Week 8 #Top25 College Football

Ho hum what another boring *yawn* weekend of college gridiron to discuss….ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? We had upsets galore! That means a shakeup at the top and an entire new order top to bottom. Some teams are trending the wrong way, there are white-hot seats in Knoxville, Tennessee and Fayetteville, Arkansas. Some have guided their squads so well that the seat is getting cooler by the week such as in College Station, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Tucson, Arizona. At this poll we look at metrics like Offensive Efficiency *OE), Defensive Efficiency (DE), Special Teams Efficiency (STE), and Team Efficiency (TE). The “eye test” is also something that is weighted in. One of the last things that is included with how we evaluate and eventually select the weekly Top 25 if your record. I can’t justify putting a 2-3 Florida State team in even though they are now playing well. That goes for a 4-2 Mississippi State team that burned us earlier in the year. I’m sure that ill add more fuel to their back against the wall mentality, keep playing well and maybe you’ll be included. Without further ado:

25 – NC State (6-1)

Last week – 23

9th OE, 47th DE, 112th STE, 18th TE

NC State keeps on winning and is now leading the ACC Atlantic. Yes they are now the team that controls their own destiny in the division.

24 – Texas A&M (5-2)

Last week – NR

64th OE, 38th DE, 32nd STE, 44th TE

After playing Alabama as well as anyone not named Clemson the last few years, the Aggies have gotten my attention. Maybe they won’t collapse to 7-5 this year.

23 – Oklahoma State (5-1)

Last week – 20

2nd OE, 34th DE, 130th STE, 6th TE

Look at that special teams number, that is DEAD LAST in the FBS. No Power 5 program should be dead last in special teams with all the athletes that they have.

22 – Texas Tech (4-2)

Last week – 12

8th OE, 50th DE, 91st STE, 17th TE

Here is what a loss does to you, even losing to a good team gets penalized here. This week’s loss should only be a minor setback.

21 – Iowa (4-2)

Last week – NR

52nd OE, 46th DE, 21st STE, 45th TE

Those numbers don’t look the strongest but make no mistake about it, Iowa is a good football team. They always seem to be a very good team.

20 – Michigan (5-1)

Last week – 19

97th OE, 5th DE, 30th STE, 27th TE

I am becoming increasingly worried about this Michigan team, they can’t score. Even with a defense that is as good as theirs, which is arguably championship level.

19 – Auburn (5-2)

Last week – 17

32nd OE, 3rd DE, 104th STE, 13th TE

Auburn you had the world believing in you again and then you decided to vomit on yourself again, this time you lost to an enigmatic LSU team that has no real direction. Shame on you Auburn.

18 – Utah (4-2)

Last week – NR

70th OE, 21st DE, 28th STE, 30th TE

I reserved judgement for Utah for the last few weeks, and they lost. It sounds contradictory of me I know. Utah is becoming one of the best jobs in America.

17 – Boise State (4-2)

Last week – NR

76th OE, 30th DE, 10th STE, 32nd TE

Solid win against SDSU (my pick to bust in the New Year’s 6), Boise is another school that has became a destination job instead of a stepping stone job.

16 – Wake Forest (4-2)

Last week – NR

40th OE, 17th DE, 67th STE, 20th TE

I have no explanation, I guess we live in a world where Wake Forest is a good football team and we have to get used to this.

15 – Iowa State (4-2)

Last week – NR

30th OE, 40th DE, 14th STE, 22nd TE

MATT CAMPBELL COACH OF THE YEAR. Just hand him the trophy right now. Where’d this come from?

14 – Stanford (5-2)

Last week – NR

5th OE, 58th DE, 13th STE, 16th TE

It seems Stanford is over whatever was wrong with them for a few weeks. They are back to dismantling teams (49-7 win over Oregon last night). Oh and by the way, stay up to watch Bryce Love.

13 – USC (6-1)

Last week – 16

29th OE, 36th DE, 61st STE, 21st TE

USC needs to win out for a seat at the playoff table and they might need some help. Good thing for them is they’ve defeated Stanford, but they might have to face them again.

12 – Clemson

Last week – 8

19th OE, 6th DE, 99th STE, 10th TE

We weren’t as high on Clemson the past few weeks as the rest of the country was and now that they’ve lost you have to wonder if Dabo was a little too distracted worrying about getting to Tuscaloosa yesterday to adequately prepare his team for a Friday night quarrel.

11 – Notre Dame (5-1)

Last week – 14

11th OE, 10th DE, 89th STE, 9th TE

Notre Dame is capable of winning out, if they do they will be in the playoff no question. Brian Kelly (barring a collapse) is officially off the hot seat.

10 – Virginia Tech (5-1)

Last week – 13

56th OE, 26th DE, 6th STE, 23rd TE

It was probably a good thing for both Notre Dame above and Virginia Tech that this was a bye week and they couldn’t get upset.

9 – Miami (5-0)

Last week – 15

10th OE, 24th DE, 118th STE, 14th TE

This is the undefeated team I trust the least right now, but they control their own destiny in the ACC. If they win out they are in.

8 – Wisconsin (6-0)

Last week – 7

22nd OE, 16th DE, 76th STE, 15th TE

I need more from this team than a 17-9 win over Purdue to reward them. Sure they are still in the Top 10 and will probably stay that way. This team hasn’t earned my respect.

7 – Central Florida (5-0)

Last week – 11

6th OE, 22nd DE, 74th STE, 8th TE

Look at your new New Year’s 6 frontrunner. They were here only a few years ago (remember that Fiesta Bowl against Baylor?)

