Posted on 02 October 2011.
Week 5 of college football is officially in the books, and we had several bigtime match ups, the results of which have given us a clearer picture of who is legit and who isn’t. CSF breaks down last weekend’s action in our weekly College Football Recap.
Russell Wilson has officially thrown his hat into the Heisman race: The knock on the Badgers going into last weekend’s bigtime match up against Nebraska was that they hadn’t played anyone of substance yet. No one, however, argued the fact that Wilson had been lights out–he entered the weekend with 11 TDs and only one pick. Although he may not rip off as many highlight reel plays as Denard Robinson or Robert Griffin III, consistency is the name of the game, and Wilson has been consistent ever since he started his college football career at NC State. Wilson made critical play after critical play on Saturday night and led the Badgers to a convincing 48-17 victory to open conference play. On the year, he is completing just under 75% of his passes for 13 TDs and just one interception. He has also added two rushing TDs as well. The forced transfer from NC State head coach Tom O’Brien may have been the best thing for Wilson, who now has a shot at a BCS title and a Heisman…neither of which would have been on the table had he stayed in Raleigh.
Bama imposes their will: The highly anticipated clash between Nick Saban’s defense and Charlie Weis’ offense turned out to be all hype with zero substance. The Crimson Tide held Florida’s speedy backfield tandem of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey to a measly 8 yards rushing on their way to a 38-10 rout in the Swamp. The Bama defense is holding opponents to less than 40 yards rushing per game, which is the tops in the FBS. They also rank first in scoring defense, they are #3 in total defense and #5 in passing defense.
Clemson passes another big test: Although the Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins connection was held in check for the first time this season, it was the Clemson defense that took care of business as the Tigers passed their first road test at Virginia Tech 23-3. And here is a name for all the folks that are already taking a peak at the 2012 NFL Draft–Dwayne Allen. The junior is the best TE in the nation and has presented match up problems for every defense the Tigers have faced. He currently has 291 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Dabo Swinney’s team has now beaten three ranked teams in three consecutive weeks.
Andrew Luck lights up UCLA: The most NFL-ready quarterback from last year’s class shocked everyone when he announced that he would play his senior season at Stanford. While other college football players may have more flash, Luck has led the Cardinal to one of the most quiet 4-0 starts in recent memory. The signal caller shredded the Bruin defense last weekend, going 23-27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns. A bye week in week 4 and a pretty weak schedule has kept Luck’s stats under the radar, but when the dust settles, he will be one of the last men standing in the Heisman race.
Ohio State hasn’t earned any free tattoos this year: The Buckeyes were expected to struggle a bit through the first few games because of the suspensions from last year, but very few people would have thought they would be 3-2. The quarterback play simply hasn’t been there for OSU, and it is about to get much worse. The meat of Big Ten schedule has now arrived, with the Buckeyes traveling to Nebraska, a surprising Illinois team and playing host to Big Ten favorite Wisconsin. If things don’t change fast, OSU could easily be 3-5 going into November. Those kinds of results won’t even cover the most basic body piercing.
Image courtesy of thexlog.com
Posted on 26 September 2011.
Week 4 of the College Football season is officially in the books, and the dominant players and teams are beginning to separate from the rest of the pack. CSF breaks down last weekends action in the Week 4 Recap.
Sooners fall out of #1 spot: Once a Heisman front-runner, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has been very average the last two weeks, throwing for 4 TD’s and 4 picks. The Sooners still won, but they didn’t exactly get the payback they were looking for against Mizzou, who upset OU last season in Columbia. Wins against Florida State and Mizzou, who are both 2-2 with no big wins against major programs, along with LSU’s dominance against top-tier competition allowed the Tigers to jump ahead of the Sooners in the AP Poll. Luckily for Sooner fans, LSU and Alabama square off in Tuscaloosa in a month, so one of those teams will drop a few spots.
LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu may be the best DB in the country: LSU and Alabama have the two best defenses in the country–and it’s not even close. The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers against top-flight competition, all away from Death Valley. Their defense is full of elite talent that will be playing on Sundays in the near future, but the guy that always seems to make the biggest plays on the biggest stages is cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. In last weekend’s bigtime match up against West Virginia, the sophomore DB had a key interception and a forced fumble, in which he literally ripped the ball right out of the hands of WV wideout Brad Starks. That makes twice that Mathieu has brought his A-game to a national television audience–in week one, he stripped the ball from Oregon punt returner Kenjon Barner and promptly took the fumble in for a touchdown, and the Ducks never recovered.
Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden continues to light it up: We anticipated a shoot out, and that’s exactly what we got last weekend, when Oklahoma State traveled to Texas A&M. Weeden threw for 438 yards (a new school record) and two TDs against the Aggies. The senior quarterback completed a whopping 47 passes in 60 attempts and spread the ball around nicely–he had three different receivers with ten or more catches, led by dynamic wideout Justin Blackmon, who had 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Weeden currently leads the nation in passing yards per game with 398.0 per contest.
