Tag Archives: Big Ten

College Football’s Back (and so are we)

With college football season back in swing, what better time to awaken College Sports Town from its summer-long slumber? Yes, we are still kicking here at College Sports Town, and we’re pumped that the big hits of college football season are back, with the crisp air of fall well on its way. Here are a handful of notes and thoughts through four days of college football season.

-The Big Ten didn’t have a great weekend. Which should not be that surprising because, outside of Ohio State and Michigan State, the league simply isn’t very good. Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska are all 0-1, and Penn State got drilled by Temple. All three of those schools were supposed to represent dark horses in the league. Wisconsin did not look ready for prime time against Alabama Saturday night. Bright Spots included Northwestern and Minnesota, which both looked the part of contenders in the talent-dry Big Ten West. Minnesota fell to TCU 23-17, but was hardly a pushover. NU meanwhile dominated Stanford up front in a 16-6 victory. Stanford probably is not all that great (unclear why they were ranked), but the Cats’ O-line looked vastly improved against the Cardinal’s vaunted front seven. The OSU-MSU race in the Big Ten East should keep the mediocre B1G relevant, but the soft underbelly of the conference is likely to keep dragging the conference down in 2015. It would be big for the league if somebody–anybody–emerged as a serious national player from the West division.

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

-News flash: the SEC is not going anywhere. The (relative) struggles of America’s most dominant conference made for a common storyline going into this year, with non-SEC teams winning the last two national titles, but the truth is the SEC was far and away the best and deepest conference in football last year. That’s not changing any time soon, either. The SEC flexed its muscles this weekend, with Alabama cruising by Wisconsin, Texas A&M blowing out 15th ranked Arizona State, and Auburn knocking off Louisville. Every SEC team that played won, aside from Vanderbilt…and the Commodores don’t really count anyway, do they?

-Bold Prediction: Oregon is going to fall off the face of the earth this year. Or at least out of the top 25. The Ducks showed some defensive cracks in their 61-42 win over Eastern Washington Saturday. Am I overreacting to a game that I didn’t even watch against one of best programs in the FCS? Maybe. Or maybe key personnel losses along the back line of their defense have left the Ducks vulnerable. We’ll see just how vulnerable they are when OU heads to East Lansing next week to face the potent passing attack of Michigan State. I expect the Ducks to get lit up. And I think they might be headed for their first single digit win season since ’07.

-We didn’t get a lot of compelling college football this weekend. Sure, it’s nice for the sport to be back, but I can’t remember an opening weekend with so few must-see games. Things got off to a rough start Thursday with UNC and South Carolina playing a sloppy game in prime time on ESPN. Both teams, unranked, looked mediocre at best. Michigan played Utah on Fox Sports 1, but that game also featured less than elite majors. Minnesota came to play against TCU, which was the best game of the night, but a 16 point Vegas spread for the game shows that it wasn’t exactly expected to be GameDay material. Saturday brought the typical barrage of FBS vs. FCS battles. Wisconsin vs. Alabama was the only game pitting ranked teams against each other. Sure, the Virginia Tech-Ohio State game tonight should be popcorn material, but college football fans deserve more than one game between ranked teams on opening weekend.

-Kansas State’s band’s got (wildly inappropriate) jokes!

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Ranking the Top 15 Conferences in College Basketball

As conference play starts up all over America, a picture of where each conference in college basketball stands entering 2015 is emerging. Today, I’ve decided to rank the top 15 conferences in the country. It’s a tough ranking to do and weighing different factors (depth, number of elite teams, etc.) can make it even more difficult. It is certainly a totally subjective, nebulous ranking, but that’s part of why it’s so much fun to do. Ranking conferences always seems to engender emotion, discussion, and debate. So go ahead, let me know what I got wrong in the comments!

1. Big 12

big 12The easy knock on the Big 12 is that its best teams aren’t that good. At least at this point in the season, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single dominant team in the conference and the highest ranked Big 12 team, Iowa State, clocks in at number nine. But the Big 12 is freaking deep. Six out of its ten teams are ranked. 13-0 TCU was ranked too before backlash against their weak schedule dropped them out. The Big 12 is going to put a lot of teams in the Dance.