6 – Ohio State (6-1)

Last week – 6

4th OE, 8th DE, 53rd STE, 2nd TE

Everybody needs to pay attention to this Ohio State team, I can’t wait for the 28th when Penn State comes to town. That game should determine the Big Ten.

5 – Washington (6-1)

Last week – 1

17th OE, 4th DE, 35th STE, 5th TE

What the hell happened last night? That has to be the question they are asking themselves after the lackluster performance against Arizona State.

4 – Georgia (7-0)

Last week – 5

12th OE, 2nd DE, 43rd STE, 3rd TE

After another steamroll, this time against Missouri, Georgia now has its sights set on Florida and the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

3 – Alabama (7-0)

Last week – 3

3rd OE, 1st DE, 48th STE, 1st TE

I was worried it was gonna be worse than the 41-9 game it ended up being. Next up is another hot seat program: Tennessee.

2 – TCU (6-0)

Last week – 4

15th OE, 12th DE, 4th STE, 7th TE

TCU went to the Little Apple and handled its business against a good Kansas State team, now its a bye week…I mean a matchup against Kansas.

1 – Penn State

Last week – 2

18th OE, 7th DE, 2nd STE, 4th TE

We have a new number 1 team in the land for a second straight week, Penn State has to paly Michigan and Ohio State the next two weeks. Winning those two would justify this ranking to the masses and not just me.

Dropped from the rankings: (9) Washington State, (10) San Diego State, (18) Memphis, (21) Houston, (24) Kentucky, (25) Georgia Tech

 

 

 

 

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Week 7 #Top25 College Football

There is a new number 1 after Alabama slept walked through a win in College Station, Texas. This is a fluid process and every week more numbers get calculated in to my formula. On the flip side of that game, perhaps Texas A&M is not as bad as that dreadful week 1 loss when they blew a 7 million point lead to UCLA. North Carolina State has to be in this mix somewhere right? Will the SEC get more than 3 in? This poll is based on some metrics such as Offensive Efficiency (OE); Defensive Efficiency (DE); Special Teams Efficiency (STE); and Team Efficiency (TE). Each team’s record also plays a factor. You can be playing very well but be 3-3 and that doesn’t jive with elite. WE DO NOT HAND OUT PARTICIPATION TROPHIES. One last thing is the eye test, it’s a little more than take team x and put them against team y in a phone booth and see who comes out victorious.

25 – Georgia Tech (3-1)

Last week: NR

23rd OE, 29th DE, 129th STE, 23rd TE

Small sample size, but solid so far this season. The Yellowjackets could meet Clemson in the ACC title game.

24 – Kentucky (5-1)

Last week: NR

72nd OE, 71st DE, 5th STE, 58th TE

Kentucky should probably be 6-0, they are only here on the strength of their special teams.

23 – NC State (5-1)

Last week: NR

8th OE, 56th DE, 120 STE, 21st TE

With a really good offense, the Wolfpack might challenge Clemson in the ACC Atlantic.

22 – Oklahoma (4-1)

Last week: 10

1st OE, 53rd DE, 130th STE, 11th TE

Don’t lose to flipping Iowa State when you are a 4 touchdown favorite at home. After the Ohio State win the Sooners have been sleep walking.

21- Houston (4-1)

Last week: 25

64th OE, 16th DE, 69th STE, 27th TE

The only loss for Houston was a 3 point defeat at the hands of a surprisingly good Texas Tech team, Houston is a threat in the American.

20 – Oklahoma State (4-1)

Last week: 21

2nd OE, 34th DE, 128th STE, 8th TE

I guess special teams are optional in the state of Oklahoma. The pokes had a bye to lick their wound from the TCU loss a few weeks ago.

19 – Michigan (4-1)

Last week: 9

105th OE, 4th DE, 26th STE, 33rd TE

When you run into a team with just about as stout of a defense that you have (Michigan State) and you add terrible second half weather, and you add backup QB – you get upset.

18 – Memphis (4-1)

Last week: NR

46th OE, 82nd DE, 23rd STE, 59th TE

How’d Memphis get on this list? I don’t have an answer for you. They’ve won all but one of their games and are a threat in the American as well.

17 – Auburn (5-1)

Last week: 20

34th OE, 5th DE, 94th STE, 13th TE

Auburn is starting to round into form and live up to my preseason expectations (which was to win the SEC). They are in the elite discussion in the conference.

16 – USC

Last week: 16

36th OE, 23rd DE, 65th STE, 18th TE

Sam Darnold keeps turning the ball over, if he wants to be #1 in the NFL draft he will quit doing that.

15 – Miami (4-0)

Last week: 8

6th OE, 26th DE, 85th STE, 12th TE

Miami does look close to the part of a top 10 team, and yes yesterday was a rivalry game. There are just too many teams playing better at the moment.

14 – Notre Dame (5-1)

Last week: 14

12th OE, 12th DE, 88th STE, 9th TE

If Notre Dame replicates 5-1 for the second half of the season, they will be in the New Year’s 6. Brian Kelly will have saved his job and all is well in South Bend.

13 – Virginia Tech (5-1)

Last week: 18

56th OE, 27th DE, 13th STE, 24th TE

Is Beamer still the coach? The Hokies still win with D and special teams as if Beamer was still there.

