College Football Playoff bracketology 10/29/17

The season has officially gone bonkers. There is still a lot of football left to play, but these rankings will reflect how the committee should rank the teams. The committee’s first rankings come out this Tuesday.

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0)

Georgia has finally made the jump up to number one. The Bulldogs were able to destroy Florida 42-7 to get through two-thirds of their season unbeaten. Florida isn’t a great team, but Georgia looks like a dominant team and has a great case to be the number one team.

Their win over Notre Dame is continuing to look better as Notre Dame shoots up these rankings. Mississippi State will also be in the committee’s initial rankings at 6-2 and Georgia destroyed them. The other wins for the Bulldogs aren’t great, but they are undefeated still, which goes a long way.

Every single game left for Georgia will be tough in different ways, but they look like one of the best teams in football.

This week: vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide were off this week and were able to prepare for a couple crucial games at the end of the season.

Alabama doesn’t have any great wins. Florida State has completely fallen off. Texas A&M is an ok win, but they just lost to Mississippi State to fall to 5-3. Their best win might be over Colorado State, who is 6-3 and will probably finish with eight or nine wins. They still have played some decent teams, which is more than a lot of undefeated teams in these rankings can say.

Can the Crimson Tide stay undefeated through three more tough games?

This week: vs. 19 LSU Tigers

3. Clemson Tigers (7-1)

Clemson beat a decent Georgia Tech team this weekend in the rain. Defending the triple option is never easy but they were aided by a bye week last week and the weather. They needed to get back on track after their only loss of the season to Syracuse.

Even with the loss to Syracuse, Clemson has a great case to be a top four team. Their wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech are still very good. The win against Louisville looks worse, but is still a solid road win. Heck, even their wins over BC, Wake Forest and the recent victory over Georgia Tech help their case.

The Tigers will have one of their stiffest tests this weekend against N.C. State, who is coming off of the loss to Notre Dame.

This Week: at 20 N.C. State Wolfpack

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Brandon Wimbush (Photo by indystar.com)

Another week for Notre Dame and another big win for the Fighting Irish. This week they were able to pull away from N.C. State in the second half. The Wolfpack were rated at number 14 in the AP poll, but likely won’t drop too far as a result of the loss.

Notre Dame’s loss by one to Georgia makes them look like they can compete with any team in the country, which will appeal to the committee. They also have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and now N.C. State. Michigan State did lose to Northwestern this week, but that is just their second loss of the season. USC got back on track with a domination of Arizona State 48-17. With those three wins and the one point loss, Notre Dame is right on the cut line for the top four.

More tests still remain for Notre Dame, but they have put themselves in a good position after week nine of college football.

This week: vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)

The Sooners put up a lot of points and beat an average Texas Tech team. They have looked sluggish as of late,which will scare some committee members, but looked better in this game.

How good does the Sooners’ win over Ohio State look now? With Ohio State stepping up big time, Oklahoma’s win has them right back in the CFP picture. They beat out Ohio State because of their win head to head. Their loss to Iowa State looks  a lot better now that Cyclones upset TCU. Their wins over Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech are decent, but won’t turn any heads.

Oklahoma has a back-loaded schedule that they will have to get through.

This week: at 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State has been the loser and winner of two of the best college football games of the season. This week they had an unbelievable comeback win over Penn State and won 39-38. The Nittany Lions were ranked highly and the win drastically helps out Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP.

So they lost to Oklahoma and beat Penn State, but the Buckeyes don’t have too much more going on. The best team they have beat outside of Penn State is a 6-2 Army team. Other than that they have beaten average Big Ten teams or worse. The good news for Ohio State is that if they win out, they likely will be in the CFP, which is something only a handful of teams can say.

More big games are coming for the Buckeyes in the last third of their schedule.

This week: at Iowa Hawkeyes

7. TCU Horned Frogs (7-1)

TCU drops as a result of their loss to Iowa State this weekend. The Cyclones are on a tear and were able to win at home 14-7. This loss is bad for TCU, but they still can make the Big 12 Championship and play their way back into the top four teams with some help.

The Horned Frogs still have a great win that came on the road over Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys winning every other game of the season, it sets TCU up nicely. TCU also has nice wins over Kansas State and West Virginia. The problem for TCU might be that they will have to play a team for a second time in the Big 12 Championship.

Oklahoma is still on the schedule, but TCU should be able to win any other game on their schedule.

This week: vs. Texas Longhorns

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1)

Penn State played Ohio State tough, but ended up losing 39-38. It was a great effort on the road, but they could not finish off the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions move way down and have to hope for a lot of help to make the CFP.

James Franklin’s squad moves down as a result of the loss and the lack of big wins on their resume. They beat Michigan, who is a borderline top 25 team. They got wins against Iowa and Northwestern, but those teams are just barely above .500. All they can do is keep winning and take the help of other teams ahead of them losing.

The Nittany Lions have another big game this weekend against Michigan State.

This week: at 24 Michigan State

 

Next four out:

9. Wisconsin Badgers (8-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (photo by athlonsports.com)

Wisconsin got another easy win this week to stay undefeated, which is about their only case to the committee at this point. They got a victory over Illinois 24-10.

The Badgers have won games against two teams that are over .500: Florida Atlantic and Northwestern. Their wins over teams that are .500 include Maryland and Nebraska. They play some tougher teams down the stretch, but when it’s all said and done, they have to run the table.

Games still remain against Iowa and Michigan, which will be their best games to show to the committee what they can do before the conclusion of the regular season.

This week: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

10. Miami Hurricanes (7-0)

Miami got another close win this week, but it did not make them look too good. They beat North Carolina 24-19, which will do nothing for their case in the CFP committee’s eyes. North Carolina is now 1-8 on the season and a good team should have blown them out.

The problem with the Hurricanes is that they don’t have any good wins. They have beaten Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Toledo and Duke. Toledo is their best win. They beat the Rockets 52-30 and Toledo is now 7-1, while receiving votes to be in the top 25.

Everyone will find out if Miami is for real in the next two weeks when they take on Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

This week: vs. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1)

The Cowboys outscored West Virginia 50-39 to take their winning streak to four games. West Virginia was ranked at number 22 in the AP poll and is a solid win. The problem is that the Big 12 is beating up on each other, which will result in a lot of these wins to look worse as the season goes on.

Oklahoma State dropped the game to TCU, but doesn’t have too many wins to make up for it. They have solid wins over Texas Tech, Texas and now West Virginia. Like the other teams in the Big 12, they have some key games down the stretch and a tough rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The next two weeks are going to be brutal for the Cowboys, as they play Oklahoma and Iowa State.

