Five things we learned from college football week 12

College football week 12 didn’t offer much, but more can still be learned. Here are five things we learned from the games in week 12:

1. USC the much better team, Rosen the better quarterback

college football week 12

Sam Darnold (Photo by nydailynews.com)

USC beat UCLA 28-23 to finish off a 10-2 regular season. The Trojans are in the Pac-12 Championship and are likely at least going to be in a New Year’s Six bowl game. There is no doubt that USC is the better football team, but this game was marketed as a duel between top quarterback prospects, and probably rightfully so.

Josh Rosen had a great game that saw him throw for 421 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He literally had to carry his team to keep them close, something he is very used to. He showed in this game that he is the much more polished quarterback.

Sam Darnold threw for 264 yards and an interception. The most impressive thing he showed off was his scrambling and athletic ability. He may have a higher ceiling than Rosen, but he showed that he has a lot of developing to do before he gets to that point.

2. Jonathan Taylor can produce against good competition

Taylor had a tall task this week going up against the Michigan defense. He started off slowly, but ended up thriving. The freshman finished with 132 rushing yards. He did have a 56 yard run, but in the second half he started running more consistently.

For Wisconsin to have any shot to beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Taylor has to produce. Taylor should be able to get near 2,000 yards on the season and is a serious Heisman contender, but he had yet to prove it on the big stage. Now, Wisconsin knows they can lean on him in tough games.

3. UCF will a chance to prove themselves

College football week 12

McKenzie Milton (Photo by hawaiiprepworld.com)

The UCF Golden Knights have been snubbed by the College Football Playoff committee with their rankings so far. They are undefeated and actually, up through last week, had a better strength of record than Wisconsin. While they will not make the CFP, they should be getting more serious attention.

For UCF, it all comes down to the last two games of their season. First they get to play their rival USF, who has just one loss on the season. If they win that game, they get to play what will likely be a one loss Memphis team in the AAC Championship Game. Memphis is ranked currently and moving up. This gives UCF two great opportunities to show the world what they’ve got. If they win both, they are going to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

4. Bill Snyder is going bowling again

Kansas State got a big upset win over Oklahoma State this week. Oklahoma State will likely not be in the Big 12 Championship Game because of the loss. Just when everyone starts to doubt Snyder, he gets his team ready to go and they pull off the upset win.

Snyder is now going to his 19th bowl game as the head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats. This is an impressive feat, given that Kansas State was atrocious before he got there and he is in his second stint as head coach for the university at age 78. This year will help him into 12th place all by himself for bowl game appearances by a coach.

5. Late season cupcake games need to end

Yes, playing FCS teams funds their athletic department, but the games are not fun to watch.  College football is in the heat of a great playoff race and it is all interrupted to play FCS teams. The drama that has built up for weeks, just took a pause in week 12 and is expected to pick back up for rivalry week. There should be a way around this, whether it’s hosting the games at another time (early in the season), or just as an exhibition.

All teams in the top ten won this weekend and it has nothing to do with the quality of the teams, it has to do with the quality of the competition. If college football wants to really draw in the most viewers, it can do so by not having its best teams schedule cupcake games in November, a time when fans are supposed to be getting ready for bowl and playoff season. While it likely won’t be fixed for a while, if at all, it made week 12 very mundane and should be corrected for the future.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 12

After a few good weeks of quality football games, week 12 in college football looks pretty mundane. That doesn’t mean that good games won’t happen, it just means that it will be a surprise. Here are five things to watch for in week 12 of college football:

1. Jonathan Taylor against Michigan’s run defense

College football week 12

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailycardinal.com)

Jonathan Taylor has had a great freshman season for Wisconsin. He, like the rest of the Badgers, haven’t really been tested yet, but will be this week when they play Michigan. The Wolverines aren’t a great football team, they don’t have a win over a team above .500, but they will still challenge Wisconsin. As bad as it may sound, this might be the toughest challenge of Wisconsin’s regular season.

Taylor has 1,525 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns already this season. With a strong finish, he can eclipse the 2,000 yard mark on the season. Not only can he be one of the best players in Wisconsin’s history, he is currently on pace to be the college football’s all-time leading rusher. Taylor will be getting a lot more Heisman recognition if the Badgers are able to win out, but he has already surpassed all expectations this season.

Michigan may not be the best team this season, but that is mostly because of their offense. Their defense ranks ninth in the country in points allowed per game. The Wolverines also have allowed the ninth fewest rushing yards in the country this season, making it a difficult matchup for Taylor. Can Taylor continue to produce against a solid defense.

2. Josh Rosen vs. Sam Darnold

UCLA and USC meet in their annual game, although it likely won’t be too competitive. USC is playing good football again, while UCLA is struggling to make a bowl game. The best thing to watch in this game is the quarterback play.

Josh Rosen has had a solid season that has helped him stay in the running to be one of the top draft picks this year. He has thrown for 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His team isn’t very good, but the competitive juices will be flowing for Rosen and the Bruins.