12 – Texas Tech (4-1)

Last week: NR

11th OE, 41st DE, 51st STE, 16th TE

Surprise of this week that Texas Tech climbed so high. Another coach perhaps saving his job, Kingsbury has decided to at least be respectable on the defensive side of the ball.

11 – Central Florida (4-0)

Last week: NR

4th OE, 18th DE, 75th STE, 6th TE

I don’t believe it either but Central Florida is actually playing very well and have put themselves in the drivers seat for best team from the state of Florida.

10 – San Diego State (6-0)

Last week: 23

66th OE, 14th DE, 61st STE, 30th TE

If they continue to win, San Diego State is a lock for the Fiesta Bowl.

9 – Washington State (6-0)

Last week: 15

41st OE, 11th DE, 97th STE, 19th TE

The Apple Cup is looking more and more like one of the biggest games of the year in college football. Playoff implications?

8 – Clemson (6-0)

Last week: 7

15th OE, 3rd DE, 102nd STE, 7th TE

Clemson is a really good team and Dabo has built a very good culture of winning, there’s that injury to Kelly Bryant though. How bad is it and will it linger?

7 – Wisconsin (5-0)

Last week: 6

17th OE, 17th DE, 50th STE, 14th TE

I’m still not sold on this team yet, they keep winning though. The numbers indicate that they are pretty salty as well so here they are. Should be undefeated headed into the Big Ten Championship Game.

6 – Ohio State (5-1)

Last week: 11

7th OE, 10th DE, 47th STE, 4th TE

Ohio State would be as close to a lock as you could be for a playoff spot had it not been for the loss to Oklahoma. That has woken up this team and they are putting the rest of the Big Ten on notice.

5 – Georgia (6-0)

Last week: 5

14th OE, 1st DE, 40th STE, 2nd TE

Another week and another decisive victory for Georgia. That defense is really nasty and they are looking like one of the best teams in the country right now.

4 – TCU (5-0)

Last week: 3

13th OE, 32nd DE, 1st STE, 10th TE

TCU is in the drivers seat for the Big 12, they should be 9-0 heading into Norman to take on the Sooners 11/11/2017.

3 – Alabama (6-0)

Last week: 1

3rd OE, 2nd DE, 32nd STE, 1st TE

Somehow A&M stayed close to the Tide last night, everyone please keep the Razorbacks in your prayers this week. The Tide is having smoked pork this week.

2 – Penn State (6-0)

Last week: 4

18th OE, 8th DE, 2nd STE, 5th TE

Penn State is a complete football team and they are in the drivers seat in the Big 10. Circle 10/28/2017 on your calendar – that’s the Ohio State game.

1 – Washington (6-0)

Last week: 2

10th OE, 6th DE, 12th STE, 3rd TE

After dismantling Cal, Washington takes over as the new #1 team in the land. Can we just fast forward to 11/25/2017 when they play Washington State?

 

 

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Week 6 #Top25 College Football

It is now October and it is time for me to produce a weekly top 25 poll. As with previous years I do not take anything into account except for what you have done now. The “what have you done for me lately” thing applies. That goes back to the start of the season. So if your favorite team was a preseason top 5 team and you don’t see them, sorry. (Sorry Florida State fans-but you’re not even ranked in any other poll) This poll is based on some metrics such as Offensive Efficiency (OE), Defensive Efficiency (DE), Special Teams Efficiency (STE), and Team Efficiency (TE). Your record also plays a factor in this, you have to win, we don’t give out participation trophies in this poll. Also, the eye test also plays a factor into this. These rankings will be fluid from week to week, no one is safe. College football is landmine after landmine until January.

25 – Houston

88th OE, 9th DE, 54th STE, 32nd TE

Tom Herman did not leave the cupboard bare here, while they may not challenge for a New Year’s 6 bowl game, Houston has a shot to ruin South Florida’s chances.

24 – South Florida

59th OE, 28th DE, 112th STE, 42nd TE

Speaking of the Bulls, another win yesterday. Charlie Strong could not have landed in a better spot. If they keep winning, the Peach Bowl will be in their sights.

23 – San Diego State

70th OE, 14th DE, 78th STE, 34th TE

San Diego State is 2-0 against the Pac 12 this year. You read that correctly. Quietly they have been a good team the last few years and you had no idea.

22 – Utah

94th OE, 20th DE, 22nd STE, 39th TE

Defense and special teams, how many times have you heard that cliché? They do the little things at Utah and if this offense starts to click, watch out.

21 – Oklahoma State

3rd OE, 34th DE, 128th STE, 9th TE

They have a sports car offense again and the defense is solid as well. That home loss to TCU though is why they aren’t higher.

20 – Auburn

45th OE, 3rd DE, 102nd STE, 13th TE

The last two weeks the Auburn offense has looked better I will give them credit for that. But that has came against Missouri and Mississippi State, the latter was a fools gold team.

19 – Louisville

23rd OE, 50th DE, 55th STE, 29th TE

Well at least the football team is good, too soon?

18 – Virginia Tech

60th OE, 31st DE, 21st STE, 31st TE

Once that freshman QB matures, they could rule the ACC. Not quite there yet, but they are a team to watch out for next year.

17 – Oregon

15th OE, 37th DE, 74th STE, 16th TE

You forgot about the Ducks didn’t you? Shame on you. The best uniforms in college football are back to playing well.

16 – USC

33rd OE, 24th DE, 61st STE, 18th TE

They are not elite yet, they are good and can see elite at the end of the tunnel. Everyone wants them back to elite, it’ll happen, patience.

