Big 12 Football Week 4 Power Rankings: Upsets and offensive dominance

Big 12

The Big 12 had some major upsets this weekend, but the real storyline was Texas Tech’s offensive dominance over Houston that not only broke records but catapulted the Red Raiders as national stat leaders. Some teams rose, others fell, and there are a few that are shocking the conference–both in good and bad ways.

Here’s how the teams stack up through four weeks:

10. BAYLOR

After taking it to ACU and UTSA to start the season, Baylor took a 40-27 loss to Duke on Saturday. Between quarterbacks Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon, the Bears had 270 passing yards and just one touchdown in the air. Baylor was a little more effective running the ball, but even with higher numbers, the Bears finished the day with just a single double-digit run by Jalen Hurd.

With three fumbles by the offense and zero sacks by the defense against a Power 5 team, this could help paint a more accurate picture as to what we can expect from Baylor this season.

9. IOWA STATE

There was a lot of hope and excitement regarding the Cyclones headed into the season, and yet here they are, sitting on a 0-1 start following a crushing loss against the Sooners on Saturday. While it was only a 10 point loss, Iowa State had issues controlling the clock at home. Moreover, the Cyclones’ defense allowed OU quarterback Kyler Murray to throw for 348 yards, averaging 12 yards-per-pass. With other Big 12 teams firing up high-powered offenses early this season, it could be an issue with the Cyclones’ secondary moving forward.

8. TCU

Facepalm. TCU and Ohio State originally scheduled a home-and-home series, but for a bigger payout, the game was moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and that loss of home advantage could have been a difference-maker against the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes.

TCU started as an underdog against Ohio State, but simple mistakes prevented this game from being closer than it should have been. Quarterback Sean Robinson has thrown just five touchdowns this season but was plagued by turnovers on Saturday, and the Buckeyes capitalized off the mistakes, putting a fumble return for a touchdown, and a pick-6 on the board. While TCU has the talent to recover, a visit to Austin to play the Longhorns this week following their win over USC won’t provide the Horned Frogs much time to make adjustments.

7. KANSAS

Kansas is 2-0, and most people are actually really excited for the Jayhawks, whose only marquee win in years was against the Longhorns back in 2016. Sure, the Jayhawks’ 55-15 blowout victory was at home against Rutgers, but a few points emerged. Kansas has a serious issue with quarterbacks, but did manage four rushing touchdowns, and hauled in two defensive touchdowns on three interceptions thrown by Rutgers.

Kansas heads to Baylor this weekend, and with the way the Bears are playing, there’s a huge possibility the Jayhawks start in-conference play with a win over a team that’s still rebuilding.

6. WEST VIRGINIA

Unfortunately, West Virginia’s Week 3 matchup against NC State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence, so there isn’t a lot of data to go off before the Mountaineers square up against Kansas State this week.

5. KANSAS STATE

Kansas State beat UTSA, 41-17, and between quarterbacks, Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton, put up three touchdowns. Thompson established himself as QB1, throwing for 213 yards, with 66 rushing yards and a touchdown from one yard out.

UTSA head coach Frank Wilson said, “We held them to some third-down opportunities, but we just couldn’t get them off the field.” This is interesting because UTSA controlled time of possession, but Kansas State averaged 15 yards-per-pass compared to just 3.7 yards-per-rush. Kansas State faces a West Virginia team that had plenty of time on Saturday to study the Wildcats, who have been struggling in several areas to start the season. Bill Snyder will have his team’s attention, but West Virginia is hungry to get back on the field, so this will be a game to watch.

4. TEXAS

Texas got revenge on the No. ranked USC Trojans in its 37-14 victory in Austin on Saturday, but the win wasn’t without controversy. On a keeper from the end zone, USC defenders sacked Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in what was a clear safety, but the officials said the football broke the plane. That missed call gave the Longhorns momentum throughout the first half, and USC just couldn’t make the necessary second-half adjustments, which have plagued the Trojans since its Stanford loss two weeks ago.

This upset was a morale booster as the Longhorns head into Big 12 play, and with the No. 12 ranked TCU Horned Frogs on the schedule this week, Texas should be riding high, while Gary Patterson will have to refocus TCU following its loss against Ohio State.

It’s also worth mentioning that Texas’ upset over USC is its 900th win in program history.