This week: vs. 8 Oklahoma Sooners

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-1)

Virginia Tech has worked their way back into these rankings after beating Duke 24-3. Duke is 4-5, but is on a five game losing streak and likely won’t be bowl eligible, meaning the win won’t do much for the Hokies. They moved up as a result of other teams losing.

The Hokies have solid wins over West Virginia and Boston College, but that’s about it. They lost at home to Clemson, but were able to stay close, losing 31-17. Virginia Tech still needs to probe they can beat a very good team before the committee will move them too much higher in the rankings.

Fortunately for Virginia Tech, they will get the chance to play a good team this weekend.

This week: at 9 Miami Hurricanes

 

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College basketball preseason top 25: 20-16

It is the end of October so that means college basketball is right around the corner. What teams should be looked at as the best of the best? This is the second installment in the top 25 rundown. For teams 25-21 click here.

20. St. Mary’s Gaels

College basketball preseason top 25

Jock Landale (Photo by zimbio.com)

St. Mary’s made the big dance for the first time since 2013 last season. There run ended in the round of 32, but it was a big step just to get back to the dance. With most of their scoring returning, the Gaels should make it to the second consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Leading scorer Jock Landale returns after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He will receive serious consideration for WCC Player of the Year. Calvin Hermanson is the second leading returning scorer and plays on the wing. He lights up the scoreboard, which is a theme for this team.Evan Fitzner is another returning starter in the frontcourt, who will start at power forward, even though he only played 15 minutes a game. He can stretch the floor as a three point shooter. Kyle Clark and Tanner Krebs will provide experience and depth.

Emmett Naar will be the sole point guard this season and brings back a good all around game. Starting at the two guard will be Cullen Neal who is a senior transfer from Ole Miss.This is his third college team as he played for three seasons at New Mexico before becoming a Rebel He has over 1,000 career points already and brings a lot of experience. They aren’t very deep at the guard spots so Jordan Ford, Tommy Kuhse and Kristers Zoriks will need to step up.

The Gaels have a good enough team to beat Gonzaga in the WCC and also do some damage in March.

19. Minnesota Golden Gophers

College basketball preseason top 25

Nate Mason (Photo by kare11.com)

Last season Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises in all of college basketball. They had eight wins two seasons ago and last year improved to 24 wins. They did end up losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but with a lot of players returning the Golden Gophers’ future looks bright.

Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch are two great inside players for Richard Pitino. Murphy is more of an inside scorer and rebounder, while Lynch is a great defender who blocks a lot of shots. Lynch was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season. Eric Curry played 19.9 minutes per game as a freshman and will have to eat up a lot of minutes again and be effective. Davonte Fitzgerald had a torn ACL last year, but is figuring to make impact this season.

The backcourt returns a lot of experience. The best player on the team is point guard Nate Mason. He averaged 15.2 points and five assists per game and is a great floor general. Amir Coffey is a lengthy wing who started all 33 games as a freshman and should improve in his second season. Dupree McBrayer is the best three point shooter on the team at 41.6% and played 27.8 minutes per game in his sophomore campaign last year. Not too many other guards play a lot of minutes so those three will need to stay out of foul trouble or the Golden Gophers will have to rely on freshmen.

While they likely won’t beat out Michigan State in the Big Ten, Minnesota will be a really solid team that will make another NCAA Tournament.

18. Louisville Cardinals

College basketball preseason top 25

David Padgett (Photo by thecardinalconnect.com)

Louisville got knocked out in the round of 32 last season, but a lot has happened since. Rick Pitino is out and they lost incoming star prospect Brian Bowen because of the Adidas scandal. The Cardinals still have a lot of good players returning, but David Padgett has a lot of work ahead of him coaching this team.

The Cardinals’ best player is Deng Adel, who is a good wing athlete. He does a little bit of everything for Louisville and will need to be the go to guy this season. Adel needs to improve his three point shooting and if he can, he will be one of the best players in the ACC. Anas Mahmoud and Raymond Spalding are the only returning interior player, who provide some experience, but they won’t wow anyone. They will be asked to defend, make open interior shots and rebound. For depth, their talented freshmen will need to step up. Malik Williams, Jordan Nwora and Lance Thomas need to provide an impact down low, while transfer Dwayne Sutton has to provide depth on the wing.

Quentin Snyder has been at Louisville for what seems like forever. He is the floor general that needs to be the leader of the team as they go through this difficult time. He averaged 12.4 points and 4.1 assists per game, which will need to improve this year. V.J. King was a great recruit who saw some minutes as a freshman, but will need to be a star for the Cardinals for the team to be successful. Depth will be a question as recruits need to step up and make a difference.

The Cardinals may not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament when the FBI investigation is all said and done, but Louisville has a talented roster that is deserving of being ranked.

17. Northwestern Wildcats

College basketball preseason top 25

Bryant McIntosh (photo by indystar.com)

Northwestern finally made the NCAA Tournament in 2017. They also got their first ever win and now are looking for more. The Wildcats return four players who averaged over 30 minutes per game last season and have good veteran leadership to rely on.

Dererk Pardon returns on the inside for Northwestern and with improvement can average a double double, even though he is a little undersized. Barret Benson will see an increased role this season after averaging eight minutes last season. Vic Law is a talented wing that can get to the basket and knock down threes. He also is the teams second leading rebounder. His defense is a game-changer. Gavin Skelly is a senior that will get minutes an help out more on the inside.

Senior point guard Bryant McIntosh can score and set up his teammates with 14.8 points and 5.2 assists per game. He will be flanked by shooting guard Scottie Lindsey. Lindsey will get to the basket and is the second leading returning scorer behind McIntosh. Isiah Brown will be asked to do more as a sophomore as the lone returning depth piece at the guard spot. Anthony Gaines is a freshman that will need to fill in some minutes for the Wildcats.

Back to back NCAA Tournaments is a probability for a team that took so long to get one appearance in the big dance.

16. Purdue Boilermakers

College basketball preseason top 25

Isaac Haas (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Purdue broke through to the Sweet 16 last season. They lost their double-double machine in Caleb Swanigan, but have a lot returning to help them be successful once again. The Boilermakers are coming off a big offseason of representing USA in the World University Games and came away with a silver medal.

The middle of the floor is anchored by Isaac Haas. He hasn’t been the prime time player yet in his Purdue career due to Swanigan and A.J. Hammons getting more minutes in years past. He will have to use his 7’2″ frame to score over shorter defenders and grab all the rebounds lost by the departure of Swanigan. At the four spot Vince Edwards is a very versatile player that can shoot the three and get to the basket. He is the perfect power forward for college basketball and averaged 12.6 points per game last season. Jacquil Taylor was redshirted last year due to injury and will need to provide depth.Matt Haarms is bigger than Haas and will back him up at center, while Eden Ewing and Aaron Wheeler will be asked to step in and provide depth.

