Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 10 - The Playoff Eliminator

Standings
1) Draper               27-14    (4-5 upset)
1) Seeberg              27-14    (1-8 upset)
3) Hoying               26-15    (3-6 upset)
4) Schweinfurth     24-17    (3-6 upset)

Even after a few more upsets last week, only one Power 5 team, Minnesota, made the dreaded drop from 1 to 2 losses, essentially falling out of playoff contention. Eighteen Power 5 teams are sitting on fewer than 2 losses, but this week's slate guarantees the demise of at least 2 more.

#5 Auburn Tigers @ #6 Ole Miss Rebels
Draper: Auburn has kind of become the forgotten team in the SEC West after the loss to Mississippi State.  Let's not forget they played for the Championship last year.  Nick Marshall runs Gus Malzahn's system extremely well and they are a truly solid team.  But...Ole Miss finally got Bad Bo and faceplanted against a so-so LSU team.  Granted, it was in Death Valley, but LSU is not as good as it's been in the recent past.  Now the tables turn as the Rebels get the Tigers on their home field where memories of the big Bama win still echo.  I'm sticking with the home team taking care of business.  Good Bo returns and more importantly, the landsharks defense holds Malzahn to a modest game.  Aub: 20--Ole Miss: 24
Hoying: Even though these two teams share a division (the ALMIGHTY INVINCIBLE SEC WEST), they share only one common opponent, LSU. Ole Miss puffed and sputtered all over Death Valley on the way to a puzzling 10-7 loss, while Auburn steamrolled the Tigers 41-7 at Jordan-Hare. Is there a huge gap between these teams, or is home field really a monster factor in the SEC? After all, Ole Miss upset Bama and home and obliterated every other visitor to Oxford, and Auburn's road trips led to a squeaker over Kansas State and a solid loss to Mississippi State. Auburn QB Nick Marshall has 0 INTs in 5 home games and 3 INTs in 2 road games. That's not a good weakness to expose to the nation's top defense. Tonight's forecast: a FREEZE is coming! Aub: 24--Ole Miss: 28
Schweinfurth: Ah yes, two teams from the most overrated division in college football.  Ole Miss is reeling from that loss to LSU last week and is highly ranked based on a win over Alabama (who has really beaten no one).  Auburn runs the ball, and does it well with Nick Marshall.  I'm not sure that the Land Shark D can stop that run game. I also believe that Ole Miss was exposed last week and drops another one here.  Aub: 31--Ole Miss 17
Seeberg:  This game, already huge, has suddenly become even bigger as both teams are in the top four of the inaugural playoff era poll (it will be 16 teams by 2030, mark my words).  Auburn waxed LSU at home, scoring 34 more than the Rebels managed in Death Valley.  The Ole Miss D, however, is still allowing a measly 10.5 ppg and Auburn struggled to score in its only other road game of consequence.  I believe the Tigers will be forced to throw more than they would like, and the Rebels will get back on track after that debacle INT at the end of last week's game.  Aub: 13--Ole Miss: 21

