NCAA Football

Cold Hard Fact for Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fact: Since 1959, Michigan head coaches are a combined 0-6 in their first game against Michigan State

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Fact of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: ESPN Stats & Info

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

LSU Fans Grill Whole Alligators Ahead of Game Against Florida Gators

No. 6 LSU is taking on No. 8 Florida in a highly anticipated matchup between two top-10 teams in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

As expected, LSU fans are out in full force, tailgating before the showdown at 7 p.m. ET. A group of Tigers fans decided to take things to next level and eat their opponents. 

Literally. Well, somewhat.  

These fans are cooking up whole alligators. 

Well done. 

[Twitter]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell Throws Touchdown Pass vs. Memphis

What can't Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell do? Seriously.

Last week he was impersonating Odell Beckham Jr., and this week he's impersonating your favorite QB.

This kid is going to be a problem if he keeps doing things like this.

[Vine]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

DIII Wide Receiver Makes Acrobatic 'Ninja Catch' at Practice

Athletes are amazing, especially at a young age.

California Lutheran University wide receiver Ricky Johnson garnered 1,061 all-purpose yards last year, which lead the team. But as impressive as he is during games, he can also pull off some sweet moves in his spare time, like this "ninja catch" he shows off in this Instagram video.

We see you, Mr. Johnson. 

[Instagram]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' from Week 7 in Ann Arbor, Michigan

ESPN's College GameDay is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this week ahead of the No. 12-ranked Wolverines' rival game against No. 7 Michigan State.

With Michigan shutting out its last three opponents, the Spartans have a lot on their plate. But before the helmets and shoulder pads are put on, let's take a look at some of the best signs this week. 

Boy, kids are creative these days. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Louisville vs. Florida State: Live Score and Highlights

In an early-afternoon matchup, the ACC will feature defending league champion Florida State against its most recent addition, Louisville, as the Cardinals travel to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, aiming to continue their two-game win streak. Meanwhile, the 11th-ranked Seminoles hope to maintain their 24-0 conference sweep dating back to October 2012. 

Just as it has been all season, the Florida State offense will be placed on the back of stud starter Dalvin Cook, who has 792 yards and eight touchdowns thus far into the season. Transfer quarterback Everett Golson has slowly begun to impact more and more games for the undefeated Seminoles, slinging for scores in close wins over Wake Forest and Miami.

On the opposite sideline, Louisville suffered through its first three games of the season, falling in close matchups with Auburn, Houston and ACC big-shot Clemson. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has struggled similarly, throwing four interceptions to just three touchdowns on the year. However, the Cardinals' ability to stay in close games will present an opportunity for Louisville, even on the road against the conference's historical (and current) powerhouse. 

Stay tuned for breaking news, commentary and analysis as Saturday's noon ET kickoff approaches on ESPN. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ole Miss vs. Memphis: Live Score and Highlights

Ole Miss 0, Memphis 0—1st Quarter

The No. 13 Ole Miss Rebels travel to Memphis hoping to stave off a sneaky-good Tigers team that's trying to power its way into the rankings.

Depending on your market, today's matchup can be found either on ABC or ESPN 2. Follow this page throughout for live updates and analysis. Afterward, be sure to check back as we grade Ole Miss' positional units.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

West Virginia vs. Baylor: Live Score and Highlights

The Baylor Bears will have a chance to bolster their case for a playoff berth Saturday when the team welcomes the West Virginia Mountaineers at noon ET on Fox. 

Head coach Art Briles’ Baylor team has been dominant through the first five games of the 2015 season, particularly on offense. The team is averaging a mind-boggling 64.2 points per game to lead the nation. Texas Tech, a team the Bears routed 63-35 on Oct. 3, is a distant second with its average of 52.7 points. 

West Virginia sprinted to a hot start to begin the season, which included a 45-6 demolition of rival Maryland, but the team stumbled a bit in its past two games. Losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State put the Mountaineers at 3-2, but a high-flying offense and at least passable defense make them Baylor’s toughest opponent thus far. 

