NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Hawai’i Bowl

The 2017 Hawai’I Bowl is a unique bowl game for NFL Draft prospects, in that the best prospects aren’t draft eligible. Houston has a great talent in Ed Oliver, who won the Outland trophy as the best interior lineman in college football this year. He will be a top NFL Draft pick, whenever he decides to leave school. Fresno State has a great sophomore linebacker in Jeffrey Allison who has 113 total tackles this season. These are players to watch, but here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Hawai’i Bowl for this draft:

Fresno State Bulldogs

Jimmy Camacho, K

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Hawai'i Bowl

Jimmy Camacho (Photo by

Camacho has only started this season, but the senior has impressed. He hit 21 of 26 field goal attempts and 38 of 39 extra point attempts. Against San Jose State, Camacho hit a 50-yard field goal, which was his longest of the season.

The biggest concern with Camacho is that he only has one season of kicking under his belt. He will have a lot to prove to NFL teams including power, accuracy and clutch kicking. If he is lucky, he will be invited to a team’s training camp.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

Houston Cougars

Will Noble, C

Noble was a Freshman All-American and has plenty of experience in his three years as a Cougar. He is the best chance for Houston to have a player selected in this draft class. The junior has a lot of accolades in his career and could decide to make the jump to the NFL, even though the best decision is probably for him to stay in school.

At 6’4” and 297 pounds, Noble has good size for an NFL center. He has shown proficiencies in run blocking and pass blocking. If he decides to go in the draft this year, he may get drafted.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Steven Dunbar, WR

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Hawai'i Bowl

Steven Dunbar (Photo by

Dunbar has blossomed in his last few seasons at Houston. This season he has 882 receiving yards and three touchdowns. With the inconsistent quarterback play and changes at the position, Dunbar produced no matter the situation. In the last few games of the season, with D’Eriq King at quarterback, Dunbar has been more of a go-to-guy and should produce in this bowl game.

His size is excellent for an NFL receiver at 6’3” and 202 pounds. He will need to add some play strength, but his height will help him create matchup problems.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent


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2017 Hawai’i Bowl preview

The 2017 Hawai’i Bowl features teams that surprised everyone in different ways. Houston had to deal with hurricanes in the early part of the season, but ultimately did not live up to expectations. Fresno State on the other hand, was supposed to have another down year, but really turned it around. They made it to the MWC Championship Game, where they lost to Boise. Here are more details on how the two teams stack up:

Fresno State Bulldogs (9-4)

2017 Hawai'i Bowl preview

Jeffrey Allison (Photo by

Fresno State made their first bowl game since 2014 this season. They were not supposed to do much under new head coach Jeff Tedford, but they have turned it around. The Bulldogs beat three bowl eligible teams this season in San Diego State, Wyoming and Boise State.

The offense is average, scoring 27.3 points per game. Their running game is also middle of the road and averages 156.8 yards per game. Jordan Mims, Josh Hokit and Ronnie Rivers all do some damage on the ground. Mims has 606 rushing yards and six touchdowns. All three have at least 473 yards and five touchdowns.

Marcus McMaryion, the Oregon State transfer, has taken over the starting quarterback job for the Bulldogs. He has done a great job of protecting the football for Fresno State. McMaryion has 2,384 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Wide receiver KeeSean Johnson is a star for the Bulldogs and has 69 receptions for 918 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Three other receivers have over 300 yards receiving.

The defense has been the reason for this quick turnaround. They rank ninth in the country in points allowed with 17.2 allowed. Fresno State ranks 15th against the run and 37th against the pass. Sophomore linebacker Jeffrey Allison leads the team with 113 total tackles.

Houston Cougars (7-4)

2017 Hawai'i Bowl Preview

Ed Oliver (Photo by

Houston had a rough season which started with their first game being cancelled due to a hurricane. They did go on to beat five bowl eligible teams. The Cougars did end up losing to Tulane and Tulsa, the bottom feeders of the AAC West.

