Best NFL Prospects in College Football 2017: RBs

Running backs are a position that aren’t usually highly sought after in the NFL Draft, but in the 2017 NFL Draft eight were selected in the first three rounds. This upcoming class may not have as many stars as last year, but there are still some good NFL prospects who will be rushing through college defenses this fall.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State

There is a lot of hype around Penn State after last year’s great run to the Rose Bowl and it is in large part thanks to their best player, Saquon Barkley.

Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards in the Nittany Lions’ 14 games last season. He had a nose for the end zone as he scored 18 touchdowns on the ground. Not only did he do damage as a rusher, but also did well as a receiver, finishing the season with 402 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

He put up an impressive performance in the Rose Bowl and will look to carry that momentum into this upcoming season. Barkley has games against Pitt, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State and Michigan to help increase his stock. He is an early front-runner to be the first running back selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Nick Chubb, Georgia

Nick Chubb (Photo by: macon.com)

Georgia seemingly always reloads at the running back position. Chubb is now a senior after an up and down career because of a major injury in 2015 against Tennessee. When healthy and 100%, Chubb is a dynamic playmaker. He played all 13 games last season and is looking to have an improved senior season to get his draft stock up.

Last season was Chubb’s worst in terms of yards per carry, as he finished with just 5.0 after having years of 7.1 and 8.1 in the previous two seasons. He still finished with 1,130 rushing yards to bring his career total up to 3,424. He isn’t a threat as a receiver, but when Jacob Eason hands him the rock this season, watch out.

The Bulldogs are trying to regain SEC East supremacy this season under Kirby Smart. Chubb has a chance to lead them to these heights and improve his draft stock. The key games for Chubb to show it all to NFL scouts are: at Notre Dame, at Tennessee, vs. Florida, at Auburn and at Georgia Tech.

Royce Freeman, Oregon

Freeman could have easily declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and been selected in the top three rounds. He dealt with knee injuries last year and is looking to have a healthy season in 2017.

The stats for Freeman are eye-popping with 4,148 rushing yards and 44 rushing touchdowns in his career. He has added 650 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Last year was his worst in terms of production, but that was due to his injury.

Oregon is under new leadership in Willie Taggart, who will be looking to keep up the numbers of a traditionally good offense. Freeman will be the key in this and will have these key games to impress NFL Scouts: Nebraska, Stanford, UCLA, Utah and Washington.

Derrius Guice, LSU

Derrius Guice (Photo by: theadvocate.com)

Last year Leonard Fournette was injured and couldn’t play in every game, but this let the world see the potential that Guice had. He filled in well and is looking to have a great season as a featured back.

In his limited time behind Fournette, Guice finished with 1,387 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 7.6 yards per carry. His best game of last season was at Texas A&M, where he rushed for 285 yards and four touchdowns. He has a great combination of power, speed and vision that he used to his advantage and will continue to do so.

Teams will likely stack the box against Guice, with no quarterback threat on LSU’s roster. The Tigers will play big games against BYU, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M and Tennessee.

 

Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

Alabama split carries between multiple running backs, but Scarbrough came on late in the season to have some big games. He is a big physical runner, who looks like he is in the weight room 24/7.

His best performance was an 180 yard game against Washington. He finished the season with 812 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Scarbrough will likely continue to share carries with a loaded Alabama backfield. His vision as a runner has to improve if he wants to play in the NFL, as he can’t run over NFL level talent.

The Crimson Tide have plenty of big games this season for Scarbrough to prove he is more consistent. Alabama plays Florida State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn. Against these good teams and some top level defenses, Scarbrough will get his chance to prove he is a good NFL Draft prospect.

 

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College Quarterbacks Trending Up Coming into The 2017 CFB Season

It’s the dog days of college football. We are a few weeks from removed spring ball and a few weeks away from the start of the summer practice for your favorite team. And every year the same question is posed: Which college quarterbacks are trending up?

By the end of the college football year come back to this article, and see which college quarterbacks stayed calm in the pocket or got sacked. Let’s get into the list:

Jake Bentley- South Carolina

Photo By: Gerry Melendez/ The State

By the end of the SEC year there were three young quarterbacks emerging onto the scene, South Carolina’s Jake Bentley, Georgia’s Jacob Eason and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald. Bentley is on my list because he has proven to me to be a more effective passer than those three in only six games. And Gamecock Central‘s Collyn Taylor agrees with me. When we talked I asked him whose skills are you more confident in between these three and he said Bentley.

