carolina was poised to take control of the SEC East again. But then the Gamecocks lost at Tennessee and now SC has to win at Missouri this weekend and hope the Tigers slip up somewhere else.
  19. Wisconsin (25) – Wisconsin’s only two losses are at Arizona State (in a crazy ending) and at Ohio State (not a bad loss at all). Wisconsin beat Illinois last weekend and now has a week off.
  20. Nebraska (24) – Nebraska’s only big test of the year so far was a home game against UCLA, which they lost. But Nebraska has won all its other games and travels to Minnesota on Saturday.
  21. Oklahoma State (21) – The Cowboys switched quarterbacks again (going back to Chelf over Walsh) in a win over TCU last Saturday. OSU looks nothing like its former self and the Cowboys head to “The City of Nightmares” Iowa State this weekend. Oh goodie.
  22. Louisville (7) – After complaining about Louisville’s schedule last week, the Cardinals proved they weren’t nearly as good as their ranking indicated by losing at home to UCF last Friday. They look to right the ship at South Florida this weekend.
  23. Ole Miss (NR) – Big upset win over LSU last weekend, Ole Miss hosts Idaho this weekend.
  24. Arizona State (NR) – The Sun Devils dominated the suddenly-reeling Washington Huskies 53-24. ASU has a bye this week.
  25. Oregon State (NR) – Oregon State’s only loss is a bad one (home vs. Eastern Washington), but they have a chance to make some serious noise by beating Stanford at home this weekend.

On the way out: Georgia 17, Washington 19, Florida 22

Games to Watch in Week 9

  • UCLA at Oregon, 7 ET, ESPN. Although UCLA is a good team, there is just too much in favor of the Ducks. They have the home field advantage and they have the best player on the field in Marcus Mariota. Oregon 40, UCLA 28.
  • South Carolina at Missouri, 7 ET, ESPN2. Missouri got past Florida and Georgia in back-to-back weeks, but the Gamecocks will be the third tough opponent in a row. I think that, and Jadeveon Clowney putting pressure on Missouri’s new QB Maty Mauk, will lead SC to the win. South Carolina 24, Missouri 17.
  • Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 3:30 ET, FOX. Texas Tech puts its perfect record on the line at Oklahoma this weekend. With the Sooners defense, and their playmakers on offense, I think Texas Tech is in for a big wakeup call. Oklahoma 42, Texas Tech 20.

Halfway Home: Week 7 Recap and Week 8 Preview

Missouri went to Georgia as an underdog, but left as the leaders of the SEC East.

The seventh week of the season was wild. Here are three of the biggest stories:

  • Upsets, upsets and more upsets! Numbers 5, 7, 12, 18 and 19 all lost to teams ranked lower than them. Add in Washington and Florida, who lost to Oregon and LSU respectively, and a total of seven USA TODAY Top 25 teams lost last week. Georgia’s injuries finally caught up with them against Missouri. Stanford lost in the Upset of the Week at Utah. Oklahoma looked terrible in a Cotton Bowl loss against Texas. Penn State outlasted Michigan in 4 OT’s. And Wisconsin dominated Northwestern at home, 35-6. Last week was a blast (unless your team lost) and hopefully this week provides some more upsets.
  • Georgia started fast in the SEC East, but South Carolina and Missouri (?) are now in control. As we mentioned above, Georgia lost to Missouri, which opens the door back up for South Carolina. South Carolina, Florida and Georgia are all 3-1, but the current SEC East leader is Missouri, who is 6-0 overall and 2-0 in conference. Missouri controls their own destiny, but that may not last for long. The Tigers host Florida and South Carolina the next two weeks.
  • Louisville’s schedule is the worst. I mean, just look at this schedule. Louisville will not play a single Top 25 opponent this season. The “toughest game” on their schedule coming into the season was the season finale at Cincinnati, but Cincinnati has been disappointing so far. The biggest games left on Louisville’s schedule are this Friday vs. UCF and November 16 when Houston visits. And the Cardinals get both games at home.

