NCAA Football News
A few things have been evident through nine weeks, but one tends to stand out among the rest: Michigan is a player or two away from serious national contention.
What if—and please play along, it's a bye week and there's not much else to talk about—college teams were allowed to trade? What if, and yes, it's a stretch to even think about, but entertaining nonetheless, Brady Hoke could call up a coach and strike up a deal?
Of course, value would be the first order of business. Already an unconventional idea to an extent, a college-trade proposal wouldn't pass the smell test if Team X could trade Bench Guy for Florida State's Heisman contender "Famous" Jameis Winston.
And to keep the idea somewhat doable and realistic, we'll limit Hoke's choices to in-conference rosters. Mark Dantonio's Michigan Spartans, who face Hoke on Nov. 2, would be fair game. So would Urban Meyer's No. 4-ranked Buckeyes, who end the season Nov. 30 at The Big House.
Also, there wouldn't be such a thing as huge, multiplayer deals. Just a swap, need for need. Dual transfers. Coaches doing coaches favors, if that could be imagined.
Start thinking "what if?"
Where are the areas of concern?
Right guard and center need attention.
Left guard could be addressed. Joey Burzynski, the starter, tore his ACL in Team 134's basketball-score win over Indiana. Kyle Bosch, a true freshman, played well in relief.
The Wolverines need a spark at running back, too.
But would Hoke execute a trade for another? NFL teams swap to remedy situations. Hoke probably wouldn't mind having that luxury.
Let's Make a Deal
Ohio State Buckeyes Have a RB
Trade For: RB Rod Smith
Trade Bait: RB Thomas Rawls, RB DeVeon Smith
Why Rawls and DeVeon Smith? Well, for starters, they're hard runners suited for Big Ten battlefields.
For one reason or another, neither back has seen much action this season. The so-so play of the offensive line has likely contributed to their time on the bench.
Hoke doesn't seem keen on gambling with anyone but Fitz Toussaint. He's the most experienced on the team, but he's struggled to regain form after a subpar 2012 that was mired by injury (broke right leg).
Hoke needs more from the position.
Thus far, he hasn't gotten it from Rawls, Smith or even Derrick Green, a 5'11", 240-pound frosh who entered campus as 2013's No. 1-rated prep running back, per Rivals.com.
Ohio State's Rod Smith could be the ideal back to complement Toussaint in the pro-style offense. Or he could take the No. 1 job and be the first option over Green in 2014.
The trade could work for a couple of reasons: Ohio State would get a young back who was rated as a 4-star recruit coming out of Warren Howland (Ohio) in 2013, via 247Sports. On top of that, the 5'11", 216-pounder was offered by the Buckeyes.
Perhaps that would be enough to interest Meyer, who has Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall ripping the competition for 6.2 yards per carry. Rod Smith is a bystander but has 12 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown.
He's a broken tackle in the making. And he was also offered by Michigan (Rich Rodriguez's staff).
Hoke would lose a little more than a year with Rawls and give up entirely on DeVeon Smith. But he'd get Rod Smith for the rest of this year and next.
Quarterback Devin Gardner wouldn't have to run nearly as much, saving the team from a total catastrophe. If Michigan lost him, it'd be game over.
Damien Harris, a 4-star running back via 247Sports, joins Michigan in 2015. In the meantime, Green and Drake Johnson, who was lost for the year in Week 1, would round out the backfield.
This proposed deal would cost Michigan depth, but Rod Smith's talent and experience (he redshirted as a frosh) couldn't be denied. The deal would be relatively equal on both sides.
As for the two-for-one scholarship trade, Meyer could redshirt DeVeon Smith in an attempt to stay at his limit.
Or he could deal him to another team. That's how this game works.
There is theoretical room to work with.
Michigan State Has Ideal LG
Trade For: LG Blake Treadwell
Trade Bait: WR Jeremy Jackson, WR Joe Reynolds
Just as a stopgap deal, landing Spartans left guard Blake Treadwell would add a wealth of experience to Michigan's ailing offensive line.
A four-year letter winner, Treadwell is a gritty senior who is partly responsible for the Spartans' rise on the O-line. At 6-1 (3-0), they lead the Legends Division. So why mess with a good thing? Dantonio's players are starting to come together at just the right time.
But Michigan State needs more force on offense if it's going to take a serious jab at a Big Ten title.
That being said, the addition of a wide receiver would be beneficial. Dropped balls have been a problem for Spartans wideouts since 2012; another sure set of hands would decrease drops.
Perhaps offering Jeremy Jackson, a 6'3", 209-pound senior, and Joe Reynolds, a 6'1", 196-pound RS senior, would generate interest for Dantonio, who'd be giving up a vital piece of his line.
But he'd get two possible short-term solutions for 2013. Quarterback Connor Cook's top options hover at or barely over 6'0", with the exception of Tony Lippett, who's 6'3".
The Spartans are a couple of offensive weapons away from a division title. Hoke isn't using Jackson or Reynolds, who have combined for eight catches this season.
Benefits for both sides.
Dantonio gets the two-for-one deal because he'd be giving up a solid offensive lineman for a pair of backups. On the bright side, he'd get added size and athleticism for an offense (No. 11 in B1G, 28.1 PPG) that owes a ton of points to its superb defense.
Kicking Toward Northwestern
Trade For: K Jeff Budzien
Trade Bait: K Brendan Gibbons, LB Cam Gordon
The Wildcats haven't been involved in many close games, so it's possible that coach Pat Fitzgerald won't need the senior for a game-winning kick. Stopping the run has been a challenge this fall, evidenced by an average of 169 yards surrendered per game.
