Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 5 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, BCS Projections

It was a thrilling week in college football. Lane Kiffin got fired after a beat-down by Arizona State. Alabama shut (out/up) Bo Wallace and Ole Miss. The northwest had monsoon-like conditions for a few of the top teams in the country who all rolled to victories. All the “experts” talk about how LSU at Georgia was going to be a defensive struggle, yet I called it a shootout. Who was right? 44-41 final score should tell the story. Check out how week 5 is reflected in my new rankings/projections:

Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: Florida, Houston, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, UCF, Wisconsin
Dropped from the rankings: Wisconsin (20), UCF (22)

25 (NR). Maryland (4-0) – IDLE. Next week: at Florida State. That blowout/shutout win over West Virginia looks pretty good now. This could be a bonehead inclusion after they play in Tallahassee next week, but they have been strong so far this season. Randy Edsall has his boys believing.
24 (19). Arizona State (3-1) – The Sun Devils could score at will against USC, but they also gave up some 41 points to a team that was struggling offensively. That does not bode well for their chances in the South division.
23 (NR). Northern Illinois (4-0) – After blowing out Purdue on the road, they are the first MAC team with two wins over the Big Ten in the same season. They are going to threaten another potential BCS bowl appearance.
22 (21). Michigan (4-0) – IDLE. Next week: vs Minnesota.
21 (17). Mississippi (3-1) – They were the latest shutout victim by Alabama, which there is no shame in, but for a team talking as much trash as they were, that has got to be discouraging and humbling.
20 (14). Oklahoma State (3-1) – Just when you want to count out West Virginia, they take out the #1 team in the conference. The Cowboys looked a bit lost throughout the game for the first time. Morgantown isn’t exactly the most hostile of crowds in the Big 12. They are going to need to get it together and soon.
19 (24). Fresno State (4-0) – They had one of those classic 9:00PM pickoffs in Hawaii that a team could sleepwalk through. Their offense was as on fire as it has been all year.
18 (18). Northwestern (4-0) – IDLE. Next week: vs Ohio State.
17 (25). Miami (4-0) – The Canes looked fantastic against the worst team in the nation, the South Florida Bulls. At some point, you have to think they will not show up. That hasn’t happened yet. Morris and Johnson have been scary good early on.
16 (15). Texas Tech (4-0) – IDLE. Next week: at Kansas.
15 (16). South Carolina (3-1) – They were down at the half and had lost their starting quarterback. They could have folded, but instead they came out furiously and took control of the game immediately on the road. Impressive effort by the Cocks.
14 (23). Oklahoma (4-0) – Here we go again…the Sooners look unbeatable early in the year, only to probably disappoint down the stretch again. Same story for the Bob Stoops-era Oklahoma squad.
13 (12). LSU (4-1) – The Tigers have now shown that they can put up the monster numbers in the SEC, and that Cam Cameron has suddenly turned Mettenberger into a top 5 QB in the conference.
12 (11). Texas A&M (3-1) – Johnny Football and company were able to escape with another shootout victory, this time at Arkansas in front of a ruckus crowd.
11 (13). Georgia (3-1) – The win against LSU proved that they still do not have a defense, but that offense can score on anyone. They have a terrific chance of not losing any SEC games.
10 (10). Louisville (4-0) – IDLE. Next week: at Temple.
9 (9). UCLA (3-0) – IDLE. Next week: at Utah.
8 (5). Florida State (4-0) – There is something always missing with hyped-up Florida State teams. The defense just decided it was ok to give up 34 points to a lame duck Boston College offense. They are going to need to get a lot better to contend for an ACC title.
7 (8). Ohio State (5-0) – The Buckeyes had an impressive win over a tough Wisconsin squad. Braxton Miller looked terrific in his return to the lineup. They are starting to look like the preseason #2 team in the country.
6 (7). Baylor (3-0) – IDLE. Next week: vs West Virginia.
5 (6). Washington (4-0) – They were able to blow out Arizona, who isn’t a great team, but one that came in rolling. The Huskies are for real, and with Stanford and Oregon coming up I consecutive weeks, they could prove to be the nation’s best team if they are able to spring the upsets.
4 (4). Clemson (4-0) – The Tigers jumped out to a big lead early and never let up. When they are hitting on all cylinders, I do not know who can beat them.
3 (3). Stanford (4-0) – They had the most impressive result of the week with a hammering of a confident and improved Washington State team in front of a crazy crowd at the Seahawks home stadium. They looked like the Stanford teams who pushed around the entire conference two years ago.
2 (2). Alabama (4-0) – They had one of the more confusing results of the season. Their defense had not been dominant, yet they were able to shut out perhaps the best pure offense they have played yet. The Tide are gearing up for another title run.
1 (1). Oregon (4-0) – The played in stupid conditions in Eugene, but they were seemingly unaffected by it when Cal looked like a bunch of fools. They did nothing to lose the top spot.

