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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: PARITY

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It's Deja Vu all over again for the Vols.
It's Deja Vu all over again for the Vols.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With four Saturdays of 2015 college football in the books, one thing is becoming more clear: Parity is reigning supreme.

At this point, no team or teams appear to be standing out above the others. All of the "power" teams from recent seasons are struggling just like the rest of them. Even in games where teams are scoring in the 60s and 70s, they are still giving up 24+ points to lower tier opponents.

Below are the Top 10 from the AP Preseason Poll (Coaches Poll had the same ten teams but in different order) released just a month ago and how they have fared to this point:

  1. Ohio State - Have not dominated any of their four wins; still #1.
  2. TCU - Close wins over Minnesota and Texas Tech dropped them to #4.
  3. Alabama - Loss to Ole Miss; currently #13.
  4. Baylor - Have played three cupcakes; currently #5.
  5. Michigan State - Beat Oregon but struggled in three cupcake games; currently #2.
  6. Auburn - 2-2 and a near miss vs. Jacksonville State; currently unranked.
  7. Oregon - Losses to Michigan State and blown out at home by Utah; currently unranked.
  8. Southern Cal - Home loss to Stanford; currently #17.
  9. Georgia - four cupcake wins; currently #8.
  10. Florida State - Had trouble with Boston College; currently #11.

Although other team have moved up into vacated top ten spots, there seems to be great doubt they can go unscathed throughout the season. We may have a two-loss champion similar to 2007. Below are the 2007 final AP rankings:

  1. LSU (60) 12-2
  2. Georgia (3) 11-2
  3. Southern Cal (1) 11-2
  4. Missouri 12-2
  5. Ohio State 11-2
  6. West Virginia 11-2
  7. Kansas (1) 12-1
  8. Oklahoma 11-3
  9. Virginia Tech 11-3
  10. Texas 10-3

* The first College Football Playoff Committee rankings will be announced released on November 3, 2015.

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Mississippi State 17 Auburn 9

Auburn changed quarterbacks but the result was not much better. In four trips inside the red zone against Mississippi State, the Tigers managed just six points. Their failures inside the 20 were glaring as Auburn outperformed MSU in most statistical categories: seven more first downs, 73 more total yards, 12+ more possession minutes, 78-62 plays ran, and turnovers were one apiece. For the Bullies, it was Dak Prescott (29-41 for 270 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 14 rush yds) and not much else.

Florida 28 Tennessee 27

Blowing leads seems to be a pattern for the Vols. They were up 17-0 on Oklahoma earlier this season before losing 31-24. Last season, they were up 9-0 entering the fourth quarter against the Gators before yielding the final 10 points of the game. In 2012, Florida scored the final 24 points for a come-from-behind win. Saturday, it was again the Gators who erased a 13-point deficit in 4th quarter to win by a point. How much longer the Orange Nation keep believing in Butch Jones will be interesting to watch. UT QB Joshua Dobbs had 136 yards rushing but only 83 through the air. UF's Will Grier had 283 passing yards on 23 of 42 passing, 2 TDs and an INT.

Utah 62 Oregon 20

The Utes are starting to look like the class of the Pac-12. Travis Wilson returned from a shoulder sprain and threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns and led all rushers with 100 yards on six runs and a score. The Ducks grad-transfer Vernon Adams, that Oregon worked so hard to pilfer from Eastern Washington, was benched after completing only 2 passes on 7 attempts. This loss likely eliminates the Quack Attack from any playoff possibility.

Ohio State 38 Western Michigan 12

The Buckeyes retain their tenuous hold on the #1 ranking but for how long? Cardale Jones was only slightly better than his debacle from last week going 19 of 33 for 288 yards, but hitting only 6 of 14 in the second half with an interception against a bad WMU team (1-3). J.T. Barrett replaced Jones in the final 6:34 and threw an interception on his first drive. OSU tallied 12 penalties for 86 yards.

East Carolina 35 Virginia Tech 28 - The Hokies losing to a non-P5 team does not bode well for the Buckeyes but makes the rest of us happy.
Duke
34 Georgia Tech 20 – For a minute there, Tech fans (both of them) were getting all uppity about how they were going to the playoffs [See "ELIMINATED" section below].
TCU 55 Texas Tech 52 - The Horned Frogs avoided an embarrassing loss to the Red Raiders on a fluke deflected touchdown catch corralled in the back of the end zone with 23 seconds left. I hope the Committee is paying attention!
Southern Cal 42 Arizona State 14 - The Sun Devils (2-2) make their way back to their level.
UCLA 56 Arizona 30 – How 'Zona was ranked #16 is beyond me.