2. ACC

ACCWhen the ACC expanded, folks expected the ACC to be dominant. And the new-look ACC is undoubtedly great. But while the ACC has four teams in Kenpom‘s top 10, it also five sub-100 teams. Louisville, Duke, and Virginia are all legit national title contenders. Meanwhile, Wake Forest, Florida State, and Virginia Tech are all legitimately mediocre. The ACC is huge, so of course it has some stinkers. It also has a bunch of teams with potential for great success in March, including a surprising Notre Dame squad. It’s reasonable to think of the ACC as the opposite of the Big 12: loaded at the very top, but not super deep.

3. Big East

big eastThe new look Big East might not be quite ready to reclaim its status as the best conference in the land, but it’s certainly very healthy. Villanova is nasty and still hasn’t lost. St. John’s has emerged on the national scene. The defending conference champion Friars are again good and getting better. Georgetown appears to be back. Aside from DePaul, everybody in the Big East had at least reasonable success in non-conference play. The Big East has good top-to-bottom depth. Get ready to watch a lot of Fox Sports.

4. Big Ten

b10Maryland arrived just in time for the Big Ten, because the Terps are really tough and the conference as a whole has taken a small step back. Wisconsin and Maryland are great. The conference’s other big-time programs are all down a bit, if not out. Michigan State and Ohio State’s aren’t playing at the high level we’re used to seeing them play. They’re still searching. Iowa and Illinois have both been good but not amazing. Michigan is young and has had some bad losses (NJIT…). The Big Ten has a lot of solid teams. There’s a lot of potential there. But, aside from a strong showing in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the conference largely disappointed in non-conference play.

5. Pac-12

PAC-12 (edit 2)_1Everybody knows how good Arizona is. Don’t sleep on Utah though–the Utes are for real. Stanford and Washington have plenty of game as well. USC is going to be good soon; they’re young. The Pac-12 is better than it was a few years ago when it bottomed out. But there’s still more mediocrity there than Pac-12 fans would probably like. The conference isn’t overly deep. And UCLA remains a slumbering giant. Their embarrassing loss to Kentucky was a blow to the conference.

6. SEC

secKentucky, baby! The undefeated Wildcats are filthy. But after that… The conference’s next two best teams (LSU and Arkansas) both lost to Clemson so, umm, yeah. Florida’s a mess, albeit a talented mess, which leaves Kentucky without a surfeit of competition. The Gators lost to FSU yesterday by two after tipping the ball into their own hoop in the game’s waning seconds. Even if Florida figures things out (here’s guessing they will), the SEC won’t have much to brag about outside of ‘Tucky.

7. Atlantic 10

atlantic 10The A-10 has been on a high the past couple of years, but it’s taken a small step back this year. UMass has not been great. Saint Louis has not been great. St. Joe’s has not been great. But it’s not all bad news. VCU’s a terrific team. George Washington is a quality team. Davidson can score with anybody. The A-10 is still more major than mid-major.

8. AAC 

I waacas hesitant to put the AAC so low. It’s the home of the defending champs, after all. But the conference has struggled this year. UConn’s still working out the kinks following their title run. There are other solid teams in the conference:  Temple, SMU, and Cincinnati are not slouches. But no team in the conference is ranked and only two have managed double-digit wins thus far.

9. Mountain West

mwAt 13-0, Colorado State has snuck into the top 25. But the truth is the Rams probably aren’t even the Mountain West’s best team. San Diego State is an elite defensive squad and is arguably the conference’s flagship program at the moment. UNLV grabbed a huge win over Arizona. Boise State’s got game. And Wyoming is a good squad too.

10. WCC

wccGonzaga’s for real. It might be early, but they’ve looked like a final four caliber team. Gonzaga isn’t the only reason not to sleep on the WCC. Saint Mary’s, BYU, and Portland are all quality mid-majors as well.

11. Missouri Valley: UNI and Wichita State are great.

12. MAC: Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan are all solid.

13. Ivy League: Harvard is supposed to be the favorite, but there’s a surprising amount of parity in the Ivy. Keep an eye on Yale.