USC is playing good football, even though Sam Darnold is having a rough season. He has turned the ball over a lot with plenty of fumbles and 11 interceptions thrown. Darnold has actually played his way out of being the first quarterback selected in the 2018 draft, but will want to prove new doubters wrong against another top level prospect.

3. Bret Bielema’s last game (or two)

Arkansas is 4-6 this season and another loss takes them out of bowl eligibility. Bret Bielema has not been great as the head man of the Razorbacks, with a terrible SEC record and a losing record overall. With a loss this weekend, Bielema is likely going to have to find a new job.

Mississippi State comes to town to take on the Razorbacks. The Bulldogs have a lot to play for still, as they can still make a New Year’s Six bowl game. Arknasas, on the other hand, almost lost to FBS bottom feeders, Coastal Carolina at home, so it should be a relatively easy win for Mississippi State.

Without a win, resulting in no bowl game, Arkansas will likely move on from Bielema after the game, or at season’s end. The Arkansas administration has already gotten rid of athletic director Jeff Long, so the next athletic director will likely want their own people. The only question is: How many SEC jobs are going to be open by the end of the season?

4. Mike Riley’s last few games at Nebraska

College football week 12

Mike Riley (Photo by mlive.com)

Nebraska’s athletic director has had to answer question about Mike Riley’s status as coach, which isn’t a good sign. What is worse is that all he can say is that Riley deserves to finish the season. That means he is likely gone after the season and Nebraska is yet another big program that will be looking for a new head coach.

If Riley has any thoughts about saving his job, he needs to win the last two games of the season. The problem is that those two games are going to be tough. This week they play at Penn State, while next week they get to take on Iowa at home. Both of these will likely be losses for the Cornhuskers.

It was a short tenure at Nebraska for Riley, but since they fired Bo Pelini after continually getting eight wins, firing Riley is the right call.

5. Blowouts

This week is filled with games designed to be blowouts with rivalry week coming up. While blowouts usually aren’t great to watch, some of the games could result in a broken scoreboard due to how many points are scored. Can anyone break 70 this week?

Oklahoma plays Kansas in a game that is pretty self-explanatory. Baker Mayfield will get a chance to pad his Heisman campaign with some explosive plays. Ohio State plays one of the worst power 5 teams, Illinois. It should be a good way to get the offense clicking before the game against Michigan.

Throw in a lot of teams playing FCS competition and the week will have plenty of blowouts. Try to tune into the limited amount of good games this weekend and prepare for rivalry week.

 

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College football week 12 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make college football picks for week 12, which includes all games involving FBS teams. There have been plenty of touchdowns, sacks and big plays with more to come. Here are the picks for the week:

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
Central MichiganKent StateDix Stadium, Kent, OHC. MichCMU
OhioAkronInfoCision Stadium, Akron, OHOhioOhio
Eastern MichiganMiami (OH)Yager Stadium, Oxford, OHMiami (OH)Miami
Western MichiganNorthern IllinoisHuskie Stadium, DeKalb, ILNIUNIU
ToledoBowling GreenDoyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OHToledoToledo
BuffaloBall StateScheumann Stadium, Muncie, INBall StBall St
TulsaSouth FloridaRaymond James Stadium, Tampa, FLUSFUSF
Middle TennesseeWestern KentuckyL.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KYWKUWKU
UNLVNew MexicoDreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NMNew MexNM
Mercer#2 AlabamaBryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, ALBamaBama
#6 TCUTexas TechJones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TXTCUTCU
Virginia#7 MiamiHard Rock Stadium, Miami, FLMiamiMiami
Michigan#8 WisconsinCamp Randall Stadium, Madison, WIWisconsinWisconsin
Louisiana Monroe#10 AuburnJordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, ALAuburnAuburn
#16 Mississippi StateArkansasRazorback Stadium, Fayetteville, ARMiss StateMiss State
#18 UCFTempleLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PAUCFUCF
SMU#22 MemphisLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TNMemphisMemphis
Minnesota#25 NorthwesternRyan Field, Evanston, ILNWNW
CincinnatiEast CarolinaDowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NCECTCUC
TexasWest VirginiaMilan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WVWVUWVU
RutgersIndianaMemorial Stadium , Bloomington, INIndianaIU
Delaware StateFlorida StateDoak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLFSUFSU
The Citadel#4 ClemsonMemorial Stadium , Clemson, SCClemsonClemson
Pittsburgh#17 Virginia TechLane Stadium, Blacksburg, VAVTVT
RiceOld DominionS.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VAOld DomODU
Fresno StateWyomingWar Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WYWyomingWyoming
#21 Iowa StateBaylorMcLane Stadium, Waco, TXIowa StISU
Arizona StateOregon StateReser Stadium, Corvallis, ORArizona StASU
CharlotteSouthern MississippiM. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MSSo MissUSM
Louisiana TechUTEPSun Bowl, El Paso, TXLa TechLa Tech
Western CarolinaNorth CarolinaKenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NCUNC-CHUNC
Hawai’iUtah StateRomney Stadium, Logan, UTUtah StUtah St.
UMassBYULaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UTBYUBYU
Texas StateArkansas StateCentennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, ARArk StArk State
South AlabamaGeorgia SouthernAllen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GAUSAUSA
Kentucky#1 GeorgiaSanford Stadium, Athens, GAGeorgiaGeorgia
Navy#3 Notre DameNotre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, INNDND
#5 OklahomaKansasMemorial Stadium , Lawrence, KSOklahomaOklahoma
Illinois#13 Ohio StateOhio Stadium, Columbus, OHOSUOSU
Margin of victory5243
Kansas State#15 Oklahoma StateBoone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OKOK StateOk State
Purdue#20 IowaKinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IAIowaIowa
San Jose StateColorado StateCSU Stadium, Fort Collins, COCol StCol St
SyracuseLouisvillePapa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KYLouisvilleLouisville
Georgia TechDukeWallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NCGTGT
Maryland#12 Michigan StateSpartan Stadium , East Lansing, MIMich StMSU
Nebraska#14 Penn StateBeaver Stadium, University Park, PAPenn StPSU
WoffordSouth CarolinaWilliams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SCSCSC
UABFloridaBen Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FLUABUF
HoustonTulaneYulman Stadium, New Orleans, LAHoustonHouston
Coastal CarolinaIdahoKibbie Dome, Moscow, IDIdahoIdaho
New Mexico StateLouisianaCajun Field, Lafayette, LAULLULL
ArmyNorth TexasApogee Stadium, Denton, TXArmyArmy
#24 LSUTennesseeNeyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNLSULSU
ArizonaOregonAutzen Stadium, Eugene, ORArizonaArizona
Texas A&MOle MissVaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MSOle MissTAMU
Boston CollegeConnecticutFenway Park, Boston, MABCBC
MarshallUT San AntonioAlamodome, San Antonio, TXMarshallMarshall
Florida IntlFlorida AtlanticFAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FLFAUFAU
#23 NC StateWake ForestBB&T Field, Winston-salem, NCWakeNC State
MissouriVanderbiltVanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TNMizzouMizzou
UCLA#11 USCLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CAUSCUSC
CaliforniaStanfordStanford Stadium, Stanford, CAStanfordStanford
Air ForceBoise StateAlbertsons Stadium, Boise, IDBoiseBoise
Utah#9 WashingtonHusky Stadium, Seattle, WAWashingtonWashington
NevadaSan Diego StateSDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CASDSUSDSU
Gameday Guest Picker (Madison, WI)Ron DayneRon Dayne

College Football Playoff bracketology 11/12/17

College football just gets crazier and crazier. In this edition of the college football bracketology, things are a bit different as a result of the games this week. Here are the top teams in college football for this week:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

One of three remaining undefeated teams from a power five conference, Alabama got the job done again, getting a win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs kept it close and were actually leading late, but could not hang on for the win. Alabama got a balanced effort and calmly came back to win.

The Crimson Tide are clearly going to be the number one team when the rankings come out on Tuesday. They haven’t lost and have played a much better schedule than the other two undefeated teams from power five conferences. Their best wins are over Mississippi State and LSU. They may not have the best wins, but being undefeated this late in the season gets the number one spot.

Alabama has one easy and one tough game left in the regular season and they need to win the latter to get into the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Mercer Bears (FCS)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma got another great win when they dismantled TCU this week 38-20. Baker Mayfield and the offense are rolling on all cylinders. The best defense in the Big 12, TCU, couldn’t stop them and it looks like no one can. The Sooners genuinely look like they could be the best team in the country right now.

Now, Oklahoma has three top tier wins, over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The loss to Iowa State prevents them from being the number one team. With their great wins, Oklahoma takes the number two spot in the rankings and control their own destiny for the CFP.

Oklahoma, like Alabama, has one game that will be easy and one game that won’t be.

This week: vs. Kansas Jayhawks

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The Tigers beat Florida State this weekend, in what many years would’ve been a good win. This year however, the win is not that impressive. It was close for a lot of the game, but Clemson ended up pulling away 31-14.

Clemson has plenty of quality wins, which has helped them stay ahead of some of the undefeated teams. Their win over Auburn looks really good after Auburn upset Georgia. With other solid wins coming over Virginia Tech, Louisville and others, Clemson has earned the number three spot. The majority of their wins have come over teams that can make bowl games.

With the win over N.C. State and the results this weekend, Clemson has locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

This week: vs. The Citadel (FCS)

4. Miami Hurricanes (9-0)

Miami got the biggest win they have had since the early 2000s. They destroyed Notre Dame 41-8 and are now back in big time college football. The defense showed its speed and athleticism by stopping Josh Adams and the Notre Dame offense. They made some first round draft picks on the Notre Dame offensive line look bad and are now in the CFP picture.

The Hurricanes have a great win over Notre Dame and a win over Virginia Tech that looks worse after their loss to Georgia Tech. They are carried by their win over Notre Dame and their undefeated record, but now that they have locked up the ACC Coastal, they will get a chance to prove themselves against another CFP contender in Clemson.

