Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 3:09 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Fans of offense
The Big 12 often gets flak for the lack of defense that is played in the conference, and for the most part it's criticism that's deserved. Of course, there's another side to that coin, and it's that the Big 12 is also home to some good offenses as well. Offenses that were fully on display throughout Saturday.
In five games between all ten teams in the conference, there was a total of 355 points scored, 45 touchdowns and 4,658 yards of total offense. That's 71 points, 9 touchdowns and 931.6 yards of offense per game. That is insane.
LOSER: The Baylor defense
Okay, and there's just genuinely bad defense too. There is little doubt what the strengths and weaknesses are with Baylor this season. The strength is Robert Griffin and the Baylor offense. The weakness is the other side of the ball, and it was evident on Saturday. Texas A&M racked up 681 yards of offense on Saturday, and Ryan Tannehill threw for 415 yards and 6 touchdowns. Robert Griffin, despite evidence to the contrary, is not perfect, and in order for Baylor to beat the best teams in the Big 12, Griffin can't do it all on his own. He's going to need his defense to step up and make plays from time to time, and it just didn't do that on Saturday. The result? A 55-28 blowout in College Station.
WINNER: Ryan Swope
Somebody had to benefit from all those yards that Baylor was giving to Ryan Tannehill and it was Ryan Swope. Swope finished the day with 11 catches for 206 yards and a school record 4 touchdowns. Swope is one of the most underrated receivers in the Big 12, and he's often overshadowed on his own team by Jeff Fuller, but he showed everybody why he deserves a lot more attention this weekend.
LOSER: David Ash's hold on the Texas quarterback job
For the first time since the Longhorns replaced Garrett Gilbert, Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin handed the reins to David Ash for a full 60 minutes on Saturday and got some mediocre results. Ash completed only 22 of his 40 passes for 139 yards with no touchdowns. More importantly, he turned the ball over three times. There's no guarantee that Case McCoy will see time next week because of it, but you can bet at the very least Malcolm Brown and Fozzy Whittaker will get a lot more than the 28 carries they split on Saturday.
WINNER: Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost
Coming into Saturday, Missouri's offense hadn't exactly been lighting up scoreboards the same way it has the last few seasons. Obviously, a lot of this had to do with breaking in a new quarterback in James Franklin. Coming into Saturday the Tigers were averaging 32.2 points per game, but if you took out the 69 points Mizzou scored against Western Illinois, that average dropped to 23 points per game. Against Iowa State Yost's offense blew up for 52 points and 583 yards of offense, with James Franklin totaling 5 touchdowns. No doubt Yost is hoping that becomes a trend for the last half of the season.
LOSER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman stock
I put Robert Griffin in this spot last week following a Baylor victory, and now Brandon Weeden finds himself in the same situation. Sure, Oklahoma State scored more points (38) than it ever had before during a trip to Austin, but Weeden's numbers on Saturday weren't very Weeden-esque. He finished the day with only 218 yards and a touchdown. Compare that to last week when he threw 288 yards and 5 touchdowns in less than a full half. The good news for Weeden is he has plenty of time to help people forget this performance.
WINNER: Believers in Bill Snyder
Let's be honest, nobody expected Kansas State to be 6-0 at this point in the season. A lot of people didn't expect the Wildcats to be 6-0 even after they started the season 5-0, as Kansas State opened the week as 3 1/2-point underdogs on the road against Texas Tech. Yeah, well, Bill Snyder doesn't care. The style of offense he runs may seem a bit old fashioned, but it works, and Kansas State is a contender to win the Big 12 whether you're willing to believe it or not.
WINNER: Ryan Broyles
It was just another night for the Oklahoma receiver, as he caught 13 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. His first touchdown catch of the night was the reception number 317 for Broyles in his career, and it moved him past Taylor Stubblefield for the most receptions by any player in NCAA history. Broyles finished the night with 326 career receptions, and he's still got seven games to go. He could pass 400 by the time he's done.
Tags: Baylor, Big 12, Bill Snyder, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Harsin, Case McCoy, David Ash, David Yost, Fozzy Whittaker, Garrett Gilbert, Iowa State, James Franklin, Jeff Fuller, Kansas State, Mack Brown, Malcolm Brown, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Robert Griffin, Ryan Broyles, Ryan Swope, Ryan Tannehill, Taylor Stubblefield, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Western Illinois, Winners And Losers
Posted on: October 15, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 7:18 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
OKLAHOMA STATE WON. Oklahoma State scored more points on Saturday than it ever had before in Texas Memorial Stadium, beating the Longhorns 38-26. It wasn't the most impressive performance of the season by the Oklahoma State offense, as the Cowboys only picked up 423 yards of offense, but they did rush for 201 yards and still put up those 38 points. The most startling statistic in this game may be the fact that Brandon Weeden threw for only 222 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Smith was the offensive star for the Cowboys, rushing for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 7 carries. Justin Blackmon caught Weeden's lone touchdown pass, and finished with 74 yards receiving.
WHY OKLAHOMA STATE WON. While it wasn't Oklahoma State's best day on offense, its worst days are better than a lot of other team's best ones. What really provided the difference in this one, however, was the Oklahoma State defense. Not that it didn't give up yards and points, because it did. The difference was that Oklahoma State's defense forced 3 turnovers from Texas quarterback David Ash, picking him off twice and forcing a fumble.
