January 18, 2018

Losses, Upsets and the Rolling Tide

It is Saturday which means it is time again for college football. Last week’s action was full of upsets which shook up the Leatherheads Top 16. One constant did remain: Alabama sitting at the #1 spot. Until the Crimson Tide lose, I don’t think that will change.

The Tide easily took care of Arkansas 52-0. Both sophomore Kenyan Drake and freshman Derrick Henry ran for 100 yards, including Henry running 80 yards in the final minute to cap a dreadful day for the Razorbacks. The Tide are 7-0 and playing Tennessee later today.

The game of the week was supposed to be Florida State at Clemson. Well, Clemson didn’t show up and FSU took care of business on both sides of the ball. The defense created 4 turnovers while Jameis Winston threw for 444 yards, 3 scores and ran one into the end zone. Yet, another amazing day for the redshirt freshman. The kid shows great leadership ability and has all the talent in the world. He is fun to watch. With the win, FSU moved up to the third spot in the poll behind the Oregon Ducks who also keep winning and beat Washington State 62-38.

For Clemson, the Tigers dropped from third in the poll to #10. Today they travel to Maryland and try to redeem themselves. Maryland is 5-2.

While #4 Ohio State had to rally to beat Iowa 34-24, Baylor took care of business by beating Iowa State 71-7. The Bears are leading the nation in scoring with almost 65 points per game. The defense is not too shabby either, ranking seventh in points against at 16 points a game. Baylor was ranked 11th last week in the poll but find themselves in the #5 spot. Today they go against the 2-4 Charlie Weiss-led Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks gave up 54 points to Texas Tech on October 5th. The Bears might beat that number.

Sitting in the #6 spot is Missouri. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the Tigers would be 7-0 at this point in the season, especially with Georgia on their schedule? Today they should be tested by South Carolina who are looking to makeup for their loss last week to Tennessee. If they can get by the Gamecocks today as well as Tennessee next week, they could be undefeated going into their last regular-season game against Texas A&M on November 30th.

Have you noticed yet that Louisville is not ranked in the Top 16? All it took was one loss and they fell from #6 to nowhere. Central Florida scored with 23 seconds left to beat the formerly undefeated Cardinals. UCF will have their hands full today when they face the UConn Huskies (sarcasm).

The game of the week turned out to be Auburn at Texas A&M. Auburn beat up on Johnny Manziel, forcing him out of the game at one point with an injury to his throwing shoulder. Still, Manziel was Johnny Football and almost won the game. A feisty Auburn team kept pace and finally scored and then shut down Manziel with less than a minute to go. Manziel, with injury, still managed 454 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Mike Evans had a huge day himself, catching those 4 TD passes while receiving for 287 yards. Remember a month ago when Evans had 279 yards against Alabama? Can you say first-round draft pick?

Anyway, Auburn makes is debut in the Top 16 at #13 while the Aggies drop from #8 to #14.

While Miami, Texas Tech and Fresno State (yes, Fresno State) are all undefeated and ranked in the Top 16, LSU, UCLA, Georgia and Washington all took losses with only LSU and UCLA remained ranked.

Enough about last week. The games to watch this week include Tennessee at Alabama, UCLA at Oregon, Penn State at Ohio State, South Carolina at Missouri, Stanford at Oregon State and Texas Tech at Oklahoma.

If the Buckeyes are not careful, I can see Penn State stealing victory from them and ending their winning streak. A few undefeateds will fall today but one will not be Northern Illinois who will host Eastern Michigan.

Did you notice I mentioned the Volunteers five times if you count this sentence?

Here are the rankings by Leatherheads of the Gridiron after Week 8:

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
   1 Alabama (11)    7-0   176        1
   2 Oregon    7-0   164        2
   3 Florida State    6-0   152        5
   4 Ohio State    7-0   143        4
   5 Baylor    6-0   120      11
   6 Missouri    7-0   109      14
   7 Miami    6-0   103      10
   8 Stanford    6-1     88      13
   9 Texas Tech    7-0     80      15
 10 Clemson    6-1     74        3
 11 LSU    6-2     51        7
 12 UCLA    5-1     45        9
 13 Auburn    6-1     37      NR
 14 Texas A&M    5-2     34        8
 15 Fresno State    6-0     28      NR
 16 Virginia Tech    6-1     26      NR

Others receiving votes
: Oklahoma – 17, Louisville – 14, Florida – 8, Georgia – 6, Michigan – 5, Northern Illinois – 5, Notre Dame – 4, Texas – 3, Virginia – 2, Oklahoma State – 1, USC – 1.

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


Seminoles Show Might As Favorites Win in Week 6

Week 6 in college football had many great matchups but every favored Top 16 team that played won their game, meaning no great shakeup in the rankings.

The one game that stood out for me was the Florida State-Maryland game in Tallahasse. Did the Seminoles make a statement by thrashing the Terrapins 63-0? Maryland was 4-0 coming into the game, a pretty good start to the season for the Randy Edsall-coached team. In his first two seasons as coach of Maryland, Edsall only won six games while losing eighteen after coming from UConn where he led the Huskies to five bowl games in his last sevens years in Storrs, Connecticut.

Jameis Winston showed why he is in play for the Heisman by passing for 393 yards and five touchdowns. On the year, he has 17 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. The kid can play.

With their lopsided victory, FSU moved up one spot for the #6 position in the poll after the steady top five teams who keep on winning. FSU did gain 22 points and is now within striking distance of challenging Stanford and Ohio State for the 4 and 5 spots in the poll. FSU has Week 7 off before they face Clemson in an ACC matchup. The winner of this game will stay in the top five while the loser will drift to the middle of the pack.

The other high scoring game of the week was Baylor and West Virginia in Waco, Texas. The Bears had 864 yards of total offense and beat the Mountaineers 73-42. Bryce Petty passed for 347 yards and two scores while Lache Seastrunk ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns and freshman Shock Linwood contributed 126 rushing yards and a touchdown. Baylor moved up two spots in the poll and sit at #14.

Last night Louisville beat Rutgers and now are 6-0. The top games for the weekend that may create changes in the Top 16 include Oregon at Washington, Missouri at Georgia and Florida at LSU.

Here are the rankings by Leatherheads of the Gridiron after Week 6:

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
   1 Alabama (11)    5-0   176        1
   2 Oregon    5-0   164        2
   3 Clemson    5-0   147        3
   4 Ohio State    6-0   138        4
   5 Stanford    5-0   136        5
   6 Florida State    5-0   120        7
   7 Georgia    4-1     98        6
   8 Louisville    5-0     95        8
   9 (Tied) LSU    5-1     68      11
   9 (Tied) Oklahoma    5-0     68      10
 11 Texas A&M    4-1     66        9
 12 UCLA    4-0     60      12
 13 Miami    5-0     37      13
 14 Baylor    4-0     26      16
 15 South Carolina    4-1     22      14
 16 Michigan    5-0     16      NR

Others receiving votes
: Texas Tech – 9, Virginia Tech – 9, Wisconsin – 8, Arizona State – 7, USC – 6, Washington – 6, Oregon State – 5, Northwestern – 4, Florida – 3, Fresno State – 2.

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