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. BYU at Utah State, Friday 5:00PM CBS Sports Network – The Utah in-state matchups are all going to be amazing this year. It may be the best trio of teams the state has ever had. Chuckie Keeton vs Taysom Hill. Should be electric.
4. Maryland (#25) at Florida State (#8), 9:00AM ESPN – This is an intriguing matchup. Stefon Diggs and company are going to be able to score, but can they slow up Winston? No team has been able to do that yet.
3. TCU at Oklahoma (#14), 4:00PM FOX – TCU has looked mighty impressive defensively since losing to LSU on the opening weekend. This is the type of game that the Sooners like to drop. Ohio State (#7) at Northwestern (#18), 5:00PM ABC – Northwestern is always a team that pushes the top B1G teams. This time, the Wildcats have their best squad in decades. Ohio State would be foolish to look any further than this game.
1. Washington (#5) at Stanford (#3), 7:30PM ESPN – No real surprise here, right? The game in Seattle last season, the last game that Stanford lost, was a hard-fought and low-scoring affair. Look for some more offense this time around a terrific game in front of a half-full stadium in Palo Alto.

Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor – So far, he has put up video game numbers. If he can do the same in games against Oklahoma and his Texas state rivals, then he will be invited for sure.
4. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State – It doesn’t matter the venue or situation he is in. He looks like a seasoned veteran. Next year may be his time, but he is threatening this year.
3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – He seems to get better and better each week. If they go unbeaten, he could potentially take the first Heisman Trophy in school history.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – He has led his team to victories in every way possible. He is going to torch every SEC defense and probably win this thing again.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – He will be the top contender all season, unless they lose a game. That seems unlikely at this point.

BCS Projections
Rose Bowl – Ohio State over Washington
Orange Bowl – Clemson over Louisville
Sugar Bowl – Texas A&M over Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl – Baylor over Northern Illinois
BCS Championship Game – Oregon over Alabama

What did you think of this weekend? Thoughts? Give me your rankings in the comments!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Power Rankings: SNL Season 38 (2012-2013) Hosts

With Season 39 of Saturday Night Live starting tonight, I thought I would look back on the last season and rank the hosts that graced the stage throughout.  Some were great surprises while some greatly disappointing.  No one was terrible, but some were obviously superior.  All had their funny moments.  So here is the countdown of the 21 hosts from last year.

NOTE: Due to SNL and the tight grip they keep their material under when it comes to online viewing, I was not able to attach videos of the different referenced sketches.  However, you can find some of them either through the Saturday Night Live website, Hulu, or YouTube.

21.  Christina Applegate (Episode 4)
This was the second time she had hosted but the first time since her Married ... With Children days.  She really should have kept it at that one appearance.  I mean, she was in the original "Matt Foley Motivational Speaker" sketch.  Very early on in the episode you could tell Christina decided her way of succeeding was to do her best Kristen Wiig impression.  Although it wasn't bad, there is only one Wiig.
Best Sketch - "Choreographer" - A past-her-prime Liza Minnelli wanna-be teaches a group of simpletons how to dance with Fosse jazz hands.

20.  Melissa McCarthy (Episode 17)
I don't know why, but I just don't find her as funny as everyone else does.  Her monologue was great as she came out in ridiculously high heels she literally couldn't walk in and continued to do a dance number from her knees because of it.  However, the sketches were not great for the most part.
Best Sketch - "Pizza Business" - Barb Kellner goes to the bank to get a small business loan to start a pizza business where she eats people's leftover pizza instead of throwing it out.

19.  Vince Vaughn (Episode 18)
I was really looking forward to this episode, but it was one of the most disappointing of the season.  His monologue was strong as he interacted with the crowd to perfection.  However, much like Melissa McCarthy, it was all downhill from there.
Best Sketch - "Short Term Memory Loss Theater" - A doctor decides to start a theater group of his short-term memory loss patients, but all of them forget what they were supposed to do once they get on stage.

