Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top 25 and Heisman Ballots - After Week 8

We've completed week 8. In the good old days, college football fans would be basking in the glow of the season's first BCS rankings, and arguing about which two teams would earn the right to play for it all in Tempe. But now, in the PLAYOFF ERA, a shadow committee keeps us in the dark while we wait for their initial proclamation next Tuesday.

Fear not, faithful Let's Go Bucks! readers. Your favorite college football prophets are ready with updated rankings, as well as Heisman ballots if the season ended right now. Check later this week for updated conference champion and playoff predictions. 

Rankings, as always, are based on what teams have done so far, not how we believe they will finish (that's what the predictions are for). Leave a comment and let us know which one of us is the craziest.

Draper Top 25
1. Florida State (up 1)
2. Mississippi State (down 1)
3. Ole Miss (unchanged)
4. Auburn (up 2)
5. TCU (up 2)
6. Alabama (up 2)
7. Oregon (up 2)
8. Georgia (up 4)
9. Notre Dame (down 4)
10. Ohio State (up 3)
11. Michigan State (down 1)
12. Baylor (down 8)
13. Arizona (down 3)
14. Kansas State (up 7)
15. Arizona State (up 7)
16. Duke (up 3)
17. Nebraska (down 2)
18. Utah (down 1)
19. ECU (down 3)
20. Marshall (down 2)
21. West Virginia (unranked)
22. Minnesota (unranked)
23. Clemson (up 2)
24. USC (down 1)
25. I don't know...UCLA? (unranked)

Draper Heisman Ballot

1. Dak Prescott (QB - Mississippi State)
2. J.T. Barrett (QB - Ohio State)
3. Marcus Mariota (QB - Oregon)

Hoying Top 25

1. Mississippi State (unchanged)
2. Florida State (up 1)
3. Mississippi (down 1)
4. TCU (up 2)
5. Oregon (up 3)
6. Auburn (up 1)
7. Alabama (up 3)
8. Arizona (up 1)
9. Michigan State (up 3)
10. Baylor (down 6)
11. Georgia (up 3)
12. Arizona State (up 8)
13. Ohio State (up 6)
14. Kansas State (up 11)
15. Notre Dame (down 10)
16. Duke (down 1)
17. Utah (up 5)
18. Nebraska (down 2)
19. Marshall (down 1)
20. UCLA (up 3)
21. Minnesota (down 4)
22. USC (unranked)
23. Clemson (unranked)
24. West Virginia (unranked)
25. LSU (unranked)

Dropped from rankings: #11 Georgia Tech, #13 Oklahoma, #21 Washington, #24 Oklahoma State

Hoying Heisman Ballot

1. Dak Prescott (QB - Mississippi State)
2. Melvin Gordon (RB - Wisconsin)
3. Marcus Mariota (QB - Oregon)

Schweinfurth Top 25
1. Florida State (Up 1)
2. Mississippi State (Down 1)
3. Ole Miss (Unchanged)
4. Oregon (Up 2)
5. Notre Dame (Unchanged)

6. Michigan State (Up 1)
7. Alabama (Up 1)
8. Auburn (Up 1)
9. Baylor (Down 5)
10. TCU (Up 1)
11. Ohio State (Up 1)
12. Georgia (Up 1)
13. Kansas State (Up 1)

14. Arizona (Up 2)
15. Arizona State (Up 2)
16. East Carolina (Up 2)
17. Marshall (Up 2)
18. Nebraska (Up 2)
19. Oklahoma (Down 9)
20. Utah (Up 1)
21. USC (Up 1)
22. Stanford (Up 1)
23. Duke (Up 1)
24. Oklahoma State (Down 9)
25. West Virginia (Unranked)

Dropped from Rankings: #24 TAMU
 
Schweinfurth Heisman Ballot
1. Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi St.)
2. Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)
3. JT Barrett (QB--Ohio State)

Seeberg Top 25

1.) Mississippi State
2.) Ole Miss
3.) Florida State
4.) Alabama
5.) Oregon
6.) Auburn
7.) Michigan State
8.) Ohio State
9.) TCU
10.) Notre Dame
11.) Georgia
12.) Kansas State
13.) Arizona State
14.) Baylor
15.) Arizona
16.) Nebraska
17.) Oklahoma
18.) USC
19.) East Carolina
20.) Duke
21.) West Virginia
22.) Marshall
23.) Utah
24.) Minnesota
25.) UCLA

Seeberg Heisman Ballot
1.) Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi State)
2.) Marcus Mariota (QB-- Oregon)
3.) J.T. Barrett (QB-- Ohio State)

Grading the Bucks: Week 8--Rutgers

Not much to nitpick here.