The offense was disappointing after being so good in past years. They score 28.4 points per game this season, which ranks 68th. Houston was able to pick up 175.5 yards per game on the ground. Duke Catalon is the best running back on the team, but didn’t get a ton of opportunities. He has 621 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Mulbah Car, D’Eriq King and Dillon Birden all have over 300 yards rushing for the team.

A big problem for Houston has been finding a quarterback. Kyle Allen started the year at quarterback, then the team moved to Kyle Postma. The last month of the season the Cougars have started D’Eriq King, after he had already played wide receiver. King has 991 yards passing, six passing touchdowns and one interceptions. He has completed nearly 70% of his passes. Two receivers do most of the damage for the Cougars. Steven Dunbar and Linnell Bonner both have over 800 yards receiving.

Defensively, the Cougars have allowed 23 points per game. Houston ranks 47th against the run and 117th against the pass. Defensive lineman Ed Oliver won the Outland trophy for the nation’s best interior lineman and is the best player on Houston by far. The sophomore has 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5. sacks this season.


D’Eriq King is the key to this game. He is a good dual-threat quarterback for the Cougars, but has been a good passer with a good completion percentage. They did lose to Tulane with King as the starter, but with more time to prep for the bowl game, he should do better. Ed Oliver will make things tough for the Fresno State offense and help the Bulldogs win the game.

Houston Cougars 32 Fresno State 26


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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:

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:

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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Best teams from the group of five conferences in 2017

A lot of talk has been placed on the teams from the big conferences, Notre Dame and BYU, but there is a lot more to college football than just that. As we approach the beginning of the season, it is a perfect time to review what teams can make a push for the group of five spot in the New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

USF Bulls

Best group of five teams

Quinton Flowers (photo by

The Bulls are the easiest team to list here. They are a preseason top 25 team and have a chance to run the table and make some noise while doing so. Charlie Strong didn’t pan out at Texas, but was a good hire for the Bulls and has experience coaching in BCS Bowls.

Returning for the Bulls is Quinton Flowers, who had the offense humming last season. He is a dark horse contender for the Heisman Trophy, but will need to have a statistically astronomical season to win it while playing in the AAC. He is a college football star who will have six other returning starters on offense to help.

On defense Auggie Sanchez leads the way. He has a lot of experience and is ready to become one of the best USF players ever with a good senior season. Seven other starters return from a unit that needs to up their game this season.

The schedule sets up well for USF to run the table. They have tough games against Houston, Temple and UCF, all of which they should be favored in. They will be in contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Houston Cougars

Best group of five teams

Ed Oliver (Photo by

Tom Herman is now at Texas, but Major Applewhite has a lot of good players returning. Houston has about as good of a shot as any to knock off USF in the AAC. They won nine games last season and return 17 starters.

The entire offensive line returns and should improve this season. Duke Catalon is the returning starter at running back and is a great weapon. He can run in between the tackles as well as catch passes out of the backfield. Most AAC teams won’t be able to keep him in check.

Kyle Allen is a former top recruit that went to Texas A&M, but decided to transfer to Houston. He has a lot of talent and will have a lot of receivers to utilize. Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner both return at the receiver position, which should help them cope with the loss of Chance Allen, who transferred to Oregon.

The defense was the 30th best scoring defense in the country, but especially thrived against the run. The best player on the defense is Ed Oliver, who totaled five sacks and 22 tackles for loss last season. Only two former starters need to be replaced on this year’s team, making them look like a unit that will improve.

The loss of Herman is tough, but Houston can still play with everyone on their schedule. Their tough games will be against: Arizona, Texas Tech, Temple, Memphis, South Florida and Navy. While they may not run the table, the Cougars will still be a very solid group of five team.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Best Group of five teams

Mike White (Photo by

The Hilltoppers have been one of the most consistent group of five conference teams in the country. Last year they finished the season with eleven wins and a victory over Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl. Mike Sanford will be in his first year as head coach, but was widely recognized as a good hire.