#4 TCU Horned Frogs @ #16 West Virginia Mountaineers
Draper: Don't want to be a couch in Morgantown these days.  WVU is rolling with former Nole Clint Trickett slinging the rock around like Larry Fine/Phil Collins/Dana Holgorson likes.  Kevin White has been a stud at wide receiver keeping up with the likes of Amari Cooper.  TCU, since suffering the horrible meltdown in Waco, has done nothing but destroy.  Last week's beatdown was just ridiculous with Boykin breaking records left and right.  The atmosphere will be nuts, but TCU is a sound football team that has their eyes on the prize.  Expect the Mountaineers to take an early lead and TCU just slowly take control away after momentum dies down.  TCU: 38--WVU: 27
Hoying: If not for a bizarre 24 point 4th quarter collapse at Baylor, TCU would be sitting at 7-0 and have a serious case to be #1 in the rankings. Instead they travel to the Baylor-slaying Mountaineers to face possibly the nation's hottest player, QB Clint Trickett, and the terrific West Virginia offense. Unfortunately for the home team, TCU's offense is even more formidable, averaging more than 50 points a pop and showing no signs of slowing down. Thank goodness poor Chris Spielman isn't calling this one, or he'd be retching in the studio by the end of the first quarter. TCU: A WHOLE BUNCH--WVU: STILL A LOT BUT NOT AS MUCH
Schweinfurth: What in the world is going on in the Big 12?  TCU put up 82 points last week?!? Who could have predicted that in any game.  That Horned Frog offense is something to marvel at but WVU isn't a slouch either.  Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, you have to be able to make at least ONE stop a game to win. I'm gonna take Trevon Boykin and the Frogs.  You may want to divert your eyes if you are a fan of defensive football.  This score is going to look like a video game.  TCU: 70--WVU: 63
Seeberg:  This one should be a very interesting watch.  WVU may have shaken their habit of playing down to their competition, handling Oklahoma State easily.  Maybe feeding off the confidence of the Baylor win?  TCU, meanwhile, dropped 82 points- no that's not a typo- last week, equaling their men's BASKETBALL team from a year ago who also managed just one game above 80 points.  West Virginia should use a Baylor-esque game plan to put some significant points on the board, but TCU is too good across the board to let another collapse happen to a team they need to (and should) beat.  TCU: 41--WVU: 34

#19 Utah Utes @ #14 Arizona State Sun Devils
Draper: Utah loves living on the edge.  They squeak out victories vs. USC, UCLA, and Oregon State, but they defeat that Wolverine 'juggernaut' by a billion.  ASU has also lived on the edge with the Hail Mary victory over USC and the closer than the score would indicate win over Washington.  That being said, the Sun Devils return to Tempe and have looked pretty good at home (other than the UCLA debacle.  Todd Graham should go back to Berkovici in my opinions but either way, I expect a Sun Devil victory. Utah: 21--ASU: 31
Hoying: Although these two teams currently lead the Pac-12 South, the only thing that comes to mind when I think about either of them is "borrowed time." Utah has squeaked by good teams in 3 consecutive weeks after a head-scratching home loss to Washington freaking State, while Arizona State beat one LA team on a Hail Mary and got plastered by the other. At least the Sun Devils can be forgiven for breaking in a backup QB, Mike Bercovici, who has become ASU's J.T. Barrett. We'll know more after Sparky hosts the Irish next week, but Arizona State stays alive in the South hunt, barreling toward a season-ending showdown in Tucson. Utah: 13--ASU: 31
Schweinfurth: I'm really not to sure about either team, mostly because Pac 12 games are played after 10PM and I like my sleep.  Just for kicks, I'll take the home team (and higher ranked) team in ASU. Utah: 20--ASU: 35
Seeberg:  Anybody have this game circled on their schedules in the preseason?  Not likely.  The Sun Devils have looked particularly impressive since their aberrational beatdown at the hands of UCLA by winning at USC and scoring a whopping 26 points against the defensive juggernaut of Stanford.  Utah, meanwhile, went on the road and beat UCLA and just squeaked out a home win over that same USC squad.  Utah runs it a ton, but they may become even more one-dimensional as their senior star wideout Dres Anderson- who has over 2,000 yards receiving in his career- is out the rest of the year with a knee injury.  Look for Utah to try to shorten the game by keeping it on the ground, but obvious passing downs will become virtual locks for the Sun Devil D.  Gotta love those tridents on the helmets!  Utah: 17--ASU: 27

