Week 8 College Football Preview

By: Will Johnson

Close Call in Chapel Hill

The ranked games started last night with Miami (5-0) taking on North Carolina (1-4) with the game a lot closer than expected. Miami had been starting to pick up speed in the Coaches and AP rankings and it appeared that they were going to make a statement last night in Chapel Hill. However that was not the case as, UNC used their passing game to dice up the Hurricane secondary. Bryn Renner threw for 297 and a score, while TE Eric Ebron had a career night catching 8 passes for 199 yards and a TD. The Tar Heels were aided by Miami quarterback Stephen Morris throwing four interceptions. But, down by 10 early in the fourth quarter, Dallas Crawford, a redshirt sophomore who replaced the Hurricane’s injured leading rusher Duke Johnson early in the game, lead the Hurricanes back by scoring twice in the final 12 minutes including a three yard score with 16 seconds left. The victory moved Miami to 2-0 in conference play and one step closer to appearing in the ACC Championship game. However, if the Hurricanes want to challenge the winner of the Atlantic Division (mostly likely either Florida St. or Clemson), they will really need to revamp their passing attack. Throwing four interceptions is no way to beat any top tier team.

TE Eric Ebron Courtesy of Bleacher Report
TE Eric Ebron
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Game of the Week

This week’s Game of the Week is none other than Florida St. vs. Clemson. It pits two of the top teams in the country and the loser will likely have no hope off playing for the National Championship. It also has the top two offenses and top two defenses in the conference. Clemson has Senior Tahj Boyd at the helm who has thrown for more than 1700 yards this year and a big offensive showing would greatly improve his draft stock. Florida St. will counter with Freshman Jameis Winston who has taken the Seminole Nation by storm. Do not be surprised if this game goes into the high 40s and be decided by a late game winning drive by one of the two quarterbacks. I think that Clemson has too much offensive firepower and too much experience for Florida St. and will remain undefeated with a 52-45 victory.

Senior QB Tajh Boyd Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Senior QB Tajh Boyd
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Other Must Watches

UCLA – Stanford

After a shocking loss last week versus Utah, Stanford will look to rebound against a very tough UCLA team. If they have any chance of winning they will have to out physical the Southern Californian team with their senior running back, Tyler Gaffney (570 yards and 7 TDs), and their stout defense. However, Brett Hundley has so far built off of a great freshman year by so far passing for 1469 yards and 12 TDs. In my opinion he is one of the best quarterback prospects in the nation and has the tools to take out any team in the nation. Hundley and the Bruins will be too much for the Cardinals and will win in a grinder 23-17.

USC – Notre Dame

Despite the fact that both teams are having off years, this is a very historic rivalry (ND leads 44 – 35 with 5 ties) and always makes for exciting television. Notre Dame will be looking to build off a big win last week against Arizona St., while the Trojans will look to rewrite their season after firing Head Coach Lane Kiffin two weeks ago. Both teams have had inexperienced quarterbacks this year as Cody Kessler (1128 yrds. and 8 TDs) and Tommy Rees (1494 and 13) have had a hard time replacing Matt Barkley and Evert Golson respectively. Look for Notre Dame to claim their second consecutive victory over USC with a 20 – 10 victory.

RANKED TEAM WHO MIGHT BE UPSET BUT WON’T

Ole Miss pushed a very good Texas A&M last week and this week will look to upset fellow SEC member LSU. However, LSU might be developing into one of the best teams in the country with the emergence of senior quarterback, Zack Mettenburger. Look for LSU to eke out a 45 – 35 victory.

RANKED TEAM WHO SHOULD NOT GET UPSET BUT WILL

South Carolina may be the 11th best team in the country, but they sure have not played like it. They had three very close victories over below average teams before blowing out Arkansas last week. Steve Spurrier has not gotten enough out of senior quarterback, Connor Shaw, and the unanimous preseason number one overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney has not lived up the expectations (2 sacks and 13 tackles). Meanwhile, Tennessee has begun rebuilding their program under the helm of Head Coach Butch Jones. Look for Butch Jones to claim his first Top 25 victory this week in Knoxville.