Perimeter play is not something Purdue will be lacking. Carson Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline all return. Carson Edwards is a great defender that had a good freshman season. Thompson, Mathias and Cline all knock down shots from deep. Mathias adds senior leadership and a good perimeter defender to the team. With these four players, the Boilermakers are in great hands.

The sky is the limit for this Purdue team even without Swanigan. Matt Painter will have this team ready for another run in March.

For teams 15-11: Click here.

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College basketball preseason top 25: 25-21

It is the end of October so that means college basketball is right around the corner. What teams should be looked at as the best of the best? Here are the first five teams in the top 25 rundown:

25. Texas A&M Aggies

College basketball preseason top 25

Robert Williams (photo by draftexpress.com)

The Aggies were unable to make the postseason last year, but have some solid players that will change that this season. They return four scorers who averaged over 10 points a game and have some players that could make it in the NBA. Texas A&M will be aided by the 27th best recruiting class in the country according to 247sports.com.

Billy Kennedy has one of the best frontcourts in the country. Forward Robert Williams flirted with leaving for the 2017 NBA Draft, but elected to come back to school. He will be able to improve on his 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this year. Tyler Davis is the leading returning scorer at his center position, averaging 14.7 points per game last season. Add in D.J. Hogg, a versatile forward who averaged 12 points per game last season and the Aggies are a force to be reckoned with in their frontcourt.

The backcourt is what will be the issue for this team. Admon Gilder will help provide a coring punch at the two guard, but the Aggies need a point guard. They had to redshirt J.J. Caldwell last season, but he is back now from injury. He has promise, but hasn’t played any games due to last season being his first on campus. If he doesn’t pan out, Texas A&M can turn to Duane Wilson, a graduate transfer from Marquette. He averaged over 11 points per game in his first two seasons as a Golden Eagle, but saw that limited to under five last season. At the very least he will provide some veteran leadership to a team that has just one other senior on the roster.

This team is talented and could even make a run in the NCAA Tournament if they get favorable matchups. They will need to continue to pound the ball inside and physically dominate opponents to win, but they are well equipped to do so.

24. Gonzaga Bulldogs

College basketball top 25

Johnathan Williams (photo by draftexpress.com)

Gonzaga is coming off of their first appearance in the Final Four last season and still have some solid players from that roster returning. They will need to rely on these players as they don’t have a good recruiting class coming in. The Bulldogs ranked 121 in the recruiting rankings by 247sports. Luckily they still have Mark Few at the helm.

Few has two very good forwards to go to this season. Johnathan Williams is one of the most versatile and athletic players in the country and is poised for a big senior season. He is the only returning player that averaged double digits in scoring last season. Kilian Tillie saw limited playing time last season, but was on the bench a lot because of the good players in front of him. He needs to step up for the Bulldogs this season. With Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski having moved on, the Bulldogs are extremely thin on the interior.

The guard spots will be solidified by two players who averaged over 20 minutes a game last season. Silas Melson will step into the shooting guard role and will succeed. He shot 39.9% from three point range last season. Josh Perkins will take over point guard duties after playing the two guard mostly the last two years. With Nigel Williams-Goss and Jordan Matthews not on the team any longer, Gonzaga will also be thinner at guard than they are most years.

This team is reliant on a lot of their young players to step up and help out the stars of Willams, Melson and Perkins, but Mark Few will get the job done, just as he always does.

23. Rhode Island Rams

College basketball preseason top 25

E.C. Matthews (photo by: draftexpress.com)

The Rams lost in the round of 32 last year and also lost Kuran Iverson and Hassan Martin after the season concluded. Those two players were key factors in their successful season last year, but the Rams will be just fine this season. They have 12 returning players, including four players who averaged more than 20 minutes a game.

Iverson and Martin were both frontcourt players so Rhode Island will need to find replacements for them. They have a junior college transfer in Ryan Preston will have to be a workhorse on the boards, as he only averaged 5.2 points per game at the JUCO level. The Rams’ biggest hope for good inside play rests in the hands of Cyril Langevine, who earned 13.2 minutes per game as a freshman. He is a good rebounder, but needs to stay out of foul trouble.

Rhode Island will be a guard-led team this season even more so than most years. The team is led by E.C. Matthews, who is one of the best seniors in the country. He averaged 14.2 points per game last year and will be asked to do much of the same this year. Jared Terrell. Stanford Robinson, Jarvis Garrett and Jeff Dowtin all got significant minutes last season and will help propel this team to the NCAA Tournament once again.

Dan Hurley’s squad doesn’t shoot the three very well, so they will need to get to the basket to be successful. With Hurley at the helm and Matthews back, the Rams should be able to win the Atlantic 10 and win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.

22. Baylor Bears

College basketball preseason top 25

Manu Lecomte (photo by draftexpress.com)

Baylor lost their best player, Jonathan Motley to the NBA Draft. They would’ve been a highly ranked team with him, but still have some good players returning. Scott Drew will have this team contending in the Big 12, but they will likely fall short to a familiar foe once again.

In the frontcourt the Bears have Jo Lual-Acuil Jr who is seven feet tall and averaged 2.3 blocks per game last season. He had 35 starts and will start every game once again, but needs to score more points and grab more boards. Terry Maston and Nuni Omot are seniors who will have to take on bigger roles this season as well. Maston is an inside threat that can score in bunches, but is inconsistent, while Omot can stretch the floor a bit better and shoot from deep.

The Bears have a star in Manu Lecomte. The point guard from Belgium averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game. He will score more this season without Motley. He is also a big time playmaker. Jake Lindsey joins him in the backcourt and adds another good ball handler and three point shooter to the mix. King McClure, a good shooter, and Wendell Mitchell will backup Lecomte and Lindsay and fill in nicely.

This may not be a dream season for Baylor, but they will be solid and make their fifth straight NCAA Tournament.

21. Seton Hall Pirates

College basketball preseason top 25

Angel Delgado (Photo by zagsblog.com)

The Pirates have made the last two NCAA tournaments, but have yet to do much damage in them. This could be the year they break through. They are led by three really good seniors who will create a lot of matchup problems. They will have a top 50 recruiting class joining them this season.

Angel Delgado is one of the best players in the Big East and averaged a staggering 15.2 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. Not too many college athletes can handle him down low. Wing Desi Rodriguez can do a lot of things and averaged 15.7 points per game last season. Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nezi are great role players that mean more to the team than their numbers might indicate.

At guard Khadeen Carrington is a star senior. Las season he was the Pirates’ leading scorer averaging 17.1 points per game. He will be asked to play point guard, which is not his natural position. Myles Powell had a great freshman season averaging 10.7 points per game. The thought is that incoming freshman Jordan Walker will get limited minutes early, but could be the starting point guard by year’s end. At the very least he will provide some much needed depth for the backcourt.

