Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:19 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Oregon's ground game
When you look at the great programs in college football, whenever they had a string of great seasons, everybody would often say they just kept reloading year after year. In Chip Kelly's offense, it's safe to say that is just what the Ducks are doing right now. Nation's leading rusher out with an injury? That would be crippling to other schools but not for Oregon, who just gave Kenjon Barner the football and all he did was rush for 171 yards and a touchdown against one of the conference's best defenses. Freshman De'Anthony Thomas ran for 73 yards and two scores to give the Ducks their 15th straight win over a Pac-12 team.
LOSER: The Arizona State defense
The vaunted Sun Devils defense, despite losing several starters to injury, came into their primetime game against Oregon ranked second in the conference in several defensive categories and were 11th in the country in turnover margin. Of course, those stats were built up against opponents that don't run an offense anything close to what the Ducks run. They gashed ASU for 530 total yards, including 318 on the ground. ASU never seemed to create a stop in the second half and penalties (16 for 190 yards total) kept giving the Ducks extra chances. The schedule eases up going forward and they should be fine, but Dennis Erickson has to fix a few things if they end up running into Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game down the road.
WINNER: Keith Price
Jake Locker who? The Huskies' signal-caller continued to impress with his grasp of the offense, throwing touchdown passes to four different receivers while routing Colorado 52-24. With Price making plays with his arm, Washington has now scored 30 or more points in their first six games - a new school record. He was fifth in the country in points responsible for and should move up on that list, just like he is on the single-season touchdowns thrown list at UW (he's fourth). Price could have padded his stats too had Steve Sarkisian not taken him out of the game before the end of the 3rd quarter. Many expected Washington to take a step back with Price under center but it looks like nothing could be further from the truth.
LOSER: Oregon State's rushing attack
While their in-state rival is running wild, the Beavers can't get anything going on the ground. Quarterback Sean Mannion had to pass the ball 43 times, rarity under Mike Riley before this season, in order to move the ball at all against BYU and was picked twice to give him nine on the year. Freshman tailback Malcolm Agnew returned to the lineup - he rushed for 223 yards in the opener - but that didn't matter at all as Oregon State managed just 59 yards total. Surpisingly, all-purpose threat James Rodgers had only one attempt and wasn't much of a factor at all. A road trip to Washington State for a revenge game might be the only chance the Beavers have at getting another win this year.
WINNER: John White
Another big performer on the ground in the Pac-12? I am sensing a theme among the winners. After taking a tough home loss to Arizona State, Utah went on the road for one of the rare mid-season non-conference games at Pitt. White rushed for 171 yards on 35 carries, one of the key reasons why the Utes held onto the ball for nearly 38 minutes against the Panthers defense that became worn out by the end of the game. Feeding White the ball was partly out of necessity, as the team was without leading receiver DeVonte Christopher and quarterback Jordan Wynn. Jon Hays was making only his second start ever at quarterback and first on the road as well. Considering the offensive line gave up seven sacks, it's clear they wanted to run block for White much more on a chilly day in Pittsburgh.
LOSER: Washington State's moral victories
Last week at UCLA, the Cougars gave up a late lead and saw a victory snatched from their grasp. This week against the conference's top team, Stanford, they were within three at halftime and were creating turnovers and playing Andrew Luck and company very tough. To cap it all off, the Cardinal returned a kick return for a touchdown on the final play of the game to make the score look even worse and push the Cougars' attitude even further down in the dumps. There was a thought that quarterback Jeff Tuel's return would provide a boost but he was mediocre most of the game and never could get the offense going against the stiff Stanford defense. Saturday was the second straight game where Washington State couldn't finish despite being in the game. Even though they were overmatched this week against a superior foe, the way the wheels came off late means there was no moral victory from hanging around early.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Arizona State, Bryan Fischer, BYU, Chip Kelly, De'Anthony Thomas, Dennis Erickson, DeVonte Christopher, Jake Locker, James Rodgers, Jeff Tuel, John White, Jon Hays, Jordan Wynn, Keith Price, Kenjon Barner, Malcolm Agnew, Mike Riley, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Pitt, Sean Mannion, Stanford, Steve Sarkisian, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:47 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
OREGON WON. In a possible Pac-12 championship game preview, Oregon pulled away from Arizona State with another big second half up in Eugene. Although they got the W, it was a costly one. Already without the country's leading rushing LaMichael James, starting quarterback Darron Thomas and hard-hitting safety Eddie Pleasant both suffered a knee injury in the 3rd quarter. Still, the Ducks slashed the ASU defense to the tune of 531 yards and 41 points.
WHY OREGON WON: Like many of their Pac-12 victories, Oregon used an explosive running game and a defense that created pressure and forced turnovers. Despite Pleasant getting hurt, the secondary stepped up and held Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler to just five yards passing in the 3rd quarter and picked him off twice. The plug-and-play backfield also ended up with three rushers over 60 yards, including backup quarterback Bryan Bennett.