Florida could be back: After a disappointing 2010 season, first year head coach Will Muschamp has the Gators off to a 4-0 start, 2-0 in SEC play. Quarterback John Brantley looks much more comfortable in Charlie Weis’ pro-style attack versus Urban Meyer’s spread attack that made Tim Tebow a household name, although they didn’t need much passing last weekend against Kentucky, as both Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey rushed for over 100 yards a piece. More importantly, Muschamp has brought his attitude to the Gator defense, who created four turnovers last weekend. We’ll see just how far Florida has come very soon–the Gators host Alabama this weekend and travel to LSU next weekend.
The ACC is not good at tackle football: I’m not sure how the intramural flag football programs in the ACC are, but several programs proved their conference still isn’t ready for big boy football. After giving then #1 Oklahoma all they could handle, Florida State’s defense was gashed by the Clemson QB-WR combo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. The ‘Noles gave up 455 yards to the Tigers, 366 coming through the air. FSU was supposed to be the ACC’s hope for a title-contender in 2011, but that’s not going to happen. Miami lost to Kansas State, NC State was destroyed by Cincinnati, and Maryland had the ugly knocked out of their uniforms by Temple 38-7. Until the ACC can beat quality out of conference opponents, they will not be taken seriously in the BCS title talk.
Posted on 13 May 2011.
The writers for College Sports Feed have continue to break down our College Football Preseason Poll, and this week, we move up the charts and take a look at teams #16-#21. In case you missed it, check out last week’s breakdown of teams #21-#25.
20. Auburn: The Tigers must replace four starters on the offensive line, Nick Fairley, who was arguably the most dominant defensive player in the nation last season and the best player in the country last season, in Heisman Trophy winner and first overall NFL Draft selection Cam Newton. Dyer and the offense will have success, but they will have a tough time with Bama and LSU this time around. – Jeff Dunbar, CSF Senior Editor
Losing a ton of talent to graduation and the NFL is rough, but their defense will be fine because of the return of several key players, including Neiko Thorpe andEltoro Freeman. The big question is quarterback and who will try to fill Cam Newton’s shoes. – Nick Mattar, CSF writer/contributor
19. Florida: With the offense learning a new system under Charlie Weis, the defense will need to step up this season. Linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic should anchor a strong defensive unit, however, the loss of Janoris Jenkins will have the Gators searching for a shut down corner. Offensively, Weis has a lot to work with between super-athlete Trey Burton and running back Jeff Demps. The big question is John Brantley - can he bounce back after a disappointing 2010 and lead the Gators back to the promise land? – Nick Mattar, CSF writer/contributor
Bad season or not, when you have the athletes they have, you bounce back…unless you are FSU 10 years ago…and Miami 5 years ago…and Texas last year. Wait a minute…. – Christian Hon, CSF writer/contributor
18. Missouri: No Gabbert is tough but the recruiting pipeline seems to be consistent now. Remember Gabbert took over for a Heisman nominee. Should be a fun team to watch…until they play OU. – Christian Hon, CSF writer/contributor
Seven Seniors starting on the offensive side of the ball may give Head Coach Gary Pinkel the experience he needs to replace QB Blaine Gabbert effectively. Tigers will be tested early in the season going to Tempe to play ASU in week two. – Peter Marhoefer, Mr. Touchdown USA
17. Michigan State: The familiar Jekyl and Hyde-like Spartans showed their immaturity in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day by getting boat raced to the tune of 42 points by the Crimson Tide. They have plenty of weapons returning, but I just don’t trust this program, especially with a much more difficult schedule this year. – Justin Cange, CSF writer/contributor
The Spartans will be the last benefactor of the season from the Ohio State tattoo parlor incidents….luckily for MSU, this wasn’t a bowl game, so the NCAA may actually uphold a suspension. The Spartans do, however, have to travel to Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Nebraska, which will be a challenge. If they can put up points in Lincoln against the Huskers, they should be in the thick of a Big Ten title run in 2011. – Jeff Dunbar, CSF Senior Editor
16: Nebraska: Nebraska may have the toughest slate of games in the country. Three 11 win teams and nine bowl teams make up the schedule. Home games with Michigan State and Ohio State at full force are two tests that must be overcome. – Peter Marhoefer, Mr. Touchdown USA
The Huskers’ inaugural campaign in the Big Ten promises to be interesting and a significant upgrade from the Big 12 North. After seeing how last season ended, I’m not convinced they’re about to end their 12 years and counting conference championship drought. – Justin Cange, CSF writer/contributor
Posted on 07 March 2010.
After a 9-3 season, which was capped off by a BCS bowl game against Ohio State, the Charlie Weis era at Notre Dame took a drastic turn for the worse. In his last three seasons at the helm, Weis led the Irish to a combined record of 16-21. Last season’s 6-6 record marked the end of Weis’ five-year run in South Bend.
Enter former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. As we head into spring football, College FootBlog takes a look at the program that Kelly inherits and the current state of what is perhaps college football’s most storied program.
The strength of Notre Dame last season was the offense, led by future first rounders, quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate. As good as the offense was last year, Kelly will have a lot to replace. As mentioned, Clausen and Tate chose to leave after their junior seasons, and four of the five starters on the offensive line are now gone.