18.  Ben Affleck (Episode 21)
The season finale had many highlights with several cast members leaving the show.  However, few of the highlights came from the newest member of the "5-Timers Club."  There's a reason none of the other members showed up for his induction: it wasn't worth it.
Best Sketch - "Bengo F--- Yourself" - Iranian President Ahmadinejad makes his own movie in response to the "blasphemous" Best Picture winner Argo.  Ahmadinejad plays Affleck (who has to say "Park the car in Harvard yard" before every line to find his Boston accent), and Affleck plays a sound tech.  When asked why he would be in such a movie, Affleck says (barely able to hold back the laughter) "I've always wanted to be in a movie worse than Gigli."

17.  Jamie Foxx (Episode 9)
Jamie Foxx was another host that could have been amazing.  Foxx used to do sketch comedy!  So much of this just fell flat once again.  He did help jump start some great sketches that became recurring hits throughout the season though.
Best Sketch - "Maine Justice" - A court room in Maine is run by a group of Hurricane Katrina refugees that never went back to New Orleans.  And let the hilarity ensue.

16.  Kevin Hart (Episode 15)
Kevin Hart strikes me as the type of talent whose skills fit perfectly for SNL (and he even mentioned his SNL audition, and rejection, in his monologue).  Although there were some good moments, it overall was underwhelming.  However, his DeNiro impression was pretty great.
Best Sketch - "Z-Shirt" - The best of the commercial sketches of the year featuring a host was definitely this one about a new line of shirts called Z-shirts.  It's not an ordinary shirt, it's a Z-shirt.  "Is it an A-shirt?"  "Is it a B-shirt?" (5 minutes later) "Is it a Y-shirt?"  Said only as Kevin Hart can.

15.  Daniel Craig (Episode 3)
007 does comedy, and it actually wasn't half bad.  Who knew he could do comedy?  Well, he can pretty much do anything.  It was pretty much on par with Kevin Hart's episode, but the expectations were lower for Craig so the performance seemed better.
Best Sketch - "Construction Workers" - A group of construction workers are talking at the water cooler, and one of them doesn't quite know how to use all the lingo quite right.  Guess which one that was...

14.  Jennifer Lawrence (Episode 11)
Right before Jennifer Lawrence became an Oscar winner, she became an SNL host.  Her monologue was one of the best parts, as she talked trash about all her competition for the Oscar while complementing them at the same time.  Of course, there had to be the shameless Hunger Games sketch which was not that impressive.
Best Sketch - "Girlfriends Talk Show" - A sketch that became a recurring bit this last season starred Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong as tween best friends hosting a show, but Cecily always brings a friend that acts a little older and ruins all the planned sketches.  Lawrence goes goth and completely nails it.  "My band is called Vag Hat.  Does that scare anyone?"  Aidy's plans are ruined as she wanted to talk about guinea pigs and ended up talking about New York bisexuals instead.

13.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Episode 2)
JGL has hosted before and has shown he is a great host for the show.  This was not one of his best efforts, but it was still a worthy outing.  His ridiculous Magic Mike monologue was a bit much though.
Best Sketch - "Tres Equis" - You can probably guess the premise of this one.  "He is the son of the most interesting man in the world."  "I don't always drink beer, but when I do I drink Tres Equis because it's one better than my dad's."

12.  Adam Levine (Episode 12)
He actually appeared on the show twice in season 38, once as a musical guest with Maroon 5 and this one as a host.  The monologue mocked "The Voice" as Cameron Diaz, Andy Samberg, and Jerry Seinfeld gave him advice on how to host.  This episode also gave me one of my favorite sketches of the season even though Adam Levine had very little to do with it.  Bill Hader's firefighter freak out when Levine shows up with his ex-girlfriend Rula.  Priceless.
Best Sketch - "YOLO" - With a guy like Levine hosting, Samberg and the Lonely Island crew came back to shoot the only digital short of the season, and it was definitely worthy.  The basis of the song was taking the YOLO motto and flipping it.  You only live once so you better not take any risks.  Adam Levine's voice was perfect, and watching Kendrick Lamar rap about 401k's was icing on the cake.