The Top 25 (last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1. Alabama (1) – Alabama dominated Kentucky on the road last week. Arkansas visits this Saturday.
  2. Oregon (2) – The Ducks made another big statement by going on the road and beating Washington by 21. Oregon gets the other half of the state of Washington when Wazzu goes to Eugene late Saturday night.
  3. Clemson (4) – Clemson, like Florida State the week before, struggled with Boston College for a while. But the Tigers talent prevailed and they will be ready when Florida State visits this weekend.
  4. Ohio State (5) – After a bye week, Ohio State hosts Iowa.
  5. Florida State (7) – Florida State had a bye in week 7. They should be well rested when they get to Clemson.
  6. UCLA (9) – California was no match for Brett Hundley and the Bruins. But playing at Stanford, after the Cardinal just got upset, will be a huge test for Kale’s America’s Team.
  7. Louisville (8) – Cool schedule.
  8. LSU (11) – LSU’s defense took care of Florida and the Tigers head to Ole Miss on Saturday.
  9. Texas A&M (10) – Johnny Football and Manziel survived a big scare from Ole Miss last Saturday night. The two teams combined for 41 (!!!) fourth quarter points. Texas A&M hosts a surprising 5-1 Auburn team this weekend.
  10. South Carolina (13) – What a difference a week makes. The Gamecocks went from questioning Jadeveon Clowney’s commitment to crushing Arkansas on the road (with Clowney playing well) and Georgia losing, which completely opens up the SEC East race.
  11. Miami, FL. (14) – No game for the Hurricanes last week. They head to North Carolina this Thursday.
  12. Stanford (3) – Oh, Stanford. The Cardinal got upset at Utah last weekend and there’s no time to sulk. Undefeated UCLA visits the Farm on Saturday.
  13. Baylor (18) – Baylor finally played a road game and even though they only scored 35, I came away very impressed. It’s tough to win conference games on the road, but first-year starting QB Bryce Petty kept the Baylor Bear train rolling. Baylor gets another game at home, against Iowa State, this Saturday.
  14. Missouri (23) – Missouri is undefeated and coming off a huge road win at Georgia. Missouri controls their own destiny in the SEC East with Florida visiting this weekend. Unfortunately QB James Franklin may have been lost for the year with a separated shoulder.
  15. Fresno State (19) – We discussed them briefly a couple weeks ago, but with this week’s upsets Fresno State has a legitimate chance of crashing the BCS. UNLV visits Fresno late Saturday.
  16. Texas Tech (20) – The Red Raiders are the first team from the Big 12 to become bowl eligible after beating Iowa State 42-35. Texas Tech heads to West Virginia for an 11 a.m. game this Saturday. Trap game? Ask Oklahoma State.
  17. Georgia (5) – Oh, Georgia. Or should I say, “Ouch, Georgia.” All the injuries finally caught up with the Bulldogs. Georgia hits the road to play Vanderbilt on Saturday.
  18. Virginia Tech (22) – While continuing to not be very impressive, including a 19-9 win over Pitt last week, the Hokies are 6-1 with their only loss against Alabama. First bye week of the year for VT coming up.
  19. Washington (16) – Two straight losses to top 10 teams is not a bad thing. Sure, U-Dub would have loved to have taken one of two, but they continue to improve even though the record may not be showing it. Washington heads to Tempe, AZ to face Arizona State on Saturday.
  20. Oklahoma (12) – Oh, Oklahoma. Texas completely dominated OU, but the Sooners will still have a good chance to win the Big 12 this year because the Big 12 is terrible.
  21. Oklahoma State (24) – After a bye week, it’s homecoming in Stillwater. TCU comes to town in a must-win game for the Cowboys.
  22. Florida (15) – The two losses for the Gators this year have been on the road at Miami and LSU. If they can get the offense figured out (don’t count on it), they can make a run the second half of the year. Should be a good game at Missouri this weekend.
  23. Auburn (25) – Auburn beat Western Carolina 62-3 last week and they take a significant step up in level of competition by heading to Texas A&M this weekend.
  24. Nebraska (NR) – Nebraska is 5-1 with the only blemish being a home loss to UCLA. The Cornhuskers play at Minnesota on Saturday.
  25. Wisconsin (NR) – Wisconsin dominated Northwestern, 35-6, to move to 4-2. The Badgers head to Illinois on Saturday.

On the way out: Michigan 17, Northwestern 21.