WHEN OKLAHOMA STATE WON. It was on that Ash fumble. Texas was down 38-26 in the fourth quarter with less than five minutes to go when Daytawion Lowe came on a safety blitz and jarred the ball loose from Ash while tackling him from behind.
WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The BCS rankings come out this weekend, and most projections had Oklahoma State ranked fourth coming into today's game. That's not likely to change, but this win also means that Oklahoma State still controls its own destiny. The three teams ahead of it are LSU and Alabama, who have to play each other, and Oklahoma, who Oklahoma State plays to end its season. So if the Cowboys win out, they're in a good position to be playing for a national title in January.
WHAT TEXAS LOST. The Longhorns are now 1-2 in the Big 12, two games behind both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and both of those schools hold a tiebreaker thanks to beating the Longhorns. So there's no way that the Longhorns are winning the Big 12 this season or going to a BCS bowl game. Still, even though the Longhorns lost, there has to be some optimism considering how much better the offense looked this week compared to last. It's still very young, and inconsistent because of it, but there are signs that the future could be bright.
THAT WAS CRAZY. The second half of this game started with 14 points in 12 seconds. Justin Gilbert returned the opening kickoff of the second half for an Oklahoma State touchdown, and on the ensuing kickoff Fozzy Whittaker returned the favor for Texas.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 3:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
This week we're offering a menu that is a bit low on carbs. It's not that we don't have plenty of interesting choices to offer you this weekend, but there isn't exactly a must-have on the list. Which I suppose is a good thing considering all the big meals we've all been ingesting the last few weeks and the pounds they've packed on, we could all afford to eat a bit more salad this weekend.
#23 Michigan State vs. #11 Michigan - ESPN 12pm ET
This game has it all: rivalry, firepower, and consequence. Michigan State is looking to continue its reign in this series, having won the last 3 in the series. Michigan will need to get Heisman candidate Denard Robinson rolling and light up the scoreboard; that hasn't been much of a problem for UM this year. At stake is probably the best shot at challenging Nebraska for the Legends Division crown; the loser, meanwhile, will need a lot of help in the race. - Adam Jacobi
#21 Texas A&M vs. #20 Baylor - FX 12pm ET
Robert Griffin is appointment television no matter who Baylor is playing, but considering that Texas A&M is statistically the worst passing defense in the country, this one could be really fun. Of course, Texas A&M isn't exactly a slouch either, as Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have done a good job of covering up that secondary's mistakes on offense. This one could be a pretty nice shootout to start your day with. - Tom Fornelli
Mississippi State vs. #15 South Carolina - SEC Network 12:21pm ET
Is Connor Shaw for real or not? The Gamecocks' now-unquestioned starting quarterback looked the part against Kentucky, but a veteran Bulldog secondary playing at home in Starkville is a much tougher test. And if Tyler Russell's breakout second half against UAB was more than illusion, State could have put some of their offensive woes behind them as well. Whichever quarterback proves last week's performance wasn't a fluke should come away with the victory. - Jerry Hinnen
Tennessee vs. #1 LSU - CBS 3:30pm ET
For the second week in a row, the Tiger defense gets to face a backup quarterback making his first start of the season. The Vols' Matt Simms has a lot of advantages Florida's Jacoby Brissett didn't, though: he'll be at home; he's a senior who started eight games for Tennessee in 2010; and he saw the LSU defense up close and personal playing against them last year. Too bad the Vols don't have the running game to keep the Tigers from teeing off on Simms all the same. - JH
#22 Texas vs. #6 Oklahoma State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
Did you know that Mack Brown's Texas teams have never lost a game following the Red River Shootout? That record is likely going to be in serious jeopardy with the Oklahoma State offense coming to town, but if the Longhorns can manage to keep Brandon Weeden in check and pull off a win, it'd be a very large step in returning the program to where it once stood. Or you should watch just to see if Oklahoma State can finally hit the century mark. - TF
Virginia vs. #12 Georgia Tech - ESPNU 3:30pm ET
The last time Virginia took the field, they needed overtime to steal a 21-20 victory over Idaho. With an off week to get healthy and prepare for the Yellow Jackets' option attack, the Cavs defense will try to live up to their 311.8 yards allowed per game (ranked third in the ACC). Tech coach Paul Johnson criticized the decision making of quarterback Tevin Washington in last week's 21-16 win over Maryland, and cited a lack of "continuity" as a reason for their uncharacteristically low score. Look for Georgia Tech to try and use this game to get their methodical attack back on track. It might be more than a young Virginia defense can handle, even with a week to prepare. - Chip Patterson
