2018 MLB Draft Preview

Like every year, The 2018 MLB Draft stands as the next step for promising prospects in making their dreams a reality. Most of us have imagined ourselves walking on the stage, shaking the commissioner’s hand and wearing the cap of the team who drafted us.

Of course for all 30 franchises taking part, many questions appear and need answers. Which position needs the most improvement?  How can these new additions help set the tone for success?  What traits/tools are we looking for that the team fall short on? Additionally, which of these prospects have that “IT” factor with the game on the line?

Some teams will have more work to do than others.

1st Pick of the Draft

This year, the Detroit Tigers will hold the first pick of this year’s MLB draft. Last season, the Tigers finished the regular season tied for the worst record in the lead at 64-98 (shared with San Francisco Giants) and their pitching staff ranked last in the league in ERA (5.36).

In addition, All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera did not have a normal season. In his tenth season with Detroit (15th year in the league) Cabrera posted up a .249 batting average, only 16 home runs and only 60 RBI. In addition, these are his lowest season numbers since his rookie season. On average, “Miggy” composes a .317 batting average, hits 34 home runs, and scores 117 RBI in a season.

MLB Draft

image courtesy of mlb.com/tigers

According to MLB.com The first 10 picks of the Draft are as follows:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. San Francisco Giants
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Chicago White Sox
  5. Cincinnati Reds
  6. New York Mets
  7. San Diego Padres
  8. Atlanta Braves
  9. Oakland Athletics
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates

The full draft order can be found here.

Notable Draft Pitchers

The pitcher is among the most celebrated positions in baseball, and arguably the most scrutinized. Pitchers can ignite a whole defense, shut out an entire batting roster, and come in clutch when the team needs it most. According to MLB Pipeline.com, seven of the first ten projected picks are pitchers.

Many experts predict that University of Florida right-handed ace, Brady Singer, will be the number 1 overall pick in the next MLB Draft.

MLB Draft

image courtesy of floridagators.com/baseball

As a sophomore in the 2017 season, Singer pitched his way to a 9-5 record in 20 appearances and led the team in innings pitched with 126. He earned All SEC Second-Team Honors, along with a spot on the 2017 College World Series (CWS) All-Tournament team. He also helped lead the Florida Gators team to its first CWS title in program history, beating fellow SEC team, Louisiana State University (LSU), in the finals.

With this new hardware, the University of Florida became only the fourth collegiate athletic program to win a championship title in football, baseball and basketball (joining Ohio State, Michigan and UCLA).

Singer is not the only prospect from the Florida Gators looking to make an impression.

Fellow pitcher, Jackson Kowar, looks to take it to the next level. Last season, as a sophomore, he posted a 12-1 record (.923 percentage), therefore tying the best season record in school history. Furthermore, his 12 wins led the SEC and sat second in the entire country.

During the second game (and last) in last year’s CWS finals against LSU, Kowar came in as a relief pitcher and shut down the Tigers while he was on the mound. This effort would additionally win the Gators their first World Series title.

MLB. Pipeline lists projects Kowar to be drafted 10th overall.

Looking Ahead

Although the MLB Draft does not begin until June, all 30 organizations will have plenty of chances to prepare. They will be able to analyze positions on the team that require more depth and which ones can wait during spring training and the start of the regular season. Who will step up?  Does the starting field look as well or better than last year?

Like the adage goes, one player can make a difference. Like any sport, baseball is no stranger to new faces taking names and being the talk of the league. But for the most part, superstars will take time to mold, to mature and to sharpen their talents so they can help their team get to the next level.

For some organizations, it is going to take more than drafting the right guys to improve a team. Whether a franchise is rebuilding, looking for the right people to step up after losing a prominent starter, or repeating the success of the previous season: Whatever the case may be, everything has to work, and not just on draft day.

On June 4th, baseball fans across the country and the world will tune in and watch who will dawn their favorite team’s colors.

 

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Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Alabama had a thrilling comeback to win yet another title. It included putting in a freshman quarterback, who hadn’t played a meaningful snap all season long. The game just goes to show that college football is unique and great. While the 2017 season is now over it is time to look ahead to the 2018 season. Here is the early college football top 25 for the 2018 season:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

While they always lose talent to the NFL, Alabama can replace it. Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa will lead the offense alongside any of the talented running backs that decide to return to school. Najee Harris found some daylight in the title game and will also be back. The defense will lose a lot more talent to the NFL, but they always step up. A lot of players got experience this season due to injuries.

2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson made a third straight College Football Playoff and will compete for another next season. Kelly Bryant and the talented running backs will be back. Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow need to make their decisions still, but Clemson can replace them. The defense always reloads and will at the very least have stud defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to build around.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

J.K. Dobbins (Photo by cleveland.com)

J.T. Barrett may be leaving, but Dwayne Haskins looked good in relief against Michigan. Add him with J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and the majority of the offensive line returning and it has the makings of a good offense. The defense will still have Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones, which will help make up a good defensive line.

