College Football Power Rankings for Week 8 (Oct. 24th, 2013)

jameis-winstonLast weekend’s college football action was highlighted by the Clemson Tigers taking on Florida State. Clemson was slightly favored because they were playing at home and their star QB, Tajh Boyd, was a senior. Nevertheless, FSU turned in a dominating performance en route to a 51-14 win.

The Seminoles defense stifled Boyd by holding him to 158 yards and one touchdown pass, while picking him off twice. Meanwhile, their super-freshman QB, Jameis Winston, put himself near the top of the Heisman Trophy race by throwing for 444 yards and three TD’s. And this big victory moves the Seminoles further up our power rankings too.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0); beat Arkansas 52-0, retains same ranking – Outside of a 49-42 victory over Texas A&M, Alabama has completely dismantled opponents this season. Their next opponent, Tennessee, figures to be a little tougher competition than Arkansas. But expect this home contest to be yet another easy victory for the Tide.

2. Oregon Ducks (7-0); beat Washington State 62-38, retains same ranking – Leading Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota had his “worst” game of the season after fumbling twice. However, it wasn’t nearly enough to give the Cougars a real chance at winning. And Mariota still threw for 327 yards, combined for three TD’s and avoided any interceptions yet again this season.

3. Florida State Seminoles (6-0); beat Clemson 51-14, moves up two spots – While people thought that FSU had a shot at beating Clemson, nobody could’ve predicted the massacre that they pulled off. If the Seminoles can run the table in the ACC, they could be competing in the National Title game in January.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0); beat Iowa 34-24, drops one spot – Last game was a little close for comfort for the Bucks. However, they were able to overcome a 7-point halftime deficit thanks to 251 combined rushing yards from Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. OSU now has 19 straight victories, which is the longest streak in D1 college football.

5. Miami Hurricanes (6-0); beat North Carolina 27-23, moves up five spots – Miami miami-hurricanes-footballjust joined our power rankings last week, and now they’ve accelerated to the fifth spot, following losses by Clemson, LSU, Texas A&M, Louisville and UCLA – four of which have dropped out. They’re going to have to play better, though, than beating a 1-5 team by four points. Taking care of the football will be the challenge for the Hurricanes moving forward.

6. Missouri Tigers (7-0); beat Florida 36-17, unranked last week – Maty Mauk engineered a win over 22nd-ranked Florida by throwing for 295 yards in his first career start. The freshman filled in for an injured James Franklin, who watched the game from the sidelines. Missouri is now in good position to win the SEC East and play in the conference championship game.

7. Stanford Cardinals (6-1); beat UCLA 24-10, unranked last week – Stanford only spent one week out of our top 10. They got back in after shutting down the Bruins and breaking the game open with two TD’s in the third quarter. The Cardinals could take an even bigger jump up the rankings if they can beat Oregon on the road. But this is a huge ‘If.’

8. Baylor Bears (6-0); beat Iowa State 71-7, unranked last week – This game got ugly really quick after Baylor jumped out to a 37-0 halftime lead. The Bears nearly pitched a shutout, but the Cyclones got a late touchdown. Baylor has another fairly easy game this Saturday as they travel to Kansas.

9. Clemson Tigers (6-1); lost to Florida State 51-14, drops five spots – The Seminoles really seem to have Boyd’s number since he’s experienced two very bad losses in a row to them. They will try to get back on track as they travel to Maryland.

10. Texas Tech (7-0); beat West Virginia 37-27, unranked last week – Texas Tech actually trailed in this game heading into the fourth quarter. However, they came back and won thanks to two TD’s in the final period. Freshman Davis Webb was on fire as he threw for 462 yards and two scores. But he and the Red Raiders will definitely have to earn their ranking in a road game against Oklahoma on Saturday.

College Football Power Rankings for Week 5 (Sept. 26th, 2013)

stanford-football-asuLast Saturday was relatively mild in terms of excitement for the college football world. There were no truly high-profile matchups involving top 10-ranked teams. But that’s not to say that some of college football’s best didn’t face stiff competition. This is especially the case with Stanford, as they took on unbeaten and ranked Pac-10 foe Arizona State. The Cardinals made it look easy though as they dominated the first half and grabbed a 29-0 lead. That said, you can definitely expect to see Stanford moving up this week’s power rankings.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0); beat Colorado State 31-6, retains same ranking – After surviving a 49-42 shootout against Texas A&M, the Tide faced a much softer opponent in Colorado State. There was never any doubt in this contest with Alabama going up 17-0 in the first half. But QB AJ McCarron still wasn’t happy with how the offense executed in this game. They’d better be sharper against #21 Ole Miss this weekend.