Offense: A-
J.T. Barrett is just playing out of his mind.  Time to give the man the respect he deserves.  The competition isn't earth-shattering mind you, but Rutgers had a pretty good (not great by any means) defense...until facing the Bucks.  The chinks in the armor showed on one wide open deep ball that Barrett didn't have the arm strength to reach.  Other than that, his decision making, passing, and running vision has been spectacular.  The O-line and Zeke continue to improve.  The slight downgrade was for the 2nd half laxity that I saw.  Granted, the game was over, but if you're keeping the first teamers on the field, play like you want to be there.

Defense: A-
Criticism is much the same as the offense.  I love that the Bullets made sure we saw bad Gary Nova, but I'm not shocked they handled business.  The bad: they looked quite bored and just wanted to get out of there.  You only play college football for a few years, take advantage of the opportunity, even when the game is well in hand.  My other question to the coaching staff: Why isn't Raekwon McMillon starting?  He has been a ball hawk and a monster whenever in the game and he needs to take control of that linebacking corp.  The defensive line performed again and Bosa is a man...but we knew this.

Special Teams: A-
Nothing of note.  Great punting when needed and great coverage on kick coverage.  Overall, good job, good effort.

Coaching: B+
Two words: Raekwon McMillon.  Make it happen.  Darron Lee and McMillon on the field simultaneously would really make opposing offenses crap themselves. Offensively, the play-calling was well executed this week.  Another question for the coaches...why were the starters in the game in the fourth quarter?  If you're trying to get stats for Barrett, that's one thing, but you need to a) get the backups some reps and b) protect your assets.  The evidence of the need of backups was when it was clear that the first-teamers didn't care.  If nothing else, put in someone who wants to be there to send a message.

Overall: A-
 Nitpicking, but always room for improvement.  Go Ohio, Beat the Lions!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Week 8 - Game of the Century?

Standings
1) Draper               23-10    (4-3 upset)
2) Seeberg              22-11    (0-7 upset)
3) Hoying               21-12    (3-4 upset)
4) Schweinfurth     19-14    (3-4 upset)

Now that the first half of the season has crowned the state of Mississippi as the be-all and end-all of the college football world, we can turn our attention to the other conferences around the nation, with games ranging from a reiteration of one of the most significant showdowns of all time to the return of the Buckeyes to the gridiron against an unfamiliar opponent.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Florida State Seminoles
Draper: FSU continues their unbeaten streak while suffering the slings and arrows from every direction due to the lack of intelligence (and somewhat of a witch hunt) from their QB.  On the field, the Noles have been moving along quite well.  Many point to the 'struggles' but that's very normal when you get every team's best shot.  The 2013 Seminoles were, without question, better than this edition, but the 2014 Noles are still very very good.  The Irish have been struggling even more than the Seminoles but the narrative hasn't focused on that side of the coin.  Golson is a very good QB, but I believe Tally is ready to explode.  This Irish squad is a far cry from the 1993 squad that defeated the Noles in South Bend.  FSU makes a statement and takes care of business.  ND: 20--FSU: 34
Hoying: In 1993, the #1 Florida State Seminoles visited the #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in what was called the "Game of the Century." The Irish won but later suffered an upset and ended the season ranked #2, as Florida State rebounded to win their first national title. Nobody is going to confuse either of these year's teams with those juggernauts, but both have managed to weather the first half of their seasons without a loss. The Noles were tested in both their matchups against ranked teams, including a near loss to Clemson. But now that Jameis Pryor...er, Winston, is back and in freshman year form, the Noles are going to be tough to tackle, even if the defense isn't quite as suffocating as last year's squad. Irish QB Everett Golson's immaculate regular season record comes crashing down in Tallahassee. ND: 24--FSU: 31
Schweinfurth: Both of these teams have shown flaws over the last few weeks.  Notre Dame squeaked by an inferior North Carolina squad and Florida State just doesn't look like the same team this year.  I'm just excited that one of these teams have to lose this week (more chaos).  In the end, it comes down to Jameis' eligibility.  If he can go, the Noles win.  If not, well, just remember the Clemson game.  ND: 30--FSU: 35
Seeberg:   Let's be honest here, people, ND went all "La Suerte de los Tontos" (for you non-Spanish speakers that loosely translates as the luck of the foolish) in beating Stanford - at home - the only team of consequence they have played all season.  Florida State, though not as dominant on either side of the ball as last year, is still a much better team.  The golden domers gave up 43 points to a lackluster UNC squad, but of course ESPiN is invoking the titanic battles between FSU and ND in the late 80's and early 90's.  Sorry about your ratings, but this one won't be that close.  ND: 21--FSU: 38