3. TEXAS TECH

While Texas Tech rolled Lamar in Week Two, the Red Raiders were an underdog at home on Saturday, as they hosted the Houston Cougars who were riding high off a victory against Arizona the week prior. With heightened expectations by Houston’s Heisman talk surrounding Ed Oliver, the Red Raiders knew it was a tall task and responded with a 63-49 upset victory. Texas Tech true freshman Alan Bowman looked at that challenge and threw bullet after bullet, finishing the day with 43 of 59 for 605 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, surpassing Patrick Mahomes’ single-game passing yards for a freshman.

As if one record wasn’t enough, Texas Tech wide receiver Antoine Wesley had 13 receptions for 261 yards and three touchdowns to set the record for single-game receiving yards. This was exactly the kind of quality win Tech needed as it hosts Oklahoma State this weekend to open a tough Big 12 schedule.

See:  Q/A: Former Texas Tech quarterback BJ Symons on Kingsbury, Quarterbacks, and more

2. OKLAHOMA STATE

Oklahoma State routed the No. 17 ranked Boise State Broncos in a 44-21 victory to wrap up its slate of non-conference games to start the season at 3-0.

Fifth-year senior Tyler Cornelius threw for 243 yards and a touchdown, with two rushing touchdowns on the day. Boise State senior quarterback Brett Ripien paid compliments to the Oklahoma State defense in the post-game. “Their D-line, I thought, did a good job,” Rypien said. “You don’t want to get into third-and-long against that defense.” That’s definitely advice the rest of the conference can use as we begin theBig 12 schedules.

1. OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma dominated once again. Not only did the Sooners stay undefeated, but they also did so in a tough Jack Trice Stadium in Ames to go into Big 12 play at 1-0. Kyler Murray finished the day with a 90.5 percent quarterback rating and continues to help the Sooners retool their offense.

The OU defense was a different story, however. Allowing 10 yards-per-pass by Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland doesn’t bode well for future Big 12 play, which also has offenses that continue to retool.

Want more? Check out The Big 12’s Week Three Power Rankings.

 

 

Alston v. NCAA: Amateurism on Trial for Violating Anti-Trust Law

Amateurism -Alston vs NCAA

College Athletes vs NCAA – Amateurism is on trial again!  On Tuesday, September 4, the trial for what has become known as Alston v. NCAA commenced in federal district court in Oakland, California. Judge Claudia Wilken is presiding.  She also presided over the O’Bannon case in which the NCAA lost. Per O’Bannon, the NCAA can not use the images of its former student-athletes for commercial purposes after graduation without compensation.  Alston could completely change the landscape of the billion dollar industry of college athletics, which is comprised of television and sponsorship deals.

The NCAA and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences are faced with defending their beloved principle of amateurism. The plaintiffs’ claim that the rules capping scholarships at grants-in-aid and cost-of-attendance violate federal antitrust laws.  The O’Bannon case already determined that the NCAA is subject to federal antitrust laws. So, the NCAA is required to defend against related claims.

College Athletes’ Argument 

The plaintiffs are at the cusp of destroying the charade of amateurism by seeking to remove the NCAA’s scholarship cap.  The cap prevents “student-athletes” from receiving scholarship money above the cost-of-attendance.  A cost-of-attendance scholarship provides student-athletes with an opportunity to get an education without paying. However, it is often not enough to cover many of the athletes’ general living expenses such as food and clothing.

NCAA’s Argument

The NCAA argues that the rules capping scholarships do not violate federal antitrust laws because they are essential to protecting amateurism. They state that the rules are necessary to help “student-athletes” fully integrate themselves into the campus community. They also argue that eliminating amateurism rules will damage college athletics.

The NCAA contends that if student-athletes are allowed more than a cost-of-attendance scholarship, they will cease to be “amateurs” and fans will lose interest. They also state that the scholarship cap helps student-athletes integrate into campus communities. However, the NCAA’s integration argument provides no evidence that the presence of a scholarship cap helps student-athletes.  “Integration” is more likely affected by the major time commitment that each sport requires coupled with the time mandated for actual coursework.  It is highly unlikely that a scholarship cap does anything to alleviate the time management burden each “student-athlete” is faced with in balancing their sport with academics.

Given the flaws in the NCAA’s arguments, it appears that the plaintiffs may have a viable shot at having the cap removed. The plaintiffs counter this argument by noting that the individual conferences will have the choice to adopt their own individual policies regarding compensation caps.  They also argue that college athletics will benefit from changes to amateurism.

The Outcome Could Change College Athletics 

The outcome of this case could completely change the future of college athletics.  If the plaintiffs are successful, the world of college recruiting would completely change. The college recruitment market would essentially be open for conferences and colleges to make their own decisions on how much scholarship money to award student-athletes.

