NCAA Football Report (Week 11)

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Another week in the new playoff era has come and gone and for another week the top teams will see a shift. Three weeks into the new CFP rankings and so far the top 4 has been a dangerous place to be. Last week it was Ole Miss who fell out of the playoffs and this week it is the Auburn Tigers who will fall. The Tigers beat the Rebels last week to kick the Rebels out of the top 4 and this week they took a loss themselves to Texas A&M that will shove them out of the top 4 and out of the playoff. The playoffs are already beginning to show why they are a good idea as despite the stability at the top of the rankings, Florida State and Mississippi State have remained 1 and 2 this year, the next two spots are going to be a battle. It is exactly what the NCAA wanted when they decided to go with a playoff. More teams involved for more weeks was the goal and so far they are getting exactly what they wanted. More teams are in the hunt and if it keeps going as it has so far there will be more involved by year’s end. That is fine for many teams as they remain on the outside looking in and may need the rest of the season to make their way to the playoff at the end of the year. There are plenty of teams in this situation and many more that will need a lot of help to make it into the playoff. The amount of two-loss teams in the rankings seems to be much higher than usual and if the trend continues there is an outside chance of a team making it with two losses. One of those teams hoping to make it into the playoff is the Georgia Bulldogs who started out with a rocky path before recently finding their groove. That groove is a strange thing as well when you consider that the Bulldogs have lost their best player. Todd Gurley was the Bulldogs’ offence this year as the Heisman candidate was going to be leaned on heavily to help the “Dawgs” to the playoff. Then it was discovered that he had accepted money for signing autographs and for the use of his image. That is a violation of NCAA rules and for the violation the NCAA suspended the tailback indefinitely for the season. The ruling was later overturned and Gurley was given a four-game suspension. That suspension finally ends in Week 12 as Gurley returns to his team and tries to keep their momentum going as the games get that much more important in the tail-end of the season. Gurley’s suspension was one of a few this season for off-field actions but it was by no means for the worst thing. In fact another Heisman candidate has had his own run-ins with league and school violations and yet he has missed one game all year. Jameis Winston is the former Heisman winner from last year and the key for the #2 Florida State Seminoles. He has been arrested for stealing, investigated for sexual abuse, suspended a game for yelling an inappropriate phrase on campus, and, much like Gurley, has been accused of taking money for signatures and memorabilia. Yet in all of those accusations and those transgressions he has received one game off of the field. It is the ultimate example of NCAA hypocrisy and is what has made the NCAA’s discipline division a joke. For the star player and former Heisman winner to get a slap on the wrist, missing one meaningless game, while another star running back is suspended four games for something that the Winston has been accused of as well just makes no sense. This coming especially when the accusations for both of these players came at the same time while Gurley sat out Winston was allowed to play in the biggest game of their season. The NCAA missed the boat on this one and with another accusation surrounding Winston regarding point shaving the NCAA may get one more chance to make it right. If the new reports are correct and Winston shaved points to help a fellow student, nothing has been confirmed as of yet. It may be time for the NCAA to put their foot down and not let him play again. The NCAA continues to drop the ball time after time leaving suspensions up to teams rather than doing their own thing and in the case of Gurley and Winston it is clear that it is simply not working anymore.

 

Heisman Watch

1. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
It was one of the few Oregon games against ranked opponents this year and so it was a must win and the Ducks and Mariota took care of business. The Heisman leader accounted for four touchdowns as the Ducks put up 51 against the Utes. He remains the best QB in the league and with more people beginning to notice he seems ready to take the title if he continues to win.
Stats (10 Games):
67.1% cmp (89 att)
2,780 yds (524 rsh yds)
29 TD (8 rsh TD)
2 INT
184.6 rtg

2. Melvin Gordon, RB (Wisconsin)
The best running back in the league continued to show why he has earned that title this year as he took over against Purdue. It was his seventh straight +100 yard game and his third rushing game over 200 yards as he put up 205 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns while adding one through the air. Gordon continues to keep himself in the running for the Heisman as it is becoming very hard for him to be knocked off.
Stats (9 Games):
198 att
1,501 yds
7.6 avg
19 TD

