NCAA Football

Bowl Projections: Predicting Top 2014-15 Postseason Matchups

With the halfway point of the 2014-15 college football season a thing of the past, the inaugural College Football Playoff and the usual crop of bowl games are within reach.

In other words, it is time to project how things will shake out.

There are enough games in the books to know which teams stand out the most. We know who the top players in the country are and which players—such as Mississippi State's Dak Prescott—can will their team to the title game on their own.

We even have some semblance of an idea as to how the rest of the games will play out although this season has been wilder than most. Not that it is a bad thing, as ESPN's Joe Schad muses:

Here is a stab at 2014-15 bowl projections with some details after the jump.


2014 College Football Bowl Projections

The latest AP Top 25 poll can be viewed here.


Sometimes, Predictable...

...Is all fans get.

The season has been far from it, but one constant remains—no team is stopping Florida State.

These Seminoles have won 23 straight games. It has not always been pretty. It has been controversial at times, such as in the waning moments of the team's 31-27 victory over then-No. 5 Notre Dame last weekend.

Quarterback Jameis Winston has been on fire over the course of his past two games, one of those being the biggest test the Seminoles will face thanks to a strong Fighting Irish club. Then again, that Notre Dame team is 1-17 against Top Five teams since 1998. 

Regardless, these Seminoles continue to win. The rest of the schedule has the look of a cakewalk, too. 

Louisville is a tricky opponent thanks to a potent offense and a great defense that ranks No. 4 in the country, but the Seminoles have more than a week to prepare for that showdown. Virginia, Miami (Florida) and Boston College are all hardly above .500 while a season-ending encounter with Florida actually presents the Seminoles with an opponent that is just .500—and coming off a 42-13 loss to Missouri.

The biggest opponent to the Seminoles' playoff chances is themselves. Remember that even if the team does pick up a single loss, it is hard to imagine voters would not put Winston and Co. in the running.


The Comeback Story

Many declared the Michigan State Spartans dead in the water in regard to the CFP after a 46-27 loss to then-No. 3 Oregon back in early September.

Now, the Spartans are ranked higher than the Ducks.

So it goes in the wild, inaugural CFP season, where a number of one-loss teams are already sure to get in on the action by season's end. Based on recent play and the rest of the schedule, the Spartans figure to be one of them.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio certainly thinks his team should be in the running, as captured by Paul Myerberg of USA Today Sports:

What we'd like to have people say about us is that we're efficient. We stop the run. We make them throw the ball on offense. All we care about is winning football games, actually. That's probably what most people care about. That's the way I was raised to coach, I guess.

He certainly is not wrong. The Spartans surprisingly rank No. 3 overall with an average of 47.0 points scored per game. The defense is its usually elite self, most notably stunting a potent Nebraska rushing attack at the beginning of October and holding Heisman Trophy contender Ameer Abdullah to 45 yards and a pair of scores on a 1.9 yards-per-carry average.

The rest of the schedule is simple. Take care of business against Michigan, fend off an iffy Ohio State team and win games against programs with inflated records such as Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State.


Battle of Mississippi

Like everyone predicted, the biggest game of the season is a season-ending affair between Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Of course, those Rebels are ranked No. 3 in the land thanks to the No. 1 defense that allows just 10.6 points per game on average and has wins over Texas A&M and Alabama.

Those Bulldogs are the top team in the nation thanks to an elite offense led by Prescott and wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn.

The two collide on Nov. 29.

Both have a good shot of getting there undefeated, too. Ole Miss needs to survive LSU and Auburn, but with a defense that held Alabama to 17 points and a senior quarterback in Bo Wallace who has thrown 17 touchdowns to six interceptions, it is not out of the realm of possibility.

Prescott and the Bulldogs have a much easier ride, the exception being a trip to Alabama. Given Prescott's 246 passing yards, 121 rushing yards and three total scores in a comfortable win over Auburn, though, it is hard to imagine he will have a ton of difficulty against the Crimson Tide.

The wackiest part? If both get to the end of the season undefeated, the loser of the contest could still make the CFP and invoke a rematch.

Strap in for a wild finish.


Note: All stats and info via unless otherwise specified.


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7 College Football Recruits Who Had an Explosive Week

The high school football regular season rolled on last weekend with playoff positioning and community bragging rights at stake. Marquee matchups drew crowds to bleachers in every corner of America, and many included dynamic performances by elite players involved.

We detail these dominant displays every Monday, paying close attention to athletes who helped alter their teams' fortunes with phenomenal efforts and could someday do the same in college. Here's our latest look at compelling prospects who owned the action.


4-star 2016 athlete Jordan Fuller, Old Tappan High School (Old Tappan, New Jersey)

Fuller, the younger brother of standout UCLA wide receiver Devin Fuller, was supposed to spend his entire junior campaign at quarterback but suffered a wrist injury prior to the season. The setback made it necessary for him to spend time at receiver and defensive back, where he managed to make an impact while fighting through discomfort.

"It's annoying, to be honest," Fuller told Todderick Hunt of earlier this month. "I want to get it (the cast) off, but I've just got to wait. But it should be off in the next few weeks. There's a little pain but it's getting a lot better."

