NCAA Football Report (Week 5)

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The NCAA is a league that prides itself on providing top-tier education to athletes from a number of sports. The two biggest sports in the NCAA are basketball and football and one big reason for this is the fact that these sports are the training ground for future professional athletes. The fun of watching these sports is to see the development of young talent as they do their best to make the professional leagues. In football there are many more players than in basketball that will make the NFL yet still there are only a handful that will make an impact in the league. As these players make themselves known throughout the season the talk begins about what they can do in the NFL and where they will go in the draft. In the past many of these great prospects were not going to make an immediate impact as they were drafted to provide back up and learn the game at the highest level. These players would only come in if there were injuries and there was very little reason for any of them to be used as starters. As time went on though the athletes coming out of the NCAA got better and better. More and more NCAA standouts got their shot immediately as they started in their first years. Some of these players didn’t do much in their first years or years after that but others made a big impact. Most of these were at the less glorified positions but again time went on and more and more players got their chance. The skilled positions began to get younger and younger and eventually so did the QB position. In 2011 this change was seen more than ever as 5 QBs began the NFL season in their first year out of school. As the trend continues towards starting these young stars the preparation in the NCAA continues to take focus. The NCAA was a stepping stone towards the professional leagues but for many that transition to the pro game was a very big step. The speed and skill of the professional players had many players making big adjustments when they played. Lately though this transition has been less dramatic as players can step in and make a big impact without any big adjustments. It is a testament to the NCAA and their coaching that this is happening as the coaches in the NCAA are building teams better than ever. Coaches like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier have built their teams like an NFL franchise and the rest of the teams in the NCAA have followed suit. NCAA Division I-FBS has become as close to the NFL as possible. There are new stadiums and new facilities that give these University students the best chance to get better. There are also more coaches to focus on more parts of the game and members of the staff that help with fitness and nutrition. NCAA teams are beginning to get more sophisticated every year. With this the games are getting better and better along with the skill of the players. All of this adds up to better games and more entertainment for the fans as teams continue to act like professional franchises the fans get the rewards. There are some problems with this though as the bigger schools begin to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. With the big teams getting more money they are able to do these things that professional teams can do while smaller schools sit back and try to compete with less. Don’t expect much to change though as teams continue to try to find that edge that will make them more competitive every year. As that happens the skill gets better and players continue to be more prepared to make the jump to the NFL. Instead of waiting for a top college player to make an impact in the NFL it has become an immediate thing to see. NCAA continues to get better and as they get better so does the NFL as they continue to get fed amazing athletes that can change a team on Sundays.

 

Heisman Watch:
1. Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
It is quickly becoming a one horse race in the Heisman and the performance of Smith in week 5 of the NCAA season set him apart from everyone else. It was a performance of a lifetime for the young QB. Throwing for 656 yards and 8 Touchdowns in a shootout between the Mountaineers and the Baylor Bears have put him in a league of his own. As everyone else fights for a piece of the national spotlight Geno Smith goes about his business as the best QB in the country. Next week Smith will take on his toughest competition yet in #11 Texas and if he can put up good numbers he will remain untouched at the top of the pile.
Stats (4 Games):
83.4% cmp
1,728 yds
20 TD
0 INT
208.4 rtg

 

2. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State)
It is not about the stats with Miller as his stats are in no way close to the other challengers for the Heisman but he has something that some of them may not. Miller is one of the best running QBs in the league and he showed it in his biggest test against the Michigan State Spartans. In tough against the Big 10 rival the Buckeyes looked to Miller who helped lead the team to a comeback win. On his feet and through the air Miller is a good candidate for the Heisman but Geno Smith stands in his way. With a solid performance against a tough team, 179 yards 1 TD and 1 INT, has put him in second place. Next week he will have another tough team in Nebraska and will need to lead the team to another win behind him if he hopes to stay in the running.
Stats (5 Games):
62.8% cmp
933 yds (577 rsh yds)
8 TD (7 rsh TD)
3 INT
144.4 rtg

 

3. EJ Manuel, QB (Florida State)
They are not as explosive as the Mountaineers offence but Florida State has come up the standings and are now sitting within reach of the National Championship. This has helped Manuel in his bid for a Heisman as his team has been able to put him in focus. When the offence is firing on all cylinders they are good but they are very inconsistent. This week Manuel did not have the best performance as he threw for 246 yards and no touchdowns in his win against South Florida. Still he has been a good all around QB including in the run game and is a big reason to why the Seminoles are ranked in the top 5. Next week he will need a better performance to stay in the running as he takes on NC State and will need to find the endzone to still remain in consideration.
Stats (5 Games):
73.3% cmp
1,147 yds (197 rsh yds)
9 TD (1 rsh TD)
1 INT
176.7 rtg

 

4. Aaron Murray, QB (Georgia)
Stats (5 Games):
68.2% cmp
1,370 yds
12 TD
3 INT
183.5 rtg

 

5. Taylor Martinez, QB (Kansas State)
Stats (5 Games):
67.8% cmp
1,059 yds (298 rsh yds)
11 TD (3 rsh TD)
1 INT
169.6 rtg

 

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

 

Key Scores:
Washington Huskies 17 – 13 Stanford Cardinal #8
– The Huskies began the weekend with a big upset as the Stanford Cardinal had gone into the season looking to prove they were more than just Andrew Luck and had done a decent job of it until they were beat by the unranked Huskies

 

#9 West Virginia Mountaineers 70 – 63 Baylor Bears #25
– The Baylor Bears had just made it into the Top 25 last week and were not going to give up their rank easily as they stretch Geno Smith and the offence to their limits but the Heisman candidate took control throwing for 8 TDs to win the wild shootout

 

#14 Ohio State Buckeyes 17 – 16 Michigan State Spartans #20
– The Big 10 rivalry was the exact opposite of the shootout earlier in the day as the defences took over the game as the Buckeyes continued their strong season while the Spartans’ early promise seems to have faded away

 

#22 Nebraska Cornhuskers 30 – 27 Wisconsin Badgers
– In this Big Ten matchup the Huskers and Badgers went back to their old school uniforms and put on a show for the fans in a back and forth battle that saw Taylor Martinez lead his team to a great second half that put them just ahead of the Badgers

 

Next Week:
#5 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #6 South Carolina Gamecocks (October 6th; 7:00 pm EDT)
– This SEC matchup will be an important one and not just for the conference outlook but for National Title aspirations as the Bulldogs take on the Gamecocks with one team coming out on top and staying in the top 10 and the other losing and falling out of contention

 

#8 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #11 Texas Longhorns (October 6th; 7:00 pm EDT)
– The Mountaineers are coming off of the biggest shootout of the week as Geno Smith padded his stats and looks to do the same against the Longhorns who are looking to get back to relevance in the National picture

 

#3 Florida State Seminoles vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (October 6th; 8:00 pm EDT)
– EJ Manuel leads his offence into North Carolina as they look to recover from a poor performance in week 5 and try to show that Manuel and the offence is something to be scared of this year

 

#21 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. #12 Ohio State (October 6th; 8:00 pm EDT)
– Both the Buckeyes and Cornhuskers are coming off of Big Ten matchups and were on the winning side of both as Braxton Miller and Taylor Martinez look to lead their teams to another conference win and move them up the rankings

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