NCAA Football Report (Week 9)

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It is that time of year as the college teams wait patiently to find out where they truly stand on the national stage. With only 7 weeks left in the regular season the playoff is fast approaching for the first time ever. The College Football Playoff is the biggest story of the year as for the first time ever the champion will be determined through a playoff. The top four teams in the final rankings will enter into a two round playoff where major bowls will serve as the semi-finals and the National Championship Game will determine the next College Football champion. Those final rankings will no longer be determined by a computer equation as it was in the BCS era. During the BCS factors including strength of victory, the AP Poll, the Coach’s Poll, and strength of schedule were plugged into an equation to spit out the top teams in the country. That was a good way to determine the top two in the country who would play for the National Championship but it was not without its issues. Often smaller schools were left out of the equation despite having a great year and for many that was the issue that made the anti-BCS movement so strong. This year things will change as a group of thirteen people will vote to decide who fits into the playoff picture. The group is made up of former and current Athletic Directors, former coaches, and other top executives from college football schools. This group will take into account the strength of schedule, strength of victory, as well as the other polls but in the end it will come down to their judgement. They will watch the games and see who they think looks like the best team in the nation with the final rankings coming after the final week of football that will determine the final four teams that will travel to the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl that will serve as the semi-finals this year. The first of these playoff rankings comes out on Tuesday and for many of the teams they will be watching closely to see if they have the chance to hold on to a playoff spot in the last few weeks. The voting committee is ready to have their rankings debated and ripped apart while the teams are hoping to be a part of the top four. Heading into the first rankings the AP Poll has been used as the de facto playoff poll as the writers vote on who they think is the best team. As the new rankings appear the best bet to look at who might make it into the top four could be looking at the AP Poll. As of this week Mississippi State is the #1 team in the country followed closely by the defending champions Florida State. This is one position that will be followed very closely as many believe that an undefeated defending champion should take the top spot over a team that only moved into the top spot without beating the Seminoles. The new poll should straighten things out for now but whether or not that means the SEC team with an undefeated record stays on top or the Seminoles takeover is the main question. Meanwhile Alabama and Auburn round out the top four in a playoff pool dominated by the SEC. If the new committee continues to favour the SEC and their strong in conference opponents this may stay the same but there are other teams waiting on the outside of the AP playoffs that could make their way into the top four in the committee rankings. The Oregon Ducks and Notre Dame Fighting Irish both have one loss this year but are sitting outside of the top four in the AP Poll. Depending on how the committee sees their losses either could make their way into the top four. The best bet may be the Irish whose only loss came in a tight battle with the #2 team in the country making their loss a lot less damaging. There are even more teams looking for their shot but only time can tell if any of them make their way to the top four in the first ever committee poll this Tuesday.

 

Heisman Watch

1. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
It was another vintage performance for the man considered the top quarterback in this year’s NFL draft. Over 300 yards and five touchdowns is just expected from Mariota now and if he doesn’t continue to do it he is sure to slide under pressure from other great players. If he can continue this against Stanford next week he takes another step to a Heisman and to solidifying himself as the best QB in the draft.
Stats (8 Games):
68.8% cmp (62 att)
2,283 yds (325 rsh yds)
24 TD (5 rsh TD)
1 INT
192.2 rtg

2. Melvin Gordon, RB (Wisconsin)
Todd Gurley remains on the sidelines and that gives Melvin Gordon the honour of leading the running backs in the Heisman race. It was another good game from the Badger running back putting up another +100 yard game and going into the endzone three times before seeing limited action in the second half. He continues to be the best running back on the field right now and hopes to add to his Heisman campaign against Rutgers next week.
Stats (7 Games):
154 att
1,168 yds
7.6 avg
16 TD

3. Dak Prescott, QB (Mississippi State)
It was not his best showing but it was good enough to keep the Bulldogs on top of the National rankings and keep them undefeated. He did a lot more on the ground than through the air as he ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for over 200 yards and one touchdown. Despite the fact that he sits among the top of most Heisman rankings it seems like he hasn’t done enough to unseat Mariota or Gordon at this point.
Stats (7 Games):
60.3% cmp (124 att)
1,694 yds (664 rsh yds)
15 TD (10 rsh TD)
5 INT
156.5 rtg

4. Everett Golson, QB (Notre Dame)
Stats (7 Games):
61.9% cmp (69 att)
1,996 yds (242 rsh yds)
19 TD (4 rsh TD)
6 INT
143.4 rtg

5. Ameer Abdullah, RB (Nebraska)
Stats (8 Games):
180 att
1,249 yds
6.9 avg
17 TD

 

AP Top 25:
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs (1)
2. Florida State Seminoles (2)
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (4)
4. Auburn Tigers (5)
5. Oregon Ducks (6)
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7)
7. Ole Miss Rebels (3)
8. Michigan State Spartans (8)
9. Georgia Bulldogs (9)
10. TCU Horned Frogs (10)
11. Kansas State Wildcats (11)
12. Baylor Bears (12)
13. Ohio State Buckeyes (13)
14. Arizona Wildcats (15)
15. Arizona State Sun Devils (14)
16. LSU Tigers (24)
17. Nebraska Cornhuskers (16)
18. Utah Utes (19)
19. Oklahoma Sooners (17)
20. West Virginia Mountaineers (22)
21. East Carolina Pirates (18)
22. Clemson Tigers (21)
23. Marshall Thundering Herd (23)
24. Duke Blue Devils (–)
25. UCLA Bruins (25)

 

Key Scores:
#6 Oregon Ducks 59 – 41 California Golden Bears
– The Ducks kicked off the week with a big Pac-12 win putting up 59 points against the Golden Bears and moving within striking distance of the playoff only a few days out of the first committee rankings of the year

#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs 45 – 31 Kentucky Wildcats
– The Bulldogs had never been in this situation before as they played their first game as the best team in the country and they took advantage beating the Wildcats and staying on top of the NCAA football world

#24 LSU Tigers 10 – 7 Ole Miss Rebels #3
– The Tigers had long been forgotten as their program had fallen short in this year but they announced that they are back and ready to compete after beating the Rebels and ending there run at the playoff

#10 TCU Horned Frogs 82 – 27 Texas Tech Red Raiders
– The game was supposed to be a shootout in the Big 12 but nobody expected this as the Horned Frogs showed that they have a devastating offence by putting up 82 points on the Red Rebels

 

Next Week:
#10 TCU Horned Frogs vs. #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (Saturday November 1st; 3:30 pm ET)
– After putting up 82 points this past week the Frogs go up against another high scoring team in what again should be a big shootout with both teams trying to find their way closer to the playoff this year

#4 Auburn Tigers vs. #7 Ole Miss Rebels (Saturday November 1st; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Rebels fell out of the top four after their first loss and no they take on another SEC team trying to get back on track in what could be their toughest game until their last week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs

Stanford Cardinal vs. #5 Oregon Ducks (Saturday November 1st; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Cardinal have been a thorn in the side of the Ducks for years and have really been the only reason for the Ducks not making a national championship and they hope to do the same this year despite not having the same dominant team they have in the past

#18 Utah Utes vs. #15 Arizona State Sun Devils (Saturday November 1st; 11:00 pm ET)
– The Utes and the Sun Devils are slowly climbing up the rankings and trying to get a little bit more national recognition and a win against another ranked team could do just that for these smaller and sometimes forgotten programs

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