2. Oregon Ducks (3-0); bye week, retains same ranking – Oregon got a week to rest up before their first Pac-10 game of the season. They face California in what should be a pretty easy win, especially with the game being at home.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0); beat Florida A&M 76-0, retains same ranking – Backup QB Kenny Guiton continues to take advantage of his opportunity to shine in Braxton Miller’s absence. The senior threw a school-record six touchdown passes in this route of the hapless Rattlers. Now the Bucks face a real opponent in #24 Wisconsin this week.

4. Stanford Cardinals (3-0); beat Arizona State 42-28, moves up two spots – Stanford made Arizona State look like some no-name Division III school in the first half. The second half wasn’t quite so impressive, but then again, the game was already over by this point. All in all, it was a much better outing than their 34-20 win against Army last week.

5. Clemson Tigers (3-0); beat NC State 26-14, drops one spottajh-boyd-clemsonClemson came into this contest averaging 45 points a game, but wasn’t able to do any serious damage until scoring a late first-half TD. From here on out, it was all about protecting their small lead in a game filled with poor execution. Tajh Boyd did put up pretty good numbers, though, after throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns.

6. LSU Tigers (4-0); beat Auburn 35-21, drops one spot – Much like Clemson, LSU only falls because of Stanford’s dominant half against Arizona State. Jeremy Hill ran right over previously unbeaten Auburn en route to amassing 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The 6’2″, 235-pound back looked nearly unstoppable last Saturday.

7. Louisville Cardinals (4-0); beat Florida International 72-0, retains same ranking – This was a stat-padder for Teddy Bridgewater as he threw for four touchdowns on the evening. More impressive though was the fact that Louisville held FIU to just 30 yards of total offense, which is a school record.

8. Texas A&M Aggies (3-1); beat SMU 42-13, retains same ranking – In yet another blowout, A&M led 32-6 at the half. This game turned into more of an opportunity for defensive coordinator Mark Snyder to try out different guys and find a winning combination – something that’s been a priority since giving up 49 points to Alabama.

9. Georgia Bulldogs (2-1); beat North Texas 45-21, retains same ranking – This game was actually close early on, with North Texas forcing a second-quarter tie. But QB Aaron Murray was able to pull the Bulldogs out of a funk thanks to 408 yards passing and four total touchdowns.

10. Florida State (3-0); beat Bethune-Cookman 54-6, retains same ranking – Jameis Winston had his worst game as a college player after completing 10-of-19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. But a large part of this was due to several drops by his teammates. In any case, it didn’t matter too much against a dominated Bethune-Cookman team.

Can Any Big Ten Team beat Ohio State this Year?

braxton-miller-ohio-stateLast year was a perfect start to the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State.The Buckeyes went 12-0, capping their undefeated season with a 26-21 win over rival Michigan. Had it not been for a one-year ban from postseason play, they could’ve made a run at the BCS title.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s scary for Big Ten opponents to think that OSU returns a good number of their offensive starters. This is nearly the same offensive unit that ranked 10th nationally with 242.3 rushing yards per game, and scored 37.2 PPG.

Star quarterback Braxton Miller is back after a season in which he passed for 2,039 yards and 28 TDs, and rushed for 1,271 yards and 13 TD’s. The junior will be the unquestioned leader of this offense and a major contender for the Heisman.

A couple of Miller’s favorite targets are back this year too, with Corey Brown (60 receptions, 669 yards, 3 TDs) and Devin Smith (30 rec, 618 yds, 6 TDs) leading the way. Tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett should also play a big role in the passing game.

carlos-hyde-running-backThe running game should once again be good too, with Carlos Hyde (970 rushing yards, 16 TD’s) anchoring the attack. But Hyde will serve a three-game suspension because of a nightclub altercation, which means Buckeye fans can expect to see plenty of Jordan Hall (5.4 YPC) and Bri’onte Dunn (5.3 YPC) in the early going.

The big question heading into this Big Ten season will be how well Ohio State can replace their defensive losses. They lost eight starters from last year’s squad, which ranked 14th nationally in rushing defense (116.1 YPG allowed). Meyer hit on this topic when he said, “Defense is where the issues are. We lost our entire front seven. I believe we recruited well.”

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier is one key returner from this unit, and he racked up 115 tackles and three forced fumbles last year. Safety Christian Bryant and cornerback Bradley Roby are also going to play big roles for the Buckeyes’ defense this season. The latter is one of the nation’s top corners, having attained Second-Team All-America status in 2012. But like Hyde, Roby must serve a one-game suspension thanks to an off-field incident.