Games to watch in Week 8

  • UCF at Louisville, FRIDAY at 8 ET, ESPN. I don’t know what’s crazier: The fact that there is a Friday football game worth watching, or that this might be Louisville’s toughest game of the season. Louisville 31, UCF 19.
  • Florida State at Clemson, 8 ET, ABC. Game of the weekend. I can’t wait to see the quarterback battle between Florida State’s stud freshman Famous Jameis Winston and Clemson’s super senior Tajh Boyd. Clemson hasn’t pulled a Clemson yet this year, which makes me lean towards the road team. But I don’t like picking freshman QB’s on the road, no matter how good they are. If Clemson can get a consistent running game going behind Roderick McDowell, they will be in good shape. Clemson 41, Florida State 33.
  • Auburn at Texas A&M, 3:30 ET, CBS. This game could be a blowout. Texas A&M’s close call at Ole Miss may have refocused them and Auburn hasn’t been in a spot like this in a while. Johnny Football should dominate. Texas A&M 40, Auburn 17.
  • UCLA at Stanford, 3:30 ET, ABC. If Stanford would have won at Utah last week, this game would be just as big as Clemson and Florida State. Did the Utah loss expose Stanford? I don’t think so. It was just a classic example of a good team overlooking an inferior team. UCLA will take Stanford’s best shot, but I still like the Bruins to win. They are underrated, but this game will put them on the map. UCLA 30, Stanford 27.
  • Florida at Missouri, 12:21 ET, ESPN3. Missouri controls their destiny in the SEC East. They still have to play one-loss South Carolina and one-loss Florida, but both games will be in Columbia. It couldn’t come at a worse time for the Tigers who just lost QB James Franklin for at least a month. Florida 14, Missouri 10.

Looking Back at Week 6 and Looking Forward to Week 7

The Baylor Bears are undefeated, but for how long?

Three stories from Week Six of the college football season:

  • Ohio State is good, but will need some help to make the National Championship. Ohio State went on the road and beat a good Northwestern team, 40-30, to move to 6-0 on the year. The Buckeyes used a huge game from RB Carlos Hyde (168 yards and 3 TD) to hold off Northwestern and move up to #3 in the USA Today poll. Unfortunately for Ohio State, they might end the season ranked #3 and out of the national championship picture. Ohio State only has one more chance to impress voters in a game at Michigan on November 30. The rest of the Buckeyes schedule is full of Big Ten cupcakes and Ohio State doesn’t have a marquee non-conference win to help its case. If Alabama, Clemson and Oregon/Stanford all go undefeated, all three will be ranked above the Buckeyes in the final BCS standings. I wouldn’t be surprised if one-loss Georgia, or even Florida State, moves past Ohio State based on the strength of schedule coming down the stretch.
  • The SEC is the best conference, but the Pac-12 North is the best division in college football. Stanford and Oregon are not only the two best teams in the Pac-12 North, but they might be the two best teams in country. Keith Price and Washington were impressive in their 31-28 loss at Stanford last weekend, justifying their #16 ranking in the country. Oregon State and Washington State both have four wins as well. The only other division that compares to the Pac-12 North is the SEC West. Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M are the top teams in the SEC West, but there’s not much after that (Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Miss. State).
  • When will Baylor play a good team? Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia. All poor teams. All at home. Baylor is putting up gaudy numbers (they have yet to score under 69 points in a game), but we will finally learn how good this team is starting this weekend at Kansas State. K-State is not as good as they were last year, but it’s hard to see Bill Snyder getting blown out at home. Baylor won’t play a nationally ranked team until November 7th when OU visits. Then the Bears play Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State and at TCU.