#16 Illinois vs. Ohio State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
The Illini look to continue their tear through a stunned and unsuspecting slate of opponents and run their record to 7-0. In Illinois' way is mighty Ohio State, who's got the talent to win the battle up front on both sides of the ball. If OSU doesn't have Braxton Miller at 100% after last week's ankle injury, though, can the vaunted Buckeye rushing attack pick up the slack and turn drives into touchdowns? - AJ
Maryland vs. #8 Clemson - ESPNU 6:30pm ET
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd wasn't wearing hip pads for "swag reasons." Now he has to shed his hip fashion style in order to protect his strained hip against Maryland. Boyd may have been carted off the field last week against Boston College, but he'll be lining up under center on Saturday night in Byrd Stadium. Maryland, on the other hand, won't make a decision regarding their starting quarterback until game time. Starter Danny O'Brien was benched in the 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech in favor of freshman C.J. Brown, who ran for 124 yards in just one half of action against the Yellow Jackets. But Brown struggled throwing the ball, so it will be interesting to see what head coach Randy Edsall decides to do. The last time Maryland played a primetime game at home, they wrapped themselves in the state flag and pulled out a victory. Tune in to see what fashion statement they make this week. - CP
#24 Auburn vs. Florida - ESPN 7pm ET
In a matchup of teams with passing games that will be lucky to reach "mediocre" -- the Gators thanks to John Brantley's injury, the Tigers due to Barrett Trotter's ongoing struggles -- the winner should prove to be whichever team can get their pair of star tailbacks on track. With Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on one side and Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb on the other, backfield head-to-heads don't get a whole lot better than this. - JH
Washington State vs. #7 Stanford - FX 7:30pm ET
The Cardinal have the country's best quarterback in Andrew Luck and the conference's toughest defense (just 10.6 points per game allowed) so this should be a relatively easy road trip for the Cardinal. Head coach David Shaw will likely want to establish the running game this week after tilting heavily in favor of the pass last week against Colorado. The question probably isn't if Stanford will win, but by how much. Washington State showed they've got some fight in them last week before coming up short against UCLA. - Bryan Fischer
Kansas vs. #3 Oklahoma - ESPN 2 9:15pm ET
This is a pretty late start for a game that's being played in Kansas, but I have to believe it's some kind of strategy. Maybe the Jayhawks are hoping that by starting the game later, nobody will be watching the Sooners offense destroy a Kansas defense that has been shredded by everybody it's faced this season. This one likely won't be competitive for very long, but who knows? - TF
LATE NIGHT SNACK
#9 Oregon vs. #18 Arizona State - ESPN 10:15pm ET
They're still the conference king until knocked off their perch but Arizona State will present a stiff test for Oregon this weekend. The Ducks are not as good as they were last year on defense and will be missing star running back LaMichael James but Kenjon Barner and freshman DeAnthony Thomas are able replacements for him on offense. The atmosphere at Autzen at night should be a big advantage but expect a tough Sun Devils defense to force a few turnovers and make things interesting. - BF
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Andrew Luck, Arizona State, Auburn, Barrett Trotter, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Boston College, Brandon Weeden, Braxton Miller, Bryan Fischer, C.J. Brown, Chip Patterson, Chris Rainey, Christine Michael, Clemson, Colorado, Connor Shaw, Cyrus Gray, Danny O'Brien, David Shaw, DeAnthony Thomas, Denard Robinson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Idaho, Illinois, Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Demps, Jerry Hinnen, John Brantley, Kansas, Kenjon Barner, Kentucky, LaMichael James, LSU, Mack Brown, Maryland, Matt Simms, Michael Dyer, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Onterio McCalebb, Oregon, Pac-12, Paul Johnson, Randy Edsall, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Tajh Boyd, Tennessee, Tevin Washington, Texas, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Russell, UAB, Virginia, Washington State
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 6:36 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
I've made a huge mistake.
The last few weeks, as I was clawing my way back into the race and approaching Woman, ready to pass her, I got overconfident. Sometimes the problem with being Man and being awesome is that it gets hard to control the ego once in a while. I did a terrible job of this last week, and because of it, I'm back in second place. I've now dropped a game behind Woman in the race, but it's okay. All I have to do is spew some cliches and I figure I'll be right back in this.
You know, going to take this competition one game at a time. Give them all 110%. So let's get to it for this week.