11.  Jeremy Renner (Episode 8)
Here is another actor who is one of the last ones you think of when it comes to comedy, however Jeremy Renner pulls it off.  His best moment of the night was the monologue, where he sings songs about some of his recent movies (his Kings of Leon parody of "Someone Like You" being the best).  The sketches were solid, but this was his best of the night.
Best Sketch - "The Morgue" - Picking a best sketch was hard since the monologue was the highlight, however this one was pretty funny.  Renner's brother died, and he needs to identify the body (Taran Killam) as next of kin.  Somehow he doesn't get it, and goes from saying it is Yao Ming to thinking it's him dead.  As the answers get more ridiculous, Bill Hader as the morgue tech does everything in his power to make Taran crack as the dead corpse, but is unsuccessful.  He is a rock!

10.  Justin Bieber (Episode 13)
Easily the biggest surprise of the SNL season was the episode featuring Justin Bieber as one of the three double duty host/musical guests of the season.  When I heard he was hosting, I rolled my eyes much like I did when I heard Miley Cyrus would be hosting in a few weeks.  However, he was great.  He had no problem of making fun of himself or putting himself in almost any situation.  This episode produced another one of my favorite sketches of the year when Bieber accidentally says "It's glice to meet you," and Taran Killam didn't let him forget it.  "GLICE?!?  WHAT?!?"  Hilarious!
Best Sketch - "Bieber Doubles" - The "Glice" sketch may have been the best sketch of the night, but Bieber's best sketch was actually one that turned into a Bieber bashing party.  In the "Bieber Doubles" sketch, Bieber's new head of security invokes a new security strategy by using multiple stunt doubles (played by every member of the cast except Sudeikis who was the head of security).  When he asks why, the only answer he gets is, "Hey, it worked for Saddam."  When Beiber realizes there are even girls in the group, the explanation is, "Yeah, that's our A-team."  When he is forced to sing to prove how his voice changed, the response from the guys is, "Wow, they must have dropped."  The only one Bieber says looks like him turns out to be Kate McKinnon dressed up like Ellen.  It's always refreshing to know someone like Justin Bieber doesn't really take himself as seriously as it seems.

9.  Louis C.K.  (Episode 6)
The episode immediately following Superstorm Sandy, a still almost abandoned New York City came back to life with Louis C.K.'s night on SNL.  This episode was just fun.  From the monologue, where Louie so unashamedly just did 5 minutes of his stand-up routine (even got a hand-held mic up there), to the closing sketch, you could tell the cast was having as much fun as Louie and the audience was.  Louie is not much of an actor, but it's hard to teach that level of funny.
Best Sketch - "Last Call" - Although many would say Louie's portrayal of Lincoln walking the streets of NYC telling black people "You're welcome" was the best sketch of the night, my favorite was the last sketch of the night.  It's last call at the local pub, and Louie and a early-90's dolled-up Kate McKinnon are the last two at the bar.  It becomes quite obvious that they both decide they are drunk enough and desperate enough to just hook up since they are the last ones left, but the drunken flirtations that led up to them leaving together were priceless.

8.  Zach Galifianakis  (Episode 19)
He is one of the most naturally funny people around.  In a lot of ways, this episode was similar to the Melissa McCarthy episode (invent situations for the host to do their thing as much as possible).  The difference was simply in the execution.  The Game of Game of Thrones sketch was great with Zach dressed up as a dragon on a game show, and his closing of having a stand-in for his house party video so John Hamm could show up later was just ridiculously funny.  A cameo by The Hangover crew doesn't hurt either.
Best Sketch - "Racist M&M" - The scene: an M&M Store with Galifianakis dressed up as the life-size M&M being forced to apologize to the rest of the staff in the store for all the racial slurs he dropped in the first four hours he was on the job.  That's about all you need to know.  Let the awkwardness and hilarity ensue.

7.  Anne Hathaway  (Episode 7)
Seriously, is there anything Anne Hathaway can't do?  She started out as a Disney princess, has done rom-com's, found some serious roles, has now won an Oscar, and has become a very reliable SNL host.  Her monologue was my all-time favorite of the season as the whole cast slowly found their way on the stage as they rewrote the epic Les Miserables song "One Day More" to be about the end of a crazy work week at SNL.  It was ridiculous, but so good at the same time.  Also, her impressions of Katie Holmes and Claire Danes via Carrie Matheson were scary good.
Best Sketch - "The Legend of Mokiki" - Oh my word, I loved this!  It started as Taran Killam just wondering around NYC being insane, but then Anne Hathaway hops in, and they they do the Sloppy Swish together.  It had me laughing at its sure ridiculousness from start to finish.

