January 19, 2018

Stanford gets Uted and Mizzou Defeats Georgia

Here it is again, the Friday before another exciting weekend of college football. Last night Miami barely beat a now 1-5 North Carolina Tar Hells team. At least The U won. Stanford and Georgia cannot say that about last weekend.

The Utah Utes defeated a Stanford team that many thought would be undefeated at least until they met up with Oregon on November 7. The Utes were led by QB Travis Wilson and RB Bubba Poole. Poole had 111 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving. Stanford’s defeat sent them plunging in the polls, including the Leatherheads Top 16 where they went from #5 to #13.

The Missouri Tigers had upset in mind as well when they beat SEC powerhouse Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers are now 6-0 and are ranked #14 in the Top 16. As for the Bulldogs, they are now 4-2 and their dreams of a national championship is over. They fell from #7 to #16 in the Top 16.

A third upset took place when Texas beat Oklahoma 36-20 in the Cotton Bowl, knocking the Sooners out of the Top 16.

Games to watch this weekend include Florida State at Clemson, Texas A&M at Auburn, UCLA at Stanford and Florida at Missouri.

Here are the rankings by Leatherheads of the Gridiron after Week 7:

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
   1 Alabama (9)    6-0   144        1
   2 Oregon    6-0   134        2
   3 Clemson    6-0   122        3
   4 Ohio State    6-0   119        4
   5 Florida State    5-0   109        6
   6 Louisville    6-0     90        8
   7 LSU    6-1     86        9
   8 Texas A&M    5-1     75      11
   9 UCLA    5-0     67      12
 10 Miami    5-0     59      13
 11 Baylor    5-0     55      14
 12 South Carolina    5-1     47      15
 13 Stanford    5-1     37        5
 14 Missouri    6-0     28      NR
 15 Texas Tech    6-0     22      NR
 16 Georgia    4-2     21        7

Others receiving votes
: Oklahoma – 3, Virginia Tech – 3, Fresno State – 2, Northern Illinois – 1.

Participating voters: David Boyce, Ronnie Foreman, Chris Garbarino, Terry Keshner, Bob Lazzari, Tex Noel, Bob Swick, Joe Williams, Tony Williams.


Bulldogs Beat Tigers and Reverse Positions in the Top 16

As Week 6 of the college football season is upon us, the top five teams in the Leatherheads Top 16 remain unchanged since last week’s poll. The number 6  team and the number 11 team from last week switched places after Georgia defeated LSU 44-41 in Athens.

The Bulldogs scored with less than two minutes to go to take the lead and ultimately beat the Tigers. Quarterback Aaron Murray threw 4 touchdown passes and became number 2 in total offense in SEC history behind everyone’s favorite unemployed QB from the University of Florida, Tim Tebow. Murray now trails Tebow by 573 and should eclipse the record in a few weeks, barring injury.

The Tigers will look to destroy Mississippi State this weekend and move back up in the Top 16. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs get to play a non-ranked team in the 3-2 Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville.

As for number 1 Alabama, they easily beat Ole Miss 25-0 as T.J. Yeldon ran for 121 yards and the Crimson Tide defense kept the Rebels ground game to just 46 yards. Basically, the game was no contest (duh?). Up next for Alabama is the 0-4 Georgia State Panthers. Does the game really need to be played? Will the Panthers get on the board? What will be the victory margin? Where will HaHa Clinton-Dix getting his disposable income?

The other big game of Week 5 was Oklahoma at Notre Dame. The Sooners got off to a quick 14-0 lead which made the difference in their 35-21 victory over the Fighting Irish. The Sooners moved up from number 12 to the number 10 spot and will play TCU this weekend and have a possible 5-0 start. The Irish are now 3-2 and dreams of a national championship are on hold for another season.

The 4-0 Washington Huskies beat Arizona and moved into the Top 16 in the number 15 spot while the idle Baylor Bears joined the ranks at number 16.

Falling from our rankings were the Oklahoma State Cowboys who lost to West Virginia and Michigan who had the week off to dwell on their near loss to the Paul Pasqualoni-led UConn Huskies. Don’t worry Wolverines fans, Paul has cleaned out his desk and you don’t have to play UConn again this season.

While UCLA already won against Utah in last night’s game, the games to watch this week include Ohio State at Northwestern, Washington at Stanford, Maryland at Florida State and Georgia Tech at Miami. Wow! Now we have some matchups.

Can Leatherhead Bob Swick’s sleeper team, Northwestern beat Leatherhead Ronnie Foreman’s favorite team in the Buckeyes? Leatherhead Brandon Williams thinks the one team that can match Alabama physically is Stanford. Lets see if they can get by the Huskies. They may be distracted, as Leatherhead-insider Terry Keshner told me they are laughing about Lane Kiffin but then again who isn’t? Well, maybe his dad Monte and Mr. Pasqualoni.