4. Washington Huskies

The Huskies had a young team this season that saw them replace a lot of NFL talent on defense. Jake Browning should return to school to lead the team at quarterback. Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis could both be lost to the NFL, but if Gaskin elects to return to school, the offense will be solid. The majority of the defense will return, but will have to fill holes left by Vita Vea and some very good linebackers.

5. Miami Hurricanes

Is Malik Rosier the answer at quarterback? Only time will tell. The Hurricanes should have him, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards back to make plays. They do lose a lot on the offensive line, but should be able to replace it. Miami should also get most of their defense back, which includes a great back seven of talented linebackers and a good secondary.

6. Michigan State Spartans

L.J. Scott decided to return to school, giving Michigan State almost all their starters back for next year. After winning ten games this season, they should be expected to compete even more next season. Brian Lewerke is a dual-threat that is expected to improve this offseason. The defense was very young and should also get a lot better next season.

7. Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs just played in the National Championship, but are going to lose a lot of talent, especially on their defense. They could lose up to nine or ten players from the defense, which will not be easy to replace. Georgia has some playmakers on offense returning in Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift and Riley Ridley. Most of their offensive line also returns.

8. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin got a huge win when linebacker T.J. Edwards said he was returning for his senior season. He will give the defense some stability, as they lose a lot this offseason. The offense will be expected to pick up the slack, as Jonathan Taylor had a fantastic freshman season and most of his offensive line will return. The question is: How well can Alex Hornibrook play?

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Lincoln Riley did a fantastic job in his first year as head coach, but now has to move on without Baker Mayfield. Kyler Murray was a highly-touted recruit that Riley can mold. Freshman running back Rodney Anderson also returns after having a great season and Rose Bowl. Add those two to wide receiver “Hollywood” Brown and the offense should be set. Defensively, some talent will move on, but the offense is the strength of the team.

10. Virginia Tech Hokies

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Josh Jackson (Photo by cjonline.com)

Josh Jackson had a fantastic freshman season that resulted in nine wins. His progression is what carries this ranking. Travon McMillan and Cam Phillips, his two offensive weapons at running back and wide receiver, are gone. Young receivers will need to step up and they will also need to replace a few offensive linemen. The Hokies will return about six or seven starters on defense, but will need to replace some NFL-level talent.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Saquon Barkley is gone, but Trace McSorley is back again. He will now have to be the focal point of the offense with a new offensive coordinator. Most of the offensive line returns, but a lot of new faces will have to step up on defense, as they had a lot of seniors getting significant playing time.

12. Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had a great season that resulted with them playing in the Cotton Bowl. Auburn gets quarterback Jarrett Stidham back, while Kerryon Johnson is leaving for the NFL. They will lose some quality players on defense, but will get the majority back for 2018.

13. Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love is likely going to the NFL. The good news for Stanford is they can seemingly plug in a lot of running backs into their system to be productive. K.J. Costello also showed some flashes of being a very good quarterback. They lose more than half of their defense to seniors, but the returning players are solid.

14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Both Josh Adams and Equanimeous St. are trying to make it at the next level. Losing Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson deals a significant blow to the offense of Notre Dame. They still have some good offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers who will step up next season. That only leaves the matter of quarterback. Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush will battle it out in the offseason for the starting role. The seniors leaving the defense will leave a mark, but a lot of players returning have gotten significant playing time due to injuries over the previous few seasons.

15. Boise State Broncos

Boise State has a chance to be in the national spotlight again this year, after fading in the past few seasons. Quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison return, which should help keep the offense rolling. Losing wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and some offensive linemen will hurt, but they will manage. The defense is young and pretty much all returning next season, meaning they should be dominant.

16. LSU Tigers

The Tigers will have to replace a lot of their offense, but they have some talented recruits waiting to take the team to the next level. Myles Brennan looks to take over at quarterback after seeing action in six games this season. He was a highly-touted recruit that should be able to make plays with another year under his belt. A lot of good players from LSU’s defense will be missing as well, so they’re recruits will need to step up.

17. Michigan Wolverines

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Shea Patterson (Photo by freep.com)

Michigan won the Shea Patterson sweepstakes and the quarterback transfer from Ole Miss. Brandon Peters also showed potential at the position this season. They’ll need skill position players to step up next season. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in store for a big year at wide receiver if the quarterback play is good enough. The defense returns most of its key players. A player to watch is linebacker Devin Bush, who is one of the best in the country.

18. USC Trojans

Sam Darnold helped lead USC back to prominence, but now he is gone. Gone too are running back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Deontay Burnett. Two offensive linemen also graduate, so they will have some big shoes to fill in Los Angeles. A lot of their players on the defensive side of the ball will be testing the NFL Draft waters, so sophomore corner Jack Jones will have to step up and be a leader.