The 6'2", 190-pound prospect returned to quarterback against Pascack Valley, and although Old Tappan fell 35-28, the game represented a positive step in his development. Fuller erupted for 304 rushing yards, scoring three times on the ground and adding a touchdown toss. 

Rated ninth nationally among athletes in 247Sports' composite rankings, he is likely to land at safety or receiver at the next level. Fuller visited Rutgers earlier this fall and has collected offers from Ohio State, Miami and Maryland in recent months.


5-star quarterback Blake Barnett, Santiago High School (Corona, California)

The Southern California standout continues to create plenty of buzz about Alabama's offensive future. Barnett, a Crimson Tide commit, shattered his own single-game program passing record during a 49-35 victory over Riverside King High School. 

He torched defenders for 498 yards through the air to surpass his former career-high mark of 384 yards, per Eric-Paul Johnson of The Press-Enterprise. Barnett connected on three touchdown throws, including a pair from 50-plus yards.

Flashing the mobility that makes him America's top-rated dual-threat quarterback, Barnett added two rushing scores. He now has 10 total touchdowns in the past two games, both league victories.

Barnett, who initially pledged to Notre Dame last November, flipped to Alabama in June. He followed up the eye-opening effort with a trip to Tuscaloosa for Saturday's game against Texas A&M, where he snapped this candid photo of head coach Nick Saban:


Unranked running back Cliff Miller, Columbian High School (Tiffin, Ohio)

Miller headlined a matchup that featured surreal statistical numbers. He led his squad to an 83-82 overtime win against Shelby High School.

The contest tied an Ohio state record for most combined points in one game, per Larry Phillips of the Mansfield News Journal. Miller helped the scorekeeper stay busy throughout, tallying 10 touchdowns and a two-point conversion. 

His 62 total points are tied for third all time in the state. Miller scored six times before intermission, and his final trip to the end zone gave Columbian its game-winning advantage in the extra session.

You won't read much about Miller mulling over many FBS offers at this point, but he just put himself in state history books and on the national radar.


4-star running back Soso Jamabo, Plano West High School (Plano, Texas)

The 6'2.5", 210-pound playmaker provided yet another example of his scintillating abilities Friday night, rushing for four first-half touchdowns. Jamabo, who was crowned Homecoming King during the game's festivities, helped Plano West wallop Lewisville 55-22 and improve to 6-1 this season.

He finished the night with 145 rushing yards and five total touchdowns, per Keith Whitmire of The Dallas Morning News. Jamabo added a 54-yard scoring reception in the second half after his dominant early efforts.

The running back is enjoying a career-best season. He now has 1,558 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns, averaging 11 yards per carry.

Jamabo is weighing offers from UCLA, Oklahoma, Arizona State and Notre Dame, among others.


5-star athlete Torrance Gibson, American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Gibson, who ranks among the most talented all-around players in this recruiting cycle, stepped up for defending state champion American Heritage in a crucial showdown with Apopka High School. He rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, per the Sun Sentinel.

The 6'4", 200-pound prospect aims to play quarterback in college. He threw a touchdown pass and rushed for two more scores in the 30-20 victory over Apopka.

Gibson changed the complexion of a highly anticipated matchup by dashing 60 yards for a go-ahead score as time expired in the third quarter. Even when he's not hitting a high percentage of pass attempts, Gibson has shown he's fully capable of controlling a contest with dangerous rushing skills.

His six touchdowns on the ground lead all American Heritage players through seven games. Gibson has more than 1,300 total yards as a junior.

He remains uncommitted. Ohio State, LSU, Arizona and Oklahoma are among the programs in pursuit.


3-star running back Shannon Brooks, Pickens County High School (Jasper, Georgia)

The Minnesota commit continues to lead the way for Peach State rushers following another dominant performance. Brooks blew by defenders for 274 yards on just 13 carries, pushing his team to a 69-34 win over Lafayette High School, per MaxPreps.

The 5'11", 196-pound rusher added a 45-yard reception, threw a 65-yard touchdown and scored four times as a runner. Brooks has been impressive throughout his senior season, surpassing 200 yards on the ground in five of seven games.

The past three efforts have featured 14 rushing touchdowns, pushing his total to 26 this season.


4-star wide receiver Cordell Broadus, Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)

The talented downfield target continues to make the most of his only year at national title contender Bishop Gorman. Broadus, the son of hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, caught three touchdowns in a 70-13 rout of Legacy High School, per MaxPreps.

He now leads the team with eight scoring receptions through nine games. Broadus finished the contest with four catches for 131 yards, setting his personal single-game high with the squad.

The 6'2", 195-pound pass-catcher is considering several collegiate options, including USC, UCLA, Notre Dame and Baylor.


Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Oregon Ducks vs. Cal Bears Complete Game Preview

The Oregon Ducks (6-1, 3-1) finally played a completely football game against the Washington Huskies and came away with a huge 45-20 victory. While the Ducks are now in control of the Pac-12 North division, there is no time to rest as they head to the Bay Area on a short week to take on the Cal Bears (4-3, 2-3) at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Oregon, now ranked No. 6 in the country by The Associated Press, has beaten the Bears five consecutive times. However, these are the new and improved Cal Bears. Despite losing their past two games to Washington and UCLA, the Bears have been competitive in almost every game this season and are led by sophomore quarterback Jared Goff, who is one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks in the nation.