15 – Washington State

37th OE, 41st DE, 87th STE, 37th TE

They haven’t lost a game yet, best thing I can say. I’m not rewarding them too much for beating a good not great USC squad.

14 – Notre Dame

6th OE, 30th DE, 81st STE, 11th TE

They lost to Georgia and you fell asleep on them, the Irish are playing good ball and can score on just about anyone.

13 – Maryland

14th OE, 61st DE, 28th STE, 24th TE

Look at that offensive efficiency, and that is with their 3rd string QB. They may not be able to keep this type of play up, but they have been a pleasant surprise this season.

12 – Kansas State

42nd OE, 36th DE, 13th STE, 25th TE

Kansas State is always really good with Coach Snyder there. Expect them to maintain about this type of play all year and make a good bowl game.

11 – Ohio State

9th OE, 18th DE, 17th STE, 7th TE

If not for that loss to Oklahoma, Ohio State is in the Playoff discussion. As of right now there are too many teams to leap frog but Ohio State is playing as well as almost anyone.

10 – Oklahoma

1st OE, 38th DE, 129th STE, 4th TE

Speaking of the Sooners, that offense continues to roll. They did let a pathetic Baylor team back in the game a week or so back, but other than that its been smooth.

9 – Michigan

97th OE, 4th DE, 35th STE, 22nd TE

Defense, defense, defense. If they ever get the offense situated (and it might not be this year) then they will be playoff ready.

8 – Miami (FL)

7th OE, 29th DE, 110th STE, 12th TE

They’ve only played a few game, Miami looks like the second best team in the conference after Clemson. A New Year’s 6 bowl (probably Orange Bowl) is in their future.

7 – Clemson

13th OE, 5th DE, 108th STE, 6th TE

Start the hating, I don’t care what they’ve done the last two years. They are one of the elite teams out there and are probably heading to the Playoff.

6 – Wisconsin

24th OE, 12th DE, 67th STE, 15th TE

The numbers like them more than I, can’t lie about that. They should be undefeated heading to the Big Ten Championship Game. Anything less is a disappointment.

5 – Georgia

32nd OE, 1st DE, 53rd STE, 3rd TE

I’ve been most impressed by this Georgia team than any other team in the country. Fingers crossed they and Alabama stay undefeated for the SEC Championship Game.

4 – Penn State

20th OE, 15th DE, 2nd STE, 10th TE

When the Heisman trophy winner for the first half of the season is your return man you get ranked 2nd in special teams, Penn State is really, really good.

3 – TCU

8th OE, 19th DE, 6th STE, 5th TE

Solid across the board, better start fearing the Frogs. Coach Patterson usually bounces back in a big way after a subpar season and this year is that bounce back in a big way type of team right now.

2 – Washington

5th OE, 10th DE, 10th STE, 2nd TE

Don’t stay up and watch these guys? That’s okay, they want you to continue to sleep on them. Just don’t give them Alabama in a Playoff game.

1 – Alabama

2nd OE, 2nd DE, 9th STE, 1st TE

ROLL. DAMN. TIDE. Need I say more? Look at those efficiencies and they’ve won 59-0 and 66-3 the last 2 games.

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#CollegeFootball Week 2

Boomer! Sooner! The Oklahoma Sooners got the most impressive win of the young season so far. It seems when they go on the road or into a neutral site game and everyone picks against them they decide to play with this huge chip on their shoulder. I can’t wait for Bedlam. When Oklahoma shows up for a fight, they can beat anyone in the country on any given day. I think the next most impressive win has to be Clemson over Auburn. Make that SEC 2 ACC 1 now (I’m going to try to keep up with the tally all season).  Clemson’s defense was nasty last night, recording 11 sacks. The game was like the 19-13 Clemson win last season. The game next week between Louisville and Clemson will decide the ACC. Can we get some Lamar Jackson for Heisman love? 2 straight 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing, and it wasn’t directional schools he’s playing against either. Purdue and North Carolina, Power 5 programs. It looks like there might not be a challenger rise up from outside the Top 10 this year. USC handled Stanford-Clemson defeating Auburn. While Michigan and Wisconsin did kinda put it in cruise control, I’m not exactly enamored with either. I am impressed with Penn State. They have scored 85 and only given up 14 through 2 games. There is your Big Ten leader. With Alabama and USC as the leaders in the SEC and Pac 12 respectively, that is 5 teams for 4 spots. Someone will lose, but it’ll be a hot debate until then. The real race, now that the playoff is basically set, is for the rest of the New Year’s 6 games. As of now no Group of 5 team, except for South Florida, is in the Top 25. Washington State ended Boise State’s chances with a crazy 3-overtime 47-44 win. Other than the Bulls, the Group of 5 team with a chance to crash the party might be the San Diego State Aztecs. Beating Arizona State might not register as a huge win, but if they can beat Stanford when the Cardinal come to their place next week then we have a race. That could have an effect on the New Year’s 6 in this way: the Rose and Sugar are the semi-final sites, that leaves the Orange, Cotton, Peach, and Fiesta as the other 4 games. Say that South Florida is the higher ranked team when the dust settles, they would more than likely be in line for the Orange or Peach, and I’m giving the edge to the Orange versus an ACC opponent. If it’s San Diego State then they’d more than likely be in line for the Fiesta or Cotton. The Cotton would not want to have the Group of 5 team for 2 years in a row so the Fiesta is now the best case scenario for the Aztecs. Before this season, SDSU had went 11-3 in the last 2 seasons. So that makes them now winners of 24 of their last 30 games. Keep an eye on the Aztecs. The teams that won can feel good, but there were plenty of losers in Week 2. I think the number 1 loser is the Arkansas Razorbacks. National CBS broadcast and Arkansas looked lethargic in a game where TCU could’ve won by 2 more scores. There was a sentiment from the announcer booth that it takes time for a senior QB to get in sync with young receivers. So that’s why Baker Mayfield is struggling 4 hours west in Norman, OK? It’s time for a change in Fayettechill. Maybe that’s the problem, Bielema has embraced the Fayettechill culture too much. Baylor is another program that is spiraling out of control and not even a coaching change (or two) has been able to stop it. Baylor has now lost to Liberty and UTSA to begin the season, can you say DUMPSTER FIRE. For the record, that is UTSA’s FIRST win over a Power 5 program….EVER. Syracuse continued their quest to be the worst Power 5 program with a 30-23 loss to Middle Tennessee. When will the Orange ever get back to winning before basketball season starts? Speaking of worst Power 5 programs: Rutgers is trying really, really hard for that mantle as they lost to a directional school-Eastern Michigan 16-13. And don’t forget about the Jayhawks, they continued their abysmal ways with a 45-27 loss to Central Michigan. Sidenote: is Michigan the best college football state right now? Enough of the negativity, in the SEC East there are 2 pleasant 2-0 contenders for the East crown: Vanderbilt (yes you read that right) and South Carolina. While neither are ranked like Georgia, Florida, or Tennessee, I think these two are the teams to beat now in the East. Wouldn’t we all love to see Vanderbilt make it to the Peach Bowl? That would be pretty sweet. As for the best thing I saw over the weekend, it has to be Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Jake Pratt on the sidelines right before the game.