Quarterback Skyler Howard and West Virginia will have the arduous task of outscoring Baylor and Seth Russell on the road. The Mountaineers are 20th in the nation in total defense, but Russell ranks second nationally with 22 passing scores. 

Check back here before kickoff for instant updates and reactions to Saturday’s showdown. Feel free to join the discussion below in the comments section.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Daily Fantasy College Football Week 7: DraftKings Last-Minute Picks, Best Values

The college football season is nearing the midway point for nearly every college football team, making daily fantasy decisions somewhat easier to make. While it's easy to pinpoint the top players in college, identifying the best value players can be a trivial activity.

So hey, how about you don't worry about that anymore? With our last-minute picks and best values, you can punch in the top players and have salary to spare. Here's a look at the top value players from both noon and night matchups to lock into your lineups.

 

Quarterback: Kyle Allen, QB, Texas A&M ($6,900)

There's a dual-threat quarterback at Texas A&M looking to make a statement on Saturday against Alabama. Sound like a familiar script? That's because it is. Only this time, it's not Johnny Manziel against the Crimson Tide—it's Kyle Allen.

The sophomore signal-caller is torching opposing defenses to the tune of 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Tack on two rushing TDs and two 50-plus-yard performances, and you have a phenomenal start to Allen's season. Fox Sports' Jackie Sherrill noted additional Allen stats:

At 5-0, Allen has Texas A&M on the cusp of greatness with his leadership. But with stats to back up his success and a $6,900 price tag, Allen is a perfect target for a QB2 spot or low-end QB1 at 27.5 DK points per game.

 

Running Back: Tre Madden, Southern Cal ($5,100)

Do you want Leonard Fournette, Devontae Booker or Ezekiel Elliott in your prime-time lineup? Well, you'll need to do some digging to find a productive back at a much lower price. Tre Madden is that tailback.

One off game against Arizona State has lowered the price for Madden from $7,500 earlier this season to $5,100 on Saturday against Notre Dame. The production in the last game, however, proves he's still a reliable back. With 16.5 points in a loss to Washington, it's clear he's still a good target for DFS owners.

 

Wide Receiver: Joshua Atkinson, Tulsa ($5,400)

The last two games for Joshua Atkinson have been his worst fantasy performances of the season. So why should you slot him in your lineup? Because his worst outings were for 23 and 19.7 fantasy points.

But wait, he's playing on the road in a tough atmosphere at East Carolina. Don't worry about that, either. In two road starts this season, Atkinson has averaged 26.7 fantasy points compared to 21.4 at home.

Tulsa's team leader in yards per catch (15.7) is a home run threat every time the ball is snapped. While he might not have a massive volume of receptions, expect solid production from Atkinson at a position where depth is a necessity. Whether he's a WR2, WR3 or flex, Atkinson is a must-have in any lineup.

 

Wide Receiver: Robby Anderson, Temple ($4,100)

What if I told you there is a receiver with three touchdowns in his last two games who doesn't rank inside the top 20 on DraftKings' salary sheet? You'd want that player, right? Well, it's time to start targeting Robby Anderson before his stock skyrockets.

While he isn't exactly piling on the yards like Atkinson, the 6'3" wideout is a prime red-zone target. His matchup on Saturday? Oh, you know, UCF's 94th-ranked pass defense that has allowed 251.5 pass yards per game and 13 touchdowns this season. Expect huge points from Anderson this weekend.

DraftKings owners can win $300K in the "Dive for the Pylon" tournament to start off the college football season! Use Promo Code BLEACHER REPORT when you sign up.

Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter for more DraftKings advice:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2015: Overview of Week 7 Standings for NCAA's Top 25

Don't get used to the way the Top 25 looks across the board entering Week 7, because a jam-packed slate full of marquee matchups all but guarantees another major shake-up.

We didn't have to wait until Saturday to see the first ranked squad fall in embarrassing fashion. That moment came Thursday night, when 15th-ranked Stanford humiliated No. 18 UCLA by the score of 56-35, all but ensuring the Bruins' fall from next week's Top 25.

That's only the start of a bevy of ranked matchups, with three of the four remaining such bouts sure to rewrite the College Football Playoff outlook heading toward the season's second half. Without further ado, let's take one last look at the standings before Saturday.