Stanford Cardinal @ Arizona State Sun Devils
Draper: The Sun Devils' ranking relies on what? Getting blown out by UCLA? Beating USC with the worst Hail Mary defense in history? I just don't see it with Mike Bercovici.  Stanford doesn't have any great wins of note, but the win over Washington is pretty good, not to mention being very competitive vs. Notre Dame and USC (barring a last minute collapse).  It's in Tempe, but I think the Cardinal are simply better. HOGAAAAANNN!!  Stan: 20--ASU: 13
Hoying: Where resides the best defense in the country? I'll forgive you if you said Ole Miss, because their defense is spectacular, but the top lockdown crew is actually found in Palo Alto. The Cardinal are allowing a measly 10 points per game, surrendering 13 and 17 points in their 2 losses and giving up 20 points to NOBODY. The Stanford rushing attack has been lackluster, and QB Kevin Hogan has been good-not-great, but the Cardinal should be able to move the ball against a squishy Sun Devil defense. This game should come down to whether ASU QB Mike Bercovici replicates his UCLA performance (bad) or USC performance (good). I don't think he can navigate this stifling D. Stan: 17--ASU:16
Schweinfurth: Ahh yes, another Pac-12 game that I really don't know much about.  I do know that Stanford is pretty good.  From what I have seen and read, I'm just not sold on the Sun Devils.  It's a Stanford game so it's gotta be a low scoring affair. Stan: 20--ASU: 14
Seeberg:  This is a bizarre matchup to analyze.  It's strength on strength (Cardinal D vs. ASU O) and weakness on weakness (Cardinal O vs. ASU D).  In comparing common opponents, Stanford gave up 13 to USC while ASU gave up 34.  Then again, ASU won, 38-34, and Stanford only mustered 10 points against the Trojans.  It's tough to imagine this game getting into even the 20s where the Sun Devils would have good odds to win this one.  Stanford just squeezes into the 20s and gets another win.  Stan: 23--ASU: 13

Kansas State Wildcats @ Oklahoma Sooners
Draper: Kansas State's best performance of note this year is...a loss.  They fought valiantly against Auburn at home but couldn't get it done.  I'm still a believer in OU.  They have tons of talent and back home in Norman? Watch out.  This is just what the doctor ordered after a tough loss at TCU followed by a middling performance in a big rivalry.  Texas held the Sooners down, but I don't think the Wildcats will be able to recreate the magic.  Boomer!?!? ... KSU: 20--OU: 34
Hoying: Oklahoma struggled mightily against the Longhorns last week, accumulating only 232 yards of offense. This doesn't bode well for the Sooners, as they face a Wildcat defense that held a terrific Auburn offense to 20 points, nearly pulling off the upset. Kansas State has feasted on a steady diet of cupcakes so far this season and fell short in their only shot at glory to date. Normally, "Big Game Bob" is untouchable in Norman, but TCU fought their way to purple victory, a tradition the Wildcats should continue this week. KSU: 31--OU: 27
Schweinfurth: This one smells of an upset.  Oklahoma did not look good against Texas last week and Trevor Knight was held in check for almost all of that game.  Add in a porous pass defense and you have some trouble brewing.  Kansas State can chuck the ball all over, especially with Lockett running downfield.  KSU: 35--OU: 28
Seeberg:  The Sooners have looked pretty, well, average in the last two weeks, losing to TCU and struggling mightily on the offensive side of the ball against Texas.  The judgment that must be made is whether those were aberrations or if there are serious issues with Stoops' squad.  I choose the latter.  The Wildcats take the Longhorns' blueprint and do enough to shut down Oklahoma's offense and get back to the Little Apple with their biggest win of the year.  KSU: 27--OU: 21