Mike White returns for his second season as the starting quarterback. He was the main reason WKU was able to have the best scoring offense in the country last season, averaging 45.5 points per game. The problem with the offense may lie in the skill position players. Only Nacarius Fant at wide receiver returns and he had fewer than 500 receiving yards last season. The good news is that three of five starters on the offensive line are back.

The defense was above average, and that’s all it really needs to be with the high-powered offense the Hilltoppers have. They were the second best team against the rush last season in college football and will be aided by the returns of Derik Overstreet and Chris Johnson on the defensive line.

Their schedule is pretty manageable this season, with notable battles only coming at Illinois, Louisiana Tech, at Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee. WKU is a sure thing to light up the scoreboard and get to ten wins again this season.

Toledo Rockets

Best group of five teams

Logan Woodside (Photo by

Toledo won nine games last season and return a great quarterback. Jason Candle’s squad has a good chance to win almost all of the games on their schedule.

Logan Woodside is one of the best quarterbacks in college football outside of the power five conferences. He has completed 65.6% of his passes for over 6,000 yards in his career thus far. He is even on NFL teams’ radars. Cody Thompson returns as his favorite receiver with 1,269 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Terry Swanson didn’t start last season, but still rushed for 583 yards on only 116 attempts. Only two offensive linemen return this year which could pose a problem to their high hopes this season.

With a great offense, the defense played well too last season.They allowed just 25.7 points a game, which is good enough to win them most games. Ja’Waun Woodley leads the defense from his linebacker position and had 79 tackles last season. With six other starters returning, the defense should improve.

Toledo could very easily get to double digit wins. Games that they have to watch out for are: at Miami (FL), at Central Michigan, at Ohio and Western Michigan. They are better than every team other than Miami and just have to prove it.

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Best Group of five teams

Jalin Moore (Photo by

If any team knows how to transition from FCS to FBS, it’s Appalachian State. They have become a power in the Sun Belt Conference and finished last season with 10 wins. They beat Toledo in the Camellia Bowl to cap off their season. Scott Satterfield has 12 returning starters to rely on this season.

Taylor Lamb is an experienced player who is great at managing the Mountaineer offense. Shaedon Meadors returns as the leading receiver with 716 yards and two touchdowns.

Three offensive linemen are back and should help create a solid unit. Running back Jalin Moore had a fantastic season last year with 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns. The running game is crucial to the Mountaineers’ success.

Six starters return on defense, which was the the ninth best scoring defense in the country last season. Linebacker Eric Boggs is a great player who might get a shot at an NFL roster. He is the best player on defense and had 98 tackles last season. The unit should be good again this season.

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The Hypocrisy of College Football

Eric Gay/ AP

Eric Gay/ AP

College football is my favorite sport and there is probably nothing that can change it, but the hypocrisy of college football is getting out of hand. I fully understand coaches breaking those hundreds of promises they make to players every year, like Ed Oliver, and leave “small” schools and go to “big” schools. They are chasing money and accomplishments. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone person in America has their right to pursue prosperity, except college football players.

It seems silly to me when coaches can go and get a future job, when he already has a preexisting job at school.

*cough Lane Kiffin cough*

He still has a possibility to coach two more games. But when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery decide not to play in a meaningless bowl game, everyone wants to “protect the intergrity of the game.” That’s a bunch of bologna.

Courtesy of USATSI

Courtesy of USATSI

Think about last year’s Fiesta Bowl game, when Ohio State played Norte Dame. Former standout linebacker Jaylon Smith completely obliterated his knee playing in a big time bowl. Now look at him.

Was he drafted? Yes. Did Notre Dame do right by Smith? Yes, Notre Dame did properly compensate the former linebacker.

But, that $900,000 will never compare to the money a healthy Smith would have made in the NFL. He has even said himself that if he could go back to January 1, 2016, he would play again. Even though Smith feels that way about his and his former teammates, he still forwent his senior year and entered the draft.

