The Sugar Bowl has always been the major post-season destination of the SEC, and only once did the bowl play two teams that didn’t include the SEC from 1950-1995. That tradition continues today, and the Sugar Bowl has established themselves as the SEC vs. Big 12 match-up starting in 2015, ostensibly to rival the Rose Bowl’s B1G vs. PAC-12.
Even though the week featured many blowouts and easy wins, this week’s Top 25 has many changes to it from the previous week. Two teams dropped out of the polls, including a Top 10 team disappearing from the nation’s top teams. This week’s action also only featured one loss to any of the current Top 25 teams (it would have been two if Colorado decided to get off the plane in Kansas). The upcoming week only features one Top 25 matchup when (6) Florida travels to (8) Arizona but does feature some possible upset alerts (We’re looking at you Purdue and West Virginia).
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (9-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/8 Central Connecticut State, W 100-69
Upcoming: 12/15 Butler
Indiana cruised to a victory over Central Connecticut State but this week’s Butler team will be a tougher challenge for the Hoosiers
2. Duke (9-0) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/8 Temple, W 90-67
Upcoming: No Games This Week
The Blue Devils didn’t have any let downs after an emotional win against Ohio State in walloping Temple. This week they look to rest a little bit with an off week
3. Michigan (9-0) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 12/4 Western Michigan, W 73-41 & 12/8 Arkansas, W 80-67
Upcoming: 12/11 Binghamton & 12/15 @West Virginia
The Wolverines were challenged from time by Arkansas but pulled away in the end to defeat the Razorbacks. They travel to Morgantown to meet upset-minded West Virginia.
4. Syracuse (8-0) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/3 Eastern Michigan, W 84-48 & 12/6 Long Beach State, W 84-53 & 12/8 Monmouth, W 108-56
Upcoming: 12/15 Canisius
Syracuse continues the cream puff part of their schedule as Jim Boeheim works toward becoming the third coach in history with 900 wins.
5. Louisville (8-1) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/4 @Charleston, W 80-38 & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City, W 99-47
Upcoming: 12/15 @Memphis
Not much to speak of with Louisville either, as they breezed past their two opponents this past week and Memphis probably won’t be much different.
6. Florida (7-0) Previous Rank: 7 Read More
This past week featured some prime time match-ups. It also gave us the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big East/SEC Challenge. A major top ten power player loses major ground and the “Mid-Majors” tried to hold their own. This week the Top 25 takes a lighter schedule in hopes to regroup after the previous week’s battle scars. Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (8-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 11/27 North Carolina, W 83-59 & 12/1 Coppin State, W 87-51
Upcoming: 12/8 Central Connecticut State
The Hoosiers are coming off a big win against the Tar Heels in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They look to continue their undefeated season as heavy favorites against Central Connecticut State
2. Duke (8-0) Previous Rank: 5
Past Week: 11/28 Ohio State, W 73-68 & 12/1 Delaware, 88-50
Upcoming: 12/8 Temple
Duke battled back in the second half to knock of Ohio State at Cameron Indoor. Neither team played exceptionally well but in the end the Cameron Crazies left happy.
3. Michigan (7-0) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 11/27 (18) N.C. State, W 79-72 & 12/1 Bradley, W 74-66
Upcoming: 12/4 Western Michigan & 12/8 Arkansas
In another intriguing Big Ten/ACC Challenge match up the Wolverines knocked off the Wolf Pack to hand N.C. State their second loss on the season.
4. Ohio State (5-1) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 11/28 @ (2) Duke, L 68-73 & 12/1 Northern Kentucky, W 70-43
Upcoming: 12/8 Long Beach State
The Buckeyes couldn’t overcome a poor night of shooting in their loss to Duke but followed up the loss with a commanding win over Northern Kentucky.
5. Louisville (6-1) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/1 Illinois State, W 69-66
Upcoming: 12/4 @Charleston & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City
Coming off a loss to Duke the Cardinals looked to punish Illinois State, instead they had to survive a scare to improve to 6-1. Read More
Oh, college football… How I love you!!
Well, that happened.
While a lot of people were saying that Alabama was ripe for a loss against a Texas A&M team that’s been playing really well over the past few weeks, most of this felt like lip service. You know, the kind of things that ESPN makes one person say on the Gameday set in order to appear unbiased.