The remaining schedule for Miami slots them against two average or below average ACC teams.

This week: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

Georgia lost to Auburn this week and slides down four spots in these rankings. They didn’t look good in the game, losing 40-17. It was a tough game to win at Auburn, but the Bulldogs looked bad and need to step it up in the next couple of weeks to make the CFP.

Although they lost this week, Georgia can still make the CFP without much chaos happening. They still have good wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State to fall back on. Every FBS team they have played can still make a bowl game. If Georgia can win out, they will be in the CFP.

They play two solid teams in their last two regular season games, but should be able to win out until the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kentucky Wildcats

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)

Wisconsin won a big game against Iowa and showed how tough they can be. They won 38-14 and did not allow Iowa to score an offensive touchdown. Iowa is now 6-4 so the win will likely not go as far as they hope, but it was a dominating performance that made the Badgers look good.

The Badgers look better as a result of Northwestern turning it on in the back half of the season. The problem is they have two decent wins, one over Northwestern and one over Iowa. The undefeated record has gotten them to number six in the country, but they have no margin for error.

With two Big Ten games left, Wisconsin needs to bring their “A” game every week.

This week: vs. Michigan Wolverines

7. Auburn Tigers (8-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn helped create some chaos in the college football landscape with their win over then number one ranked Georgia. They played their best game of the season in their 40-17 win. They may have two losses, but they control their own CFP destiny with games against Alabama and a possible rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers lost to LSU and Clemson, but the wins and possible future wins have Auburn in a great position. With wins over Mississippi State and now Georgia, Auburn has the best case out of any two loss team. If they keep winning, it will make the committee’s decisions very interesting.

They have one easy game and then the Iron Bowl before the possible SEC Championship Game appearance.

This week: UL Monroe Warhawks

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)

The Fighting Irish lost another game to a top tier team this week. They stood no chance against Miami by the time halftime hit. Losing that big won’t do them any favors with the committee, but at least it came at the hands of an undefeated and good football team.

Notre Dame lost to two of the best teams in the country, which will count for something with the committee, even if they got blown out in one of the games. They still have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State. It will be hard to get back into the CFP without a conference championship game to play in, but in college football, never say never.

They play Navy and Stanford in the next two weeks, so Notre Dame has to remain focused and hope for some losses from the teams ahead of them.

This week: vs. Navy Midshipmen

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)

Ohio State seemingly can’t figure out what team they are this season and followed up a loss with a big time win over Michigan State 48-3. Michigan State had risen up the rankings to number 12, making it another good win for the Buckeyes, but it might be too little too late.

The Buckeyes have the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, with the latter really holding them back. Iowa is just 6-4 now. Ohio State does have two good wins, over Penn State and now Michigan State, but they have to finish strong in orderto keep their CFP hopes alive.

They get Illinois before their regular season finale against Michigan.

This week: vs. Illinois Illini

10. TCU Horned Frogs (8-2)

The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma by 18 this week to get their second loss of the season. TCU looked outmatched and now has some serious work to do to get back in the CFP picture.

TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia for solid wins, but the problem is the Big 12 beating up on each other. Three teams are tied for second place and a chance for the Big 12 Championship. TCU currently holds the tie-breaker over these two, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they should be able to make the title game if they take care of business.

If they can hold off two of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings in the last two regular season games, TCU will get a rematch with Oklahoma.

This week: at Texas Tech Red Raiders

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

Oklahoma picked up a big win over Iowa State that helps their case for the CFP and also significantly improved their chances of making the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys won with a controversial finish, but it still counts as a win.

The Cowboys’ two losses, to Oklahoma and TCU, can prevent them from making the Big 12 Championship Game, so they need some help to win a conference championship. In terms of a CFP resume, they have beaten both Iowa State and West Virginia.

They won’t pick up much love playing the two Kansas teams in the Big 12 to finish the season, so they really need to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kansas State Wildcats

12. USC Trojans (9-2)

USC picked up another win, this time against Colorado. The Buffaloes aren’t the same team as last year, but could still make a bowl game.

The Pac-12 is likely out of the CFP, but USC holds its best chances. USC has beaten Arizona and Stanford for solid wins and will likely have a tough time picking up too many more solid ones. The Trojans  need a lot of help.

USC has one more regular season game left and then the Pac-12 Championship to prove themselves. It likely won’t be enough.

This week: at UCLA Bruins

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/5/17

There were plenty of ranked matchups this weekend, which means that these rankings are changing yet again. The College Football Playoff committee will rank the teams on Tuesday once again and this is how they should rank the teams. (All rankings in the “this week” section are based on AP Poll ranking)

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

The Bulldogs remained undefeated by beating South Carolina 24-10. It may not be the biggest scoring margin of all time, but Georgia controlled the game and had a good game on both offense and defense. Jake Fromm is remaining efficient, while the many talented running backs help move the chains. The defense is dominant.

