Four undefeated teams with relevance, and one that NOBODY is talking about. All of those but 1 are in power conferences, and that one happens to be the most powerful school in the sport. After week 10 the dust seems to be starting to settle, and all of a sudden a whirlwind stokes it all back into the sky, creating an even more diluted picture. All of this of course is talking about the National Championship. You know, the trophy that the Alabama Crimson Tide won last year and appear to be even more of a favorite to repeat than Usain Bolt at this last years Olympics? That trophy. The whole shebang. Notre Dame, Oregon, and Alabama alike played their toughest games to this date, all coming out on top. 5 undefeated teams, 2 spots, who goes and who doesn’t? Plus, I make my first attempt ever at projecting the bowl games that all these teams go to. Those question will be answered and more in this weeks edition of “The Mind of a Sports Fanatic.” Here we goooooo.
Let’s begin with the conference outlooks here.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Week 10 Game Results
Virginia Tech 12 Miami 30
Georgia Tech 33 Maryland 13
Virginia 33 NC State 6
Boston College 14 Wake Forest 28
#13 Clemson 56 Duke 20
1. #10 Florida State Seminoles 8-1 (5-1) ***
Florida State is bowl eligible and is more than likely going to come out on top of the ACC, solidifying an Orange Bowl bid with what could be an incredibly favorable match-up against Louisville. EJ Manuel vs. Teddy Bridgewater? I’d watch that game
2. #13 Clemson Tigers 8-1 (5-1) ***
Clemson is more than likely out of a Conference Championship chance unless Florida State loses to Frank Beamer’s guys at Lane Stadium, which is unlikely to say that least. The good news for Clemson is that it has a chance against South Carolina to build its power resume and develop a case for an at large bowl bid.
3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5-4 (3-4)
Wake needs 1 win to earn a trip to a bowl game. A road trip to NC State could be a winnable game, depending which Wolf Pack squad shows up for the game. After that the going gets tough with a trip to South Bend to take on the Irish who need style points. The back-door could open up for the Deacons if Vandy loses its next two games against Ole Miss and Tennessee, because they could be demoralized. Unfortunately, after playing Notre Dame, Wake Forest should be too.
4. North Carolina State Wolfpack 5-4 (2-3)
They need 1 win to go bowling. That win could happen this week against Wake Forest or in the final week against Boston College. If the Wolfpack can bring the magic and get a huge upset over Clemson for the 2nd straight year down the stretch, it could find itself in a nice bowl game after 7 wins come seasons end.
5. Maryland Terrapins 4-5 (2-3)
The Terps aren’t going bowling. They have the 3 best teams in the conference on the slate coming up and with no “true” QB’s on the active roster after 4 got injured, it seems impossible.
6. Boston College Eagles 2-7 (1-5) XEliminatedX
1. Miami (FL) Hurricanes 5-4 (3-4)
The Canes record doesn’t represent how nice of a season it truly has been south of South Beach. With 4 losses, all coming to teams that are bowl eligible or would be bowl eligible (stupid UNC), the resume is getting better and better. A huge win over Virginia Tech places the future of the Canes in their own hands, with a reasonable chance to end 8-4 with a chance to play for a BCS bowl bid. Crazy right? After a quick start for Frosh RB Duke Johnson in his first game against BC, he’s slowed down, but stepped up huge against VA Tech in the win with his first 100 yard rushing game since week 1 and his first TD in 4 weeks.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels 6-3 (3-2) XIneligibleX
3. Duke Blue Devils 6-4 (3-3) ***
Duke hasn’t gone to a bowl game since 1995, where they lost to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl. That is changing this year because they are already bowl eligible. With only 2 games remaining, they are in a spot to win the Coastal Division if they can beat Georgia Tech and Miami (FL) in the final week of the year. If that happens, they should get another shot at Florida State, but the Noles looked mighty good 2 weeks ago, shellacking the Dukies 48-7.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 4-5 (3-3)
It’s not completely outrageous to think that the Yellow Jackets will go bowling, and it would be a foolish bet. With games against North Carolina, a would be bowl team, as well as already bowl eligible teams in Duke and Georgia, the tough will need to get going as the going gets tough.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies 4-5 (2-3)
Outside of Arkansas, there hasn’t been a more disappointing bunch in 2012 than the Hokies. Starting the season #15 and then never really getting it going for the first part of the season. The good news for Frank Beamer is that they can still become bowl eligible and it’s not totally out of mind to think they should. A loss against Florida State this week hurts, but doesn’t kill them because it’s, yet, another good loss. Then two games against Virginia and Boston College to wrap the season. Those two are the worst teams in the conference. Nice little break for Va Tech
6. Virginia Cavliers 3-6 (1-4)
3 wins on the season. 1 of those wins is over a quality opponent in Penn State, but the Nittanies weren’t a quality opponent when it happened. The NC State win Saturday was an eye opener that the Cavs can put together a nice game, but with UNC, Miami, and Va Tech all on the schedule coming up, it’s a stretch to think they win all 3 to play postseason.