Illinois Fighting Illini @ #15 THE Ohio State University Buckeyes
Draper: Alert the presses! Illinois won a conference game! JT Barrett is hurt so we're ripe for an upset....wait, it's in the Shoe...at night? Nevermind.  Illinois CRASHES hard back to earth as the Buckeye's reassert their case for B1G supremacy and national attention.  Barrett will be somewhat coddled for the knee so expect a heavy dose of Zeke (please, Tom).  The D-Line is looking forward to beating the Illini down.  Can the defense keep the momentum from the PSU performance? I think so.  The offense will be somewhat pedestrian as Urban protects the QB and keeps some in his pocket for East Lansing.  Take it easy, get the win, and make next week count.  Ill: 13--OSU: 41
Hoying: FINALLY, the B1G basement dwellers are starting to rise above 1-11 or 2-10 status. For the first time since the conference expanded beyond 11 teams, each member is going to finish with at least 3 wins, including our beloved rivals, the Fighting Illini. Somehow, Illinois lost the dynamic leader of its offense and got better, rising up to snakebite Minnesota in Champaign. The Orange and Blue were actually outgained by a significant margin, but used turnovers to stay in the game until they could pull off the upset with a late score. Sound a bit similar to another game from last weekend? The good news: Illinois doesn't feature one of the nation's top run defenses, or a great defense at all, or even a bad defense. They won't capture lightning in a bottle twice, as long as J.T. can avoid pick sixes and daydreams of sweet revenge against that other team up north. Ill: 17--OSU: 59
Schweinfurth: I really don't know who this Ohio State team is, and I think that is a product of the schedule.  I think the Bucks roll to a 20+ point victory last week if not for the pick 6, but that offensive line...come on man!  I thought you guys had it fixed.  Run blocking? No problem.  Pass protection...very hit or miss.  As for this week, it's another feel good game before the Sparty showdown next week.  I expect to see very few J.T. runs out of the offense and it won't really be needed.  I don't need to say anything about the Silver Bullets (yea, they are real close to being back) as they have looked aggressive and talented this year.  Bucks roll, bring on Sparty!! Ill: 13--OSU: 52
Seeberg:  Well, last week went as scripted- for two quarters at least.  Apparently our massively paid offensive coaching staff has never heard of a 'Plan B' as the offense sputtered when J.T. tweaked his knee.  Luckily, Joey Bosa is an absolute beast, and we get mediocre Illinois off a surprising win against Minnesota that will likely keep them fat and happy for a couple weeks at least.  Get ahead early, keep J.T. healthy, and pray Michigan State isn't using their bye week well (I still think a conspiracy theory is afoot with that scheduling).  Ill: 13--OSU: 38

Upset Special
Draper: Iowa State over Oklahoma
Hoying: Louisville over Florida State
Schweinfurth: Arkansas over Mississippi State (CHAOS!!!)
Seeberg:  Pitt over Duke

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top 25 and Heisman Ballots - After Week 9

This week, in addition to each writer's Top 25 list, Let's Go Bucks! will feature an aggregation poll, like the AP or Coaches' Poll, only more informed.

Rankings, as always, are based on what teams have done so far, not how we believe they will finish. Leave a comment and let us know which one .

Let's Go Bucks! Index

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

Others receiving votes: Stanford, Colorado State, Wisconsin

Let's Go Bucks! Heisman Index
1. Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)
2. Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi State)
3. Melvin Gordon (RB--Wisconsin)
4. Ameer Abdullah (RB--Nebraska)


Draper Top 25
1. Florida State (unchanged)
2. Mississippi State (unchanged)
3. Auburn (up 1)
4. TCU (up 1)

5. Alabama (up 1)
6. Ole Miss (down 3)
7. Oregon (unchanged)
8. Georgia (unchanged)
9. Michigan State (up 2)

10. Baylor (up 2)
11. Kansas State (up 3)

12. Arizona (down 1)
13. Arizona State (up 2)
14. West Virginia (up 7)
15. LSU (unranked) 
16. Notre Dame (down 7)
17. Ohio State (down 7) 

18. Utah (unchanged)
19. Nebraska (down 2)
20. Duke (down 4)
21. ECU (down 2)
22. Marshall (down 2)
23. Clemson (unchanged)
24. UCLA (up 1)
25. Oklahoma (unranked)