14. Horizon League: Green Bay’s win over Miami was great for the conference.

15. Conference USA: A lot of teams here. One of them–Old Dominion–happens to be very good.

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Picking the 2014 ACC-Big Ten Challenge

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge started last night with a couple of less-than-marquee games: Nebraska knocked off Florida State and Rutgers took down Clemson. Tonight, the real fun starts. Here are my picks for the remaining games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Miami will attempt to stop Rayvonte Rice, who is averaging 18 points per game and shooting 58% for Illinois.

Miami will attempt to stop Rayvonte Rice, who is averaging 18 points per game and shooting 58% for Illinois.

Tuesday Night Games: 

Indiana 75, Pitt 73: Indiana can’t stop anybody, but the Hoosiers have shot the ball at a 51% clip to jump out to a 5-1 start to the season. Pitt hasn’t been great this year but is coming off a strong win over K-State. This looks like a toss up on paper–I’ll take IU at home.

Minnesota 74, Wake Forest 63: It may take a little while for Danny Manning to turn around the Demon Deacon program. Minnesota should handle Wake in Winston-Salem.

Syracuse 58, Michigan 50: Michigan is playing great ball so far this year. Still, Boeheim has had Beilein’s number in recent years. I have to take the Orange, even on the road.

Miami 67, Illinois 64: This is going to be a fun one. Two really good, well coached teams battling it out in front of what should be an electric atmosphere in Coral Gables.

Purdue 75, NC State 74: NC State’s looked sneaky good so far, and the Wolfpack are a pretty complete team. But Purdue owns the ACC-Big Ten challenge and the Boilermakers are at home. I’ll take Purdue. Reluctantly.

Louisville 73, Ohio State 66: Another tremendous matchup. This is the first true test of the year for Ohio State. And hoo boy, it’s a test!

Wednesday Night Games:

Michigan State 79, Notre Dame 76: This is a tough road test for Sparty. Notre Dame’s got game–they’re shooting 58% through seven contests. Michigan State will need to control the glass to pull this one out.

Penn State 70, Virginia Tech 62: Virginia Tech’s better than they’ve been the past couple years. They’re still far from good.

North Carolina 89, Iowa 76: Plenty of offense here. Not as much defense. The Tar Heels should roll at the Dean Dome.

Tony Bennett's defensively stout Cavs will take on a hot Maryland team.

Tony Bennett’s defensively stout Cavs will take on a hot Maryland team.

Virginia 55, Maryland 48: This one will be more defense-oriented. UVA is coming off a 45-26 win, so there’s that. The Terps just busted into the top 25 and they should have the Xfinity Center rocking. I’ll take the Cavs; I hate picking against Tony Bennett.

Georgia Tech 65, Northwestern 57: Northwestern’s 5-1 but they’re still searching for offensive answers. Georgia Tech should have the chops to win this one on the road.

Duke 74, Wisconsin 68: Final Four preview? Could well be. Both teams are filthy. Wiscy’s got home court. Duke’s got Jahlil.

 

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College Basketball Thoughts Going Into Championship Week

(Dick Vitale voice) It’s one of the best weeks of the YEAR BABY. The pageantry, the venues, the prime time performers–PTPERS baby–will all be out, playing on big stages from New York to Memphis to Las Vegas. It’s going to be absolutely fantastic, BABY. BIG SHOTS. HUGE IMPLICATIONS. DUKIE DAISY DANDIES, BABY. (/Dick Vitale voice) The best college basketball announcer in America (who live tweets Barry Manilow concerts, yo) is probably salivating right at this very moment thinking about the week to come. And I am too. So here are some college basketball thoughts going into Championship Week:

Can Sean Kilpatrick pull a Kemba Walker?

Can Sean Kilpatrick pull a Kemba Walker?