But of course, he would play the game again. It was the Fiesta Bowl against Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, and other prime offensive players from The Ohio State University in a New Year’s Six Bowl. It was a huge stage to play on. That game was a barometer test for him. NFL scouts wanted to see if he could tackle and cover a great running back like Elliott. He needed that game.

Fournette and McCaffrey do not need to play in their bowl games to show their worth. Fournette has been a top five pick since last year. And after McCaffrey’s last year Rose Bowl 368 all-purpose yard performance, he needs to show nothing else.

If NFL GMs don’t want to pick them just because they skipped one game, that’s their prerogative. But I would ask them this question: What if they both played their bowl game and entered the draft, as juniors, wouldn’t they still be “quitting” on their team?

Bill Feig/

Bill Feig/

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

I love College Football but I am not blind to the hypocrisy of college football. They let coaches leave schools under contract and coach the next year, but if Ed Oliver wanted to leave Houston he would have to wait a year to play college football again. That’s not fair. And neither is frowning upon players who want to not harm their NFL draft stock. If these players want to finally pursue a purse, what’s so wrong with that?

NFL Draft Prospects In The 2016 Las Vegas Bowl

The Las Vegas Bowl is the most intriguing match-up of the first weekend of the bowl schedule. This is not only because of how well these teams have performed this season, but also because of the amount of NFL talent on the field. Here are the top NFL prospects to watch:

Houston Cougars

Greg Ward, QB

Projected draft range: sixth round-undrafted free agent

Ward has improved his passing over his three years as a quarterback. He has been accurate this season, with 67.6% of passes completed, but a lot of those passes are screens and dump offs. Arm strength is a huge issue with Ward, but could be decently successful in the right system. His dual-threat ability is also desirable, as he can escape a pass rush really well. Durability is an issue, as Ward is often injured and has a slight figure at five foot eleven inches and 185 pounds.

A position change may be in store for Ward, who already moved from wide receiver to quarterback. Teams could see him as a good slight receiver, with his small frame and good quickness. He could develop like Julian Edelman, who uses his quickness and football IQ to his advantage in the slot. Both players were quarterbacks in college.

Chance Allen, WR

Projected draft range: fourth round-sixth round

Allen is a good red zone target for the Cougars because of his good size at six foot three inches tall. There are a plethora of tall receivers in this class, so Allen will most likely be selected in the middle rounds of the draft. Speed will be a question for Allen, because he doesn’t always create separation. He is however a good down the field target at 14.6 yards per reception. Allen didn’t have a great game against Oklahoma, which should have been a favorable match-up, but proved he could show up in big games when Houston beat Louisville. He burned a good secondary with four receptions or 105 yards and a touchdown.

Steven Taylor, OLB

Projected draft range: third round-fifth round

Steven Taylor (Photo courtesy: Sporting News)

Steven Taylor (Photo courtesy: Sporting News)

The best player on defense for Houston this season has been Steven Taylor. He had two sacks against Oklahoma and two and a half sacks against Louisville, stepping up when Houston needed him the most. He isn’t an edge rusher so his 8.5 sacks on the season display his great blitzing ability. He has to do better against the run in the pros and add a little bit of strength, but his ability to vet to the quarterback will make him coveted.

Tyus Bowser, OLB

Projected draft range: fifth round-undrafted free agent

Bowser has been banged up this season, but has 7.5 sacks in seven games, which will get on any scouts’ radar. Bowser is more of an edge rusher than Taylor, which is apparent by his size at six foot three inches and 240 pounds. His height isn’t ideal, but rather adequate. His athleticism isn’t as great as most edge rushers, meaning he may go undrafted.