This type of open market would provide the freedom for student-athletes to receive more of the value that they provide to the colleges they attend. Although many student-athletes receive a cost-of-attendance scholarship that provides them with the opportunity to get a “free” education, colleges make millions off the backs of student-athletes each year.  Most of the money is dispersed to coaches, staff, and is used to build lavish athletic facilities.  The current structure is simply not fair to the student-athletes, and as such, they have a lot to gain from the outcome of this case.  If the Plaintiffs are successful, “student-athletes” will be in a better position because they will receive more of the value that they bring to their respective schools.

Big Ten Football Power Rankings Week 3: It’s Lonely at the Top

Big Ten Football Power Rankings Week 3

This past week, the biggest surprise in the Big Ten was the loss by Michigan State to Arizona State. Other than that, most of the teams in the Big Ten Football Power Rankings Week 3 took care of business. Ohio State is a juggernaut, Penn State and Michigan bounced back, and Iowa is on the rise.

Let’s take a look at the Big Ten Week 3 Power Rankings.

14. Purdue (0-2)

Lost to Eastern Michigan, 20-19

If Purdue wants to return to the top of the Big Ten, they can’t lose games to Eastern Michigan. It seems so simple, but you will always struggle to win games when you give up 347 yards in the air to the opposition. On the bright side, Purdue dominated on the ground, rushing as a team for 341 yards and a score. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Boilermakers lost at home to a non-Power 5 school. That can’t happen. Purdue will look to pick up their first win against Missouri on Saturday.

13. Rutgers (1-1)

Lost to Ohio State, 52-3

Well, at least Rutgers tried. 52-3 is embarrassing, but Ohio State is on another level. The Buckeyes will be in the Top 10 all year. Rutgers had zero chance even if they were allowed 13 men on the field at all times. The only bright spot (by default) was kicker Justin Davidovicz, who made his lone field goal attempt. 134 yards of total offense is not going to beat any team, let alone Ohio State. Rutgers takes on Kansas this weekend in a very winnable game.

12. Illinois (2-0)

Beat Western Illinois, 34-14

Lovie gets (another) W! Illinois took care of business once again against inferior competition as they beat Western Illinois, 34-14. The ground game was the story as running backs Mike Epstein, and Reggie Corbin combined for 168 yards, and Corbin scored 1 TD. For a program that has not had a lot to cheer about in recent years, starting a season 2-0 is something to be proud of, no matter who they played. Illinois gets their first test of the season as South Florida comes to town. The game will be played at Soldier Field.

11. Nebraska (0-1)

Lost to Colorado, 33-28

Scott Frost’s debut did not go according to plan as Nebraska could not hold onto the lead late, surrendering a touchdown pass in the final minute to lose to Colorado, 33-28. Nebraska found its quarterback of the future in true freshman Adrian Martinez, who was sensational all game, combining for 304 all-purpose yards and 3 TDs. However, it may have come at a price as Martinez had to leave the game late with a leg injury. If Martinez can’t go this week, look for Andrew Bunch to get the start against Troy.

10. Minnesota (2-0)

Beat Fresno State, 21-14

The boat is off and running! Minnesota and its young core moved to 2-0 this past weekend with a win over visiting Fresno State. The game came down to the wire as Fresno State was a few yards away from tying the game late in the fourth quarter. Fresno tried a half-back pass on 1st-and-goal from the 4, but Antione Winfield Jr. made a spectacular play to intercept the pass and seal the game for the Golden Gophers. PJ Fleck will look to start 3-0 this weekend as Minnesota plays Miami (OH).

9. Indiana (2-0)

Beat Virginia, 20-16

I don’t care who you play. Winning a non-conference game on the road against a Power 5 school is impressive. Indiana went into Virginia and beat the Cavs 20-16. Indiana was not as explosive on offense as they were in week 1, but the Hoosiers found themselves a running back with Stevie Scott. The true freshman was a workhorse, rushing for 204 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. This weekend could prove to be a trap game for Indiana as they play Ball State before taking on Michigan State in two weeks.

8. Northwestern (1-1)

Lost to Duke, 21-7

I apologize to all the Northwestern fans for saying the ‘Cats should be 3-0 before the end of the month. The Cats could not stop Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for 3 TDs before leaving the game with an injury on their way to a 21-7 victory. Just like the first game, Northwestern came out firing out of the gates with a touchdown in the 1st quarter, but could not muster any points the rest of the way. If Northwestern wants to challenge for the Big Ten West title, they will need to fix their second-half offensive problems.