19. West Virginia Mountaineers

Will Grier had a great season for West Virginia and has decided to return to school. With most of his weapons back, Grier should have the Mountaineers in good position to have one of the best offenses in the country once again. While the defense isn’t the strength of the team, a lot of returning players will be good to work with.

20. Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic hit a home run when they hired Lane Kiffin. He took a team that was supposed to be very bad and made them a conference championship team. Running back Devin Singletary was one of the most productive running backs in the country this season and will be back for his junior year. A young defense should also improve as a lot more people hop on the “Lane Train”.

21. Kansas State Wildcats

Bill Snyder is back for another season. They won nine games in 2016 and eight games this season with young teams. Now, with a bunch of veterans, the Wildcats are looking to compete more in the Big 12. Wide receiver Byron Pringle will be asked to do a lot for this team, but they will mainly try to run the football. If D.J. Reed decides to return at corner, it should be another solid year for the Wildcats.

22. Northwestern Wildcats

They won ten games this season and will be back for more next season. While their career leading rusher, Justin Jackson, is graduating, they seem to believe freshman Jeremy Larkin can be a workhorse back in his sophomore year. Quarterback Clayton Thorson is also back for next season, but is recovering from a torn ACL in the Music City Bowl. Freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher looks like he will be on of their all-time greats.

23. Florida State Seminoles

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Deondre Francois (photo by gridironnow.com)

Willie Taggart did a good job of turning around Oregon in his one season in Eugene. He is a solid coach who will get some talent returning. With Deondre Francois back at quarterback, Cam Akers at running back and a lot of good receivers, they should be solid on offense. The offensive line has struggled in the last few years, they are young and shold improve. A lot might need to be replaced on defense, but they have recruited well.

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

If Nick Fitzgerald can recover from a gruesome leg injury, the Bulldogs have the makings of a good team. They get most of their team back, which is encouraging, but Dan Mullen left for Florida. Joe Moorehead will try to make Mississippi State’s offense a lot better, just like he did at Penn State.

25. Texas A&M Aggies

Jimbo Fisher is a great haul for Texas A&M. He will have to work with quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel, but they can be successful. Trayveon Willliams returns at running back, along with a lot of the offensive line, but they will have to replace Christian Kirk. A lot of their best defensive players will be playing on Sundays next year, so Fisher has a little bit of work cut out for him on that side of the ball.

 

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

LSU and Notre Dame always produce a lot of NFL talent and will play in the 2018 Citrus Bowl. There are going to be a lot of NFL players on the field during this game. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Mike McGlinchey, OT

McGlinchey would’ve been one of the first tackles taken in last year’s draft, but elected to go back to Notre Dame. He has retained his status as one of the best prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The two-time Notre Dame captain has been recognized as an All-American during his time in college. He has experience at both tackle spots, which is a good thing.

At 6’8″ and 315 pounds he has great size for an NFL offensive tackle. He has been good for Notre Dame at left and right tackle. McGlinchey is a good run blocker and decent pass blocker, but has shown increased athletic ability this season.

Projected draft range: Top 15 pick

Quenton Nelson, OG

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

Quenton Nelson (Photo by rivals.com)

Guards don’t usually get much attention in the draft, but Nelson is one of the best guard prospects in a long time. He is also a team captain and has received a lot of honors during his time at Notre Dame. Nelson has a unique blend of quickness and strength, which allows him to do anything that is asked of a guard.

He is 6’5″ and 330 pounds which will make him look at home in the NFL. While guards usually don’t get drafted early in the draft, it would be hard to pass up on his talent.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR

St. Brown doesn’t have the best production, but hasn’t had the best quarterbacks or play calling to work with. He has made a lot of highlight plays and shown flashes of being a great receiver. Unfortunately it has only amounted to 1,437 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

At 6’5″ and 203 pounds, he creates a matchup problem for defenses. He will need to add some strength to his slight frame, but when he does, he can reach his full potential.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Other notable Notre Dame prospects: RB Josh Adams (3rd round-5th round), DT Jerry Tillery (3rd round-5th round), TE Durham Smythe (4th round-6th round), LB Te’Von Coney (4th round-6th round), C Sam Mustipher (4th round-6th round), S/LB Drue Tranquill (5th round-7th round), LB Nyles Morgan (6th round-undrafted free agent), DE Andrew Trumbetti (undrafted free agent)

LSU Tigers

 

Derrius Guice, RB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

Derrius Guice (Photo by withthefirstpick.com)

Guice is probable for this bowl game with an unspecified injury. He has battled injuries this season, but has still been productive. He has 2,976 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in his LSU career. That is impressive due to the fact that he was Leonard Fournette’s backup until this season and is just a junior.