And then- “Johnny Football”.
There are a lot of reasons why Alabama lost- coming off of an emotional win on the road in Death Valley, LSU’s offense showed a lot of people the issues that the Tide have in their secondary, Saban’s fear of the high speed offense is based on his knowledge of his team’s weaknesses; but the fact of the matter is that the Aggies outplayed Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, in several key areas of the game.
The Crimson Tide defensive front was stifled, for the most part, by the aTm offensive tackles. Combined with concerns about a quarterback’s mobility, the Tide were not able to mount the type of disruptive pressure that they are so used to.
Alabama’s offense made key mistakes and turnovers, and seemed out of rhythm all night long. The three turnovers didn’t help, particularly when the Tide defense couldn’t get any of their own… and the mental errors were even more egregious. On the final interception, it seems to me that the receiver on the end of the line of scrimmage did a poor job getting depth in the end zone, making it easy for defenders to cover both him and the primary target. In addition, with Bama’s defense stiffening and forcing a punt, to have a member of their punt return/block team create a neutral zone infraction for an automatic first down is an aggressive penalty, but one that is terrible to have happen in that circumstance. Again, the intensity was there for the student in question, but the lack of focus eventually cost them a final chance at victory.
But we can’t miss the point here- this game was won by Johnny Manziel’s continual ability to make plays and put the Tide defense on their heels.
After the third week in a row with this type of performance (Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State), the redshirt freshman has lifted himself into Heisman candidacy- and for good reason. Given the lack of a clear “star” this year, given Matt Barkley’s struggles, the game this weekend was his “Flutie to Phelan” moment; outstanding performance in high profile opportunity. I’ll leave the debate to others, but will certainly enjoy watching the electricity that all of these candidates provide.
Even if he doesn’t win this year, you’ve got to think that next year’s Heisman race is going to be something spectacular- Braxton Miller, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Everett Gholston, Tahj Boyd, DeAnthony Thomas… and those are just the ones I’ve got off the top of my head.
(And since I’m on the topic, I think that Marquis Lee needs to be included in this year’s debate. But that’s just me).
Does this loss end the run of SEC titles in the final year of the BCS? Well, not exactly… more on this in a bit.
Monday’s melange of morning mayhem looks back at an amazing weekend of college football… Just promise to wait until the end of the article to rush the field, OK? Given the news on Campus from Sunday Night, here’s your soundtrack for our special time together.
It was a great weekend to be an Angry Bird, particularly if you were a Cardinal. Let’s start in Palo Alto.
In what’s become an annual tradition, a highly ranked Southern Cal team derped a game that many expected them to win. While it seemed to have always been the Beavers of Oregon State under the previous administration, the past four years have found a Cardinal thorn in the Trojans’ armor… as unbelievable as it is, September Heisman candidate Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford in his career. The nice thing, though, is that Chad Henne and Mike Hart have a great support group that will welcome him with open arms.
Saturday we saw the real “teeth” of the NCAA’s sanctions for all things Reggie Bush-esque: While the Bowl Ban was significant in terms of financial benefits and being able to compete for make believe championships and other post-season swag, the real kick of what the folks in Indianapolis handed to Southern Cal as a parting gift is the inability to field a full squad of 85 for the coming several seasons- which creates issues at depth when the offensive line gets banged up (as it did in Palo Alto). Granted, Barkley still is incredibly talented and has amazing weapons- however, without the time to find them it’s essentially a moot point. And once he’s gone, well… we may just get to see how good of a coach the man is, as a number of folks could be successful with the talent depth that they experienced over the past decade. Read More
Sure, there’s games on Monday, but the weekend has been so amazing that we just couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle for our reflections on the games of note. Plus, are we really all that excited about a game that’s all technical and stuff? I thought not. Obvious choice for this week’s soundtrack… happy Labor Day.
Whew… I’ve got to admit, I should have been working out with Coach Mick during the offseason. Saturday found me trying to knock the rust off of my college football regimen, although I can definitely say that I was well hydrated. I’m guessing that’s what happened during the livechat- I hadn’t prepared enough, and brought the jinxation. You can breathe a sigh of relief, though- when I caught the replay on Sunday, my presence made no difference in the outcome… Baby steps, right?
