Wednesday, September 19, 2012

College Football 2012 - Week 3 Recap

Predominant thought:  I thought it would be Oregon to expose it, but I am not a big believer that Lane Kiffin can elevate USC to the level expected.  The Trojans problems along the offensive line were exposed and the Matt Barkley coronation parade has taken a sudden detour.  The Trojans are talented enough to recover with a PAC-12 title, but with depth issues and the aforementioned offensive line problems, maybe we will look back and realize that USC was indeed over-rated to start the season.

3 Quick hits: 
  • Kudos to Utah for recovering and beating a talented BYU team after the tough loss to Utah State.  The victory proves once again what a solid program the Utes are and what a quality addition the PAC-12 made with Utah.
  • The same cannot currently be said about Colorado, who may have hit a all-time low by trailing 55-7 at halftime this week at Fresno State.  Kordell Stewart, where have you gone?
  • Whoever had UCLA, Stanford and Arizona all at 3-0 at this point, please stand up...anyone?  It will be interesting to see where these 3 go from here, especially Arizona who gets another litmus test this week at Oregon.
PAC-12 Reset:
1.  Oregon Ducks (BCS National Title Game)
2.  USC Trojans (Rose Bowl)
3.  UCLA Bruins (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Stanford Cardinal (Holiday Bowl)
5.  Arizona Wildcats (Sun Bowl)
6.  Washington Huskies (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)
7.  Arizona State Sun Devils (Las Vegas Bowl)
8.  Utah Utes (New Mexico Bowl)
9.  Washington State Cougars
10. California Golden Bears
11. Oregon State Beavers
99. Colorado Buffaloes

Big 10
Predominant thought:  After one more week of non-conference games, saddle up for one of the most wide-open conference races of 2012.  Every team has flaws, and potentially the best team is ineligible for post-season.  Can Michigan State and Wisconsin improve on offense?  Can Nebraska and Michigan improve on defense?  How good are Northwestern, Purdue and Minnesota?  Tune in for answers to these questions...

3 Quick hits:
  • Congrats to the current Penn State regime for getting their first win of 2012.  It is still going to be a long season in Happy Valley, probably a long 4-6 years.
  • Minnesota is sporting an impressive 3-0 start, but now must sweat out an injury to quarterback MarQueis Gray.  They survived Western Michigan without him, but the schedule gets tough now.  I am still tentatively moving the Gophers into a Bowl slot this week.
  • All of this non-conference mediocrity almost assures the Big 10 of one BCS bid.
Big 10 Reset:
1.  Ohio State Buckeyes (Probation Bowl)
2.  Michigan Wolverines (Rose Bowl)
3.  Michigan State Spartans (Capital One Bowl)
4.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (Outback Bowl)
5.  Wisconsin Badgers (Gator Bowl)
6.  Northwestern Wildcats (Texas Bowl)
7.  Purdue Boilermakers (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
8.  Iowa Hawkeyes (TicketCity Bowl)
9.  Minnesota Golden Gophers (Little Caesars Bowl)
10. Illinois Fighting Illini
11. Penn State Nittany Lions
12. Indiana Hoosiers

Predominant thought:  If you think your season went bad USC fan, try being an Arkansas fan.  In reality, the defense was never in place even if the bevy of offensive talent was hitting on all cylinders and its former mastermind hadn't gone off-road.  The Razorbacks were definitely over-rated and sometimes we get caught up in all other offensive hoopla and forget defense is still necessary too, myself included.

3 Quick hits:
  • Is that an offense we see developing in Gainesville?  If it is, Florida becomes a dangerous team in the SEC East.
  • Ryan who?  Texas A&M looks to have found their heir apparent in Johnny Manziel, who is adding a dual pass/run threat to the offense that Mr. Tannehill did not have.  With Kevin Sumlin at the controls, Manziel will be fun to watch.
  • Speaking of dangerous teams...with all the issues South Carolina keeps having at quarterback, the team continues to chug along below the radar.  The spotlight will come as the SEC games begin, but the ol' ball coach has his team right where he wants them, except maybe health at quarterback.
SEC Reset:
1.  Georgia Bulldogs (BCS National Title Game)
2.  Alabama Crimson Tide (Sugar Bowl)
3.  LSU Tigers(Capital One Bowl)
4.  South Carolina Gamecocks (Cotton Bowl)
5.  Florida Gators (Outback Bowl)
6.  Tennessee Volunteers (Gator Bowl)
7.  Texas A&M Aggies (Chick Fil-A Bowl)
8.  Mississippi State Bulldogs (BBVA Compass Bowl)
9.  Arkansas Razorbacks (Music City Bowl)
10. Missouri Tigers (Liberty Bowl)
11. Vanderbilt Commodores (Independence Bowl)
12. Auburn Tigers
13. Ole Miss Rebels
14. Kentucky Wildcats

Big 12
Predominant thought:  If nobody figures out West Virginia's offense, the Mountaineers are going to have a say in the National Championship race.  Through two games, Geno Smith is 66-75 passing, an 88% completion rate.  I don't care what the competition is, that is absurd.  The team has racked up 1,224 yards in two games.  Dana Holgerson is an offensive guru and this offense has taken off starting with last year's Orange Bowl.
3 Quick hits:
  • RGIII is gone, but Baylor is not far behind West Virginia with 1,157 yards offense in two games.  Nick Florence has stepped in and looked very good and the other new offensive skill players have stepped in seamlessly as well.
  • Oklahoma State can feel slighted that there 2,060 yards through 3 games got 3rd billing, but they lost a game.  Still, that is 687 yards per game, 75 more than West Virginia's total. 
  • Finally, Texas Tech is rolling it up at 598 yards per game and I might be warming up to the fact that this team can win 3 Big 12 games, but not yet.
Big 12 Reset:
1.  West Virginia Mountaineers (Sugar Bowl)
2.  Oklahoma Sooners (Fiesta Bowl)
3.  Kansas State Wildcats (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Texas Longhorns (Cotton Bowl)
5.  TCU Horned Frogs (Holiday Bowl)
6.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
7.  Baylor Bears (Texas Bowl)
8.  Texas Tech Red Raiders
9.  Iowa State Cyclones
10. Kansas Jayhawks
(currently not filling the Pinstripe Bowl slot)