Everyone involved is a senior. So it's another short-term deal here. No loss of years for either coach.
Gibbons, despite an 8-of-13 season, has made clutch kicks during his career (see 2011 Sugar Bowl, 2012 vs. Michigan State). Should Fitzgerald find himself in need, Gibbons could deliver.
But giving up Budzien would be worth getting Gordon, who's played well in the absence of Jake Ryan. With Nebraska, the No. 2 rushing team in the Big Ten, awaiting, along with Michigan and Michigan State, both streaky on the ground, it'd be a good idea to get someone capable of slowing down runners.
Hoke could sacrifice a linebacker at this point. He has Desmond Morgan, Joe Bolden and, soon enough, a fully healthy Ryan. He also needs a guy who can hit a field goal.
Michigan needed three points in overtime against Penn State.
Gibbons failed both times and the Wolverines lost, 43-40 (4OT). Against Akron, Michigan led 7-3 prior to Gibbons' 45-yard miss, which in hindsight, altered momentum.
The Zips hopped out to a 10-7 lead in the third before losing, 28-24. Budzien, in theory, would be an ideal fit.
Have fun with the bye week. Suggest a trade in the comments section and/or argue for or against the trades suggested in this piece.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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The initial BCS Standings have been released for the final time before college football moves to a playoff, and the table has officially been set for the back half of the 2013 season.
How does that affect the Big Ten, a conference with a lonely single team within the Top 20 of the initial BCS Standings? Glad you asked!
Even with a lot of football left, the path to high-caliber bowl games is now clear for every team contending for conference titles. If nothing else, teams need to be somewhere on the BCS radar now in order to jump into position later for BCS bowls.
Of the Big Ten teams, only five can be said to be on the BCS radar, and only one has a legitimate shot at the final BCS Championship. Let's start with the Buckeyes and then come back to the teams with a lot of work left to do to get into the Rose Bowl or BCS at-large discussion.
Ohio State (4th in BCS Standings, 0.8553)
Although it really should come as no surprise following the absolute licking Florida State put on Maryland and then Clemson, Buckeye Nation was disappointed with the showing in the initial BCS Standings. It is clear from the much stronger computer numbers of Alabama, Oregon, FSU and Missouri that two of those three teams (counting Missouri and Alabama as a single team since they would play each other) need to lose to open the door for the Buckeyes to the big game in Pasadena.
Of course, the first order of business for the Buckeyes is to win every game remaining. Penn State will not provide much of a bump thanks to postseason ineligibility, and then Purdue, Illinois and Indiana will hurt the computer rankings even more.
The closing games against Michigan and the Legends Division champion could provide two wins against BCS-ranked opponents right at the end of the season. However, each of the teams ahead of OSU will also have strong (perhaps even stronger) closing stretches.
Even Baylor could be a legitimate threat if Ohio State does not start winning games convincingly, which could cause the Bears to start stealing votes from the Buckeyes. There's no guarantee the voters and the computers would favor Baylor over an OSU team that would have won 25 in a row by that point, but it is something to be noted early on.
The most important game remaining for Ohio State is the Big Ten Championship. Win that game, and the Buckeyes will be in Pasadena for one of the two huge bowl games there. A loss there would be devastating and could even knock the Buckeyes out of the BCS, especially if Michigan knocks off Ohio State.
Stay tuned to your televisions, Buckeye Nation. It's time to cheer on the NC States and Auburns of the world, every single week.
Michigan (22nd in BCS Standings, 0.1637)
Michigan surprisingly finds itself in pole position compared to all the other contenders for the Big Ten title in the Legends Division. The Wolverines still control their own destiny in that division by having games remaining against Michigan State and Nebraska, which are above Michigan in the division standings.
The closing stretch actually provides numerous solid games, as the Spartans and Cornhuskers are joined by Ohio State on the November schedule. The biggest opportunity for Michigan to jump up the BCS Standings will be the back-to-back games against Ohio State that would likely happen if Michigan wins out.
Defeating a potentially top-two team in the BCS two weeks in a row would obviously put Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Of course, that is the easiest path to the BCS.
However, just beating the Buckeyes once in those two weeks would likely provide a significant upward bump in the computer numbers and the polls, as the loss would not be penalized nearly as much as the win would be rewarded.
All Michigan has to do is climb to about the 12-14 range in the BCS Standings before those two games occur against OSU. That would all but guarantee an at large berth, even if Michigan beats Ohio State in Ann Arbor and then cannot do it again in Indianapolis.
The first BCS Standings may not look good for the Big Ten at large, but they actually work well for the Wolverines. Just keep winning and Michigan will only need one win in two games against Ohio State to likely make the BCS bowls.
Not bad for a team that looks so lost at times, such as in overtime against Penn State. Michigan is one of two teams with the best shot at a BCS at large, even if Ohio State wins the Big Ten championship.
Nebraska (24th in BCS Standings, 0.1354)
The Cornhuskers are being carried by the poll voters to this point, as none of the six computers used in the BCS have Nebraska anywhere in the Top 25. Nebraska has six more games in the next six weeks, including each other team in the Legends Division plus Penn State.
Although Nebraska looks good sitting in first place of the division and with a 5-1 record, the only team with a legitimate pulse on the first half of the schedule was UCLA. The Bruins dominated Nebraska at Lincoln, so there is a lot left to prove before the computers and even the poll voters move Nebraska up into contention.
The opportunities will be there with games against Michigan State and Michigan. However, both those teams play each other before the games against Nebraska, so one of those games may not carry the same pop for voters and computers than it would otherwise.
That means an 11-1 Nebraska team may struggle to break into the Top 10 of the BCS Standings, especially if the wins against division opponents are not impressive. It is hard to see how Nebraska's computer numbers will improve drastically with the likes of Purdue and Southern Mississippi dragging those numbers down.