 

Teams to Watch

No. 12 Michigan (vs. No. 7 Michigan State)

Even the most optimistic Jim Harbaugh supporters couldn't have imagined this bout between the state's marquee programs to have this much sizzle in its 2015 showdown.

But that's the case entering Saturday, as the Michigan Wolverines have taken college football by storm after a torrid start to the season. Ever since a season-opening defeat to Utah (which isn't half bad itself), Michigan has won five straight in such a convincing fashion that it's almost unbelievable.

Harbaugh's defense gave up touchdowns in a pair of blowouts to Oregon State and UNLV, but since, it hasn't given up a single point. That stretches three wins against BYU, Maryland and Northwestern—two of the three were ranked at the time.

However, none of those offenses compare to the Spartans, as ESPN's Chris Fallica noted:

Mark Dantonio's squad has not been the "little brother" in recent seasons, as Michigan State has earned its status as the state's most formidable program over the last few years. But the times change, and the ebbs and flows of college football are inevitable.

Whether it comes this weekend or gets put off until next year, it does seem like Harbaugh is regaining the Wolverines' place near the top of the Big Ten.

 

No. 8 Florida (at No. 6 LSU)

The 2015 season has brought plenty of surprises for the Florida Gators in a promising light. A squad expected to be near the bottom of the SEC is now 6-0 and in the Top 10 entering a road contest against a fellow unbeaten.

Of course, the surprises have come in tough-to-swallow fashion as well. Gators redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier was suspended for one year after violating NCAA rules and testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The quarterback job goes back to Treon Harris, the dual-threat quarterback who lost his starting job to Grier over the offseason. But it's no secret that the star of this matchup is still heavily involved, per Mike Huguenin of Gridiron Now:

LSU star Leonard Fournette has been taking college football by storm this season, moving to the forefront of the Heisman Trophy discussion and running through defenses. He'll have to do so against a Florida team that ranks 16th in the nation in total defense.

While the Gators offense may not be at full strength with Grier's suspension, it's the defensive side of the ball that will win or lose this game and decide if Florida's undefeated season will continue.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Predictions 2015: Projections for Top Playoff Contenders

The college football regular season is almost at the halfway point, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. 

Entering its second year, the College Football Playoff and the bowl games have shifted, as they will from year to year. 

The Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl will host the playoff games, while four other bowls will round out the New Year's Six.

As usual, the Rose Bowl will feature the Pac-12 and Big Ten, while the Sugar Bowl will pit the SEC against the Big 12. The Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will be assigned at-large teams, including the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences.

 

Notable Teams

Baylor

Baylor has looked like the most dominant team in the nation this season, but the Bears' resume doesn't quite hold up right now. 

Through its first five games, Baylor has won by 28 points or more in every contest, but it is yet to face a ranked opponent. 

Do Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech boast the 3 best offenses in CFB? The numbers suggest it. The 3 lead the nation in points and yards per play.

— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 14, 2015

While the team's resume may not match up with some of the other teams right now, the Bears will get their chance. Baylor has a three-game stretch in November in which it will host Oklahoma and then travel to Oklahoma State and TCU.

If Baylor runs the table, the team should be considered a lock to make it into the playoffs. It has dominated its non-conference schedule and would finish with at least three quality victories, which should be enough to overcome the Big 12's lack of a championship game.

 

Michigan

Even with a loss to Utah, Michigan still controls its own destiny to advance to the College Football Playoff.

By running the table, Michigan would have wins over Michigan State, Ohio State and the Big Ten Championship game, which would give it an impressive resume worthy of a top-four position. 

But that's a lot to ask of Jim Harbaugh's squad, so at least one loss is likely on the horizon. 

Even with two losses, Michigan would be a safe bet to represent the Big Ten in one of the other New Year's Six bowl games. The Wolverines' dominant defense would be a compelling matchup against any number of possible opponents. 

 

Stanford

Is there a hotter team than Stanford right now?

After crushing UCLA on Thursday night, Stanford is through the most difficult stretch on its schedule. The Cardinal are the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 North and control their own destiny for a berth in the Pac-12 title game. 