He has good size for an NFL running back at 5’11” and 218 pounds. If he leaves early to go in this draft, he will go within the first few rounds.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Donte Jackson, CB

Donte Jackson is the next good corner to come out of LSU. The junior has gotten playing time for three seasons now and has turned himself into a shut-down corner. He has 107 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions and 19 passes defended in his career.

At 5’11” and 175 pounds, he has decent enough height, but will need to add weight to not get beaten off the line of scrimmage. He is a player that will likely go on day two of the NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Will Clapp, G/C

Clapp has been hearing draft buzz for a while now. He can play both guard and center, which will make him more valuable to NFL teams. He has earned All-SEC recognition and has done just about everything an interior offensive lineman can do at the college level.

He is 6’5″ and 314 pounds, which is great for an interior lineman in the NFL. Clapp will be selected in the middle rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

*Arden Key will not play in this bowl game with a finger injury, but will be a top 15 pick.

Other notable LSU prospects: CB Kevin Toliver II (3rd round-5th round), WR D.J. Chark (3rd round-5th round), OT Toby Weathersby (5th round-7th round), S Ed Paris (7th round-undrafted free agnet)

 

 

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

The Citrus Bowl pits the LSU Tigers against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. These two teams played each other at the conclusion of the 2014 season in the Music City Bowl. Both teams had solid seasons again and were just a few wins away from reaching their goals. Here is the 2018 Citrus Bowl preview:

14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-3)

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

Josh Adams (Photo by indystar.com)

Notre Dame was a playoff contender going into the last three weeks of the season, but lost two of their last three games. They lost to Georgia, Miami and Stanford, which were all losses to good teams. They were able to beat some solid teams in USC, N.C. State and Michigan State.

The Fighting Irish score 35.3 points per game and run the ball well. They average 279.1 yards on the ground per game. Josh Adams has been their star running back this season with 1,386 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. The second leading rusher on the team is quarterback Brandon Wimbush with 765 yards and 14 touchdowns. They have two very good offensive linemen who clear holes for the running game in Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson.

Wimbush has had his struggles throwing the ball this season. He completes less than 50% of his passes at 49.8%. On the season he has 1,818 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Wimbush has the potential to make good throws, but is inconsistent. Equanimeous St. Brown is the leading receiver with 468 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Their defense is one of the most improved units in the entire country and allow 21.8 points per game. They rank 49th against the run and 51st against the pass. Nyles Morgan is the leader of the defense with 82 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

17 LSU Tigers (9-3)

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

Derrius Guice (Photo by gridironnow.com)

It looked as if the sky was falling when LSU lost to Troy, but LSU got to nine wins on the season. Their record is a bit inflated, as they only beat two bowl eligible teams in Texas A&M and Auburn. This was still a decent start for Ed Orgeron in his first full season as head coach of the Tigers.

The offense has still been an issue, but they score over 28 points per game. They also have a good running game that is the strong point of their offense. Two running backs have done a lot of damage for LSU. Derrius Guice has battled injuries to rush for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Darrel Williams has been a great backup with 776 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Danny Etling is a senior who has started a lot of games in the past two years for the Tigers. He won’t make the most plays, but protects the football and manages the game well. He has thrown for 2,234 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver D.J. Chark is a supreme talent who leads the team with 811 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The defense, like usual, carries the team and allows 18.8 points per game. They rank 21st against the run and 20th against the pass. Pass rusher Arden Key will be out for this game after having surgery on his pinky finger. Freshman defensive back Andraez Williams has five interceptions this season.

Prediction

Both of these teams are solid, but LSU has the advantage. If they can stop the run and make Wimbush beat them, they will be able to win. The LSU running game can control the clock, which will make it hard for Notre Dame to catch up.

LSU Tigers 29 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 21

 

 

