NCAA Football Report (Week 4)

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The NCAA has come under some major fire over the years for the way they determine champions. Since 1997 the NCAA Division I-FBS has used the BCS system to determine the top two teams in the league who would then face off in the National Championship. The debate has raged on since the BCS was established as to how accurate the rankings are. For the detractors the BCS computer and the formula it uses puts too much emphasis on the strength of schedule and the conferences that some school play in. For them the continued rankings of teams from the SEC is perfect proof as to how the system is broken because teams that have lost one game but are from the SEC do not get the same treatment as other. For years teams like Boise State and TCU had been shut out of the National Championship because they were in weaker divisions than the Alabama’s or the USC’s. The reality is though that many of these teams do have a much tougher schedule than others in the NCAA. Teams like Alabama and LSU have both had to face teams from the SEC that regularly rank among the top in the nation. For them these games are a regular occurrence while Boise State, when part of the WAC Conference, faced opponents that were nowhere near the top 25 in the country. For this reason it was hard to make an argument that the Broncos could actually hang in with teams like Alabama. This has been one of the most contentious parts of the BCS over the years and usually there has been arguments for and against the BCS system. As a result the NCAA changed the system to allow for four playoff teams, beginning in 2014, to determine who the National Champion would be. Still that leaves two years of the BCS for people to debate and usually I am on the side of the bowl system that allows more teams to play in a national spotlight and rewards the teams that take the most difficult path to the championship. Lately though my mind has been changed as I look at the top teams in the NCAA rankings and how terrible their schedules look. Usually teams begin the season with a few warm up games that would be simple wins for most teams. These games are usually either against Division I-FCS teams or the lower ranking Division I-FBS teams that should not provide much of a challenge. After this the teams tend to play better teams as they look to move their way through the best teams in the nation to prove that they are the best team in the country and to earn the #1 spot and a berth in the National Championship. This year though there is a trend happening with the top teams in the league as these teams have scheduled some very weak opponents. Granted teams cannot choose some of their games as they have a conference schedule that must be followed. They still get a number of open dates to do what they will and with these the teams have decided to play very weak competition. The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of these teams as they rank #1 in the nation but have faced only one team that has been ranked top 10. In their open dates the Tide have decided to face Michigan, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, and Western Carolina. LSU is no better as they have decided to take on North Texas, Washington, Idaho, and Towson. These schedules are a joke as they have decided to do nothing to show that they are the best. Instead they are taking the path that I’m sure many would say is just trying to win. Take on the weak teams to ensure a win so that you cannot lose. As they are ranked #1 they will likely not fall unless they lose no matter who they face. It is a terrible trend that should be stopped as these teams are robbing fans of what could be great games in open dates rather than games that are simply an easy win to help them get to that undefeated record. It is a shame that fans don’t get to see games that could be great between ranked teams or teams that are better than Florida Atlantic. Of course it is about winning but when the attitude has switched to beating the worst to be the best instead of beating the best to be the best something is wrong in the football world.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
In a terrible week for many of the Heisman hopefuls Geno Smith was the one constant as he has quickly become a big favorite. Every week Smith seems to be proving more and more that he is the best player in the NCAA as he continues to impress. This week he took on Maryland and had a great performance throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. Maryland is not the best team or the best defence in the NCAA and because of that Smith may have been able to have a better performance. It was not lights out but in a week where everyone seemed to struggle Smith was the shining star. Next week he will have another good team to face as he takes the show to the #25 Baylor Bears and should have another performance like his week 4 performance if not better.
Stats (3 Games):
81.4% cmp
1,072 yds
12 TD
0 INT
191.2 rtg

 

2. Matt Barkley, QB (USC)
He only stays in the #2 spot this week because there is nobody else that did enough to unseat his second place rank. Barkley struggled in his third week when the USC Trojans lost to the UCLA Bruins and for that he was knocked out of the Heisman’s top spot. Barkley proved not to be the QB that many had though he was as mistakes piled up and a book was written on how to get him off of his game. In week 4 Barkley would take on another in state rival in the Cal Golden Bears and had a better but still not great performance. Throwing for just under 200 yards and 2 TDs was a good game but the 2 INTs along with everything else do not put him much closer to the Heisman. Next week the Trojans will be off but their next game will be an important one as Barkley will need to dominate Utah if he hopes to have a chance at the Heisman this year.
Stats (4 Games):
61.5% cmp
1,005 yds
12 TD
5 INT
141.3 rtg