All of this equals bad news, as it sets up a scenario where Nebraska perhaps must defeat Ohio State in Indianapolis just to stay in the Top 14.
In addition, Nebraska does not carry the same national cachet as Michigan when it comes to bowl representatives reaching down to grab them, so even a Nebraska team ranked in the 12-14 range at 11-2 (following a loss to Ohio State) may not be picked by the Rose Bowl if the Buckeyes then advance to the championship.
It looks like Rose Bowl or nothing for Nebraska. Wins over Michigan, MSU and the Buckeyes will be the recipe for that to happen.
Michigan State (Unranked in BCS Standings)
The Spartans are 6-1 and remain just off the radar in the polls as well as the BCS Standings. just like Nebraska, Michigan State looks good at 3-0 in conference but has some serious schedule weakness problems to overcome.
Playing the weak trio of Indiana, Illinois and Purdue from the Leaders Division will not help when added to non-conference games against struggling teams like Western Michigan (0-8) and South Florida (2-4)
If the Spartans and the lockdown defense cannot be respected at this point in the season, it is unlikely that this will change even with wins over Nebraska and Michigan. An 11-1 MSU team heading to Indianapolis would almost certainly not end up ranked in the Top 10, which means the win over Ohio State (or Wisconsin) would be required to stay BCS eligible.
Even more assertively than Nebraska, it is Rose Bowl or nothing for Mark Dantonio's team. When a team wins ugly and plays a bad schedule, this is what happens.
If the Spartans defeat Nebraska, the win over Michigan might not even be required to make the Big Ten Championship. Michigan State would have a good chance with that defense to have a legitimate shot should the team make it to Indianapolis.
Plus, let's face it: a Rose Bowl would be a dream for this program, and anything else would be a false imitation.
Wisconsin (Unranked in BCS Standings)
Certainly part of why the Big Ten is disrespected in national perception right now are the continued losses in bowl games, but the lack of opportunities to win big games in non-conference play is also hampering the league. The Badgers are a perfect example, with three total loser games joining the loss at Arizona State on the non-conference schedule.
That freak loss in the desert will not be held against Wisconsin if the Badgers keep obliterating teams and look like the best or second-best team in the conference. The Badgers have traveled well to Pasadena three straight years, and that means other BCS bowls will take a serious look at inviting a 10-2 Badgers team.
The good news about Wisconsin's closing schedule is that the toughest games are at home and do not look that imposing (BYU, Penn State). The bad news about that schedule is that it will not help the computer numbers lift the Badgers into the Top 14.
Still, there's a lot to be said for winning games convincingly, and Wisconsin continues to do that in Big Ten play. When it is a legitimate debate whether a team that was effectively dominated in a head-to-head match up with a Top 5 team (OSU) is actually better, then there is a good chance voters will finally take notice and reward the Badgers for good play.
Ignoring the Badgers has proven dangerous—just ask Nebraska from last December. While it stinks that Wisconsin likely will be locked out of the Big Ten Championship by the loss to Ohio State, the lack of having to play the Buckeyes again could prove to be critical to staying in the Top 14 of the final BCS Standings.
At this time, I'd say Wisconsin has just as much chance as Michigan at an at-large BCS berth. But while Michigan has to win a game against Ohio State to get there, Wisconsin can coast on cupcake lane and finish the season strong to get there.
As far-fetched as it may seem after the first BCS Standings, Michigan and Wisconsin are set up relatively well to put a second team from the Big Ten into the BCS. Of course, the easiest (and cheapest) way to guarantee two slots in BCS bowls is for the Legends Division champion to win in Indianapolis.
However, there is a chance for two appearances by Big Ten teams in Pasadena, one in the Rose Bowl and OSU in the BCS Championship. If that occurs, we will have to hope that these teams step up and finally impress the country instead of the normal letdowns.
Thanks for reading! Please comment on how you feel about the first BCS Standings and how they affect the Big Ten chances at the BCS in the comments below. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter and continue the conversation there.
I should be back tomorrow with some analysis for the other side of the conference, namely, what's left on the table for those teams left out in the BCS chase. I will also be grading Ohio State's performance against Penn State this weekend. See you then!
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The college football rankings have had a flurry of activity in the past few weeks. The lack of consistency does not mean the top teams are weak and they still deserve the high standings (for the most part).
The list is going to shuffle even more after this weekend and the high amount of top-level competition.
Here is an overview of some of this weekend’s biggest matchups in college football.
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 12 UCLA
The No. 3 Oregon Ducks had an easy win against Washington State last weekend, 62-38, while the No. 12 UCLA Bruins suffered their first loss, 24-10, to No. 6 Stanford.
This Pac-12 showdown is not going to be an easy win from either side.
The Bruins have the speed and athletes to challenge the Ducks, but they cannot let last week's loss mess with their heads. Brett Hundley and Jordan James need to be in the game and in top form so they can score more than the 10 points they totaled last week.
An away contest may be too much for UCLA, and Oregon’s fast and aggressive defense can shut them down. However, if the Ducks defense mirrors last week where they gave up 38 points and 557 yards, it may be a different story.
Prediction: 41-28 Oregon
No. 10 Texas Tech vs. No. 15 Oklahoma
No one predicted at the beginning of the season that Texas Tech would have broken the Top 10. Here they are, about to face their toughest test of the year against No. 15 Oklahoma.
The last time the Red Raiders traveled to Norman in 2011, they shocked the country and snapped the Sooners' 39-game home winning streak, 41-38. It may be a different Red Raiders team this time around, but the Sooners still remember two years ago.