6.  Christoph Waltz  (Episode 14)
Now we are getting to the fun ones.  Of all the people that could host SNL, this would be one of the last ones you would think of.  However, if you were anything like me, once you heard he was hosting you knew it was going to be awesome.  Forget about the Dos Equis guy, Christoph Waltz is the most interesting man in the world.  Every sketch he nailed.  Two of my favorite sketches of the year came from this episode so I have to mention one here.  "The JaMarcus Brothers" was so silly as Waltz played the adopted brother in a black family that was now recording soulful love songs with his two brothers.  When you make a guy like Kenan crack up in the middle of the sketch.  You know you're nailing it.
Best Sketch - "Djesus Uncrossed" - As much as I loved "The JaMarcus Brothers," this may have been my favorite sketch of the season.  How can you have Christoph Waltz on SNL without taking a pot shot at Quentin Tarantino?  You can't.  Enter the movie trailer for Djesus Uncrossed starring Waltz as Jesus in a Tarantino take on the Messiah.  Every line in it was perfect!  Also, seeing Jesus with a machine gun taking out the Pharisees is so ridiculous, I wouldn't be surprised to actually see Tarantino do it at some point.

5.  Kristen Wiig  (Episode 20)
Part of why Ben Affleck's season finale fell so flat was because one of the most popular cast members of the last 10 years hosted the week before the season after she left the show.  Kristen Wiig brought all the energy we should've had in the finale, including random cameos from Jonah Hill and Maya Rudolph.  It also allowed for a rebirth of all the classic Wiig sketches like Target lady, the Baby Hands, Gilly, Garth and Kat.  Whenever you get a chance to bring back all these well-loved characters, you're going to have a great show.
Best Sketch - "Acupuncture" - Even with all the classic sketches, the best sketch of the night was an acupuncture session with Jason Sudeikis performed by Wiig and Aidy Bryant.  Everything is going fine until blood starts shooting out of his back.  By the end of the sketch, everything is covered in blood as his back is now gushing.  They even start feeding it back to him.  It was just hilarious.

4.  Bruno Mars  (Episode 5)
There were two newcomers to the hosting ranks at SNL I can't wait to see host again sometime soon.  Bruno Mars is definitely one of them.  Starting with his monologue where, of course, he sang a song about how he has no business hosting SNL, Bruno showed everyone why he is a perfect host.  He is smart, funny, talented, and will do anything for the laugh.  The next time he hosts (and he will host again), he will be even more comfortable and even better.  Next time, I hope he just hosts though.  Split it up like Adam Levine did.  His voice was seriously tired by the end of that second song.
Best Sketch - "Devin the Pandora Intern" - This was the perfect way to take advantage of your host.  There's a power outage at Pandora, and random channels are shutting down their vocal tracks.  Here comes Devin the Intern to the rescue.  Bruno shows off his impressions of Green Day, Katy Perry, Aerosmith, Louie Armstrong, Justin Bieber, and yes, even Michael Jackson.  It may not have been the funniest sketch, but it was one of the most entertaining sketches of the season.

3.  Martin Short  (Episode 10)
I was wondering to myself, "Why are they bringing back an old irrelevant comedian that has nothing to plug to be the host of the Christmas episode, one of the biggest shows of the year?"  Then I watched the episode and found out.  Martin Short is damn funny.  With the Christmas episode also brought more cameos than I can count, but it was Short (with some help at times from musical guest Paul McCartney) that stole the show.  Seriously, Martin Short yelling at McCartney in a Christmas audition telling him he's not allowed to sing?  Amazing!
Best Sketch - "The Royal Ah-Hem" - My favorite sketch of the season.  Martin Short plays a representative of the royal family going to visit Kate Middleton's OB/GYN to give him the proper procedures for dealing with a royal "ah-hem."  And the magic commenced.  When Bill Hader, as the OB/GYN, asked if he could call it anything but the royal "ah-hem," the list of alternatives just sent it over the edge.  The Chunnel?  Her Downton Abbey?  Dame Judy Dench?!?  I was laughing for days.