Dropped from rankings... #22 Minnesota, #24 USC

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


Hoying Top 25

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

Dropped from rankings: #21 Minnesota, #22 USC

Hoying Heisman Ballot

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


Schweinfurth Top 25
1. Florida State (Unchanged)
2. Mississippi State (Unchanged)
3. Oregon (Up 1)
4. TCU (Up 6)
5. Notre Dame (Unchanged)
6. Michigan State (Unchanged)
7. Ole Miss (Down 4)
8. Alabama (Unchanged)
9. Auburn (Unchanged)
10. Baylor (Unchanged)
11. Kansas State (Up 2)
12. Georgia (Up 1)
13. Ohio State (Down 2)
14. Arizona (Unchanged)
15. Arizona State (Unchanged)
16. Utah (Up 5)
17. Marshall (Up 2)
18. Nebraska (Up 2)
19. Oklahoma (Up 2)
20. Stanford (Up 2)
21. Duke (Up 2)
22. West Virginia (Up 3)
23. East Carolina (Down 7)
24. UCLA (Unranked)
25. Wisconsin (Unranked)
 
Dropped from Rankings: USC, Oklahoma St
 
Schweinfurth Heisman Ballot
1. Dak Prescott (QB--Mississippi St.)
2. Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)
3. Ameer Abdullah (RB--Nebraska)


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

Seeberg Heisman Ballot
1.) Marcus Mariota (QB--Oregon)
2.) Dak Prescott (QB-- Miss St)
3.) Ameer Abdullah (RB-- Nebraska)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grading the Bucks: Week 9--Penn State

Yikes.  That was WAY too close for comfort.  Don't let the name fool you, these aren't your grandfather's Nittany Lions.  The offense had issues but there were some bright spots on the other side of the ball.

Offense: C-
J.T. didn't overcome his earlier yips on the road until OT arrived.  PSU's defense is pretty good, but we made them look like the freaking '85 Bears.  The running game seemed to work early on, but the coaches inexplicably went away from it in the second half (see the coaching section).  Overall, I'd grade the running game as a solid B, but the QB play was not close to what we've been seeing.  I'm pretty sure the environment got to JT and kept that indecision front and center (those picks were just terrible).  Give credit to the offense for stepping up in overtime.  Barrett took charge with a gimpy leg and made it happen.  O-line needs to sharpen up but Zeke had a great day.

Defense: B+
Three words: Joey M-Fing Bosa.  To be honest, I toyed with giving them an A- but the last drive was enough to lower to a B+.  I thought the defense played one of, if not the, most complete game of the year.  They gave up 10 in regulation to a decent QB and the TD was following a bad turnover (if memory serves).   While my co-author probably disagrees, I thought the overactive blitzing was a bit much when the D-line was getting pressure, but potato, po-tah-toe.  The D line was fantastic harassing Hackenburg.  Yes, the Vonn Bell interception was total garbage...get lucky but great effort.  The TD where Apple didn't look back was an incredible play.  He should have located the ball, but after the defensive effort, I'm ok with it.  Next time, catch the interceptions that hit you in the hands and we'll win by 14.  Oh yeah, did I mention Joey M-Fing Bosa? Who else sacks QBs with opposing RBs?

Special Teams: B+
Punter...good.  Kicker...good day (credit for that 49 yarder).  Return game...eh...too adventurous for my taste.  I feel like I'm watching Ray Small where I have to hold my breath for stupid on every kick.  Coverage has been pretty good, but I don't trust Marshall with the keys to the car.  Cameron Johnston, when on, is the best punter in America.

Coaching: C
Tom Herman...I get the point of a game plan, but if you plan isn't working and another is...STICK WITH WHAT WORKS!  The moment clearly was a little too much for the banged up Barrett.  Zeke ran with a purpose in the 1st half, but the run was abandoned in the 2nd because the 'goal was to set up the pass in the second half'.  Excuse me, Ray...your QB had an off day. Adjust to the situation.  Halftime adjustments are called that for a reason.  They aren't scripted.  The coaching staff needs to read the room and make appropriate adjustments when the situation calls for it.  Defensively, the aggressive playcalling was working for the most part, but I surprised at the all out blitz on the goalline (I think a 4-5 man rush would have gotten the safety the way the line was playing).  Either way, I think the defensive coaches were pretty good throughout.