The Top 25 (last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1. Alabama (1) – Beat Georgia State handily in week six, now the Tide travel to Kentucky.
  2. Oregon (2) – Oregon continued its great start by crushing Colorado on the road. But Washington awaits this weekend.
  3. Stanford (3) – Stanford beat UW to keep pace with Oregon in the Pac-12 North. Stanford heads to Utah this week.
  4. Clemson (4) – Oh look, Clemson dominated an inferior opponent (Syracuse) again. The Tigers host Boston College on Saturday.
  5. Georgia (5) – The Bulldogs survived an overtime game at Tennessee last week. Georgia host Mizzou on Saturday.
  6. Ohio State (6) – Coming off a big win at Northwestern, Ohio State gets a well deserved bye week.
  7. Florida State (7) – The Seminoles might have had the most impressive win of week six, beating 25th-ranked Maryland 63-0. Florida State gets a bye week this week.
  8. Louisville (8) – Cool schedule.
  9. UCLA (9) – UCLA hung on for a 34-27 win over Utah last Saturday. UCLA hosts Cal this weekend.
  10. Texas A&M (11) – A nice, relaxing week for the Fighting Manziel’s last week. They head to Ole Miss on Saturday night.
  11. LSU (13) -Struggled for much of the first half against Mississippi State before taking control in the third quarter. LSU hosts Florida on Saturday.
  12. Oklahoma (12) – Oklahoma has not been very impressive in Big 12 games this year. The Sooners struggled with TCU, but a huge run late in the fourth quarter secured the 20-17 win. Bob Stoops and OU would love nothing more than to get Mack Brown fired this weekend at the Cotton Bowl.
  13. South Carolina (10) – The Gamecocks beat Kentucky without Jadeveon Clowney and they may have to play this week’s game, at Arkansas, without him again.
  14. Miami, FL (14) – The Hurricanes are still undefeated after beating Georgia Tech 45-30. Miami has a bye this week.
  15. Florida (15) – Despite having a loss, the Gators are still undefeated in conference and have a great opportunity to move up the polls with a win at LSU.
  16. Washington (16) – Losing at Stanford is nothing to be ashamed of. The Huskies need to make sure there are no lingering effects from last week when Oregon comes to town on Saturday.
  17. Michigan (17) – Looked better against Minnesota than they have in a while. Michigan travels to Penn State on Saturday.
  18. Baylor (19) – October 12th is the official Columbus Day. Also, the date of Baylor’s first road game.
  19. Fresno State (21) – Fresno State beat Idaho 61-14 and now gets a bye week.
  20. Texas Tech (20) – Tech took care of Kansas and returns home to play Iowa State on Saturday.
  21. Northwestern (18) – Tough loss at home to Ohio State. It doesn’t get much easier at the Wildcats head to Wisconsin this week.
  22. Virginia Tech (23) – The Hokies are 5-1 with their only loss against Alabama to start the season. Virginia Tech plays Pitt at home on Saturday.
  23. Missouri (NR) – Their place in the rankings may be brief with a visit to Georgia looming on Saturday.
  24. Oklahoma State (25) – Good news – OSU beat K-State at home. Bad news – OSU still hasn’t played a good game. Best news – bye week.
  25. Auburn (NR) – Auburn upset Ole Miss 30-22 and faces Western Carolina this weekend.

On the way out: Ole Miss 22, Maryland 24.

Three Games to Watch in Week 7

  • Oregon at Washington, 4 ET, Fox Sports 1. Washington gets the second half of the Stanford-Oregon gauntlet this weekend. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is having a crazy year so far (14 passing TD’s, 0 INT’s, 7 rushing TD’s) and he should keep it going  this weekend. Can Washington keep up with the high-scoring Ducks? Oregon 48, Washington 34.
  • Florida at LSU, 3:30 ET, CBS. Florida’s only loss this year is at Miami by 5 points and LSU’s only loss is a 3-point loss at Georgia. Needless to say, both teams are good and we are in for a good game in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The key matchup will be Florida’s offense against LSU’s defense. Florida’s O hasn’t been good all year, but they are facing an LSU defense that has struggled as well. I think LSU’s defense will rise up and the LSU home crowd will lead the Tigers to a close win. LSU 24, Florida 17.
  • Texas A&M at Ole Miss, 8:30 ET, ESPN. Ole Miss started 3-0 including road wins against Vanderbilt and Texas before losing two in a row to Alabama (not a bad loss) and Auburn (not a good loss). Johnny Football comes to Oxford, Miss. with a great opportunity to get a team while they’re down. Texas A&M has reeled off two big wins since losing to Alabama and they’ve had a week off to prepare for Ole Miss. But I’m not picking A&M. Give me the Rebels. Why? For one, this has the makings for a trap game for A&M. They’ve recovered nicely after losing to Bama and after the road game in Oxford, the Aggies get to come home for four straight games. I think they are ready to be home. Secondly, everyone in the SEC hates Manziel so you know Ole Miss will be amped up for this game. And finally, this is only the second home game of the year for Ole Miss. The Rebel fans haven’t seen their team since September 7th (SE Missouri State), so they’ll be ready to go in what should be a raucous atmosphere. Ole Miss, like A&M last year at Alabama, is a talented, young team that can play with anyone on a given night. The freshmen will feed off the crowd and give college football its first big upset of the year. Ole Miss 35, Texas A&M 32.

Looking Back at Week 5 and Looking Forward to Week 6

Before we dive deep into college football stuff, check out this Washington State fan:

Three quick hits from the fifth week of the college football season:

  • Georgia is glad September is over. Georgia faced three top-10 teams in the first month of the season. After losing on the road to #8 Clemson, the Bulldogs were able to win home games over #6 South Carolina and #6 LSU. If you would have told a Georgia fan that Georgia would go 2-1 against those teams, the best case scenario would be exactly how it played out. The Bulldogs lost early, but have shot back up the rankings thanks to two big wins. Most importantly, SC and LSU were SEC opponents so the Bulldogs are sitting atop the SEC East with only one more ranked team to play (Florida). The Bulldogs survived September and are poised to make a run at the SEC Championship, and perhaps even a National Championship.
  • Ole Miss is good, but not “Alabama good.” Even though Ole Miss scored zero points at Alabama this past weekend, the Rebel defense gave up only 25 points while limiting QB A.J. McCarron to 180 yards and no touchdowns. Ole Miss was only down 16-0 going into the fourth quarter, which is impressive considering their inability to doing anything positive on offense. Ole Miss wasn’t going to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, but all the freshman and sophomores gained a lot of great experience that will pay off for the next few years.
  • Oklahoma State isn’t in trouble yet, but Cowboy fans should be worried. Oklahoma State lost its Big 12 opener at West Virginia 30-21 in what can only be described as one of the worst Cowboy performances in recent history. QB J.W. Walsh completed only 42.5 percent (20-47) of his passes. Running back Jeremy Smith ran FIFTEEN times for ONE yard (that’s .0667 yards per carry for those scoring at home). And the special teams unit produced a 13-yard punt, a 16-yard punt and two missed field goals (including a 23-yarder). While losing at West Virginia is only one game, it’s important to note that the Cowboys have not had an all-around good game despite their 3-1 record. The Cowboys are not used to the Big 12 favorites role and I think that showed in the way they’ve played. Maybe losing to West Virginia was the wakeup call this team needed.  Oklahoma State only has three games in October and the Cowboys will be favored to win all three (KSU, TCU, @ISU). With last weekend’s loss, OSU can’t afford to lose any of these October games if it wants to win a Big 12 title.

The Top 25 (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

  1. Alabama (1) – The Crimson Tide took care of Ole Miss and gets rewarded for their hard work by facing Georgia State.
  2. Oregon (2) – Oregon crushed Cal 55-16 and heads to Colorado this week.
  3. Stanford (3) – Stanford beat Wazzu last weekend, but the real winner was the guy in the video above.
  4. Clemson (4) – Clemson beat Wake Forest by 49 on Saturday. Now, the Tigers head to Syracuse.
  5. Georgia (5) – Big win over LSU, but I can’t move them past Clemson.
  6. Ohio State (6) – Ohio State withstood a late rally by Wisconsin to win 31-24. The Buckeyes travel to Northwestern this week.
  7. Florida State (8) – Jameis Winston threw for 330 yards and 4 TD’s in a win over Boston College. Maryland visits FSU this weekend.
  8. Louisville (10) – Cool schedule.
  9. UCLA (12) – UCLA, coming off a bye week, plays at Utah on Thursday night. Upset alert?
  10. South Carolina (9) – Took care of business against UCF. But lost QB Connor Shaw who might miss this week’s game at Kentucky.
  11. Texas A&M (13) – The Aggies looked impressive winning at Arkansas. Bye week for Texas A&M coming up.
  12. Oklahoma (15) – Oklahoma scored a huge road win at Notre Dame, and became Big 12 favorites, all in the same weekend! OU hosts TCU on Saturday.
  13. LSU (7) – LSU will look to bounce back from a tough loss at Georgia by beating Mississippi State.
  14. Miami, FL (14) – The Hurricanes beat USF 49-21 and play Georgia Tech at home this weekend.
  15. Florida (16) – Beat Kentucky last weekend and now get a visit from Arkansas.
  16. Washington (18) – UW continues to impress with a win over Arizona last Saturday. The Dawgs have a chance to make a big statement on Saturday at Stanford.
  17. Michigan (17) – Coming off a bye week, Michigan hosts Minnesota.
  18. Northwestern (19) – Northwestern got a week off to prepare for Ohio State’s visit on Saturday.
  19. Baylor (20) – Baylor will host West Virginia after a bye last week.
  20. Texas Tech (24) – Texas Tech got an extra week to prepare for Kansas. That’s not fair.
  21. Fresno State (NR) – Fresno was up 42-17 heading into the fourth quarter and held on for a 42-37 win. Fresno heads to Idaho on Saturday.
  22. Ole Miss (22) – After losing at Alabama, Ole Miss returns home to play Auburn this week.
  23. Virginia Tech (NR) – Beat Georgia Tech last Thursday. Now the Hokies face UNC.
  24. Maryland (NR) – Maryland is 4-0, but hasn’t gotten much respect in the polls. That will change with a win at Florida State.
  25. Oklahoma State (11) – OSU will look to rebound against Kansas State this weekend.

On the way out: Wisconsin 21, Notre Dame 23, Georgia Tech 25.

