This Week in College Football [TWCIF #8} – The University of Michigan has an enormous fan base, one of the richest in college sports (which includes yours truly for over 30 years), but it also drives some of us crazy when you see the potential for a memorable season slip away because the coaches got conservative and left the deciding outcome on the foot of their field goal kicker. Well the results speak for themselves, a 4OT loss to Penn State.
The Wolverines fought back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to go ahead by 10 late in the fourth quarter, 34-24, only to be cautious and let Penn State back into the game and tie it late, 34-34 and send the game into overtime. Head Coach Brady Hoke decided to work for field position and run the ball after the Nittany Lions missed their field goal in the 1st OT and after the fumble in the 3rd OT only to miss the FG (the first was blocked, the second was wide), after they found having Devin Gardner either run or throw the ball was working and got them back into the game. Why deviate from this scheme?
That is a question for Hoke and OC Al Borges. Gardner is the wild card. The turnovers are hurting his confidence and Michigan may want to find a way to get Freshman QB Shane Morris into some action, just in case Gardner goes down, or continues with the turnovers. If I was garner, I would have asked to stay at WR. He is tall, fast and will most likely play there at the next level.
They need to get things back on track this week, as Indiana defeated PSU the week before. Even in the Big House, don’t sleep on them, or they will lose two in a row.
1. Alabama – The Tide started slow vs. Kentucky in the 1st quarter, but won handily 48-7. They should not have any problem with Arkansas. Tide by 25-30 points at home.
2. Oregon – So much for the Ducks being tested as they won going away from the Huskies 45-24 ( I said they would win by 21 points so got one finally on the nose) This is the last before the two week test vs. UCLA at home and on the road at Stanford. Ducks keep cruising by 28 points
3. Clemson – The Tigers almost got caught looking ahead to Florida State game, but beat Boston College by 10 in the second half. They face the biggest test of the season and with a win they are in the BCS Championship picture with Alabama and Oregon, leaving others behind. Get ready as Clemson will win this by 7 points in a high scoring affair.
4. Ohio State – The Buckeyes had the week off and now have Iowa coming to Columbus. The Hawkeyes will push OSU for a half, but the Buckeyes win this in the second half by 17 points.
5. Florida State – Florida state was off this past week, and now have their one main test of the season and travel to Death valley to play Clemson in the game of the week. This will be a high scoring game, but in the end the Tigers will have too much offense and win by 7 in the end.
6. LSU – The Tigers have worked hard all season losing to just Georgia, as they beat Florida in a defensive struggle. Now they have two weeks before the big match up with the Crimson Tide. They handle Ole Miss by at least 24 points.
7. Texas A&M – The Aggies survived Ole Miss in a game they did not think would be that difficult by coming back being down 7 in the fourth and won it as time expired with a late FG. Now they play host to #24 Auburn. They had better find a way to stop the other team or Johnny Manziel is going to have to pull another Houdini act to keep the Aggies in the hunt. Aggies win by 7.
8. Louisville – The Cardinals beat a game Rutgers team 24-10 behind two TD from QB Teddy Bridgewater and a solid defense. This week they host a 4-1 UCF Knight team. They should win this, but they will need their Heisman hopeful to keep playing at this level to stay undefeated and in the hunt. Cardinals win by 10 points, but don’t be surprised if they lose this one.
9. UCLA – The Bruins easily beat Cal this past week, which they needed as they now get their two week road test first this week against a very angry Stanford team that lost, then travel to Oregon. The Cardinal will make up for last week’s loss and beat UCLA at home by 3 points in a nail biter,
10. Miami, FL – The new team to the Top 10 were off last week and travel to Chapel Hill, NC and play an underperforming Tar Heel team. The Hurricanes should win this easily, by at least three TDs. Tarheel HC Larry Fedora had better start updating his resume if they don’t start winning.
1. Marcus Mariota (Oregon QB) – Mariota is pulling away from the others and the race is his to lose. 24 for 31 for 366 yards, 3 TD, and another 88 on the ground and another TD. He is 100 for 165 and 1,724 yards and 17 TD and zero INT this season. He has also ran for 426 yards and 8 more TDs. Best player by far this year
2. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M QB) – Manziel keeps doing his best magician act by going 31 for 39 for 346 yards and another 124 yards and 2 TD. He is doing everything to keep the Aggies in the hunt. If Mariota slips, he could be the first repeat winner since 74-75.
3. Tajh Boyd (Clemson QB) – Boyd has fallen a bit behind by the first two, even with his 30 for 44 and 334 yards, and another 33 on the ground and 2 total TD’s. Like in the BCS hunt, he needs help to get in front.
4. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville, QB) – Bridgewater’s been efficient but not dazzling like earlier, especially against inferior opponents, compared to the others. Even his 21 for 31 and 310 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT won’t keep him in the hunt much longer. If the first three keep putting up those numbers, he will fall off soon.