Overall: C+
A conference road win nice, but not enough for this team.  They need to impress and this was not an impressive win.  Every team needs a gut-check win here or there, so credit to surviving, but there is work to be down.  The positive is great defensive improvement in my opinion, but the regression by the offense is disturbing.  Time to straighten up and prepare for another big road test on Nov. 8th...Yeah yeah, Illinois... I know I know...(just don't care).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Updated Conference Champion and Playoff Predictions - After Week 8

Conference Champions
ACC (Atlantic, Coastal, Champ)
Draper: A: FSU C: Duke Champ:  FSU
Hoying: A: FSU C: Duke Champ: FSU
Schweinfurth: A: FSU C: Duke Champ: FSU
Seeberg: A: FSU C: Duke Champ: FSU

B1G (East, West, Champ)
Draper: E: OSU W: Nebraska Champ:  OSU
Hoying: E: OSU W: Nebraska Champ: OSU
Schweinfurth: E: OSU W: Nebraska Champ: OSU
Seeberg:  E: MSU W: Nebraska Champ: MSU 

Big 12
Draper: TCU
Hoying: TCU
Schweinfurth: TCU
Seeberg:  Kansas State

Pac 12 (North, South, Champ)
Draper: N: Oregon S: USC Champ:  Oregon
Hoying: N: Oregon S: USC Champ: USC
Schweinfurth: N: Oregon S: USC Champ: Oregon
Seeberg: N: Oregon S: USC Champ: Oregon

SEC (East, West, Champ)
Draper:  E: UGA W: Alabama Champ:  Alabama
Hoying: E: UGA W: Ole Miss Champ: Ole Miss
Schweinfurth: E: UGA W: Miss St Champ: Miss St
Seeberg: E: UGA W: Miss St Champ: Miss St

Playoffs (champ in bold)
Draper: FSU, OSU, Bama, Oregon
Hoying: Ole Miss, FSU, OSU, TCU
Schweinfurth: FSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Miss St
Seeberg: FSU, Miss St, MSU, Oregon

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 9 - The Return of Boring

Standings
1) Draper               25-12    (4-4 upset)
1) Seeberg              25-12    (1-7 upset)
3) Hoying               24-13    (3-5 upset)
4) Schweinfurth     22-15    (3-5 upset)

There's no big, sexy game on this week's slate, but there are a few worthy distractions to keep you occupied until the white-out at 8 P.M. (7 Central) Saturday night.

Ole Miss Rebels @ Louisiana State Tigers
Draper: For some reason, I'm thinking this might actually be a game.  LSU has looked terrible most of the year, but I feel Les pulls one out of this butt every year.  I don't think he'll have quite enough to stop Dr. Bo and Mr. Nkemdiche.  Don't get me wrong, Ole Miss is the superior team, but a night game Death Valley gives me a little pause.  Not enough to pull the trigger, but the booger eater makes it close.  Ole Miss: 31--LSU: 28
Hoying: After their coming-out party against the Tide (THE DYNASTY IS NOT OVER) and their follow up win against some overrated Lone Star team, the Rebels suffered a bit of a letdown against SEC Least foe Tennessee...for about 10 minutes. Even after their slow start, Ole Miss still managed to paste the Volunteers, surging past struggling Stanford to claim the title of nation's top defense. What does this mean for LSU? The Tigers posted all of 7 points against Auburn and were sitting on 16 points against Mississippi State until the Bulldogs' bizarre 4th-quarter collapse. LSU can't decide which terrible quarterback to play on any given down (oh where have you gone, Zach WarrenBurger), and good luck trying to run on this Rebel front. Ole Miss completes the Mississippi sweep in Death Valley. Ole Miss: 30--LSU: 17
Schweinfurth: LSU has not looked great this year (It took an injury to one of the nation's rushing leaders to beat Wisconsin among other games).  This team just does not have the snarl and talent it did just a few short years ago.  Ole Miss is riding on a big wave of momentum and has looked good so far.  As long as  horrendous Bo doesn't show up, Ole Miss wins fairly easy. Ole Miss: 35--LSU: 14
Seeberg:  It's remarkable to think just how, at least for this season, the fortunes of these two teams have flip-flopped.  LSU is a huge second-half comeback against Wiscy away from being a 3-loss team while Ole Miss has only had one serious threat all season.  Ole Miss gives up barely 10 points a game, and LSU struggles on the offensive side of the ball, which is clearly a recipe for disaster along the same lines of the OSU-PSU game (see below).  LSU feeds off the night crowd energy early, but can't score enough to stay in it much past halftime.  Ole Miss: 27--LSU: 10