  • The Providence-St. John’s game on Thursday night will be huge. With both teams clinging to the bubble, the two schools (both are 20-11 and 10-8 in Big East play) might just be playing a virtual play-in game to the NCAA Tournament. The winner will get a shot to take down Villanova while the loser might have their tourney chances dashed. (Side note: I think that both teams should get in–both boast wins over Creighton and their .500+ records in the Big East are impressive.)
  • Team that could make some surprise noise in the ACC Tournament: Miami. The baby Canes have grown up and are playing solid basketball lately.
  • With their win over Yale on Friday night, Harvard became the first team to punch their ticket to the Dance. Harvard (26-4) is a tremendous team at both ends and looks primed to surprise some people in the tourney. They’ll probably get underseeded, but that could just set them up for another New Mexico.
  • It can hardly be described as shocking, but Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams are surging just in time for tea the tourney. With typical swarming defense and perhaps their most talented squad ever, the Rams look poised for a deep run.
  • The cross-state Virginia Cavaliers are also in the midst of a tremendous season, but if the regular season ACC champs want to be a really trendy national title pick, an ACC Tournament Championship is in order.
  • The Big Ten regular season concluded without a Big Ten team finishing inside the top 7. The teams from arguably the nation’s best conference (the Big 12 peeps have a decent claim too) beat up on each other–MSU lost 6, Ohio State lost 8, and Iowa lost 9…and that’s just in conference play. People have been questioning all winter whether the deep conference truly has any strong national title contenders. Now it’s finally time to find out!
  • Kansas’ performance in their recent loss to West Virginia was underwhelming. Andrew Wiggins went off (he’s going to be big time in the NBA), but the Jayhawks gave up 92 points. The easy question: is KU solid enough defensively to win it all?
  • The inverse of that question could be posed regarding Cincinnati. Mick Cronin has gone full on nuts this year but in the process he’s turned the offensively anemic Bearcats into an elite squad. They might have the best man-to-man defense in the nation, but they also only have one consistent scorer. That guy, dynamite guard Sean Kilpatrick, is unreal. But will he be enough? (In other words, can Kilpatrick be for Cincinnati what Kemba was for ’11 UConn?)
  • In past years, the winner of the Big East tournament has always been a hot pick to win it all on people’s brackets. Now that the Big East has fractured into the new school Big East and the top-heavy AAC, there should be two conference champ winners getting love from bracket makers in a week. If Villanova wins the Big East tournament, they’ll probably be set into a one seed and many (including this guy) will have to take a long look at the Wildcats. Meanwhile, the AAC has Cincy, and it also has Louisville. These Cardinals are HOT, much like last year’s team was come March, and Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell have taken sizable leaps forward. If they roll through the AAC tournament, it’ll be real hard not to call for a repeat.

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Northwestern Pulls Their Biggest Stunner Yet

The last couple minutes were sticky. Northwestern kept turning the ball over against the scrappy desperation press of Wisconsin and those turnovers kept turning into layups. In the end though, Northwestern had enough. The Wildcats shocked 14th ranked Wisconsin by a final of 65-56 tonight in Madison –a place where the Badgers had lost only once previously this season.

Drew Crawford poured in 30 points on just 15 shots.

Drew Crawford poured in 30 points on just 15 shots.

And what a win for the team from Evanston. A week ago I wrote that Northwestern is better than you’d think. Now, the win against Wisconsin has me thinking that they might even be better than think.

First year coach Chris Collins still has the Northwestern defense rocking and rolling and it turned in perhaps its gem of the season against the usually uber-efficient Wisconsin offensive attack. The Badgers couldn’t hit anything, finishing with just 15 made shots on 57 attempts (26%).

Northwestern wasn’t bad at the other end either, late turnovers aside, as Drew Crawford (30 loud points) led the Cats to their best scoring output since January 9th. NU shot 48%, quite a high number for the usually anemic offense.

For Collins, it was unmistakably a program-building type of win. Winning on the road in the Big Ten ain’t easy, winning against Wisconsin ain’t easy, and winning without many offensive weapons ain’t easy. For Collins and Northwestern, senior Drew Crawford was enough of a weapon tonight to shock the Badgers.

Northwestern has something good flowing and the Wildcats have now emerged from three out of their last five games victorious. They now sit at sixth in the standings in the tremendous Big Ten. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

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Northwestern Basketball: Better Than You’d Think

Take a glance at the Big Ten standings.

With Chris Collins at the helm, the future of Northwestern basketball looks bright.

With Chris Collins at the helm, the future of Northwestern basketball looks bright.

Start at the bottom. You’ll see the predictable cellar dwellers–Penn State and Nebraska–languishing at the conference’s basement. But then you might notice something else. Look above Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio State, three stellar programs with deep, talented squads, and you’ll see a team that would seem to fit at the very lowermost spot in the standings. The program that’s been the hallmark for major college hoops futility, a school that has NEVER made the NCAA Tournament, a team with a court so hideous it makes most small children cry…you know: Northwestern, is 3-4 through seven games in the best conference in America.