It is going to be a battle between Texas Tech’s passing offense and Oklahoma’s passing defense. The Red Raiders offense is ranked sixth overall in the nation, averages 416.4 yards per game and is No. 2 in passing. If anyone can stop them it's the Sooners, though, with a defense that averages 149.7 yards allowed. Oklahoma held Kansas to 16 passing yards on five completions in last week's win over the Jayhawks.
Prediction: 21-17 Oklahoma
No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 21 South Carolina
No. 5 Missouri is on fire with key wins against Georgia and Florida. However, the Tigers are going to have to justify their high rank in what could possibly be the SEC game of the year against No. 21 South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are looking for payback after a rough 23-21 upset against Tennessee last weekend. South Carolina can’t afford another loss if they want to remain a contender in the division.
Missouri’s offense is one of the best in the nation with an average of 513.4 yards per game. The Tigers defense is giving up 381 yards per game and they lead the SEC with 23 sacks and in turnover margin with 1.43 turnovers gained per game.
Prediction: 30-27 Missouri(416.4 yards per game) The Red Raiders offense is ranked sixth overall in the nation 16 passing yards on five completions
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Elisha Shaw is a 4-star defensive lineman from Georgia who plays for Tucker High School. Shaw has great versatility, as he can play defensive end in a 3-4 defense and defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme.
At 6'4.5" and 295 pounds, the Peach State prospect has outstanding strength. He's a bully in the trenches who powerfully opposes offenses. Many programs covet Shaw, who will have a tough decision to make.
He has a list of six finalists, according to John Garcia Jr. of 'BamaMag.com (subscription required). Shaw will have to decide which school ultimately is the best fit for him.
Ohio State is coached by Urban Meyer, who has restored the Buckeyes back among the top recruiting programs in the country. Meyer is a legendary recruiter, Ohio State has great tradition and its brand has a national appeal.
The Buckeyes have constructed an impressive recruiting class, but they would still like to add to the group before February arrives. Ohio State is after many uncommitted prospects, but only the best of the best will be focused on.
Among the prospects on this list, the Buckeyes have a great shot to land a terrific linebacker. Plus, a great JUCO offensive lineman could opt to come to Columbus.
There is still half of the season to play, but the Tennessee Volunteers have had a 2013 campaign worthy of midseason awards. At 4-3, the Vols have competed hard against the SEC East's best, winning one and taking another into overtime. These players and coaches deserve some recognition, so here are some midseason awards.
Even before the South Carolina game, the feeling in Knoxville had changed. After a near-disaster against South Alabama, the Vols found their stride against the No. 6 and No. 11 teams in the country. Due to the terrific play of certain offensive and defensive players, Tennessee finds itself just two wins away from a bowl berth.
In addition to offensive and defensive MVPs, you'll see best play and coach, most improved player, best rookie and most surprising star. These are the guys who've brought life back into the program.
Last week was "the week the SEC fell apart," as nearly every game not involving Alabama resulted in a surprise outcome.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country pretty much went according to chalk, except for maybe that home choke by Louisville and how badly Florida State romped over Clemson.
Now comes Week 9, the first since the BCS standings were released. Every game from here on out is gauged not just by conference championship or bowl-eligibility impact, but how it will affect the next set of rankings and the neverending politicking that comes with those standings.
To that end, the rankings listed in these predictions are teams' current BCS ratings, not their AP ranking as had been the case in past weeks.
Click through the picks to see what we think will happen over the next few days and nights—for the record, we went a cool 36-12 last week, including correctly picking Tennessee and Ole Miss' upsets in the SEC—and then, if you're so inclined, chime in about how you agree (or, more likely disagree) with the selections.
With eight weeks of the 2013 season complete, Johnny Manziel has just six games remaining as a college football player.
However, that's only if he can return from his shoulder injury and is healthy enough to complete the balance of the Aggies’ regular season schedule and a bowl game.
What it amounts to is a maximum of 12 halves, 24 quarters or 360 minutes more of the collegian edition of Johnny Football.
Though Manziel is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the game, what’s left of his brief passage through the institutional ranks should be sopped up with a biscuit.
Indeed, even if you’re appalled by Manziel’s antics, it’s worth your while to sit down and watch—awestruck—taking in the unforgettable sight of a rare comet burning across the screen.
From being thrown out of a frat party, to leaving the Manning Passing Academy early, to avoiding long-term NCAA ineligibility—the brief reign of Johnny Football has been (if nothing else) as dramatic as a semester in junior high school.
The video below—by ESPN’s Wright Thompson—summarizes the controversy Manziel has produced simply by being himself, both on and off the field.
Even if you’ve grown weary of discussing the many angles of the Manziel phenomenon, it’s difficult to deny that he hasn’t changed the way we think about college football and its participants.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about Manziel—qualities that manage to be overshadowed by his aura—is his remarkable athletic ability.
Though he could be called lots of names, the bottom line is that he is a special football player in spite of—or maybe because of—his personal traits.
It’s intriguing that what gets him in trouble off the field also fuels his greatness on the field.
Manziel’s ability to change games and to confuse and upend opposing defenses is difficult to statistically track. This all has to do with his innate ability to make something out of nothing, a quality that at least partially stems from his fearless attitude.
Categories that could be added to track Manziel might be “plays saved,” “super scrambles” or most “11-yard losses that result in 32-yard gains.” On the other hand, maybe the most accurate way to numerically account for Manziel’s greatness would be a “net gain” statistic.
To illustrate, take a look at the following video clips, which pay tribute to classic Manziel-isms in action.
The first comes in this season’s narrow—but epic—loss to Alabama and the second from the Aggies’ dramatic win over Ole Miss.