With the committee ranking Notre Dame at number three last week, they obviously value Georgia’s win over them pretty highly. Mississippi State is also moving up the rankings and Georgia blew them out. The rest of the wins have been pretty mundane, but those two wins help carry the resume.

Georgia still has a few tests left this season and are not a guarantee to win out, although they are playing like the best team in the country.

This week: at 10 Auburn Tigers

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama also had a win that wasn’t by the biggest margin, but was controlled by them the whole time. They beat LSU 24-10 in a very tough, physical game. The Crimson Tide remains undefeated and a lock of a top two team when the committee comes out with their rankings.

After Florida State’s fall this season, this is Alabama’s best win of the season. Their wins over Colorado State and Texas A&M are their next most impressive. Alabama has looked like a great football team and blows out inferior competition, making them deserving of the number two spot.

Their are still a few games that will be difficult for the Crimson Tide that need to be won in order to get to the SEC Championship Game.

This week: at 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

The Fighting Irish battled injury, but were able to hold off Wake Forest 48-37. Wake Forest is likely going to a bowl game, so the committee will value the win a little bit. This was one of the easiest games that Notre Dame has in the back of their schedule and they were able to get the win.

Notre Dame still has only one loss to Georgia by one point, but they also have some impressive wins. Their win over Michigan State looks better after they upset Penn State this week. They also have wins over top 25 teams in North Carolina State and USC. There is no doubt that Notre Dame is one of the top four teams on Tuesday again.

More toughness remains in the Notre Dame schedule as they have another big matchup this week.

This week: at 7 Miami Hurricanes

4. Clemson Tigers (8-1)

Clemson was able to hold off a late come back by N.C. State to win 38-31. The Tigers racked up another win over a top 25 team, which should help them hold their spot in the CFP rankings for the week. Their defense needs to be addressed, as they allowed the most points all season to the Wolfpack.

Their win over Auburn is looking better as the weeks go on, while their wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech look worse. Clemson gets the nod in the rankings over Oklahoma for beating a lot of quality teams rather than just a few big wins. Every team on their schedule, besides Kent State, has a chance to become bowl eligible. At this point in the season that is an accomplishment.

The Tigers’ schedule eases up down the stretch, so they may lose ground to other teams who play in more marquee games.

This week: vs. Florida State Seminoles

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)

Oklahoma has the best pair of road wins in the country after they won in Stillwater on Saturday. In a high scoring affair, the Sooners were able to shut Mason Rudolph down on the last drive to secure the victory, 62-52. Their playoff chances look really good if they can win out.

The Sooners now have big road wins against Oklahoma State and Ohio State. On top of those they have solid wins over Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas. Their loss had looked better, but Iowa State just lost to West Virginia. Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma jumps into the top four this week, but their two marquee wins now have two losses and are leaving people questioning how good of teams they are.

If the Sooners win again this week they will be in the top four for sure in the next edition of the rankings.

This week: vs. 8 TCU Horned Frogs

6. Miami Hurricanes (8-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Malik Rosier (Photo by twitter.com)

Sound the alarm and cue up the smoke, because Miami is back. The Hurricanes got a big win at home over Virginia Tech 28-10. This drastically helped out a lackluster case to the committee despite Miami being undefeated.

This win is the best on the season for the Hurricanes and with a few more wins, can help propel Miami into the CFP. They also have wins over Toledo, a very solid MAC team that has just one loss, and a .500 Georgia Tech team. They haven’t lost, so if they win out they are in, but a lot more football is left to be played.

Miami has one more tough test in the regular season that needs to be passed this weekend. After that, it’s all about avoiding upset bids.

This week: vs. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. TCU Horned Frogs (8-1)

TCU got a win over a Texas team that always seems to fall just short of big upsets. Their defense stepped up again, only allowing seven points. The balance of good offense and defense is what makes this team so good.

Their win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State looks less monumental now that the Cowboys have also lost at home to the Sooners. The Horned Frogs also have solid wins against West Virginia and Kansas State to help their case. The loss to Iowa State likely won’t hold the Horned Frogs back too much going forward if they take care of business.

For a chance to really bolster their resume and keep their hopes for the CFP more real, TCU has to win this weekend against a very tough Oklahoma team.

This week: at 5 Oklahoma Sooners

8. Wisconisn Badgers (9-0)

Wisconsin looks good, but that’s about all you can say about them. They beat a sub-par Indiana team that is likely going to miss a bowl game, 45-17. The Badgers are tough and physical, but have yet to be tested by a challenging team.

The problem for their case to be in the CFP is that their biggest wins on the year are over Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. Their win over Northwestern is looking better now that the Wildcats are on a four game winning streak. In order to climb up the rankings, other teams need to lose and the Badgers have to beat a good football team.

The Badgers may get their stiffest test of the season when Iowa comes to town, as the Hawkeyes are brimming with confidence after blowing out Ohio State.

