Tag Archives: college football

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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College Football: Week 10 Picks

Honestly, this Saturday does not feature one the better slates of college football games we’ve seen this year. 8 of the top 25 teams in the BCS standings have the week off and there are only three games between ranked teams. But there are still a number of games worth getting excited about…and one titanic ACC battle worth getting very excited about. Here are picks for some of those games:

Hiesman hopeful Jameis Winston and Florida State will take on the ultra athletic Canes.

Hiesman hopeful Jameis Winston and Florida State will take on the ultra-athletic Canes.

Wisconsin 24, Iowa 14: What separates these two excellent defensive squads is their offenses. Wiscy’s is way better.

Michigan State 21, Michigan 14: Yeah, their combined record is 13-2, but, shoot, I don’t trust either of these teams that much. State’s offense is erratic. Michigan’s defense isn’t much better. I’ll take Sparty though–they’re at home and really impressed in a 42-3 win over Illinois last weekend. Michigan has been dreadful on the road.

Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 35: Oklahoma State dropped 58 points last weekend. Sure, it was against pitiful Iowa State, but it was still a good sign for  an offense that has been mostly unable to reach high expectations this fall. The Cowboys should again put up big offensive numbers against a Red Raiders defense that has allowed 100 points the last three weeks.

Penn State 43, Illinois 26: It is a good thing for Penn State that this is at home–they’ve been awful on the road. It is also a good thing for the Nittany Lions that Illinois’ defense can’t stop anybody.

Nebraska 23, Northwestern 13: Neither of these teams could beat Minnesota (the Golden Gophers are 6-2!). But, right now, I’d put more faith in Nebraska. At least they’re scoring.

Georgia 30, Florida 20: This matchup would have been so much sexier a few weeks ago.

Florida State 42, Miami 24: Undefeated top ten teams going head-to-head in Prime Time? Yes, please! This is great stuff for the ACC. Miami is probably as good as their ranking would indicate, in spite of their past two lifeless performances. Meanwhile, the dominant Seminoles seem averse to playing close games. I’m picking Famous Jameis and FSU at home. Because, duh.

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A Bunch of Random College Football Thoughts

Following a day mostly spent sitting on my couch eating cheddar cheese and watching college football, I present to you a bunch of disorganized football-related thoughts:

Steve Addazio's Eagles have been bad on the road this year.

Steve Addazio’s Eagles have been woeful on the road this year.

  • If Virginia Tech had an offense they would be elite. The 6-2 Hokies dropped a 13-10 game against Duke yesterday despite holding the Blue Devils to 198 yards of offense and turning them over four times. V-Tech’s offense is terrible. Logan Thomas still seems to have a tenuous grasp of which team he is supposed to throw to and the Hokies can’t run the ball. Their defense is spectacular, and they’ve looked good all year against good offenses like Alabama’s, ECU’s, and Georgia Tech’s. If they had even a decent offense, they would be a top ten caliber team.
  • Northwestern got stumped by Iowa in overtime yesterday and has now lost four straight.  The Cats have had injuries to electric rusher Venric Mark and others and their offense had absolutely disappeared. They can’t move the ball, they’ve been giving it away a lot, and they certainly aren’t scoring much. The Cats scored 30 points against a formidable Ohio State defense on October 5th. In their three games since then, they’ve scored 33 points.
  • Boston College simply isn’t the same team on the road as they are at home. The Eagles, who are 3-1 at home and gave FSU a great game at Alumni Stadium (the only even moderately close game the Seminoles have played), got spanked by UNC yesterday in Chapel Hill. They’re 0-3 on the road and have been blown out in two of those games–they also lost 35-7 at USC. (Interestingly, the one close(ish) road loss came against Clemson. The Tigers did not play well in that game and seemed to be looking ahead to FSU.)
  • I think Minnesota might be good. The 6-2 Golden Gophers are coming off wins over Northwestern and Nebraska. But I still want an explanation for those awful losses to Iowa and Michigan.
  • Speaking of Michigan, they didn’t play this weekend. So we didn’t get to see them barely beat a bad team.
  • Fake punts are fun.
  • Yesterday Florida State and Alabama were playing at the same time on ABC and CBS. Both dominated over-matched conference opposition in similar fashion. One of these teams has to be the best in college football right? Well, Oregon and Ohio State both dominated their opponents yesterday too, so who knows. What I am pretty sure of is that one of those four teams will win a crystal ball this year.
  • I would have thrown Mizzou into that conversation, but the Tigers let one slip away in double overtime against South Carolina late last night at Faurot Field.
  • On that note, Faurout Field might be the coolest looking stadium in the country on TV. It’s right up there with Autzen, Beaver Stadium, and others.
  • Miami-FSU next week is going to be UNREAL. At least until Famous Jameis puts the Canes to bed.