Big Games Week 11
#10 Florida State @ Virginia Tech 7:30pm ET
Wake Forest @ NC State 3:00pm ET
My ACC Bowl Predictions
Discover Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles v. Louisville Cardinals
Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson Tigers v. South Carolina Gamecocks
Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami (FL) Hurricanes v. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Hyundai Sun Bowl: NC State Wolfpack v. Stanford Cardinal
Belk Bowl: Duke Blue Devils v. Cincinnati Bearcats
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies v. Vanderbilt Commodores
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Wake Forest Demon Deacons v. Louisiana Monroe WarHawks
The Big 12 Conference
Week 10 Game Results
#12 Oklahoma 35 Iowa State 20
TCU Horned 39 #21 West Virginia 38
Kansas 14 Baylor 41
#23 Texas 31 #18Texas Tech 22
#24 Oklahoma State 30 #2 Kansas State 44
1. #2 Kansas State Wildcats 9-0 (6-0) ***
Collin Klein was forced to leave the game after scoring a TD and the wind was completely sucked out of the stadium Saturday night. Klein, the front-runner for the 2012 Heisman trophy after 10 weeks has his Wildcats in a great position to make some noise, and possibly get to the National Championship. Monday morning Head Coach and genius, Bill Snyder said that he is optimistic that Klein will play against TCU. The Horned Frogs, after losing Casey Pachall have emerged as a decent team. Kansas State made it through the gauntlet and with TCU, Baylor, and Texas coming up, Kansas State should simply stumble into an undefeated season.
2. #12 OKlahoma Sooners 6-2 (4-1) ***
After the Sooners game against Iowa State, Cyclone Head Coach Paul Rhoads said that the only way to stop Landry Jones would have been to have an extra defender. Like 12 guys on the field on defense. That’s how good Landry Jones is. The mood in Norman is a somber one because the National Title hopes are out the window after losing to Notre Dame and Kansas State, each at home, but to say that the Sooners cannot end up in a BCS bowl game still is pure ignorance.
3. #17 Texas Longhorns 7-2 (4-2) ***
After losing two games straight to West Virginia and Oklahoma, the Horns are Hookin Em’ well in close contests Kansas, Baylor, and then Texas Tech. It seems clear now that the Kansas game was a product of the Horns looking forward to the Red Raiders. The good news is that Mack Brown’s squad got through those with 3 wins and with a favorable schedule the next couple weeks before it heats up against Kansas State on December 1st in Manhattan.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-3 (3-2)
Nobody is talking about Oklahoma State and nobody gave them half a chance in the match-up against Kansas State. If not for an Interception late by K-State, OSU had a great chance to pull within a score and make it a game. Unfortunately for The Cowboys, the schedule gets no easier with an angry West Virginia team coming to town, and then when could be an angrier Texas Tech team coming to town the next week. All of that is capped by a match-up in Norman. Bob Stoops coached teams have never lost 2 home games in a season until this year. OU won’t lose that game.
5. #22 Texas Tech Red Raiders 6-3 (3-3) ***
Seth Doege is proving to be one of the best college QB’s in the field this year, but the defense has been very up and down. Eric Ward is no Michael Crabtree, but the past few weeks he is starting to come into his own. He’s a 6’1, 204 lb play-maker for Seth Doege. With the schedule being favorable to say the least coming up, Tech needs to win at least 2 out of 3 to be where they wanted preseason. That would be 9 wins and a nice bowl game. With the prowess of the Big 12 this year, that’s a pretty nice season.
6. Texas Christian (TCU) Horned Frogs 6-3 (3-3) ***
Casey Pachall was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, drinking and driving, and participating in illicit drug use in the past. He’s gone, and just like that this TCU team that came into the season as a new team to the Big 12 that thought it had a chance to win the conference. They may have misjudged how good the conference was coming in. After the big win against West Virginia in 2OT, The Frogs will need to continue the hot streak going if they want to win at all over the next few weeks. They play arguably the 3 best teams in the conference. Good luck Gary Patterson.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers 5-3 (2-3)
4 weeks ago the Mountaineers were in the National Title discussion. It’s a slippery slope when you don’t play defense. They don’t. Make no mistake about it, they should beat Kansas and/or Iowa State and at least get bowl eligible, but after losing 3 straight with a bye week sandwiched in between, things aren’t where they were at the start of October in Morgantown. The tests keep on coming for West Virginia with a trip to Stillwater to take on a nice Oklahoma State team. The past two week Geno Smith has really fallen into a funk and needs to get it going Saturday at OSU against a very mediocre defense.
8. Iowa State Cyclones 5-4 (2-4)
Paul Rhoads has a great thing going on in Ames, especially compared to where the program was at when Gene Chizik bailed. Steele Jantz is finally the starting QB that Paul Rhoads needed to emerge all season long, but the fact of the matter is that the running game is one of the worst, not only in the conference, but in the country. Shontrelle Johnson and James White seemed to be a nice tandem in the preseason, but they have proved to be a weakness. With probably All-Conference LB Jake Knott being lost for the season, the Cyclones are in a world of hurt going to Texas where they won for the first time in school history in 2010 28-21. The Cyclones should beat Kansas the following week and then have the ultimate “we’ll see what happens” game with West Virginia coming to town.