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ THE Ohio State University Buckeyes
Draper: Ho hum...Another game with no benefits for a win and crushing implications for a loss (sorry Michigan).  Rutgers QB Gary Nova has put together a fine season for the Scarlet Knights intro to the B1G, but OSU is sneaking around the chicken coop...quietly murdering everyone in their path on the way to the showdown in East Lansing.  JT has been phenomenal all year and I don't expect anything different here.  Rutgers will fight hard, but this is no Wolverine squad.  The Bucks aren't going to mess around here.  Take care of business and keep the hopes alive. RU: 20--OSU: 48
Hoying: Despite both programs football histories dating back to at least 1890, this week features the first ever Scarlet Knights/Scarlet & Gray showdown. Raise your hand if you foresaw this game as a potential showcase of All-B1G QB candidates. Both Nova and Barrett rank in the top 5 in the nation in pass efficiency, and puzzling one-game chokes aside, both have been the unquestioned leaders of their respective offenses. Here's the big difference: Barrett can run, Nova can't. Rutgers may have been able to contain Devin Gardner, but JT has already surpassed the senior Wolverine in virtually every way (except maybe ability to play while broken in half). If the winner of this game can knock off Michigan State in East Lansing, they're a virtual lock to represent the B1G East in Indianapolis. Somehow, I don't see that contender being the Scarlet Knights. Wait your turn, Queens. RU: 24--OSU: 45
Schweinfurth: Finally, another Ohio State game (and there are no more bye weeks until bowl/playoff season).  JT Barrett has been on fire the last three games and leading the Buckeye offense at a record setting pace.  Now look, I know the competition hasn't been the best, but that is still something to marvel at.  Rutgers is a fine program and "the Birthplace of College Football," but Ohio State is just better at every single position.  Joey Bosa is a man and he will see plenty of double and maybe even triple teams from here on out.  That is gonna open the door for Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington to do very bad things to QB Gary Nova.  I expect to see more of the same out of this team, get an early lead and put the pedal down until the end of the game.  4th straight game with 50+? It might just happen!  Rut: 17--OSU: 52
Seeberg:  My colleagues have very similar opinions on what will shake down in this game...and I'm no different.  Rutgers is remarkably 5-1 with two of the conference's biggest non-conference wins in Washington State and Navy.  It won't be nearly enough on homecoming in Ohio Stadium, however.  This team is a 180-degree departure from Cooper's days when the team would peak in September, blowing out big non-conference opponents, then stumble down the stretch.  The improvement week-to-week is visible to even a casual fan, and with two weeks to prep for Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights will understand what Scarlet on the football field is really supposed to look like.  RU: 17--OSU: 45

Upset Special
Draper: Northwestern over Nebraska
Hoying: Arkansas over Georgia
Schweinfurth: Boston College over Clemson
Seeberg:  West Virginia over Baylor

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2014 Rankings Premiere! Top 25 and Heisman Favorites - After Week 7

Now that the season is half over and the merry-go-round has slowed a bit, it's finally time to break out the more-useless-than-ever-in-the-playoff-era Top 25 Rankings and slightly less useless initial Heisman Ballots. Unless otherwise noted, rankings are based on what teams have done so far, not how we predict they will perform this week, let alone where they'll finish. 

If you interpret any of our Top 4's as a preliminary playoff prediction, we will come to your house and upper deck your toilets.