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GRAB BAG

Alabama 34 ULM 0 – The Crimson Tide worked out their anger on the poor Warhawks. ULM managed 92 total offensive yards and 90 yards in penalties.
Ole Miss 27 Vanderbilt 16 – One week after upsetting Bama, this was a trap game for the Rebs. Fortunately for them, the opponent was the woeful Commodores. Ole Miss clung to a 20-16 lead before scoring with 6:47 to go. Chad Kelly threw two interceptions. Sound familiar? I see losses in their near future. #WAOM
Texas A&M 28 Arkansas 21 – OT - The Hogs had this one in the bag up by 8 points with 4 minutes left until Kyle Allen shredded the Arkansas secondary to send the game into overtime. True frosh Christian Kirk amassed 173 yards and 2 TDs including the game winner.
Kentucky 21 Missouri 13 - Mizzou has been flirting with disaster for too long now and it finally caught up with them. Jeckyl and Hyde Maty Mauk was 15 of 30. Patrick Towles was pretty darn good completing 22 of 27 for 249 and two scores.
Michigan 31 BYU 0 – Wow, what has happened to the Cougs?
Oklahoma State 30 Texas 27 - The L's keep piling up. The Longhorns are 37-31 since losing to Bama in the 2009-2010 BCS National Championship Game.
Cal 30 Washington 24 – The undefeated Bears getting' no respect, man. Don't worry Cal fans. The schedule will tell the story soon enough (@ UTAH 10/10, @ UCLA 10/22, vs SoCal, @ ORE 11/7).
Navy 28 UConn 18 and Army 58 Eastern Michigan 36 - a good day for our future armed forces officers.

Cupcakes

Nomnomnom (Photo by CB969 - RBR Sports)

Georgia 48 Southern U. 6 – Shameless scheduling for UGA. Greyson Lambert was 9 of 10 in his adorable little teeny tiny baby passes. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined to run for 206 and accounted for 5 total touchdowns.
LSU 34 Syracuse 24 - Leonard Fournette's one-man show rolls on with 26 carries and 244 yards against the Men of Orange. Now we know why Les Miles did not make up the McNeese State rain out. He is going to run LF into the ground.
South Carolina 31 UCF 14 - Lorenzo Nunez appears to be the new SC QB FWTW. Is this thing on?
Baylor 70, Rice 17 - Impressed? yeah, me neither. Schedule up, Art Briles! Not Down!
Notre Dame 62, UMass 27 - Hey, congrats on the 62 but the Irish gave up 27 to a team that played their first full FBS schedule in 2013.
Michigan State 30 Central Michigan 10 – Brett Favre clap.
Louisville 45 Samford 3 – Congrats Petrino on your first win!
Northwestern 24 Ball State 19 – I'm not gonna talk about Northwestern. I'm not gonna talk about Northwestern. I'm not gonna talk about Northwestern...

~~~~~

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Arky (1-3) and Auburn (2-2) continue to flounder.
Wisconsin (3-1) shuts out Hawaii 28-0.
Middle Tennessee
(2-2) put up a good fight but came up short at Illinois 27-25.
Charleston Southern (3-1) defeated Citadel 33-20.

~~~~~

ELIMINATED:

All non-Power 5 teams (Notre Dame is still alive).
ARIZONA STATE
GEORGIA TECH
SYRACUSE
VIRGINIA TECH
Arkansas
Auburn
Boise
Boston College
Byu
Colorado
Duke
Illinois
Iowa State
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisville
Maryland
Minnesota
Nebraska
Oregon State
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
South Carolina
Texas
North Carolina
Vandy
Virginia
Wake Forest
Washington
Wazzu

It is tempting to include Tennessee (2-2), Mizzou (3-1), and even Arizona (3-1) on this list, but ya know: 2007 and all that.

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THE CONTENDERS

The Pac-12 started their elimination rounds this past week. Oregon and 'Zona fall by the wayside.

Clemson and Notre Dame face off this weekend. The Big-12 will be picking each other off this coming Saturday as well.

Below is a theorized breakdown of teams that could make it into the playoff:

  • ACC (0 or 1) - Clemson or FSU or none. Weak conference, no superpower.
  • Big Ten (1) - Ohio State/Michigan State winner or Wisconsin. OSU vs MSU (Nov. 21) will likely erase one team with the winner playing Wisky in the B1GCG.
  • Big 12 (0 or 1) - Oklahoma, TCU, or Baylor. The Playoff Committee sent a loud message that Conference Championships weigh heavy. Bob Bowlsby & Co. have repeatedly chosen to ignore this. They likely get one team in at most.
  • PAC-12 (1 or 2) - UCLA, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, or So Cal. This will clear up in the next two weeks. See the TV section below.
  • SEC (1 or 2) - Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama.
  • Notre Dame (ugh) - Still have Clemson, Southern Cal, and Stanford to get by.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to Paul Johnson's antiquated triple option at Georgia Tech, Arizona schools (except the University of Phoenix. They have an awesome stadium and are undefeated in it), and of course... Aubie being ranked top 10 back in August.

~~~~~

Sad_face_medium

  • Alabama's Jonathan Allen left the ULM game with a sore shoulder but should be available for the UGA game. Running back Bo Scarbrough has been cleared medically and his NCAA suspension is over. He should finally see the field in some fashion this Saturday against Georgia. DB Jabriel Washington should be available as well.
  • ULM's leading receiver Rashon Ceaser came down awkwardly on his right ankle and will be out "for an extended period of time". He left Bryant-Denny Stadium on a cart.
  • Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel had to be carted off the field after taking a hard hit at the end of a run against Memphis. He will be a game time decision against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.
  • Arizona's star LB and media darling Scooby Wright sprained his foot against UCLA and will be out several weeks.
  • TCU WR Ty Slanina out for season with broken collarbone. He was the team's third leading receiver.

Practice?

  • UCLA lost All-Pac-12 linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending knee injury during practice last Tuesday. He has likely played his last snap for the Bruins as the junior projects as a first rounder in the 2016 NFL Draft.
  • Florida State second leading rusher Mario Pender is out vs. Wake Forest because of a collapsed lung - also occurring during practice! Iverson does not approve.
  • Florida had nine players show up for Monday practice with the flu.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • The NC State Wolfpack were quite the rude guests after so kindly being invited to visit Ladd-Peebles Stadium by South Alabama: 63-13.
  • Toledo upended Arkansas State 37-7 to remain unbeaten. QB Phillip Ely was 25-52 for 308 yds.
  • Memphis edges out Cincinnati and Tommy Tuberville (#NeverForget) in a Thursday night shootout 53-46. The two teams combined for 99 points, 12 lead changes, 1,322 yards. Three Cincinnati receivers finished with more than 120 receiving yards for the night. Twenty players overall caught at least one pass. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch was the leading rusher on the night with 52 yards.

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ODD STAT OF THE DAY

8-5: In the seasons following Heisman wins for Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III, their coinciding teams fell to 8-5 with Texas A&M one better at 9-4. Could Oregon be next?

Year Winner Team Next Year Record
2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma 8-5
2009 Mark Ingram, Jr.
Alabama 10-2
2010 Cam Newton Auburn 8-5
2011 Robert Griffin III Baylor 8-5
2012 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M 9-4
2013 Jameis Winston Florida State 13-1
2014 Marcus Mariota Oregon 2-2 so far

Oregon still has to play at Arizona State, at Stanford, and home games vs. Cal and Southern Cal.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of one year, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

  • Who Will Win - Leonard Fournette is getting ALL the love now that he is going all 200+ yards on everyone. He has 73 carries for 631 yards and 8 TDs in just three games. He had 10 scores all of last year.
  • Who Should Win - Fournette is the ONLY offense LSU has. How much is Les Miles willing to ride him? UGA's Nick Chubb is right behind him 71 for 599, 6 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD in four games but he has back-ups to help him. So Cal's Cody Kessler is putting up some good numbers: 73.0% completion rate, 10.6 ypc  201.2 QB rating, 15 TDs and only one interception.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Worst FBS Game of the Week:
New Mexico State at New Mexico 8:00 PM - Channel 8812bNW on your Satellite.
Worst P5 Game of the Week
Kansas at Iowa State 12:00 PM - FOX Sports SouthFSR-4cBluetxt-color-hi-res.png

SEC:

South Carolina at Missouri 11am/12pm, SECN
San Jose State at Auburn 3pm/4pm, SECN
Ole Miss at Florida 6pm/7pm, ESPN  ESPN
Arkansas at Tennessee 6pm/7pm, ESPN2
E Michigan at LSU 6pm/7pm, ESPNU ESPNU
Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee 6pm/7pm, CBSSN
Mississippi St at Texas A&M 6:30pm/7:30pm, SECN
E Kentucky
at Kentucky 6:30/7:30, SECN Alt

NATIONAL GAMES OF INTEREST:

Purdue at Michigan State 11am/12pm, ESPN2 - Smell an upset? Me neither.
Minnesota at Northwestern 11am/12pm BTN - Possible elimination for NW
Iowa at Wisconsin 11am/12pm, ESPN  ESPN - Bama strength of schedule
West Virginia at Oklahoma 11am/12pm FOXS1Fox Sports 1-logo - WVU is creeping up on us.
Texas at TCU 11am/12pm, ABCABC
Air Force at Navy 2:30pm/3:30pm CBSSN - first round of the Commander's Cup
Florida State at Wake Forest 2:30pm/3:30pm,  ESPN ESPN - zzzzz
North Carolina at Georgia Tech 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPNUESPNU
Texas Tech at Baylor 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABC or ESPN2 - Can Tech keep those good vibrations going?
Ohio State at Indiana 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABC or ESPN2 - IU's Jordan Howard averaging 169 ypg.
South Alabama at Troy 6pm/7pm espn3 - Time for the Jags to step up!
Arizona State at UCLA 6:30pm/7:30pm, FOX FOX wordmark.svg
Notre Dame at Clemson 7pm/8pm ABC ABC- Potential elimination game?
Michigan at Maryland 7pm/8pm BTN

CAN'T SLEEP?
Hawaii at Boise 9:15/10:15 ESPN2
Arizona at Stanford 9:30/10:30 PAC12

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA


ALABAMA at Georgia 2:30/3:30, CBS - Unka Verne, Gary D. and Allie LaForceBeWithYou

#RollTide!