See the video here: http://www.tigernet.com/update/WATCH-Swinney-meets-viral-football-player-27733

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#ArkansasFootball

The TCU game just ended, a 28-7 win for the Horned Frogs in Fayetteville. I see the hashtags to get rid of coaches and coordinators from Arkansas fans. I see radio hosts asking if this Bielema thing is going to work out. Quite honestly its not. Once you have got to year 5, which is where Bret is in his Hog tenure, you sorta are what you are. There were some highs such as shutting out LSU and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks, then beating Texas in the bowl game in 2014. The next year another step forward, finishing with 8 wins and Liberty Bowl victory over Kansas State. It has been mostly lows, however. The Arkansas fan base has been gut punched and lied to for awhile now. First it was Nutt and the “Springdale 5” and that ended with Arkansas running off Malzahn. Then Petrino had it rolling but he decided to wreck his motorcycle in the ditch *cough* got his butt kicked *cough*. Then there was the state of Alabama program with the God-awful season that was the John L. Smith fiasco. Bret Bielema is hired and patience is preached throughout the state. 3-9 the first season, 7 wins in two years – John L. Smith’s record was 4-8 in his lone season. The two above mentioned decent years after, despite going through new coordinators seemingly every season since Bret has been hired. His latest 2 being a former MAC coach (Enos) who thinks this gimmick crap offense will work in the best college football conference in America and a former Big 12 castaway (Rhoads) who is switching an underperforming defense into a 3-4 scheme. I’m sure these guys are good guys, hell they’re probably doing what they think is right. I can’t fault them on effort, they say all the right things and hold their heads high even in the lowest of defeats, but eventually you have to WIN games. This regime has never beat Texas A&M let alone Alabama. Because they got into shootouts with Dak Prescott at the end of the year and several overtime games the offense had a decent efficiency rating in Enos’ first season as OC. It is time to rethink this. The Bielema crescendo was the “borderline erotic” win over Texas and the following season. Is that really what you want your program to be? There is no urgency anymore, there is no wild gambling on special teams anymore, there is no stout defense anymore, no real rushing attack anymore. Arkansas recruits at the bottom of the SEC, how pathetic is that? This program is lost. I have a lot of friends and people I come into contact with that are Bielema supporters, I have been patient myself. Always thinking that they were right around the corner. Now I’m not sure this is ever going to work out like we all think and hope it will. For the first time, I’m saying this: give Chip Kelly a call.