Draper Top 25
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Ole Miss
4. Baylor
5. Notre Dame
6. Auburn
7. TCU
8. Alabama
9. Oregon
10. Michigan State
11. Arizona
12. Georgia
13. Ohio State
14. Oklahoma State
15. Nebraska
16. ECU
17. Utah
18. Marshall
19. Duke
20. Georgia Tech
21. Kansas State
22. Arizona State
23. USC
24. Stanford
25. Clemson

Draper Heisman Ballot
1. Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi State)
2. Melvin Gordon (RB--Wisconsin)
3. JT Barrett (QB--THE Ohio State University)


Hoying Top 25
1. Mississippi State
2. Mississippi
3. Florida State
4. Baylor
5. Notre Dame
6. TCU
7. Auburn
8. Oregon
9. Arizona
10. Alabama
11. Georgia Tech
12. Michigan State
13. Oklahoma
14. Georgia
15. Duke
16. Nebraska
17. Minnesota
18. Marshall
19. Ohio State
20. Arizona State
21. Washington
22. Utah
23. UCLA
24. Oklahoma State
25. Kansas State

Hoying Heisman Ballot
1. Dak Prescott(QB--Mississippi State)
2. Melvin Gordon (RB--Wisconsin)
3. Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)

Schweinfurth Top 25
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Ole Miss
4. Baylor
5. Notre Dame
6. Oregon
7. Michigan State
8. Alabama
9. Auburn
10. Oklahoma
11. TCU
12. Ohio State
13. Georgia
14. Kansas State
15. Oklahoma State
16. Arizona
17. Arizona State
18. East Carolina
19. Marshall
20. Nebraska
21. Utah
22. USC
23. Stanford
24. Duke
25. Texas A&M    
 
Schweinfurth Heisman Ballot
1. Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi St.)
2. Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)
3. JT Barrett (QB--Ohio State)
   
Seeberg Top 25
1.) Mississippi State
2.) Ole Miss
3.) Florida State
4.) Baylor
5.) Notre Dame
6.) Auburn
7.) Oregon
8.) Michigan State
9.) Alabama
10.) TCU
11.) Ohio State
12.) Oklahoma
13.) Kansas State
14.) Georgia
15.) Oklahoma State
16.) Arizona State
17.) Nebraska
18.) Arizona
19.) Utah
20.) USC
21.) Stanford
22.) Marshall
23.) East Carolina
24.) Duke
25.) Clemson

Seeberg Heisman Ballot
1.) Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi State)
2.) Bryce Petty (QB-- Baylor)
3.) Everett Golson (QB-- Notre Dame)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week 7 - From SEC West Supremacy to a B1G East Race to the Bottom

Standings
1) Draper               20-9    (3-3 upset)
2) Schweinfurth     18-11    (3-3 upset)
2) Hoying               18-11    (3-3 upset)
2) Seeberg              18-11    (0-6 upset) Seriously, you picked Michigan?  HEY...they covered, sheesh.

Now that the dust has settled on a wild week 6, the madness ramps up again with another week of SEC West matchups, a battle of Lone Star undefeateds out in the Big 12, and another bye week for our beloved Bucks in this long playoff chase.

Oh, and Penn State travels to Michigan with the inside track to last place in the B1G East on the line, but you'll have to read about that elsewhere.

Auburn Tigers @ Mississippi State Bulldogs
Draper: I've been big on Mississippi State all year and down on Auburn.  While the Tigers have been very impressive, their resume is fairly spartan.  MSU's win at LSU is becoming less and less impressive, but Dak Prescott is having a fantastic year (with Gurley and Jameis all but eliminated by missing a game, he's leading the Heisman race by a fairly sizable margin).  I remember in the early 2000s when Starkville was a place to be feared and I think it's coming to that again.  I don't think MSU is an all-timer of a team, but I think they are more battle-tested and up to the challenge.  I don't expect an undefeated season, but CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA strikes again in a nailbiter.  CLANGA! Aub: 31--MSU: 34
Hoying: Can Mississippi State handle success? Two years ago, the Bulldogs started 7-0 feasting on a cupcake schedule including Kentucky, Tennessee, and...Auburn (post-Cam Newton), then proceeded to get blasted three weeks in a row by Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU. Last week's dominating win over the Aggies seems to be more impressive than anything MSU has done since I've been watching college football, but the jury's still out how just how good A&M is this year (oooh, you beat South Carolina, just like...everybody else). At any rate, Bulldog QB Dak Prescott has blasted his way into SEC MVP and Heisman discussions, throwing for at least 2 TDs in every game except a garbage matchup against South Alabama, and rushing for nearly 500 yards in 5 games. Auburn's strength continues to be running the ball, but Mississippi State does it better. The only question for the Bulldogs is whether they can finish games strong. In their last two games, MSU gave up 19 and 14 unanswered points when it looked like the game was over. Auburn has the firepower to make the Bulldogs pay if they're caught sleepwalking, but I think they'll keep their eye on the prize this week: a possible #1 ranking. Aub: 21--MSU: 34
Schweinfurth:  I keep thinking that both of these will lose.  On that fact, for once, I'm right.  I still don't think either of these teams are top 10 worthy but they are both undefeated.  Still no one has been able to stop the Auburn rushing attack.  Combine that with the position the Bulldogs are in and I think Mississippi State is primed to fail.  Aub: 35--MSU: 31
Seeberg:  I...I just don't know about this game.  Auburn handled LSU easily, but the Bayou Tigers are down a bit this year.  The same can be said about the Bulldogs' defeat of a largely unproven Texas A&M team.  I think this game will come down to 3rd down conversions.  Dak Prescott is a better on obvious passing downs, and Auburn's vaunted rushing attack is just too one-dimensional to score enough in Starkville.  Aub: 20--MSU: 31