San Diego State Aztecs

Donnell Pumphrey, RB

Projected draft range: fourth round-sixth round

There are two running backs with over 2,000 yards rushing this season and Pumphrey is one of them. Pumphrey has been one of the most productive backs of all time in his career, currently sitting second all time in FBS rushing yards. If he rushes for 108 yards in the bowl game he breaks the record, currently held by Ron Dayne. Although he is a shorter running back at five foot nine inches, he can do it all. He is a weapon out of the backfield with around 1,000 receiving yards in his career. Because he is small, he will need to prove he has speed and quickness, making his 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine crucial.

Nico Saragusa, OG

Projected draft range: fifth round-seventh round

Size and run blocking are the strengths of Saragusa heading into this game. Being six foot five inches tall is a great asset for his NFL future. He has been a great run blocker for Pumphrey, but will need to improve his pass blocking to play at the NFL level. Mobility will be another question, as he will be asked to pull and block on the edge in the NFL.

Damontae Kazee, CB

Projected draft range: third round-fourth round

Damontae Kazee (Photo courtesy: Yahoo Sport)

Damontae Kazee (Photo courtesy: Yahoo Sport)

The two time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Kazee is a ball hawk. He had seven interceptions this season, including two games with two interceptions. He has decent size, but excellent speed. Kazee should be pretty versatile to play nickle corner or on the outside. If teams need corner depth and a guy to return kicks, Kazee may be their guy in the middle rounds of the draft.

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2016 Las Vegas Bowl Preview

Houston was a CFP contender, but lost three American Conference games. San Diego State also had high hopes coming into the season as well and went on to win the Mountain West Championship.

Houston Cougars

The Cougars beat Oklahoma in the opening game of the season and also had a big win against Louisville, but struggled in American Conference play.

Tom Herman has left for the Texas Longhorns, but the Cougars will have some stability as they promoted Offensive Coordiantor Major Applewhite to fill the void.

Greg Ward Jr. (Photo courtesy:

Greg Ward Jr. (Photo courtesy:

Quarterback Greg Ward has been banged up all year, but still had a solid year leading the team in both passing yards (3,328) and rushing yards (518). Ward is a former wide receiver making him a real threat with his legs. He has led the high powered passing attack that ranks number 15 in the FBS for yards per game and helps the Cougars to average 37.5 points per game.

Running back Duke Catalon, the Texas transfer, has also been banged up this season, which has hurt his production. He finished with 510 rushing yards. He is a threat to catch passes out of the backfield too, making the offense more dynamic.

Ward has plenty of talented targets in Linell Bonner, Chance Allen and Steven Dunbar. Bonner leads the group in yards with 1,076, while Allen and Dunbar are the big match-up problems standing at six feet three inches. Allen and Dunbar are great red zone threats as well totaling 11 receiving touchdowns between the two of them.

While the offense is high-powered, the defense has also been stellar allowing just 22.9 points per game. While the pass defense has been average, the rush defense is especially good, as the give up the second fewest rushing yards in the country.

Steven Taylor has been a premier pass rusher for the Cougars with nine sacks and Howard Wilson has been a turnover machine for Houston with five interceptions.

San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs were upset by South Alabama and also lost to Wyoming and Colorado State. They won the rematch against Wyoming in the Mountain West Championship Game and also had an impressive win against California early in the season.

Donnell Pumphrey (Photo courtesy: usatoday)

Donnell Pumphrey (Photo courtesy: usatoday)

Donnell Pumphrey is one of the best running backs in the country and one of only two backs to rush for over 2,000 yards, finishing with 2,018. He also added 16 touchdowns on the ground, meaning he would have been a Heisman Trophy finalist had his team done slightly better on the season. He was only held below 100 yards rushing on three occasions this year. Rashaad Penny has also rushed for 995 yards to help create the seventh best rushing attack in the FBS and helps out in the return game as the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year.

The passing game is an issue for the Aztecs. Christian Chapman has thrown for 1,866 yards and their leading receiver, Micah Holder, has just 529 receiving yards. If the run gets stopped, they do not have many answers.