USC Trojans @ Utah Utes
Draper: The Utes have quietly put together a nice little season, albeit living on the edge.  Can they spring the upset at home? Would it be an upset with the sporadic play of the Trojans?  I believe the Trojans are the better team but still in the process of 'finding themselves'.  Utah knows who they are and they're a mid-level football team.  SC opened the floodgates last week letting Kessler sling the ball for a record 7 TDs, but Utah is certainly better than the hapless Buffs.  The road game makes USC a little shaky, but they have the better talent and will pull off the win by a TD--assuming they can stop the Hail Mary this time.  USC: 38--Utah: 31
Hoying: Is USC finally back? Seems like a silly question to ask after a bizarre loss to Boston College and terrible Hail Mary defense against Arizona State, but when you think about the Trojan dynasty from the early 2000's, what comes to mind? Elite QB play, embodied by Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and Mark Sanchez. After a 7 passing TD display against Colorado, Cody Kessler is angling for inclusion on this list (don't laugh, how many of you remember Carson Palmer's junior season?). More questionable is whether a middling USC defense can handle a great Utah rushing attack led by RB Devontae Booker. After all, BC only ran for about 450 YARDS against the Trojan front. In the end, I think Kessler will do enough to make up for what his front seven lacks. Fight on. USC: 31--Utah: 27
Schweinfurth: I really like what Steve Sarkisian has done at USC already.  That offense is tough to stop when they play ahead of the chains and go no-huddle. The defense isn't a slouch either.  They seem to bring guys from every angle and do a very good job confusing QBs.  While Utah will be able to move the ball on the ground, I really think that Sark's offense will be the difference in this game. USC: 24--Utah: 20
Seeberg:  Utah actually has the best win of the two teams, a narrow victory at then-top-10 UCLA.  Unfortunately, they followed with a near-disaster against Oregon State, escaping in double OT.  USC struggles to stop the run- which is what Utah does well- but can score a lot to compensate, and it's difficult to picture the Utes shutting down USC's wide receiving corps.  I think USC makes just enough fixes on D to go on the road and get a suddenly critical conference win.  USC: 35--Utah: 28

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
Draper: I thought OSU was a pretty good team but the faceplant last week didn't help.  WVU is really knocking it up a notch with Clint Trickett (former Nole) flourishing under Larry Fine's (get it? Holgerson looks like Larry from the Stooges! I know this is a sad state of affairs that I need to explain this...) offensive scheme.  The Pokes are REALLY tough to beat in Stillwater, but while their speed may match WVU, their execution does not.  Stickin' with the Mountaineers begrudgingly as I love the Pokes. Expect fireworks. WVU: 41--OSU: 38
Hoying: How about that great Cowboy win against...erm...well...how about their game last wee...uh...they sure played FSU tough a couple months ago, didn't they? Okie State doesn't really do anything well, except post unimpressive victories against total cream puffs. In contrast, West Virginia QB Clint Trickett leads arguably the best pass attack outside of Pullman, Washington, tossing for over 300 yards in each game so far this season. Bafflingly, the Mountaineers also violated school tradition by playing actual defense against a blazing Baylor attack last weekend. This is a clear mismatch, no matter what Vegas tells you.  They have the Pokes favored, but it's garbage, and the oddsmaker who let it come out is garbage! WVU: 34--OSU: 27
Schweinfurth: I don't know if there is a more surprising team to me than West Virginia.  I was impressed by WVU's losses this year if only because they were supposed to get trounced in both. It seems as though Dana Hogerson does know how to coach a defense.  That is a dangerous combo with the offense the Mountaineers roll out there.  Oklahoma State runs a fairly similar offense to Baylor and we all know how that turned out last week.  Mountaineers win and keep proving they are no longer a one trick pony. WVU: 45--OSU: 24
Seeberg:  This game is likely to be close as West Virginia has an annoying habit of playing to the level of their competition, for better or worse (close loss to Bama, close win against Maryland, for instance).  Oklahoma State's usually vaunted offense was completely shut down by a good TCU squad, which may have provided some blueprints for other teams.  WVU isn't as talented on D as TCU- except they gave up a whopping 34 points fewer to Baylor.  The Mountaineers make it closer than they should, but get out of  Stillwater with a win.  WVU: 38--OSU: 34

