NCAA Football Report (Week 7)

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This week was a big week in the NCAA as the first BCS rankings came out and started the speculation over the National Title. The Bowl Championship Series Rankings are the true rankings in the NCAA as all other rankings have a much smaller impact on the National Championship Game. The BCS rankings are created by a computer calculation that includes the AP Poll, Coaches Poll, Team Record, and Strength of Schedule to determine who the best team in the Nation is. Through this equation the BCS ranks the top 25 teams in the country from this point on and will continue to run the equation every week. The reason this is so important is that the BCS rankings are essentially the standings in College Football. With so many conferences and even some independents the NCAA is a tough sport to rule over who deserves the national championship. With no playoff system in place for Division I-A the teams are left to the rankings to decide what bowls every team will play in. The higher ranked the team the more likely they will get into a bigger bowl. Of course big bowls are good for many things including pride of being named the National Champions. With a bowl berth you can also recruit better players over the years that will gain more exposure through playing in bowls. Not only is making a bowl an important aspect to the program in terms of pride and personnel but it is good for the schools pockets. The smallest payout in a bowl game is $325,000 for the winner of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the biggest payouts are in the BCS Bowls. The Rose Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and the National Championship Game all pay $17 million for the winner giving every team some motivation for making it into one of the premier bowls. Of course as with any system there are problems which I will get into later this week. Although there are inherent problems this is the system for the forseeable future and will just need to be dealt with. The rankings will determine the Bowls again this year as the top three teams all have a shot at the National Championship game with the #1 team earning a spot and the #2 spot generally getting the berth, although the #3 team has jumped over the #2 before. The rest of the teams will compete to get into one of the BCS Bowls for a big payout as the Top 8 teams all have a shot at one of the premier Bowls, with the Rose Bowl going to the champions of the Big Ten Conference and the Pac-10 Conference. As it stands right now the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide will face off in the National Championship game but there is one problem. LSU and Alabama are a part of the SEC conference and will play each other in November. The BCS does not like repeat games and therefore the winner of this “De-facto National Championship” will get their chance at the crystal egg while Oklahoma looks to be perched in perfect position to take the #2 spot when this game is through. Meanwhile the top 10 in the BCS sees a familiar face in BCS Buster Boise State, who is not a member of an Automatic Qualifying conference, who are ranked #5. The NCAA world has begged to see Boise State in the National Championship but the fact is their schedule is almost peanuts compared to some bigger schools and will not get the berth unless three other teams completely fall apart in the end of the season. The fact remains that the BCS Rankings are out and they are very similar to the AP Poll of recent weeks with few big upsets in the top 10. As the season enters the end many teams may be moved as the teams at the top cannot avoid the best teams in their conferences anymore and could provide some change in the BCS rankings. The Football season for the NCAA is past the halfway point and the rest of the season will be a feverish battle for the top spot but don’t expect teams to stay in their spots for long as the BCS Rankings can be very unpredictable.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

Another week means another look at the top Heisman candidate in the NCAA, Andrew Luck. Luck had yet another great performance as he continues to sit alone on top of the Heisman race with shuffling below him. Luck threw for 336 yards and 4 TDs against Washington State on Saturday that has kept his Heisman hopes alive. Luck again did more this week to prove that he is the frontrunner in the Heisman Race. As usual Luck will need to fail in a game for him to lose out on the Heisman Trophy and even if he has a bad game at this point he may still remain the frontrunner. If Stanford can remain undefeated and Luck can continue to lead them with great performances there is no question that he will take home the Heisman.