College football week 10 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their college football picks for week 10 including all games that include FBS teams.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Bowling Green Kent State Dix Stadium, Kent, OH Kent St Kent St
Miami (OH) Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
Central Michigan Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
Northern Illinois Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
Ball State Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI EMU EMU
Navy Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Navy Navy
Idaho Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Marshall Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL FAU Marshall
#22 Memphis Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Memphis Memphis
UCLA Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
#4 Wisconsin Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#7 Penn State #24 Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Penn St PSU
#16 Auburn Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX Auburn Auburn
UMass #21 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Margin of victory 28 33
Florida Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Florida
Kansas State Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX Texas Tech TT
Western Kentucky Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Vandy Vandy
Baylor Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS Kansas? Baylor
Illinois Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Purdue
East Carolina Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Houston Houston
Syracuse Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL Syracuse Cuse
Georgia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA GT GT
Appalachian State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA App St App St
Georgia State Georgia Southern Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GA Georgia St Ga State
Rice UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
New Mexico State Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX New Mex St NMSU
South Carolina #1 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Georgia UGA
#3 Ohio State Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA OSU OSU
Wake Forest #5 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN ND ND
#6 Clemson #20 NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC Clemson Clemson
#14 Iowa State West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV WVU WVU
#18 Stanford #25 Washington State Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wazzu
South Florida Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT USF USF
Maryland Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Maryland Maryland
Charlotte Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA Old Dom ODU
North Texas Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA UNT La Tech
Northwestern Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska NW
Army Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO Air Force AF
#8 Oklahoma #11 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
Ole Miss Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Kentucky
Coastal Carolina Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Arkansas
Cincinnati Tulane Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA Tulane Tulane
Louisiana South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL USA USA
Oregon State California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA Cal Cal
Utah State New Mexico Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM New Mexico NM
Hawai’i UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV Hawai’i Hawai’i
Nevada Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
Colorado State Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY Col St Colorado St
UT San Antonio Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU UTSA
Texas #10 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
#15 UCF SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX UCF UCF
Southern Mississippi Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN So Miss So Miss
UTEP Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Minnesota Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Michigan
#19 LSU #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama Alabama
#13 Virginia Tech #9 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Va Tech Va Tech
Colorado Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona St ASU
Oregon #12 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Washington Washington
San Diego State San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA SDSU SDSU
#23 Arizona #17 USC Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA Arizona Zona
BYU Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno Fresno
Gameday Guest Picker (Stillwater) Big Country Reeves Barry Sanders

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Five things to watch for in college football week 10

The college football playoff race is getting heated and a lot of great story lines are going on in college football. Here are five things to watch this week:

1. Bedlam

Yes one of the best things to watch this week is bedlam. This is the rivalry game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Both teams have just one loss and want to keep it that way so they have a better shot of making the College Football Playoff. These games are always exciting, but with the added pressure, it will be a joy to watch.

These two teams have two high-powered offenses, both of which rank in the top six in scoring. These teams also have Heisman Trophy contenders in Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. There will be a lot of passing and offense in this game, so defenses need to step up and get some key stops. Whoever’s defense steps up will win this game.

The game is in Stillwater, so home field advantage goes to the Cowboys. Make sure to check out this game at 4:00 p.m. EST, as it will have CFP ranking implications.

2. ACC Coastal Clash

Week 10 college football preview

Josh Jackson (Photo by detroitnews.com)

The two best teams in the ACC Coastal will square off as well. Like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, this game has CFP implications. Miami is undefeated, but hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet this season. Virginia Tech is very similar in that regard and they have a loss to Clemson earlier in the year.

Because these are the two best teams in the ACC Coastal, this game will likely decide who ends up playing in the ACC Championship Game. Miami hasn’t been playing well as of late and survived an upset bid from the woeful North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. The defense will have to continue to be solid in this one and Malik Rosier will need to make throws against talented defenders for the Hokies. Virginia Tech has been kicking butt ever since their loss to Clemson and has a lot of NFL talent on its roster.

The game is in Miami, where they are hosting the biggest game they have had in a long time. Will the fans show up and create a dynamic atmosphere?

3. Pac-12 South contest

After last weekend the Pac-12 South got a little more clear. Arizona and USC are the two teams that are most likely to go to the Pac-12 Championship and they square off this weekend. Both teams have just one loss in conference and will play this weekend to take a commanding lead in the division.

Sam Darnold has been turnover prone and will need to play well to give USC a chance. The defense is extremely average and will need to have their best game of the season if they have any shot to win. Khalil Tate has taken over as starting quarterback for Arizona and is a great dual-threat. Since he has taken over, Arizona is a completely different team and is now even ranked. They are very dangerous.

This game will offer up a battle of quarterbacks with completely differing styles, but it will be very fun to watch. The quarterback that plays the best will win this game.

4. Battle for ACC Atlantic

College football week 10 preview

Kelly Bryant (Photo by tigernet.com)

Another battle in the ACC that has title implications is N.C. State vs. Clemson. Clemson has one loss to Syracuse, while the Wolfpack haven’t lost in ACC Play. Clemson is favored by over a touchdown, but N.C. State has had a solid season.

Clemson got back on track last week with a win over Georgia Tech, after losing to Syracuse two games ago. With quarterback Kelly Bryant healthy the team is good enough to go to the CFP. The defensive line creates havoc for any offense. N.C. State’s defensive line is good itself, but they just got gashed by Notre Dame. The offense protects the football well, while moving the ball well, which is hard to do.

The Tigers will likely win the game, but if the Wolfpack’s defense can stop Clemson’s offense, it’s anyone’s game. N.C. State will have the game at home, which should make it more interesting.

5. Other big matchups

There are seven games this weekend involving ranked teams so get the remote ready.

Michigan State takes on Penn State. The Nittany Lions are still a great team, but can’t have a hangover after their tough loss to Ohio State. The only way Michigan State has a chance is if Mark Dantonio’s defense can slow down Saquon Barkley.