After winning only one game in 2013, head coach Sonny Dykes has the Bears believing that they can compete with any team in the Pac-12. Outside of a 31-7 loss to Washington two weeks ago, the Bears have been competitive in every game—including narrow losses to UCLA and Arizona. 

While the Bears believe they can compete with Oregon, the Ducks know they only have so many opportunities left to impress members of the College Football Playoff committee. The Ducks may be looking ahead to their matchup against Stanford on Nov. 1; however, they would be foolish to overlook these Cal Bears.

Here's what you need to know:  

Date: Friday, Oct. 24

Time: 7 p.m. Pacific Time

Place: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

TV: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Oregon -16, according to

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Oregon Ducks vs. Cal Bears Complete Game Preview

The Oregon Ducks (6-1, 3-1) finally played a completely football game against the Washington Huskies and came away with a huge 45-20 victory...

Begin Slideshow

College Football Picks: Syracuse Orange at Clemson Tigers Odds

The Syracuse Orange and the Clemson Tigers will butt heads this Saturday night in a Week 9 ACC Atlantic Division matchup at Memorial Stadium. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. ET and will be available nationally on ESPNU.

The Orange are coming off a 30-7 romp over Wake Forest this past Saturday as six-point favorites on the road. This win snapped a four-game straight-up losing streak in which they failed to cover in three of the games. Syracuse is now 3-4 both straight-up and against the spread, and the total has stayed under in two previous road games this year.

Clemson continues to pad its overall record with SU victories in its last four games, but it has failed to cover in its last two in tighter-than-expected battles against Louisville and Boston College. This past Saturday, the Tigers beat BC 17-13, but they could not cover the 5.5 points on the road. The total has now stayed under in their last three games.


Syracuse at Clemson Betting Storylines

This is Syracuse's second season in the ACC after going an even 4-4 SU in conference play last year. So far this season, its only conference win was last week against the Demon Deacons after losing to Louisville and Florida State. The 30 points it scored in that win was a welcomed sign after failing to score more than 20 points in any of its previous four outings, which all resulted in SU losses.

The Orange lost quarterback Terrel Hunt earlier this month to a leg injury, and that took a bite out of both the passing game and the ground game. Hunt remains the second-leading rusher on the team with 307 yards. Prince-Tyson Gulley leads all runners with 418 yards in an offense that is averaging 192 rushing yards a game. The defense is allowing an average of 23.9 points a game, but this unit gave up 28 points or more in every contest during its recent four-game slide.

Clemson's tight six-point loss to Florida State earlier in the season put a major dent in its Atlantic Division title hopes, but it clearly remains the second-best team in the ACC this season at 5-2 SU overall and 4-1 in conference play. The offense is averaging a respectable 34.6 points a game despite only tallying a combined 40 points in the victories against the Cardinals and the Eagles. The defense remains stout, allowing an average of just 20 points a game.

Cole Stoudt got the call at quarterback this past Saturday against BC and threw for 285 yards while completing 64.4 percent of his 45 attempts. The Tigers passing offense as a whole is averaging 303 yards per game, which is ranked 22nd in the nation. Both Mike Williams and Artavis Scott came up big against BC with a combined 18 receptions for 200 yards.


Syracuse at Clemson Betting Odds and Trends by Doc's Sports

Point Spread: Clemson -15.5

Total Line: OFF

The betting trends on Covers have the Orange listed at 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, and the total has stayed under in four of those contests. It has stayed under in four of their last six games overall.

The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home and 5-2 ATS in their last seven conference games. The total has stayed under in their last six games following a SU win.

Last season, in what was the first meeting between the two since 1996, Clemson crushed the Orange 49-14 as a 14-point road favorite. The total stayed under the closing 65.5-point line.


College Football Picks: Syracuse at Clemson Betting Predictions

I have been waiting for Clemson's offense to explode again ever since it put up a combined 91 points against North Carolina and North Carolina State in late September. I believe this is the week the Tigers return to that level of play with a dominating win at home that easily covers the 15.5-point spread.

Take: No. 124 Clemson (-15.5) over Syracuse, 7 p.m. ET,  Saturday, Oct. 25


Betting information courtesy of Covers unless otherwise noted.

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Super 16 Poll Week 9: Complete Rankings Released for 2014 Season

The only word that really matters in college football this season is "playoff." Every game, every result, every non-conference schedule or road loss or upset all comes back to one thing—which four teams will qualify for this year's College Football Playoff?

But what if there were 16 teams? What if the playoff was four times larger? 

Well, that's what the Super 16 Poll asks each week, as they rank the top 16 teams in the nation to give people an idea of what that playoff system would look like. It's a purely theoretical task, of course, but it's also fun to switch the debate from four teams to 16 teams.

Let's take a look at how the poll looks this week.





The one benefit to a four-team playoff as opposed to a 16-team dance is organizational. Essentially, there are far fewer teams by the end of the season that can make a realistic case for being one of the four best teams in the nation. 

When it comes to 16, however, Pandora's Box is opened. Don't get me wrong—the more that is actually decided on the field, the better. But suddenly, a ton of teams can hold forth their resume, shout "Pick me, pick me!" and actually warrant consideration.