The Irish will return starting tailback Armando Allen, but the rushing attack was not exactly explosive a year ago. Allen, who led the team in rushing, managed 697 yards rushing, but he only managed to break 100 yards once all season (against Purdue). Allen also only managed to find the end zone three times on the ground all year.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd has shown some great promise and could very easily be a first round draft pick in the next two seasons. The problem Kelly and his staff have now is finding someone to throw him the football. Junior Dayne Crist was the second-ranked quarterback in the nation coming out of high school, but since his arrival from the 2008 class, he has yet to see any significant playing time, and although he is ahead of schedule, the junior QB from California is recovering from a torn ACL, which he suffered last fall against Washington State.
Now, for the bad news–Notre Dame’s defense was 86th nationally in total defense, averaging just under 400 yards allowed per game. The good news for Irish fans is that last year’s defense was very young, with three of the four leading tacklers coming back for next season, including linebacker Manti Te’o, who started last season as a true freshman.
Despite the departures of several key starters on offense and a struggling defense last season, Kelly and his staff should have an improved defense in 2010, and overall, Kelly has already proven to be a more successful head coach at the college level than the last three head coaches brought into the program.
The offense will likely struggle at times for the Irish in 2010, but look for Kelly and his staff to do a much better job of coaching the entire team than Weis did. Unlike his predecessor, Kelly has shown that he can win with great offense, as he did last season in Cincinnati, but he has also shown that he can win with a solid defense, as he did in 2008.
A relatively soft schedule in 2010, which includes Western Michigan, Army, a struggling Michigan program and a Stanford team (minus Toby Gerhart) should set Kelly up with a great opportunity to at least match Weis’ six win total from 2009. But don’t expect much more than that from Notre Dame this fall. The losses on offense and the state in which Weis left the defense will likely be too much to sustain.
Look out for Notre Dame in 2011, though, especially if Floyd stays for his senior season and Crist is as good as advertised. That will also be the season that the Irish defense that was smacked around last season will be comprised of juniors and seniors with bigtime game experience.
Posted on 27 February 2010.
Bradford or Clausen? An Inside Look at the Draft’s Top 2 QBs–by Jeff Dunbar
As the NFL Combine continues through this weekend, much of the buzz the last few days has centered around the debate of which quarterback will be the first to go in April’s draft. College FootBlog will break down the top two candidates, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford by analyzing five key categories to see which one is most likely to hear his name selected first by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
At 6’4″, Bradford is an inch taller than Clausen, but the biggest difference is weight. Bradford tipped the scales at 238 lbs last week, which should make NFL scouts feel much more comfortable about his durability (which came into question last season after separating his shoulder). While Clausen showed durability at Notre Dame, he is about twenty pounds lighter than Bradford. EDGE: Bradford
Clausen has proven he can make every single throw, but Bradford may be the most accurate quarterback to enter the draft since Drew Brees. Not only did Bradford consistently deliver accurate passes that hit his receivers in stride, he did it consistently with a multiple receivers like Ryan Broyles, Jermaine Gresham, Juaquin Iglesias, etc. While Clausen is very accurate as well, the vast majority of his passes were to his go-to receiver, Golden Tate. EDGE: Bradford
3. Offensive System
While OU head coach Bob Stoops brought Bradford more under center and had more of a pro-style offense his sophomore season, there is no question that Clausen has the edge here. Although Charlie Weis did not perform as a head coach, Notre Dame’s offense is as close to an NFL offense as any college program in the country. Clausen, and more importantly, his future NFL team will benefit greatly from Weis’ tuteledge. EDGE: Clausen
Oklahoma not only competes in one of the major BCS conferences, but they also play at least one competitive non-conference game a year. Bradford also faced much better defenses in his bowl games, as he led the Sooners to back to back BCS games. Even though the Big 12 is known more for its explosive offenses, Bradford did have to go against Will Muschamp in the Red River Rivalry three times in his career.
Notre Dame on the other hand, had a schedule that was absolutely laughable during Clausen’s career. The Irish didn’t exactly load up with competition last year, scheduling Nevada, Washington, Washington State and UConn. EDGE: Bradford
Bradford ran a no huddle offense that was one of the most explosive attacks in college football history. Although his back up, Landry Jones, did an admirable job replacing him last season, Bradford was clearly what made OU’s offense click on all cylinders. He had a solid grasp of the scheme, and he showed the ability to read defenses.
Clausen not only had a strong grasp of Weis’ offense, in nearly every game last season, he showed a lot of poise and moxy. He was at his best when the game was on the line and always seemed to make big plays when it counted the most. EDGE: Clausen
Final Analysis: An argument can be made for either Bradford or Clausen to the be first QB taken in the upcoming draft, and both have put up big numbers in their college careers. However, Bradford had two exceptional seasons at Oklahoma, while Clausen really only shined in his third year at Notre Dame against a weak schedule. Despite Bradford’s injury last season, he has the more impressive and more complete body of work that Clausen.
Let us know your thoughts! College FootBlog wants to know who you think should go first in the NFL Draft?