To understand the shocking quality of Northwestern’s sudden solidity you need to understand two things. The first is the program’s history. Northwestern’s lack of NCAA berths doesn’t even begin to depict the historical, and more importantly, recent, incompetence of Wildcats basketball. No coach has been able to turn Northwestern into a winner. Rich Falk got them to their first ever NIT bid in 1983. They didn’t make the postseason again until 1994, when a relatively mighty (ya know, 15-14) Cats squad made the NIT. The next three years, Northwestern won all of 19 games.

In 2000, Bill Carmody took over NU, and the guy who had four great years at Princeton was expected to finally lead Chicago’s Big Ten team into the Promised Land of March Madness. Did it happen? Yeah…not so much. The Princeton offense experiment was a decade long failure in Evanston. Sure, it had some moments. Two straight 20 win seasons in 2010 and 2011 had the media thinking any year could be the year. And Carmody got Northwestern to an unprecedented four NITs in 13 years (did I just write that?)! (I believe I did.) Eventually, the Carmody era came to end, with the program still sitting in a place of stubborn opposition to good basketball.

So, exit Carmody, enter thing you need to know #2: the team inherited by new coach Chris Collins–the current team–is far from great. Sure, they’ve got a couple of weapons, including slashing wing Drew Crawford, a talented fifth year senior, and JerShon Cobb, a robust, if streaky, scoring guard. But on the whole, Northwestern’s team is one of modest talent. The Wildcats only won 13 games last year and in the off-season they lost three of their better players: guard Reggie Hearn, guard Alex Marcotullio, and talented forward Jared Swopshire. The cupboard that Collins inherited was fairly bare where it counts: both in skill and in athleticism.

What Collins has done thus far might not be magical. But it’s certainly worth getting exciting about. Northwestern pilfered Chris, the son of former NBA coach Doug Collins, off of Duke’s coaching staff in hopes that he would bring something new. And Collins has brought a steady exuberance and a more fluid, flexible offense to Northwestern. He’s also brought tenacious defense the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Evanston since…well, probably ever.

But let’s go back to the start of the season. Northwestern’s non-conference portion of their early season was rocky and at times brutal. The Cats lost to UCLA by 16 and NC State by 21 in back-to-back games. They lost games to the likes of DePaul and Illinois State. But there were fleeting moments to indicate that Northwestern might compete in conference play. They held Western Michigan to a measly 35 points. They also squeezed out a win over a pesky Brown team. Then Big Ten play started and Northwestern got pounded by Wisconsin. And then Michigan. Next, Iowa threatened to drop triple digits on NU in Iowa City. No biggie. Life in the Big Ten for an under-talented team.

Since January 12th though, something strange has happened. It quite likely won’t last–it’s certainly to some extent an aberration. But it’s something. A reason for hope. Northwestern has won three out of their last four games, starting with their upset win over Illinois on January 12th. They’ve looked more than capable of playing with the big boys. Against Illinois, playing without point guard Dave Sobolewski (still out), Northwestern clogged up Illinois’ offense as if it was a drain. The Illini shot a laughable 28% and, while Northwestern’s offensive issues were on full display, the Cats pulled out a 49-43 win.

For a team that struggles to score, JerShon Cobb's ability to create his own shot has proven invaluable.

For a team that struggles to score, JerShon Cobb’s ability to create his own shot has proven invaluable.

Three nights later, NU hosted Michigan State and they came to play again, giving the (currently third ranked) Spartans a devil of a time offensively. MSU won–the national title contenders from East Lansing held Northwestern to just 13 field goals–but the game was no laugher, as Northwestern’s strong defense made MSU squirm at moments. The final was a respectable 54-40.

Then came probably the best win of the year for Northwestern. Playing on the road at Indiana’s storied Assembly Hall, Northwestern stymied a Hoosier team fresh off a win over mighty Wisconsin and took the contest by a final of 54-47. The Cats proceeded to win another game last night, using a late game surge to take  Purdue to overtime…and then a second overtime, before emerging victorious by a final of 63-60. Purdue shot just 28%.