What can be statistically illustrated is how Manziel has single-handily transformed Texas A&M’s offense (with the help of Kevin Sumlin, who debuted at the same time).
Not only has Manziel led the Aggies offense to an average of 100 more yards and seven additional points per game, but he has been single handily responsible for a whopping 70 percent of the team’s total output (ranked No. 3 nationally) since last season.
Whether you approve of Manziel or not, he is one of the most exciting, impactful and productive players in history.
Though the “Manziel effect” on college football has been a wild ride, what’s even more intriguing is looking beyond the 2013 season.
Manziel is the perfect storm of swirling controversy, extreme confidence and gifted athleticism to make the future seem promising and scary all in the same breath.
Yes, this guy could beat all of the odds again and become one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL (remember, he was a 3-star recruit who won the Heisman as a freshman).
Or, he could bomb out professionally and personally like Ryan Leaf, who he’s been often compared to.
The question is easy, but the answers are complicated: What happens when Manziel is done playing football at Texas A&M University?
For an up-close-and-personal estimation, take a look at what Manziel’s father had to say—according to an article by ESPN the Magazine’s Wright Thompson—about “Johnny Football completely devouring Johnny Manziel.”
‘Yeah,’ Paul [Manziel] says one evening, driving in his car, ‘It could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.’...He imagines a late-night call, and the cable news ticker, and the next morning's headlines. 'It's one night away from the phone ringing,' he says, 'and he's in jail. And you know what he's gonna say? 'It's better than all the pressure I've been under. This is better than that.'
While it’s far from a forgone conclusion, let’s hope for Manziel’s sake that the traits that make him so brilliant on the field don’t ultimately become his undoing in his bigger role in life.
Regardless of anyone’s individual take on the young man, the prospect of Manziel the athlete’s thrilling brand of play in the NFL is tantalizing.
Until then, college football enthusiasts should enjoy every last crumb on the table in the feast of Johnny Football. And that’s the case even if it leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth.
Statistics courtesy of College Football Statistics.
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Sometimes you have to tip your cap to chaos and move on.
That was the required approach to Week 8, and NCAA Football 14 could not overcome the tremendous upset powers. It was indeed a rough simulation, although it’s how you respond that counts (I’m sorry if this feels like an ad for a sports drink, we’re pumping ourselves up accordingly.)
For those new to these parts, here’s the skinny: Using the video game NCAA Football 14, all games from the college football weekend are simulated. Those results are reported—and never doctored—and the most important preview of the weekend is created.
Now it’s time to get back on track. All chaos from this point on will start here.
Updated Record Through Week 8: 24-16
Texas quarterback Case McCoy embraced the underdog role at a young age.
Whether it was growing up with a rare skin disease, living in the shadows of older brother Colt McCoy or consistently being a backup quarterback at Texas, Case McCoy's journey has not been a Cinderella story.
At five-years-old, McCoy was diagnosed with scleroderma—a rare skin and muscular disease. Although it was not life threatening, the disease put him at a disadvantage early in his life.
"It was tough," McCoy said of the disease. "It was not ideal. I didn't really understand it. It was something I struggled with for eight or nine years, but it made me who I am today.
"It was a disadvantage I was put at early, but at the same time, I don't think I would be here if it weren't for it. It made me work harder and made me want all of this more than I probably would have if I was a normal, healthy child."
The trials faced at a young age have helped add to the chip on McCoy's shoulder, that can be seen anytime he takes the field.
My dad was my coach and I told him at a young age, 'Don't treat me differently. Coach me just like you did my brothers and allow me to achieve my dreams,' at a time where doctors were saying it was not possible.
That has been a motive my whole life. You can tell me what you want, you can tell me I can't do something, but I will do it and I will prove you wrong.
Proving people wrong is what he does best. McCoy has led Texas to significant wins during his time in Austin, most recently when Texas upset No. 12 Oklahoma 36-20 in the 108th Red River Rivalry.
But, the road to his senior season has not been an easy route.
Bumps in the Road
Case McCoy followed his brother's path when he chose to attend Texas over scholarship offers from Arizona, Auburn, Colorado State and Texas A&M. But his journey as a Longhorn has been the polar opposite of his older brother's career.
In 2010, Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert significantly struggled in many games. His worst performance happened at Kansas State when he completed 32 of 59 passes and threw five interceptions in the first three quarters. McCoy was not given the chance to help his team, even though a quarterback change was desperately needed.
Gilbert finished the 2010 season ranked No. 99 in passing efficiency, with a quarterback rating of 111 and No. 113 in interceptions thrown (17). McCoy took seven snaps total in two games his freshman year and attempted one pass and one rush.
For a guy who was pretty highly recruited, you want to play instantly and make an impact. That was never the situation for me. I've battled to be first team, second team, third team. But, at the same time, I wouldn't change it. It has made me who I am.
McCoy's chances of starting for Texas appeared brighter than ever after Gilbert left the Longhorns two weeks into the 2011 season. But rumors about McCoy's future as a Longhorn surfaced when McCoy ended up splitting reps with true freshman David Ash.
McCoy served as a backup to Ash in his junior season in 2012 and only started one game after Ash broke his ribs against TCU. McCoy managed to make headlines for an off-the-field issue at the 2012 Alamo Bowl when linebacker Jordan Hicks and he were sent home for "violating team rules." A San Antonio police report later revealed a sexual assault allegation against McCoy and Hicks.
No charges were filed.
"I owe an apology to everyone," McCoy said of the incident in San Antonio. "I let down my coaches and my teammates. Luckily, David (Ash) played great [in the Alamo Bowl] and was healthy, but you never know the situation that could happen in a game. I have learned from my mistakes and thankfully, my coaches and teammates accepted me back to the team and we move forward."