9. Baylor Bears 4-4 (1-4)
Baylor has one of the most dynamic passing attacks with Nick Florence stepping in after RGIII went to the NFL Draft. The biggest issue for Baylor, and will keep them from ending up playing in the postseason. If the schedule was more favorable, Baylor could have a chance, but they are a less explosive overall team than West Virginia and play worse defense. That to me screams 4 wins possibly 5 in a tough conference like the Big 12.
10. Kansas Jayhawks 1-8 (0-6) XEliminatedX
Charlie Weis fail.
Big Games Week 11
Iowa State @ #17 Texas 12:00pm ET
West Virginia @ Oklahoma State 3:30pm ET
#2 Kansas State @ TCU 7:00pm ET
My Big 12 Bowl Predictions:
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners v. Florida Gators
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas Longhorns v. Texas A & M Aggies
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech Red Raiders v. USC Trojans
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys v. Michigan State Spartans
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa State Cyclones v. Pittsburgh Panthers
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers v. UCLA Bruins
Meineke Car Care Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs v. Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Big East Conference
Week 10 Game Results
Temple 17 #9 Louisville 45
Syracuse 24 Cincinnati 35
Pittsburgh 26 Notre Dame 29 3OT
Connecticut 6 South Florida 13
1. #9 Louisville Cardinals 9-0 (4-0) ***
Hello people!!!!!! Louisville is undefeated and nobody is talking about them. I understand fully that they play in a horrendously poor conference, but this team has won every one of its contests. Teddy Bridgewater is the most unrecognized player in College Football, even though the true sophomore is having one heck of a season. Not only is Louisville a good team, but they are becoming a better and better team every week. Hitting its stride these next 2 weeks to get ready for a trip to Rutgers is essential for Louisville the win the conference and be BCS bowling come January.
2. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 7-1 (4-0) ***
Rutgers has developed into a poor mans defensive powerhouse that consistently fields one of the more solid defenses in the country. Unfortunately for first year coach Kyle Flood, they needed offense to beat Kent State 2 weeks ago. The bye week came at a nice time for Rutgers as they should be able to get a tune-up win against Army before taking on Cincinnati, a revitalized Pittsburgh team, and Big East favorite Louisville.
3. Cincinnati Bearcats 6-2 (2-1) ***
Four more games in conference play for Cincy to wrap up the schedule. After barely dropping the OT loss to Louisville 2 weeks ago, a nice win against Syracuse puts the Bearcats back in the hunt with games against Temple and Rutgers coming up. Technically, if Cincy could win out, beating Rutgers and Louisville stumbles on Rutgers and possibly another game the Bearcats get to go BCS Bowling. Unlikely, but it’s possible. Have to stay optimistic
4. Syracuse Orange 4-5 (3-2)
The season began with a lot of optimism for Syracuse. The Orange had a Senior QB in Ryan Nassib with about as much experience as any QB in the country. Nassib was surrounded by a good deal of inexperience, but talent nonetheless and that is being shown on the field. With losses to Northwestern, USC, Rutgers, and Louisville, this team can look back in hindsight and realize that all of those teams are bowl caliber squads. A huge game comes this Saturday at home against Louisville. If, by some stretch the Orange can beat Louisville, they are in an incredible spot to gain some confidence going into the Missouri and Temple games. Syracuse can definitely still end up bowl eligible.
5. Temple Owls 3-5 (2-3)
Preseason it seemed that the Temple Owls could be a dark horse in its first season in the Big East. After watching this team start 2-0 in the conference, the creek has dried up. A big part of that is because they played arguably the toughest 3 game stretch that can be played in this conference. A win against Cincinnati would build some confidence, but beating the Bearcats and the Orange in the coming weeks seems implausible.
6. Pittsburgh Panthers 4-5 (1-3)
Pitt should have beat Notre Dame. They didn’t. After a horrific start Pitt has started to get it going slighty. The Senior RB Ray Graham learned from the best in LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis, but it’s been difficult for him to lead, but an injury limited his carries to half at the beginning of the season and he’s had a hard time developing a solid consistency.
7. South Florida Bulls 3-6 (1-4)
USF finally snapped the losing streak against UCONN last week. Turnovers have plagued the Bulls all year long, ultimately causing losses against Louisville and Florida State. Finally got the turnover margin in its favor and they won. Works out nice like that doesn’t it?
8. Connecticut Huskies 3-6 (0-4)
1 loss away from being eliminated from bowl eligibility. That loss could come this weekend against a Pitt team that should have as much confidence in the world.