7. Maryland (2-0)

Beat Bowling Green, 45-14

Fear the Turtle! The Terrapins dominated Bowling Green on the ground, rushing for an impressive 444 yards with 5 TDs. Tayon Fleet-Davis lead the team with 2 TDs, and Ty Johnson, Lorenzo Harrison III, and Javon Leake all scored 1 TD. Maryland has another winnable game this weekend against Temple. The Terps could slowly turn into the dark horse of the Big Ten.

6. Michigan (1-1)

Lost to Western Michigan, 49-3

Poor Western Michigan. It was nothing personal, but the Wolverines had to beat them badly. Michigan lost a tough game to Notre Dame in their opener, and the media crushed them with Jim Harbaugh taking the most of the criticism. We knew Michigan was going to take out their frustration on Western Michigan and that’s exactly what happened. The Wolverines offense exploded 451 yards of offense in a 49-3 win. Michigan plays SMU at the Big House this weekend.

5. Iowa (2-0)

Beat Iowa State, 13-3

I said this last week, and I’ll say it again. To any opponent that plays Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, good luck because you are going to need it. The Kinnick Voodoo worked again as Iowa beat Iowa State 13-3, which marked their fourth straight victory over their in-state rival. The defense was the story as the Hawkeyes held the Cyclones to 188 yards on 56 plays. Iowa did what they do best. They ran the ball, played good defense, and controlled the clock. If Iowa gets past Northern Iowa this week, that will set the stage for a giant matchup with Wisconsin in, you guessed it, Kinnick Stadium.

4. Michigan State (1-1)

Lost to Arizona State, 16-13

Michigan State’s playoff hopes took a huge hit after the last second 16-13 upset loss at the hands of Arizona State. Sparty was leading 13-3 going into the fourth quarter before being outscored 10-0 to lose the game. While quarterback Brian Lewerke had a solid day (over 314 yards passing), the running game was left behind in East Lansing as the Spartans only mustered up 63 yards rushing. The silver lining for Michigan State is that this was a non-conference loss, so their hopes for a Big Ten title are more than alive. Michigan State is off this week.

3. Penn State (2-0)

Beat Pittsburgh, 51-6

It’s safe to say that Penn State woke up and learned from their Week 1 mistakes. The Nittany Lions dominated Pittsburgh from start to finish, outscoring the Panthers 44-0 after the first quarter in a 51-6 blowout. McSorley threw for 2 TDs, but the running game lead by Mike Sanders was the difference maker for Penn State as the Nittany Lions rushed for 211 yards and 3 TDs. Penn State plays Kent State this week in Happy Valley.

2. Wisconsin (2-0)

Beat New Mexico, 45-14

Jonathan Taylor runs the ball. Jonathan Taylor moves the chains. And Jonathan Taylor scores touchdowns. Rinse. Repeat. The running back had a dominating performance against New Mexico. Taylor ran for 233 yards on 33 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. Not that the Badgers needed to throw the ball, but quarterback Alex Hornibrook will need to throw the ball more than 8 times in order to win a Big 10 title. Wisconsin plays BYU at home in week 3.

1. Ohio State (2-0)

Beat Rutgers, 52-3

The “We can play defense, too” game. After surrendering 31 points to Oregon State a week ago, the Buckeyes defense responded in a huge way, allowing only 3 points in a 52-3 win over Rutgers. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had another tremendous day, throwing for 233 yards and 2 TDs. If Haskins can put up these numbers in Big 10 play, the Heisman campaign will only strengthen. The Buckeyes have a huge test this Saturday night as they travel to Texas to face TCU.

Big 12 Football Week Two Power Rankings: Which teams should be concerned?

Big 12 Football Week Two

Big 12 Football Week Two was very telling in many ways. For some teams, weaknesses were exposed, and for others, promise emerged.

Here’s how Big 12 teams stacked up.

10. Iowa State

Iowa State had a lot of promise headed into this season, and with good reason.  The Cyclones had one of the more impressive turnaround seasons last year. With its first game of the year cancelled due to weather, Iowa State knew they had to put everything into the Week Two road matchup against in-state rival, Iowa. Unfortunately, the Cyclones left much to be desired in all three phases of the game, and took a 13-3 loss.

Iowa State faces No. 5 Oklahoma in Ames next weekend, and have a very real possibility to start the season at 0-3 if things don’t start clicking.