3. Dak Prescott, QB (Mississippi State)
The Bulldogs remain in first place and after a lack luster performance from Prescott in Week 9 he returns to the top three this week. That has a lot to do with his numbers through Week 10 when he put up 206 yards through the air and 54 on the ground while adding three total touchdowns. It was not the best performance but it was enough to bring him back into the top three this week as he looks to keep the Bulldogs in first and into the playoffs this year.
Stats (9 Games):
61.1% cmp (143 att)
2,231 yds (779 rsh yds)
18 TD (11 rsh TD)
7 INT
158.5 rtg

4. Amari Cooper, WR (Alabama)
Stats (9 Games):
79 rec
1,215 yds
15.4 avg
10 TD

5. Trevone Boykin, QB (TCU)
Stats (9 Games):
58.0% cmp (111 att)
2,691 yds (546 rsh yds)
23 TD (7 rsh TD)
4 INT
142.0 rtg

 

CFP Rankings:
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (4)
3. Florida State Seminoles (2)
4. TCU Horned Frogs (6)
5. Alabama Crimson Tide (5)
6. Arizona State Sun Devils (9)
7. Baylor Bears (12)
8. Ohio State Buckeyes (14)
9. Auburn Tigers (3)
10. Ole Miss Rebels (11)
11. UCLA Bruins (18)
12. Michigan State Spartans (8)
13. Kansas State Wildcats (7)
14. Arizona Wildcats (19)
15. Georgia Bulldogs (20)
16. Nebraska Cornhuskers (13)
17. LSU Tigers (16)
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10)
19. Clemson Tigers (21)
20. Wisconsin Badgers (25)
21. Duke Blue Devils (22)
22. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (24)
23. Utah Utes (17)
24. Texas A&M Aggies (–)
25. Minnesota Golden Gophers (–)
– Last Updated November 11

 

Key Scores:
Texas A&M Aggies 41 – 38 Auburn Tigers #3
– The Auburn Tigers were the latest top 4 team to fall this week as they took their first loss of the season to the now unranked Texas A&M Aggies in another tough SEC battle that seems to be cannibalizing their playoff hopes

#6 TCU Horned Frogs 41 – 20 Kansas State Wildcats #7
– The Horned Frogs continued to be one of the nation’s best offences as they took on another team known for offence and far outscored them with 41 points that are making people take notice as the move up in the top 10 this week

#9 Arizona State Sun Devils 55 – 31 Notre Dame Fighting Irish #10
– The Fighting Irish were trying to get out of their permanent #10 spot in the rankings with their first signature win of the season but it was far from that as the Sun Devils dismantled the Irish early and stopped a comeback attempt late to take another win

#14 Ohio State Buckeyes 49 – 37 Michigan State Spartans #8
– A classic Big Ten matchup was supposed to be a defensive battle but the Spartans usually stout defence could not stop Urban Meyer’s offence as the Buckeyes took a big win and remained one of the hottest teams in the NCAA

 

Next Week:
#19 Clemson Tigers vs. #22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday November 15th; 12:00 pm ET)
– The Tigers take on the Yellow Jackets in an important ACC battle between two of the best teams as they both look to remain in the top 25 of the CFP rankings heading into the last part of the season

#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. #5 Alabama Crimson Tide (Saturday November 15th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Bulldogs will go into their third week at #1 against their toughest opponent yet as the Crimson Tide may be ranked below them but are one of the most dominant teams and can find ways to unseat the #1 team in the nation

#9 Auburn Tigers vs. #15 Georgia Bulldogs (Saturday November 15th; 7:15 pm ET)
– The Tigers are coming off of a big loss that put them out of the playoff for now and now they take on a team that may not be the biggest challenge until you realize that Todd Gurley is back and ready to get back to leading the ‘dawgs offence

#3 Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes (Saturday November 15th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Seminoles have not made a lot of noise in the last few weeks, although that could be a god thing, but they still deal with their quarterback’s controversies as they take on the Hurricanes in an in-state matchup

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