Three Games to Watch in Week 6

  • Ohio State at Northwestern, 8 ET, ABC. Northwestern is 4-0 and they’ve looked legit through September. The Wildcats like to run the ball with QB Kain Colter (59 ypg) and RB Treyvon Green (101 ypg). But Ohio State is a way better than all of Northwestern’s opponents so far. The Buckeyes held run-heavy Wisconsin to only 104 yards last week. Oh yeah, and the Buckeyes have Braxton Miller. Ohio State 30, Northwestern 21.
  • Washington at Stanford, 10:30 ET, ESPN. Stanford continues to roll to start the 2013 season. Washington’s offense is averaging 574 yards a game, good enough for fifth in the country. However, the Stanford offense is no joke. They are actually averaging more points per game (41.3 to 39.8) than UW and QB Kevin Hogan continues to impress. It will be close, but I like the Cardinal to get revenge from last year’s loss in Seattle. Stanford 45, Washington 41.
  • Maryland at Florida State, Noon ET, ESPN. Maryland is 4-0, but the schedule has been suspect at best. We’ll learn a lot about Maryland on Saturday when they face QB Jameis Winston and the Seminoles. Florida State should roll in this one, but don’t be surprised if Maryland hangs around for awhile. Florida State 34, Maryland 17.

Looking Back at Week 4 and Looking Forward to Week 5

Fresno State – BCS Buster?

Three stories from Week Four of the college football season:

  • Fresno State has a good shot at going undefeated. With a dramatic 41-40 win over Boise State on Friday, the Bulldogs not only moved to 3-0, but now they’ve gotten past their biggest hurdle for an undefeated season. There aren’t many good teams in the Mountain West Conference and the best chance for a loss may come November 9th at Wyoming.
  • Michigan might not be that good. After beating Notre Dame by 11 in the second week of the season, Michigan has now struggled in back-to-back weeks against Akron and Connecticut. The main issue seems to be QB Devin Gardner’s inability to take over games the way we all expected him to. He’s committed seven turnovers in the last two weeks and does not look confident leading the offense. The Wolverines get a much needed bye this week to try and figure things out.
  • LSU is a legitimate national championship contender. LSU doesn’t tend to fly under the radar, but this year they might be doing just that. LSU is 4-0 with convincing wins over TCU and Auburn and QB Zach Mettenberger has vastly improved since last season. If LSU can go to Georgia and get a win this weekend, we’ll be hearing a lot more about the Tigers.

The Top 25 (last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1. Alabama (1) – The Crimson Tide didn’t look great against Colorado State on Saturday. They must be sharper to beat Ole Miss this week.
  2. Oregon (2) – After a bye week last week, Oregon starts the Pac-12 season at home against Cal on Saturday night.
  3. Stanford (3) – Stanford dominated ASU on Saturday in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score (42-28) may indicate. The Cardinal head to Wazzu this week.
  4. Clemson (4) – Clemson took care of upset-minded NC State last Thursday and the Tigers get Wake Forest at home this week.
  5. Georgia (5) – Georgia beat North Texas last week. Next up is Georgia’s third game against a top-10 team this year (Yes, we are still in September) when LSU visits.
  6. Ohio State (6) – While most teams can’t find one quarterback, the Buckeyes have two. Braxton Miller’s backup, Kenny Guiton, set an Ohio State record with 6 touchdown passes against FAMU on Saturday. Next up is a visit from Wisconsin.
  7. LSU (7) – LSU got off to a good start in the SEC with a 35-21 win over Auburn. RB Jeremy Hill ran for 183 yards and 3 TD’s. The Tigers head to Georgia this week.
  8. Florida State (8) – FSU took care of one BC (Bethune-Cookman) and now they hit the road to play the other BC (Boston College).
  9. South Carolina (9) – South Carolina is coming off a bye week heading into their matchup at UCF this weekend. The Gamecocks better be ready to play because UCF is legit.
  10. Louisville (10) – Cool schedule.
  11. Oklahoma State (11) – The Cowboys start their Big 12 schedule at West Virginia this week.
  12. UCLA (12) – Took care of New Mexico State 59-13 on Saturday. The Bruins have a bye this week.
  13. Texas A&M (13) – The Aggies took out their frustration from losing to Alabama by pummeling SMU. They head to Arkansas this week.
  14. Miami, FL. (15) – The Hurricanes beat Savannah State 77-7 on Saturday, but QB Stephen Morris left in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Miami heads to USF this Saturday.
  15. Oklahoma (16) – OU gets a shot at revenge against Notre Dame this weekend in South Bend.
  16. Florida (17) – Florida took care of rival Tennessee 31-17 last weekend and now the Gators head to Kentucky.
  17. Michigan (14) – Akron and UConn aren’t good, but the Wolverines have struggled with both the past two weeks. Michigan gets a bye week at the perfect time.
  18. Washington (18) – Washington shut out Idaho State on Saturday and the Huskies will entertain Arizona this Saturday in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
  19. Northwestern (20) – Northwestern didn’t look good against Maine, but a win is a win. The Wildcats have a bye this week.
  20. Baylor (21) – Another fun game for the Bears as they crushed Louisiana-Monroe 70-7. Baylor is leading the country in scoring with an average of 69.7 points per game. They are second in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 7.7 points per game. They also currently rank first in “joke of a schedule” right ahead of Louisville.
  21. Wisconsin (22) – The Badgers bounced back from a tough loss in Tempe by beating Purdue 41-10. Wisconsin heads to Ohio State this week.
  22. Ole Miss (23) – Coming off a bye week, Ole Miss should be well rested, and well prepared, to face Alabama this weekend.
  23. Notre Dame (24) – The Fighting Irish held off Michigan State 17-13 last Saturday. Oklahoma visits this weekend.
  24. Texas Tech (25) – The Red Raiders beat Texas State 33-7 on Saturday. They get a bye week this week to prepare for another bye week Kansas.
  25. Georgia Tech (NR) – I’ll be honest, I can’t stand watching Georgia Tech play. Paul Johnson’s triple option offense is so boring. Tech’s QB, Vad Lee, has throwing a whopping 39 times in the first three games of the season. But I like Vad Lee’s name, and the Yellow Jackets are 3-0 after an impressive win over UNC this past weekend. Georgia Tech plays Virginia Tech at home this Thursday.