East Carolina, for instance, won't sniff the four-team playoff. But with 16 teams, well, it has to be considered. Oklahoma's chance at a national title this year are over with two losses. In a 16-team playoff, however, you better bet the Sooners would make their case for being one of the top 16 teams. Heck, a 16-team playoff is likely the only way the Big Ten or Pac-12 would get a team into the playoff this season (though don't tell Michigan State, Ohio State or Oregon that).

Baylor's loss to West Virginia seems likely to have caused the Bears a shot at the playoff. In a 16-team dance, they'd have a chance to have their revenge.  

The matchups would be so much more fascinating in a 16-team playoff, however. The difference between finishing No. 1 and, say, No. 8 would be palpable. Mississippi State would rather play an East Carolina or Nebraska or Arizona than a Michigan State or Georgia or TCU, for instance. 

Although at this point, perhaps Mississippi State won't mind playing anyone. Beating LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn in consecutive weeks tends to inspire confidence in a team. Surviving the SEC West this season is basically a national championship in its own right, given how amazing the division is. Whichever team does survive—be it Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama or Auburn—isn't going to be losing too much sleep over who they play in a playoff.

Here's one thing we know—whether the playoff is four teams or 16, it's going to be bedlam. In fact, it might look something like this. 

Notre Dame may not be able to get back into the four-team playoff but, man, it would be fun to see what the Irish could do in a 16-team tournament. We may not be getting that wish anytime soon but it's sure fun to imagine.


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Kynon's Korner: Florida State Fans Swaying Alabama Commit, Tough Visit to Swamp

Florida State Win Impresses SEC Commit

Alabama commit Demetris Robertson was one of several big name recruits in Tallahassee, Fla. for Florida State's comeback 31-27 win over Notre Dame. Robertson came away very impressed with the 'Noles. 

"I had a great time last night," Robertson told Bleacher Report. "My favorite part had to be the atmosphere and the fans. I didn't know so many of them recognized me. They showed a lot of love."

Robertson decided to commit to the Crimson Tide last July after Alabama's summer camp. Since that time Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, and USC have offered the 6'1, 165-pound athlete from Savannah, Ga. The Tide will have to fight off a long list of suitors to keep Robertson on the commitment list starting with the 'Noles. 

The 5-star told me, "Their receivers are on point. Travis Rudolph caught my eye. Coach (Charles) Kelly is my primary recruiter. FSU is moving up for me."

Georgia will likely make a move too, but the Seminoles could be a major threat to Alabama for the dynamic athlete from the Peach State. We are going to keep an eye on this situation with a long way to go until National Signing Day in 2016. 

Tough Visit To The Swamp For In-State OL and 5-star RB

The hot seat in Gainesville has now reached it's boiling point following the Gators 42-13 loss to Missouri at The Swamp. A couple of weeks ago I said if Florida could land 5-star defensive linemen Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson combined with a respectable 8-4 record then head coach Will Muschamp may want to ask for a raise. Now Florida limps into into the bye week with speculation that Muschamp may be out following a loss to rival Georgia on Nov. 1

Despite the blowout the defense played exceptional only yielding a total of 119 yards of total offense. In fact, Florida is the only school in the last ten seasons to give up less than 120 yards and lose: 

Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian two-way standout Kendrick Norton took an unofficial visit to Florida for the lopsided loss. Norton said he was impressed with the defense and the environment. 

"It was a great atmosphere. Even the game wasn't close the crowd stayed in it the whole time," said Norton. "The defense played great. I was surprised with how the offense turned the ball over. I figured Florida would win because of their defense and let the offense get a few field goals while holding onto the ball, but they couldn't do that."

Norton lines up at offensive guard and defensive tackle for Trinity Christian. Florida wants the 6'3, 305-pounder 4-star stalwart on defense. 

"I watched Florida's defensive line and they got after them like always," added Norton. "Coach (Brad) Lawing is a great coach. He is always works with them and they have some talented guys."

When asked about the outcome of the game and Coach Muschamp's job status? Norton had this to say, "They've only lost three games, so they would have to lose a lot more for them to drop out of my top (favorites). If something happens and Coach Lawing leaves then I will have to reconsider things with Florida."

For now, Norton still has the Gators firmly in his list of top schools along with Miami and others. He is going to keep an eye on the situation in Gainesville to see if any changes will be made. He is planning his official visit to Miami for the Florida State game in Nov.


Last Friday, Muschamp made a final pitch to 5-star running back Jacques Patrick. Recruiting analyst Blake Alderman was the first to report that Patrick was on campus at Florida. 

Patrick told me, "Yes I was at Florida. I'm now certain on what I needed to know and I'll make my decision next week (Oct. 27)."

Patrick will likely decided between Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. The 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have him as a 100% lock to FSU. However, Patrick chose to be in Gainesville over the weekend instead of FSU's game against Notre Dame. Does that meaning anything? Probably not, but give Muschamp credit for giving Florida a fighting chance.

Skylar Diggins' Cousin Visits Notre Dame Rival

On Saturday afternoon, St. John Bosco athlete DJ Morgan was at The Coliseum with his mom and little brother to watch Cody Kessler make USC history. Kessler threw a school record seven touchdowns in the Trojans win over Colorado. Morgan said interacting with players post game after the special moment was the best part of his trip. 

