Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 10 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, Playoff Projections

We had another great week of college football in week 10. The top teams in the nation got pushed, and there were some stunning upsets that all but ended the seasons of a couple teams. Check out the fallout below.

Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: Clemson, Georgia Southern, Minnesota, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Dropped from the rankings: West Virginia (20), East Carolina (24)

25 (23). LSU (7-2) – IDLE
24 (21). Boise State (6-2) – IDLE
23 (12). Georgia (6-2) – The Bulldogs at times look like the best team in the nation, and then they get blown out by a horrible Florida offense. I don’t know what to make of this team anymore. (NR). Iowa (6-2) – Iowa opened some eyes with their dismantling of a normally pretty solid Northwestern squad. They are the dark horse in the conference.
21 (NR). Oklahoma (6-2) – Trevor Knight and company got back on track with a huge offensive day against Iowa State. The Big 12 is insane.
20 (22). Colorado State (8-1) – This is a team that we really don’t know much about, but they keep piling up wins in a really decent Mountain West Conference. They are a program on the rise.
19 (14). Mississippi (7-2) – Ole Miss gets their first home loss of the year at the hands of Auburn. It’s hard to believe that they have lost two in a row after those magical first 7 games.
18 (18). Marshall (8-0) – IDLE
17 (17). Utah (6-2) – The Utes got a hard fought road loss at ASU. The Pac-12 South is up for grabs. They are all taking each other out.
16 (19). Duke (7-1) – Duke is rolling right now. They look better than they did last season and is clearly the 2nd best ACC team.
15 (8). Arizona (7-2) – For the first time, the slow offensive start for the Wildcats translated into a loss. UCLA was able to just confuse and shut them down all game.
14 (25). UCLA (7-2) – I really wish I could figure this team out. They are up and down and still the most talented team in the conference.
13 (16). Nebraska (8-1) – They won a sluggish game, but that was mostly due to Abdullah getting injured early on. They get a week off for him to get right before a key matchup in Madison.
12 (13). Ohio State (7-1) – This team is really hitting its stride and is as scary as any team in the nation with JT Barrett at the helm.
11 (10). Michigan State (7-1) – IDLE
10 (15). Arizona State (7-1) – They got one of the more impressive wins of the weekend with their gutsy victory over Utah. This team, aside from a disastrous special teams effort against UCLA, looks like one of the elite teams in the nation.
9 (11). Baylor (7-1) – The Bears continue to roll all over the weak teams and battle with the good teams. I love following that conference.
8 (6). Alabama (7-1) – IDLE
7 (5). Notre Dame (7-1) – They struggled mightily against Navy, as they usually do. Some games this team just decides to go through the motions. Remember the UNC game?
6 (9). Oregon (8-1) – The Ducks were able to open it up against Stanford for the first time in a while. This team is constantly improving.
5 (7). Auburn (7-1) – Winning in Ole Miss is nothing to take lightly. They looked like one of the nation’s elite, aside from their inconsistent pass defense. (4). Kansas State (7-1) – What makes this K-State team different than the previous ones is that this team really can score.
3 (3). TCU (7-1) – TCU got another very impressive road win in Morgantown. It is hard to fathom that it really only took two years for this program to take over the Big 12.
2 (2). Florida State (8-0) – They got another scare and another huge comeback. They can’t win it all if they come out like that against a decent team.
1 (1). Mississippi State (8-0) – They still deserve to be #1, despite a lackluster effort against Arkansas. They get a glorified bye next week before heading to Tuscaloosa.

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. Oregon (#6) at Utah (#17), 7:00PM ESPN – Oregon is not the best road team out there, and Utah is typically very tough to beat at home. I am really intrigued by the clash of styles as well.
PREDICTION: Oregon 34-27
4. Alabama (#8) at LSU (#26), 5:00PM CBS – This matchup has become an annual thriller. Even though LSU is down, they proved that they can still take care of a top ranked team in Death Valley. Can they slow up the Tide offense?
3. Ohio State (#12) at Michigan State (#11), 5:00PM ABC – Last year, in the B1G Championship Game, this game was uncompetitive. I can’t see that being the case this year. Michigan State seems incapable of losing a conference game, but this Ohio State team is frightening.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 34-30 Notre Dame (#7) at Arizona State (#10), 12:30PM ESPN – This is one of the marquee matchups of the season. ASU is coming in hot, and Notre Dame just nearly lost to Navy. What does that mean?
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 24-10
1. Kansas State (#4) at TCU (#3), 4:30PM FOX – This is the game that will likely decide the conference. K-State is still unbeaten in Big 12 play, and TCU has an offense that is relentless. This should be a stunner.
PREDICTION: Kansas State 23-21

Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – It is hard to get in when you are on a team that has a couple losses, but he is having a ridiculous season.
4. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State – He is actually asked to do a lot more for this Seminole squad, and he is racking up the Heisman moments once again. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska – The injury should not take him out of contention. If he still comes back and carries his team to a conference title, then he should be a shoo-in nominee.
2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State – He had a shaky effort this week, but he is the best player on the best team. That is almost always enough to get invited.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – He has been unbelievably efficient, and he finally beat Stanford. He is and should be the frontrunner.

College Football Playoff Projections
Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl: Mississippi State over Colorado State
Cotton Bowl: Baylor over Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl: TCU over Auburn
Orange Bowl: Oregon over Duke

College Football Playoff Semifinal #1 (Rose Bowl): Kansas State over Florida State
CFB Playoff Semifinal #2 (Sugar Bowl): Alabama over Notre Dame
National Championship Game: Alabama over Kansas State

What did you think of this weekend? Rankings? Heisman predictions? Let me know below!


  1. So according to your predictions:

    - In spite of beating the preseason #11 team by 29 points and having the shoo-in Heisman favorite -- and with only one difficult remaining game on their schedule (a game you project them to win) -- Oregon ranks only 6th in your poll and won't make the college football playoff.

    - In spite of having their next three of four games on the road against TCU, West Virginia and Baylor -- and with no conference championship game -- Kansas St will not only make the college football playoff, but appear in the championship game.

    - In spite of trailing to Navy in the 4th quarter (their third straight mediocre performance) and with upcoming road contests in Arizona St and Southern California, Notre Dame will make the college football playoff.

    - Despite being the best team in the country, Mississippi St won't make the playoff and will end up playing Colorado St?? And Ohio State will beat Michigan State??

    Those are some bold picks, my friend. The three best teams in the country are Florida St, Auburn and Oregon. The second tier is Alabama, Mississippi St and and TCU (although it's looking more and more like their only impressive win was this past weekend at West Virginia). And I know I'm a homer, but I just don't see Oregon losing the rest of the way unless there's fluke injuries or penalties (a la Arizona). I guess we'll know more about Arizona St this weekend, but giving up 62 points to any team, let alone a rather average UCLA team, sticks in your head a long way. The only thing that makes me cast doubt on this projection is that I've said this each of the last five years at this time, and it never comes to fruition. But this year is a little different because there isn't "the one team" that truly terrifies me (a la Alabama in 2012 and 2013, LSU in 2011, Auburn in 2010). Mariota is the best player in the country and is getting better every game.

    My predictions for the final four at this point are Florida St, Auburn, Oregon, and Alabama, with the Ducks winning it all.

    1. You see, Zach, this is where the new system is difficult. It is supposed to be the best four teams, yet we have the unbeatens still ranked above all 1-loss teams and all 1-loss teams above 2-loss teams. The system is one week old and already doesn't work. So, you think that Auburn and Bama will be in, meaning at least one of them will have two losses and not be in a conference title game either. That goes against their criteria. FSU won't lose, obviously, unless the Gators can somehow replicate what they did in the Cocktail Party this weekend. Plus, I wasn't really going to look at every team's schedule to project the rest of their seasons. My game predictions for this week are just picks, but there is still value in projecting those teams I pick to lose being in the CFB Playoff. You know how futures work.

      As far as Oregon, yeah, we have seen this before. They stumble with some game down the stretch no matter how much they are rolling. Yeah Mariota is still going to win the Heisman unless they lose, but I just think that whoever comes out of the ridiculous south will eventually trip them up, especially if it is ASU.

      K-State is such a tough team and had Auburn beat. I would take them on a neutral site against any team. There is no better disciplined team in the nation, and that offense is for real. The battle of the purple teams this weekend will be epic.

      Notre Dame is better than we give them credit for. They clearly look past some teams, and Navy always gives them fits. I don't hold it too much against them.

      Mississippi State will lose to Alabama, and I have this horrible feeling that they lose an ugly Egg Bowl. Their quality wins still get them in the big bowls. One of the non-AQ teams gets an automatic bid, and I think CSU will just have more quality wins than an unbeaten Marshall...and someone has to play them in that bowl. And dude, Ohio State is on fire. Sparty has not been dominant recently. This will also take away from the Ducks and the Big Ten for that matter.