“I think I’d be more confident in Bentley’s skills. He was supposed to be in high school last season and came in made some phenomenal throws without a good offensive line. He’s shown he has an SEC caliber arm and can learn on the fly. If he continues to develop like he has been, he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference next season,” said Taylor.

Last year, Bentley really only had one bad game. When the Gamecocks visited their upstate rival Clemson, no one played well. But besides that game he shows so much promise.

Coming into the season, he didn’t start but when came in he balled out. The first three weeks Bentley did something USC hasn’t seen since 2014, three wins in a row. Remember, this guy still could have been playing in high school. He started the last seven games and won four of those games. His best game being against the Missouri Tigers. He threw for 254 yards on over 70 percent passing (second game in a row he did it) and two touchdowns.

More than anything he has given USC fans something to believe in. From a pure passing set, he is already one of the best QBs in Gamecock history. With the Gamecocks riding in the “Bentley”, they should be fighting for a SEC East title.

Mason Rudolph- Oklahoma State

Photo By: Sue Ogrocki/ AP

From a university in South Carolina to kid from the Palmetto State, Mason Rudolph has been one of my favorite quarterbacks since I saw him take down 4-Star QB and then-Georgia commit Jacob Park from my high school alma mater, Stratford High.

Last year he backed up his good 2015 campaign with a great 2016 campaign. He increased in completion, attempts, yards, touchdowns and QB rating. And also he had less interceptions down from a 9 in 2015 to only 4 in 2016. He has turned it up and has placed OK State back on the map for more than Mike Gundy telling us he is 40.

Last year his most impressive game had to be when outlasted Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech and won 45-44. He had a higher completion rate and more yards (less attempts) than future first rounder Mahomes. Rudolph finished the game with 395 yards on 71.4 percent passing and a passer rating of 213.5.

He is definitely one of the better quarterbacks Gundy has had in Stillwater but there is still one obstacle in Rudolph’s way: Baker Mayfield and his Oklahoma Sooners.

Deondre Francois- Florida State

Photo By: Joe Rondone/ Democrat

From one 10-3 quarterback to another, Deondre Francois had one heck of a start to his collegiate career last year. Freshman Francois jumped out the gate in a neutral site game against of the better college quarterbacks Chad Kelly and came out battered, scarred and victorious.

Even since that first game, fans across the nation could tell he would be special. In one year, he is already the premier quarterback in the ACC. He finished the season with 3350 yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also finished the season out strong winning his last five games.

His most impressive game to me, besides the Ole Miss game, was his first trip to Miami against a good talent in Brad Kaaya quarterbacking the Hurricanes. After the halftime break, he came back down 13-3 to rival Miami. In the third quarter, he led his Seminoles down the field twice for two passing touchdowns in consecutive drives. Both drives starting in Seminoles territory.

Last year he won over the fans and his fellow players and this year he has to win some championships. The ACC is his for the taking and if he can win the ACC he will be in the College Football Playoff.

Trace McSorley- Penn State

Photo By: Abby Drey/ Centre Daily Times via AP

Another 10-3 quarterback, Trace McSorley of Penn State. He and coach James Franklin are restoring the winning ways of Penn State. More or less 2016 was McSorley’s “freshman” campaign. In 2015, he only attempted 40 passes. In 2016, he took college football by storm. He finished with 29 touchdowns, 3614 yards and only 8 interceptions. He probably would not like me saying this but he reminds me of the college-Johnny Manziel/Baker Mayfield QB build. All three are short, true dual threat, accurate and flamboyant. They are big time players and I like that about them.

No better game speaks to that then the 2017 Rose Bowl. It was such a beautiful game. Going back and forth, tooth and nail with the USC Trojans on the biggest stage Penn State has been on in a while. Even though he fell short, he impressed many that night. He finished with 254 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. From 11:44 left in the second quarter to 1:55 left in the third quarter, Penn State scored on seven straight possessions. McSorley had all five of his touchdowns in that span.

Many Nittany Lion fans will remember his three interceptions but he had a adjusted QBR of over 70 and a completion rate over 60 in the game as well.

But the quarterback on the other side of this game might be trending even higher than McSorley.

Sam Darnold- Southern California

Photo By: Mark J. Terrill/ AP

The name everyone has been waiting for: Sam Darnold of Southern California. He didn’t start until Week 4. And since Week 4, the Trojans have not taken an L. Darnold led the Trojans to nine straight wins, which is the second longest active winning streak in college football. In that nine game span, only two games were decided by less than 10 points. He finished the season with 3086 yards, 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on over 67 percent passing.