McCoy went on a 10-week mission trip to Peru in the summer of 2013, rather than spending the time working with his team. The mission trip once again sparked rumors of McCoy's future as a Longhorn.
"[The media] made it seem like I was leaving, but I was never leaving," McCoy said Monday. "I chose this school for a reason. I always wanted to play for the University of Texas and I don't know if there is a guy on this team that has more pride for this school than I do. I am doing everything I can, week-in and week-out, to get this school back on the map."
McCoy spent the summer installing water filtration systems in poverty-stricken villages in Peru. Helping those in need helped McCoy to realize how blessed he is, not only to live in the United States, but to also play the game he loves.
"That trip to Peru has made me a better quarterback and a better teammate," McCoy said. "I would never change my decision, I would do it again today. Being separated from [football] for 10 weeks made me realize how much of a passion I have for the game and how much love I have for my teammates.
"There was a time where I was kind of going through the motions and not relishing the moment I am living in. Once I realized that and understood that I had one more year to do what I love and to continue to try to achieve this dream I've had for so long, that was biggest impact I got from the trip. I was ready to get back to my team as soon as that all hit me."
"If he had been the starting quarterback, he probably wouldn't have gone," Mack Brown said of McCoy's mission to Peru. "But being the backup quarterback going into his senior year, we actually felt like David (Ash) could lead the summer, and he needed to be the guy and be the leader. So it worked out well."
McCoy's Unexpected Senior Season
McCoy's role as the Longhorns quarterback unexpectedly became larger than ever when starting quarterback David Ash suffered a head injury in Week 2 of the season. McCoy has helped Texas overcome its 1-2 start and has the Longhorns contending for the Big 12's BCS berth at 3-0 in conference play.
"I grew up being an underdog," McCoy said. "I've been at a disadvantage for a long time. I went to a high school where we were always the underdog. And I love it. I love the us-against-the-world mentality because that's where you grow. That's where you become a team."
Everyone outside of the Texas football program expected the Longhorns to fall on their face against the Sooners. But in true Case McCoy form, he led Texas to its first win over Oklahoma since 2009 and did so with a giant chip on his shoulder.
"Complacency is when you start to fail, especially as a quarterback," McCoy said after being asked about the chip on his shoulder. "The way I avoid that is by keeping a chip on my shoulder. No one thinks I'm any good but my team. That's why my team keeps playing hard and I'm excited to go to war with these guys.
"This team is rolling. I'm a competitor. I want to be the guy. I'm not going to lose that job."
McCoy's confidence of maintaining his starting role seems to be relative in his current situation. Speculation of true freshman Tyrone Swoopes taking over as quarterback reached an all-time high when Ash went down at BYU. But, the way Mack Brown discussed Swoopes' future Monday has somewhat silenced the rumors.
The thing you want to try to do is be fair and not put him (Swoopes) in if David is coming back because David and Case would be the two quarterbacks and then he (Swoopes) loses a year.
Until Ash is cleared to play, McCoy is not going anywhere.
McCoy has continued to step up to the challenge of transitioning from a backup quarterback into the starting role and vice versa. The expiration date of McCoy's starting career is up in the air with Ash's head injury being a week-to-week battle.
But, what will happened if Ash returns?
After the Oklahoma game, Mack Brown told the Longhorn Network that this team is McCoy's team. Brown later clarified saying, "At this point, it is Case's team. When David returns, we'll have to look at it, but that's not an issue at this point."
It is also not an issue this week as the Longhorns prepare for TCU.
Nobody outside of the Texas medical staff and football program truly knows what is going on with Ash's injury. All that is known is Ash suffered a concussion in Week 2 against BYU, had recurring concussion symptoms at some point in the first half of Texas' game against Kansas State two weeks later and has not been seen by the media since.
With no timetable set for Ash's return, Case McCoy's future as the Longhorns' starting quarterback resembles his career at Texas: a week-to-week battle as the underdog.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar
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Fresh off of a homecoming win against the TCU Horned Frogs, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will travel north to Ames, IA to take on the Iowa State Cyclones.
On paper, this looks like a relatively easy victory for the Pokes, as the Cyclones are just 1-5 on the season and have struggled to keep opposing teams out of the end zone.
That said, we said the same thing in 2011 and we all know how that turned out.
Obviously, this game doesn't quite have the National Championship implications that the 2011 contest did, but it's important that Oklahoma State come out, play well, and get their offense back on track before their tough late-season schedule kicks in.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Place: Jack Trice Stadium (56,800 cap.) Ames, IA
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network
All-Time Series: Oklahoma State holds a 26-18-3 advantage all-time.
When evaluating a player, one of the initial traits to look for is explosiveness. Being able to explode allows players to make plays at every position.
However, it's most important on offense. Eluding defenders, surging upfield for big gains and scoring touchdowns all come from a player possessing an excellent burst with the ball. The 2014 class features some remarkably explosive prospects on offense, but it's time to look at the recruits who are elite in this category.
A pair of teammates from Florida make this list, while an athlete from New Orleans is like a bomb with the ball in his hands. Also, a few defensive prospects with outstanding offensive potential warrant consideration.
While the likes of Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel are rising to the top of the Heisman watch lists, there are a few other players who are putting up big-time numbers and should have their name mentioned among those three quarterbacks.
Here is a look at four sleeper candidates that could potentially push the Heisman favorites during the stretch run of the college football season.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Lache Seastrunk has been one of two stars, the other being quarterback Bryce Petty, driving the Baylor Bears offense this season.