DE Jadeveon Clowney has underperformed significantly this season Courtesy of USA Today
DE Jadeveon Clowney has underperformed significantly this season
Courtesy of USA Today

Predictions for Rest of Top 25

Alabama (#1) over Arkansas 48 – 10

Oregon (#2) over Washington St. 66-6

Ohio St. (#4) over Iowa 31 – 13

Texas A&M (#7) over Auburn (#24) 41 – 31

Louisville (#8) over UCF 24 – 13

Baylor (#12) over Iowa St. 69 – 28

Florida (# 22) over Missouri (#14) 17 – 14

Georgia (#15) over Vanderbilt 45 – 20

Texas Tech (#16) over West Virginia 38 – 16

Fresno St. (#17) over UNLV 52 – 41

Oklahoma (#18) over Kansas 27 – 21

Washington (#20) over Arizona St. 48 – 38

Oklahoma St. (#21) over TCU 35 – 13

Northern Illinois (#23) over Central Michigan 34 – 20

Wisconsin (#25) over Illinois 38 – 6

f Courtesy of College Gameday
David Pollack
Courtesy of College Gameday

Response to David Pollack’s Sexist Remark

Last week during a live College Gameday Broadcast, David Pollack implied that women should be left off the College Football Playoff Committee in response to former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, being named to the committee. While I disagree with the exclusion of women off the committee, Pollack does make a very good point; you should have some football experience before being named to this committee. I would be perfectly fine with the inclusion of Erin Andrews or Rachel Nichols, however someone like Condoleezza Rice would not offer anything constructive to the committee. While I am disappointed with Pollack’s choice of words, this committee will be deciding the fate of college football and has no place for people who have no football experience.

Condoleezza Rice Courtesy of CNN
Condoleezza Rice
Courtesy of CNN

Myles Garrett Commits to Texas A&M

Myles Garrett (Sr. Arlington, TX) committed to Texas A&M today over Alabama, Ohio St., TCU, and Florida St. He is the #7 recruit in the nation according to ESPN and #42 for Rivals.com. This is a big get for Texas A&M and it shows how Texas A&M is now one of the biggest football powerhouses in the country after joining this year. Look for Head Coach, Kevin Sumlin, to build of this recruiting momentum and go for other top recruits like Speedy Noils (New Orleans, LA). So far this year, Garrett has 15 sacks, 43 tackles (31 solo), 23 tackles for losses, 13 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.

Myles Garrett Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
Myles Garrett
Courtesy of Rivals

Takeaways from week 5 in the NFL

By: Jon

New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears: Saints won 26-18

New Orleans: The New Favorite in the NFC

After a disastrous year where they lost their coach for the season and finished 7-9 (started 0-4), the Saints look like one of the best teams in football and are one of the 3 teams who have yet to lose. The Saints offense has maintained its dominance during the first few weeks of the season. The Saints have averaged the fourth most points and the seventh most yards in the league.  Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham is one of the best wide receiver-quarterback combinations in the NFL. However, the Saints biggest difference from last season is their defense. Last season, the Saints defense was horrible and that is an understatement. The Saints allowed the most yards in NFL history and the second most points per game in the league, last season. However, the addition of Rob Ryan has added swagger and confidence to the Saints’ defense. This year, they are top six in both yards and points per game. If the Saints can earn home field advantage in the playoffs, they will be the favorite to reach the Super Bowl, since the Seahawks are not the same team on the road.

Chicago: They need to run more often

Although the NFL’s rules favor the passing game, a quality running can be extremely effective. During the Bears’ victories, they have averaged about 28 rushes per game. However, they only rushed the ball about 16 times in their last two losses. When the Bears can run the ball effectively, Jay Cutler will not have to force passes, which frequently results in interceptions. Forte’s running helps the play action passing game, which allows Marshall and Jeffery to find seems in the defense. Also, the Bears are able to eat a lot of clock on offense. This enables the defense to remain fresh and record turnovers. Also, it reduces the amount of drives for the opposing offense. The Bears have one of the best rushers in the league, which improves their opportunity of succeeding and scoring points.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots: Bengals won 13-6

Cincinnati: The Bengals are becoming the old Ravens and Steelers

Unlike the Steelers and Ravens, the Bengals have developed their team around their defense. Even though the Bengals have played Super Bowl winning quarterbacks like Brady, Rodgers, and Roethlisberger, they are ranked 10th in points and 13th in yards allowed per game. The Bengals have the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and force turnovers. For the first time in 52 games, Tom Brady did not record a passing touchdown. The Bengals were able to stop Brady from succeeding because they sacked Brady four times and turned the Patriots over 2 times. Although the Bengals do not have a dynamic offense, they control the time of possession and play physical football. The Bengals looked primed to win the division and reach the playoffs.