      Is it weird that the best teams in the country are probably ND, K-State, and Oregon? If I remember right those were the top 3 for like 5 weeks in a row 2 years ago until K-State got taken down by Baylor and Oregon dropped to Stanford, opening the door for the Irish and a 1-loss SEC. I always thought that year was a bit of a fluke, but this is proving that those programs have really gotten back to prominence.

  2. As usual, you are completely and 100% correct. Of course Auburn and Alabama cannot both make it in the playoff, and since 'Bama will have the revenge factor working in their favor (as well as homefield advantage) you gotta think Roll Tide on November 29 (plus I don't think Auburn is THAT good). So does that mean that the SEC championship will be one loss Alabama (assuming they take care of business vs. Miss St) vs. Missouri? I guess the problem is that technically Alabama doesn't really have many impressive victories either (putting 59 on Texas A&M doesn't count anymore) so simply assuming that Saban can will them to an SEC West title may be erroneous logic in the first place. But at this point, they have to be the favorites as long as they can take care of business, meaning that Miss St, not Auburn, is the much more likely SEC team to get an invite to the playoff.

    So the question then is who the committee would pick between one-loss K-State/TCU/Baylor, Oregon, or Notre Dame. Your point is valid -- they could completely stumble along the way. But my point is that I think the Ducks have the insider's track, and if they take care of business the rest of the way, the committee would have a heck of a time trying to explain why they were excluded. I watch K State every week and of course I love them bu I really think Baylor and TCU are better. The win in Oklahoma was damn impressive, but somewhat fluky (missed PAT and chip shot FG). They've only played 2 road games, which they won by a combined total of 5 points. They have to go to Waco on December 6, where they haven't won since 2002. Of course, Baylor has never won in Norman. If TCU wins in Manhattan this weekend (like I think they will) they have a huge inside track for the Big 12, but wouldn't move above Miss St or Oregon... or would they?

    Ohio State beats up on teams like Rutgers and Illinois and suddenly they're dominant again. But whatever, we will see after this weekend -- certainly the Buckeyes want to avenge last year. Honestly, I don't really care who wins the national championship as long as that team blows out Florida St and exposes them for the frauds (on the field and off) that they are. When your toughest remaining games are Miami and Boston College at home, you don't deserve to be in championship contention (just ask Marshall). According to PFR, they have the 42nd toughest schedule in the country, just above BYU and Florida Atlantic.

    Yeah, 2012 was a good year although there's no way Notre Dame deserved to make that championship game. We'll never know what an Alabama-Oregon game would have looked like -- but I suspect we would have at least held our own unlike the Irish since the only good offense they played all year (Johnny Football) they got thoroughly beaten up by.

    1. You are right about Alabama. There is no perfect team out there. Alabama might be the most complete team, but they are still filled with flaws. The least amount of flaws I see is in Kansas State, but they aren't as dynamic or sexy as any other team in contention. I really believe that Alabama will win their last three games (all at home) and play Georgia, but I have this weird feeling that the Bulldogs will upset the Tide or whoever it is in the SEC Title Game and throw everything into chaos, especially since Georgia is no longer in playoff contention themselves. Or maybe I am just hoping for that.

      Between those Big 12 teams and Oregon and Notre Dame, I still feel like the recent success of the Irish and the name brand will pull them ahead. Kansas State has the best chance of the Big 12 teams because their loss was a field goal debacle loss to one of the class SEC teams. TCU would be a tough case, but they have almost anointed them in the past in a much lesser conference.

      FSU and Bama seem like safe bets, so long as Georgia doesn't trip them up. Then we are looking at Notre Dame (assuming with still one loss) and either a one-loss Oregon/ASU, a one-loss TCU/K-State, a one-loss Ohio St./Michigan St./Nebraska (I had to), or a one-loss Mississippi St.. I bet they take K-State, especially if the Iron Bowl is another thriller and relatively high scoring. But Oregon is certainly right there, after all, they did take the Wildcats down rather easily in a bowl a couple years ago.

      With Ohio State, I think their victory over pesky Maryland and scoring 30+ in Happy Valley are the most impressive things they have done. Trust me, that defense is much better than the frauds they had last year. And I hate them.

      Right you are about the National Championship, though. As long as it is not FSU, then I can handle it...or the Ducks. I wouldn't be able to listen to sports radio until next season.