2.  Seth MacFarlane  (Episode 1)
The season got off to a great start as one of the most talented behind the scenes people in the business all of a sudden became very much in front of everyone this last year.  Between Ted, hosting the Oscars, and kicking off the SNL season, Seth MacFarlane has shown just how talented he is without the drawings.  He didn't deviate too far in his monologue though, which featured Peter Griffin, Stewie, Brian, Quagmire, Kermit, Marty McFly (oh my word, Marty McFly!!!), and a mopey Democratic dog.  It also came up again in his puppetry class which Bill Hader stole.  The most fun of the night was the ode to "Gangnam Style," as it started with some impersonations and ended up with Psy on stage getting everyone dancing.
Best Sketch - "Wooden Spoons" - I may be alone on this one, but my favorite sketch of the show was the throwaway sketch just before it all ended.  It was a one minute sketch max about some Amish spoon makers discovering the internet to help them sell their products.  Their commercial included their website without any knowledge of what letters are called.  It started with, "Double valley, double valley, double valley, time freckle..."  It seems harmless, but it gets ridiculous the further into it you go.  It's the simple things really.

1.  Justin Timberlake  (Episode 16)
Was there any doubt?  It takes a true talent to come in and instantly become a part of the cast.  It also is telling when you can put together almost an entire episode of classic bits from a guy who was never a regular cast member.  Then he took two sketches Jamie Foxx started (Maine Justice and the Porn Star Infomercial gals) and made them funnier.  On top of all that, this was JT's 5th hosting gig, which put him in the "5-Timers Club."  When it seemed like no one cared that Ben Affleck joined this prestigious group, everyone showed up to honor Timberlake's induction.  When your monologue includes Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Paul Simon, and Candace Bergen, you know you are in for something special.  Then you "Bring it on down to Vegan-ville" with a tribute to the Harlem Shake, and have the Three Amigos in full regalia introduce one of the musical numbers.  It was a special night.
Best Sketch - "It's a Date" - You can't have Justin Timberlake on SNL without Andy Samberg and a tribute to the "Dick in a Box" guys.  They popped up here as dual bachelors on a dating show.  Every response they had another one of their priceless jams.  Then we pan over to their competition and you see, wait for it, Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin as the Wild and Crazy Guys.  Oh, the symmetry of it all.  What an amazing show!

Well, we will see how Season 39 kicks off tonight.  With Tina Fey hosting, I'm sure it will start pretty strong.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 4 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, BCS Projections

It was a fairly lame weekend for matchups, so the top 25 does not have too much shifting this week. Most teams were either playing cupcakes in preparation for conference games coming up, or they just took the week off. Next week starts the beginning of the games that matter. Check out my recap of week 4 below.

Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: Florida, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame
Dropped from the rankings: Notre Dame (25)