Despite all of the losses, OSU ranks second in the preseason pool, behind only Alabama. But this certainly doesn’t assure them of any waltz to the national title game. After all, the Big Ten boasts plenty of other strong teams besides just the Buckeyes.

james-white-wisconsinThe tough teams that Ohio State will have to contend with start in Madison, where Wisconsin is coming off back-to-back Big Ten championships. The Badgers need to replace Monte Ball, but their running game should be just as strong as ever with James White and Melvin Gordon carrying the pigskin. Plus their stout offensive line should make the transition much easier.

Northwestern should be a surprise contender since they have a very strong offense. Senior running back Venrick Mack will be all over the field for the Wildcats since he not only runs the ball, but also returns punts and kicks. QB Kain Colter should also have a strong year.

Assuming neither of these teams can knock off OSU, Michigan will be waiting for them at the end of the season. They won’t have speedster Denard Robinson leading the offense any longer. But QB Devin Gardner is hoping that he can keep the chains moving for the Wolverines when they face Ohio State.

Seeing as how the Buckeyes won half of their games last season by 7 points or less, we should be in for plenty of thrilling contests in Columbus. And if OSU can find a way to continue grinding these games out, they could be headed for a chance at the 2013 BCS Championship.

College Football Power Rankings for Nov. 7th, 2012

We’re going to issue a spoiler alert right away and tell you that most of college football’s top teams won last week. However, there were plenty of close games that put these teams in danger of losing their lofty position. As you’ll find out, Alabama was one such club as they eked out a close win in Baton Rouge.

1. Alabama (9-0) – While LSU is no doubt one of the top teams in the nation this year, most people wouldn’t have been surprised if the Crimson Tide blew them out. After all, Alabama had been destroying opponents by a 31.7-point margin of victory. However, this meant nothing as the Tigers took this game down to the wire. But the Tide persevered on the last drive thanks to a 28-yard screen play TD by T.J. Yeldon.

Last Game: 21-17 win over LSU
Next Game: vs. Texas A&M

2. Oregon Ducks (9-0) – Kenjon Barner had an incredible performance after rushing for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns against USC on the road. With the Trojans out of the way, Oregon should coast towards an undefeated season and hope the BCS favors them.

Last Game: 62-51 win over USC
Next Game: at California

3. Kansas State (9-0) – We cautiously put K-State here while we wait on the extent of QB Collin Klein’s injury. But assuming he can suit up again soon after being knocked out of the Oklahoma State game, the Wildcats are still fairly close to Oregon.

Last Game: 44-30 win over Oklahoma State
Next Game: at TCU

4. Notre Dame (9-0) – The Irish won’t gain any style points for taking three overtimes to polish off a mediocre Pitt team. But a win is a win, and Notre Dame remains in the BCS Championship picture after grinding out a difficult game.

Last Game: 29-26 (3OT) win over Pittsburgh
Next Game: at Boston College

5. Georgia (8-1) – The Bulldogs still lead our list of one-loss teams following a convincing win over Ole Miss. Assuming Georgia can get by their hated rival Auburn this Saturday, they’ll be facing off against Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

Last Game: 37-10 win over Ole Miss
Next Game: at Auburn

6. Ohio State (9-0) – The Buckeyes jump a couple of spots this week because A) they’re still undefeated, and B) they dismantled Illinois last weekend. Sure Ohio State has nothing to play for in regard to the postseason. But you can bet that QB Braxton Miller and the rest of the Bucks will be gunning for an undefeated season.

Last Game: 52-22 win over Illinois
Next Game: at Wisconsin (Nov. 6th)

7. Florida (8-1) – We haven’t exactly been inspired by the Gators’ last two outings: a narrow win over Missouri and an offensively-anemic loss to Georgia. However, all of this can be forgotten if Georgia loses Saturday since Florida would be in line for an SEC Championship Game berth.

Last Game: 14-7 win over Missouri
Next Game: vs. LA-Lafayette

8. LSU (7-2) – Despite two losses, LSU still deserves a top 10 spot after they way they played against Alabama. Many people contend that the Tigers outplayed the Tide before coming up short in the win column. This could be the closest that anybody plays the Tide all year.

Last Game: 21-17 loss to Alabama
Next Game: vs. Mississippi State

9. Oklahoma (6-2) – Much like LSU, Oklahoma benefits from quality losses in our power rankings. Dropping games against Kansas State and Notre Dame is nothing to be ashamed of….but it is enough to keep a team from playing in the National Title Game.

Last Game: 35-20 win over Iowa State
Next Game: vs. Baylor

10. Florida State (8-1) – Once again Florida State rounds out our top 10. They were off last week and got much needed preparation for a tough road game in Blacksburg. If the Seminoles can survive this test, they’ll be one step closer to a major BCS bowl game.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: at Virginia Tech.