From the looks of things, a number of teams were still in “preseason” form, and didn’t have their moves down pat just yet. For instance, while I’m sure that Dabo Swinney’s mom is sure proud of him for leading his fellers to victory over North Carolina State, she certainly couldn’t have been too excited that his first steps leading the team onto the turf ended up in a faceplant. That, combined with this excellent display of exuberance are enough to remind Volunteer fans that their team still has some work to do. Which is good… no one likes to peak during the first weekend of games- well, no one outside of the B1G, that is (more later).
Some of the butterflies were even evident in the Southern Idaho State University trip to East Lansing. Sure, the B1G represented well, as Michigan State showed many why they are a favorite for the conference title… but the game turned out to be “off-script” for both teams. For instance, no matter how hard they tried, Rob Harley’s new squadron couldn’t “Sparty” the game away. Shocker. Oh, and SISU broke their streak of beating out of conference teams when they have a ridiculously long time to prepare… effectively ending their bid at a BCS bowl until they join a legitimate BCS conference in the Big Eas…. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t bring myself to type that. The game also gave us a pretty amazing interception- as always, Tim Burke has ALL the great screencaps and stuff from the weekend’s events.
Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Notre Dame pounding the living stuffing out of Navy in their game in the Emerald Isle… Brian Kelly, why you no like America? And then, your boys let this happen?
Man, back in my day, we fought revolutions for less <adjusts tricorner cap>. Read More
It’s here! Week one of the college football season is upon us and it’s time for tBBC College Pick-Em Challenge and my few thoughts on some of the games I picked. I am usually a perfectionist and like to do a lot of research about teams before making an educated guess, but today I am against a deadline and will go with my gut instincts on these. Let’s get started with the top match-up of the very young season. Follow this link to sign up for our pick-em and enjoy the season!
#13 Michigan St. v. #24 Boise St. – Coach Chris Petersen is one of the better coaches in the country and has had the Bronco’s on the cusp of greatness. He’s turned down some overtures from top programs to stick with what he has built and has an opportunity to pull off a shocker in East Lansing this Friday night. He’s got some talent on his high-powered offense that can crack MSU. It’s not going to happen though as this Sparty team possesses one of the best defenses in the country and are coached by one of my favorites in Mark Dantonio. This wont be a season where Sparty is, well . . , Sparty. MSU 21 – 7
#2 Alabama v. #8 TTUN – Denard Robinson and TTUN have an opportunity this weekend to send a message to the rest of the country that Wolverweenie football is truly back. The problem with that task is that they are playing the team that won the BCS Title last season and may be just as good this season. Alabama will be on a mission this year and they may have a shot at playing for the title outside of the SEC as USC appears to be the favorite. TTUN will put up a good fight this weekend and gain some respect for the B1G but they wont last against a very talented and well coached Crimson Tide. Alabama 21 – 10 Read More
I was recently asked to do a conference preview of the Big East for the upcoming season. Go ahead and laugh. We drew straws, and I got the shortest one, so here I am, writing about the Big East, a conference that only has eight teams competing in football. I know this conference’s football doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement, but hey, you never know, Louisville could come out and win a national title for all we know (doubt it). So now, with all jokes aside, I give you our Big East football preview.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings – how likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
With the departure of West Virginia, Louisville is the cream of the crop in this conference. They are currently the only team ranked in the AP Top 25, and the conference has no ranked teams in the USA Today Poll. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 campaign where they went 7-6. Yes, the strongest team in the conference was 7-6 last year, so that should tell you a lot about how the conference compares to others nationally.
Behind Louisville, the next best team is likely Cincinnati, a team that went 10-3 last year, but the Bearcats lost some key players on offense, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead. Past those two teams, it’s Pittsburgh and everybody else. Expect Louisville to get the at-large automatic BCS Bowl bid come bowl season.
In terms of conference strength, I’m going to be blunt. It’s the weakest BCS conference. Put these teams up against any of the other power conferences, and it makes for an ugly comparison… there just isn’t any other way to put it.
Who is the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game (if there is one)? Read More