Stanford travels to Pullman to take on Washington State. The game features the passing attack of Washington State, with whatever quarterback they decide to play, and Stanford’s power game, which may not feature Bryce Love due to injury. The Cardinal are seemingly on their late season roll and can still make the Pac-12 Championship Game. The winner still has to take on Washington, but this will show a lot about the Pac-12 North standing.

LSU is going to Alabama for their annual game. The Tigers will have to do something to make up for their lackluster offense in this game. The Crimson Tide just need to keep on rolling. This is the toughest stretch of their schedule, but they are a much better team than LSU. The rivalry game gives this game more juice, as LSU will play with extra pep in their step.

 

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Five things we learned from college football week 7

It was a great weekend of college football that really changed the College Football Playoff picture. It may not have looked like a great weekend going into it, but whenever that is the case, crazy things happen. Here are five things we learned from the wild weekend.

1. Never underestimate an opponent

College football week 7

Manny Wilkins (Photo by azcentral.com)

This was the first weekend this season of no matchups between ranked opponents. It looked like a lot of the teams were going to win big time, but that turned into a lot of big upsets. On Friday Clemson lost on the road to Syracuse, despite being over 20 point favorites. Washington State got absolutely decimated by Cal 37-34.

The craziness continued on Saturday. West Virginia beat a newly ranked Texas Tech team, while Memphis upset Navy. Weeks after questioning Ed Oregeron’s capabilities at LSU, he led the Tigers to an upset win over Auburn. San Diego State suffered their first loss of the season to Boise State. To cap things off, Arizona State upset the number five team in the country, Washington.

All in all, seven ranked teams lost, which included four teams that were ranked in the top 10. The chaos is just getting started.

2. Alabama is the best team in the country

While this isn’t too much of a surprise, this was a debate last week. With Clemson losing, Alabama stands alone as the best team in the country, without any team that is being touted as a great challenger.

The Crimson Tide struggled to get past Texas A&M last week, but this week was able to roll past Arkansas. The defense has been elite, while the running game has been dominant. On top of that Jalen Hurts has been protecting the football, which is all he needs to do to get Alabama wins. Hurts threw his first interception of the season against the Razorbacks, so if he can keep up his ability to not turn the ball over, the Crimson Tide will have a huge advantage in any game.

With the rest of the SEC West beating up on each other, it doesn’t look like Alabama will be tested too much in the regular season.

3. Baker Mayfield is tough and clutch

College football week 7

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

The Red River Rivalry was one of the best games of the weekend. Texas put up a good fight and had a fourth quarter lead behind a gutty performance from Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t enough as Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners back to victory.

Mayfield was driven into the ground and hurt his throwing shoulder during the game. He had it worked on by the trainers and was able to play through the pain. It came to the point were Mayfield had to throw, as the Sooners were behind in the fourth quarter. He let a pass rip to Mark Andrews down the sideline, which turned into a game-winning score.

While Mayfield isn’t the leader for the Heisman right now, he certainly has had a lot of memorable moments.

4. Butch Jones is getting fired

Tennessee lost a close game at home to South Carolina. They failed to get the offense going, with offense being head coach Butch Jones’ specialty. The Volunteers were only able to manage to score nine points and they only needed 16 to win the game.

Butch Jones was already on the hot seat, but after another loss, he may be getting fired earlier than expected despite a huge buyout clause in his contract. Tennessee is now 3-3 as they head into a game with Alabama. Their back half of the schedule also has big games against LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, so it will not be easy to get to bowl eligibility.

Watch the bottom ticker on your screens the next couple of weeks as Jones could be getting the ax at any moment from here on out.

5. UAB can get to a bowl

College football week 7

Bill Clark (Photo by cbssports.com)

In probably the craziest story of the year, UAB is having a very successful season in their first year back as a college football program. They program was cancelled after the 2014 season and after a few seasons off, have made it back to the highest level of college football.

The Blazers beat Middle Tennessee this weekend, as they were able to take advantage of a banged up Blue Raiders team. Now UAB sits at 4-2 with a couple easy games left on the schedule. If they can get two more wins, they will make their second bowl game in their history.

This season has already seen a lot of wacky results, but it would be such a wild story if a newly reinstated team was able to make a bowl game.