"The excitement in the locker room was amazing," said Morgan. "After I win it was great to see everyone get along and having fun. It was mind boggling to see him go out there and throw so many touchdowns one right after the other. It was strike after strike after strike." 

When asked if 5-star Bosco teammate Josh Rosen is trying to recruit him to UCLA? He replied, "Josh respects everyone and their decision about which colleges they want to go. He understands its not just a four year decision its a forty year decision."

Location will likely be a factor for Morgan. His mom wants him to stay close to home, so she can see him play. She isn't fond of traveling and prefers Morgan to be near the west coast when he makes his college decision. 

The Trojan faithful let Morgan and his family know he is a priority recruit. Morgan said fans knew he who was when he was at the game.

"Some of them knew my name and they were chanting Fight On," laughed Morgan. "They were saying this is the right place to be. Its a great feeling and truly an honor and blessing to get that experience. Not everyone gets that opportunity to say the USC fan base knows you. It's a blessing."

Morgan recently picked up an Arizona State offer. The 4-star playmaker has made plans to take an unofficial visit to Tempe, Ariz. on Nov. 8 for the Sun Devils tilt against Notre Dame.  


2016 4-Star John Broussard Impressed by Bama's Dominant D

Yellowhammer State star John Broussard was in Tuscaloosa, Ala. for the Tide's 59-0 romp over Texas A&M. Broussard said the defense and the secondary really stood out in the win. 

"It was great and the atmosphere was cool," said Broussard. "I was watching Landon Collins and Tony Brown in the secondary. I really thought it was going to be a close game and come down to the wire, but Alabama came out strong and came out with the win. The visit was an 8 on a scale of 1-10. I loved seeing Amari Cooper play too."

Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is Broussard's primary recruiter. 

"Whenever we talk we have a real good conversation," noted Robertson. "He's a good guy."

Alabama figures to have some competition for the 4-star cover man. Auburn, Georgia, and Kentucky for the Central High School standout out of Phenix City, Ala. Broussard has been to Auburn twice this fall and each time it gets better according to Broussard.

"The stadium and atmosphere is great," added Broussard. "When you are standing up in the crowd the whole place is shaking."

Broussard said his next trip will likely be to Kentucky for the Georgia game. LSU is the other school in the fold for Broussard. He called the Tigers his dream school and said he talks to defensive backs coach Corey Raymond every two or three days. 

The tough defender is planning to decide later on during his junior year. He told me if he doesn't commit in May he will probably do it on Signing Day of his senior season. 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand. Recruiting information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted. 

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UCLA vs. Colorado Complete Game Preview

When: Saturday, Oct. 25; 2 p.m. ET

Where:  Folsom Field; Boulder, Colorado

TV: Pac-12 Networks

UCLA is out of its losing skid and back in the Associated Press Top 25 at No. 25 following a dramatic Week 8 win at Cal.

Marcus Rios’ interception of Cal quarterback Jared Goff completed the Bruins’ first win at Memorial Stadium since 1998, which was also the last season UCLA won the conference championship. 

Controversial interception in the #Cal-#UCLA game:

— Marshall Cherrington (@MWCherrington) October 18, 2014

A good omen, perhaps?

UCLA has plenty of work to do to contend for the Pac-12 South title and berth into the conference championship game, as it still trails Arizona, Arizona State, USC and Utah in the loss column.

Nevertheless, the Cal win was an important first step toward getting the Bruins back on course to what quarterback Brett Hundley said, per, was a very much attainable goal: the Pac-12 championship.

The Bruins’ next step is a road trip to last-place Colorado. The Buffaloes are winless in Pac-12 play but played Cal and Oregon State within a possession each.

However, the Buffs return home to Folsom Field reeling from a 56-28 blasting at USC.

UCLA can add to Colorado’s woes Saturday and get back on the right side of .500 in the conference with a road win.

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UCLA vs. Colorado Complete Game Preview

When: Saturday, Oct. 25; 2 p.m. ET Where: Folsom Field; Boulder, Colorado TV: Pac-12 Networks UCLA is out of its losing skid and back in the Associated Press Top 25 at No...

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Was Notre Dame Robbed by Officials in Florida State Game?

Was that really pass interference? 

It's a question likely being debated around water coolers everywhere today. The controversial ending to the epic Notre Dame-Florida State game nearly blew up the Internet on Saturday night, with amateur referees everywhere taking to Twitter and Facebook with their interpretation of college football's rulebook and the offensive pass-interference call made by the ACC officiating crew. 

In the chaos of the game's final seconds, just about everyone—including ESPN's Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit—thought the penalty was called on wide receiver C.J. Prosise. But with the roar of Doak Campbell Stadium drowning out referee David Epperley's announcement, it wasn't until after the game that most realized that Will Fuller was the guilty party, with back judge Pat Ryan throwing the decisive flag on the Irish's star receiver.

After the game on Saturday, coach Brian Kelly said he didn't think the play was illegal. On Sunday, he doubled down on that assertion, especially after he found out the flag was thrown on Fuller.