This week: vs. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Next four out:

9. Washington Huskies (8-1)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Myles Gaskin (Photo seattletimes.com)

The Huskies are slowly making their way back up in these rankings by continuing to win, even if it isn’t against the greatest competition. This week they beat an Oregon team that is trying to fight it’s way to bowl eligibility. To be fair, Washington did blow them out 38-3.

Washington played an awful non-conference schedule and is now paying for it. They beat a 6-3 Fresno State team, who is better than expected, for their only decent non-conference win. In conference they are beating .500 teams or below. They need some help to move up higher in these rankings.

Fortunately, Washington gets a chance to play a few games that should help their case in the last three weeks of the season.

This week: at Stanford Cardinal

10. Auburn Tigers (7-2)

Auburn is an intriguing two loss team that can inflict the most chaos over the last three weeks of the regular season that college football has ever seen. This week though, they defeated Texas A&M, who is a solid team even if the rumors continue to swirl around Kevin Sumlin.

The Tigers have two road losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Neither of those is a terrible loss. To go with their decent win over the Aggies, Auburn also has beaten Mississippi State, who is also moving up the CFP rankings. Auburn will get a chance to improve their ranking by playing the top two teams in the country over the last three weeks.

The schedule is tough for Auburn, but if people want the most chaos, Auburn is the team to root for.

This week: vs. 1 Georgia Bulldogs

11. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2)

Ohio State ran into a buzz saw in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes looked like they were going to get a sizeable win, but then kept their foot on the pedal to blow out the Buckeyes. The loss knocks Ohio State down quite a bit in the rankings, but they are lucky in that a lot ranked teams lost this week.

The Buckeyes have now lost to both Iowa and Oklahoma and don’t have many great wins on the season. They do have a win over Penn State, which isn’t as good after the Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State. Ohio State is likely eliminated from the CFP and needs some serious disarray to even come close to the top four.

The next few weeks features some opportunities for some good wins for the Buckeyes if they can get back on track.

This week: vs. 13 Michigan State Spartans

12. USC Trojans (8-2)

USC has made their way back into the rankings this week after defeating Arizona 49-35. Arizona was a newly ranked team that hadn’t lost with new quarterback Khalil Tate under center. The Trojans are in a position much like last season and might be in store for a New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans have wins over Arizona and Stanford now, but both teams are fringe top 25 teams. Their losses, to Notre Dame and Washington State, are both to good teams, but it is always hard to make a case to the committee with two losses. USC is another team that is hoping that absolute chaos happens to help them move up in the rankings.

With their win over Arizona, USC likely now will clinch the Pac-12 South. They won’t have any more opportunities until the Pac-12 Championship Game to make a statement, so they will be scoreboard watching a lot the last few weeks of the season.

This week: at Colorado Buffaloes

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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.

AwayHomeLocationRobJoe
Bowling GreenKent StateDix Stadium, Kent, OHKent StKent St
Miami (OH)OhioPeden Stadium, Athens, OHOhioOhio
Central MichiganWestern MichiganWaldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MIWMUWMU
Northern IllinoisToledoGlass Bowl, Toledo, OHToledoToledo
Ball StateEastern MichiganRynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MIEMUEMU
NavyTempleLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PANavyNavy
IdahoTroyVeterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, ALTroyTroy
MarshallFlorida AtlanticFAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FLFAUMarshall
#22 MemphisTulsaChapman Stadium, Tulsa, OKMemphisMemphis
UCLAUtahRice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UTUtahUtah
#4 WisconsinIndianaMemorial Stadium , Bloomington, INWisconsinWisconsin
#7 Penn State#24 Michigan StateSpartan Stadium , East Lansing, MIPenn StPSU
#16 AuburnTexas A&MKyle Field, College Station, TXAuburnAuburn
UMass#21 Mississippi StateDavis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MSMiss StateMiss St
Margin of victory2833
FloridaMissouriMemorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MOMizzouFlorida
Kansas StateTexas TechJones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TXTexas TechTT
Western KentuckyVanderbiltVanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TNVandyVandy
BaylorKansasMemorial Stadium , Lawrence, KSKansas?Baylor
IllinoisPurdueRoss-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, INPurduePurdue
East CarolinaHoustonTDECU Stadium, Houston, TXHoustonHouston
SyracuseFlorida StateDoak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FLSyracuseCuse
Georgia TechVirginiaScott Stadium, Charlottesville, VAGTGT
Appalachian StateLouisiana MonroeMalone Stadium, Monroe, LAApp StApp St
Georgia StateGeorgia SouthernAllen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GAGeorgia StGa State
RiceUABLegion Field , Birmingham, ALUABUAB
New Mexico StateTexas StateBobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TXNew Mex StNMSU
South Carolina#1 GeorgiaSanford Stadium, Athens, GAGeorgiaUGA
#3 Ohio StateIowaKinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IAOSUOSU
Wake Forest#5 Notre DameNotre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, INNDND
#6 Clemson#20 NC StateCarter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NCClemsonClemson
#14 Iowa StateWest VirginiaMilan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WVWVUWVU
#18 Stanford#25 Washington StateMartin Stadium, Pullman, WAWash StWazzu
South FloridaConnecticutRentschler Field, East Hartford, CTUSFUSF
MarylandRutgersHigh Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJMarylandMaryland
CharlotteOld DominionS.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VAOld DomODU
North TexasLouisiana TechJoe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LAUNTLa Tech
NorthwesternNebraskaMemorial Stadium , Lincoln, NENebraskaNW
ArmyAir ForceFalcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, COAir ForceAF
#8 Oklahoma#11 Oklahoma StateBoone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OKOklahomaOklahoma
Ole MissKentuckyCommonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KYKentuckyKentucky
Coastal CarolinaArkansasRazorback Stadium, Fayetteville, ARArkansasArkansas
CincinnatiTulaneYulman Stadium, New Orleans, LATulaneTulane
LouisianaSouth AlabamaLadd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, ALUSAUSA
Oregon StateCaliforniaMemorial Stadium , Berkeley, CACalCal
Utah StateNew MexicoDreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NMNew MexicoNM
Hawai’iUNLVSam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NVHawai’iHawai’i
NevadaBoise StateAlbertsons Stadium, Boise, IDBoiseBoise
Colorado StateWyomingWar Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WYCol StColorado St
UT San AntonioFlorida IntlFIU Stadium, Miami, FLFIUUTSA
Texas#10 TCUAmon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TXTCUTCU
#15 UCFSMUGerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TXUCFUCF
Southern MississippiTennesseeNeyland Stadium, Knoxville, TNSo MissSo Miss
UTEPMiddle TennesseeFloyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TNMTSUMTSU
MinnesotaMichiganMichigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MIMichiganMichigan
#19 LSU#1 AlabamaBryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, ALAlabamaAlabama
#13 Virginia Tech#9 MiamiHard Rock Stadium, Miami, FLVa TechVa Tech
ColoradoArizona StateSun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZArizona StASU
Oregon#12 WashingtonHusky Stadium, Seattle, WAWashingtonWashington
San Diego StateSan Jose StateCEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CASDSUSDSU
#23 Arizona#17 USCLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CAArizonaZona
BYUFresno StateBulldog Stadium , Fresno, CAFresnoFresno
Gameday Guest Picker (Stillwater)Big Country ReevesBarry 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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College basketball preseason top 25: 10-6