Seton Hall has a veteran roster with multiple stars on it. They will advance past the first round of the NCAA Tournament if they stay healthy and their incoming recruits provide good depth.

 

For teams 20-16: click here

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology 10/26/17

The basketball season is fast approaching and it is never too early to start thinking about the NCAA Tournament. This bracketology will project how teams will finish this season. Here is the preseason bracketology for the 2018 season. Click on bracket to zoom.

First four teams out: Missouri, Oregon, Virginia, VCU

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College football week 9 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their college football picks for week nine including all games that include FBS teams.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Eastern Michigan Northern Illinois Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL NIU NIU
Toledo Ball State Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN Toledo Toledo
South Alabama Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia St USA
#20 Stanford Oregon State Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR Stanford Stanford
Tulane #24 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Florida State Boston College Alumni Stadium , Chestnut Hill, MA BC Florida State
Tulsa SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Buffalo Akron InfoCision Stadium, Akron, OH Akron Akron
#5 Wisconsin Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Wisconsin Wisconsin
#8 Miami North Carolina Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC Miami Miami
#11 Oklahoma State #22 West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV OK State Ok State
Rutgers Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Michigan
Arkansas Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS Arkansas Arkansas
Texas Baylor McLane Stadium, Waco, TX Texas Texas
Louisville Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Louisville Louisville
Virginia Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Uva UVA
California Colorado Folsom Field, Boulder, CO Colorado Cal
Florida Intl Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV Marshall Marshall
Kansas State Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS K State K-State
Air Force Colorado State CSU Stadium, Fort Collins, CO Colorado St Col St
San Jose State BYU LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT BYU BYU
#2 Penn State #6 Ohio State Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH OSU OSU
#3 Georgia Florida EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL Georgia Georgia
#4 TCU #25 Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA TCU TCU
#14 NC State #9 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN NC State ND
UCLA #12 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Washington Washington
#16 Michigan State Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL NW Michigan State
Georgia Southern Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Margin of victory 33 23
Appalachian State UMass Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, MA App St App State
Louisiana Tech Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX La Tech La Tech
Indiana Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Indiana IU
Houston #17 South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL USF USF
Vanderbilt South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC South Carolina South Carolina
Florida Atlantic Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY FAU FAU
Austin Peay #18 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Louisiana Monroe Idaho Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID ULM ULM
Utah Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Utah Utah
Texas State Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC Coastal Coastal
Missouri Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT Mizzou Missouri
Old Dominion North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX UNT UNT
Minnesota Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Iowa Iowa
UAB Southern Mississippi M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS USM USM
Mississippi State Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX A&M TAMU
Duke #13 Virginia Tech Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA VT VT
New Mexico Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY New Mexico Wyoming
Tennessee Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Tennessee
Nebraska Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Nebraska Nebraska
Georgia Tech #7 Clemson Memorial Stadium , Clemson, SC Clemson Clemson
Texas Tech #10 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
UT San Antonio UTEP Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX UTSA UTSA
Arkansas State New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Ark St Ark State
#15 Washington State Arizona Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ Arizona Wazzu
UNLV Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno St Fresno St.
Boise State Utah State Romney Stadium, Logan, UT Boise Boise
#21 USC Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ USC USC
San Diego State Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
Gameday Guest Picker (Columbus) Archie Griffin A.J. Hawk

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2018 NFL Mock Draft 10/24/17

The NFL season is almost halfway through, so it is getting easier to see where teams will be drafting in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here is a first round NFL mock draft.

1. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns look like the worst team in football right now. DeShone Kizer has been pulled in favor of Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler, which means they may be in the market for a quarterback if Kizer doesn’t figure things out. Darnold has the stature of an NFL quarterback, but turns the ball over way too much and has to make better decisions if he wants to be the number one pick.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Rosen is among the FBS leaders in passing yards and has had a good junior season thus far. He too has to work on decision making, but most importantly has shown that he doesn’t have any arm problems after incurring nerve damage in his throwing arm last season. The 49ers may get Kirk Cousins, but if they can’t, they need a quarterback.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Connor Williams (Photo by: hookem.com)

3. New York Giants- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Orleans Darkwa had a tougher game against the Seahawks, but the Giants should still address the tackle position. Because their tackles are so bad, the Giants will likely draft a tackle. Williams isn’t the biggest guy, so he may need to add some weight, but he is very athletic. He is currently injured with damaged ligaments in his knee and will have to prove he is healthy to be selected highly.

4. Indianapolis Colts- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Barkley is a premier talent who runs with great moves that are reminiscent of Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. Frank Gore may look like he can play forever, but he is nearing the end of his career. Getting a dynamic playmaker like Barkley would balance the offense and take some pressure off of Andrew Luck when he comes back.

5. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Cincinnati has one of the worst offensive lines in football and need to address it badly. McGlinchey would have been selected pretty highly had he come out last season, but elected to go back to school. The Notre Dame running game has become dominant in the last few weeks. He has shown better athletic ability this season, which should help his value.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

Tampa Bay has a terrible secondary and needs to get better, especially when considering what division they play in. James is one of the best players in this class and looks like he is capable of doing anything on a football field. If he doesn’t get selected early, it is due to concerns about his injuries. He missed most of the 2016 season with a shoulder injury.

7. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Chicago has decided to make Mitch Trubisky the starting quarterback. They have to get him some weapons in the passing game other than Tarik Cohen. Ridley is a dynamic playmaker that can make people miss once he gets the ball in his hands. He may be better as a pro than as a college player, as Jalen Hurts isn’t the greatest throwing quarterback.

8. New York Jets- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Allen has struggled this season, but what most hurts his cause is how often he struggles against good competition. He is very raw as a prospect and needs a year to sit and learn, as well as work on his craft. The Jets have somehow managed to get to three wins and can have Allen sit behind Josh McCown.

9. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Carson Palmer is injured again and it highlights the Cardinals’ need for a quarterback. If Palmer can return, Jackson can sit and learn behind him. If Palmer is done Jackson can make some plays as a starter, but won’t be developed. Jackson still has issues throwing the ball, but is a dynamic runner. He has improved his efficiency this year, which has helped his draft stock.

10. Baltimore Ravens- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Key is starting to create havoc and get into a groove for the Tigers. He is a great speed rusher that would benefit from adding some more pass rushing moves to his arsenal. Baltimore does have a decent number of sacks on the season, but Terrell Suggs will need to be replaced soon. If Key falls, the Ravens need to scoop him up.

11. Los Angeles Chargers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

Fitzpatrick has played both safety and corner in his time at Alabama. He has all the physical tools to be successful, but needs to work on his technique and positioning. The Chargers could try to improve the offensive line, but they used two selections on that last year in Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney and Sam Tevi.