WHEN OREGON WON. A close game at halftime, the Ducks used a sequence in the middle of the key 3rd quarter to really take control of the game, scoring 17 straight after Cameron Marshall gave Arizona State a 24-21 lead. Behind Kenjon Barner, Oregon responded by going 68 yards in six plays in just 1:37 to re-take the lead. The defense forced a three-and-out and Bennett took over on the 12 yard line. After moving the offense to the 48, he took off for 18 yards but fumbled. It appeared a Sun Devils defensive lineman had successfully knocked it back inbound to another defender but a replay kept the ball in the hands of the Ducks. Barner scored a touchdown two plays later and it was pretty much over after that.
WHAT OREGON WON. Chip Kelly's squad continues to be well positioned for a big Pac-12 game at Stanford in early November that likely puts the winner in the Rose Bowl. It was a costly victory in terms of a few injuries but they still proved they have plenty of depth and the system that is tough for every conference opponent to stop. They have two easy games at Colorado and against Washington State before their big stretch of at Washington, at Stanford and against USC.
WHAT ARIZONA STATE LOST. In the grand scheme of things, not that much. The Sun Devils are still the runaway favorites to take home the Pac-12 South title and wind up back in Eugene (or Palo Alto) to play for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Still, this was a big step that the program wanted to take under Dennis Erickson and they fell short on the road.
THAT WAS CRAZY. The Ducks came into the game with only four turnovers on defense, none in the last three games. Cliff Harris ended that in the 2nd quarter, picking off Osweiler and returning it 50 yards to set up a score. Oregon also set a school-record for attendance at Autzen Stadium, with 60,055 screaming very loud.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:55 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
STANFORD WON. It was a first half to forget for Stanford as they turned the ball over and just didn't look sharp at all on their second Pac-12 road trip. David Shaw and his staff must have made some pretty good adjustments in the Martin Stadium locker room though, as they rolled in the second half to beat a much-improved Washington State team. Andrew Luck didn't look like a Heisman front-runner but got better as the night went on and finished 23 of 36 for 336 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
WHY STANFORD WON. The Cardinal offense didn't come through until late but the defense played very well the entire night, holding the Cougars to just over three yards a play on the night and just 256 yards total. Luck came on late and put up some solid numbers by finding his trio of tight ends; Coby Fleener finished with four catches for 128 yards and a touchdown while Levine Toilolo only caught two passes but both were for scores.
WHEN STANFORD WON. This was a much tougher game for the Cardinal than many would have expected. The Cougars defense played well during the first half and forced several turnovers to go into halftime down just three. Then Luck and the offense started to pick things up after making a few adjustments. They took their second drive right down the field thanks to Luck getting his trio of tight ends involved, going 90 yards in just four plays before Toilolo caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone to cap the drive off. The pair hooked up again later in the 3rd for a touchdown to put the game away.
WHAT STANFORD WON. Still undefeated, Stanford remains on the fringe of the national title race and certainly controls their own destiny in the race for the first ever Pac-12 championship. The BCS rankings come out this weekend and it will be interesting to see where they wind up behind the top three of LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma.
WHAT WASHINGTON STATE LOST. It was another game that the Cougars were in, trailing 10-7 at half, but lost late. There's no such thing as moral victories for Paul Wulff's win-loss record as he tries to keep his job but it's clear that WSU is playing much better this season than they have in recent memory. They still have an uphill fight for bowl eligibility but there are signs of progress on the Palouse.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Stanford extended the nation's longest winning streak to 14 games with the victory.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:45 pm
Remember how nice the weather was last week? It might be even better Saturday. Temps are still getting cooler, yes, but there's sun basically everywhere, and we will tolerate no complaints about 60s and sunshine over the majority of the country. Not when we all know what arctic hell awaits in the coming months. As always, all times eastern.