Stats (6 games):

71.3 cmp%

1,719 yds

18 TD

3 INT

180.5 rtg

 

2. Russell Wilson, QB (Wisconsin)

Wilson has been one of the underdogs this year in the Heisman race as he was never considered before the season. As the season progressed Wilson became one of the favorites to make a run at Andrew Luck. With the performances of Kellen Moore and Marcus Lattimore slipping Wilson took over the second spot behind Luck. He has proven that he is a good challenger to Luck with great performances. Last week Wilson did not have a great performance throwing for 166 yards and 1 TD but the stats do not tell the whole story as Wilson was credited with 233 total yards and three TDs. One of these included a little flashback to Luck when Wilson caught a pass for but unlike Luck did it for a TD. He did not have the best game through the air but his 233 totals yards helped his team to win and moved him slightly closer to Luck.

Stats (6 games):

74.2 cmp%

1,557 yds

14 TD

1 INT

210.9 rtg

 

3. Landry Jones, QB (Oklahoma)

Jones was an early favorite in the Heisman race but did not have a great start to his season being overshadowed by the more flashy guys. Kellen Moore and Marcus Lattimore began falling off of the race and Landry continued his strong play throughout the year. Landry had another solid game through the air throwing for 363 yards and 3 TDs. The three TDs kept Jones’ streak of four straight games with three or more TD passes alive and but him into a solid third place. Jones is a solid QB that will give you a consistent performance every time out and because of this he seems not to be leaving the Heisman talk for the remainder of the season. He does have two other QBs in front of him, however, that are very good and a bit more flashy and this could hurt him in the long run.

Stats (6 games):

67.6 cmp%

2,177 yds

16 TD

6 INT

156.0 rtg

 

Notable Challengers:

4. Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

132 rsh

912 yds

6.9 avg

15 TD

 

5. Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

78.0 cmp%

1,950 yds

22 TD

2 INT

205.7 rtg

 

BCS Rankings:

1. LSU Tigers

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Oklahoma Sooners

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys

5. Boise State Broncos

6. Wisconsin Badgers

7. Clemson Tigers

8. Stanford Cardinal

9. Arkansas Razorbacks

10. Oregon Ducks

11. Kansas State Wildcats

12. Virginia Tech Hokies

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers

14. South Carolina Gamecocks

15. West Virginia Mountaineers

16. Michigan State Spartans

17. Texas A&M Aggies

18. Michigan Wolverines

19. Houston Cougars

20. Auburn Tigers

21. Penn State Nittany Lions

22. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

23. Illinois Fighting Illini

24. Texas Longhorns

25. Washington Huskies

 

Key Scores:

#28 Michigan State Spartans 28 – 14 Michigan Wolverines #11

– In the Battle of Michigan the Spartans were able to shut down Denard Robinson again to earn their third Paul Bunyan Trophy in a row

 

Ohio State Buckeyes 17 – 7 Illinois Fighting Illini #16

– Ohio State surprised a rising team as the Illini could not get past the Buckeyes and stalled their rise up the rankings

 

#15 South Carolina Gamecocks 14 – 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs

– South Carolina barely escaped with the win after top QB Stephen Garcia could not play but they did get the win although they may have lost their best player as Marcus Lattimore left the game in the 4th quarter

 

Virginia Cavaliers 24 – 21 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets #12

– Georgia Tech had their short rise in the rankings after the Virginia Cavaliers snuck by with a three-point upset

 

Key Matchups Next Week:

#20 Auburn Tigers vs. #1 LSU Tigers (Oct. 22nd; 3:30 pm)

– The defending National Champions have struggled this year but are getting their shot against their SEC rivals and potential National Champion LSU Tigers

 

USC Spartans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Oct. 22nd; 7:30 pm)

– The Battle for the Jewelled Shillelagh sees two old school rivals face off for nothing more than pride as both teams will not be in the BCS Bowls this year

 

#25 Washington Huskies vs. #8 Stanford Cardinal (Oct. 22nd; 8:00 pm)

– In a week with few closely ranked teams the newly ranked Huskies will take on Heisman Favorite Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal

 

#6 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #16 Michigan State Spartans (Oct. 22nd; 8:00 pm)

– Michigan State is playing on a high after beating their longtime rival Michigan but will have to stop Heisman Hopeful Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers

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