Michigan State (-3 1/2) vs Michigan - Saturday, 12pm (All times Eastern)Man - This is a tough one to call. Michigan has played really well so far this season, but since 2008, Michigan State has had the Wolverines number. Combine that with the fact that the game is being played in East Lansing, and it makes me lean towards Sparty. And as I'm leaning, I remember that the Michigan defense has improved a lot stronger than any of us expected, and I remember how Michigan State's offense looked against Notre Dame. So I'm taking the points and saying that Michigan takes the state back on Saturday. Pick: Michigan
Woman - "Thank goodness, life at Michigan is back to normal, more Bo and Lloyd than Rich and Rod. But that doesn't mean no bumps in the road. Today's game is that bump. Spartans will win. Not as certain they'll cover." Pick: Michigan
Machine - It's a clean sweep as The Machine sees Michigan pulling off what looks to be quite the thriller. Fitzgerald Toussaint scores a touchdown in the final minutes to tie the game, and then scores a couple more touchdowns as Michigan wins 41-37 in double overtime. Pick: Michigan
Texas A&M (-9 1/2) vs. Baylor - Saturday, 12pmMan - This one seems so simple to me that I'm actually a bit scared of it. Like Vegas knows something that the rest of us don't. Baylor and Robert Griffin have been lighting secondaries up all season long, and Texas A&M's secondary has been lit up all season long. I don't know if Baylor wins, but I have to think it covers that spread. Pick: Baylor
Woman - "Baylor will exact revenge on the field as well as off for the Aggies SEC defection. (Based on this secret video of the last Big 12 meeting between the schools' attorneys, it's gonna get real, y'all.)" Pick: Baylor
Machine - The Machine sees Texas A&M putting together its most complete game of the season as the Aggies take care of Baylor 38-21. Pick: Texas A&M
Mississippi State vs. South Carolina (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 12:21pmMan - Sure, Connor Shaw isn't playing Kentucky this week, so life may not be as easy for him replacing Stephen Garcia this time around, but he still has Marcus Lattimore to turn around and give the ball to. Combine that with the fact that Mississippi State's offense has looked anything but potent this year, and I have to go with the Gamecocks. Pick: South Carolina
Woman - "Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier dumps his troubled QB mid-season, then bans a reporter for not towing the party line. What the Gamecocks got is failure to communicate." Pick: Mississippi State
Machine - Bring back Stephen Garcia! The Bulldogs roll 37-13. Pick: Mississippi State
Tennessee vs. LSU (-15 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Tennessee doesn't have Tyler Bray and it has to face the LSU defense? My prediction here is that Phil Simms is going to be really mad at Gary Danielson on Sunday. Pick: LSU
Woman - "Still riding Miles' Magical Mystery Tour. (Vols' loss at home last week to Georgia makes the ride easier.)" Pick: LSU
Machine - The Machine seems to have more faith in Matt Simms than either Woman and I do, but it's still not enough as LSU wins 28-17. Pick: Tennessee
Texas vs. Oklahoma State (-7 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Texas was a bit exposed against Oklahoma last week, and I'm pretty sure that Oklahoma State noticed how well Landry Jones performed against that Longhorns defense. I see no reason why Brandon Weeden can't do the same this week, and although I feel that Texas will have more success on offense, it won't be able to keep up with the Cowboys. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman - "Here's a stat from Burnt Orange Nation: In thirteen years at Texas, Mack Brown has never lost the game after the Red River Shootout. Between that and points..." Pick: Texas
Machine - The Machine sees a lot of angry Texas fans in the future. Oklahoma State tears Austin apart, winning 48-20. Pick: Oklahoma State
Illinois (-3 1/2) vs. Ohio State - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Is there an Option C? I mean, I either have to rely on an Ohio State offense that has looked terrible for most of the season to finally put together a complete game, or I have to give up points with a team that is coached by Ron Zook. Illinois has only beaten Ohio State once under Zook, but that was the year the team ended up in the Rose Bowl. Well, Illinois isn't going to the Rose Bowl this year. Pick: Ohio State
Woman - "Illinois is 6-0 with 2 division wins. Ohio State is .500 with two division losses. So this should be easy. But I'm just waiting for that fateful day when Illinois pops a Zook. Like, this Saturday." Pick: Ohio State
Machine - Well it looks like Illinois' unbeaten season is coming to an end this weekend, as The Machine has Ohio State winning as well, 31-17. Pick: Ohio State
Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech (-7 1/2) - Saturday, 6:30pmMan - I haven't seen a whole lot of Wake Forest this season, but I have seen enough from Virginia Tech to be a bit leery about giving up over a touchdown on the road. I'm not sure if the Deacons knock off another ACC favorite this weekend, but I think they can keep it close. Pick: Wake Forest
Woman - "Wake Forest has quietly laid down four impressive wins in a row, and is 3-0 in the ACC. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech,1-1 in the ACC, was last seen playing for its life against NFL farm club the Hurricanes. Upset alert: The Hokies aren't going to see Wake Forest coming. (For the sake of illustration, let's say Virginia Tech is the TV news producer and Wake Forest is the turkey.)" Pick: Wake Forest
Machine - Sorry, Wake Forest, but The Machine does not believe in Cinderella. Virginia Tech 48-10. Pick: Virginia Tech
Texas Tech (-3 1/2) vs. Kansas State - Saturday, 7pmMan - As I said last week, I've become a firm believer in Bill Snyder and what the Wildcats are doing. Until they let me down, I'm not picking against them, especially if I'm getting points. Throw in the fact that Texas Tech has lost Eric Stephens for the season, and it only makes me more confident in this pick. Pick: Kansas State
Woman - "Texas Tech's at home and out to avenge a painful loss to the Aggies last week. Kansas State has yet to experience the agony of defeat this season. You're about to land in a tangled heap at the bottom of a ski slope, Wildcats." Pick: Texas Tech
Machine - The Machine sees Kansas State's unbeaten season coming to an end this weekend, but it has no knowledge of the Kansas State bus being covered in anything. Texas Tech wins 31-17. Pick: Texas Tech
Auburn (-1 1/2) vs. Florida - Saturday, 7pmMan - I'm not comfortable at all with this pick, as neither team has done much to instill any confidence the last few weeks. Yes, Florida wasn't exactly facing the easiest competition in the world, but I'm not sure either quarterback is capable of taking full advantage of the Auburn secondary. That being said, I don't have much faith in the Auburn offense either. So I guess I'm just going with homefield advantage. Pick: Auburn