Just like Trace McSorley, his best game was the 2017 Rose Bowl. He had 453 yards passing, five passing touchdowns and one interceptions. His most important passing touchdown came late in the fourth quarter. He drove his team 80 yards down the field in 39 seconds to tie up the game with his fifth passing touchdown. Eventually, Matt Boermeester would hit the 46-yard field goal and win the game.

Coming into his redshirt sophomore year, he is expected to lead the Trojans to their former glory. Also he has the expectations of being the odds on favorite as the best quarterback coming into the 2018 NFL Draft. Let’s see if he can keep trending up this season.

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National Signing Day 2017: Big Ten

The Big Ten was called the best conference by many in the regular season, but faltered in Bowl Season. They will look to pick back up their winning ways on signing day. Big Ten Signing Day should be eventful. This page will be updated as the day goes on. Here is how the Big Ten looks:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Signees: 21, 5*: 2, 4*: 17, 3*: 2, Other: 0

The Buckeyes had a good secondary last season, but some players have left for the NFL. They have two of the best secondary players in the country coming in as five-stars, with Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah. Their class is loaded with players that are top ten in their positions. The class can get even better as the day goes on, but is already elite.

Top Prospects Signed: CB Shaun Wade (5*), S Jeffrey Okudah (5*)

2. Michigan Wolverines

Commitments: 27, 5*: 0, 4*: 25, 3*: 2, Other: 0

Jim Harbaugh has totally revamped Michigan recruiting in his time in Ann Arbor. They don’t have a lot of play-makers that they desperately need, but they did sign a good receiver in Donovan Peoples-Jones. Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey should ring a bell for college football fans, as he is the brother of Christian, but is a good player himself. Michigan has a chance to move up if they can get some key signees today.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (4*), C Cesar Ruiz (4*)

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Commitments: 19, 5*: 0, 4*: 9, 3*: 10, Other: 0

Penn State has followed up their Rose Bowl season with a good recruiting class. The class is balanced overall, but quarterback Sean Clifford is the best player in the class. He was the most accurate quarterback at the elite 11 camp last summer. Fellow four-star C.J. Thorpe will likely get a chance to play early, as Penn State’s offensive line was banged up a lot this season and isn’t the greatest anyways.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Sean Clifford (4*), OG C.J. Thorpe (4*)

4. Maryland Terrapins

Commitments: 22, 5*: 0, 4*: 7, 3*: 14, Other: 1

D.J. Durkin has put together a great class for Maryland to build on. His approach of targeting New Jersey and the D.C. area has worked. Markquese Bell is an athlete who will likely make an impact early in his career. Running back Anthony McFarland should also be a play-maker for the Terrapins in due time as well. Maryland should take a few steps forward in coming years.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Markquese Bell (4*), RB Anthony McFarland (4*)

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Commitments: 16, 5*: 0, 4*: 7, 3*: 9, Other: 0

The Cornhuskers have a lot of good offensive prospects coming in this season. Two four-star wide receiver prospects, Tyjon Lindsey and Keyshawn Johnson Jr., and a four-star quarterback, Tristan Gebbia, are the best players for Nebraska so far. Johnson is son of former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson. Nebraska is building off of a good season in 2016.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Tyon Lindsey (4*), QB Tristan Gebbia (4*)

6. Iowa Hawkeyes

Commitments: 17, 5*: 0, 4*: 2, 3*: 15, Other: 0

Iowa has a great player in this class in A.J. Epenesa at the defensive end position. He can compete for a starting job immediately. Tristan Wirfs is also going to Iowa as a very good offensive tackle prospect. Iowa should be good in the trenches again for years to come.

Top Prospects Signed: DE A.J. Epenesa (4*), OT Mark Kallenberger (4*)

7. Michigan State Spartans

Commitments: 20, 5*:0, 4*: 5, 3*: 15, Other: 0

Wide receiver Hunter Rison is already enrolled in school and gives Michigan State a much needed play-maker although they do have some promising ones currently on the roster. Also committed to the Spartans is a good tight end prospect in Matt Dotson. Michigan State has a well-balanced class that should help them get back to the top of the Big Ten.