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#collegefootball

With week 1 almost wrapped up it is a little late to be making playoff predictions. But, now that we’ve seen actual games and learned a little something maybe its not a bad idea to do this weekly. This year the Rose and Sugar are the semifinal sites. The title game is at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (make sure we get that right, don’t want to confuse it with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) in Atlanta. The site of the first showdown of the season. I’m going to be honest I thought Florida State would win against Alabama. They always seem to get the breaks. I’ve never really seen them handled the way Alabama handled them. On top of that, the Deondre Francois injury could end any hopes that the Seminoles had for making it back to Atlanta for the end of the season. Right now, Alabama looks like the team to beat. Make that SEC 2 – ACC 0 for the year (South Carolina defeated NC State 35-28). The Tide were one of 2 SEC contenders identified, the other being Auburn. Auburn gave up an early score but were otherwise were pretty dominant over an overmatched Georgia Southern team. Next up for Auburn is a trip to defending national champion Clemson. Clemson may now be in the drivers seat in the ACC again depending on the Seminoles injured QB. The Tigers showed no championship hangover in a 56-3 obliteration of Kent State. Could we have Alabama-Clemson III? As of right now I’d say Alabama and Clemson are odds on favorites for 2 of the 4 spots in the Playoff. The other two? I did not see any clear cut winners. Sure, Ohio State and USC are probably who you would put your money on. But, Indiana stood toe to toe with the Buckeyes for 2.5 quarters and USC needed 28 4th quarter points to put away Western Michigan. Lets start in Ohio State’s conference. Penn State and Wisconsin didn’t play an Indiana, but Wisconsin had a very slow start before throttling Utah State 59-10. Penn State demonstrated that despite a Rose Bowl loss, they are not slowing down this year. I’m going to give the edge to Penn State. As for USC’s conference, there is no doubt who the most impressive team was: Stanford. The Cardinal dismantled Rice 62-7 and now head into a game with USC for early Pac-12 supremacy. Washington was another team, in the playoff last year, we thought had a chance to get there this year. Even though they beat Rutgers 30-14, this team was steamrolling teams last year. Can the Big 12 crash this party? Oklahoma looked like it had not switched coaches and Baker Mayfield looks as comfortable as ever as the Sooners rolled over UTEP 56-7. The other Big 12 contender Oklahoma State scored 59, but they gave up 24 to Tulsa. Oklahoma looks to carry the conference flag in Columbus against Ohio State on Saturday. So who do you put money on to be in the playoff right this second? My money is Stanford and Oklahoma. AND LEAVE THE BIG TEN OUT??? Yes, and leave the Big Ten out. Next week Oklahoma and Stanford will go on the road and beat teams that the preseason thought were better. Cementing themselves as 2 of the 4 teams in drivers seats for the Playoff. I don’t know in what order but I think Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Stanford are worth keeping an eye on. Things could change, Ohio State and USC could win. Auburn could go into Clemson and really shut the ACC is the best conference thing up. Until next weekend we won’t know. The blow that Alabama landed on Florida State, the way Michigan handled Florida, there may only be 1 representative in the New Year’s 6 from that state: South Florida. The Bulls are already 2-0 on the season and already ranked 19th in the polls. With a remaining nonconference schedule of Illinois (1-0, squeaked by Ball State) and UMASS (0-2, losses to Hawaii and Coastal Carolina), the Bulls should make the Orange Bowl this year. I know that is a long ways off, the American is not a slouch conference but South Florida has the best player in QB Quinton Flowers. Even though Texas gave up on him, Charlie Strong is one hell of a football coach and motivated. Speaking of the Longhorns, are they becoming the disappointment of the decade? 5-7 in 2010; 8-5 (Holiday Bowl Champs) in 2011; 9-4 (Alamo Bowl Champs) in 2012; 8-5 (Lost Alamo Bowl to Oregon) in 2013; 6-7 (Lost Texas Bowl to Arkansas) in 2014; 5-7 in 2015; 5-7 in 2016. Ever since that defeat at the hands of the Ducks, Texas hasn’t had an identity. They get to handpick the players, everyone in the state wants to have that Longhorn on. Talent isn’t the issue, neither is coaching. Texas still doesn’t have an identity and until they do, it is going to be rough in Austin.

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#SEC Football Best/Worst Case 2017

At this time last year Alabama was the defending national champions, and if it weren’t for the late game heroics of Desean Watson and Clemson, they would be the 2-time defending national champions. We thought that another 6 or 7 year title run was ripe for the picking but just ask LeBron about how true not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 turns out. Lets get one thing out of the way real quick-THIS IS THE BEST FOOTBALL CONFERENCE. In the SEC it just means more. That is a commercial I’m sure everyone wasn’t thrilled to get drilled into their collective heads last year but its true. I will admit that over the course of the last 2 years that this conference hasn’t lived up to expectations but the expectations are at the highest of high rungs year in and year out. I live in SEC country and you can feel the excitement in all 14 member institutions about the prospects of this upcoming year. Alabama is #1 in the preseason poll, another 5 are ranked in the Top 25. That is 6 of the 14 if you’re keeping score at home. There are hot seats annually and probably 2 of the hottest reside in College Station, TX and Knoxville, TN. Who will rise up and challenge the Tide for kings of the conference? Lets dive in. We are going to go team by team and project a best case and a worst case scenario. We will take a look back at how we fared last season and see if we were way off the mark or spot on. This is not a preseason bowl projection, just a general outline of how the season could go. In this outline, key games will be highlighted as well as any schedule quirks, if any.

Alabama

Last season: 14-1 (Defeated by Clemson in the CFP National Championship Game presented by AT&T)

Vegas projection: 10.5

If it weren’t for one final drive against Clemson, the Tide would be riding a 27 game winning streak and back to back titles. At this point having more than 2 losses in a season is considered a down year in Tuscaloosa. The best and worst case scenario was being in the College Football Playoff, check that box. IN SABAN WE TRUST. In his 9 years now as head coach the Alabama record is 101-18. That includes 4 national championships. He could be staring number 5 in the face. As always, Alabama is kicking off the year in a marquee game. This time the opponent is Florida State. Look at the schedule after that and see if there’s a guaranteed loss. Only 4 road games all year: at Vanderbilt (Sep 23), at Texas A&M (Oct 7), at Mississippi State (Nov 11), and at Auburn (Nov 25). Circle that last date, it will loom large. Par for the course. Best case: National Championship Game.