Oregon Ducks @ UCLA Bruins
Draper: Oregon always craps the bed at some point in the season (usually somewhat inexplicably).  After the loss, they almost always demolish their next foe.  UCLA has played with fire all year (except vs. ASU), but it bit them last week as the Utes took them down.  I'm leaning toward Oregon righting the ship because some things can be fixed or ignored as a one-off, but UCLA's offensive line cannot be ignored.  Hundley is getting sacked left and right (more like Houston Texans David Carr...amirite?).  Ducks quack their way back into the national spotlight with a big win.  Ore: 41--UCLA: 24 (just looked at Seeberg's score--DANGIT)
Hoying: It's tempting to say that this game has become a lot less interesting after both teams choked at home last week. However, in the playoff era, it's no longer the drop between undefeated and one loss that's devastating, it's the drop between one loss and two. With the balance in the Pac-12 this season, the loser could still win out and probably take the conference title, but they'd run a terrible risk of being the #5 Power 5 champion in a four-team playoff world. So what happened last week? Oregon's O-line couldn't stop anybody from getting through, and UCLA's O-line...also couldn't stop anybody. It's going to be open season on elite quarterbacks this Saturday, and the key will likely be which D-line can take advantage of the opportunity. Oregon has 16 sacks on the season, while UCLA has only 7. Oregon has 38 TFLs; UCLA has 26. Do the math. Ore: 37--UCLA: 30
Schweinfurth: I keep going back and forth on this one.  Then I looked at the highlights of UCLA.  That offensive line...woof.  Yup that will be the difference here (even though Oregon's D can look like Swiss cheese at times).  It'll still be a fun one to watch. Ore: 45--UCLA: 38
Seeberg:  Well, Oregon went all, uh, Oregon last week, scoring a measley 24 points at home against a team that gave up 45 points to Cal.  UCLA's sieve-like offensive line finally caught up to them in an equally unimpressive loss against Utah.  I expected both teams to be undefeated heading into this game and would have given the slight edge to UCLA given home field and Brett Hundley.  In this scenario, however, I trust Mariotta more to get his squad to bounce back.  Ore: 41--UCLA: 24