Top Prospects Signed: OG Kevin Jarvis (4*), LB Antjuan Simmons (4*)

8. Illinois Illini

Commitments: 23, 5*: 0, 4: 2, 3*: 18, Other: 3

Lovie Smith is doing a good job recruiting to build Illinois back up. They focused a lot on signing wide receivers and defense. Ricky Smalling is a good pass-catcher, but they have several other wide receiver commits if he doesn’t pan out. Kendrick Green is gonna help on the trenches of the defensive line at tackle.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Ricky Smalling (4*), OT Larry Boyd (4*)

9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Signees: 23, 5*: 0, 4*: 3, 3*: 20, Other: 0

Rutgers might be in the bottom of the Big Ten standings a lot, but their recruiting is getting better. Micah Clark will be a good tackle, with the chance to earn early playing time. Bo Melton should be a good play-maker for the Scarlet Knights at wide receiver, who also could see the field early.

Top Prospects Signed: OT Micah Clark (4*), LB Tyshon Fogg (4*)

10. Wisconsin Badgers

Commitments: 18, 5*: 0, 4*: 4, 3*: 12, Other: 2

It’s not usual to see the Badgers this low in the rankings, but they do have some solid players to look out for. Offensive line is always important to Wisconsin and they have guard Kayden Lyles looking to be the next great lineman for them. Andrew Van Ginkel should help the pass rush as a defensive end down the road.

Top Prospects Signed: OG Kayden Lyles (4*), OT Taylor Breach (4*)

11. Northwestern Wildcats

Commitments: 20, 5*:0, 4*:2, 3*: 17, Other: 1

Northwestern has been a solid program in the Big Ten for the past couple of seasons under Pat Fitzgerald, but they don’t have the greatest recruiting class yet. Earnest Brown and Trevor Kent are a pair of defensive end prospects that should bolster depth on the defensive line immediately.

Top Prospects Signed: DE Earnest Brown (4*), S Austin Hiller (4*)

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Commitments: 25, 5*: 0, 4*: 0, 3*: 18, Other: 7

P.J. Fleck has his work cut out for him at Minnesota. They don’t have a lot to work with in this class, but can still add to it. Quarterback Tanner Morgan is the prized recruit at the moment and will love to work with Fleck. Tight end Jacob Paulson will be a nice target for Morgan down the road.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Neil McLaurin (3*), WR Chris Autman-Bell (3*)

13. Indiana Hoosiers

Commitments: 23, 5*: 0, 4*:1, 3*: 20, Other: 2

Indiana, like Minnesota, has a lot of turmoil in the program with Kevin Wilson being fired abruptly. They did not put together a great recruiting class. Despite the turmoil they have a balanced class of offensive and defensive prospects. Defensive tackle Juan Harris is already enrolled, which should help him see the field early. Linebacker Thomas Allen should help boost an unimpressive defense.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Juwan Burgess (4*), S Bryant Fitzgerald (3*)

14. Purdue Boilermakers

Commitments: 21, 5*: 0, 4*:0, 3*: 19, Other: 2

Purdue doesn’t seem like they will be able to turn things around any time soon. Corner back T.J. Jallow was a huge win for Purdue and he may just be seen on Last Chance U season 2. They hit the JuCo trail hard and also got offensive tackle Ethan Smart, who also played JuCo ball in Mississippi.

Top Prospects Signed: CB T.J. Jallow (3*), ATH Tyler Hamilton (3*)

 

ACC Signing Day- Here

Big 12 Signing Day- Here

Pac 12 Signing Day- Here

SEC Signing Day- Here

 

2017 Rose Bowl Preview

The Big Ten Champion, Penn State Nittany Lions, match-up with the USC Trojans in the 2017 Rose Bowl.

USC Trojans

USC is one of the hottest teams in the country right now after winning eight straight to end the season and finished at 9-3. Their losses were all to good teams. Despite their record, they have only won two games against bowl eligible teams on the season.

Rose Bowl

Adoree’ Jackson (Photo courtesy: ocregister.com)

The Trojans started winning games after Sam Darnold took over. He has thrown for 2,633 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Darnold has done all this while completing 68% of his passes. He adds some mobility with 236 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dareus Rogers are the two best receivers for Darnold. Smith-Schuster is a good NFL prospect, but only has 781 receiving yards on the season. The good news is that he has nine touchdowns on the season. Rogers has 654 yards and three touchdowns.

Running back Ronald Jones has had a fantastic season with 1,027 yards rushing and 11 scores. Other running backs have helped the Trojans rush for a total of 2,487 yards, but Jones will see most of the carries.

The Trojans gives up an average amount of passing yards per game at 225. The rush defense is good and gives up 134 yards per game.

Adoree’ Jackson is one of the best athletes in college football and has four interceptions this year. He won’t just have an impact on defense as he is great at returning kicks and punts, as well as lining up on offense occasionally.