Arkansas

Last season: 7-6 (Defeated by Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

I don’t think there’s any way around the fact that last season was a disappointment. The Hogs failed to reach the 7.5 wins that Vegas projected. After starting 3-0 there was subdued excitement, they probably should not have won at TCU. Reality set in and they alternated wins and losses until the last 2 games. Arkansas raced to 24-0 leads against both Missouri and Virginia Tech only to see those leads quickly evaporate. To pour gas on this fire we had a player shoplifting and another spitting on everyone. Attention to detail must be the only focus this year in order not to have the same outcome as last. You can get all kinds of predictions in this state from the talking heads and their callers. I’ve heard everyone from 6-6 or worse to 10-2 and people are mad that that prediction was scaled back from 11-1. Back to back road games against South Carolina (Oct 7) and Alabama (Oct 14) will be part of October being the most difficult month in the season. We’ll see. Best case: Paying attention to detail allows this team to reach a 10 win season. Worst case: It’s the beginning of the end of the Bielema era and this team doesn’t make a bowl.

Auburn

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated by Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8.5

Everybody aboard the annual Auburn hype train. Vegas likes Auburn as the thorn in the Bama side for the year. While they didn’t crash the party, Auburn made the Sugar Bowl. Good season, enter another talented transfer QB-Jarrett Stidham. Remember him? Very talented dude from Baylor. Gus and his first year QB’s seem to have magic when they’re talented like this. This team is really talented across both sides of the ball, they are capable, and I imagine they are hungry to respond to the neighbors from Tuscaloosa and get in the Playoff. The only bad news I see are 3 consecutive road games: at LSU (Oct 14), at Arkansas (Oct 4), and at Texas A&M (Nov 4). Best case: College Football Playoff. Worst case: an 8-4 regular season just like last year.

Florida

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Iowa in the Outback Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8

They didn’t quite make the SEC championship game, our best case scenario from last year, but it was a pretty successful season. The defense is still legit despite losing many key contributors the last few drafts. Florida is another football factory, plug and play. Can they get any consistency from the QB position. There are 3 options for Coach McElwain to weigh as the offseason closes and the real football begins. Credit to the schedule makers in Gainesville. They open with Michigan (Sep2) but it looks good after that. Florida only has 3 road games: at Kentucky-where they always win-(Sep 23), at Missouri (Nov 4), and at South Carolina-where they usually win-(Nov 11). While I don’t like the fact that the latter two are back to back, I think Florida is talented enough (with consistent QB play) to win both. Oh and by the way, the last game is against a really good Florida State team at the Swamp. Best case: 10-11 regular season wins and in the New Year’s 6. Worst case: losing to Michigan, FSU, and the road games on their way to 7-5.

Georgia

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated TCU in the Autozone Liberty Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8.5

It was a good first season under Kirby Smart. Getting to 8 wins is nothing to sluff at, although our best case was appearing in the conference title game. Vegas thinks that Georgia will be even better this year. The talent is there, as it always is. They have to avoid letting one week’s loss have a negative impact on the next game. They lost back to back twice last season. That won’t get you far in this conference. Could they get to the SEC title game? Damn right they can, but will they? Circle these two nonconference jewels: at Notre Dame (Sep 9) and at Georgia Tech (Nov 25) to finish out the year. That in-state rivalry is fierce and both teams are probably going to be jockeying for bowl season. I want to also take your eyes to the first game of the season against Appalachian State (Sep 2). Tennessee got all they could handle from the Mountaineers a season ago. Best case: SEC Championship Game with a lot on the line. Worst case: struggling back to a 7-5 regular season.

Kentucky

Last season: 7-6 (Defeated by Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

Can you say SEC East darkhorse? It’s kinda been brewing in Lexington, although under the radar. Slowly they’ve been getting the bodies necessary to compete week in and week out. Hell they beat Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson IN Louisville last year. They were close to the 8-4 best case we outlined a year ago. This year Alabama rolls off the rotation and they get both Mississippi schools plus the Louisville (Nov 25) game is at home. Preceding that week however, Kentucky has to go on the road back to back (I’m not a fan of this) at Vanderbilt (Nov 11) and at Georgia (Nov 18). Can they split those two road games and get Louisville again to reach 9 wins? Maybe. Best case scenario: SEC East champs. Worst case: they don’t live up to the darkhorse hype and end up in Shreveport or Birmingham.

LSU

Last season: 8-4 (Defeated Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9

They didn’t even sniff the playoff or 10 wins. It was a bad season even though they did win the bowl. The talent is always here. Is Coach O the man for the job? This is his dream job. I just want to play devil’s advocate for a second. From 2005-2007 (3 years) Coach Orgeron was head coach at Ole Miss, his record: 10-25. Now he did recruit at a high level as he always does, and Houston Nutt reaped the rewards of that with a couple of 9-4 seasons and 2 Cotton Bowl wins. Okay LSU fans I’m sure I’ve upset you enough. Why does LSU have 5 SEC road games? Additionally they have to open with BYU (Sep 2) on a neutral. Someone get ahold of this scheduling nightmare. Best case: double digit regular season wins. Worst case: Coach Orgeron coaches like he did at Ole Miss and LSU has a terrible season.

Mississippi State

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated Miami (OH) in the St. Petersburg Bowl)

Vegas projection: 5.5

Having good grades allowed regular season 5-7 Mississippi State to get in a bowl game. The best case from last year was getting to bowl eligibility. Check. I think that Nick Fitzgerald is the best QB in the league, and I don’t think its by a slim margin either. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 5.5 projected wins is a gross undervalue on this team. Dan Mullen is a fine coach with a good team. It was not ever going to be easy to replace Dak Prescott (did you see what he’s done for the Cowboys?) last season. Other than a back to back road swing with Georgia and Auburn (Sep 23 & 30), all of the perceived tougher opponents have to travel to Starkvegas. Keep an eye on that Arkansas (Nov 18) game as well, its sure to have OT or a 49-45 wild west shootout. Best case: double digit regular season wins. Worst case: Vegas has it right and MSU is barely bowl eligible again.