Woman - "I looked for something trending in either of these teams and none of it's very good. The one thing that stands out is how Florida couldn't put more than one touchdown on the board either of the last two weeks. That doesn't speak too well for its QB-by-committee approach and I can't see how that'll change in a hostile Jordan-Hare." Pick: Auburn
Machine - Chris Rainey saves the day for Florida with a 73-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give the Gators a 27-21 win. Pick: Florida
Oregon (-15 1/2) vs. Arizona State - Saturday 10:15pmMan - This game would normally be easy for me to pick because, aside from Stanford, I just don't think there's anybody else in the Pac-12 that can hang with the Ducks. The problem is that Arizona State kept things close enough against Oregon last season, but that game was played in Tempe, and Autzen Stadium is a different beast entirely. I also worry about the absence of LaMichael James, but the Ducks have enough weapons on offense and know how to use all of them that James' absence may not be a major problem. So I'm going with the Ducks, even if I had to think about it a little. Pick: Oregon
Woman - "Forget football, who's going to win the Style Bowl? Two fashion dynamos go padded shoulder to shoulder this weekend and like everyone knows, in football, as in fashion, one week you're in and the next, you're OUT. Oregon has shown an ability to transform even basic black into something original, and last week's eye-popping green with the retro duck made everything old seem new again. ASU, on the other hand, is stuck with a hopelessly dated color palette and when they tried doing something different with black? Well, auf wiedersehen, ASU. But before you air kiss Heidi, I'll take the points." Pick: Arizona State
Machine - There are going to be a lot of points scored in Eugene on Saturday night, but The Machine sees the Ducks getting the majority of them. Oregon wins 55-38. Pick: Oregon
StandingsSeason Record (Last Week)
1. Woman 41-24 (7-3)
2. Man 40-25 (6-4)
3. Machine 34-31 (5-5)
Tags: ACC, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Bill Snyder, Bo Schembechler, Brandon Weeden, Chris Rainey, Chris Simms, Connor Shaw, Eric Stephens, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Florida, Gary Danielson, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas State, LaMichael James, Landry Jones, Lloyd Carr, LSU, Mack Brown, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Marcus Lattimore, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Phil Simms, Rich Rodriguez, Robert Griffin, Ron Zook, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Bray, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Posted on: October 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
If you enjoyed this podcast -- and let's be honest, you did -- be sure to subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes.
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:26 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS WILL WIN IF: The Longhorns can find some consistency between Case McCoy and David Ash, and do not abandon the run game. Texas had trouble against the Oklahoma defense on Saturday, and the Oklahoma State defense is not the same defense. It will bend and break occasionally. Which means that Texas should give a heavy workload to both Malcolm Brown and Fozzy Whittaker on Saturday. Oklahoma State is only giving up 165.8 yards per game on the ground, but that's because opponents have been so far behind they couldn't run the ball. Not only could Texas find success running the ball against Oklahoma State, but most importantly, it will help keep that Oklahoma State offense off the field.
OKLAHOMA STATE WILL WIN IF: It can take advantage of a Texas secondary that finds itself rather thin these days. Considering that Oklahoma State is second in the nation in passing yards per game (431.2) and leading the nation in scoring (51.4 points per game), that ought to be music to the ears of quarterback Brandon Weeden. The Texas defense had been pretty good all season against the pass before Landry Jones threw for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns against it, and you can be sure that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken will be watching a lot of tape to see exactly how Oklahoma attacked it on Saturday and will look to do much of the same.
X-FACTOR: The Texas defensive line. With a thin secondary, the only way the Texas defense will be able to slow down the Oklahoma State offense is if it can get to Brandon Weeden consistently. Something that will not be easy considering the speed Oklahoma State moves at, as it can wear down a line. Still, in order for Texas to be successful on Saturday it's going to need big performances from Alex Okafor, Jackson Jeffcoat, Ashton Dorsey and Kheeston Randall.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:46 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big 12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.
The Sooners don't budge in the polls this week after destroying Texas on Saturday, and while I think the Sooners have a much stronger case for being on top in both polls after that win, I don't really begrudge the AP voters for keeping them third either. So far this season the Sooners two biggest wins have come against a Texas team that it made look really bad on Saturday afternoon, and a Florida State team that just lost to Wake Forest this weekend. That kind of hurts Oklahoma's resume. That being said, LSU and Alabama are going to play each other in November, and as long as Oklahoma keeps on winning, it will likely end up playing for a BCS title.
6/7. Oklahoma State
Much like Oklahoma, the Cowboys don't move in the polls this week after annihilating Kansas on Saturday. Oklahoma State put up 70 points on the Jayhawks, and that was after it took its starters out with over three minutes left in the second quarter. I honestly believe that had Mike Gundy kept Brandon Weeden and company in for the entire sixty minutes, the Cowboys would have broken the century mark. They also might have climbed a spot or two in the rankings because of it.
17/18. Kansas State
This is about right for the Wildcats, as the team moved up three spots in both the AP and Coaches Poll this week. The Wildcats are undefeated, but aside from the win over Baylor, they haven't beat a really strong opponent yet. Yes, the win over Miami on the road was a nice win, but the Hurricanes are 2-3 this season with their only wins coming over Bethune Cookman and a bad Ohio State team. Not that any of this is Kansas State's fault, but until the Wildcats host the Sooners at the end of the month, we won't have a great idea of what exactly we have in Manhattan. Though a win over a Texas Tech team that gave Texas A&M trouble on Saturday night in Lubbock this weekend would make things a bit clearer as well.