The trend in NU’s recent surge is quite obvious: tremendous defense. And the low opponent shooting numbers should partially be attributed to hard luck: Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue all shot well under 30% against the Wildcats–something that doesn’t happen without some bad bounces. The main thing though, is that Northwestern’s effort level defensively is off the charts. Their perimeter defense is staunch. In the paint, sophomore Alex Olah has turned himself, remarkably, into something resembling an enforcer. And Northwestern doesn’t give up ANY easy buckets.

Meanwhile, Northwestern is scoring just enough. Sophomore guard Tre Demps has emerged as a dangerous long range gunner. In the Purdue win, Crawford, Cobb, and Demps all showed the ability to get big buckets late.

Thanks to the recent surge, made possible by out-of-nowhere, elite-level defense, Northwestern sits at 10-10. They’re not going to make the NCAAs this year (barring some events out of Space Jam), but they are competitive. And when Chris Collins gets his pieces in place next year and in future years, that ole’ NU hoops NCAA drought might just be hit by a monsoon. What NU’s doing right now is pretty spectacular. What could be coming soon…well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Six Thoughts Through Six Weeks of College Football

Six weeks of college football have been played. At this point only 17 unbeaten teams remain and only 25 teams are ranked (oh wait…). Here are six thoughts on college football through six spectacular weeks:

1. The ACC isn’t half bad!

The Atlantic Coast Conference may not be at the level of the SEC (obviously) or the Pac-12, but, if you look around, outside of those two terrific conferences there aren’t any others that can boast either the strength at the top or the depth of the ACC. Clemson and Florida State have looked like legit contenders for the crystal ball. Meanwhile, the Coastal division has not been as bad as expected thanks to an excellent Miami team and defensively brilliant Virginia Tech (even Alabama had trouble moving the ball on the Hokies). Additionally, the conference’s weaker teams ( such as Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia) are all moderately respectable.

2. Jameis Winston is unreal.

EJ who?

EJ who?

Have you seen this guy!?!?!? HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GUY!?!?! I hadn’t until Winston took his Seminoles up to Chestnut Hill on September 28th. My mouth was left gaping as I watched Famous Jameis shred the (admittedly somewhat porous) Eagles defense to the tune of 330 yards (and four TDs) in the air and 67 yards on the ground. The performance was special and I left Alumni Stadium thinking that might be the best college football player I’ve ever seen live. The two-sport star (he hits the diamond in the spring) didn’t disappoint in his encore to the great game against  BC, as he passed for 393 and five touchdowns in the ‘Noles 63-0 obliteration of a solid Maryland team this past weekend. Through five games Winston has already passed for 17 touchdowns (against two picks) and 1,441 yards. Last year, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Winston looks like he might have a shot at becoming the second.

3. Oklahoma State should not be ranked.

Many people were high on the Cowboys coming into the season, myself included. But, at this point, they really should not be ranked where they are (22nd in the AP, 20th in the Coaches’ Poll). OSU does have a win against Mississippi State–a bad SEC team, but an SEC team nonetheless, and three other wins (none over good teams), but they also lost to West Virginia. West Virginia is terrible. The ‘Neers win over Oklahoma State was sandwiched in between losses of the 30+ point margin variety for Christ’s sake! Now, I understand that the terrible loss to WVU might have been a fluke, but let’s wait until the Cowboys gets some quality wins before ranking them in the top 25.

4. It is funny when teams spike the ball on fourth down.

5. Fresno State is good at winning close games.

The Bulldogs have a pair of one point wins (over Boise State and Rutgers) and a five point win (over Hawaii). They’re also very good and seem to be the frontrunners to win the Mountain West Conference. Keep an eye on senior QB Derek Carr, the younger brother of massive draft bust David Carr, who is on pace to surpass the ridiculous numbers he put up last year (37 TDs and 4,104 yards in the air).

Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats came up short against Ohio State.

Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats came up short against Ohio State.

6. Purple is good, but not good enough.

Northwestern and Washington are fantastic this season, but neither team was able to spring an upset over a top five team this Saturday night as the Wildcats fell at home to Ohio State and Washington lost on the road to Stanford. Both teams came painfully close: NU held a 23-13 lead on the Buckeyes late in the third quarter while Washington’s late surge against the Cardinal came up just three points short.

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