Big Games Week 11
#9 Louisville v. Syracuse 12:00pm ET
My Big East Bowl Projections:
Orange Bowl: Louisville Cardinals v. Florida State Seminoles
Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights v. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats v. Duke Blue Devils
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers v. Iowa State Cyclones
The Big Ten Conference
Week 10 Game Results
Iowa 21 Indiana 24
Michigan 35 Minnesota 13
#20 Nebraska 28 Michigan State 24
Illinois 22 Ohio State 52
Penn State 34 Purdue 9
1. Nebraska Cornhuskers 7-2 (4-1) ***
Nebraska is doing what every fan that isn’t a Big Red fan hates. They are winning close games by any means necessary. Let’s not beat around the bush here and say straight up that Nebraska got the game handed to them on a silver platter on Saturday against Michigan State. Taylor Martinez had a nice feel good moment last week as he became the all-time leading yards leader in Nebraska history surpassing Eric Crouch. Without Rex Burkhead Ameer Abdullah has stepped in great for the Huskers and has them sitting atop the eligible B1G. This team cannot get convincing wins on the road, so although the Hawkeyes are pathetic in 2012, that road trip to Kinnick Stadium come seasons end looms large. No that isn’t me being a homer. Go look up how bad Nebraska has been on the road.
2. Michigan Wolverines 6-3 (4-1) ***
Brady Hoke is awesome. No headset, no worries. The Michigan Wolverines are 1 Nebraska loss away from heading to Indianapolis, right? Hold your horses. Two home games in a row against Northwestern and Iowa pose tough tasks. This isn’t your parents Northwestern team of the 80’s when they were awful. Kain Colter is exceptional and Venric Mark is a play-maker and a half. Then Iowa. Yes, Iowa. There is not a single player on this Michigan Wolverines roster that has beaten the Hawkeyes. Not a single one. After those games, a trip to the Shoe allows bitter rival Ohio State to play spoiler. Strap in Blue Nation. Strap in.
3. #24 Northwestern Wildcats 7-2 (3-2) ***
Northwestern lost Dan Persa to graduation and the Wildcats were wondering where they would be in 2012. Kain Colter stepped in as a tandem with Trevor Siemian. Each have split time, but Colter emerged as the guy that can make plays to win games in the victory against Iowa. Between RB Venric Mark and Colter with a Mike Trumpy sighting happening twice, the Wildcats accumulated 349 rushing yards. The passing defense has gotten better and the rush defense is solid, anchored by JR LB Damien Proby and JR DL Tyler Scott. With a trip to the Big House and East Lansing coming up on the schedule the urgency has to be present for Northwestern to win at least 1 of those games to end up 9-3 come seasons end.
4. Iowa Hawkeyes 4-5 (2-3)
Did you hear that noise? That is the noise of the wheels falling off of the bus in Iowa City. After 2 disappointing showings in the match-ups against Penn State and Northwestern, everything culminated last week in the loss in Bloomington to Indiana. Some stats from that game that you should know. Indiana hadn’t been favored in a B1G game since 2007. Indiana has now won as many conference games as Iowa. The Hawkeyes have about as much attrition as any team in the country losing RB’s left and right and offensive linemen like Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal, but it’s hardly an excuse. SR QB James Vanderberg isn’t orchestrating the incredible offensive schemes that Greg Davis was supposed to bring into Iowa City and the offense is putrid. Iowa will be lucky to be bowling. Lucky.
5. Michigan State Spartans 5-5 (2-4)
Not only is Michigan State the most disappointing team in the B1G in 2012, they are one of the most underachieving in the country. Preseason #13 Sparty beat Boise State in week 1, but since have been unable to to get a passing attack going in the absence of graduated NFL Draft pick Kirk Cousins. The defense is exceptional, but outside of the past couple games in which they beat Wisconsin in OT and they should have beaten Nebraska, the team hasn’t been able to come together as a unit and impress.
6. Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-4 (1-4)
Every game that Minnesota has gone up against a formidable opponent it folds. Outside of the close game it played against Northwestern, the once 4-0 Golden Gophers are exactly what we thought they were. A rebuilding team with more problems than they know what to do with.
1. Ohio Stat Buckeyes 10-0 (6-0) XIneligibleX
2. Penn State Nittany Lions 6-3 (4-1) XIneligibleX
3. Wisconsin Badgers 6-3 (3-2) ***
Is Wisconsin a disappointment? After the loss to Michigan State at Camp Randall last week, I think it’s safe to say that they are. It’s amazing that after Indiana’s horrific start to the conference season, that the game in Bloomington this weekend actually matters. If for some crazy reason, Indiana beats Wisconsin and wins out against Penn State and Purdue they end up playing in Indianapolis for the B1G title and a trip to Pasadena. That shouldn’t happen this Saturday. Wisconsin needs a win and they need a convincing win. After demolishing defenses last season, Montee Ball has been up and down to say the least, and that rung ever more true last week in the loss to MSU. He only averaged 2.1 YPC and didn’t see the endzone. He needs to get back in the swing of things for Bucky to be any good.
4. Indiana Hoosiers 4-5 (2-3)
Yes, I said it before and I’ll say it again here. IU has its own future in its hands. I hate saying that, but it truly does. If for some crazy reason Indiana can continue its recent confidence and success it will end up in Indianapolis due to the ineligibility of Ohio State and Penn State at the top of the conference. The interior defense with Adam Replogle has been good the past couple games and that is a must against Wisconsin who will try and out B1G Indiana. I don’t see them winning 3 straight, but I’ve been wrong and seen crazier before.