Baylor has scored over 69 points in all but one of their games this season, the lone low-scoring performance came in a 35-25 win over Kansas State.
In his seven games this season, the junior running back has averaged 9.2 yards per carry while scoring 10 touchdowns.
The one knock on Seastrunk right now is that he has compiled these numbers against below-par competition.
He will have a chance to knock off that criticism in the upcoming weeks as Baylor faces No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 19 Oklahoma State.
If Seastrunk and the Bears can survive all three of those crucial Big 12 match-ups, then his Heisman candidacy will be taken seriously.
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
In seven games this season for the Oregon State Beavers, junior quarterback Sean Mannion has thrown for just under 3,000 yards.
Mannion and the Beavers should be sitting at 7-0 heading into their showdown at home with No. 6 Stanford on Saturday, but they slipped up in their first game of the season. They lost to Eastern Washington 49-46 at home.
Mannion has not let the loss from the opening week of the season hurt his potential Heisman campaign: he has thrown at least 360 yards in every game he has played.
The junior from Pleasanton, CA is currently seen as a outsider in the Heisman race, but if he delivers a spectacular performance against Stanford, he could insert his name into the discussion for the illustrious trophy.
If Mannion can find a way past the Cardinal at home, he will have to navigate a tricky Pac-12 schedule that ends with a trip to Eugene to play No. 3 Oregon in the Civil War Game on November 29.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Alabama senior quarterback A.J. McCarron has flown under the radar this season, and there is a reason for the lack of hype surrounding the Crimson Tide signal caller.
McCarron has thrown over 300 yards in just two games against Texas A&M and Kentucky, and in his other five games, his play has been nothing to write home about.
Unfortunately for McCarron's Heisman hopes, he does not have many marquee games left to prove that he is worth winning the award.
Only two ranked teams, No. 13 LSU and No. 11 Auburn, remain on the Crimson Tide's schedule along with Tennessee, Mississippi State and Chattanooga.
With a lackluster schedule in front of him, McCarron will have to put up astronomical numbers to ensure that his name is relevant in the Heisman discussion.
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Here is your obligatory dark-horse Heisman candidate.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, younger brother of former No. 1 NFL Draft pick David Carr, has guided the Bulldogs to a 6-0 record to open the season.
Carr's Heisman campaign almost did not happen. The Bulldogs barely slipped past Rutgers, winning 52-51 in overtime in their first game of the season.
Since then, Carr has led the Bulldogs to five more victories, and he has thrown for over 400 yards in three of those games.
For Carr's name to even be remotely considered for the Heisman in December, he will have to lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated season in the Mountain West and put up Baylor-like numbers in the major offensive statistical categories.
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The No. 12 UCLA Bruins will have arguably its toughest challenge of the 2013 season, as it travels to Eugene to take on the No. 3 Oregon Ducks.
Jim Mora's team is coming off of its first loss of the season, a 24-10 defeat to Stanford. The Bruins suffered multiple injuries on the offensive line in the loss. Depth will surely be tested against Oregon's talented defensive line.
As for the Ducks, Mark Helfrich's team was third in the initial BCS Standings. Feeling a bit slighted, Oregon could look to have an impressive victory against a battered UCLA squad. A win against the Bruins will surely enhance Oregon's resume for a possible National Championship bid.
Here's everything you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Oct. 26
Time: 4:00 p.m. PT
Place: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
Radio: Sirius XM Radio
Line: Oregon -23 per VegasInsider.com
With a weekend full of exciting matchups, there are several coaches, players and teams to keep an eye on.
Some will be looking to perform when faced with adversity. Others will look to keep a good stretch of play going. And for one, an undefeated season lies in the balance.
All in all, several names will be under the microscope this weekend.
Here are six of the ones to pay attention to.
Cordell Broadus, a 4-star receiver from California's Diamond Bar High School and the noted son of Snoop Dogg, was caught throwing a cheap-shot punch against Diamond Ranch High School on Friday night and has reportedly been suspended because of it, according to CBS LA.
TMZ posted video of the incident and highlighted the player believed to be Broadus (No. 21) as he punches an opponent. Here's a GIF of TMZ's video:
According to CBS LA:
The problem started late in the game, with only three minutes left to play. It was unclear who started the fight, but football players speaking off-camera told KCAL9′s Brittney Hopper that a large number of players will be suspended as a result.
Among those rumored to be suspended is Cordell Broadus, Diamond Bar High School’s standout receiver and the son of rapper Snoop Lion.
The footage TMZ posted, while grainy, clearly shows a player (believed to be Broadus, who wears No. 21) run into the middle of a shoving match and deliver a right hook to an opponent.
Both benches eventually clear and the game was called off as a result.
Broadus, a member of the Class of 2015, is the No. 50 recruit on 247Sports' composite and the No. 3 junior receiver in the country.
He already has scholarship offers from 11 schools—including USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, Cal, LSU and Nebraska—and has drawn interest from other brand-name programs like Oregon and Oklahoma.
His recruitment is still active and hotly contested, but there appears to be a consensus clubhouse leader: 100 percent of voters for the 247Sports "crystal ball" think he is headed to USC.
Here's a video of the ensuing brawl, though unlike the TMZ footage, it does not include a shot of Broadus' alleged punch:
This incident might cause some of those schools to reassess their recruitment of Broadus, though it shouldn't throw too big of a wrench into his future. So long as he shows genuine remorse and keeps his nose clean, talent like his typically wins out.
TMZ tried reaching out to Snoop Dogg's representatives for a comment, but so far they have been unsuccessful.
Regardless, this is not what daddy meant when he said, "Drop it like it's hot."