On the way out: Arizona State 19.

Four Games to Watch in Week 5

  • LSU at Georgia, 3:30 ET, CBS. Best game of the weekend in my opinion. Georgia bounced back from an opening weekend loss at Clemson to beat South Carolina while LSU has rolled through the month of September so far. LSU has always had a good defense, but the offense finally seems to be catching up. Mettenberger has looked solid (10 TD and 1 INT so far this year) and Jeremy Hill is coming off a big weekend. LSU 24, Georgia 21.
  • Oklahoma at Notre Dame, 3:30 ET, NBC. This is where we find out if Blake Bell is really the answer at quarterback for the Sooners. Notre Dame is not as good as it was last year, but they always seem to play well at home. Oklahoma 21, Notre Dame 27.
  • Ole Miss at Alabama, 6:30 ET, ESPN. Ole Miss has been the trendy pick to upset Alabama, especially after the Tide struggled with Colorado State last weekend. But I don’t see it. Ole Miss and Texas A&M are the new, cool kids in the SEC West and I can’t see Nick Saban allowing what happened to him last year, A&M and Johnny Manziel’s coming out party, happen again. Alabama 34, Ole Miss 14.
  • Wisconsin at Ohio State, 8 ET, ABC. It’s nice to see ESPN cares. After a long day of exciting college football action, ESPN knew we would be tired. So they decided to give us a Big Ten game to cap off the night. And ESPN knows that the easiest way for college football fans to fall asleep is to show a Big Ten contest. But seriously, this will be a fun matchup between two of the top teams in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller is expected to play and I can’t wait to see what hapzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Wisconsin 20, Ohio State 38.

Looking Back at Week 3 and Looking Forward to Week 4

Three stories from the third week of the college football season:

  • What happened at the end of the ASU-Wisconsin game? The answer? No one knows. With 8:50 left in the fourth quarter, Arizona State’s Marion Grice scored on a 12-yard TD run to give the Sun Devils a 32-24 lead. Wisconsin responded with a touchdown (and a failed 2-point conversion) to make it 32-30. After an ASU punt, Wisconsin’s Joel Stave was driving the Badgers down the field for the game-winning field goal. On 1st and 10 from the ASU 13-yard line, this happened.

  • Alabama can win any type of game. Alabama went to Texas A&M, got revenge on Johnny Manziel and they showed why they are the best team in college football by a wide margin. And they did it all with offense?!?! That’s right, the Crimson Tide put up 49 points behind A.J. McCarron’s 336 yards passing and 4 TD’s. The Bama defense can thank the offense for the win because the defense still had no answer for Manziel (464 passing yards, 5 TD’s). We don’t usually see Alabama play shootouts, but it was fun to see all their talent on offense get a chance to shine. (Of course, if this was a Big 12 game, we’d be lamenting the poor defensive performance.)
  • The Pac-12 is the second best conference in the country. Stanford and Oregon are in a league of their own, but there are a lot of quality teams in the Pac-12 this year. While USC seems to have fallen back, Washington, UCLA and ASU have all sprang forward to join Stanford and Oregon in the Top 25. The SEC is obviously the best conference in college football (No, ESPN did not pay me to say this), but the Pac-12 has two viable contenders for a national championship and a sleeper (UCLA) that continues to impress.