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions are also on a hot streak and have won nine straight games to sit at 11-2 for the Rose Bowl. Their losses came to Michigan and Pittsburgh. They have key wins over Ohio State, Temple, Minnesota, Maryland, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Rose Bowl

Saquon Barkley (Photo courtesy: mcall.com)

Trace McSorley’s emergence has been amazing and has led to Penn State being good. McSorley has thrown for 3,360 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season. He has only thrown five interceptions on the season. His completion percentage of 58% isn’t great, but it doesn’t hurt as bad as turning the ball over would.

There are a lot of receivers that McSorley can go to, but Chris Godwin is his best target. Godwin has 795 yards receiving and nine touchdowns this season. They have a lot of big play threats with nine receivers with a long reception of 40 yards of above.

At running back, Penn State has one of the best players in the country Saquon Barkley. He has 1,302 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. At 5.3 yards per carry Penn State can lean on him to pick up tough yards.

Penn State has an above average rush defense that allows 154 rushing yards per game. The pass defense is good and gives up just 199 passing yards per game.

Linebacker Brandon Bell has fought injury this season, but has stepped up when healthy. He had 18 total tackles twice this season, once coming in their big game against Ohio State.

Prediction

USC has too many play-makers on both sides of the ball. Adoree’ Jackson will make plays on defense and in the return game to help the Troans get the win.

 

USC Trojans 34 Penn State Nittany Lions 25

 

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2017 College Football Playoff Bracketology 12/4

In the CFP

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)

This is the easiest decision the committee will have. The Crimson Tide is the only undefeated team from a power five conference and, per 538 sports, might be the greatest college football team of all time. Florida stood no chance in the SEC Championship Game and now Alabama can watch the CFP Selection Show without having to fret. They will be watching for what team comes in fourth for their semi-final match-up.

alabama

Image from campusinsiders.com

  1. Clemson Tigers (12-1)

Virginia Tech played Clemson tough, but the Tigers prevailed and all but guaranteed their spot in the CFP. The question is if they will jump ahead of Ohio State for the number two seed. Beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game gives the committee reason to move Clemson to number two. Wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn help the case to move up. Ultimately, moving up to the two seed doesn’t really matter as their opponent will likely be the same whether they finish at two or three.

clemson

Image from sbnation.com

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)

With wins over Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska, the Buckeyes may have a better résumé than Alabama. The committee, however, will reward conference championships. There is some doubt for Ohio State because Penn State won the Big Ten Championship Game and beat the Buckeyes head to head. In the end, Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP speaks for itself.

  1. Washington Huskies (12-1)

As much as I would like to put Michigan here, the committee will not. Washington has a terrible out of conference schedule and has few big wins playing in the Pac-12 this year. They did win the Pac-12 Championship though and finished the season with one loss. That is good enough to get them into the CFP. Now, they are rewarded by having to play Alabama.

First Three Out

  1. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

Michigan is one of the best four teams in the country, but the selection committee won’t put the Wolverines in the CFP. Their wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado are all great wins, and makes their argument to be in the CFP very strong, but Washington will get the nod over the Wolverines. It was a great season, but they can still enjoy a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

  1. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2)

Penn State did just win the toughest conference in college football, but against James Franklin’s wishes, they will be left out of the CFP. Their entire case to be in the CFP is beating Ohio State and Wisconsin and a Big Ten Championship. They will end up right behind Michigan in the rankings, because Michigan absolutely demolished them when they played head to head. The Nittany Lions will settle for playing in the Rose Bowl.

  1. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)

Oklahoma should be commended for playing a tough out of conference schedule, but in the end they do not have the wins necessary to being in the CFP. The Big 12 schedule let them down, as their only two quality wins are over West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The Sooners had the grit and toughness to reel off a great nine game win streak and now have earned a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

2017 College Football Playoff Bracketology November 28

Four Playoff Teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)

This is the obvious choice yet again for the CFP committee. They haven’t lost and won a big rivalry game against No. 13 Auburn on Saturday. Alabama is most likely in the CFP even if they lose in the SEC Championship Game.

This Week: vs. Florida Gators (Atlanta, GA)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)

(Photo Courtesy: Buckeye Extra- The Columbus Dispatch)

(Photo Courtesy: Buckeye Extra- The Columbus Dispatch)

A lot will be made of the fact that the Buckeyes aren’t conference champions, but they have the best case for the committee to include them in the playoff, as of now, other than Alabama. Ohio State beat the No. 3 team in the country this weekend, the Michigan Wolverines, but also have wins against Wisconsin (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 8) and Nebraska (No. 16). If Penn State wins the Big Ten Championship, there will be some doubt about Penn State vs. Ohio State, which may happen even if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship, but for now the Buckeyes are the number two team in the rankings.

This Week: N/A

3. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

Clemson moves back up to third after the Michigan loss. If they win the ACC Championship game, they will make the playoff. Their wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn are all solid enough that they only need to worry about winning their last game.

This Week: vs. Virginia Tech (Orlando, FL)

4. Washington Huskies (11-1)

Their out of conference schedule is really holding Washington back. Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State are all cake-walks, which will cost them. Washington’s wins aren’t that great either. The only team that they have beaten who will be ranked in the committee’s top 25 will be Stanford. They will come in at four in these rankings, but may be jumped by a Big Ten Champ for the CFP.

This Week: vs. Colorado (Santa Clara, CA)

First Four Out

5. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

With wins over Penn State and Wisconsin, it would be hard to put Michigan behind those teams in the rankings. The Wolverines are a long shot to make the CFP with the loss to Ohio State, but it is still possible. They need Clemson and Washington to lose and need the committee to value their win over the eventual Big Ten Champion.

This Week: N/A

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2)

(Photo courtesy: gambling911.com)

(Photo courtesy: gambling911.com)

The Badgers have only lost to Ohio State and Michigan, and now find themselves in the Big Ten Championship Game against another Eastern Division power. Wisconsin’s victories over LSU and Nebraska are both solid. Winning the Big Ten Championship Game may not get the Badgers into the playoff, but they need to take care of business in case it does get them into the CFP.

This Week: vs. Penn State (Indianapolis, IN)

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State’s win over Ohio State won them the Big Ten East and has them in playoff contention. Their next best win is Iowa, which doesn’t help them that much. They are in the same situation as Wisconsin and need to win and hope what they have done is good enough for the committee.

8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

The Sooners may get jumped by Colorado, but they hold position and have the best win out of the two with their victory over West Virginia. They also scheduled tough out of conference games, and even though they lost, it will look good in the eyes of the committee. Oklahoma has a chance to become Big 12 Champions with a win this weekend. For the Sooners to make the CFP, they will need to have a lot of teams lose who are ahead of them and need the committee to value a conference championship

This Week: vs. Oklahoma (Home game)

Next Two Out

9. Colorado Buffaloes (10-2)

(Photo courtesy: denverpost.com)

(Photo courtesy: denverpost.com)

Colorado has had a surprising season and now finds itself in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Their best win was over Stanford, but they have some solid wins over Utah and Washington State also. The Buffaloes will face their biggest test in the Pac-12 Championship Game against No. 5 Washington. If they win they will likely need Oklahoma and Clemson to lose as well to have a chance at the CFP.

This Week: vs. Washington (Santa Clara, CA)

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2)

Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan with the referees making mistakes, costing the Cowboys the game. That extra loss on the season is really holding the Cowboys’ CFP chances back. Wins over Pitt and West Virginia are good notches for the committee to look at. They need to beat Oklahoma and get the same type of help and generosity from the committee as the teams ahead of them in the rankings.

This Week: at Oklahoma (Away game)

 

 

College Football Playoff Bracketology 11/20/16

Four Playoff Teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

It was an unimpressive performance for the Crimson Tide against FCS team Chattanooga. The good news for Alabama is that they are the only power five conference team that is still undefeated. They are in the CFP if they win out. If they lose to Auburn and win the SEC Championship, they might still get in.

This Week: vs. #15 Auburn

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1)

(courtesy oregonlive.com)

(courtesy oregonlive.com)

The Buckeyes were at number two in the committee’s rankings last week, but struggled against Michigan State. Michigan had the same struggles, as the Spartans get up for big games. There is no reason to drop Ohio State in the rankings at this point. Their wins over Oklahoma and Wisconsin are looking really good now that both are solidly in the top ten. The win over Nebraska is an added bonus and their loss to Penn State isn’t that bad. If Penn State is able to win the Big Ten Championship even if Ohio State wins this week, the Buckeyes will have to hope that their resume speaks for itself. A lot will be decided in “The Game”.

This Week: vs. #3 Michigan

3. Michigan Wolverines (10-1)

Michigan has more big wins than anyone in the top four, but they lost to an average Iowa team. They have wins over three current top ten teams in Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. The Wolverines struggled to beat Indiana with starting quarterback Wilton Speight out, so that is something to watch in the coming weeks. If Michigan can beat Ohio State this week they will go to the Big Ten Championship Game. Ultimately the Maiz and Blue control their own destiny.