I really don't understand why the coaches have no respect for this Baylor team yet. It's only loss of the year has come against an unbeaten Kansas State, and it had a win over TCU to start the season. I've been more impressed with what Baylor has done this season than I have Texas A&M and Texas, yet both of those schools are ahead of them in the Coaches Poll.
21/23. Texas A&M
When the season is over, will Texas A&M be one of the 25 best schools in the country? I'd say, barring some more late collapses, yes. Though that doesn't mean a team that is 3-2 should be ranked right now, especially when both those losses -- which did come against ranked teams -- came in such embarrassing fashion.
I said last week that I felt like the Longhorns were ranked a bit too high compared to what they had actually accomplished on the season, and I think that came through on Saturday. This is a young team with a lot of talent and a lot to learn still, and this is the first time all season in which I feel the voters have Texas pegged just right. A good team, but not upper echelon.
Others Receiving Votes
The Red Raiders lost some support from voters this week, as they showed up on only two ballots in the AP voting and nine coaches ballots. Which makes sense because Tech is coming off a loss, and though it's 4-1 on the year none of those four victories are anything you'd want to brag about. Something that could change when Kansas State comes to town on Saturday. If Tech wins that game then it's going to crack the Top 25.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 9:36 am
Edited on: October 10, 2011 4:44 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
There wasn't a particularly appetizing slate of college football games this week. Sure there was the Red River Shootout Beatdown Blowout Rivalry and a few other entertaining match ups but there truly was not a must watch game from kickoff to the final whistle most of the day. AP Top 25 teams in week 6 won by an average of 24.8 points, with Florida State being the lone upset to an unranked team.
It was another good week of college football, don't get me wrong, but the drama was a bit lacking until late Saturday night when Ohio State-Nebraska took the stage down in Lincoln. The game itself was nothing to write home about in terms of style points but it made up for it in second half theatrics. Taylor Martinez helped lead the storied program's biggest comeback ever, from down 21 points, with three scores, 102 yards rushing and an efficient 191 yards on 16 of 22 passing.
When I watched OSU against Miami, I saw a team that was half a step slower than the Hurricanes and looked like they were going through their first spring practice execution-wise. They were a solid Big Ten team but one who just couldn't execute like previous years. It was much different from when my colleague Gregg Doyel watched the Buckeyes in their opener in early September. There was a sense of relief then after a tumultuous offseason and, just as important to the OSU faithful, hope that they would be ok until most of the 'Buckeye Five' returned from their suspensions. Luke Fickell was a coach to believe in and this was a team that still had seemed to have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, according to Doyel:
It was Akron, so who really can say, but what the heck -- I'll go ahead and say it:Well, that was Akron and things certainly have changed since Doyel wrote that column (one he'd love to have back, I'm sure), including the step up in competition with Nebraska. Granted this isn't your father's Cornhuskers team. They're 46th in total offense and, even more surprising with the Pelini brothers patrolling the sidelines, 59th in total defense. They got whacked by Wisconsin and have flirted with several close games before putting inferior opponents away late. They are no Akron but they're not a top 10 team either.
The Buckeyes looked like they were on their way to a win Saturday by a surprising margin, ruining the Big Ten debut of Memorial Stadium. Things weren't going great but they were at least good. Freshman Braxton Miller looked comfortable running the offense, making plays with his feet and doing plenty to stake the team to a 27-6 lead in the 3rd. After the offense had looked pitiful against Miami and Michigan State the previous two weeks, there were signs of life for the scarlet and gray. With about five minutes left in the third quarter, Ohio State led 27-13 and had rolled up 312 yards of offense.
Then Miller sprained his ankle and all hell seemed to break lose.
"I'd like to say no," tight end Reid Fragel told the Cleveland Plain Dealer when asked if Miller's absence affected the whole team, "but it's one of those things at the back of everybody's mind. I'd like to say no, but at the same time, everybody cares about our quarterback and was kind of worried about him."
Senior Joe Bauserman came on to replace him and went 1 of 10 for 13 yards while the team as a whole had just 39 yards of offense the rest of the game. The Buckeyes went from grabbing an uplifting win on the road to a devastating loss; from a good team to mediocre to bad in a span of about 20 minutes of game time. There were mistakes in every phase of the game and at every level. Execution was lacking and any playmakers on the team seemed to be sitting on the bench drinking Gatorade.
Who deserves blame for it? Well there's plenty to go around. Bauserman, certainly, for the interception and stagnant offense. The defense too, for allowing Nebraska to rush for nearly 200 yards in the second half after holding them to just 37 in the first half. Many OSU fans are quick to blame offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and he rightfully deserves the lion's share for one reason: he didn't have a game plan for Bauserman. At all. He bet big on Miller and when it came time for Bauserman to take over at a key point in the game, Bollman seemed to panic and out-think himself.