9. Kansas State

Bill Snyder’s Wildcats are off to a very poor start. After winning their season opener last weekend against South Dakota, Kansas State dropped a big one against the No. 18 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs at home. It wasn’t just a loss, however, it was a 31-10 route, and K-State only amassed 213 total yards of offense despite having possession for about half the game. As if those statistics weren’t bad enough, K-State is ranked 120th in the nation in passing yards after Week Two.

With UTSA on the schedule this weekend, the Wildcats have time to turn this around, but offensively, there’s a lot to be desired.

8. Kansas

With its 31-7 win over Central Michigan over the weekend, Kansas has finally snapped its 46-game road losing streak, and the Big 12 couldn’t be prouder for the Jayhawks. Kansas put up 361 total yards of offense, and capitalized on six CMU turnovers to go 1-1 before hosting Rutgers on Saturday.

Rutgers hasn’t played well this season, and the odds predictors already have the scales tilting in the Jayhawks’ favor. Could Kansas be 2-1 before the start of conference play? It’s certainly likely, and believe David Beaty’s team will have momentum in their favor this week.

7. Texas

Following Texas’ loss at Maryland, they needed a win last weekend to build momentum headed into Week Three against the USC Trojans. While the Longhorns took the W against Tulsa, it wasn’t pretty, and it raised more question marks than it answered.

Tulsa missed a few field goals which could have flipped the script, and second-half adjustments appeared to move Texas backwards. Those aren’t the halftime adjustments you need to be making.

Quarterbacking issues have been highlighted with Sam Ehlinger over the past two weeks, and while interceptions haven’t been an issue, his speed and inability to extend plays on the ground have been. It’s tough to win in the Big 12 if quarterbacks can’t extend plays, and if Texas is going to be truly competitive against video game numbers, they have to work through that.

6. Baylor

Baylor is a team that has been in rebuilding mode under head coach Matt Rhule, and in its 2-0 start to open the season, you can see noticeable changes in how receptive players have been to Rhule’s coaching style. What’s more, quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 328 yards against UTSA for three touchdowns. If that doesn’t scream “Big 12 cannon,” I don’t know what does.

Baylor had seven penalties for 70 yards, which is something they need to clean up headed into conference play, and of its 492 total yards of offense, only 92 yards were on the ground. With Big 12 defenses catching up to the passing game, that could also present an issue down the road.

5. Texas Tech

Texas Tech pitched a 77-0 shutout against Lamar on Saturday for the first time since 2006, which was the most points Tech’s hung on an opponent since 2005. Moreover, while Texas Tech ended their season opener win streak last week, Tech won their 19th consecutive home opener. To say Texas Tech rebounded from the loss against Ole Miss would be an understatement, and while Saturday’s win was against a team Tech should have handled easily, it not only showed the country what true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman was capable of, it also gave Tech an opportunity to let all quarterbacks see playing time, which impressed both in the air, and on the ground.

The Red Raiders were impressive in all three phases, and continue its turnover streak, but one area of concern is in penalties. Granted, there were plenty of fresh bodies who were rotating in for the first time, but Texas Tech had 14 penalties for 139 yards. That will not fly against a team like Houston this week, and throughout Big 12 play.

4. West Virginia

West Virginia has looked good against Tennessee and Youngstown State to start the season, but against teams in a rebuild (regardless of whether they’re in the SEC or not), and an FCS team, you’d expect more defense from a team trying to prop its quarterback up for the Heisman.

The Mountaineers racked up an impressive 625 yards of offense, and wide receiver Gary Jennings managed to haul in three touchdowns off just six catches bringing his yards-per-catch to an impressive 16.2 yards. This, coming off an offseason involving speculation as to how productive he’d be, or how much he’d contribute to the Grier Show. It’s safe to say West Virginia is positioning itself to have a nice showing against NC State on Saturday, but the Wolfpack has had a 2-0 start with double-digit victories, too, so that should be an interesting matchup.

3. Oklahoma State

South Alabama tried to limit Oklahoma State on the ground last weekend  They didn’t have much success, as they allowed four rushing touchdowns to the Cowboys’ already potent quarterback Taylor Cornelius’ passing game. Cornelius finished the day throwing for 428 yards which moved the football quite well, but one thing Oklahoma State will have to watch for in their young quarterback are turnovers. As previously stated, Big 12 teams are figuring out how to stop passing attacks, and if given the opportunity to snag two interceptions per game, opponents will, and have a much higher likelihood of returning them for a score.