San Diego State controls the clock, which vastly helps out their defense, which allows just 21 points a game. Their rush defense is ranked 17th in the country, while their pass defense falls in the middle of the pack for FBS teams.

The best player on the Aztec defense is Damontae Kazee, who had eight interceptions last year and added seven more this season. He was the defensive player of the year in the Mountain West in 2015 and repeated that feat for the 2016 season.


The key to watch in this game is Donnell Pumphrey vs. the stout Houston rush defense. In two games this season against teams with winning records, Pumphrey was held to under 100 yards in each game. Houston will stop the Aztec rushing attack and then get their pass attack going on offense.

Houston Cougars 36 San Diego State Aztecs 24


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College Football Bracketology September 27, 2016

Four weeks into the season for college football and there has been a lot of pandemonium. There are a lot of games left on the schedule, but enough have been played that we can start to predict the teams that will make the College Football Playoff. These rankings will not project future wins or preseason rankings, but rather what teams have accomplished on the field.

Teams in the Playoff:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0)

The Crimson Tide have won all four of their games so far this season. Their wins over USC and Ole Miss are impressive and they steamrolled both Kent State and Western Kentucky. Ole Miss was their toughest competition, only winning by five points, but Alabama had the game won for much of the fourth quarter. They did, however, need a great comeback to beat Ole Miss. Alabama has their flaws as a team, but their resume speaks for itself.

2. Louisville Cardinals (4-0)

Louisville has the Heisman Trophy front-runner in Lamar Jackson and they have had a very impressive season. They got easy wins over Charlotte, Syracuse and Marshall. In addition to these wins they also blew out Florida State when they were ranked number two in the country. Because of their good win against Florida State and their large scoring differential, the Cardinals deserve the number two spot, if not the top spot.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0)

Norman, Oklahoma got a lot quieter after Ohio State demolished the Sooners 45-21 two Saturdays ago. The Buckeyes were off this weekend, but played really well the first three weeks of the season. Their win in Norman was one of the few great road wins of the young season. Ohio State’s defense has looked good so far and will need to continue to step up in Big Ten play.

4. Houston Cougars (4-0)

The Cougars got a big week one win against Oklahoma to really solidify their status as a CFP contender. They also beat the Cincinnati Bearcats, in a trap Thursday night game, Texas State and Lamar. Houston will have to hope that Oklahoma does well the rest of the year to make their win look better. Their game against Louisville later in the season might be a CFP play-in game.

First Four Out:

5. Stanford Cardinal (3-0)

They might only have three wins on their schedule, but Stanford has played some good competition so far. They beat Kansas State and UCLA on the road, and beat USC at home for solid wins. Because they have played no cupcakes they find themselves pretty high on this list. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier, as they travel to Washington for a Friday night match-up with the Huskies.

6. Texas A&M Aggies (4-0)

Some may not like the Aggies being so high on this list, but they beat an up and coming Arkansas team and a UCLA team that should get better as the season goes on. They also got a big win at Auburn (which is Clemson’s best win thus far), to help put them atop the SEC West standings with Alabama. The Aggies should get an easy win against South Carolina this weekend, which doesn’t really help their case, other than avoiding a loss.

7. Clemson Tigers (4-0)

Clemson hasn’t looked great all year, but has gotten better as the season has gone on. Their win over Auburn looks better as Auburn beat LSU this weekend. Dabo Swinney’s side just escaped a dangerous game against Georgia Tech as well. Their other two wins are unimpressive, but they got the job done. Their game this weekend against Louisville could certainly bolster them in to the top four.

8. Wisconsin Badgers (4-0)

The Badgers have had a surprising start to their season so far. They throttled Michigan State this week and beat LSU in the opener for some impressive early season wins. The problem for Wisconsin has been playing down to their competition, but so far they have gotten away with it. Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan this weekend, which should show everyone a lot about both teams.