Here are the rankings by Leatherheads of the Gridiron after Week 5:

Rank Team   Record    Points  Last Week
1 Alabama (11)     4-0      176         1
2 Oregon     4-0      162         2
3 Clemson     4-0      146         3
4 Ohio State     5-0      145         4
5 Stanford     4-0      123         5
6 Georgia     3-1      107        11
7 Florida State     4-0        98         8
8 Louisville     4-0        96         7
9 Texas A&M     4-1        82         9
10 Oklahoma     4-0        71        12
11 LSU     4-1        56         6
12 UCLA     3-0        54        13
13 Miami     4-0        39        15
14 South Carolina     3-1        30        14
15 Washington     4-0        27        NR
16 Baylor     3-0        24        NR

Others receiving votes
: Northwestern – 12, Florida – 10, Oklahoma State – 8, Texas Tech – 8, Notre Dame – 7, Michigan – 6, Wisconsin – 4, Ole Miss – 3, Fresno State – 1, Nebraska – 1.

Participating voters: Jon Blayne, David Boyce, Ronnie Foreman, Chris Garbarino, Terry Keshner, Bob Lazzari, Tex Noel, Bob Swick, Brandon Williams, Joe Williams, Tony Williams.


SEC Champion Alabama Will Play Undefeated Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game and for the #1 Spot in the Top 16

The SEC Championship Game last Saturday was great one.  Alabama barely beat a Georgia team that had a chance to win in the closing moments.  Georgia sophomore Chris Conley caught a ball and fell on the 5-yard line to end the game.  Instincts are to catch what is thrown to you but in this case he should have just knocked it to the ground to give the Bulldogs another chance to throw it into the end zone.  Instead the clock ran out.  Oh well.  College football fans will be watching the correct matchup in the BCS National Championship Game when Alabama plays Notre Dame.  According to Leatherhead and college football historian Tex Noel, both the Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish each have nine “official” national championships.  The winner of this matchup will gain their tenth and sit atop the college football world for this season and all-time.  Alabama were champions in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009 and 2011.  Notre Dame were the kings of college football in 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1964, 1966, 1973, 1977 and 1988.  Bama is also trying to become the second team to win three national championships in four years, joining Nebraska who won in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

To get back to the Alabama victory, the main reason they won the game was the running of junior Eddie Lacy (181 yards) and freshman T.J. Yeldon (153 yards) plus a few big plays by A.J. McCarron, especially the 45-yard TD pass to Amari Cooper with just 3:15 left in the contest.  Lacy and Yeldon both finished the game with over 1,000 rushing yards.  Lacy with 1,182 and Yeldon with an even 1,000.  Georgia was outstanding in their efforts as well but came up just short.  Freshman Todd Gurley had 122 yards rushing with two scores while senior WR Tavarres King caught five balls for 142 yards.  Leatherhead Dan McCloskey, who has not been a huge Bulldog supporter all year stated, “I’d like to say yesterday’s game proved Georgia has been overrated by the pollsters, but I can’t.”  Georgia, now ranked #7 in the Leatherheads College Football Top 16, will play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day.  Not a fan of the name Capital One Bowl.  I prefer the old name, the Tangerine Bowl!  Georgia is 4-1 in this juicy classic, winning in 1984, 1993, 2004 and 2009 while losing in 1974 to Miami (Ohio).  BTW, Miami (Ohio) won three straight Tangerine Bowls from 1973-1975, beating Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Unless Big Ben and Milt Stegall are playing, the RedHawks couldn’t beat those teams today.  As for the Cornhuskers, they are 0-2 in this particular bowl, including a 30-13 lost to South Carolina last season. I think Gurley will be the man in this upcoming matchup.

So Nebraska is going to the Sunshine State.  I think they need a vacation after getting walloped by the Wisconsin Badgers 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.  Both Melvin Gordon (216) and Montee Ball (202) rushed for over 200 yards.  Ball had three TDs to become the Football Bowl Subdivision’s career record-holder for rushing touchdowns with 76 and increased the record for most TDs with 82.  The one bright spot for the Cornhuskers was QB Taylor Martinez’s spectacular 76-yard run in the first quarter.   Martinez has 973 rushing yards on the season, including a 92-yarder against UCLA on September 8.  Nebraska dropped out of the Top 16 after being #14 last week.  I was tempted to vote for Wisconsin this week with a 16th place vote after their dehusking of Nebraska.  However, I couldn’t cast a vote for a team with an 8-5 record.  If Wisconsin can beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, then I most likely will cast a vote for them in the final Top 16 poll of the season.