"I have less clarity. I guess it was actually called on Will Fuller, not C.J.," Kelly said in his Sunday teleconference. "Just adds more uncertainty as to the final play. Again, the play itself in terms of what we ask our kids to do, it was pretty clear what happened on the play. Florida State blew the coverage and they got rewarded for it. So it's unfortunate."

The ACC took to the Internet to defend their call. The coordinator of ACC officials, Doug Rhoads, said the following when discussing the controversial call: 

In order to bring a little clarity to the offensive pass-interference call that occurred in last night’s Notre Dame-Florida State game, let me see if I can explain the rule. Offensive players on passing plays are restricted from going downfield and blocking anytime from the snap. If the ball is first touched beyond the line of scrimmage, that would be legal and it’s okay, but if the ball is touched beyond the line, then it’s offensive pass interference.

Officials always have to exercise great judgment in calling a foul. An offensive pass interference—or pick plays as they’re sometimes referred to—are different than other difficult judgments. The key is the official must assess on the play whether there is sufficient restriction for it to be a foul, and he has to differentiate between incidental contact and significant contact or restriction when he calls that foul.

Rhoads is in a difficult situation, defending a judgment call that's essentially impossible to overturn. But by not focusing on the actual foul that was being called but rather the process by which the decision is made, Rhoads' "clarification" might actually do less to support his crew's decision than saying nothing at all.

When asked about the controversial flag, the NCAA's coordinator of officials, Rogers Redding, told The Associated Press, "What you want to look for, is it truly a situation where the offensive player prohibits the defender from making a play?''

"It's got to be obvious, and the rule even says, 'an obvious intent to impede.'''

Rule 7-3-8 is what Redding cites. It's also what has Irish fans still grumbling about Ryan's interpretation of pass interference. The rule book reads:

If opponents who are beyond the line collide while moving toward the pass, a foul by one or both players is indicated only if intent to impede the opponent is obvious. It is pass interference only if a catchable forward pass is involved.

While the initial instinct of both the broadcast booth and rules experts like Fox's Mike Pereria called the penalty a good one, different angles (not to mention clarification on the penalized party) make this less cut-and-dried. 

With most media from the press box allowed on the field in the game's final minutes, new camera angles of the deciding play are popping up everywhere. One view from the South Bend Tribune's Tyler James seems to support Brian Kelly's point of view, with slo-mo and touch screen graphics to help prove it. 

The guys at dug in and came to the same conclusion, noticing that the Irish moved to a bunch formation because the Seminoles were in man coverage, the absolute wrong defense for Kelly's play call:

From an X's and O's perspective, Notre Dame wins this play. No doubt about it. They have the right play call for the type of defense FSU is using. Unfortunately, it's not always just about X's and O's.

The ball has just left Everett Golson's hand. Will Fuller and CJ Prosise are both engaged with their respective defenders. This is a problem for Notre Dame. When the ball is in the air, the Notre Dame receivers can't be engaged with the DB's (regardless of who initiated the contact) or at the very least must be working to get away from contact. At the crucial moment they don't appear to be disengaging. That's why the call was made.

I don't know if it was the right call or not from a rule book perspective. From an X's and O's perspective, what Fuller and Prosise did isn't critical. They weren't the focal point of this play. They were at best a third and fourth option. Their patterns were primarily designed to isolate Robinson's route. Even if Fuller and Prosise don't touch the defenders, FSU is in trouble on this play. Notre Dame has them flanked because of alignment, not because of contact. Oddly enough, this is being called a pick play, but the player responsible for covering Robinson was never touched by anyone.

Of course, why contact is taking place is a critical component to the penalty call. While the angle from ESPN's broadcast seems to support the offensive pass-interference call, the look from behind the play shows two Florida State defensive backs doing their best to disrupt both Prosise and Fuller's pass routes with press-man coverage, playing perfectly into Notre Dame's hands, though also leading to the Irish's demise.  

If the debate wasn't enough, no dissection of this play is complete without one other key addition: If the officials were intent on calling the play by the letter of the law, they missed a key penalty that would've given Notre Dame an automatic first down. 

Florida State defensive back P.J. Williams removed his helmet after watching Corey Robinson score what he thought was the game-winning touchdown. That's a dead-ball, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

Kelly said that the ACC acknowledged the missed call, the result of which would've been a 1st-and-goal from Notre Dame's 9-yard line with 13 seconds remaining. 

In a parallel universe, the Irish and Seminoles returning to the field to square off again for 13 seconds would be a college football event unlike any we've ever seen. It's also a pipe dream, one that will only drive Irish fans crazy as they continue to dig into a 50-50 penalty that could've gone either way. 

But after a week of endless hype for a game that somehow managed to live up to it, the controversial finish almost adds to the legend of this heavyweight bout.

Penalty or not? It'll be debated for years to come. 


*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand. 

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Will LSU Shake Up SEC West with Win vs. Ole Miss?

Fresh off their 41-3 thrashing of the Kentucky Wildcats, the LSU Tigers play host to the SEC's newest superpower, the Ole Miss Rebels, with their sights set on an upset.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee break down the game and LSU's future.