Predominant thought:  It is too bad the Clemson/Florida State game happens so early in the season, but at least both teams appear to hitting on all cylinders.  The winner is the clear favorite in the ACC and will have some national say for a while.  The divide between these two and the rest of the ACC grows week by week.
3 Quick hits:
  • Virginia Tech, I didn't see that one coming.  The surprise was the defensive effort out of a unit touted amongst the nation's best.  Where the Hokies go from here I am not sure, as they should have lost the opener to Georgia Tech.  That win over Tech keeps them as Coastal Division favorites for the time being.
  • Georgia Tech really wants the last minute of regulation back in the Va Tech game, because after their dismantling of Virginia, Georgia Tech would have had a clear path to the Coastal Division title.
  • Wake Forest is going to be a tough one to figure all year long.  They were outclassed by Florida State, but losing 52-0 to team you defeated a year ago is not good.  They need to bounce back with some easier games to continue the bowl-eligibility path.
ACC Reset
1.  Florida State Seminoles (Orange Bowl)
2.  Clemson Tigers (Fiesta Bowl)
3.  Virginia Tech Hokies (Chick Fil-a Bowl)
4.  North Carolina State Wolfpack (Russell Athletic Bowl)
5.  Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (Belk Bowl)
6.  Virginia Cavaliers (Sun Bowl)
7.  Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Music City Bowl)
8.  North Carolina Tar Heels (Probation Bowl)
9.  Miami Hurricanes
10. Maryland Terrapins
11. Duke Blue Devils
12. Boston College Eagles
(currently not filling Independence Bowl or Military Bowl slots)

Big East
Predominant thought:  Leave it to a maligned Pittsburgh team to get the biggest non-conference win for the Big East this season.  The Panthers rebounded and may be stabilizing the ship.  Pitt has talent galore at the running back and can get after the quarterback as well.  Probably a team you would rather play sooner than later on your Big East schedule (chalk one up for Cincinnati).
3 Quick hits:
  • If you want a sure thing, bet against South Florida to lose on a Thursday night.  The Bulls are now 0-9 in such games since joining the Big East conference.
  • I didn't see what happened to Louisville in the 2nd half Saturday, but it should be a lesson on closing out games for the Cardinals.
  • Right now, I have the Pitt at UConn game winner taking the 5th Big East bowl slot after both teams notched key victories this week.
Big East Reset:
1.  Rutgers Scarlett Knights (Orange Bowl)
2.  Louisville Cardinals (BBVA Compass Bowl)
3.  Cincinnati Bearcats (Pinstripe Bowl)
4.  South Florida Bulls (Russell Athletic Bowl)
5.  Pittsburgh Panthers (Beef O'Brady's Bowl)
6.  Connecticut Huskies
7.  Syracuse Orange
8.  Temple Owls

Other Conferences/Independents
Predominant thought:  Notre Dame looks good, their future looks good with the new ACC deal, their schedule looks less daunting.  2012 is being kind to the Irish.  They are knocking on the door of the BCS.  If they beat Michigan I will let them in that door.
3 Quick hits:
  • Kudos to the Warhawks.  While I picked Louisiana-Monroe to win the Sun Belt and cover last week against Arkansas, I did not see that upset coming.  This is a really solid team that should give Auburn everything they can handle this week. 
  • Raise your hand if you have any clue who is going to win Conference-USA this year.  After all the quarterback losses to graduation, this conference appears as unpredictable as ever this season.  The conference is also off to a 6-16 start, which does not bode well for bowl-eligibility slots either, especially with one team (UCF) already out of the mix.
  • Name the three conferences where every team has at least one win...The ACC and the Big 12 are the first two answers.  The 3rd is the Sun Belt Conference, often maligned as the worst of the FBS conferences.
Other Conferences/Independents Reset:
1.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Belk Bowl)
2.  Ohio Bobcats (Little Caesars Bowl)
3.  BYU Cougars (Poinsettia Bowl)
4.  Boise State Broncos (Las Vegas Bowl)
5.  Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
6.  Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (New Orleans Bowl)
7.  Utah State Aggies (Kraft Fight Hunger**)
8.  Nevada Wolfpack (Poinsettia Bowl)
9.  Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Liberty Bowl)
10. Northern Illinois Huskies ( Bowl)

Other Projected Bowl Eligible Teams:
SMU Mustangs (TicketCity Bowl)
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (New Orleans Bowl)
Marshall Thundering Herd (Hawaii Bowl)
East Carolina Pirates (Beef O'Brady's Bowl)
Western Michigan Broncos (Military Bowl**)
Toledo Rockets (Pinstripe Bowl**)
Bowling Green Falcons (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
Fresno State Bulldogs (Hawaii Bowl)
San Diego State Aztecs (New Mexico Bowl)
Air Force Falcons (Armed Forces Bowl)
Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns ( Bowl)
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Independence Bowl**)
Arkansas State Redhawks (Armed Forces Bowl**)
San Jose State Spartans (Military Bowl**)

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