The Cowboys take on No. 17 Boise State at home this week, and the two teams seem fairly even in terms of statistic this season. While Boise State is a Group of Five school, expect for the Broncos to treat this game as if it were the Rose Bowl.

2. TCU

TCU looked good on defense and on the ground.  In the air, quarterback Shawn Robinson left a lot to be desired.  He only passed for 146 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the H0rned Frogs’ 42-12 victory over SMU.

Head coach Gary Patterson has a very short window to fix TCU’s quarterbacking issues, as TCU takes on No. 4 Ohio State in Prime Time on Saturday.

1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma remains the team to beat in the Big 12, but last weekend’s 49-21 win over UCLA wasn’t without a major hit. Top running back Rodney Anderson sustained a knee injury during the game that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Anderson has had three season-ending injuries in the last four years. so that’s a tough situation all around.

Thankfully for the Sooners, the talent up and down is abundant, and human highlight reel, quarterback Kyler Murray has people saying “Baker who?”

The Sooners face Iowa State this week. With the way the Cyclones have been playing, it could be a long afternoon of continued OU dominance.

 

Want More? Check out: Patrick Mahomes: Why The New Chiefs Quarterback Will Thrive In The NFL

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 3

College Football Top 10

The two most frustrating parts of being a college football fan are the biased polls and the terrible non-conference schedules. I cannot change the schedules but I can rank the college football top 10 teams by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. The best teams who play the best schedules will always be ranked highest. Only the games that have been played matter. I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change every week as more games are played.

1. Alabama

The Crimson Tide have looked good in every area in their first two games, so they sit on top of the top 10. Tua Tagoviloa at QB makes Alabama seem to be unbeatable at this point. Their schedule has not been extremely tough with wins against Louisville and Arkansas State, but they have dominated.

2. Ohio State

Ohio State gets a lot of credit because they have played two Power 5 teams. Neither of them was any good, but the Buckeyes bludgeoned them. The Ohio State is off to a hot start, but we will see what they are made of against TCU in week 3. Urban Myer can make the game plan, but can’t help them on the sideline as he serves the last game of his “suspension.”

3. Clemson

Great win against Texas A&M. Clemson has the second best win of the season. They battled the weather and a hostile environment in College Station. Clemson has the same caviar problem Alabama has. They have two QBs who can win games for them.

4. Auburn

The best win of the season so far is Auburn over Washington. This week they had a bye, but that win is still carrying a ton of weight. And the Tigers do the unthinkable; they play back to back tough games. The rubber will meet the road in Week 3 when LSU rolls into town.

5. Oklahoma

WOW. Oklahoma’s offense looked unstoppable against both FAU and UCLA. Many People expected a dropoff after Baker Mayfield departed for the NFL, but that has not happened. Kyler Murray has been lighting it up. The OU wide receivers are the best group in college football.

6. Stanford

Stanford has done exactly what Stanford has always done, WIN! They have already knocked off USC and SDSU. No team in college football can claim to have two better wins. Most teams have only played one quality opponent. Stanford has something special in their quarterback KJ Costello. Bryce Love is no longer their biggest weapon.

7. Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s win over Michigan in week 1 looked even better after week 2. The Fighting Irish shut Michigan’s offense down so bad that we thought Michigan sucked. However, The Wolverines bounced back in we two, so there’s that.

I still don’t believe in Brian Kelly’s team yet. They are limited in the passing game with Brandon Wimbush at quarterback which will cost them games this season.

8. Georgia

Georgia beat South Carolina and Austin Peay. We have no idea how good South Carolina is because they played Coastal Carolina in week 1. I couldn’t be more frustrated by Georgia. My eyes tell me this is a good football team, but we only get to see them against quality competition a hand full of times all season.

9. West Virginia

West Virginia’s win over Tennessee is just a notch below Georgia’s win over South Carolina. I’m not even going to try and compare their victories over Austin Peay and Youngstown State.

Will Grier and the Mountaineers offense is showing out right now. West Virginia is in full “win Will Grier the Heisman” mode.

10. Virginia Tech

The Hokie’s took Florida State behind the woodshed in week 1. But beating FSU doesn’t look so hot when FSU narrowly escape Sanford in week 2. Yes, Sanford. Justin Fuente seems to be building something special in Blacksburg. The Hokie’s have a legit show of making the ACC championship game.

Next Up:

Wisconsin (haven’t played anybody), Washington (needs a quality win)

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts.

leave a comment or shoot an email: ImMad@unafraidshow.com… Yes, that is the real email address.

