NCAA Football Report (Week 4)

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The craziest fans in the NCAA are generally located in the South and this has come to great focus in the past years. With the multiple conferences in the NCAA there is always a debate as to who has the best conference. The answer has all but been answered in the past few years as the South Eastern Conference (SEC) has boasted some of the best teams in the NCAA. Since the establishment of the BCS National Championship in 1998 the SEC has had 7 of the 12 winners including the past five champions. This seems to be continuing in 2011 as Oklahoma was knocked off of their top spot by the LSU Tigers out of the SEC. The Tigers have been the centre of some of the illegal acts in the NCAA but it seems as though they have put it behind them and moved on to be one of the most dangerous teams in the NCAA. The first game saw the Tigers go down three starters due to suspensions as they took on the National Championship runner ups last year in the Oregon Ducks. The game was one of the biggest this year as the winner would be on their way to the top of the NCAA while the loser would be out of the running for the National Championship game. LSU was able to overcome their losses and beat the Ducks putting them into title contention. The Tigers then went on to dominate teams that they should dominate while they beat teams that should have been closer. This included their week 4 matchup against the #16 West Virginia Mountaineers that was built as another big test. The Tigers proved that it wasn’t much of a test as the Mad Hatter, Les Miles, and LSU dominated the top 20 team 47-21. The strength of this win against a top 20 team gave them the chance to move to the top of the hill. With Oklahoma winning but only by 10 against an unranked team it was done. Oklahoma got knocked off of their #1 rank and LSU took over the top spot in the Nation. It will be hard to knock LSU off as if they can keep winning they will not be knocked off but they do have some challenges. Being a part of the SEC has its benefits as the most exposed conference in the league but also has some issues as one of the strongest conferences. LSU will have to go through a hard schedule as they make their way through the SEC including the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide on November 5th that will be the de-facto SEC championship. It will be an interesting ride for the new #1 teams as they will look to continue their strong play and remain #1 while facing some of the best teams in the NCAA.

In the rest of the NCAA there are a number of teams looking to take LSU off including two teams that are beginning to rise up. Oklahoma State has been a second fiddle to the Oklahoma Sooners for the past few years but they are beginning to make a name for themselves. The Cowboys faced a tough competition against the #8 Texas A&M Aggies at Texas A&M. It looked as though OSU was not going to pull the win off as they went down early in the first half 20-3. In the second half they made a comeback as they erased a 17 point comeback and won the game. On the back of Brandon Weeden the Cowboys overcame a poor showing by their Heisman hopeful wide receiver Justin Blackmon. With the win the Cowboys moved up to the top 5 putting them into serious contention for a BCS Bowl if they can continue their winning ways. Meanwhile another team has made a bigger climb up the Top 25 ladder as the Clemson Tigers have made their way into the top 15. The Tigers were not ranked at the beginning of the season but made sure they could crack the rankings beating the Auburn Tigers and ending the longest streak in NCAA football. This got them to the 21st spot and gave them some confidence going into their game against ACC favorite Florida State. The Tigers took their momentum into Florida State and got the win putting them at the #13 spot. Clemson is one of the biggest surprises this year as they were expected to lose against Auburn and Florida State putting them out of contention. They will have one more big challenge next week as the Tigers will face another ACC favorite in Virginia Tech. If the Tigers can get past the Hokies there is almost nothing stopping them from cracking the top 10 and even the top 5. With some big changes in the top 25 the NCAA is beginning to get into the difficult games as the top teams will face some of their biggest tests yet. Look out for a lot of great games in the upcoming weeks as the rankings will be tested soon.

Heisman Watch:

1. Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

Luck was not active in week 4 as Stanford was idle but Luck again will remain the top of the Heisman list. Until someone can perform great against some very good competition Luck will remain the favorite in the Heisman Race. As of right now Luck is on pace to improve on last year’s performance meaning that it will be a tough task to knock him off. Stanford’s schedule is not extremely challenging but is better than many of the challengers. The biggest stretch for Luck will be at the end as he will have to go against some very good teams, including USC and Oregon, and if everything goes right will be playing in the Pac-10 Championship game. If Luck can continue his performance and guide the Cardinal to the Pac-10 championship and a big bowl game it will be tough to think that he will be knocked off.

