Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 2 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, Playoff Projections

Week 2 brought us a lot of exciting games, including Auburn being exposed against FCS foe Jacksonville State and Arkansas getting upended at home by Toledo. Oklahoma had a huge comeback on the road. Notre Dame escaped with a win, despite losing Heisman frontrunner Malik Zaire for the season. It’s all happening!
Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes:  Auburn, Boise State, California, Texas Tech, Toledo, Western Kentucky
Dropped from the rankings: Auburn (18), Boise State (20), Arkansas (21)

25 (25). BYU (2-0) – After a second consecutive miraculous win for the Cougars, they still can’t really rise in the rankings. That type of luck isn’t sustainable.
24 (24). Arizona State(1-1) – They treaded water for four quarters against FCS foe Cal Poly, but they came out on top. The Big Sky is as good as a couple FBS conferences.
23 (NR). Wisconsin (1-1) – The Badgers took out their frustration on Miami Ohio, winning 58-0. They will slowly climb the rankings as the season goes on.
22 (15). Florida State (2-0) – The Seminoles looked really bad against South Florida. Maybe Everett Golson isn’t the right guy under center.
21 (23). Arizona (2-0) – Playing in Nevada seemed like a trap game, but the Wildcats prevailed and really looked a lot better than in week one.
20 (NR). Kansas State (2-0) – K-State has only given up 3 points in the first 2 weeks. Good enough for me…but no one wants to pay attention to Coach Snyder’s squad.
19 (NR). Utah (2-0) – Utah took down in-state foe Utah State in week two. The Utes, unfortunately, are in the best division in college football (5/6 ranked teams).
18 (22). West Virginia (2-0) – The Mountaineers look to have a much better team than their disappointing 2014 campaign. They are going to surprise some teams in the Big 12 with an actual defense to go with the Holgorson offense.
17 (11). Clemson (2-0) – Clemson has been a bit underwhelming early on. They didn’t necessarily do anything to drop in the rankings, but they also didn’t do anything to sustain their spot.
16 (19). Mississippi (2-0) – I am not buying into the Rebels just yet. So what they can score almost 150 points against weak teams…let’s see how they do in Tuscaloosa next week.
15 (17). LSU (1-0) – LSU got a gutsy, close win on the road in their first game of the season. This team could wind up being a playoff contender.
14 (10). Baylor (2-0) – You simply cannot give up 31 points to Lamar.
13 (9). Oregon (1-1) – The Ducks performed admirably in a nearly impossible game to win in East Lansing. I actually have a bit more respect for the Ducks after this game.
12 (12). UCLA (2-0) – I am not going to buy completely into the Bruins like last year until I see them win a big game. They look awfully good so far, though.
11 (16). Northwestern (2-0) – Northwestern followed up their pounding of Stanford with a shutout at home. I might have them a bit high, but that defense is ferocious.
10 (7). Georgia (2-0) – The Bulldogs are going to run the ball on any defense they play, but the defense isn’t quite up to what it needs to be.
9 (13). Oklahoma (2-0) – Coming back from 17 down on the road in a hostile environment was mightily impressive for Baker Mayfield and company. This seems like one of those teams that just will not go away.
8 (14). Georgia Tech (2-0) – The Justin Thomas-led offense is humming like no running attack in years. The Yellow Jackets have got to be the favorite in the ACC, and they have a real shot at the playoffs if they can survive their schedule.
7 (8). Texas A&M (2-0) – The Aggies have a killer offense and a dynamic defensive line. That should be good enough to make real noise in the SEC West.
6 (2). Notre Dame (2-0) – Beating Virginia on the road is ok, but doing it how they did it was a real accomplishment. They lose their starting QB for the season, but their backup comes in and leads the game winning drive with under 30 seconds left. I just can’t see them going unbeaten anymore without Zaire.
5 (5). Alabama (2-0) – Alabama had a sandwich game with Middle Tennessee, and they looked as solid as possible. This team is going to be really tough to beat by anyone.
4 (3). TCU (2-0) – They looked much more potent on offense against an FCS opponent. I am not completely sure what to make of them, but they will get it all working by conference season.
3 (6). Michigan State (2-0) – Sparty had the most impressive win of the season so far, and they made a real case for being the most balanced team out there.
2 (4). USC (2-0) – The Trojans look like world beaters. The defense is playing outstanding, and Cody Kessler is the real deal. Watch out.
1 (1). Ohio State (2-0) – They are the best, scariest team since 2001 Miami. If you vote for anyone else, you are lying.

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. Stanford at USC (#2), 5:00PM ABC – Stanford may look ugly on offense, but the defense is still there. This has become an interesting game year in and year out, no matter what the teams look like.
4. Auburn at LSU (#15), 12:30PM CBS – Yeah, Auburn is the current laughing stock in college football, but never underestimate Gus Malzahn. Remember in their near title run in 2013 they almost lost to Washington State early. They can totally win this game.
3. BYU (#25) at UCLA (#12), 7:30PM FS1 – BYU really put together a schedule that is going to challenge them, and they look really good with a backup QB taking all the snaps. This will be a test for Josh Rosen, true freshman QB for UCLA.
2. Mississippi (#16) at Alabama (#5), 6:15PM ESPN – Ole Miss will not score 73 against Alabama. They do have the type of offense that give the Tide fits, though, and they did beat them last year. Revenge game? Yes.
PREDICTION: Alabama 31-16
1. Georgia Tech (#8) at Notre Dame (#6), 12:30PM NBC – These are two of the early season surprises. The Notre Dame defense is terrifying, as is the Yellow Jacket rushing attack. I love this matchup.
PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 23-21

Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama – In that offense, he is going to be able to do whatever he wants. He might be splitting carries, but he is going to have the ball when it matters. Sometimes, that is enough.
4. Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech – He is the leader of that relentless rushing attack, and maybe the best throwing quarterback that Paul Johnson has had. If they come out on top against Notre Dame, then we will hear a lot about him.
3. Cody Kessler, QB, USC – He is the best quarterback in the nation, and it is a quarterback award usually. He could be on his way to being the most efficient quarterback of all time.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State – I am not sure if it is possible for him to finish with under 100 yards in any game, no matter the number of carries.
1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia – He is going to put up insane numbers in that offense. If they can keep winning, this might be an easy vote.

College Football Playoff Projections
Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl: Georgia Tech over Texas A&M
Rose Bowl: Michigan State over UCLA
Fiesta Bowl: TCU over Western Kentucky
Sugar Bowl: Oregon over Mississippi

College Football Playoff Semifinal #1 (Orange Bowl): Ohio State over Oklahoma
CFB Playoff Semifinal #2 (Cotton Bowl): USC over Alabama
National Championship Game: Ohio State over USC

What did you think of this week 2? Who is your Heisman frontrunner? Let me know below!

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