The Top 25 (last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1. Alabama (1) – A.J. McCarron for Heisman? Colorado State is next on the schedule for the Tide.
  2. Oregon (2) – Marcus Mariota is a stud. We all know about how good of a runner he is, but he threw for 456 yards and 4 TD’s in a 59-14 win over Tennessee.
  3. Stanford (3) – It looked iffy at the half, but Stanford pulled away in the second half against Army. Now they get ASU at home this Saturday.
  4. Clemson (4) – Clemson is coming off a bye week as they head into their Thursday night game at NC State.
  5. Georgia (5) – Bye week last week. This week it’s North Texas at home.
  6. Ohio State (6) – Impressive road win at Cal without Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes get Florida A&M at home this Saturday.
  7. LSU (7) – The Tigers crushed Kent State last week and now they open their SEC schedule against Auburn.
  8. Florida State (12) – Beat Nevada 62-7. Jameis Winston has more touchdown passes (6) than incompletions (5) through two games.
  9. South Carolina (9) – Wasn’t a great performance by the Gamecocks on Saturday, but they still got a 35-25 win over Vanderbilt. Bye week for SC coming up.
  10. Louisville (11) – Cool schedule.
  11. Oklahoma State (13) – OSU beat Lamar bad, and may have beat Sports Illustrated worse. Bye week for the Cowboys this weekend. https://twitter.com/boonepickens/status/380440353834553344
  12. UCLA (14) – Besides Bama, this was the most impressive win of the week for me. Going to Nebraska, down 21-3 in the second quarter and then the Bruins rattled off 38 straight to win 41-21. I BELIEVE IN THE BRUINS!
  13. Texas A&M (8) – The Aggies get a chance to regroup this week against SMU.
  14. Michigan (10) – Almost losing to Akron? Really?
  15. Miami, FL (15) – Bye week last week. Now the Hurricanes get another bye Savannah State.
  16. Oklahoma (17) – Blake Bell looked good beating Tulsa. We’ll see how he looks at Notre Dame in a couple weeks.
  17. Florida (16) – Bye week last week. Tennessee visits this Saturday.
  18. Washington (20) – UW took care of business against Illinois and has looked really good to start the season. That @ Stanford, vs. Oregon, @ ASU stretch in early October will be a doozy.
  19. Arizona State (21) – A win is a win, I guess. The Sun Devils will have to play a lot better to win at Stanford on Saturday night.
  20. Northwestern (22) – Quietly piling up W’s. They will be undefeated when Ohio State visits on October 5th.
  21. Baylor (21) – Until the Bears reach the Big 12 portion of their schedule – Cool schedule.
  22. Wisconsin (19) – Tough loss, I guess. The Badgers host Purdue on Saturday.
  23. Ole Miss (NR) – Texas is not who we thought they were, but a convincing win for the Rebels nonetheless. They have a bye this week before facing Alabama.
  24. Notre Dame (25) – Beat Purdue 31-24 on Saturday. Now they face Michigan State.
  25. Texas Tech (NR) – After beating TCU last Thursday, the Red Raiders are at home against Texas State this Saturday.

On the way out: Nebraska 18, TCU 24

One Game to Watch in Week 4

  • Arizona State at Stanford, 7 ET, FOX. This should be a fun matchup between two of the top teams in the Pac-12. ASU has a ton of speed and can score all over the place. Everyone knows Stanford likes to run the ball a lot, but ASU’s D-Line, most notably Will Sutton, will make it difficult for the Cardinal to play to its strengths. I think QB Kevin Hogan is able to make enough plays to keep Stanford’s national championship dreams alive. Arizona State 31, Stanford 35.
  • I usually put three games to watch for, but the weekend is really bad. There’s only one Top 25 matchup (ASU-Stanford) and the rest of the games are just terrible. So go outside and enjoy the weather, talk to your family, make fantasy football trades, watch the baseball playoff chases, meet new people, take a nap, do whatever you want. Consider this your weekend to recover from the first three weeks of college football. That way you’ll be all rested up for Week 5 (Ole Miss-Bama, Wisconsin-Ohio State, LSU-Georgia, OU-Notre Dame) and ready for the rest of the season.

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