Big Ten Football: Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Football Power Rankings Week 2

Michigan fans, I’m sorry. You have probably had a rough couple of days. Other than that, it was a pretty successful opening weekend for the Big Ten. Michigan and Purdue were the only teams that lost, but it could’ve been a lot worse if Penn State and Michigan State didn’t escape with victories.

Let’s take a look at the Big Ten Week 2 Power Rankings.

14. Illinois (1-0)

Beat Kent State, 31-24

Lovie Smith gets a W! After a disastrous first half, the Illini were down 17-3 to Kent State. Illinois went on to outscore Kent State 28-7 in the second half, which was capped off by a late fourth quarter touchdown by running back Reggie Corbin to take the lead. The star of the game was quarterback AJ Bush, who threw for 190 yards and rushed for 139 yards. It’s only one game against Kent State, but this was a good come-from-behind win for Illinois.

13. Rutgers (1-0)

Beat Texas State, 35-7

Just a week ago, I said that “Rutgers is not very good, but they’re not as bad as you think.” After a 35-7 win against Texas State, I stand by that statement. Going into the season, the defense was set to carry the team, and they showed up in a big way, only surrendering 176 yards of total offense. Rutgers may also have a three-headed monster in the backfield as Isaih Pacheco, Raheem Blackshear, and Jonathan Hillman combined for nearly 200 yards rushing and 3 TDs. There is no time to dwell on this victory as the Scarlet Knights travel to Ohio State in week 2.

12. Purdue (0-1)

Lost to Northwestern, 31-27

One of the few teams that lost in the Big Ten was Purdue, who suffered an opening night setback at the hands of Northwestern. It’s hard to win games when you fall behind 14-0 in the first quarter, which is exactly what happened to the Boilermakers. The offense combined for 472 yards, but 3 INTs from quarterback Elijah Sindelar, who was eventually benched, proved to be costly. Purdue made it to a bowl game last season after starting the season 0-1. Maybe history will repeat itself.

11. Nebraska (0-0)

Game vs. Akron was canceled

I have nothing to say about Nebraska because they were not able to play due to weather. Tune in next week for Scott Frost’s debut!

10. Minnesota (1-0)

Beat New Mexico State, 48-10

Row the boat! After falling behind 10-7 in the second quarter, Minnesota scored 41 unanswered points and blew out New Mexico State, 48-10. True freshman Zack Annexstad had a solid debut, throwing for 2 TDs, while the ground game led by Rodney Smith and Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for over 250 yards combined. It’s hard to decipher week 1 victories against inferior competition, but a win is a win so enjoy it, Gopher fans.

9. Indiana (1-0)

Beat Florida International, 38-28

Indiana winning a game with 465 yards of total offense is something I did not expect to write after week 1. The offense looked fast and versatile as quarterbacks Peyton Ramsey and Michael Penix Jr. combined for four touchdown passes. Once again, it’s hard to judge a week 1 victory vs. inferior competition, but Indiana fans have to be happy after watching an offense that was supposed to have question marks going into the season.

8. Maryland (1-0)

Beat Texas, 34-29

The Terps did it again! Last year’s shootout victory over Texas was no fluke because the Terps took down the Longhorns for the second straight year after a 34-29 victory. Receiver Jeshuan James was the story early on as he caught a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and threw for a touchdown. That’s a pretty good day if you’re asking me. My biggest takeaway was how Maryland responded after the death of lineman Jordan McNair and the absence of coach DJ Durkin. If Maryland continues to rally in the face of controversy, maybe another upset victory is more than attainable.

7. Iowa (1-0)

Beat Northern Illinois, 33-7

To any opponent that plays Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, good luck because you are going to need it. Iowa did what a typical Kirk Ferentz team does during games. They run the ball (209 yards rushing), make few mistakes (only 1 turnover), beat you up on defense, and control the field. That strategy was too much for Northern Illinois. Expect Kinnick to be rocking again this Saturday when the Hawkeyes take on rival Iowa State.

6. Michigan (0-1)

Lost to Notre Dame, 24-17

Cue the “Jim Harbaugh is overrated” opinions because the 100 articles written with that viewpoint are not enough after Michigan’s 24-17 loss to Notre Dame. I’m obviously being sarcastic, but 8-8 in his last 16 games at Michigan is not a good look for Harbaugh. However, I’m not calling him overrated just yet. A fluke play against Michigan State and the worst ball spot in the history of officiating against Ohio State potentially kept Michigan out of the playoff a few years back. If those two plays go in Harbaugh’s favor, his entire tenure at Michigan changes dramatically. Against one of the best defenses in the country in Notre Dame, quarterback Shea Patterson was not as bad as the media is making him out to be. The Wolverine defense is very good, so the offense has some catching up to do in the upcoming weeks before conference play begins.