Can LSU keep its offense going against the stout Ole Miss defense?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Seemingly Drunk Ole Miss Fan Crashes Tennessee QB's Postgame Media Session

If a seemingly drunk fan was able to sneak his way into an opponent's postgame media session, Ole Miss better figure out a way to improve its security at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

After a 34-3 loss to Ole Miss this past Saturday, Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley answered questions from reporters—and a fan who sounds like he might have had a drink or two.

The fan got in a question, but it wasn't very clear. Here's our best guess as to what he asked: "You knew Ole knew Ole Miss' defense was gonna be good. Anything that particularly surprised you about that?" 

Unfortunately the clip stops there, so we don't know if Worley ever answered the fan's question.

This has apparently happened before in Oxford.

According to Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger, Ole Miss is looking into the matter and will try to figure out a way to tighten up security. The security guard responsible for checking media credentials was reportedly in the wrong room on Saturday.

[Knoxville News Sentinel, Twitter; h/t SB Nation and Deadspin]

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LSU Tigers vs. Ole Miss Rebels Complete Game Preview

Ole Miss will be a road favorite against LSU on Saturday. Three years ago, nobody would have ever expected the Tigers to be a home underdog when facing the Rebels.

LSU destroyed Ole Miss 52-3 on the way to a SEC championship in 2011. The Rebels finished a disastrous 0-8 in conference play, which led to head coach Houston Nutt's exit after the season's end. 

Ole Miss has experienced an enormous change for the better with head coach Hugh Freeze since then. The unbeaten Rebels are the No. 3 team in the country heading into Saturday's contest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are now the team looking to make a run to a national championship, not 6-2 LSU. 

Freeze's best coaching performances prior to 2014 has been against the Tigers. In his first trip to Baton Rouge two years ago, his Rebels were narrowly defeated 41-35 in Tiger Stadium. He was able to break through last season in a surprising upset over the Tigers. 

Now Miles has the opportunity to spoil Freeze's party. ESPN's College GameDay will be in Baton Rouge on Saturday for what should be an intense affair. 

Here is a preview of this week's matchup.


What You Need to Know

Time: 6:15 p.m. CT 

Place: Tiger Stadium; Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network, Ole Miss Radio Network

Spread: Ole Miss by 3; via 

Begin Slideshow

Notre Dame Football: Position-by-Position Midseason Grades for the Irish

Less than 48 hours removed from Notre Dame’s 31-27 loss to Florida State, it’s time to begin to move on from the wild—and disputed—finish and assess the Irish at the bye week seven games into the season.

Notre Dame is 6-1 and ranked seventh in The AP poll. It's had convincing wins (Michigan), dubious wins (North Carolina) and arguably as impressive a loss as a team can have (Florida State).

Let’s go by position by position and assess the team’s performance so far. We’ll judge the overall performance of each group and consider how the units have performed in relation to preseason expectations. A “C” grade is considered average.

Away we go.

Begin Slideshow

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers Complete Game Preview

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If you were eager for the third Saturday in October to pick up a little steam after the last few years, don’t hold your breath for 2014.

Alabama is fresh off a 59-0 trouncing of Texas A&M, while Tennessee is limping away from a 34-3 loss to Ole Miss and still looking for its first SEC win.

Everything seemed to go right for the Crimson Tide in their win over the Aggies. Offense, defense and special teams all played at a championship level.

Tennessee, meanwhile, is working to build an identity in coach Butch Jones’ second year at the helm.

Can the Volunteers pull the upset? Probably not, but stranger things have happened.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Date: Saturday, October 25

Time: 6:30 p.m. CT

Place: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee


Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, Vol Network

Spread: Alabama by 16.5, according to

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Complete Game Preview

A week after proving that it maintained its momentum following its second bye in four weeks, the Ohio State football team will head to Happy Valley for a prime-time matchup with Penn State. On the heels of their fourth consecutive blowout victory, the Buckeyes are hoping to make a statement against the Nittany Lions as they continue their push for a potential playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Penn State is looking to breathe new life into its season after suffering back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Michigan. Coming off a bye of their own, the Nittany Lions will be well-rested but appear to have been hampered by the scholarship limitations handed down by their sanctions.

Will Ohio State keep rolling, or will Penn State pick up a much-needed signature? We'll find out on Saturday. But until then, here's everything you need to know about the Buckeyes' battle with the Nittany Lions.

Date: Saturday, Oct. 25

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Place: Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.


Radio: Ohio State Football Radio NetworkMaryland Sports Radio Network

Spread: Ohio State (-11.5), via Odds Shark 


Begin Slideshow

Miami vs. Virginia Tech: Complete Game Preview

Two rivals square off on Thursday, Oct. 23, as the Miami Hurricanes travel to Lane Stadium and meet the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Both programs need a victory to remain in the Coastal Division hunt, having dropped two conference contests each.

Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) did not play this past weekend but toppled Cincinnati 55-34 two weeks ago, while Virginia Tech (4-3, 1-2) fell to Pittsburgh 21-16 last Thursday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN. As of this writing, the 'Canes are favored by two points, per OddsShark.

Begin Slideshow

Florida State Football: Adjustments Seminoles Must Make During Bye Week

Life is good for the Florida State football team—and not because the Seminoles can relax with this being a bye week. FSU players can enjoy being 7-0, but they also know they must make some adjustments on offense and defense going into the final five games of the regular season.