Next Four Out:

9. Michigan Wolverines (4-0)

A lot has been made about how easy Michigan’s early schedule has been, but their win over Colorado is looking a lot better after the Buffs beat Oregon this week. Beating Penn State by 39 in their Big Ten opener also looks good. This weekend’s game against Wisconsin could propel the Wolverines into the top four.

10. Tennessee Volunteers (4-0)

Tennessee hasn’t looked good this season, but have won all of their games. Beating Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway was a decent win to pair with their most recent victory over the Florida Gators. Both sides were banged up, but the Volunteers came out on top. The committee may show some of their subjectivity by saying the Volunteers haven’t looked good, but with a lot of football left to play, the Volunteers can still improve. They have another big SEC East clash this weekend against Georgia.

11. Florida State Seminoles (3-1)

Yes, Florida State got blown out by Louisville. That doesn’t take away from the rest of their games so far. They beat Ole Miss, who looks like they can still compete for the SEC West despite two losses, and South Florida, who is a solid team from the American Conference. The Seminoles play a trendy UNC team this weekend.

12. Baylor Bears (4-0)

The Bears swept their non-conference slate, as they usually do, because they didn’t schedule any decent teams. They make the twelfth spot on this list because they beat Oklahoma State this week, who despite losing to Central Michigan, should still have a good year. Their next two games, against Iowa State and Kansas, won’t help them look any better, but if they lose, their playoff chances are gone.

College Football Week Two Recap

Week two of college football is in the books and so much more is known now than a few short weeks ago. Here are four takeaways from this weekend’s action:

1. The Holy War is a very underrated rivalry.

BYU versus Utah always provides great drama and this year was no exception. The Cougars traveled down the field and scored a late touchdown to put themselves within one point of their rivals. Head Coach Kalani Sitake elected to go for a two point conversion after the touchdown to potentially win the game in regulation. A quarterback draw play was called and Taysom Hill was stopped short of the goal line, which sealed a Utah victory. This series was so intense and violent that the schools discontinued the annual game for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The football gods wanted them to play so bad, that they met in the 2015 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl and the annual series was continued this season. Since 2012 all of the games have been decided by one possession. This rivalry is definitely one to keep an eye on into the future, as BYU will be looking for revenge after losing the last six match-ups.

Kalen Ballage had a historic game against Texas Tech. (Courtesy of

2. Kalen Ballage is a star.

How many people knew the name Kalen Ballage before this weekend? Ballage is the running back for Arizona State who scored eight touchdowns in the Sun Devils’ win over Texas Tech. No defense was played in this game (the final score was 68-55), but Ballage almost outscored the Red Raiders by himself. The eight touchdowns were school and Pac-12 records, but sadly his performance only tied the NCAA record for touchdowns in a game. The most impressive thing about the eight touchdowns is that he only touched the ball fifteen times. After the game Ballage showed his class by bringing his offensive line to the press conference to show the press who helped him achieve such a feat. BWatch out for him to break more records this season, based on his great performance in this game.

Central Michigan pulled off an improbably upset. (Photo courtesy

3. The Big 12 needs to step up fast.

Oklahoma lost to Houston, who is a good team, but that is not a loss that should happen for a team that was supposed to win the Big 12 and return to the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State lost to a MAC school, Central Michigan, in a controversial fashion. Even if they should have won, they should have also played better against a team from the MAC. TCU, who was picked by some to make the CFP, lost to Arkansas. Texas Tech just lost a big game on the road too. If the Big 12 wants to have a team represent them in the CFP, they need to have some team step up.

The Broncos aren’t quite ready to leave the national scene. (Courtesy

4. Don’t sleep on the Mountain West.

The Mountain West notched two big wins this weekend over Pac-12 schools. Boise State defeated Washington State 31-28. The Broncos have a solid team and look to be one of the best group of five conference teams. Washington State was thought to have a breakout year in the Pac-12, and still might, but fell just short of collecting a big win in Boise. San Diego State now has twelve straight wins after beating California this weekend. Cal isn’t the most talented team in the Pac-12, but it is still a big win for SDSU. The Aztecs may be in store for a New Year’s Six Bowl. The only big threat for these teams are each other, in a possible Mountain West Conference Championship Game. Watch out for these two teams to rise in the rankings as the season goes on.