Stanford (+87) and Utah (+48) have, by far, the biggest point differentials in the Pac-12. No other team is better than +13.

— David Lombardi (@LombardiESPN) October 16, 2015

It will be tough for Stanford to sneak into the College Football Playoff unless it runs the table, but a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth is certainly within reach. 

The Cardinal don't play another currently-ranked team until they host California in their Pac-12 finale, and then against Notre Dame to close out their regular season. 

 

Clemson

Clemson's resume won't be overly impressive this year, as it may finish the year having only played two ranked opponents (Notre Dame and Florida State). But an undefeated record would likely be enough to sneak the Tigers into the playoffs. 

Fortunately for the Tigers, their only serious test remaining is Florida State, which visits Clemson on November 7. Clemson has defeated the Seminoles in five of the last six matchups in South Carolina. 

Given the lack of quality wins, however, Clemson's playoff hopes may rest on that showdown with Florida State. A loss to the Seminoles likely eliminates Clemson from playoff contention and potentially out of the New Year's Six bowls altogether. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Boise State vs. Utah State: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

No. 21 Boise State (5-2) entered Friday night on a four-game winning streak, but the Broncos are likely to fall out of the Top 25 after getting thumped, 52-26, by an unranked Utah State (4-2) team at Maverik Stadium on Friday night. 

The Aggies impressed earlier in the season by remaining competitive in losses against Utah and Washington, but Friday evening's shellacking of the Broncos was a performance of an entirely different caliber.

Things were going well when Utah State led 17-3 after the first quarter, but a 28-7 advantage in the second frame put the Aggies in complete control. At that point, the rout was on. 

Utah State forced seven—yes, seven—first-half turnovers, and as Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer noted, the Aggies' numbers over the first 30 minutes would have been good enough for an entire game considering their opponent:

According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, Boise State tallied just six turnovers all season prior to Friday night's contest. The seven first-half turnovers were also the most by any FBS team in the last 10 seasons, per ESPN College Football, as Boise finished with its most turnovers in a game (eight) since 1989, per the Idaho Statesman's Chadd Cripe

Dave Southorn of the Idaho Statesman summed up the result for the Broncos, who had outscored their last four opponents 204-24: 

Utah State scored 35 points off turnovers in the first half, and that absurd total allowed Matt Wells' side to cruise to a statement victory.

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah noted Wells was the big winner Friday night:

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel added Friday was another day at the office for a Utah State defense that entered the night ranked 18th in total defense: 

Since Utah State's defense did so much of the heavy lifting throughout the first half, the Kent Myers-led offense merely had to control clock and play efficiently to salt away the Broncos.

Myers completed 17 of 24 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 63 yards and a score. Running back Devante Mays tacked on 63 yards and a touchdown for good measure. 

Boise State signal-caller Brett Rypien fell on the opposite end of the efficiency spectrum, which was surprising given the tear he'd been on since late September. Entering Friday night, Rypien had thrown seven touchdowns and one interception over his past three games. He also topped 300 yards in two of those outings. 

Matched up against a stout defense, Rypien found rhythm to be elusive. He finished 25-of-50 for 299 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Utah State also shut down Boise's rushing attack with gusto. The Broncos collectively rushed 30 times for 34 yards and a trio of short-yardage touchdowns. 

Utah State imposed its will and became the first team to drop 50 points on Boise State in regulation since 1998, per Cripe, and the Broncos will now be tasked with rebounding as they face the prospect of relinquishing ranked status.

A matchup with Wyoming next Saturday should provide some relief, and Boise State will be looking to put on an explosive offensive display to forget Friday's struggles. 

The Aggies, meanwhile, shot to the top of the MWC's Mountain Division, and they could conceivably win all six of their remaining regular-season games. Wells will need his defense to play well in late-season showdowns with BYU and Air Force, but a 10-2 finish isn't out of the question for a Utah State team on the rise.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Week 7: Latest Buzz Ahead of Top 25 Matchups

As the sun came up on Friday, the college football community was still buzzing over Stanford wide receiver Francis Owusu’s miraculous catch. Then news came in on the passing of Texas mascot Bevo XIV.