Missouri

Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 6.5

Missouri was well on its way to a 2-10 campaign, then they shocked Vanderbilt and Arkansas in the last two home games of the season to give their fans hope that this year could be better, The worst case was something worse than a 5-7 season and we pretty much nailed that. They have a good QB, not a great one, and they have a pretty good defense. They always seem to have 2 guys up front who can bring the heat on the opposing QB and that is key in every level of football. Vegas likes them to return to a bowl this season. The good news is that all of September will be home cooking. October…not so much. 3 road games in October: at Kentucky (Oct 7), at Georgia (Oct 14), and at UCONN – what? – (Oct 28). Oh and two teams will seek revenge for last season on their home turf as Missouri finishes with back to back on the road: at Vanderbilt (Nov 18) and at Arkansas (Nov 24) – battle for the cookie cutter!! I dislike that goofy trophy. THIS SHOULD BE THE BATTLE OF THE OZARKS! Best case: exceeding the win projection to get to 7 wins. Worst case: they repeat the 4-8 from a year ago.

Ole Miss

Last season: 5-7

Vegas projection: 5.5

Bowl Ban. Hugh Freeze Resigns. I hate to be like this but you reap what you sew. This is a program in disarray after being one of the most talented teams in the country the last 2-3 years. Our worst case was that sanctions take away the 2016 and 2017 postseason, well we got that half right. On top of all that, State won the Egg Bowl. Times are rough at the Grove. The schedule doesn’t look like it will help either. 3 consecutive road games: at Cal (Sep 16), at Alabama (Sep 30), and at Auburn (Oct 7). The Egg Bowl will be the only Bowl for the Rebels this year. Best case: Matt Luke brings stability but it still results in a losing record. Worst case: The downward spiral towards worst program in football begins.

South Carolina

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl)

Vegas projection: 5.5

It was an up and down year in Coach Muschamp’s return to being the head coach of a SEC program. The exceeded the best case scenario of being a surprise 5-7 win team. Losing the bowl hurts, but those extra practices could be huge for this team heading into this season. South Carolina has a Bentley at QB, maybe he will make the steps forward into being a star. Kicking off the season against NC State (Sep 2) will tell us which one of these teams is ready to be put in the national spotlight. They bookend the schedule with the annual rivalry with Clemson, can they break Clemson’s 3 game winning streak in that game? Best case: returning to a bowl-better than the Birmingham one. Worst case: returning to the Birmingham Bowl.

Tennessee

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Nebraska in the Franklin American Music City Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

I expected more from this team last year, but after the opener when they struggled against Appalachian State I knew this was a lost season. We stated that the worst case would be in the New Year’s 6 and somehow the Volunteers played their way out of the Sugar Bowl game after game. They got rewarded with a home bowl game but that has to be the only highlight of the year. Other than Kevin Sumlin, I think Butch Jones’ seat is the hottest in the conference this year. I’m also not sure why this team is ranked in the preseason, but it is only the preseason rankings. They better get ready, 5 of the first 7 games are against good teams: Georgia Tech on a neutral (Sep 4), at Florida (Sep 16), home to Georgia and South Carolina (Sep 30 and Oct 14), then the 3rd Saturday in October game at Alabama (Oct 21). If they are better than 2-5 at this point then it will be a success. Best case: bowl eligibility. Worst case: Butch Jones is fired after the Alabama game and they finish with 4 or fewer wins.

Texas A&M

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated by Kansas State in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

Ho hum for the Aggies, start out 5 or 6 and 0 then crash and burn to 8-5. Last year we thought the best case was getting to the 6 game win prediction and they did exceed that, however eventually all of these late season collapses are going to suck any momentum and life out of this program. The schedule is one thing that is a positive, after going to Pasadena to play UCLA (Sep 3), the Aggies don’t leave the state of Texas until going to Florida (Oct 14). Its all home games after that as well until the last 2 weeks: at Ole Miss and LSU (Nov 18 & 25). Best case: start 5-0 and finish 8-5. Worst case: They do clean house this year.

Vanderbilt

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by NC State in the Camping World Independence Bowl)

Vegas projection: 6

The best case was to get to Birmingham, the Commodores won their last 2 games to get to the 6-6 mark. The last win came at the hands of Tennessee and knocked the Volunteers out of the Sugar Bowl, so that was real sweet (pun intended?). Check out this 4 game stretch this season: home Kansas State (Sep 16), home Alabama (Sep 23), at Florida (Sep 30), and home Georgia (Oct 7). That is 4 consecutive ranked opponents (assuming all are still ranked at the time of said matchups. The schedule lightens up after than, with Tennessee seeking revenge (if they aren’t a totally lost team by then) in Knoxville on Nov 25. Best case: getting back to a bowl possibly even getting 7 regular season wins. Worst case: not making a bowl and finishing 4-8.

Conclusion

Alabama is the favorite this and most every other year. I don’t believe in the QB situation in Baton Rouge or Gainesville. I do believe in Auburn this year. Whoever wins the Iron Bowl will go to the SEC Championship Game and play the Kentucky-Florida winner. I’m taking the Iron Bowl winner if that plays out.

 

 

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