Stats (3 games):

67.1 cmp%

786 yds

8 TD

1 INT

173.4 rtg

 

2. Kellen Moore, QB (Boise State)

Moore is one of the strong competitors for Luck’s Heisman run as he continues to dominate teams. Last week Moore only played two and a half quarters as he left in the 3rd quarter but still was able to stay in the hunt with his performance. Moore threw for 279 yards and 4 TDs in his short night as he continued to beat up on defences. Of course as with the Broncos, Moore is cursed by his weak schedule that sees him only face one more good defence in TCU. Moore will need to dominate teams and win against TCU in order to continue his run at the Heisman but he is one QB that can do it as he continues to show just how good he can be.

Stats (3 games):

79.0 cmp%

995 yds

12 TD

2 INT

192.6 rtg

 

3. Marcus Lattimore, RB (South Carolina)

Lattimore is the sole Running Back in the running for the Heisman as the QBs continue to make their case. With his big workload Lattimore is carrying the Gamecocks this year as they look to make a run at the National Championship. Last week Lattimore did not overly impress against Vanderbilt and neither did his team. Lattimore ran for 77 yards and 1 TD after many weeks with multiple TDs and 100 plus yards. With the competition getting even tougher for South Carolina the big question will be if Lattimore can continue to carry his team when better teams begin to focus on him. With Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson all upcoming Lattimore will truly prove if he Is worth the Heisman Trophy. If Lattimore can run through these teams he will be sure to make a good challenge at the Heisman Trophy.

Stats (4 games):

107 rsh

611 yds

5.7 avg

8 TD

 

Notable Challengers:

4. Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

85.4 cmp%

962 yds

13 TD

0 INT

236.2 rtg

 

5. Russell Wilson, QB (Wisconsin)

75.8 cmp%

1,136 yds

11 TD

1 INT

218.4 rtg

 

AP Top 25:

1. LSU Tigers (2)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (1)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (3)

4. Boise State Broncos (4)

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7)

6. Stanford Cardinal (5)

7. Wisconsin Badgers (6)

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9)

9. Oregon Ducks (10)

10. South Carolina Gamecocks (12)

11. Virginia Tech Hokies (13)

12. Florida Gators (15)

13. Clemson Tigers (21)

14. Texas A&M Aggies (8)

15. Baylor Bears (17)

16. South Florida Bulls (18)

17. Texas Longhorns (19)

18. Arkansas Razorbacks (14)

19. Michigan Wolverines (22)

20. TCU Horned Frogs (20)

21. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (25)

22. West Virginia Mountaineers (16)

23. Florida State Seminoles (11)

24. Illinois Fighting Illinis (24)

25. Arizona State Wildcats (–)

Key Scores:

#2 LSU Tigers 48 – 21 West Virginia Mountaineers #16

– LSU got another big test when they faced the Mountaineers but it turned out to be an easy win for the Tigers who took over the #1 spot with the win.

#7 Oklahoma State Cowboys 30 – 29 Texas A&M Aggies #8

– OSU erased a 17 point first half deficit to take the win from the Aggies and was able to fend off a late comeback attempt to move into the top 5.

#21 Clemson Tigers 35 – 30 Florida State Seminoles #11

– The Tigers took on yet another good team for the second week in a row as they were able to get past the Noles and move into the top 15 after starting the season unranked.

#1 Oklahoma Sooners 38 – 28 Missouri Tigers

– Oklahoma took the win but did could only amass a 10 point win against an unranked Missouri Tigers team and the difference may have cost them their top ranking

Key Matchups:

#14 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #18 Arkansas Razorbacks (Oct. 1st; 12:00 pm)

– Texas A&M will look to recover from their loss to Clemson as Arkansas tries to stop their slide and move back to the top 15

#11 Virginia Tech Hokies vs. #13 Clemson Tigers (Oct. 1st; 6:00 pm)

– Clemson is looking to be the surprise team this year and they will need to continue beating some great teams including the ACC favorite Virginia Tech Hokies

#7 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (Oct. 1st; 8:00 pm)

– Wisconsin has been cutting up defences with their Heisman Hopeful QB Russell Wilson but can they get past their toughest test in Nebraska

#3 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #12 Florida Gators (Oct. 1st; 8:00 pm)

– Alabama will look to be the next team to move up in the top three and will need to fend off the rising Florida Gators to do so

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