THE Ohio State University Buckeyes @ Penn State Nittany Lions
Draper: PSU looked...ok...early on, but they have looked like they're steadily getting worse....while the Bucks have improved every week.  Happy Valley is always rocking at night, but the team is certainly not like the PSU teams of old.  Hackenburg is a pretty boy QB, but I haven't seen the jaw-dropping talent to which people continue to refer. After their easy win against Rutgers (I mean, who could have picked Rutgers over PSU....what a dumb pick...), they've taken a dive against NW AT HOME!! and vs. a terrible Michigan team.  The Bucks are on such a high, I just see more of the same.  JT continues to carve up opponents, and, while he'll struggle early getting his bearings on the road in a tough environment, he'll recenter and take care of business.  Look for a BIG day from the defensive line.  Bucks roll. OSU: 42--PSU: 24
Hoying: Ah, Penn State, the Vanderbilt of the B1G East, minus the academics. After a 4-0 start, including a shocking stun of Rutgers in Piscataway, the Nittany Lions have lost to two BAD teams, including a homecoming blowout loss to Northwestern. With no time to throw the ball, Christian Pickenberg has become a total non-factor, and his outlook isn't likely to improve with the new and improved Silver Bullet D coming to Happy Valley. Penn State still has a nominally impressive defense, certainly better than any the Buckeyes have seen since Virginia Tech, but Barrett isn't showing any signs of slowing. My concern: after another 4 TD and 350 yard performance on national TV vaults JT into the Heisman discussion, should Braxton consider transferring? OSU: 45--PSU: 13
Schweinfurth: Can anyone point to an offensive line that acts like a sieve more than Penn State?  If Michigan can set up camp in the Lions backfield, what is Joey Bosa going to do to Hackenberg?  Think about that.  Bosa, Bennett, Washington and company are going to have some fun (are you not entertained!?!) this week.  The only concern I have is the OSU offensive line.  They have looked impressive since the Va Tech game but that has also been inferior competition.  While Penn State does have a statistically good defense, again, it's been against inferior competition.  What does that all mean?  Well, Penn State is going to come out in a Bear/Double Eagle front (duh) and J.T. is going to pick it apart.  This game is gonna get ugly.  I really hope they have a "Hackenberg got crushed" counter this week because he will get rocked over and over and over and over... Oh, yea, I think the 50+ streak ends this week but J.T. FOR HEISMAN!!!! OSU: 48--PSU: 17
Seeberg:  Oh fantastic, another night game in not-so-Happy Valley so the locals have 12 hours to enjoy their favorite adult beverages before filing into Beaver Stadium.  Penn State does boast a very respectable D that has kept them in most games, giving up barely 15 points a game.  Their O, however, is equally unrespectable, scoring just 21 a game.  Even if Hackenberg stays upright (not likely), he doesn't have enough weaponry to cause the Silver Bullets enough troubles.  The raucous crowd and scripted opening plays keep the Lions in it early, but too much Barrett and Co. (let's get Heuerman involved some now that he's healthy please!) makes it another solid win.  OSU: 38--PSU: 13

Upset Special
Draper: Cal over Oregon
Hoying: Washington over Arizona State
Schweinfurth: South Carolina over Auburn (why not hope for absolute chaos)
Seeberg:  Washington State over Arizona (see what I did there, Hoying?)

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)