12. Oakland Raiders- Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

Oakland only has 12 sacks on the year and could use an elite pass rusher to go with Khalil Mack. Bryant has 5.5 sacks on the season, but could be more consistent. Four of his sacks came against Auburn. He will need to prove himself in the back half of the college season.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Christian Kirk (Photo by: cbssports.com)

13. Cleveland Browns (via Hou)- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Cleveland doesn’t have too much at receiver. Kenny Britt isn’t a number one and Corey Coleman can’t stay healthy. In order to help their young quarterbacks they need to get a good receiver. Kirk has some big play ability and demonstrated that against Arkansas with 110 receiving yards and 136 kick off return yards. He will be tested in the coming weeks against good secondaries in the SEC.

14. Washington Redskins- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Jefferson is a talented linebacker, who is starting to live up to his potential. He was all over the field against Oklahoma State. Jefferson is a better pass rusher than he gets credit for and can also stop the run well. Mason Foster is old and hasn’t played particularly well this year, so Jefferson could play next to Zach Brown.

15. Detroit Lions- Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

Martinas Rankin is a very efficient pass blocker and can be a great left tackle in the NFL. The Lions have a terrible left side of the offensive line and need to upgrade it. The Lions like to pass a lot so they will likely love the pass blocking of Rankin. They need to keep Stafford upright since he is so highly paid now.

16. Dallas Cowboys- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne makes freakish plays for a defensive tackle. He hasn’t done much in the stats department this season, but takes on multiple blocks at a time. Starting defensive tackle Stephen Paea decided to retire, leaving the Cowboys even thinner on the interior of the defensive line. Payne will help them stop the run better.

17. Denver Broncos- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

One thing is for sure: The Broncos can’t win it all with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. They drafted Paxton Lynch two years ago, but he hasn’t been able to beat out the sub par Siemian yet. Rudolph isn’t getting a lot of love right now, but when people watch his tape they will like his deep ball. He has had a lot of production in college and can be a successful NFL quarterback.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Iman Marshall (Photo by: zimbio.com)

18. Atlanta Falcons- Iman Marshall, CB, USC

Marshall would immediately help out the secondary. He was overshadowed by Adoree Jackson last year, but is now shining. He is a shutdown corner that has started since his freshman season as a Trojan. Teams are actively looking to not throw his way when they play USC. Desmond Trufant is a good corner, but the Falcons need more if they are going to stop some of the best offenses in the NFC.

19. Tennessee Titans- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Titans have just 11 sacks on the season. If they want to start winning more, Marcus Mariota will need to stay healthy and they need to have a better pass rush. Landry led the FBS in sacks last year and decided to go back to school for his final season. He only has five sacks this season, so he needs to pick up the pace.

20. Green Bay Packers- Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

McFadden is a shut down corner who isn’t afraid to get physical. The Packers need to get some better players in the secondary if they want to help Aaron Rodgers out with a defense.

21. Carolina Panthers- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

While Cam Newton is playing better, the offensive line still needs to be improved upon. They need to get the ground game going to set up Cam Newton in the passing game. Brown has NFL bloodlines and a big body.  He needs to prove that he has the athleticism and speed to deal with the fast pass rushers in the NFL.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson

Hyatt looks like a player who could be versatile at the NFL level and could play multiple positions on the offensive line. This would be beneficial to the Jaguars as they need help in multiple places on the line.

23. Miami Dolphins- Kevin Toliver, CB, LSU

The Dolphins don’t have a good secondary and it was evident when they let the Jets throw for 249 yards on 18 of 23 passing. Toliver hasn’t done much, but he will face stiffer competition as the season goes on. The potential is there, but he still needs to prove it on the field.

24. New Orleans Saints- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith has done a little bit of everything for Georgia this season with 53 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two passes defended. New Orleans needs better linebackers, as none have played particularly well this season.

25. Buffalo Bills- James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

Tyrod Taylor needs a better option as his top receiver and St. Brown can be that guy. Washington makes big plays and fights for the football on deep throws. Pairing him with Zay Jones for the future would be a good idea.

26. Seattle Seahawks- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Nelson provides good value and would’ve been a first round pick had he come out in last year’s draft class. He is very quick and athletic, making him the best guard prospect in a while. The Seahawks have to start protecting Russell Wilson better or he won’t last much longer. They also haven’t been able to run the football at all.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Carlton Davis (Photo by: auburntigers.com)

27. Los Angeles Rams- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

The Rams need to upgrade their corners, as they haven’t been able to adequately do so since Janoris Jenkins left. Davis is a lengthy corner who will likely move up draft boards when the draft comes closer.

28. Minnesota Vikings- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins is a part of the very productive and talented defensive line at Clemson. He has 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss on the season and does a good job at both defending the run and rushing the passer from the interior. The Vikings can’t rely on Shariff Floyd to stay healthy and need to get a replacement.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Pittsburgh doesn’t have a good safety on their roster. Mike Mitchell specifically needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Harrison has the chance to be a good strong safety in the NFL with his great size. He is 6’3″, 214 pounds and impacts games in a variety of ways.

30. New England Patriots- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

Chubb has been a catalyst in N.C. State’s wins over Louisville and Florida State. He has already accrued 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. The Patriots need help all over on defense, but have lost some of their best pass rushers in recent years and need to replace them.

31. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

Hubbard was expected to have a good season, but has amassed just two sacks. He does get pressure on the quarterback more often than that and helps stop the run. The Bills need to get better at rushing the passer.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

The Eagles have Alshon Jeffrey on a one year deal and Torrey Smith isn’t doing much. Carson Wentz needs some more weapons as he continues to develop. St. Brown has had a hard time getting involved in the Notre Dame offense early, but that is only partially on him. He is a big athletic receiver that looks like he could be more productive in the NFL than he has been in college.

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Five things to watch for in college football week 9

It is coming down to the end of the season, which means more good games are on the way. Here are five things to watch for in college football in week nine:

1. Notre Dame’s offensive line vs. Bradley Chubb

Week 9 college football

Bradley Chubb (Photo by: fansided.com)

Notre Dame is coming off of a good win against USC and now has a bunch of hype surrounding them. N.C. State only has one loss and will be traveling to South Bend with high hopes. This game will be a marquee win for whichever team ends up winning and the game will be won in the trenches.

N.C. State has one of the best defensive linemen in the country in Bradley Chubb. Chubb has 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks on the season. He has worked his way into being in the talk to be a first round draft pick. Chubb has been able to help the Wolfpack defense to hold opponents to 639 rushing yards on the season. He and the entire N.C. State defensive line will need to step up to stop Notre Dame’s running game.

