NCAA Football Report (Week 8)

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The BCS Rankings are out and so teams begin to learn where they truly stand as the season enters the second half. Teams are all looking for the top spots in the BCS to earn a berth in one of the BCS Bowls and possibly the National Championship. The fight for the National Championship is always an interesting one with plenty of debatable topics. One of the biggest issues with the BCS rankings has always been the dominance of the SEC in the rankings. Last year it all came to a head when two SEC teams played in the National Championship game guaranteeing yet another SEC champion. The SEC is a great conference with plenty of very good teams that all have a shot at the National title. This year though the rankings have shown a bit of a different trend as the SEC still remains dominant but will likely only send one team to the National Championship Game. This year the SEC teams have dropped off of the map and have not dominated the top rankings like the used to. This year there looks to only be one team from the dominant conference making the final game and it could all come down to the conference Championships. The Sec has almost always had multiple teams in the top five of the BCS rankings meaning that even if one of them lost another would step up. This also meant that one of these teams would win the SEC while the others would either take the place of the losing team or would just remain second because no other teams were better than them based on their conference record. This is why LSU and Alabama faced off in the National Championship despite the fact that Alabama had beaten LSU and had won the SEC. There were simply no other teams to challenge the Tigers for the second place spot because they had beat every other SEC team and other teams could not hold on. This year though there are more than a handful of teams outside of the SEC that can take that second place spot. As it stands right now the SEC does control the top two spots as Alabama and Florida sit #1 and #2 with teams like Notre Dame, Kansas State, Oregon, Oregon State, Oklahoma, and USC all stand in the top 10 with a shot at taking the 2nd place spot. LSU also sits in the top 10 but a game against the Crimson Tide will eliminate one of the two teams from the running unless everyone else falls apart. The SEC may look like they will be taking the top two spots for the next few weeks as well with Florida and Alabama not facing off at all this season. The good news for the rest of the top 10 is that both teams seem to be on a collision course to fight it out for the SEC Championship. The winner of this game could be the top team when all is set and done. As this plays out in the SEC the remaining teams just look to stay the course as the games get harder as the season goes on. Notre Dame is enjoying a resurgence but they are about to go into their toughest test in Oklahoma next week and will also still need to beat USC to plus a number of other trap games if they hope to get to the National Championship. Kansas State is another team that could take the second spot behind Heisman hopeful Collin Klein but Texas Tech, TCU, and Texas could all pose problems for the explosive team. Another favorite for many is Oregon who in the AP poll is ranked 2nd and will look to get to the big game finally after years of flirting with the possibility. Despite facing Stanford and USC the biggest game for the Ducks could be their final regular season game against their state rival Oregon State who are a much improved team. The BCS is looking more interesting than usual as there are plenty of teams able to take the spots in the National Championship and not even Alabama is safe at #1. It will take a lot of help for another all SEC final though which is good for football as a number of teams look to end the reign of the mighty SEC but all teams need to stay focused and keep winning if they want a shot at the Coaches Trophy.

 

Heisman Watch

1. Collin Klein, QB (Kansas State)
It was Klein’s chance to break out as he went head to head against the leader in the race for the Heisman Trophy. Most expected that Klein and Geno Smith would be in a back and forth shoot out but the shootout seemed to be very one-sided. Klein simply outplayed his counterpart throwing for 323 yards and 3 TDs and more impressively rushing for 41 yards and an amazing 4 TDs. Not much could have unseated Geno Smith but the performance by Klein in a head-to-head comparison was exactly what he needed to take the top spot. Sitting at the top is not easy though as Klein will need to keep up his performance to stay ahead of everyone else and continue to lead the Wildcats to a BCS Bowl. Next week will be a big test as Klein takes on Texas Tech in a game that could push this high-powered offence to their limits.
Stats (7 Games):
70.5% cmp
1,397 yds
10 TD
2 INT
175.8 rtg

 

2. Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
The loss two weeks ago was not a good sign for Smith and his Mountaineers but even worse was the fact that he had to take on one of his biggest threats this week. Smith came up short for the second time this year after 6 weeks of unbelievable offensive football. It’s not typical, at least this year, for Smith to throw for under 200 yards in a game especially a game where he needs to keep up with the other offence. This week was an exception though as he threw for 143 yards and 1 TD while throwing his first interceptions and following it up with another one in the game. Geno Smith has faltered the last two weeks and because it is now two weeks in a row he has not been able to perform to his high standard he has finally given up the top spot. Smith needs to get back to his old ways if he hopes to recapture the lead with one more bad game meaning the end to his Heisman candidacy. Next week he looks to get back on track against the TCU Horned Frogs as he will need to put up some serious numbers to get back to the top of the Heisman race.
Stats (7 Games):
74.2% cmp (110 rsh)
2,414 yds (551 rsh yds)
26 TD (14 rsh TD)
2 INT
172.0 rtg