It is the end of October so that means college basketball is right around the corner. What teams should be looked at as the best of the best? This is the fourth installment in the top 25 rundown. For teams 15-11, click here.

10. USC Trojans

College basketball preseason top 25

Bennie Boatwright (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Andy Enfield has built a team that constantly improves year to year at USC. Last season they made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before getting knocked out. With NBA-level talent returning to L.A., the Trojans should be able to take another step forward this season.

Bennie Boatwright is one such player that could have gone pro after last season. Boatwright can do a little big of everything at 6’10” tall, from stretching the floor to getting to the basket. The other NBA-level talent who decided to stay a Trojan for another year is Chimezie Metu. Metu plays above the rim with his dunks and blocks. He also specializes in rebounds. With these two in the game together, there may not be too many better frontcourts in the country. Nick Rakocevic got some playing time last year and will come off the bench once again. For more depth USC will need some other players to fill in.

Jordan McLaughin is back to run the offense at the point. He sets up his teammates well and can also score on his own. He is the Trojans’ best three point shooter out of players who normally shoot them. Elijah Stewart is back for his senior season as well and provides a good athlete and a decent, yet inconsistent shooter. There will be plenty of players vying for whatever minutes are left over. Shaqquan Aaron, Jonah Matthews and De’Anthony Melton all return after playing over 20 minutes per game last season. Joining the backcourt is Charles O’Bannon Jr. and Jordan Usher as freshman. Former Duke point guard Derryck Thornton also joins the team and will be a good player off of the bench.

The Trojans have grown each year and didn’t lose any key pieces from last year’s team. Sweet 16 should be the expectation, but the Trojans can do even better than that if they live up to their potential.

9. North Carolina Tar heels

College basketball preseason top 25

Joel Berry (Photo by ncaa.com)

The reigning national champions should be competitive yet again. Roy Williams put together a good recruiting class and has enough returning talent to make another run in March.

The frontcourt will need the most work to make this team successful. Luke Maye returns after being a hero in the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky. He can rebound and shoot well, but needs to defend better. Garrison Brooks, a freshman, is regarded as a solid inside player that will likely start for UNC. Outside of these two the Tar Heels have other freshman who need time to get better. Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley both have potential and will need to fill key minutes for UNC.

Joel Berry II is back for his senior season, which is the main reason why UNC is ranked this highly. He can shoot, drive and dish to teammates extremely well. He will need to be a leader on this young Tar Heel team. Unfortunately he is out for about a month after losing in a video game to Theo Pinson. Pinson is back to provide great defense and athleticism, but should rely on getting to the basket on offense. Kenny Williams and Seventh Woods return and will need to play well in Berry’s absence. Cameron Johnson transfers in from Pitt and will shoot lights out. Jalek Felton, Raymond Felton’s nephew, will also join the fold this season.