25 (23). Miami (3-0) – Savannah State is always a good team to schedule if you need some confidence. They have an easy ACC schedule with the exception of Florida State. They need to look impressive every week if they really want to get back to being a legitimate title contender.
24 (NR). Fresno State (3-0) – They showed off their high-octane offense against Boise State in a thriller. This team probably will not lose this year.
23 (22). Oklahoma (3-0) – Oklahoma definitely has their quarterback. They head to Notre Dame next weekend, which will likely be his stiffest test this year.
22 (20). UCF (3-0) – They had a perfectly-timed idle week before South Carolina goes to Orlando.ThaIt is an intriguing matchup for sure.
21 (16). Michigan (4-0) – How exactly does a team go from unstoppable to squeaking out wins against 2 of the 5 worst teams in the nation? Watch the 2013 Michigan Wolverines.
20 (24). Wisconsin (3-1) – Their running game is absurd, averaging close to 10 yards per rush seemingly every game. They might be the best team in the conference.
19 (15). Arizona State (2-1) – The Sun Devils had a tough loss against the physically-superior Stanford team, but they still look like a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 South.
18 (21). Northwestern (4-0) – They had maybe the toughest non-conference schedule to manage of any team, but they now get a big week off before they welcome Ohio State to town.
17 (18). Mississippi (3-0) – How good is Ole Miss? We do not know yet. But we will after Saturday when they travel to Tuscaloosa.
16 (14). South Carolina (2-1) – The Gamecocks would be unwise to look past an upset-minded and very talented UCF team before conference schedule really kicks in. It is even a road game. I kinda like UCF in that one…
15 (19). Texas Tech (4-0) – The Red Raiders get their first week off next weekend. It seems like very good timing so that their young QB can regroup and prepare for a tough Big 12 schedule.
14 (13). Oklahoma State (3-0) – We will see what kind of guts Oklahoma State has in their next few games against substandard teams.
13 (12). Georgia (2-1) – The Bulldogs have a quality loss, but they need to basically go undefeated in conference to play for an SEC title. That journey takes another step when LSU comes to town next weekend in a monster matchup.
12 (11). LSU (4-0) – That game at Georgia is huge for this team. The offense has improved, but we will see if they can win a shootout in Athens.
11 (19). Texas A&M (3-1) – This team seems unstoppable on offense. With a lack of overly dominant teams this year, that might just be enough to make a title run.
10 (10). Louisville (4-0) – There is not a game remaining on their schedule that they should lose / be favored by less than 17 points. It will be a massive disappointment if they do not run the table.
9 (8). UCLA (3-0) – The Bruins have a couple easy games before heading to Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks. Let’s see if they can avoid looking too far ahead.
8 (7). Ohio State (4-0) – Yeah, it seems foolish now thinking that Miller’s injury would hurt this team. Guiton is just a better player.
7 (9). Baylor (3-0) – 69, 70, 70…those are point totals for Baylor. They have given up 23 points this year. No one wants any part of this scary team.
6 (6). Washington (3-0) – This team looks like it could be the most complete and balanced team in the nation. We will see how much they have grown up as the brutal 4 game stretch commences against Arizona next week.
5 (5). Florida State (3-0) – The Seminole offense is looking just as good as its defense. That does not bode well for the defense-deficient ACC.
4 (4). Clemson (3-0) – Clemson flirted with a predictable trap game loss at NC State, but they were able to take over. Their schedule is soft until they play Florida State, but they cannot overlook anyone.
3 (3). Stanford (3-0) – Stanford looked impressive in a physical win over Arizona State. The Cardinal have finally shown up.
2 (2). Alabama (3-0) – Alabama has not really been lighting up the scoreboard, but they are still hammering teams. They get a nice test next week in Ole Miss.
1 (1). Oregon (3-0) – The Ducks got the week off to prepare for the worst defense in the country when the Golden Bears head to Eugene. Can they score 100?

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. Oklahoma (#23) at Notre Dame, 12:30PM ABC/ESPN2 – This seems like a game that will tell us a great deal about both teams. I cannot even begin to make a pick here.
4. South Carolina (#16) at UCF (#22), 9:00AM ABC – This is one of those weird games where a powerhouse travels to a non-AQ team’s building. I love this matchup on paper. Hopefully it lives up to it. LSU (#12) at Georgia (#13), 12:30PM CBS – This is the big SEC headliner, but not the most intriguing matchup on the slate. Neither team has much of a defense, so this will be one of those offensive shows that the “experts” think are myths in the SEC.
2. Mississippi (#17) at Alabama (#2), 3:30PM ESPN – Alabama has not played a spread attack like Ole Miss yet this year. If there is a team that could jump out to a lead on them, it is the Rebels. This one smells like an upset.
1. Wisconsin (#20) at Ohio State (#8), 5:00PM ABC – This has become one of the better rivalries in the country. Both teams have been putting up huge offensive numbers. The winner probably takes the conference.

Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – Their 70+ point win proved that they just do not care who or where they are playing, they are going to run up the score whenever they can. That bodes well for the preconceived #1 QB on the big board.
4. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor – His rushing numbers are just silly in that offense. I cannot even fathom what his numbers will look like by season’s end.
3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – He has had the signature wins already. If he continues to put up these kinds of numbers in the ACC, then he could give the trophy a run.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – He is going to be able to do whatever he wants all year. He needs to avoid losing a couple more games for him to have a real chance at being the second two-time winner ever.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – He had the week off, yet no one was able to hop up and take the top spot. He could be here for the long haul.

BCS Projections
Rose Bowl – Stanford over Wisconsin
Orange Bowl – Florida State over Louisville
Sugar Bowl – Alabama over Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl – Texas A&M over Baylor
BCS Championship Game – Oregon over Clemson

What did you think of this weekend? Thoughts? Give me your rankings in the comments!