 

3. De’Anthony Thomas, RB (Oregon)
Thomas has not been the feature of the Oregon offence that many had expected as his touches have been limited. He has made good on his touches though as he has already gone over 200 yards on the season despite only getting 25 rushes. His average is good enough to put him in the conversation but the more he becomes a role player in the offence the more he slips away in the Heisman race. This week it was his QB that took the focus as Thomas became a role player rather than the focus. Running for only 48 yards and no TDs have done nothing for his Heisman campaign but the fact that the next closest running back did not have a much better performance means he stays in the conversation. Next week Thomas hopes to get back into the offensive game plan against the Washington State Cougars as another game like this week could see him disappear from the Heisman race.
Stats (4 Games):
25 rsh
276 yds
11.0 avg
4 TD

 

4. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State)
Stats (4 Games):
61.2% cmp
754 yds
7 TD
2 INT
145.3 rtg

5. Johnathan Franklin, RB (UCLA)
Stats (4 Games):
78 rsh
586 yds
7.5 avg
3 TD

 

AP Top 25:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (3)
3. LSU Tigers (2)
4. Florida State Seminoles (4)
5. Georgia Bulldogs (5)
6. South Carolina Gamecocks (7)
7. Kansas State Wildcats (15)
8. Stanford Cardinal (9)
9. West Virginia Mountaineers (8)
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11)
11. Florida Gators (14)
12. Texas Longhorns (12)
13. USC Trojans (13)
14. Ohio State Buckeyes (16)
15. TCU Horned Frogs (17)
16. Oklahoma Sooners (6)
17. Clemson Tigers (10)
18. Oregon State Beavers (–)
19. Louisville Cardinals (20)
20. Michigan State Spartans (21)
21. Mississippi State Bulldogs (23)
22. Nebraska Cornhuskers (25)
23. Rutgers Scarlett Knights (–)
24. Boise State Broncos (24)
25. Baylor Bears (–)

 

Key Scores:
#2 LSU Tigers 12 – 10 Auburn Tigers
– The battle for the Tigers was supposed to be another easy win for the #2 ranked Tigers as they looked towards another year in the National Championship but Auburn provided some serious defence that held LSU to 12 points all game

 

#15 Kansas State Wildcats 24 – 19 Oklahoma Sooners #6
– The Wildcats were out to prove that their #15 rank in the NCAA was not right as they were much better than that and they to their shot against the #6 Sooners and took advantage in one of the few upsets in the week

 

Oregon State Beavers 27 – 20 UCLA Bears #19
– The Bears came to life in week 3 of play but were quickly dropped to earth when they took on the Beavers in the biggest upset of the weekend that launched the Beavers into the top 20 and eliminated the Bears from the rankings

 

#11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 13 – 6 Michigan Wolverines #18
– The great season by the Irish continued as they were able to ride their great defence to another upset win as they were able to limit Denard Robinson to 0 points forcing the Wolverines to settle for only field goals

 

Next Week:
#14 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #20 Michigan State Spartans (September 29th; 3:30 pm EDT)
– Two of the best teams in the Big 10 conference face off as the Buckeyes look to spoil the Spartans season and hand them their second loss of the season despite not being eligible for the postseason this year

 

#6 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Kentucky Wildcats (September 29th; 7:00 pm EDT)
– The Gamecocks are looking to continue their rise up the rankings as they are looking better every week with Marcus Lattimore finally making an impact as they take on the Wildcats in what should be a good win for the Gamecocks

 

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ole Miss Rebels (September 29th; 9:15 pm EDT)
– The top team in the nation continues their weak schedule as they take on the unranked Ole Miss Rebels to pad their lead in the NCAA while the Rebels are looking for the biggest upset in the NCAA this year

 

#18 Oregon State Beavers vs. Arizona Wildcats (September 29th; 10:00 pm EDT)
– The Beavers had the biggest upset of the week in week 4 and they look to continue their momentum into week five when they take on the wildcats who are looking for a win to get back into the top 25

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