While all of that is noteworthy, let's not forget about Week 7 and the top-tier matchups we have on deck. With Saturday fast approaching, it’s time to look at the latest news surrounding the ranked-team showdowns ahead.

 

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 12 Michigan full of storylines

In what many believe to be the marquee matchup in Week 7, questions are swirling around MSU quarterback Connor Cook’s prospects facing the nation’s No. 1 defense. 

Cook currently ranks ninth in the FBS with an 82.4 adjusted Total QBR and shined during a comeback victory over Rutgers on the road in Week 6. He threw for a season-high 357 yards and two touchdowns.

While MSU’s offensive line is a bit banged up at the moment, it will be interesting to see how Cook is able to throw versus Michigan’s defense, which ranks second in passing yards allowed per game (115.5) and likes to blitz. ESPN analyst Ted Miller said the senior quarterback is ready for The Big House.

“Connor Cook, this is his moment,” Miller said. “He came back to win this game.”

Michigan has shut out opponents in each of its last three games. The Wolverines should also come with plenty of fight, as this is head coach Jim Harbaugh’s first matchup against the in-state rival, and he should have the team fired up accordingly.

Harbaugh voiced his concern over MSU's ability to come up with the clutch play in tight games in an interview with WXYT-FM (via the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder) on Thursday. 

“That’s a heck of a thing for your team when they’ve been in close games and you can find a way to win,” Harbaugh said. "I'm worried about a lot of things. That would be one of them, I guess.”

Fox Sports reports that it remains to be seen how many MSU starters will be unavailable Saturday. Current Spartans dealing with injuries include offensive linemen Jack Conklin, Kodi Kieler and Jack Allen. Cornerback Darian Hicks, tight end Josiah Price and tailback Madre London also have unknown statuses for Saturday. 

 

No. 8 Florida at No. 6 LSU: the Leonard Fournette Factor

Florida takes its 12th-ranked rush defense into Death Valley Saturday to try to limit the yards per carry of LSU’s star sophomore running back Leonard Fournette.

The Gators defense will mostly likely be getting a huge boost, as head coach Les Miles said during a press conference Wednesday that “he’d be surprised” if preseason ALL-SEC safety Jalen Mills didn’t play Saturday. 

Fournette is averaging 8.6 yards this season and has 12 touchdowns.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay predicts that Florida will load up on defense and limit Fournette to 130 or 140 yards rushing, which would be his lowest total this season. 

 

No. 10 Alabama at No. 9 Texas A&M and Aggies run defense

Texas A&M’s run defense appears to be vulnerable heading into this pivotal matchup with the Crimson Tide. On September 27, Arkansas ran for 232 yards versus the Aggies, exposing a major weakness.

Can the Aggies defensive line stack up against Alabama’s tough offensive big men and downhill running ability? Alabama RB Derrick Henry will look to add to his season total of 10 touchdowns in what should be a close game.

Another big question for the Aggies is whether or not quarterback Kyle Allen will be able to step up in big-moment situations like he did during their overtime winner versus Arkansas.

This SEC showdown is a huge opportunity for Allen to take a major positive step in his development toward becoming a conference star.

During Wednesday's press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban praised Allen's effectiveness as a passer. 

"Allen is really, really good," Saban said. "And getting better all the time."

Saban also pointed out the fact that, thanks to developing more of a running game to complement their passing, the Aggies have become more multidimensional on offense. The ability to run the ball naturally takes pressure off the quarterback, both mentally and physically.  

 

No. 17 Iowa at No. 20 Northwestern: How will Wildcats bounce back?

The fourth and final ranked matchup this weekend pits the Wildcats battling the Hawkeyes at home after being trounced 38-0 by Michigan last Saturday. 

Iowa is hoping to get to 7-0 for the first time since 2009, but is dealing with a couple of injuries on offense. Despite having groin and hip issues, Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard told the Gazette's Marc Morehouse that he will definitely play at Ryan Field.

In a game that has huge implications for the crowning of the Big Ten West, Northwestern’s defense needs to pick it up and show no signs of a hangover from the Michigan game.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages