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 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl

Stanford and TCU are set to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl. There are a lot of quality players in the Alamo Bowl every year, with this year having some players to watch out for in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl:

Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love, RB

Love had some big shoes to fill with the departure of Christian McCaffrey and has not disappointed. He has rushed for 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. While one year of production might alarm some people, Love is a running back, which means he has taken less of a beating until this season.

At 5’10” and 196 pounds, Love is a little slight, but can handle an NFL workload. His main asset is his speed. Love was a track star in high school and when he turns on the burners, not many can catch him. While Love is a star, running backs don’t usually go early in the NFL Draft unless they are an elite level talent.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-3rd round

Harrison Phillips, DT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl

Harrison Phillips (Photo by twitter.com)

Phillips has answered the call to be the leader of the defense. Now that Solomon Thomas is gone, he faces a lot more double teams and still produces. In his senior campaign he has 14 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. What is most impressive though is his 89 total tackles, which is an absurd number for a defensive tackle.

He is 6’4″ and 295 pounds, which is good for an NFL defensive tackle. He will likely fit best into a 4-3 defense, but with all of his production, some teams may try to fit him into their schemes.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Dalton Schultz, TE

Schultz hasn’t produced a lot, but Stanford’s offense is built on the run. The quarterbacks also haven’t been great. This season Schultz has 20 receptions for 204 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He does have a lot of experience blocking for both McCaffrey and Love.

As a 6’6″ and 240 pound tight end, Schultz will draw some interest from NFL teams. A lot of film will be watched on the little production he has and will affect where he gets drafted.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

TCU Horned Frogs

Joseph Noteboom, OT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl

Joseph Noteboom (Photo by twitter.com)

Noteboom has gotten playing time in every game of his career and started every game since his sophomore season. He continually makes Academic-All Big 12 teams. During his time in Fort Worth he has shown that he can run and pass block, but his athleticism will be questioned.

At 6’5″ and 305 pounds, Noteboom is a little short, but acceptable for an offensive tackle in the NFL. If he has good arm length to fend off pass rushers, that won’t be an issue.

Projected draft range: 5th round-7th round

KaVontae Trupin, Wr

Turpin is just a junior and will likely elect to go back to school. He doesn’t touch the football too often, but is a threat every time he does get the ball. This season he has 475 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. He has added value as a returner with one kick return and one punt return for a touchdown this season.

He will likely have to play in the slot or as a third down running back in the NFL because he is 5’9″ and 153 pounds. Teams will give him a chance to succeed because of his ability to return punts and kicks.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

 

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2017 Valero Alamo Bowl preview

Stanford and TCU are both conference runner ups and will meet in the 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl. Both teams have good defenses and solid offenses. Here is the 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl preview:

13 Stanford Cardinal (9-4)

2017 Valero Alamo Bowl preview

Bryce Love (Photo by mercurynews.com)

The Cardinal had an up and down season, but were still able to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game. They had a tough schedule and had to beat six bowl eligible teams to get their nine wins. Their big wins include Notre Dame, Washington and Utah.

Offensively, Stanford averages 32 points per game, which is above average. They run the ball extremely well with Bryce Love leading the charge. Love has 1,973 rushing yards. and 17 touchdowns this season. The Heisman finalist had a great season, which saw him average 8.3 yards per carry.

While the running game is great, the passing game isn’t always pretty. K.J. Costello is the starter now and has thrown for 1,361 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has protected the football well for Stanford, which is important given they have a workhorse running back. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is the leading receiver on the team with 720 yards and six touchdowns.

The defense is solid as usual, allowing 21.5 points per game. They rank 71st against the run and 70th against the pass. Harrison Phillips is the defense’s best player with 89 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

15 TCU Horned Frogs (10-3)

2017 Valero Alamo Bowl preview

Kenny Hill (Photo by twitter.com)

TCU got to the Big 12 Championship Game, but were not able to beat Oklahoma. The Sooners accounted for two of TCU’s losses, with Iowa State causing the other. They beat six teams who are bowl eligible. Their biggest wins were over Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

The offense scores 33.2 points per game, which is a good mark. They run for 176 yards per game, which ranks 52nd in the country. A lot of players contribute to the running game, with four players having at least 200 yards, but Darius Anderson leads the way with 768 yards and eight touchdowns.

Kenny Hill leads the offense from the quarterback position. He is efficient, completing 67% of his passes. In total, Hill has 2,838 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Like the running game, a lot of receivers contribute to the success of the passing game. John Diarse is the leading receiver with 543 yards and three touchdowns. Jalen Reagor, Desmon White and KeVontae Turpin all have over 300 receiving yards as well.

The Horned Frogs’ defense jumps out, with only 17.6 points per game. They are fourth against the run and 72nd against the pass. Senior defensive lineman Matt Boesen is one of the best pass rushers in the country with 11.5 sacks on the season.

Prediction

The more balanced team will win the game. TCU has a good offense and defense. They also run and pass the ball decently well. The Horned Frogs will sell out to stop Bryce Love and K.J. Costello will not be able to beat them with his arm.

 

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College football conference championship week picks

Conference championship week is here, which means less games to pick. Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger pick their conference champions and more!

Away Home Location Rob Joe
#12 Stanford #10 USC Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA Stanford USC
#20 Memphis #14 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Akron Toledo Ford Field, Detroit, MI Toledo Toledo
North Texas Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL FAU FAU
UMass Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
Louisiana Monroe Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL FSU FSU
#11 TCU #3 Oklahoma AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX Oklahoma Oklahoma
Georgia Southern Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC Georgia Southern Georgia Southern
Idaho Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia St Georgia St.
Louisiana Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC App St App St
#6 Georgia #2 Auburn Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA Auburn Auburn
South Alabama New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM USA USA
Troy Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR Troy Troy
#25 Fresno State Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
#7 Miami #1 Clemson Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC Clemson Clemson
#8 Ohio State #4 Wisconsin Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN Ohio St Ohio State
Gameday Guest Picker (Charlotte) Michael Jordan Ray Lewis

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College football week 13 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their picks for every single FBS college football game for week 13. With it being rivalry week, and the last week of the regular season for most conferences, they have some fun with the coaching carousel too. Here are the picks for week 13 in college football:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Ole Miss #14 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Western Michigan Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
#2 Miami Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Miami Miami
Baylor #12 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Northern Illinois Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI NIU CMU
Navy Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Navy Houston
Ohio Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Ohio Ohio
Missouri Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Mizzou Missouri
South Florida #15 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
New Mexico San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Texas State Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Iowa Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Iowa Iowa
Western Kentucky Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
#25 Virginia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA VT VT
Texas Tech Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
California UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA UCLA UCLA
#7 Georgia Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia Georgia
#9 Ohio State Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI OSU OSU
Kansas #19 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK State Ok State
East Carolina #20 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Florida State Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL FSU FSU
Louisville Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Louisville
Indiana Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Indiana
Connecticut Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
Tulane SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Boston College Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY BC BC
Duke Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
North Texas Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX UNT UNT
UTEP UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
Appalachian State Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA App St App St
Florida Atlantic Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC FAU FAU
Southern Mississippi Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV So Miss USM
Old Dominion Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Arkansas State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA Ark St Ark St
UNLV Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV UNLV UNLV
#1 Alabama #6 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Alabama
#5 Wisconsin Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Penn State Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Penn St PSU
#23 Boise State Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Boise Boise
North Carolina NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Iowa State Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Kansas St Iowa State
West Virginia #4 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
#16 Michigan State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Mich St MSU
#22 Northwestern Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL NW NW
Vanderbilt Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Vandy Vandy
Temple Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Temple Temple
Idaho New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Idaho Idaho
Arizona Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona Zona
Georgia Southern Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Wyoming San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA Wyoming Wyoming
Oregon State Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
#3 Clemson #24 South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC Clemson Clemson
Texas A&M #18 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
UT San Antonio Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech LA Tech
#8 Notre Dame #21 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Notre Dame
#13 Washington St #17 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Wash St Wazzu
BYU Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
Colorado Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
Utah State Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, AFA AFA
Gameday Guest Picker (Auburn) Charles Barkley Charles Barkley
# of coaches fired/resigning  by midnight Sunday 7 6

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

Rivalry week is now upon us, which means good football games are back. While not everyone is playing a rival, week 13 is going to be crazy for all college football fans. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13:

1. The Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn is a great rivalry that has gotten even better over the last ten years. A lot of times at least one team has national title aspirations by the time the game comes around and some times both teams are in that position. This year both teams control their own destiny in terms of making the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide are undefeated and haven’t even really been challenged too many times. This will definitely be a test for Alabama. Nick Saban has tried to get his team away from “rat poison” this season, but the Crimson Tide average the seventh most points per game and allow the least. They are ridiculously good.

Auburn has two losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Their season has been so great because of their defense and running game. They have a top ten defense and average 244 yards per game. The Tigers are tough to beat and have really come on the last few weeks.

The winner of this game will come as a result of better quarterback play. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will need to make throws in key situations in order to get the win. The running games will be slowed due to the good defenses, so keeping the defense honest will win the game.

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State and Michigan meet up for their annual game this weekend. The Buckeyes still have a feint hope of making the College Football Playoff and need to win. For Michigan, they don’t have too much to play for, but in this game, they don’t need much.

J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in college football, yet they still only have two losses. When the offense is clicking, the team is one of the best in the country. If Barrett and the offense can limit turnovers they will be in a good position to win the game.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. They allow the 11th fewest points per game in the country and are especially tough against the run. They slowed down Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for most of the game before wearing down in the second half. If Ohio State’s offense shows up, Michigan’s defense will need to have its best game of the season.

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has decided that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals is Stanford. He decided wrong, but it is still a good game. The Fighting Irish still have a very slim chance to make the College Football Playoff, but should be thinking more about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

A week after beating Navy, Notre Dame gets a chance to finish the season with 10 wins. They have a good ground game and are great at causing turnovers. Their running back, Josh Adams, has had a great season behind a great offensive line. He will highlight a matchup of elite college running games.

Bryce Love is the other quality running back in this game. Love actually still has a chance to win the Heisman with his great statistical season. The offense runs through Love and if the Cardinal have any chance of winning, he will need to have a great game.

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

One of the better emerging rivalries is the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. This year the Pac-12 Championship Game is on the line for the Cougars and both teams are ranked to make it a very appealing game.

Mike Leach has turned Washington State’s program completely around. This season they only have two losses and are knocking on the door for the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is something a lot of people would have never expected. A thing most people expect is how much Washington State throws the ball, as they have one of the best passing attacks in the country.

Washington had College Football Playoff hopes entering the season after making it last season. They are out of that picture now due to having two losses and a weak non-conference schedule. The Huskies are still a talented team that could sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win and some help.

The big matchup to watch is the Cougars’ passing attack against the Washington pass defense. If the Huskies can shut down the passing attack they can win.

5. UCF vs. USF

A couple weeks ago the thought was that this could be a matchup of undefeated teams. Unfortunately USF lost to Houston to ruin that. The Florida teams in the AAC still have a lot to play for. The winner of this game will get to play in the AAC Championship Game and could make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

UCF has had a tremendous turnaround under Scott Frost. The year before he got there, they were 0-12. Last season, Frost’s first year, UCF went 6-6. Now they have a chance to turn it all the way around and finish with a 12-0 regular season record. The Golden Knights will make an exciting game out of this one way or another, as they have the highest scoring offense in the country.

The Bulls were the team that were thought to be undefeated at this point in the season. They had an easy schedule and a lot of players returning from a successful team last year. While they do have a loss, they can still reach a great bowl game, something that was likely their ceiling this year anyways. With Quinton Flowers at quarterback and a good defense, they can spoil UCF’s perfect season.

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Heisman watch 11/5/17

Now that the college football season is through ten weeks, the Hiesman Trophy race is becoming a lot more clear. Here are the top players that should be on the “Heisman Watch” after the weekend’s good slate of games:

6. Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona

Heisman Watch

Khalil Tate (Photo by yahoo.com)

The electric quarterback has come on strong for the Wildcats. He only made his fourth start of the season against USC and once again showed how valuable he is, even in a loss. He threw for 132 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but was able to do some more damage on the ground. Tate rushed for 161 yards and another score.

He has now rushed for over 1,000 and passed for just under 1,000 yards on the season. Tate is the man that  has sparked a good season for Arizona. It would be a stretch to see him win the award, but if he keeps up at the current pace he is on track to be in contention to at least be a finalist.

Season stats: 930 passing yards, 8 passing TDs, 61.2% completion, 5 interceptions, 1087 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

5. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

It is unfortunate that Adams got injured and had to leave the game against Wake Forest and as a result loses a chance for another big game. That’s how it goes in college football though. He managed to rush for 22 yards on five carries. His team was able to win without him, which is always good for a Heisman campaign.

Adams has been the master of long runs this season as he has had several runs of at least 50 yards for touchdowns. He benefits from a great offensive line, but he does a lot of damage after contact. Ultimately if he wants to win the award, he needs to play in the last three games of the regular season and put up a lot of good numbers.

Season stats: 1,191 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards, 9 total TDs

4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Heisman Watch

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailyherald.com)

Taylor is having an amazing freshman season for the Badgers and that continued on Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers. He finished with 29 carries for 183 yards and one rushing touchdown. The Badgers remain undefeated, but Taylor lacks a “Heisman Moment”, as they haven’t played in any big games thus far.

On the season, Taylor has rushed for 1,368 yards already. He is gaining yards as a freshman at the same pace and even faster than some of the all time greats. Taylor needs to continue racking up the yards and have Wisconsin win most if not all of their remaining games to have a shot to win it.

Season stats: 1,368 rushing yards, 41 yards receiving, 12 total TDs

3. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Love sat out the game against Oregon State, which hindered his chance to break some serious records, like the all-purpose yards in one season record. He did play this weekend against Washington State and had his worst game of the season totaling 69 rushing yards and one touchdown. His team also lost, which sets him a little further behind.

The thing that keeps Love his high in the rankings is his gaudy stat line. He already is approaching 1,500 yards, even with sitting out the Oregon State game. He very well could have 2,000 yards rushing at season’s end. Love needs to get to 2,000 yards rushing to win the award, but should be able to get invited with his current stat line.

Season stats: 1,456 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 12 total TDs

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Yes, Barkley and Penn State have really slowed down, while number one on this list is picking it up. The Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State for their second straight loss, which damages Barkley’s campaign a little bit. More importantly though, he only had 63 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving in this game with no touchdowns.

Barkley has fewer than 1,000 rushing yards, which is alarming considering one of the quarterbacks on this list, Tate, has 1,000 yards rushing in four starts. One thing Barkley brings to the table is versatility, as he has over 500 receiving yards on the season and also has two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also has some highlight plays that make him look like he is a created player in a video game. He needs to pick it up down the stretch and see Baker Mayfield stumble to win the award.

Season stats: 864 rushing yards, 502 receiving yards, 14 total TDs

1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Sooners got another big win, defeating Oklahoma State in Stillwater. It was a high-scoring game which afforded Mayfield the opportunity to let the ball fly. The win helps the Heisman case, but the stats are just downright crazy. He threw for 598 yards and five touchdowns to help lead his team to victory.

Mayfield still has a few games left, including a possible Big 12 Championship Game, but already has 3,226 passing yards. He is lighting up defenses and has the Sooners in place to make a run at the College Football Playoff. His “Heisman Moments” at Ohio State and at Oklahoma State also help improve his case for the Heisman. The crazy thing is, he still has a few big games coming up to further his case for the Heisman.

Season stats: 3,226 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 71.7% completion, 5 interceptions, 181 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs

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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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Heisman Watch 10/23/17

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

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

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

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

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

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

2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Heisman Watch

Bryce Love (Photo by: zimbio.com)

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

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

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

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

3. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

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

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

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

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

4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield (Photo by: usatoday.com)

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

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

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

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

5. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

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

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

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

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

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