5. Purdue Boilermakers 3-6 (0-5)
Remember the preseason when everyone was picking Purdue as a dark-horse to overthrow Wisconsin in the Leaders Division? That is very much the opposite of what the Boilermakers have done thus far. Zero conference wins has head man Danny Hope on the hottest of hot seats and with a trip to Iowa, who desperately needs a win this weekend to keep bowl hopes alive, it seems that Mr. Hope will in fact be searching for a new job soon.
6. Illinois Fighting Illini 2-7 (0-5) XEliminatedX
Illinois is horrible. Everyone thought Nathan Scheelhaase could develop into a nice QB in Champagne and, boy were we wrong. Illinois has a whole list of things wrong with it as it ranks at the bottom of not only the conference, but the country in most statistical categories.
Big Games Week 11
Wisconsin @ Indiana 12:00pm ET
#24 Northwestern @ Michigan 12:00pm ET
Penn State @ #16 Nebraska 3:30pm ET
My Big 10 Bowl Projections:
(Vizio) Rose Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers v. Oregon State Beavers
Capital One Bowl: Nebrasaka Cornhuskers v. Georgia Bulldogs
Outback Bowl: Michigan Wolverines v. Texas A&M Aggies
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Northwestern Wildcats v. South Carolina Gamecocks
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State Spartans v. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Minnesota Golden Gophers v. TCU Horned Frogs
The Pac 12 Conference
Week 10 Game Results:
Washington 21 California 13
#14 Stanford Cardinal 48 Colorado Buffaloes 0
Washington State 6 Utah Utes 49
#4 Oregon 62 #17 USC 51
#22 Arizona 10 UCLA 66
Arizona State 26 #11 Oregon State 36
1. #3 Oregon Ducks 9-0 (6-0) ***
Oregon has the inside track to the Rose Bowl for sure, but Chip Kelly and the fans in Autzen want more than that this year. They want another shot at a National Title after missing out on that chance in 2011. That chance all comes down to winning out and having enough clout on quality wins. There should be a nice line-up of them with Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA or USC in the Pac 12 Championship Game. After its convincing win and Kenjon Barner scurrying around the field like a man on a mission, Oregon is in the zone and has been as impressive as anybody to me.
2. #11 Oregon State Beavers 7-1 (5-1) ***
The Beavers dropped a game that it should have won against Washington. The Huskies played very well and Sean Mannion had a horrific comeback to the game after missing time to injury. The Beavers bounced back in nice fashion with a win over Arizona State last week, but a trip to Stanford looms coming up. If the Beavers can get past Stanford, they should finish the season with 2 losses (Probably won’t beat Oregon) and end up in the Rose Bowl, assuming that Oregon ends up in the National Championship Game.
3. #14 Stanford Cardinal 7-2 (5-1) ***
The toughest upcoming schedule for any team in the conference goes to Stanford. Oregon State at home, then trips to Autzen and LA to take on the Ducks and the Bruins to finish the season. If by some crazy stretch of the imagination, Stanford ends up winning out, they would actually have a shot at the Pac 12 Championship. They are going to really need to find a more consistent identity on offense if they want that to happen. The big blow out of cellar dweller Colorado was a good start to that.
4. Washington Huskies 5-4 (3-3)
Washington is a heck of a lot better than its record indicates and people are giving them credit for. Its worst loss is to an improving Arizona team. They have 2 huge wins over Stanford and Oregon State at home, and with a crazy favorable schedule coming up they could very well end up with a nice 8 win season. The offense has really been a disappointment with Keith Price not being the play-maker that I thought he would but, but the defense has been surprising in big time situations.
5. California Golden Bears 3-7 (2-5) XEliminatedX
6. Washington State Cougars 2-7 (0-6) XEliminatedX
1. #18 UCLA Bruins 7-2 (4-2) ***
UCLA was a darkhorse coming into the season after becoming bowl eligible in 2011 after only going 6-6, but playing in the Pac 12 Championship Game. Freshman QB Brett Hundley has been ripping defenses and that was the same deal in the slaughtering of Arizona last week. With a win against Washington State this Saturday, USC and Stanford coming up looks like a tough stretch, but both are at home and they have been pretty solid at the Rose Bowl this year.
2. #19 USC Trojans 6-3 (4-3) ***
They had no chance against Oregon. The Ducks are kind of good. Even though USC is still ranked in the polls it could be argued that they are having one of the most disappointing seasons of anybody. After being ineligible in 2011 to play in bowl games, the Trojans were slated by many at preseason to be in the National Title discussion. 3 losses later and everyone is wondering what is happening in LA. What’s happening is Lane Kiffin. For whatever reason, the potent offense, filled with NFL talent and the should-be stout defense that is also full of pro talent, seems to not be able to put it together. The biggest issue for USC is the schedule coming up. Arizona State is a should-win, but a trip to UCLA and a Notre Dame team coming to town that could be playing for a National Championship. That’s a tough task for USC and it’s not likely that USC ends up in the BCS come seasons end.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils 5-4 (3-3)
After a quick start, ASU has now dropped 3 straight games against quality opponents. The quality opponents continue Saturday with a trip to USC, but a win should come against Washington State. The “duel in the desert” for the Territorial Cup after the Cougars are on the slate and it could be the difference of bowl games for each team.
4. Arizona Wildcats 4-5 (2-4)
Arizona had a huge win against USC 2 weeks ago. Afterwards Rich Rodriguez’s bunch promptly took the week off. Unfortunately, that week there was a scheduled game. They cannot win the Pac 12, but they can end up bowl eligible with 2 of the 3 softest teams in the conference coming up. Hopefully in Phoenix, the Wildcats can show up for the next 3 games, including the big on for the Territorial Cup.
5. Utah Utes 4-5 (2-4)
The Utes have won 2 straight now with Senior RB John White finally getting the rushing offense going, eclipsing 100 yards 2 straight weeks. When White rushes for over 100 yards, the Utes are 3-0. That’s their X-Factor. 3 very winnable games coming up for Utah, and 2 out of those 3 falling in the W column, they are going bowling.
6. Colorado Buffaloes 1-8 (1-5)
Colorado is really, really bad. I find it hard to see this team win any other games for the rest of the year.
Big Games Week 11
#11 Oregon State @ #14 Stanford 3:00pm ET
Arizona State @ #19 USC 3:00pm ET
Utah @ Washington
My Pac 12 Bowl Predictions
Discover BCS National Championship Game: Oregon Ducks v. Alabama Crimson Tide
(Vizio) Rose Bowl: Oregon State Beavers v. Wisconsin Badgers
Valero Alamo Bowl: USC Trojans v. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: UCLA Bruins v. West Virginia Mountaineers
Hyundai Sun Bowl: Stanford Cardinal v. NC State Wolfpack
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Washington Huskies v. Boise State Broncos
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona Wildcats v. Navy Midshipmen
The South Eastern Conference (SEC)
Week 10 Game Results:
Missouri 7 #7 Florida 14
Vanderbilt 40 Kentucky 0
#16 Texas A&M 38 #15 Mississipi State 13
Troy 48 Tennessee 55
Tulsa 15 Arkansas 19
New Mexico State 15 Auburn 42
Ole Miss 10 #6 Georgia 37
#1 Alabama 21 #5 LSU 17
1. #6 Florida Gators 8-1 (7-1) ***
I don’t think there is any doubt that Florida hung over after the tough loss to South Carolina. The best news for the Gators is that they get to take advantage of the stupidity of the College Football landscape in giving the SEC the opportunity to schedule cupcakes mid-way through the year. They can’t overlook Louisiana Lafayette or Jacksonville State, but it should be a non-issue. The Florida State game is a huge one to wrap the season and could keep Florida in the National Title discussion if the cards fall the right way(unlikely).
2. #5 Georgia Bulldogs 8-1 (6-1) ***
If any offense in the SEC can compete with Alabama’s defense in the Conference Championship, it’s Georgia. Other than the South Carolina loss, it has been very good. Lots of young talent, being orchestrated by Senior QB Aaron Murray. Not only is the offense a nice unit, the defense isn’t getting the kind of respect that they deserve. Outside of a couple outliers, the defense has been stout and has a ton of talent. Georgia still has a chance at a National Title. Yes, they do.
3. #8 South Carolina Gamecocks 7-2 (5-2) ***
Marcus Lattimore’s injury was one of the worst I’ve seen in recent memory as he tore and broke everything in his knee. The Gamecocks struggled with Tennessee in a slugfest shoot-out, but they should be able to regroup against the dumpster fire that is Arkansas and Wofford. The game against Clemson coming up November 24th will be a huge game to possibly punch a BCS Bowl game ticket. Lattimore being hurt, hurts big time for that match-up, but it all comes down to the defense and whether they can stop the high octane attack of Tajh Boyd and his play-makers all around him.
4. Vanderbilt Commodores 5-4 (3-3)
The Commodores are an anomaly this season. There is no reason why they shouldn’t win a 6th game and even possibly a 7th or 8th. The schedule works very well in Vandy’s favor. Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Wake Forest are all slated to face off against Jordan Rodgers and his offense. Going into the year, I thought Vandy would score some points, but it’s been defense that’s been the key for Vanderbilt thus far and that rung true the past 2 weeks only giving up 7 total points in 2 games.
5. Missouri Tigers 4-5 (1-4)
Welcome the the SEC Mizzou-rah. There should be a little bitter confidence after playing a tough game against Florida last weekend. Tennessee would be a nice victory to further that confidence going forward. If they can get a nice win at rocky top and another the following week against Syracuse, the first year in the SEC is a success in my opinion for Missouri. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina all let them know how things go. So did Kentucky by losing to them.
6. Tennessee Volunteers 4-5 (0-5)
Holy Derek Dooley and his 0-5 SEC start. Big win over Troy last week. Wait, what? Tyler Bray is a NFL caliber QB if he can get his weapons involved, and it’s no secret that he is capable of throwing for 3,000+ yards. With one of the worst defenses in the country, Tennessee has had a hard time putting together wins.
7. Kentucky Wildcats 1-9 (0-7) XEliminatedX
Kentucky is the celler dweller of the conference. Nothing has changed.
1. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 9-0 (6-0) ***
Alabama is the best team in the country. LSU had a legitimate chance to beat them last week at Death Valley, and if not for Les Miles inability to coach a game due to mistakes and too much risk-taking, they would have probably won. Having close games for teams like Alabama and ending up on top is incredibly important and there’s no question that Alabama got better because of it. Look at 2011. Bama had no close games, then lost to LSU. After losing to LSU, it was obvious that the Tide were better. They have the inside track to a repeat of the National Championship.
2. #15 Texas A&M Aggies 7-2 (4-2) ***
There are 2 new teams in the SEC in 2012. One of those is Missouri and it would have liked to be better off. The biggest difference between Mizzou and A&M is Johnny Football. Freshman QB Johnny Manziel is one of the best in the land at making plays and he has kept his team in every single game they’ve played and won the majority of them. Oh yeah, they play some pretty good defense too.
3. #7 LSU Tigers 7-2 (3-2) ***
Is there anybody out there that would argue against the fact that Les Miles’ eccentric coaching and style kept them from beating Alabama? I don’t think there should be. LSU is not a good offensive team with Zach Mettenberger at the helm, or at least they haven’t been this season. Metternberger grew up a ton in the Alabama contest, and unfortunately it just wasn’t quite enough for the Tigers to get a win. The offense can take solace in the fact that it nearly doubled any other teams production on the ground against this Bama defense. Lots of positives for the Tigers, but they need to avoid a hangover game against Mississippi State who has some fire-power as well.
4. #21 Mississippi State Bulldogs 7-2 (3-2) ***
The Bulldogs have found a nice defensive attack this year, but they ran into a tough opponent in Johnny Manziel and Texas A & M last week, with Bama the week before. The biggest match-up in the conference this week will be when the Bulldogs travel to Death Valley, where LSU will want blood.
5. Ole Miss Runnin Rebels 5-4 (2-3)
When you think bowl teams in the SEC, you don’t necessarily think Ole Miss, but they are an upset of Vanderbilt away from getting to 6 wins and being bowl eligible. After picking on the weak in Auburn and Arkansas 2 weeks in a row, they lost a little confidence going to the Dawg Pound and getting pounded by the Georgia Bulldogs, but having Vandy come into town, where the Rebels have been pretty solid all season. It’s a make or break game.
6. Arkansas Razorbacks 4-5 (2-3)
Nothing is good in Arkansas. John L. Smith is a joke. It’s been the most disappointing team in the country in 2012 after starting the year in the SEC Championship discussion. That is the opposite of the case. It’s a dumpster fire. Pure dumpster fire.
7. Auburn Tigers 2-7 (0-6) XEliminatedX
Hey look, everyone is seeing Gene Chizik for who he really is.
Big Games Week 11
#15 Texas A&M @ #1 Alabama 12:00pm ET
#21 Mississippi State @ #6 LSU 7:00pm ET
Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss 7:00pm ET
My Bowl Predictions:
Discover BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide v. Oregon Ducks
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators v. Oklahoma Sooners
Capital One Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs v. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Outback Bowl: LSU Tigers v. Michigan Wolverines
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies v. Texas Longhorns
Chik-Fil-A Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks v. Clemson Tigers
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs v. Northwestern Wildcats
Why it’s preposterous that Jordan Lynch (NIU) cannot and will not win the Heisman Trophy:
The Heisman Trophy is a crock, and if you have ever spent a decent amount of time with me discussing awards, you would understand my sheer hatred of the award. It is hardly ever awarded to the best player in College Football and it excludes some of the most important factors that make College Football what it is. There are 4 important things that a College Player must do or have in order to win the Heisman Trophy.
1. Be very good on offense: Defensive players don’t win the Heisman. Charles Woodson was a defensive player. Yeah, Charles Woodson also returned kicks/punts, and played offensive downs. That argument holds no soundness.
2. Be on a good team: No Heisman Trophy winner has ever been on a terrible team. In 2011 Baylor wasn’t a world beater by any means when Robert Griffin III won the award, but they ended up 10-3 and finished the season on a 6 game winning streak. That’s being on a good team.
3. Have something quirky/fun/interesting about you: Mark Ingram in 2010 had a great story about facing adversity. Cam Newton had emerged from the ashes of scandal to charge onto the national scene and win a ship. RGIII has a million dollar smile (Literally). Tim Tebow. See what I mean?
4. Be on a good team in a good conference (BCS): Can you name me the last Heisman Trophy Winner that wasn’t on an SEC/ACC/B1G/Pac 12/Big 12 team? Ty Detmer in 1990 won playing for BYU. Before that in 1989 Andre Ware won playing for Houston. Before those guys, Roger Staubach in 1963 for Navy. In today’s day and age it doesn’t work if you aren’t in a good conference. Ask Case Keenum and Kellen Moore.
Let’s break down a few players stats here and see what we think.
Player 1 (QB): Passer Rating 174.0, 70% Comp, 16 PassTD, 4 INT, 224 Rush yds, 1 RushTD
Player 2 (RB): 179 Rushing attempts, 1295 Rush yds, 19 RushTD, 7.2 YPC
Player 3 (QB): Pass Rating 174.4, 71.1% Comp, 12 PassTD, 2 INT, 698 Rush yds, 17 RushTD
Player 4 (WR): 88 Catches, 1286 Receiving Yds, 12 RecTD
Player 5 (QB): Passer Rating 155.6, 62.8% Comp, 19 PassTD, 3 INT, 1342 Rush yds, 16 Rush TD
Which one of these guys would you vote for if you had a vote for the Heisman? My vote would be for Player #5. Jordan Lynch from Northern Illinois. Dual threat QB who literally leads the country in rushing.
The Plight of Notre Dame
Notre Dame has been one of the more interesting stories in 2012 due its lack of respect all season long. Louisville is undefeated and not governing any respect, but that makes sense since it hasn’t played anybody at all. Notre Dame has beat 4 at-the-time opponents including an extremely impressive victory over Oklahoma in Norman. Before Oklahoma laid and egg and Notre Dame’s defense shut the door on them, no respect was surrounding Notre Dame. Probably for good reason.
In the past 12 years since placed on a probationary period following the Bob Davie era at Notre Dame, nothing has been the same. Prior to that, saying that Notre Dame was a powerhouse for football is an understatement. 13 National Championships on top of boasting 7 Heisman Trophy winners. Notre Dame is tradition. Then it fell off.
Tyrone Willingham took the reigns and had some early success, but ultimately fizzled. The Irish missed out on Urban Meyer and ended up getting Charlie Weis. We all know how that ended up. Brian Kelly became the head coach in about the sleaziest way possible after leading his Cincinnati Bearcats to a BCS Bowl match-up against Florida, he bolted before the bowl game to take the reigns at Notre Dame. After starting the first couple seasons of his tenure at Notre Dame with mediocre by Notre Dame standards, he has his team in an incredible place to actually compete for a National Title in 2012-2013.
A big part of the success for Notre Dame is defense anchored by Manti Te’o at Linebacker. Te’o is a new face for many, but not a new player. Under Brian Kelly he has evolved into an incredible run reader and coverage king. With an incredible nose for the ball he has pulled in 5 interceptions for the Irish and has his guys in a great spot to go undefeated.
It’s amazing to look at how much respect Notre Dame lacks because nobody wants them to be good. Come up with a school with more rivals and I’ll challenge you. They are winning close games and that is how Championship caliber teams are built in College Football. The respect finally starts to flow and they narrowly escape a barn burner against Pittsburgh.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and Notre Dame has Wake Forest and Boston College lined up to get everything ready before a trip to the Coliseum to take on what should be an extremely angry USC Trojans team looking for blood. The sad part. I like Brian Kelly and what he’s doing at Notre Dame. It’s too bad he killed that good reputation with me for how he left Cincy.
these were done after Toledo dropped the ball to Ball State. See what I did there? I had Toledo still sitting at #25 prior to its loss. I also made an executive decision to omit Ohio State because I don’t think they deserve the recognition
25. UCLA Bruins (7-2) Unranked last week #18 BCS, #17 AP
24. Northern Illinois Huskies (8-1) Unranked last week Unranked in both
23. Northwestern Wildcats (7-2) Unranked last week #24 BCS, Unranked AP
22. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-1) Unranked last week #23 BCS, #24 AP
21. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-3) Dropped 6 spots #22 BCS, #25 AP
20. USC Trojans (6-3) Dropped 2 spots #19 BCS, #21 AP
19. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2) Moved up 2 spots #16 BCS, #18 AP
18. Texas Longhorns (7-2) Moved up 4 spots #17 BCS< #19 AP
17. Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2) Dropped 4 spots #21 BCS, #22 AP
16. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-1) Moved up 4 spots #20 BCS, #19 AP
15. Texas A & M Aggies (7-2) Moved up 2 spots #15 BCS, #15 AP
14. Stanford Cardinal (7-2) Moved up 1 spot #14 BCS, #16 AP
13. Oregon State Beavers (7-1) Moved up 1 spot #11 BCS, #13 AP
12. Oklahoma Sooners (6-2) Remained the same #12 BCS, #14 AP
11. Florida State Seminoles (8-1) Remained the same #10 BCS, #8 AP
10. Clemson Tigers (8-1) Remained the same #13 BCS, #10 AP
9. South Carolina Gamecocks (7-2) Remained the same #8 BCS, #12 AP
8. Florida Gators (8-1) Dropped 1 spot #6 BCS, #7 AP
7. Louisville Cardinals (9-0) Moved up 1 spot #9 BCS, #11 AP
6. Georgia Bulldogs (8-1) Remained the same #5 BCS, #5 AP
5. LSU Tigers (7-2) Remained the same #7 BCS, #9 AP
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-0) Dropped 1 spot #4 BCS, #4 AP
3. Kansas State Wildcats (9-0) Moved up 1 spot #2 BCS, #3 AP
2. Oregon Ducks (9-0) Remained the same #3 BCS, #2 AP
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0) Remained the same #1 BCS, #1 AP
Over 7 thousand words later and a dead brain later, there is your Week 11 College Football cheat sheet with everything you could ever want to know. I hope you enjoyed it, and until next week. Sayonara.