Josh Adams has worked his way into the Heisman conversation now. He is a big play threat and has had several long runs for touchdowns. The offensive line has been key in clearing holes for Adams. Both Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson anchor the left side of the offensive line and are probably going to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The team that wins the trenches will win the game and move up in the rankings.

2. Big Ten East Clash

Both teams have been waiting to play each other again after last season. Penn State beat Ohio State, which gives the Buckeyes a reason to want revenge, while the Nittany Lions missed the CFP in favor of OSU, so they will want to leave no doubt who the better team is. This game will be one of the best games of the college football season, so it needs to be watched.

Penn State won big over Michigan and looks like one of the best teams in the country. The offense is star-powered with Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley and the defense hasn’t allowed more than 19 points this season. The Nittany Lions still haven’t won a game over a great team so they have a chance to do that for the first time this year.

Ohio State also hasn’t beaten a good team all season. They have likely been itching for a chance to win a big game since their loss to Oklahoma early in the year. The Buckeyes have the top scoring offense in the country and the tenth best scoring defense, albeit against mostly lackluster competition. These units will be put to the test this weekend against Penn State.

The environment will be electric in Columbus on Saturday and the winner will likely make the CFP this time.

3. important Big 12 Shootouts

There are five teams in the Big 12 with one loss or less and four out of the five will be trying to knock each other off this weekend. While there is still a lot of football to be played, this will be a key weekend to figure out who will be in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia matchup in a game in Morgantown, West Virginia. There will be a lot of offense and passing yards, as both teams are ranked in the top five in scoring and passing yards. Whichever defense can get more stops will win the game and put themselves in a good position in this weird round robin Big 12 setup.

In the other game, TCU will take on the hot Iowa State Cyclones. TCU looks like the best team in the Big 12, with a good offense and defense. They are also the only undefeated team left in Big 12 play. Iowa State has a loss to Texas, but got the big upset win over Oklahoma. The Cyclones have gone to Kyle Kempt at quarterback with Jacob Park on injured leave and Kempt has done well. Iowa State is still a pretty big underdog, but they are used to that by now.

4. Pac-12 after dark games

College football week 9

Khalil Tate (Photo courtesy: washingtonpost.com)

Pac-12 after dark always has wild and crazy games and this week is no different. There are two matchups that will be exciting, while also featuring some of the favorites to make the Pac-12 Championship Game.

In the first game, Washington State takes on Arizona. Both teams can put up a lot of points. Washington State has only one loss on the season, coming at the hands of Cal. They are still in good position to make the Pac-12 Championship Game and have a great offense. Arizona is a surprise team that could end up winning the Pac-12 South. They have found new life with quarterback Khalil Tate, who has amassed over 1,000 yards in his three starts. There will be a lot of offense and a lot on the line.

The second game on the docket for Pac-12 after dark is USC at Arizona State. Both these teams, along with Arizona and UCLA, are still vying to win the Pac-12 South title. USC just lost to Notre Dame big time and need to get back on track. That starts with Sam Darnold protecting the football better and the defense being more physical. Arizona State surprisingly beat Washington to get on track. The Sun Devils’ defense has stepped up as of late, giving up 17 points in their last two games.

As crazy as it may sound it is likely the Arizona schools that will provide the biggest competition for USC in the south.

5. USF vs. Houston

USF is a team that a lot of people thought would go undefeated due to their easy schedule. There schedule is a little tougher with the emergence of other teams in their conference. Even so, the Bulls have to win out to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

This week they play a Houston team that was supposed to be one of their toughest games of the season. Houston has stumbled a bit, but it will still be a good test for USF. If the Bulls can win this game they will likely win all others until their regular season finale.

If this result holds to form and there are no upsets in the AAC, the last few games will have a lot riding on them. First USF will play UCF in a rivalry game in a battle of unbeaten teams. The winner will go to the AAC Championship Game to face Memphis, who has only one loss. The winner of that game will likely be in a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Buckle up. The last few weeks of college football are going to be wild.

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Heisman Watch 10/23/17

A lot has changed in college football in the last few weeks, so it is time for another Heisman Watch. Here are the players who are leading the way in the Heisman race:

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Michigan’s offense may not be very good, but there defense is. Saquon Barkley had another big game in prime time to enhance his case for the Heisman. Barkley totaled 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground with 53 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. He made highlight plays with a long touchdown catch that he bobbled then caught and a lot of good runs.

This was the performance that Barkley was missing last year to be in the Heisman race. He had a big game against a decent team that has a great defense. Now he has created an even bigger gap between him and the rest of the pack. Barkley could get to over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards with a strong finish.

Barkley has two more tough games in a row to help his case even more. If Barkley can play well against Ohio State and Michigan State, he will virtually have the Heisman locked up.

Stats: 757 rushing yards, 448 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns

2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Heisman Watch

Bryce Love (Photo by: zimbio.com)

Love is still being overlooked, but one look at his stat line will make people see how historic his season has been so far. His last game came in week seven against Oregon, which was his worst performance of the season. He still managed to rush for 147 yards and two touchdowns. With some bad Pac-12 defenses still left to play, Love’s stats can get even better over the back stretch of the season.

Stanford losing two early games has hurt Love’s case, but they are coming on now. He needs to have some big games in prime time to close the gap on Barkley. Love will have a few big games to help his case, but is hard for any non-USC player to win the award from the west coast. Love has a chance to break the NCAA single season rushing record if he can have some big games down the stretch. Barry Sanders has the record at 2,628 rushing yards, so Love has to pick up the pace a little bit and have a few postseason games to reach the mark.

Washington State, Washington and Notre Dame should all be big games for Love to make his mark the rest of the way.

Stats: 1,387 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns

3. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

Adams was highlighted as a result of the Fighting Irish’s big win over the USC Trojans. He was able to put on a show with his 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A lot of credit needs to be given to the Notre Dame offensive line, which is one of the best in college football, but Adams is the guy benefiting from their great play.

This season Adams has averaged 9.2 yards per carry, which ranks second nationally behind Bryce Love. While many claim that Notre Dame gets too much publicity, Adams seems to still be flying under the radar. Adams does have a sub par performance already against Georgia, but will have plenty of opportunities to have big games against good teams.

Three of the last five games for the Fighting Irish are against ranked teams and Adams will need to continue running well to get Notre Dame some key wins.

Stats: 967 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns

4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield (Photo by: usatoday.com)

Mayfield had another great game against Kansas State. He had his first game of the season of over 400 passing yards, finishing with 410. Mayfield added 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with two passing touchdowns. He has had a lot of big games, but has needed to in order to win a lot of close games.