FSU is one of four unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (along with Mississippi State, Mississippi and Marshall) and knocked off a former unbeaten when it held off No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27 on Saturday night.

While FSU remains perfect in the win column, the Seminoles are still a team with weaknesses. FSU has come up with some timely defensive stops in the red zone the past two weeks against Syracuse and Notre Dame, but the team ranks seventh in scoring defense (21 points) and 10th in total defense (374 yards)—in the ACC. And FSU's rushing offense (125 yards per game) is 13th in the 14-team ACC. 

"We find excuses to win," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "This team has tremendous, what I call, 'adversity tolerance.' It doesn't flinch. It can deal with pressure moments, pressure situations."

FSU has handled the pressure well in holding off fourth-quarter challenges from Oklahoma State, Clemson and Notre Dame. Let's take a look at where FSU needs to improve during the bye week:


Adjustments on Offense

After running for 171 yards against Wake Forest and 165 yards at Syracuse, FSU's ground attack looked like it was improving after a rocky start to the season. But FSU had just 26 carries for 50 yards against Notre Dame.

There are a few good reasons for FSU's rushing struggles against the Fighting Irish. The Seminoles were without Mario Pender (ankle), and true freshman Dalvin Cook earned his first start. Fisher said that Cook started because Karlos Williams, who missed the Syracuse game with an ankle injury, didn't practice much in the week leading up to the Notre Dame game.

FSU also played without offensive line coach Rick Trickett on the sideline. Trickett had a heart problem Friday night and did not coach (Fisher said that Trickett would return to the office this week).

Forced to start a true freshman over a senior at tailback and without its offensive line coach, FSU didn't get much going on the ground early. FSU didn't run on its first drive, a three-and-out. Cook had two carries for minus-one yard on the second drive. Jameis Winston had a 3-yard run on the third drive, but no tailback got a carry. It wasn't until midway through the second quarter that FSU earned a rushing first down, and it was part of a drive where the Seminoles got three first-down carries to set up a Roberto Aguayo field goal.

The good news is that Williams had a pair of second-half touchdowns. But consistency in the ground game is sorely lacking.

Will FSU be able to improve on the ground? A bye week clearly helps from an injury standpoint. Pender and Williams could be at or near 100 percent for the Louisville game. But the Cardinals have the nation's No. 3 rush defense (68 yards per game). Another big challenge for FSU.


Adjustments on Defense

FSU continues to escape with wins despite a defense that has gone from No. 1 in the nation in 2013 to 53rd in total defense. The Seminoles lost five starters to the NFL and have dealt with injuries to returning stars (defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. each missed a game). Linebacker Terrance Smith was also suspended for the Wake Forest game.

One of the biggest concerns has been the success of FSU's opponents on third down. Syracuse converted seven of its 14 third-down opportunities, and Notre Dame converted on seven of its 18 third-down chances. FSU is 94th in the FBS in third-down conversion defense (43.4 percent).

It's deflating to a defense when a mobile quarterback like Notre Dame's Everett Golson is able to scramble or just elude tacklers in the pocket only to complete passes. And long drives wear down defenses, especially when opponents use the chance to go to the hurry-up offense and make substituting nearly impossible for the Seminoles.

FSU also gave up too many big plays to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish ran 87 plays on Saturday, but they had eight pass plays of 15 or more yards and six rushing plays of 10 or more yards, 247Sports' Chris Nee writes (subscription required). That's 270 offensive yards on just 14 plays.

Will FSU's defense improve down the stretch? The Seminoles don't have as many injury concerns on defense. And true freshmen who have seen significant playing time, like defensive end Lorenzo Featherston and linebacker Jacob Pugh, will only get better with experience.

One piece of good news for the Seminoles is that they don't play a top-flight offense down the stretch. Of the five remaining opponents, Miami is the best and is ranked 53rd in total offense.


Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter. All stats unless otherwise noted are courtesy of

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Does Texas A&M Need to Bench Kenny Hill to Save Season?

After three straight losses, the Texas A&M Aggies are reeling. Kenny Hill, once thought of as the heir to Johnny Manziel, is not the same guy we saw in Week 1.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder discuss the future of Kenny Hill and the Aggies.

Is it time to make a change at the quarterback position?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Adam Choice Injury: Updates on Clemson Star's Knee and Recovery

Clemson running back Adam Choice will miss the remainder of the 2014 college football season after suffering a torn ACL in Saturday's 17-13 win over Boston College.

"I hate it for Adam," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday, per Scott Keepfer of "He was just starting to hit his stride."   

Choice, a freshman, was injured on a three-yard loss in the first quarter. Though the injury did not appear season-threatening on the field, Choice did not return to the game and a subsequent MRI revealed the ACL tear.

A highly touted Class of 2014 recruit, Choice's freshman campaign concludes with a team-high 218 yards and a touchdown. He had slowly moved his way up the Tigers' crowded running back rotation and appeared to be their best option on a per-play basis.

Four non-quarterbacks have carried the ball 35-plus times, as Swinney has struggled to find the right mix. The return of talented freshman Tyshon Dye may help mitigate the loss of Choice. Dye is scheduled to return to practice this week in preparation for Saturday's game with Syracuse.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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