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College football week 7 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger continue their season long picks of every FBS college football game for week 7. Here are the picks:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Texas State Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
#2 Clemson Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY Clemson Clemson
#8 Washington State California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA Wash St Washington State
#6 TCU Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS TCU TCU
#17 Michigan Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Michigan Michigan
#20 NC State Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA NC State NC State
#24 Texas Tech West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV Texas Tech West Virginia
Florida State Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC FSU FSU
Rutgers Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Illini Illinois
Eastern Michigan Army Michie Stadium, West Point, NY Army Army
BYU Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss St Miss State
South Carolina Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Tennessee South Carolina
Kansas Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA Iowa St Iowa State
Connecticut Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Temple Temple
Boston College Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Louisville Louisville
UNLV Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO Air Force AF
Old Dominion Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV Marshall Marshall
Purdue #7 Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Auburn LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA Auburn Auburn
Georgia Tech #11 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Miami Georgia Tech
#12 Oklahoma Texas Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX Oklahoma Oklahoma
Baylor #14 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK St Ok St
Virginia North Carolina Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC Uva UVA
Northwestern Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Maryland Northwestern
Vanderbilt Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS Vandy Vandy
Akron Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
Miami (OH) Kent State Dix Stadium, Kent, OH Miami (OH) Miami
Northern Illinois Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY NIU NIU
Ohio Bowling Green Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OH Ohio Ohio
Toledo Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI Toledo Toledo
#25 Navy Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Houston Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Houston Houston
Colorado Oregon State Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR Colorado Colorado
Charlotte Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY WKU WKU
Wyoming Utah State Romney Stadium, Logan, UT Utah St Utah St
Georgia State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA ULM ULM
Appalachian State Idaho Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID App St App St
New Mexico State Georgia Southern Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GA NMSU NMSU
Middle Tennessee UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL MTSU MTSU
East Carolina #22 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Margin of victory 36 25
UT San Antonio North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX UNT UTSA
UTEP Southern Mississippi M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS USM USM
Tulane Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL Tulane Tulane
Texas A&M Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL Florida TAMU
Coastal Carolina Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR Ark St Ark State
Arkansas #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Bama Bama
Missouri #4 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Georgia UGA
#9 Ohio State Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE OSU OSU
Cincinnati #18 South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL USF USF
Utah #13 USC Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA USC USC
#21 Michigan State Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Mich St Mich ST
UCLA Arizona Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ Arizona Arizona
New Mexico Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno Fresno
Nevada Colorado State CSU Stadium, Fort Collins, CO Col St Col St
Boise State #19 San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
#5 Washington Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Washington Washington
Oregon #23 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Stanford
San José State Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawaii Hawaii
Villanova James Madison James Madison James Madison
Gameday Guest Picker (Harrisonburg, VA) Lindsey Czarniak Phil Vassar

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Five things to watch for in college football week 7

College football is in week seven and here are some things to watch:

1. Can Big 12 teams break the scoreboard?

College football week 7

Nick Shimonek (Photo by zimbio.com)

This weekend Texas Tech takes on West Virginia in Morgantown. Both teams score a lot of points and aren’t great at playing defense. While these teams likely won’t do too much in terms of the national landscape, this will be a fun game to watch with a lot of passing and points scored.

Texas Tech has Nic Shimonek at quarterback who has already thrown for over 1,800 yards and looks like the next good Red Raider to put up a lot of stats. He has helped Texas Tech score 46.8 points per game. Kliff Kingsbury likes to throw it all around the field, having Shimonek average 39 passes per game.

The Mountaineers average 43.9 points per game and have scored at least 24 points in every single game. Will Grier has brought life to the team and has a few talented receivers to throw to in David Sills and Ka’Raughn White. They will be slinging the ball around trying to keep up with the Red Raiders.

2. How does Michigan bounce back?

Michigan lost to Michigan State this week for their first loss of the season. Despite that being their only loss, the Wolverines haven’t looked all that good in other games this season. They certainly don’t look like contenders for the Big Ten.

This week the Wolverines are taking on Indiana on the road. The Hoosiers are 3-2 and look like a decent team that will make a bowl game. John O’Korn will be starting for Michigan again and has to help the offense limit turnovers. The Wolverine defense is good enough to keep them in the game, the offense just has to score a few times.

While they don’t look good, Michigan should be able to beat Indiana. This game’s final score will be low, but Michigan’s defense is full of playmakers.

3. Red River Rivalry

College Football week 7

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma and Texas play in their annual game in Dallas and this year it looks like it could be a good one for a variety of different reasons.

The Sooners are coming off of a loss to Iowa State. They will be mad and now have no margin for error. Baker Mayfield has 15 touchdowns and no interceptions this season and will be looking for blood. His Heisman campaign took a hit last week, but he can get it back on track this week.

Texas is a team that played well in their only big matchup this season, the game at USC. Tom Herman has a weird way of getting his team hyped up for big games. They have some talented NFL level talent on their defense, including Malik Jefferson and Poona Ford. At the very least watching these players go up against the Sooner offense will be entertaining.

4. San Diego State get a home test

Boise State travels to San Diego State for a Mountain West clash. The Aztecs are favored by seven and it should be a very entertaining game.

The Broncos may have lost to Virginia, but they are still a very solid Mountain West team and program. They are 3-2 and look like they should be able to still compete in the Mountain West.

San Diego State has been on a tear this season. They are already 6-0 with key wins over Stanford and Arizona State. If they keep this up, there is no doubt they will be playing in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. They also have a Heisman contender in Rashaad Penny. He is a long shot to win the award, but is still worth watching every game he plays.