His touchdown to interception ration is almost 10 to one, so Mayfield has found a way to be productive, while protecting the football. The game against Ohio State is still one of the biggest moments of the season, but he needs to continue to produce and have big games.

In the next few weeks Mayfield has chances to improve his case. Oklahoma still has to play Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia, which will give Mayfield plenty of opportunities to make his way up the list.

Stats: 2,347 passing yards, 170 rushing yards, 22 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

5. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Mason Rudolph had a mundane game against Texas and the Cowboys were lucky to get out of Austin for a win. He threw for 282 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rudolph was able to complete 65.8% of his passes this game and he protected the football enough for the defense to hang on for the win.

Rudolph is throwing the ball further down the field this year and putting up huge numbers. He lacks a big win and a “Heisman moment” right now, so he will have to do better to garner more support from Heisman voters.

In the game against Oklahoma, Rudolph has to out-duel Mayfield to have any chance at the award.

Stats: 2,650 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/22/17

The top four is still the same after the action played out in week eight, but there were some more results that changed the lower end of these rankings. Here is how the teams should be ranked after week eight:

Playoff Teams: 

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide got another blowout win this week, routing Tennessee 45-7. It may not have been a win over a successful team, but Alabama looks really good, which means a lot to the committee too. If they can keep controlling games like this they will be at the top of the rankings when the committee release their initial rankings next Tuesday.

Alabama has their decent wins so far, but none of the teams they have beaten are currently ranked. They will get this ranking because of their game control, dominance and because they have beaten a lot of solid teams, even if they aren’t ranked. Wins over Texas A&M, Colorado State and Vandy will all likely end up being wins over bowl teams.

The schedule does get tougher from here on out, as Alabama plays at least two ranked teams, depending on how things change.

This week: Bye

2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)

Georgia didn’t play this weekend, but were able to retain their number two spot in the rankings.

The Bulldogs still have some really solid wins and deserve the number two spot. Their win over Notre Dame looks more impressive now that the Fighting Irish dominated USC. They also have recorded wins over an Appalachian State team that is on their way to a 10 win season, a solid Mississippi State team and a tricky Vanderbilt team.

Of their five games left, Georgia has three rivalry games. They should be favored in each game, but anything can happen in rivalry games.

This week: vs. Florida Gators (in Jacksonville, Florida)

3. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0)

TCU did exactly what they were supposed to and blew out Kansas. They won 43-0 and set records for the defensive performance. While this won’t do much for their resume, the look like the most balanced and best team in the Big 12.

The Horned Frogs have beaten two teams that are still ranked and have one of the best wins of the season: at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys haven’t lost since, so TCU has a great case to be in the top three teams. Their other big win over West Virginia also looks pretty good, as the Mountaineers will be moving up the rankings again this week. Add those two wins to a decent road win over Kansas State and you have one of the most battle tested teams in the country.

Their are still some tough games on the schedule for TCU, including Oklahoma, but the key is to make sure they make the Big 12 Championship Game even if they suffer a loss.

This week: at 25 Iowa State Cyclones

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Trace McSorely (Photo by: nbcsports.com)

Penn State destroyed a Michigan team that had been struggling. That was their first win over a ranked team this season, but Michigan isn’t ranked any longer. They controlled the game and look like a playoff team.

The reason why Penn State is still number four is that they haven’t beaten too many good teams. The win at Iowa looks worse now that the Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern. The win over Michigan won’t be as much of a statement with Michigan likely trending downwards. The good news is that Penn State looks like one of the top two or three teams in the country and the committee will appreciate that.

One game down on the gauntlet of a three week schedule for Penn State, two more to go. If they win in Columbus this week they will move up the rankings into a more secure position.

This week: at 6 Ohio State Buckeyes

First Four Out:

5. Clemson Tigers (6-1)

The Tigers got a bye week to regroup after their tough loss on the road to Syracuse. A lot of the future of this team depends on the health of Kelly Bryant, so the next few weeks will show people a lot as far as how healthy Bryant is.

Losing to Syracuse still hurts their resume, but Syracuse is putting up good fights against good teams. The committee tends to care more about wins than losses and Clemson still has a lot of impressive wins. The wins over Virginia Tech and Auburn are still very good wins and the win at Louisville is still solid.

There are still some tough games left for Clemson, but they still have a good resume and if chaos happens could get in the CFP with two losses.

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Nyles Morgan (Photo by: thesportsbank.net)

Notre Dame dominated USC in a way that no one saw coming. They were the more physical football team and ended up winning 49-14. The Trojans ended up falling to number 21 in the rankings as a result of the game, but it is still a very good win for Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish have this win to pair with their huge road win over Michigan State, which looks better by the week. In every win on the season they have physically dominated their opponent and it has shown up on the scoreboard. With their only loss coming to Georgia, Notre Dame looks like one of the best football teams in the country.

If people don’t like Notre Dame being this high over undefeated teams then: A. Those undefeated teams need to play someone. B. Notre Dame will have a chance to play their way into or out of the CFP with the remaining schedule, because it is brutal.

This week: vs. 14 N.C. State Wolfpack

7. Oklahoma Sooners (6-1)

Lincoln Reilly got a nice bonus in his first year after the Sooners became bowl eligible. They were able to come back and beat a tough Kansas State team on the road. The Wildcats are under .500, so this win won’t do much, but it was a tricky game and the Sooners were able to avoid a second loss.

Oklahoma has the win at Ohio State to keep them this high in the rankings. Ohio State has continued to win and make Oklahoma look better. If the Buckeyes can beat Penn State this weekend it would help more. The Sooners’ wins over Texas and Kansas State should look better with time as well. Even the Sooners only loss on the season looks better, as Iowa State cracked the top 25 this week.

The last five games will have four tough matchups and a cakewalk, so the Sooners have to be ready to go.

This week: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

8. Miami Hurricanes (6-0)

Miami keeps on edging out wins in close games. This week they avoided a second straight upset bid from Syracuse and won the game 27-19. They may not be winning in a good-to-watch fashion, but they are getting the job done.

So what separates Miami from Wisconsin? A win over Toledo. That’s how bad of schedules these two teams have. Toledo is not a bad team by any stretch and will likely be ranked by the end of the year, but that is the only team getting votes in the AP Poll that either team has beaten. The Hurricanes get the nod for now over Wisconsin, but these rankings get updated every week for a reason.

Miami will find some separation in a few weeks when they get to play Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in back to back weeks.

This week: at North Carolina Tarheels

Next Four Out: 

9. Wisconsin Badgers (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by: thedailyherald.com)

The Badgers got another win, which is all they can do. This time they beat a Maryland team who is on their third string quarterback due to injury. Wisconsin won 38-17, which is what they should have done.

Wisconsin has only beaten two teams that have a record above .500, Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. They will need to beat stiffer competition than that to make it into the CFP.