The State of College Football in Texas

The six premier college teams of Texas all look to be in great shape. Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU all scheduled easy games to begin the season, but all won in a great fashion.

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Baylor beat Northwestern State 55-7 in Waco. The most important part of the game was the return of quarterback Seth Russell. Russell is coming back from a neck injury he suffered last year. Russell went 14-20, threw for 163 yards and also threw for four touchdown pass. Baylor is also working with a new head coach. Jim Grobe is the new head coach after the firing of Art Briles. Baylor fired Briles after an investigation that Baylor University allegedly mishandled many sexual assault complaints, many of which included some players for the Baylor football team.

Texas Tech had an easy time with Stephen F Austin. Red Raider junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II lit up the Lumberjack defense. He had over 500 total yards of offense and six touchdowns. He threw for 483 yards and threw four touchdowns. While on the ground, he ran for 57 yards and scored twice using his legs. Texas Tech ended up winning the game 69-17.

In Fort Worth, the TCU Horned Frogs had a scare against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Before the end of the first half, TCU was down by as much as 10 points. TCU won the game 59-41. Most importantly, new quarterback Kenny Hill had a great game. Hill ran for three scores and threw for two more. He threw for over 400 yards, but head coach Gary Patterson would love for Hill to throw less interceptions. Hill threw two during the game.

As for the other three teams in Texas, they scheduled big time opponents. Houston, Texas A&M and Texas were all underdogs in their games, but they all came out on top.

George Bridges/ AP Photo

George Bridges/ AP Photo

Last year, the Cougars beat the Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Many thought it was fluke, but after Saturday the Cougars showed why they belong in the National Championship conversation. Houston’s first opponent of the 2016 season was the Oklahoma Sooners.

Freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver had a great college debut. Oliver is former five star recruit from the Houston area. Oliver is the first five star recruit to go to a non-Power 5 conference. On the field, he showed his worth. He had seven tackles and sacked Baker Mayfield twice on the day. The defense held the Sooners to 70 yards rushing. Senior corner back Brandon Wilson had a 100-yard missed field goal return.

On offense, the Cougars were clicking. Greg Ward Jr. had over 300 yards passing and threw for two scores. Running back Duke Catalon had 88 yards rushing and receiver Steven Dunbar had 125 yards on seven catches. The Cougars would end up beat the Oklahoma Sooners 33-23 and this was their second straight Top 10 victory.

The Texas A&M Aggies hosted the UCLA Bruins for a SEC-Pac 12 match-up. The Aggies were trying out new quarterback Trevor Knight and his first outing was good. He threw for over 200 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, Knight had 31 yards rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. In overtime, Knight’s second rushing touchdown was the game-clinching touchdown.

The Aggie defense picked off Josh Rosen three times during the game. Justin Evans had two of them and Priest Willis had the other one. The defense also got to Rosen five times. Texas A&M won the game 31-24 in overtime.


The Texas Longhorns beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday. It took two overtimes to do it, but they beat Notre Dame 50-47. It was a battle of the two quarterback systems. It was Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer versus Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Shane Buechele. Buechele is the first freshman starting QB at Texas since 1944. It paid off for the Longhorns. Buechele threw 280 yards and two scores, while Swoopes was the running quarterback. Swoopes ran for 53 yards and also had three rushing touchdowns. His third rushing touchdown was the dagger. Swoopes leaped over the goal line and ended the game.

This weekend was huge for college football, but it was especially big for the state of Texas. Vince Young’s ’05 Texas team was the last team from Texas to win a National Championship, but that was 10 years ago. All six of these teams want to be the team that brings the state of Texas back to the National Championship game.