5. Battle of the SEC West Tigers

College football week 7

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

The Tigers of the SEC West are facing off this weekend and both teams are in very different places right now. Last year these teams played the losing coach, Les Miles, got fired because of it. If Gus Malzahn would have lost the game, he would’ve been fired, but things have changed now.

Ed Orgeron has gotten a lot of criticism for losing to Troy, but rebounded nicely with the road win over Florida. He still has some heat coming his way, but a win in this game would do a lot to ease that. LSU’s offense still isn’t great, but they have a lot of talent on the team.

Auburn looks like they have a good football team, but they lost their only big game this season to Clemson. Traveling to Death Valley is never easy though. The offense has the running game going behind a healthy Kerryon Johnson. The defense has been a dominant unit this season and has Auburn looking like the second best team in the SEC West.

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Five things we learned in college football week 6

Week six didn’t have the greatest slate of games, but that allowed for some crazy upsets that will shake things up. There are a lot of things that we learned, but here are five of the most relevant:

1. Iowa State is Baker Mayfield’s “Daddy”

College football week 6

Joel Lanning (Photo by newsok.com)

Iowa State got a big upset win in Norman over the number three rated Sooners. The Cyclones didn’t have their starting quarterback Jacob Park, who was on medical leave, but were still able to come away with the victory. This marks the biggest upset of the season and has made a lot of people rethink their CFP picks.

The real star of the game was Joel Lanning. He was a quarterback his first two years at Iowa State, but moved to linebacker, so that the Cyclones could start Jacob Park. With Park out, Lanning played his usual linebacker position, but also split time at quarterback. Lanning finished with eight tackles, a sack and a recovered fumble on defense and came in to help move the ball on offense.

After the big upset, the Cyclones decided to troll Baker Mayfield, much like Mayfield had done to previous opponents. They planted the state flage of Iowa at midfield and several players were caught on the microphones saying, “Who’s your daddy?”. After a home loss to Iowa State, Oklahoma doesn’t have much room for error the rest of the way.

2. Miami can beat Florida State

The Seminoles had won seven straight against Miami and had never lost the rivalry game with Jimbo Fisher as head coach. That all changed Saturday. Florida State has struggled without starting quarterback Deondre Francois, but Miami fans still had little hope that this would be the year they broke the streak.

Florida State scored a touchdown with just over a minute left and it looked dire for Miami. Malik Rosier, however, led the Hurricanes on a game winning touchdown drive that concluded with a 23 yard pass to Darrell Langham with six seconds left. In a series that commonly comes down to the final plays to decide the winner, Miami was able to score very late to stay unbeaten.

Miami now looks to be one of the biggest threats to Clemson in the ACC. If they can keep winning, they may face the Tigers in the ACC Championship Game.

3. Overreactions on Orgeron?

Last week LSU lost to Troy at home. Troy is a good football team, but LSU should’ve been able to defend their home turf a lot better, as they were physically dominated at the line of scrimmage. A lot of fans and media members were clamoring for LSU to fire head coach Ed Orgeron, but this week he came up with a big win over Florida.

The Tigers still didn’t look great in this game, but came away with the win in The Swamp. They were able to win the game because Florida missed an extra point, but in games like this it doesn’t matter how much you win by, just that you win. This isn’t the greatest win of all time, but it was a tough win on the road.

While Orgeron didn’t deserve a $12 million buyout in his contract and may have not even deserved the job in the first place, firing a coach so early in his tenure is a bit unfair. Orgeron isn’t out of the hot seat yet, but took a good step this weekend.

4. Michigan isn’t elite

College football week 6

Mark Dantonio (Photo by sbnation.com)

In a rainy game in Ann Arbor, Michigan lost a close game to their in-state rival, Michigan State, 14-10. The Wolverines turned the ball over five times, which allowed Michigan State to grind out the win. It is still unknown how good both these teams truly are, but Michigan isn’t an elite team.

The Wolverines were without starting quarterback Wilton Speight, but he wasn’t playing particularly well anyways this season. It is evident that Michigan just has had too replace too much talent from last year’s roster and needs some time to develop their young players. While Michigan may end up being a very good football team, it is not likely they will be able to compete with Ohio State or Penn State for the Big Ten East.

5. TCU is for real

With Oklahoma losing to Iowa State, TCU is currently the best team in the Big 12. This week the Horned Frogs were able to hold off West Virginia to win 31-24.

TCU now has wins over the Mountaineers and Oklahoma State, two of the biggest contenders in the Big 12. With the revamped Big 12 Championship Game this season, the Horned Frogs are in a great position to make it. The Horned Frogs could even be fortunate enough to afford a loss to Oklahoma later in the season and still make the Big 12 Championship Game. If they make it that far, there is a good possibility they can win and make the CFP.

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