The schedule gets a little tougher going forward, but it couldn’t get easier. There will be games against Iowa and Michigan to prove themselves before the Big Ten Championship Game.

This week: at Illinois Fighting Illini

10. Washington State Cougars (7-1)

Washington State had to play in the rain, but got a win over a Colorado team that is now .500. They won easily, 28-0. This was just the win that the Cougars needed to get back on track.

Their win over USC looks worse now, but it is still a solid win. They also have a win over a Boise State team that they can hang their hat on. Both are good wins. Their loss to Cal was pretty embarrassing, but there is still hope if they can handle their difficult Pac-12 schedule.

This week the Cougars’ high-powered offense will be in a shootout with an Arizona team that has Khalil Tate making plays all over the field.

This week: at Arizona Wildcats

11. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1)

The Wolfpack had a bye week to prepare to their back-loaded schedule.

N.C. State have wins over Louisville and Florida State that probably were thought more highly of a couple of weeks ago. Other than those, their win over Marshall is nice, but their resume needs to have some bigger wins on it for the Wolfpack to move up.

The next two weeks will tell the world if N.C. State is for real or not.

This week: at 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1)

Virginia Tech won big over North Carolina, 59-7. North Carolina isn’t very good, but the Hokies looked good.

The Hokies still have just the loss to Clemson. They only have one win of note coming at the expense of West Virginia, who is now number 22 in the rankings. There are about eight or so teams that could easily slide into this spot, but Virginia Tech has the best win so they get the nod.

Justin Fuente’s team will get a few more chance for marquee victories in the coming weeks, to enhance their status in these rankings.

This week: vs. Duke Blue Devils

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Five things we learned in college football week 8

Every team is now half way through their season, which has given fans an idea of how good teams are. While there are still a lot of more good games in the next few weeks, a lot has been learned. Here is what we learned in week 8:

1. Notre Dame and Josh Adams are for real

Notre Dame didn’t just beat USC, they blew them out. Their running game was going and Brandon Wimbush showed that he can make good throws down the field. USC may not have been as good as expected, but the Fighting Irish still dominated a solid team that has a possible number one overall draft pick on its roster.

Josh Adams has inserted himself into the Heisman Trophy race. He has the most average yards after contact and has broken several big runs on the season. In seven games on the season he has 967 rushing yards on 9.2 yards per carry with eight total touchdowns. Not only does he need to get more love in the talk about the Heisman, but also needs to get more love in terms of the NFL Draft.

Adams and Notre Dame still have some tough games to end the season, but they are in a good position to reach their goals.

2. Penn State is really good, Michigan is not

College Football week 8

James Franklin (Photo by: philly.com)

The Nittany Lions got their payback on Michigan for last season and won big. Saquon Barkley enhanced his Heisman campaign and helped the Penn State offense make Michigan’s defense look bad. Coming into the game Michigan’s defense was one of the best in the country, but it now looks like their numbers may have been inflated due to the level of competition they have played.

Michigan failed to stop Barkley this year, but a lot of teams have failed with that. The defense had a bad game, but it’s the offense that has real problems. They can’t move the ball and have few playmakers on offense. With two losses in the Big Ten already, it looks like Michigan is headed to a fourth place finish in their own division, the Big Ten East. It is still one of the best divisions in football, but Michigan expected better things this year.

We’ll find out even more about the Big Ten East when Penn State travels to Ohio State in week nine.

3. Khalil Tate is must see T.V.

Khalil Tate didn’t start the season as Arizona’s starting quarterback, but has come on and dominated the last few weeks of the college football season. He has generated over 1,000 yards of offense in the last three games alone. The dual-threat quarterback has also totaled 11 touchdowns in that stretch too. He is the quintessential stat sheet stuffer.

Not only has Tate come in and put up some stats, he has made Arizona a much better football team. In the past three weeks Tate has helped the Wildcats rack up wins on the road against Colorado and Cal, while they have also beaten UCLA on their home turf. They still have to outscore every team they play, because their defense leaves a lot to be desired, but the Wildcats have to feel good with Tate at the helm.

It is still conceivable that Arizona could win the PAC-12 South. They are 3-1 in conference and play both USC and Arizona State still, their biggest competition for the spot in the Pac-12 Championship. The next two weeks will be tough with games against Washington State and USC, so Tate will have to prove himself once again.

4. The American Athletic Conference will be in a New Year’s Six Bowl

College Football Week 8

Quinton Flowers (Photo by: tampabay.com)

With San Diego State losing last week, it has made it a lot easier for an AAC team to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. The only question is: Which one? There were three ranked AAC teams in action this weekend and all three came out with wins. If they can avoid beating up on each other, one of them will be in a major bowl game.

On Friday Memphis beat Houston on the road. The Tigers are 6-1 and should be able to win the AAC West. Their only loss is to UCF, who is another one of the ranked AAC teams. They only have one more tough game in the regular season, against SMU. They should be able to win out and get into a New Year’s Six play-in game in the AAC Championship.

USF was able to hold on against a very inconsistent and streaky Tulane team. They are still undefeated at 7-0, but haven’t played an FBS team that has a record above .500. They will be tested this week against Houston. If the Bulls can get by this week with a win, they likely set up a top 15 matchup with UCF at the end of the season before the AAC Championship.

The Golden Knights of UCF have are also undefeated at 6-0. They have blown out Maryland and Memphis to show that they aren’t messing around. Their game against Georgia Tech got cancelled due to a hurricane, which would have been another opportunity for a big win. This week the Golden Knights were able to beat a previously ranked Navy team 31-21.

In a few weeks there could be three top 15 AAC teams vying for a New Year’s Six Bowl Game if they don’t slip up beforehand.

5. Bret Bielema is another SEC coach on the hot seat

Everyone knows about Butch Jones being on the hot seat, but Bielema has done an even worse job this season and if he doesn’t turn it around fast he will be gone. The Razorbacks lost 52-20 to Auburn this weekend in their fifth loss of the season already. They have been blown out in all of their losses except their game against Texas A&M. The only wins on the season for Arkansas so far are against Florida A&M (FCS) and New Mexico State.

This season is on pace to be Arkansas’ worst season since Bielema’s first season when the Razorbacks finished 3-9. Bielema hasn’t been successful in his four and a half years as the head coach. They have an overall record of 27-31 and an abysmal SEC record of 10-26. While their shouldn’t be the highest expectations for Arkansas football, that isn’t good enough. If he doesn’t finish strong it is time for a change.

Arkansas still has games against Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri on their schedule. While they should beat Coastal Carolina, they will have to grind out wins in their other games. They need to win four of their last five to make a bowl game and perhaps save Bielema’s job.

 

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