New England: Brady desperately needs Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots wide receivers have been horrible this season. The Patriots have recorded only 250 passing yards per game, which is 16th in the league. Last season, the Patriots ranked first in yards per game and passing yards per game. The decrease in passing yards can be attributed to the loss of wide receivers. The Patriots no longer have Hernandez, Lloyd, and Welker. They have been replaced by rookies and unexperienced players, Kembrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, and Amendola. These players have been incredibly inconsistent, dropped a lot of balls, and completely frustrated Tom Brady. When Gronk returns, Brady will finally have a play maker that can win one on one matchups and score touchdowns. Gronk has been one of the best offensive players when he is on the field. Gronk and Brady can resemble the success that Brees and Graham have achieved during the first few weeks. Expect the Patriots to score more points, when Gronk finally returns from injury.

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions: Packers won 22-9

Green Bay: They need to score touchdowns more frequently

After a disappointing game against the Bengals, the Packers rebounded with a big win against the Detroit Lions. However, the Packers kick 5 field goals and only one touchdown during their game. This trend of field goals instead of touchdowns has been happening for the last few games. In their game against the Bengals, the Packers scored three field goals and only two offensive touchdowns. In the future, the Packers must improve their red zone efficiency if they want to beat quality teams in the playoffs. Luckily they have one of the best quarterbacks in the league so I have faith that this will change for the Pack.

Detroit: Detroit’s offense desperately needs Johnson to return

Calvin Johnson is one of the best wide receivers in football because of his skill and size. Johnson has the ability to rack up major yardage and score touchdowns while drawing double teams. However, Johnson greatest ability is that he makes his fellow wide outs open and consistently bails out Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately for the Lions, the loss of Johnson negatively affected their whole offense. If the Lions are going to return to being dynamic, the Lions must put Johnson back on the field.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans: Chiefs won 26-17

Kansas City: The Chiefs look legit

Although the Chiefs did not play their best football, they found a way to win the game against a quality Titans team on the road. The Chiefs have a lot of skill and intelligence, which make the Chiefs a scary team to play. The Chiefs have a good offensive attack lead by Smith and Charles, while their defense is suffocating and frequently turnover their opponents. The Chiefs also have one of the best home field advantages in the league so they should go into their game against the Broncos at 10-0 or 9-1. Expect the Chiefs to make noise this year in the AFC and possibly win a playoff game, if they can achieve home field advantage.

Tennessee: Chris Johnson looks like a shell of his former self

This season, Johnson has been absolutely horrible and he is starting to lose playing time. A few years ago, Johnson was one of the most dynamic and effective players in the league as he rushed for over 2000 yards. This year, he has rushed for under 300 yards and has averaged 3.1 yards per carry, which is 1.5 yards less than his career average. Johnson’s carries have diminished during every game of the season because of the success of Jackie Battle. Without Locker, Johnson must step up and carry the offense on his back in order for them to score and win.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks: Colts won 34-28

Indianapolis: Will win the AFC South

Since their bad loss to the Dolphins at home in week 2, the Colts have looked like the best team in football. During this three game stretch, the Colts have defeated the 49ers, Jaguars, and the Seahawks. The Colts have been great over the last three games because they have played great defense and have not turned over the ball. With a dynamic offense, including Luck and Richardson, and a stud defense, the Colts should win  the AFC South and at least one playoff game. Although Luck does not post gaudy numbers, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and continues to improve every week.

Seattle: They are not the same team on the road

After looking like the NFC favorite for the first four weeks, the Seahawks dropped their first game of the season. When the team plays on the road, their average win margin is only 4 points per game while at home they have won by a margin of 27 points. The Seahawks must achieve home field advantage if they are going to make the Super Bowl and meet their huge expectations that were laid out at the beginning of the season. Russell Wilson continues to improve, which will be pivotal when they face Brees and Rodgers.