Stanford earned their Rose Bowl bid by defeating UCLA in the PAC-12 Championship Game, their second consecutive win over the Bruins in as many weeks.  See Andrew McKillop’s list on Football Geography.com entitled Major College Football Teams That Played Each Other in Back-to-Back Games.  The Cardinal have exceeded my expectations this season, considering the Andrew Luck era had ended.  Last season, Stanford with Luck was also 11-2 but did not make the PAC-12 Championship Game and lost in OT in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma State 41-38.  I don’t mind Tostitos in the name of this bowl because eating Tostitos with lots of salsa is a fiesta.  I fiesta everyday!  Anyway, the Cardinal had gone 11-2 this season with two different starting quarterbacks, Josh Nunes and Kevin Hogan.  Stephan Taylor has had an excellent senior season with 1,442 yards rushing and 38 receptions.  In his four years at Stanford, Taylor has accumulated 4,973 yards from the line of scrimmage with 44 touchdowns.  The defense has been solid all season as well, just giving up slightly more than 16 points per game.  I don’t see the Badgers scoring 70 points against them.  The Cardinal are on a 7-game winning streak.

Earlier I stated that I almost gave the Badgers my 16th place vote this week.  Instead, that vote went to Northern Illinois.  Who?  The Huskies defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game 44-37 in two overtimes.  This was a battle of two 11-1 teams.  The Golden Flashes were ranked #16 last week in the Top 16.  Oops!  We voted for the wrong MAC team, but barely.  It took two OTs to determine the winner.  Junior QB Jordan Lynch ran it in from the two in the second overtime that sealed the victory.  During the game, Lynch broke the FBS record for rushing yards by a QB in a season with 1,771 yards.  Michigan’s Denard Robinson previously held the record of 1,702 in 2010.  The victory for the Huskies gained them a BCS-bowl bid and a matchup with Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  Something tells me that if Kent State won, they would not be in the Orange Bowl.  Lynch was the deciding factor and he will get his chance to shine in front of all college football fans in prime time after the Rose Bowl.  For the Golden Flashes, they earned a trip to the GoDaddy.com Bowl and a chance to give Danica Patrick a “how do you do?”  They will play Arkansas State, the Sun Belt champs, who lost to Northern Illinois in the bowl game last year.

Florida State defeated a now 6-7 Georgia Tech team, but just barely by the score of 21-15 to become the Atlantic Coast Conference champions.  It was the Seminoles’ first ACC championship since 2005.  Who would have thunk a decade ago that they would go on such a dry stretch?  The Yellow Jackets scored the final 12 points in the game to give Seminole fans a scare.  Will FSU be able to stop Lynch in the Orange Bowl?  The Seminoles remained ranked #13 in the Top 16.

Other games last week that made a difference in the Top 16 include Oklahoma’s 24-17 victory over TCU, Oregon State’s pouncing of Nicholls State 77-3 and Kansas State’s victory over Texas 42-24.  The Sooners remained in the #12 spot, the Wildcats moved up two positions to #6 and the Beavers jumped back into the poll after being knocked out of the Top 16 in the previous poll.  The Beavers’ 77 points are a school record.  Oklahoma will play Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl on January 4.  The Beavers play Texas in the Alamo Bowl on December 29.  The Wildcats play the Ducks in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 3.

Don’t forget there is football today.  The Army-Navy game is on at 3:00 EST.  I think I will have a fiesta!

Here is the last poll until after the BCS National Championship Game.  Enjoy the holidays!

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
   1 Notre Dame (11)   12-0    191        1
   2 Alabama   12-1    177        2
   3 Oregon   11-1    141        5
   4 (Tie) Ohio State (1)   12-0    138        3
   4 (Tie) Florida   11-1    138        6
   6 Kansas State   11-1    135        8
   7 Georgia   11-2    133        4
   8 Stanford   11-2    111      10
   9 Texas A&M   10-2      99        7
 10 LSU   10-2      97        9
 11 South Carolina   10-2      70      11
 12 Oklahoma   10-2      62      12
 13 Florida State   11-2      58      13
 14 Clemson   10-2      32      15
 15 Oregon State     9-3      22      NR
 16 Northern Illinois   12-1      14      NR

Others receiving votes
: Boise State – 6, Utah State – 3, Louisville – 2, UCLA – 2, Nebraska – 1.

Participating voters: David Boyce, Ronnie Foreman, Terry Keshner, Bob Lazzari, Dan McCloskey, Andrew McKillop, Tex Noel, Pete Sonski, Bob Swick, Brandon WilliamsJoe Williams, Tony Williams.