The Tar Heels have a lot to prove without Berry in the first month of the season, but it could help the development of the other players who need to step up. With Berry UNC can play with anybody.

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

College basketball preseason top 25

Bonzie Colson (Photo by indystar.com)

Notre Dame did lose Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachum, but have had to deal with losing key players before and they still produce. Mike Brey has a lot of talent coming back, including one of college basketball’s best players. If his players can improve year to year like they usually do, Notre Dame will be one of the best teams in basketball.

Bonzie Colson is a double-double machine, who is one of the best in basketball despite his size of 6’5″. He attacks the glass with ferocity to get rebounds and has clever moves to get his shot up over taller defenders. Colson can even step out and knock down shots from the perimeter, making him a tough matchup. The Fighting Irish run a four out, one in system, so Colson will eat up a lot of minutes on the inside. To give him breathers, Elijah Burns, Martinas Geben, John Mooney and Austin Torres will have to fight among themselves for the minutes.

Matt Farrell was one of the most improved players in the country last season and runs the Fighting Irish offense perfectly. He is a threat to score, but feeds the post and shooters well. With him and Colson as a one-two punch the Fighting Irish are sitting pretty. In addition to those two, Rex Pflueger can knock down perimeter shots and defend well. T.J. Gibbs, whose brothers starred in college basketball, will also be asked to step up. Gibbs is the best athlete on the perimeter for Notre Dame. Nickola Djogo and D.J. Harvey, who are both freshman, are going to need to take up some minutes and be productive.

If Farrell and Colson can get some support, this team is capable of going deep into March Madness.

7. Wichita State Shockers

College basketball preseason top 25

Markis McDuffie (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Wichita State is joining the American Athletic Conference this year to see an increase in competition. The Shockers are the best team in the conference and have all of the key parts from a young team that made the second round of the NCAA Tournament back for another year.

Shaq Morris is productive down low and effective when he is on the court. He is the Shockers’ best post player. Markis McDuffie thought about going to the NBA, but returned for his junior season. McDufie does a lot for the Shockers, from being the leading scorer to defending well to being the leading rebounder on the team. He is a star and will improve again this season. Darral Willis Jr., Rauno Nurger and Zach Brown all return after logging at least 10 minutes per game last season. They are good role players that will complement the stars on the team.

Landry Shamet proved to be a good point guard in his freshman season and will be even better once he returns from foot surgery. He has great length for defending and can knock down three point shots. Another three point shooter returns in Connor Frankamp. Frankamp is a three point specialist who knocked down 44% of his three point shots last season. Austin Reeves is the only backup who logged more than 10 minutes per game from the guard position last season. He, C.J. Keyser and JUCO transfer Samajae Haynes-Jones are going to need to step up to provide good depth.

The Shockers are in store for a big season. Not only should they win their new conference, but they should also be competitors on the national level.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

College basketball preseason top 25

Jevon Carter (Photo by zimbio.com)

West Virginia made the Sweet 16 last season and have a few key players that should be able to lead them beyond this mark this season. Bob Huggins is a Hall of Fame coach who can lean on his returning players to make it far in the NCAA Tournament this year, and maybe beat out Kansas in the Big 12.

Esa Ahmad is a good wing player that can shoot and has great length, which is perfect for West Virginia’s press. He averaged 11.3 points per game last season and should see an expanded scoring role. Sagaba Konate is in store for an increased role, but he will be more of an inside presence focused on rebounding and blocking shots. The offense will come, but with a main focus on those two traits, it will fit West Virginia nicely. Lamont West got significant playing time as a freshman and can shoot from the perimeter, but needs to help in the rebounding department more. Maciej Bender saw less minutes than West, but is a similar player. Wes Harris is a JUCO transfer that will make his way into the rotation early with his athleticism.

The two stars of the team are Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. The seniors lead one of, if not the best backcourts in the country. Carter runs the point, scores and plays stifling defense. He is the leading returning scorer with 13.5 points per game. Daxter Miles has averaged just 8.5 points throughout his career at West Virginia, but has a bigger impact than that. He is very athletic and is also a great defender in West Virginia’s press. Depth is a question, but James Bolden, D’Angelo Hunter or Brandon Knapper should be able to step in for the few minutes that Miles and Carter leave behind.

West Virginia lost five players who averaged at least four points a game, but return some stars who will be aided by newcomers. Their press will once again be strong and the Mountaineers are looking at a great chance to make an elite eight.

 

For teams 5-1, click here.

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Five things to watch for in college football week 9

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

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

Week 9 college football

Bradley Chubb (Photo by: fansided.com)

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

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

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

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

2. Big Ten East Clash

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

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

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

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

3. important Big 12 Shootouts

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

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

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

4. Pac-12 after dark games

College football week 9

Khalil Tate (Photo courtesy: washingtonpost.com)

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

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

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

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

5. USF vs. Houston

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

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

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

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

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