NCAA Football Report (Week 9)

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It has become common place in the NCAA as it seems a new scandal breaks every year and puts a school in danger of losing a program. Whether it was Ohio State, Penn State, or USC there have been plenty of big programs that have fallen to NCAA investigation. Losing the ability to go to bowl games, losing scholarships, and losing wins and titles from the past have all been the punishments that the NCAA has handed out. These programs have suffered as many that have come through their punishments have not returned to what they once were before the sanctions came. In that sense the NCAA has done what they set out to do as these sanctions are meant to ensure that programs are punished for their illegal activity. Whether or not the punishments have actually stopped the activity in these schools is another question entirely. Another question stemming out of these sanctions has already been answered as they have not ended these activities from occurring at other schools. These schools have taken some serious sanctions that have put their programs back but still more schools continue to go against the rules hoping to win titles and earn more recognition while trying not to get caught. It may never change even if someone were to get the dreaded “Death Penalty” that has caused SMU to only now get back on their feet after receiving the ultimate sanction in 1986. Even with this risk it still seems that more issues are found and more schools run the risk of losing their program for making a lot of money from their football programs. One of the schools that would seemingly not pay attention to sanctions for other schools or sanctions they had received years before was the Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were familiar with punishment from the NCAA after a 1994 NCAA investigation over a system of “pay-for-play” led by alumni of the program who were in the NFL. The Hurricanes would receive a one-year bowl ban and would lose 31 scholarships from 1996-1999. So when the stories of Miami getting involved with millionaire booster Nevin Shapiro the expectation was that the NCAA would go after them with even worse sanctions. For Miami it was being caught operating outside of the rules for the second time and they would need to be made an example of. Programs the same size as Miami’s had been punished to make them an example so it was almost assumed that the same would happen to them. The Hurricanes would do as much as they could to soften the blow that was coming from the NCAA. They would impose a two-year bowl ban and would reduce their own scholarships to show that they were ready to admit they had done wrong. Still the NCAA would take a long time to investigate Shapiro’s role with the team and exactly what he did as a booster for the team. The longer the investigation went the more likely it seemed that the NCAA was getting ready to level the school with major sanctions. The NCAA would finish their two-year investigation on the Miami scandal and to the surprise of everyone they would take it easy on the team. The Hurricanes football program would receive a reduction of 9 scholarships and no further bowl ban while the Athletic Department would start a three-year probation period. It was extremely light from what was expected with Miami’s history and with the length of investigation. In the end it was Miami’s self-imposed sanctions that would save them as they likely would have received a two-year bowl ban and about the same scholarship reduction they had already begun themselves. Once again the NCAA would seemingly drop the ball in these sanctions as they seem to take it light on programs that commit these types of fouls. A day will come where the NCAA will have to start taking things seriously as these transgressions will never stop if big programs feel like they can say they were wrong and get away with it. Although the NCAA may have handed out the same punishment one of these programs needs to be the one that becomes a warning to all other teams or the NCAA needs to seriously consider a way to pay their players better than the small stipends they receive or this will never get rid of these issues in their league.


Heisman Watch:

1. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
The Oregon Ducks once again got a win and once again put up over 40 points in a game despite falling to third place in the first BCS rankings. The linchpin of the win was once again Mariota but this time he would not have the performance most were used to. Mariota was still a leader on the field but he would only account for one TD against UCLA and would only throw for 230 yards. It was a respectable game but it was not the game that many are used to seeing from one of the most dynamic offences in the NCAA. Mariota stays atop the Heisman race but just barely and if he has another respectable game he may find himself out of the top spot. Next week Oregon will have a bye but the week after will be the test as they take on Stanford in a game that can make or break Mariota’s Heisman hopes.
Stats (8 Games):
64.0% (56 rsh)
2,281 yds (511 rsh yds)
20 TD (9 rsh TD)

2. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Only minutes before the game Johnny Football may not have been on the field as a shoulder injury kept him as a gametime decision. He would come out though and would once again build another level to his legend. With a bad arm that seemed to bother him every now and then Manziel would dominate the game. Throwing for 4 TDs and 305 yards Manziel looked like he had never been injured the week before. Of course this was against Vanderbilt who were not expected to put up much of a fight against the Aggies. Despite beating Georgia the week before Vanderbilt was still a massive underdog and the performance of Manziel was expected. He does not move up in the Heisman race because he did what he was supposed to do but he continues to hang around in the hunt. A big performance is again expected next week when Manziel leads the Aggies against UTEP for a game they should easily win.
Stats (8 Games):
73.0% (89 rsh)
2,594 yds (497 rsh yds)
22 TD (6 rsh TD)

3. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
The redshirt freshman is looking to pull a Johnny Manziel as his performance against Clemson has put him among the top in the hunt. He continues to put on great performances to continue to boost his standing as well. This week he would help the Seminoles past NC State with a big game throwing for 3 TDs and 2929 yards. But much like Manziel it was a game he was supposed to win and many would say was supposed to do better in. NC State is not a great team and Winston was expected to dominate the game and put up big numbers. The performance keeps him among the top in the Heisman race but if he continues to fall just short in easy games he will not stay for long. Next week he will have another big game to prove himself as he leads the ‘Noles against the Miami Hurricanes on national TV where Winston will try to impress again.
Stats (7 Games):
69.9% (44 rsh)
2,177 yds (126 rsh yds)
23 TD (3 rsh TD)

4. Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson)
Stats (8 Games):
63.9% (93 rsh)
2,243 yds (219 rsh yds)
17 TD (6 rsh TD)

5. Sean Mannion, QB (Oregon State)
Stats (8 Games):
3,263 yds
30 TD


BCS Rankings:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (3)
3. Florida State Seminoles (2)
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (4)
5. Stanford Cardinal (6)
6. Baylor Bears (8)
7. Miami Hurricanes (7)
8. Clemson Tigers (9)
9. Missouri Tigers (5)
10. Oklahoma Sooners (15)
11. Auburn Tigers (11)
12. Texas A&M Aggies (16)
13. LSU Tigers (13)
14. South Carolina Gamecocks (21)
15. Texas Tech Red Raiders (10)
16. Fresno State Bulldogs (17)
17. Northern Illinois Huskies (18)
18. Oklahoma State Cowboys (19)
19. Louisville Cardinals (20)
20. UCLA Bruins (12)
21. Michigan Wolverines (22)
22. Michigan State Spartans (–)
23. UCF Knights (23)
24. Wisconsin Badgers (–)
25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (–)


Key Scores:
#21 South Carolina Gamecocks 27 – 24 Missouri Tigers #5
– The Tigers seemed like they were for real as one of the two teams in the SEC that remained undefeated but their run to the SEC championship would hit a speed bump in the form of the Gamecocks

#15 Oklahoma Sooners 38 – 30 Texas Tech Red Raiders #10
– The Red Raiders were much like the Missouri Tigers in that they seemed to be a team that was going to surprise everyone this year but once again a veteran team would bring them down to earth as the Sooners would take the win and move to the top 10

Duke Blue Devils 13 – 10 Virginia Tech Hokies #14
– In one of the biggest surprises of the week the unranked Duke Blue Devils would take out the Hokies who were slowly rising up the rankings in the hopes of a big bowl game while the Devils took the win and became Bowl Eligible for the second year in a row

Minnesota Golden Gophers 34 – 23 Nebraska Cornhuskers #24
– Nebraska was barely holding on to a top 25 ranking and with starting QB Taylor Martinez sidelined they would lose that spot after the unranked Golden Gophers would manage one of the biggest upsets of the week


Next Week:
Army Black Knights vs. Air Force Falcons (Saturday November 2nd; 12:00 pm ET)
– In another leg of the Commander in Chief’s trophy the Falcons are looking to even up the score after losing to Navy earlier in the year while the Knights are looking for a win to bring even more importance to the Army-Navy game this year

#21 Michigan Wolverines vs. #22 Michigan State Spartans (Saturday November 2nd; 3:30 pm ET)
– The battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy will once again take place with the Spartans and the Wolverines looking to remain in the top 25 rankings while earning bragging rights in the state of Michigan for another year

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators (Saturday November 2nd; 3:30 pm ET)
– Both teams may not be ranked but that won’t damper the mood at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” as these two SEC rivals once again go at it in what promises to be a great game

#7 Miami Hurricanes vs. #3 Florida State Seminoles (Saturday November 2nd; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Hurricanes are playing with less heavy hearts after the sanctions were revealed and with that knowledge they look to make a run at the National Championship while the Seminoles are hoping that Jameis Winston can lead them back to the #2 spot

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