This Week: at #2 Ohio State

4. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers got back on track, beating Wake Forest this week. Unfortunately for them, none of the teams ahead of them lost, but they are in the driver’s seat in the ACC and should be favored heavily in their next two games. Their next two weeks should be a lot easier than any other team in contention for the CFP. Win out and they are in.

This Week: vs. South Carolina

First Four Out

5. Washington Huskies (10-1)

USC’s upset of Washington may not have been much of an upset at all. The Huskies’ biggest win this season was over Utah and the Utes’ loss to Oregon this week really hurts them. The wins over Utah and Stanford are still decent wins, but they are not marquee. Now Washington plays Washington State, who will likely be out of the top 25 when the rankings come out, after their loss to Colorado. The winner of this game does however go to the Pac-12 Championship.

This Week: at #22 Washington State

6. Wisconsin Badgers (9-2)

(Courtesy dailytribune.com)

(Courtesy dailytribune.com)

If Wisconsin beats Minnesota this week, they represent the Big Ten West in the Championship Game. The week one win over LSU is solid and a win over Nebraskas helps out too. Their only losses are to Ohio State and Michigan. Ultimately, if the Badgers win out the lowest they can be is the first team left out of the CFP.

This Week: vs. Minnesota

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

To be honest, the Nittany Lions’ win over Ohio State is completely carrying them, but the committee seems to like that win enough to keep Penn State this highly ranked. Penn State has the two losses to Pitt and Michigan, which aren’t as “good” of losses as Wisconsin’s. All Penn State fans will be rooting hard for Ohio State to beat Michigan and that their team will beat Michigan State, so that they can play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

This Week: vs. Michigan State

8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

Oklahoma is surging up the rankings after losing two of their first three games. They scheduled tough, which gets the committee’s attention, but they failed by losing to Houston and Ohio State. The Sooners have flown through the Big 12 schedule, but picked up their best win this weekend on the road at West Virginia. They need a lot to happen ahead of them, but their is still a slight chance they can get into the CFP.

This Week: BYE, Next Week: vs. #11 Oklahoma State

Next Four Out

9. Louisville Cardinals (9-2)

Houston has shook up the playoff more than a lot of teams and they aren’t even in consideration to make it. The Cardinals lost to the Cougars on Thursday night, which leaves their chances at making the CFP a long shot. Their win over FSU helps their case a lot, as they don’t have a win over a top 15 team. Louisville needs to win their last game and hope for complete chaos.

This Week: vs. Kentucky

10. Colorado Buffaloes (9-2)

The Buffaloes may have gotten a big win this week over a ranked Washington State team, but their overall case to the committee is pretty weak. They only have three wins against teams with winning records. They need to get into the Pac-12 Championship Game by winning this weekend and then hope that the teams ahead of them fall by the wayside.

This Week: vs. #12 Utah

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)

The loss to Central Michigan, which shouldn’t have been allowed, is really hurting the Cowboys right now. They also lost to Baylor, making them a long shot to make the CFP. They do have a win over West Virginia and have a chance to win the Big 12 with a win over Oklahoma.

This Week: Bye, Next Week: at #9 Oklahoma

12. USC Trojans (8-3)

(courtesy espn.com)

(courtesy espn.com)

USC is on a roll and have wins over Colorado and Washington. The best thing that happened to the Trojans this weekend, other than their win over UCLA, was Utah losing to Oregon. Now if Utah beats Colorado next week, USC will be in the Pac-12 Championship Game. They are going to need a few upsets each week to make the CFP, but anything is possible.

 

College Football Playoff Bracketology 11/13/16

With upsets this weekend, the College Football Playoff Committee’s job has just gotten harder. Here is how they should rank the teams:

Top Four Teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

(courtesy cbssports.com)

(courtesy cbssports.com)

This is the easiest pick the committee will have this weekend. Alabama is the only undefeated power five conference team. They may even be able to afford a loss as long as it isn’t in the SEC Championship Game. With wins over USC, Arkansas, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee there is no doubt that the committee will put Alabama at number one.

Remaining Schedule: vs. Chattanooga, at Auburn

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)

Michigan’s loss may hurt the Buckeyes down the road because of the possibility of it knocking Ohio State out of the Big Ten Championship Game, but for now that is still hypothetical. The good news for the Buckeyes is that their resume is very impressive. They have beaten Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oklahoma, all of whom are likely to be in the committee’s top 15 teams on Tuesday. Their one loss to Penn State looks a lot better now that the Nittany Lions will be in the top eight this week.

Remaining Schedule: at Michigan State, vs. Michigan

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The loss to Pittsburgh this week doesn’t hurt Clemson that much. If they win out, they should still make the College Football Playoff. The reason they are ranked third? They were ranked second last week, so Michigan won’t be able to jump them with their loss, and they beat Louisville in their head to head match-up. If they lose in one of the last two regular season games they could be in real trouble.

Remaining Schedule: at Wake Forest, vs. South Carolina

4. Michigan Wolverines (9-1)

Michigan lost to an average Iowa team, but it was a road game, and they still control their own destiny. With their wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado, all of whom should be in the top ten this week, their case to be in the playoff is still strong. Win out and the Wolverines will be in the College Football Playoffs.

Remaining Schedule: vs. Indiana, at Ohio State

First Four Out

5. Louisville Cardinals (9-1)

(courtesy nytimes.com)

(courtesy nytimes.com)

Louisville moves up to number five, but can’t move up into the four playoff teams because of their loss to Clemson. If the committee values the head to head match-up the Cardinals will still be on the outside looking in. Their only big win this season is over Florida State, who is 7-3. The Cardinals have been trying to blow out teams to help their case, but they might need someone in the top four to lose to make it into the CFP.

Remaining Schedule: at Houston, vs. Kentucky

6. Wisconsin Badgers (8-2)

The only two losses for the Badgers on the season are to Michigan and Ohio State. They got screwed in the intra-division cross over games. More importantly for Wisconsin they have wins over LSU and Nebraska, who should both be in the top twenty when the committee releases their rankings. They have played five teams this year when they were ranked in the AP top ten and won three of those games. Wisconsin likely controls their own destiny to win the Big Ten Championship and would likely get in the CFP if that happens.

Remaining Schedule: at Purdue, vs. Minnesota

7. Washington Huskies (9-1)

The Huskies were hurt badly by their loss to USC. USC is a quality team, but the rest of their schedule hasn’t been great. Their non-conference schedule as awful (Rutgers, Portland State and Idaho). Washington has a big win over a great Utah team who will most likely be in the top 15 in the committee rankings this week. Their next best win is over the under-performing Stanford, who sits at 7-3.

Remaining Schedule: vs. Arizona State, at Washington State

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2)

Beating Ohio State gets them up to number eight, with teams ahead of them losing. Their losses are against highly-ranked Michigan and Pitt, which looks a lot better after they were able to knock off Clemson. The rest of their games are wins, but against teams that aren’t very competitive. Iowa is their next best win. They need to make the Big Ten Championship Game and win to make the CFP.

Remaining Schedule: at Rutgers, vs. Michigan State

Next Four Out

9. Oklahoma Sooners (8-2)

Many people were ruling Oklahoma out after they lost two out of their first three games, but their is still a way they can make the CFP. They need some chaos to happen, but it is possible. The losses to Ohio State and Houston aren’t terrible. Their wins aren’t great, but their two biggest games of the Big 12 season are the next two weeks. Oklahoma doesn’t have the luxury of a conference championship game, but they will play a tough Oklahoma State team the weekend of other conferences’ championship games.

Remaining Schedule: at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State

10. Colorado Buffaloes (8-2)

Colorado in the top ten? The committee had them at 12 last week, so they have to move up due to the teams losing in front of them. The bad news for the Buffaloes? They only have one average win, over Stanford. They lost to USC and Michigan in their opportunities for big wins. The good news? They play tough teams the rest of the season, which will provide them with opportunities to soar up this list.

Remaining Schedule: vs. Washington State, vs. Utah

11. Utah Utes (8-2)

(courtesy sltrib.com)

(courtesy sltrib.com)

The Utes are in the same position as Colorado. They have no great wins, but can still make a run at the playoffs. They did beat USC this season, which looks a lot better after the Trojans’ recent stretch of play. They, like Colorado, need to win the Pac-12 to have a shot at the CFP.

Remaining Schedule: vs. Oregon, at Colorado

12. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

The losses to Central Michigan and Baylor are really hurting the Cowboys’ chances right now. There may have been controversy in their loss to Central Michigan, but they still should have won that game. They have a win over West Virginia, which will put them in the top twelve for now over the Mountaineers. In addition to that win, Oklahoma State’s win over Pittsburgh is looking pretty good now much like it does for Penn State.

Remaining Schedule: at TCU, at Oklahoma

 

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