 

3. Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Te’o is a long shot to win the Heisman as a defensive player but there is no doubt that he is the biggest impact player on defence in the NCAA. Te’o had a good game against the BYU cougars this week earning an interception and helping the Irish to another win. In the second half of their game the Irish defence held the Cougars to 0 points and as the leader of the defence a lot of that had to do with the play of Te’o. It is difficult to break through as a defensive player with Charles Woodson the last defensive player to win the Heisman and he won in large part to his returning abilities. Te’o is up against it but his story of loss and coming back to play not to mention being on a resurging Notre Dame team are his biggest asset. He will need to continue to lead the defence to more wins as it could be the only way he can stay in the conversation. Next week is the big test though as they take on Oklahoma with Te’o needing to do all he can against the best QB they have seen this year.
Stats (7 Games):
69 tkl
4 INT
0 sck
2 FR

 

4. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State)
Stats (8 Games):
58.7% cmp
1,384 yds
11 TD
5 INT
138.3 rtg

 

5. Kenjon Barner, RB (Oregon)
Stats (7 Games):
132 rsh
870 yds
6.6 avg
12 TD

 

BCS Rankings:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Florida Gators (2)
3. Kansas State Wildcats (4)
4. Oregon Ducks (3)
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5)
6. LSU Tigers (6)
7. Oregon State Beavers (8)
8. Oklahoma Sooners (9)
9. USC Trojans (10)
10. Georgia Bulldogs (11)
11. Mississippi State Bulldogs (12)
12. Florida State Seminoles (14)
13. South Carolina Gamecocks (7)
14. Texas Tech Red Raiders (17)
15. Rutgers Scarlett Knights (15)
16. Louisville Cardinals (16)
17. Stanford Cardinal (20)
18. Clemson Tigers (19)
19. West Virginia Mountaineers (13)
20. Texas A&M Aggies (18)
21. Boise State Broncos (22)
22. Michigan Wolverines (–)
23. Texas Longhorns (25)
24. Ohio Bobcats (–)
25. Wisconsin Badgers (–)

 

Key Scores:
#2 Florida Gators 44 – 11 South Carolina Gamecocks #7
– The Gators proved that their #2 ranking in the first BCS rankings was no fluke as they took on the Gamecocks in a big SEC matchup that showed that the Gators are a dangerous team even against the best of the best

 

#4 Kansas State Wildcats 55 – 14 West Virginia Mountaineers #13
– The Wildcats made a case for being considered a National Championship team as they took on Heisman leader Geno Smith and shut him down while Collin Klein put on a show as K-State have put themselves in a great position

 

#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 17 – 14 BYU Cougars
– The Irish are in the middle of a resurgence but they are battling every step of the way thanks to their defence who allowed the Cougars to get 2 TDs in the first half and then shut them out in the second allowing Tommy Rees to lead the offence to a comeback win

 

#14 Florida State Seminoles 33 – 20 Miami Hurricanes
– The Sunshine State rivalry is always a good game and despite the Noles outplaying the Canes the game remained close as FSU could not pull away from their longtime rivals until the fourth quarter

 

Next Week:
#2 Florida Gators vs. #10 Georgia Bulldogs (October 27th; 3:30 pm EDT)
– The Gators are on a role as they remain at the top of the rankings but as the SEC schedule continues on they begin to see even more good teams as they take on the Bulldogs in a big SEC matchup to remain at the top of the rankings

 

#14 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. #3 Kansas State Wildcats (October 27th; 3:30 pm EDT)
– The Raiders and Wildcats are two of the most explosive offences as Collin Klein and Seth Doege go head to head in a matchup that looks to be a shootout that could go a long way in determining Klein’s Heisman hopes

 

#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #8 Oklahoma Sooners (October 27th; 8:00 pm EDT)
– The Irish are in the middle of a turnaround season and they look to keep it going all the way to the National Championship but standing in their way is their toughest competition yet in Landry Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners who will look to end the Irish run

 

#11 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (October 27th; 8:30 pm EDT)
– Two solid undefeated teams face off in an SEC matchup that could be a real trap game for the Crimson Tide who are looking to repeat as National Champions and could be looking ahead to a game against LSU leaving the door open for the Bulldogs

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