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College Football: Week 9 Picks

Look for the fantastic Carlos Hyde to lead Ohio State past Penn State.

Look for the fantastic Carlos Hyde to lead Ohio State past Penn State.

While the craziness of last Saturday was bad for my picks (I finished a putrid 3-7), it sure made for some dazzling entertainment. Central Florida upset Louisville. Florida State strolled into Death Valley and proceeded to perform a spectacular mutilation of the Clemson Tigers.  Arizona State destroyed Washington, rolling up nearly 600 yards of offense en route to a 53-24 win. And then there was the SEC, where seemingly every underdog won. Well, except for Arkansas of course…they had to play a pretty good team called the Crimson Tide. Now it’s on to the season’s ninth week. There are plenty of good matchups , with some opportunities for more upsets lurking. Here are picks for a few of Saturday’s more intriguing games:

Alabama 35, Tennessee 6: Alabama has allowed 10 points in their last four games. They’re OK defensively.

Ohio State 30, Penn State 20: Ohio State may not be dominating teams, but they have been playing some very entertaining games. Expect another against Penn State under the lights at Ohio Stadium.

Stanford 28, Oregon State 17: Thanks to an absurdly prolific passing attack, Oregon State has rebounded nicely from their disastrous season opening loss to Eastern Washington by rattling off six consecutive wins. This could be a game to put on upset watch, especially with the possibility that Stanford might be looking ahead to Oregon. On the other hand, Oregon State isn’t the type of team you take lightly.

Missouri 38, South Carolina 20: I picked against Missouri last week. I was very wrong as Mizzou knocked off Florida, gaining over 300 more yards than the Gators. Now I’m sold on the Tigers. South Carolina…well, I’m less sold on them. The Gamecocks will be without QB Connor Shaw and their defense has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year.

Texas Tech 37, Oklahoma 17: Texas Tech seems to fall off the map around this point most seasons. It could happen this year too, but Oklahoma has looked sluggish of late.

San Diego State 41, Fresno State 33: This is my upset pick of the week folks. San Diego State is awesome offensively and Fresno’s defense isn’t great. I like San Diego State at home.

Texas A&M 45, Vanderbilt 27: Bounce back time. Johnny Football is playing and I don’t think Vanderbilt will be able to recreate what Auburn did last week–they don’t have anywhere close to the same caliber running game as the Tigers’.

Oregon 45, UCLA 21: UCLA’s defense is great. But Oregon’s offense is better. A lot better.

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College Football: Week 8 Picks

While the ACC  battle between Clemson and Florida State might be the headliner in this week’s slate of college football games, there really is an abundance of contests this weekend worth getting excited about. Last Saturday was awesome, with upsets all over the place and the crazy four overtime game in Happy Valley. This Saturday should be equally fun. Here are some picks:

The FSU-Clemson game will feature a matchup of stellar signal callers Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd.

The FSU-Clemson game will feature a matchup of stellar signal callers Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd.

Ohio State 45, Iowa 21: The Buckeyes’ conference competition is turning out to be even grosser than we thought. Northwestern looked terrible last weekend, Michigan still hasn’t played like a viable contender, and the Leaders Division is absolutely horrendous. At this point, the Buckeyes appear to have a relatively smooth path to the Big Ten Championship, but nobody is going to be wowed by their strength of schedule.