No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State, 12:00, East Lansing, MI: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Indiana at No. 4 Wisconsin, 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, partly cloudy
No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00, College Station, TX: Upper 60s, clear
No. 15 South Carolina at Mississippi State, 12:20, Starkville, MS: Upper 60s, clear
No. 1 LSU at Tennessee, 3:30, Knoxville, TN: Upper 60s, clear
No. 12 Georgia Tech at Virginia, 3:30, Charlottesville, VA: Upper 60s, clear
Ohio State at No. 16 Illinois, 3:30, Champaign, IL: Low 60s, clear
No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas, 3:30, Austin, TX: Low 80s, clear
No. 2 Alabama at Ole Miss, 6:00, Oxford, MS: Mid 70s, clear
No. 5 Boise State at Colorado State, 6:00, Fort Collins, CO: Low 80s, clear
No. 19 Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 6:30, Winston-Salem, NC: Upper 60s, clear
No. 8 Clemson at Maryland, 7:00, College Park, MD: Upper 50s, clear
Florida at No. 24 Auburn, 7:00, Auburn, AL: Upper 60s, clear
No. 17 Kansas State at Texas Tech, 7:00, Lubbock, TX: Upper 70s, clear
No. 7 Stanford at Washington State, 7:30, Pullman, WA: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Late night kickoffs
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas, 9:15, Lawrence, KS: Upper 60s, clear
No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon, 10:15, Eugene, OR: Low 50s, partly cloudy
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Kickoff Weather, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, MWC, Non-BCS, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Pac-12, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Tailgate Weather, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington State, Weather Updates, Wisconsin
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 14, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:21 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
USC WON: As the great Charles Barkley would say, "that was turrible." The Trojans were held to a season-low 310 yards of offense but got a win gift wrapped for them after Cal turned the ball over five times. It's not like USC had to work for the turnovers either, quarterback Zach Maynard just seemed to throw it right to cardinal and gold defenders at the most inopportune moments. While the Trojans' defense looked much improved following a bye week, the offense struggled in the second half and dealt with several injuries.
WHY USC WON: The Trojans came into the game with five turnovers on the season and doubled that number on their annual trip to the Bay Area. Linebacker Dion Bailey had two interceptions and eight tackles to pace the defense and the front seven was active all night getting pressure on Maynard. The offense wasn't sharp but was much more balanced than they have been, with running back Curtis McNeal rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown after replacing an injured Marc Tyler.
WHEN USC WON: Lane Kiffin's squad pretty much took control in the 2nd quarter and never let the Bears back in the game. They started four times in Cal territory in the first half thanks to turnovers and nearly had a pick-six from Nickell Robey to really blow it open. They still had a nice drive early in the third before Matt Barkley hit freshman Marqise Lee on a beautiful fade route with the freshman tip-toeing along the sideline and in for a touchdown. Maynard threw an interception and the defense stuffed a fake punt on the next two possessions before Brandon Carswell scored a seven yard touchdown to put USC in control 20-0.
WHAT USC WON: A game they needed to win before the long trip to South Bend. The Trojans haven't proven they're a good team but they can be an above average one if they can beat rival Notre Dame next week and move to 6-1 on the year.
WHAT CALIFORNIA LOST: The Bears dropped their third straight this season after running into a tough stretch in their schedule. It eases up a bit with Utah, a trip to UCLA, Washington State and Oregon State but they'll need to go 3-1 or better if they want to make a bowl game and keep Jeff Tedford's seat from being burning hot. There just hasn't been any execution in previous games against USC and that continued Thursday night.
THAT WAS CRAZY: USC has outscored Cal 92-3 in the first half the past four years. The Trojans were up 20-0 heading into the locker room in this game.
Posted on: October 13, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 2:44 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Rick Neuheisel is on shaky ground at UCLA. In his first three seasons at the school, the Bruins have only managed to appear in one bowl game under Neuheisel, and have never won more than three conference games in his tenure. Including this season, Neuheisel is 18-25 and 10-20 in Pac-12 play at UCLA.
Coming off a 4-8 record in 2010, Neuheisel came into the season already on the hot seat, and if you heard the words of UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero on the Mason and Ireland Show on Tuesday, that seat isn't getting much cooler.
“In intercollegiate athletics, we’re pretty much all day-to-day," Guerrero told the show. "That’s the reality of our situation. But I said from the very beginning, the key for our program this year was to move the needle, was to obviously improve upon a four-win season (from) last year. We’re certainly not where we want to be as a program, there’s no question about that. We’re certainly not a top-25 team. We’re not there yet.
“But I was certainly optimistic about certain parts of our game the other night against Washington State. We’ve been real good at times throughout the course of the year but we haven’t been as consistent as we want to be. But we have six games left to play. The fact that we can talk halfway through the season that we’re still in the hunt to maybe play in the Pac-12 championship game is a positive. We’re going to look optimistically until there isn’t anything to be optimistic about.”
If that message from Guerrero wasn't clear enough for Neuheisel, there was also this response to a question about whether or not UCLA had to go to a bowl game this year for Neuheisel to keep his job.
“I’m not going to be definitive about anything,” Guerrero said, “but I would say that if we didn’t get into a bowl this year, everyone would be very disappointed.”
And when everyone is disappointed, that usually leads to change.
UCLA needs three more wins to qualify for a bowl game this season, and with games remaining against Cal, Arizona State and a couple of road trips to Utah and USC still on the docket, those three wins won't be very easy to come by.
Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 5:12 pm
Posted by Eye on College Football staff
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Bryan Fischer, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Florida, Indiana, Jerry Hinnen, Kansas, Keys to the Game, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, SEC, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington State, Week 7, Wisconsin