What makes it interesting is that Bauserman was at one time the starter and he's played in every game this year. You'd think they would adjust the play calling so that he could nurse the lead and allow the senior to manage the game. Following Miller's injury, there were eight rushes and 10 passes, one of which was intercepted.
"No, Joe is not as mobile," Fickell said after the game. "We have to do a better job of putting him in situations he can handle a little better."
"The floodgates kind of opened and we started to panic a little bit and we never got ourselves back on track."
Those are not the words of a head coach. Jim Tressel - despite his compliance issues - was a terrific head coach because he had everybody buy in to what he was doing. More importantly, he knew what he was doing.
Fickell, a Buckeye through and through, seems to be in over his head and the inexperience really came through Saturday. There are plenty of people rooting for him to succeed but there's a reason why so many other names have been mentioned as the head coach of the team in 2012. Fickell has been thrown into the fire, a very hot one, and is doing the best that he can. Knowing how to manage a program, especially one like this, is not something many know how to do. It takes time and it takes a very good coach, one who is in control of everything and knows just what button to push at the right time. At this point in the season, it's hard to say Fickell has total control nor knows what to do. It's unfortunate but it's also life.
Ohio State's 3-3 with six games left, four of which they'll likely be decided underdogs. A bowl game is probably still likely but the program seems like it's adrift and capable of falling off the cliff if the staff isn't careful.
"You've got to rely on some guys," Fickell said. "And it's about leadership. But I don't know. That's what we're going to have to really look back at."
The leadership has to come from Fickell and the upperclassmen on the team, it shouldn't be 'I don't know' coming from the head coach or something that they'll 'have to look at.' There will be a lot of soul-searching going on in Columbus this week as well as some growing up for Fickell and company.
Stat of the week
According to the Associated Press, the state of Florida has been shut out of the AP poll for the first time since December 6, 1982. Not just the big three of Florida, Florida State and Miami, the entire state. There's just one California team (7. Stanford) and four from the state of Texas (20. Baylor, 21. Texas A&M, 22. Texas, 25. Houston).
Stats of the week
- Florida's loss to LSU was the worst loss for the program since 1996.
- Texas A&M is ranked in the top 25 but feature the nation's worst pass defense at 347.6 yards per game. They're behind Kansas and UNLV who have three wins between them.
- There were five SEC conference games and the winning quarterbacks had a combined 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- Mark Richt earned his 100th win at Georgia and has a 100-36 overall record with the program.
- 27 players across the country are averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. Last year, just 19 finished with an average over the century mark.
- Arizona's Nick Foles leads the country in completions per game, is third in yards per game, second in total yards, fourth in total offense and has a 5-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Yet his team is 1-5 because the defense is 115th in total defense, 117th in scoring defense and second to last in the country in sacks.
- With a touchdown catch against Texas, Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles is the active leader in career receiving touchdowns with 10 more than the next guy, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
- Surprisingly Illinois is tied for the nation's third longest winning streak at seven games. Stanford has the longest (13) followed by Oklahoma (10). Alabama and LSU both have seven game streaks as well but obviously will play each other in November. New Mexico and Florida Atlantic have the longest losing streaks at eight games, while Memphis has lost 15 straight in conference.
- The Pac-12 leads the country in passing and has 31 more passing touchdowns than any other conference (153 total). The Big Ten leads the country in rushing and has 11 more rushing touchdowns than any other conference.
- UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel improved to 9-0 against Washington State at three different schools (Colorado, Washington, UCLA). One of the wins came as a non-conference win while at Colorado. With eight wins in conference play, that would mean 25% of Neuheisel's Pac-12 conference victories have come at the expense of the Cougars.
- According to the Big Ten Network, every time Michigan has started 6-0, they've gone to the Rose Bowl.
- There was plenty of Boomer Sooner at the Cotton Bowl this weekend, enough to cause Bevo to turn away from the field of play so he didn't have to see anymore of the Longhorns. Most saw Texas as overrated, moving into the top 10 largely because they hadn't lost and because they're, well, Texas. They had some momentum coming into the game and thought they had a solid backfield that would be able to make a few plays in Bryan Harsin's offense. Nope. The story of the game wasn't Oklahoma's potent offense, but its spectacular defense that had a coming out party and reminding everyone that though they might not be Alabama or LSU's, they are still pretty good. The Sooners set six defensive school records against the Horns, including eight sacks. Final score: Oklahoma's offense 34, Oklahoma defense 21, Texas 17.
- It really didn't matter what true freshman quarterback took snaps under center for Florida, they were getting fed to the wolves. Or at least one Honey Badger, who picked off starter Jacoby Brissett's deep pass in the third quarter. It's rare for LSU to have the advantage at the quarterback position but it was pretty clear they had the advantage at just about every position in their 41-11 rout at home. The Gators have issues but they're still a solid football that's just trying to find some footing. The Tigers, meanwhile, look like they used the weekend to tune up every phase of their game, controlling throughout and limiting their opponent to 2 of 11 on third down and 213 total yards. The lasting images of the game might have come from a punter and a back up quarterback. Much-maligned quarterback Jordan Jefferson threw a touchdown pass in a manner Florida fans are quite familiar with - a jump pass near the goal line. Brad Wing became an overnight sensation after faking a punt and taking it 52 yards to the house late in the first. Wing, however, raised his arms slightly before crossing the goal line and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag that took the points off the board. That was about the only thing that went wrong all day for Les Miles' crew.