TCU Horned Frogs @ Baylor Bears
Draper: Are the Horned Frogs for real? After dispatching OU at home in one of the many ridiculous games last weekend, TCU gets no favors as they head to Waco to face the Bears.  Baylor has been very quiet this year with Bryce Petty's being banged-up and such.  No one is talking about the #5 team in the country...until now.  Baylor has been waiting for their oppotunity to explode onto the scene and I think this is their chance.  Yeah, defense wins championships....blah blah blah.  This isn't a championship.  This is a big time game after TCU pulled out all the stops to beat OU at home in a huge emotional win.  Baylor is ready to leave it all out there this weekend and will overwhelm the drained Frogs.  TCU: 24--Baylor: 34
Hoying: Another year, another few games of Baylor crushing a few garbage opponents to open the season. The Bears feature the top scoring margin in the country, even ignoring a 70-6 dismantling of Northwestern State. However, coming it at #3 on the same list is TCU. You might counter that TCU certainly didn't beat Oklahoma by any grand margin, but last week reveals something even more troubling about Baylor. Playing a bad Texas team, Bear QB Bryce Petty played like garbage. Barely 100 yards passing, 31% completion rate awful. This is the same Texas secondary that let UCLA's backup QB beat them. Yes, the Oklahoma win was at home, and yes, traveling to Waco is a different animal, but TCU is just a better team, and dual-threat QB Trevone Boykin should keep the Horned Frogs in the thick of a tight Big 12 championship race. TCU: 34--Bay: 27
Schweinfurth: TCU had a nice little win over Oklahoma.  The big question is, can they shut down another Heisman candidate in Bryce Petty?  I'm not so sure, but then again, the Bear defense is just horrendous.  I think TCU can make at least one stop in this game and it will be enough.  TCU: 42--Baylor: 38
Seeberg:  And suddenly this game got WAY more interesting after TCU's upset last week.  (Side note:  Anyone, even 5 years ago, who tells you they KNEW that Baylor and TCU would be the best two teams in Texas is a lying sack of manure).  Baylor has been steamrolling opponents until they hit the Longhorns, only scoring 28, and it's hard to imagine that offense laying an egg two weeks in a row.  Then again, Bryce Petty struggled and was beaten in his last game of consequence against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl.  Still, Baylor scored 42 in that contest, and that should be enough points to get them a win at home.  TCU: 34--Baylor: 42

Ole Miss Rebels @ Texas A&M Aggies
Draper: TAMU has been living on a win over South Carolina in the opener that hasn't matured at all (in fact, it's rotted).  I haven't understood the hype they've been getting which is why I jumped on the CLANGA bandwagon last week.  Now the Rebels come in after the biggest win in school history.  Dr. Bo had a really nice game against the Tide and Nkemdiche and the Ole Miss defense was just nasty.  All signs point to Ole Miss keeping it rolling. But... As soon as last week ended, the Rebels acted like they had just won the Championship.  It looked like they emptied the chambers to get their signature win.  Bama isn't the Bama of the last 5 years.  Ole Miss has a great team, but Dr. Bo is ready for a faceplant. Kyle Field is the place.  I have NO faith that A&M is really any good....but I think they're good enough at HOME to take down another 'spent' team.  If the Rebels limit mistakes, they should take the win, but I don't think they will.  Ole Miss: 24--TAMU: 27
Hoying: Whom has Texas A&M beaten this season? South Carolina, the team that just lost to Kentucky? Winless SMU? Arkansas (in overtime)? The Aggies were exposed last week in Starkville as a less-than-serious SEC competitor in the brutal West division, but they can earn a quick redemption with a win over one of America's hottest teams, the Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebs' win over Alabama was no accident: Ole Miss features a punishing defense the likes of which the SEC hasn't seen in a couple of years. And shhhhh....but QB Bo Wallace might be just as good as A&M gunslinger Kenny Hill. The outstanding recruiting is finally paying off; Ole Miss is a genuinely elite team and not to be taken lightly. I don't think the Aggies are good enough to stop them. Ole Miss: 31--TAMU: 17
Schweinfurth: Ole Miss can't really be a top 5 team right?  Seriously I'm not buying.  What I am buying is the upset hangover they will have coming into this game.  The Aggies have a better offense than Alabama and will surely test that defense.  Ole Miss: 35--TAMU: 42
Seeberg:  As the season has progressed, A&M's "signature" dismantling of South Carolina looks less like a John Hancock and more like an outright forgery.  They only scored 17 meaningful points against Mississippi State last week and Ole Miss's D is likely even better.  What's more, even if the A&M offense shows up and competes, their defense just doesn't have the playmakers to make Bo Wallace pay for the 2-3 head-scratching throws he typically (ignoring last week) makes in a given game.  The college football world will indeed remain Mississippi-centric.  Ole Miss: 38--TAMU: 21

Upset Special
Draper: USC over Zona
Hoying: Washington State over Stanford
Schweinfurth: Arkansas over Alabama
Seeberg:  Toledo over Iowa State