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With five games remaining, four of which coming in Oxford, the Ole Miss Rebels are now firmly in control of their final bowl destination. Sitting at 4-3 (2-3 SEC), it's not a matter of if Hugh Freeze will lead his club to back-to-back bowl games, but rather where they'll go bowling.
Following the upset win over then-No. 6 LSU, the Rebels now sit at 4-3 overall (2-3 SEC).
Sure the Rebels dropped road games at No. 1 Alabama and on the Plains, not to mention having lost a heartbreaker to Texas A&M in Oxford for the second time in as many years.
But guess what?
Each of those three teams, all ranked inside the Top 15, have a combined record of 18-3.
Here were the three losses: Alabama over A&M, Auburn over A&M and LSU over Auburn.
That's called the SEC.
Remaining Regular Season Slate for Rebels
Coming off the LSU win, Jeff Sagarin ranks the Rebels as having played the No. 1 toughest schedule (SOS) in America through October 19. It's a very telling figure.
With the hardest part of their schedule in the rear-view mirror, the Rebels now have a chance to close out the regular season well. Very well, actually.
October 26: Idaho (1-6) SOS No. 64
November 2: Open
November 9: Arkansas (3-5) SOS No. 17
November 16: Troy (4-3) SOS No. 130
November 23: Missouri (7-0) SOS No. 30
November 28: at Miss State SOS No. 34
Assuming the world doesn't end on Saturday and Ole Miss makes easy work of Idaho, the Rebels will have a week off to rest up a truly banged up bunch. Then, a struggling Arkansas Razorbacks club heads to Oxford on November 9.
And struggling the Razorbacks are (3-5, 0-4 SEC), having lost its four SEC games by an average 32.25 PPG. That being said, any given SEC club can upset another on any given Saturday. It'll be something Freeze preaches to his kids leading up to the Arkansas game.
However, a win over the Hogs would propel the Rebels to bowl-eligibility at 6-3 (3-3 SEC).
The following weekend, a Troy team (4-3, 1-3 away) that Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2 SEC) handled 62-7 earlier this year travels to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. When the Trojans and Rebels square off, so should begin the Rebels' season within a season of "playing for a warmer bowl location."
A win over Troy would improve the Rebels to 7-3 (3-3 SEC) with only two games remaining.
And honestly, if Ole Miss isn't 7-3 after Troy, they will (and should) be very disappointed.
Final Two Regular Season Games Will Tell Story
In the end, look no further than the Rebels' final two regular-season games to make the biggest impact on where the boys in red and blue spend the bowl season.
Their final two games will be at home on senior night against No. 5 Missouri (7-0, 3-0 SEC) and on the road vs. Mississippi State for a Thanksgiving Night Egg Bowl.
While one game will be against yet another highly-ranked opponent in the Tigers, the other will be equally as challenging against a Bulldogs team looking to avenge an embarrassing Egg Bowl loss in 2012.
By the time November 23 rolls around, Mizzou may have well already locked up the SEC East title and a spot in the SEC Championship Game. If that's the case, it'll be quite interesting to see how motivated Mizzou will be heading to Oxford, with Texas A&M only a week ahead.
Then on Thanksgiving, the Rebels will face in-state rival Mississippi State. There's a great possibility the Bulldogs will be looking for an all-important sixth win in the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible.
Making Sense of a Clouded Bowl Picture
Assuming Ole Miss advances to 7-3 ahead of the Mizzou game, wins over the Tigers and Bulldogs would put the Rebs at 9-3 and in excellent position for a New Years Day bowl bid.
Likely remaining ahead of the Rebels in SEC bowl pecking order will be Alabama, Missouri and Auburn. The most likely bowl destinations of these three, at the moment, would be the BCS National Championship, Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl.
From there, things get a little more cloudy with the Outback, Capital One, Chick-fil-A, Gator and Music City Bowl left to make their picks (and try and work with one another).
A 4-3 Georgia club still faces Auburn and rival Georgia Tech on the road.
A 5-2 South Carolina team travels to Mizzou this weekend, before hosting Florida and Clemson.
A 6-2 LSU squad must travel to Tuscaloosa before hosting Texas A&M at home.
A 5-2 Texas A&M team must still play at both LSU and Mizzou.
Still with a lot of football left to play, as evidenced by the schedules above, Georgia and Ole Miss clearly have easier paths to nine regular season wins than South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M.
If the Rebels finish 9-3, they likely won't fall below the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
If they finish 8-4, the Gator Bowl becomes the most likely destination.
If the Rebels drop two more to finish 7-5, they'd all but be assured a trip to Nashville.
And if Ole Miss drops three of its next five to finish 6-6, it'll be a 70-mile drive to the Liberty Bowl.
Before the season began, I predicted a 9-3 record and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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The first half the season is over. Now, things will start getting interesting in the Big 12.
One of the first games that could have a major impact on the conference standings kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET when Texas Tech travels to Oklahoma. The Red Raiders are 7-0 and No. 10 in the BCS. Though Baylor is the favorite to win the conference, Tech is right there ready to take the lead.
Passing its first major test in Norman would be huge for Tech and first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
The Big 12's other undefeated, Baylor, also plays on the road at Kansas. In fact, four of the Big 12's top five teams are on the road this weekend.
Will that be a recipe for upsets? Let's get to the picks.
(All rankings reflect the latest BCS standings.)
After a weekend full of upsets, Week 9 of college football offers up plenty of interesting games of its own.
Several ranked opponents will square off against each other. An undefeated squad will try to hurdle its first true test on the road. A fallen contender will try to get its season back on the right track.
All this and more make up the various storylines for this weekend.
But here are the five teams that face the toughest matchup.