"We showed everybody that we are capable of some special things against a really good Florida team," said Tigers defensive end Sam Montgomery. "I want more. I want a National Championship. I want to play the best ever."
- Virginia Tech just doesn't lose back-to-back games at home under Frank Beamer. Perhaps it's the 'Enter Sandman' music the PA announcer puts on late in games but there's not much you can do to stop the Hokies. Miami thought they did thanks to Lamar Miller, who broke off several big runs in the fourth quarter before catching a throwback pass for a touchdown to pull the Hurricanes to within three. He gave them the lead with a 30 yard run late in the game before Tech quarterback Logan Thomas said 'Sorry, I'll take that' on an option on fourth-and-one to scamper 19 yards for the game-winning score. The comeback by Thomas capped an overall great day for him, going 23 of 25 for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
- Staying in the ACC, the surprise team in the league might be Georgia Tech, not Clemson. The 6-0 Yellow Jackets held off a late charge from Maryland after building a 21-3 lead going into the fourth. "They whipped our tail pretty good in the end," Tech coach Bobby Johnson said. Still, his squad is undefeated and among the top 10 in a good number of offensive categories. The passing game wasn't there against the Terrapins like it was in previous games but they still managed to eek out a victory. By the way, it's ok if you missed watching this game on account of Maryland's uniform combination, which featured mustard yellow pants.
- Arizona State has finally started to live up to expectations while Utah hasn't even come close to them. The Sun Devils defense forced three straight turnovers at one point in the third quarter, quick enough that quarterback Brock Osweiler couldn't even get his jersey cleaned in time. "They were cleaning it one second and the next second it was, 'Hey, you got to go,"' he said. "But that's a credit to our defense. They were staying focused, playing with a lot of intensity, creating turnovers." As sharp as the defense has looked the past few games, the offense has shown off an explosive side as well, scoring 18 straight points in four minutes. Dennis Erickson's squad also won a road game, big because they have a showdown and possible championship game preview with Oregon this week. For the Utes, we all worried about the grind of a BCS conference and it does seem like they're wearing down in the second half of games after starting relativly strong. Of course, it helps to have a healthy quarterback but they just haven't had one as Jordan Wynn missed yet another game. They've lost six of their last 10 and need to do something against the back half of their conference schedule to make a bowl.
- Remember when Florida State was fifth in the country and everybody was whispering they were back? Me neither. The only ranked team to lose to an unranked foe, the Seminoles had their issues with Wake Forest. After a previously injured E.J. Manuel returned in the second quarter to replace starter Clint Trickett, he threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene and many expected FSU to start moving from there. Wake running back Josh Harris had other ideas, breaking off big run after big run on his way to 136 yards and an upset. The Demon Deacons have now won four straight and are undefeated in ACC play even if they are flying under most people's radar. Wake has only five wins against Florida State all-time but have won four of them since 2006 and four of the last six.
- On one hand, it was Kentucky. On the other hand, it was an impressive showing by South Carolina. Steve Spurrier made a change at quarterback and Connor Shaw paid off as the Gamecocks had more yards on offense since the Old Ball Coach started calling plays in Columbia. The 54-3 win was also South Carolina's biggest victory since joining the SEC, thanks in large part to the sharp play of Shaw, who went 26 of 39 for 311 yards and four touchdowns. About the only one who didn't score was running back Marcus Lattimore.
"That #11 ranking was such a farce. If Texas had Complete Scouting Services they wouldn't lose to OU so bad."
- Infamous recruiting scout Willie Lyles.
Like the AP poll, my top 10 does not change.
4. Boise State
7. Oklahoma State
10. Georgia Tech
Where we'll be this week
Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart will see if Connor Shaw is the real deal as South Carolina heads to Starkvegas to play Mississippi State. Dennis Dodd will take in the sights and sounds of Knoxville as LSU plays Tennessee. Brett McMurphy will see if Texas shows any improvement as they host Oklahoma State while Bruce Feldman will head to the Pacific Northwest to see a possible Pac-12 Championship Game preview with Arizona State and Oregon.
Leaning this way
Michigan at Michigan State
Anything can happen in rivalry games and it would certainly make the Spartans' season if they pulled off an upset of Big Blue and a top 10 team. Mark Dantonio has had a bye week to help prepare to stop Denard Robinson but Michigan's improved defense will be enough to help squeak by in a close game in East Lansing.
Oklahoma State at Texas
Those 55 points Oklahoma scored? Oklahoma State had that by halftime last week. The young Texas defense will have their hands full again this week with what might be an even better passing offense. The defense for the Cowboys is nothing special so the Horns should be able to put up some points of their own but there's just too many weapons for Brandon Weeden to keep it close.
Arizona State at Oregon
Dennis Erickson's squad got a road win and have been playing as well as anyone on defense the past couple of weeks. They've been forcing turnovers left and right and will need to continue that if they're to have a shot against the Ducks. LaMichael James won't play but the offense is still potent with Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas coming out of the backfield. This could be a championship game preview and Oregon wins thanks to another big second half.
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