Northwestern 31, Minnesota 20: The Wildcats’ defense got eviscerated by Wiscy last weekend. Minnesota runs the ball pretty well. Unfortunately, they don’t do anything else well. NU should get a win here at home, but their defensive issues must be corrected before they play Nebraska on November 2nd.

TCU 30, Oklahoma State 23: Oklahoma State still shouldn’t be ranked.

Florida 31, Missouri 13: For Mizzou, breaking in a new QB against the fearsome Gator defense shan’t be fun.

Washington 37, Arizona State 24: Washington is way too good to be ranked 20th in the nation. Look for them to prove that on the road against a tough Arizona State team.

Louisville 42, UCF 27: So this is the best competition the AAC can offer Louisville?

Auburn 41, Texas A&M 30: Auburn’s robust rushing attack has allowed them to control games this fall. Texas A&M couldn’t stop Rice’s offense (the Owls ran for 306 yards against TAMU). This feels like it could be a VERY rough game for the Aggies’ defense, so I’m taking the Tigers on the road in an upset!

Stanford 24, UCLA 17: UCLA is headed into back-to-back roadies against Stanford and Oregon. That’s scary. I’m real torn when it comes to this game. I love both teams. Stanford, which is fresh off a loss to Utah, doesn’t really lose back-to-back games, though. So I basically have to pick them here. But I sure ain’t confident.

LSU 24, Ole Miss 17: The Rebels are just too injured for me to pick an upset in this one. But I do think it will be a great game.

Clemson 45, Florida State 38: The ACC finally appears to have national title contenders! These teams are phenomenal on both sides of the ball, and each features an unbelievably talented star under center. I think Florida State might be the better team right now, and Jameis Winston is a freak. But at night, in Death Valley? Gotta go Tigers.

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College Football: Week 7 Picks

Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are way too good for the AAC.

Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are way too good for the AAC.

If you are one of our more perspicacious readers you might have deduced from this post’s title that within the post are my predictions for some college football games this weekend. If you did, you’re right! Enjoy! And feel free to tell me which of my picks are right and which are wrong in the comments!

Louisville 38, Rutgers 21: In the putrid AAC, Louisville has no excuse to lose any games this season. Rutgers represents one of the toughest tests the Cardinals will face in conference play, although they’re far from great. Teddy Bridgewater should toss a few TDs and throw for a solid 350 yards.

Stanford 33, Utah 20: I generally don’t like to pick the Utes, mainly because ‘Utes’ is a terrible nickname. Against the loaded Cardinal, I have no reason to pick them anyway.

Georgia 49, Missouri 28: It is hard not to respect what the undefeated Tigers have done so far this fall, but I can’t see them challenging a Georgia team that already has wins over South Carolina and LSU Between the Hedges.

Oklahoma 45, Texas 17: What was I thinking when I ranked Texas ahead of Oklahoma in my preseason rankings? Matta fact, what was I thinking when I ranked Texas ahead of the 70 or so college football teams that have been better than the Longhorns so far this fall???

LSU 23, Florida 20: This is a kinda tough one to pick, but I’ll take the Bayou Bengals at home.

Michigan 33, Penn State 20: The Nittany Lions are in a bad way right now, but Michigan’s first roadie of the season, at UConn, was nearly a disaster. The Wolverines should cruise, but don’t be surprised if they have some trouble.

Northwestern 38, Wisconsin 28: Wisconsin should gash a bad Wildcat rushing defense. Still, if NU forces their usual turnovers, and their explosive offense keeps rolling, they should get a bounce-back win.

Virginia Tech 10, Pitt 7: Neither of these teams can score (well Pitt can, but only when they’re playing Duke). Neither of their defenses are too shabby either. Look for a low scoring grind.

Michigan State 24, Indiana 17: The Hoosiers looked like a team on the rise in their blowout win over Penn State. Winning on the road against Sparty will be tough, however.

Clemson 45, Boston College 21: The Eagles are decent again! Yay! Time for them to upset Clemson IN Clemson! Just kidding.

Oregon 48, Washington 37: I still love this Huskies team. They gave Stanford a great test on the road last week and will give Oregon a hell of a game this week. But I can’t pick against the Ducks.

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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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