5. Northwestern (1-0)

Beat Purdue, 31-27

After scoring 31 points in the first half, Northwestern threw up a goose egg in the second half, but they held on to beat Purdue by 4 points. The leader of the Wildcats offense was not veteran quarterback Clayton Thorson, but running back Jeremy Larkin, who ran for 143 yards and two scores. The defense may have bent, but it didn’t break as they forced three turnovers, which proved to be the difference. I could see the ‘Cats at 3-0 before their showdown with Michigan at the end of the month.

4. Penn State (1-0)

Beat Appalachian State, 45-38 in OT

First of all, when will Big Ten teams learn to not schedule Appalachian State in home openers? By the skin of their teeth, Penn State avoided the monumental upset with a 45-38 victory in overtime. If the Nittany Lions did not have quarterback Trace McSorley, this team is 0-1. McSorley took the field down a touchdown with under 2 minutes remaining. A few plays later, Trace fired a touchdown pass to KJ Hamler in the back of the end zone to tie the score with 42 seconds left before going on to win in overtime. Was this a fluke game or should Penn State fans be nervous for the upcoming season? I’m leaning towards nerves.

3. Michigan State (1-0)

Beat Utah State, 38-31

Speaking of teams who squeaked out a victory, Michigan State had to pull out all the stops to defeat a tough Utah State team. Just like Penn State, Michigan State had the ball late in the fourth quarter, needing a touchdown to take the lead. After an insane catch by Felton Davis, the Spartans punched the ball into the end zone shortly after and held on to avoid the upset. I pose the same question as I did above. Was this a fluke game or should Michigan State fans be nervous for the upcoming season? Once again, I’m leaning towards nerves. It’s hard for me to believe in a team that doesn’t come out firing in week 1.

2. Wisconsin (1-0)

Beat Western Kentucky, 34-3

The Badgers started off slow but scored 24 unanswered points in the first half on their way to a 34-3 victory of Western Kentucky. I knew Jonathan Taylor would be a stud out of the backfield (145 yards and two TDs), but quarterback Alex Hornibrook impressed me the most. Hornibrook was efficient and confident as the lefty surpassed 250 yards in the air with two TDs. The more I think about it, the more I believe that Wisconsin will once again go undefeated and face Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

1. Ohio State (1-0)

Beat Oregon State, 77-31

The only surprise here was the score. I didn’t expect Ohio State to score 77 points, but I also didn’t expect their defense with NFL talent to surrender 31 points. If you didn’t believe that quarterback Dwayne Haskins would be able to replace J.T. Barrett, you were completely wrong as Haskins threw for over 300 yards and 5 TDs. Expect another blowout with week against Rutgers before their big showdown with TCU in two weeks.

Big Ten Football: Preseason Power Rankings

The Big Ten has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons as of late. Urban Meyer is about to serve a three-game suspension for Ohio State after a report from Brett McMurphy said that Urban had specific knowledge of domestic abuse allegations against a member of his coaching staff, Zach Smith, in 2015. At Maryland, DJ Durkin is currently on administrative leave after the death of lineman Jordan McNair.

Despite the controversies, Big Ten football will still be played this season, and the top of the conference is loaded with talent. Ohio State and Wisconsin are the two favorites to represent the East and West in the Big Ten Title game, but Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State will look to play spoiler.

Here are my preseason power rankings for the Big Ten.

14. Illinois

Can Lovie Smith turn this program around? Only time will tell, but is too late? Last year was a learning year for the Fighting Illini as they started 16 freshmen. These freshmen like running back Mike Epstein and safety Bennett Williams will be more experienced and will look to improve upon their disastrous 2-10 2017 season. If the Illini can take the next step forward this year, 2019 will be full of promise with the arrival of 5-star quarterback Isaiah Williams.

12. Rutgers

Rutgers is not very good, but they’re not as bad as you think. A lot of their struggles are due to the fact that they are members of the Big Ten East, which is significantly tougher than the West with games against Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State. Chris Ash is in his third year and will look to continue the trend of increasing wins each year, tallying 2 and 4 wins in his first two years. Defense is the strength of the Scarlett Knights, lead by linebacker Deonte Roberts. The offense is still a work in progress. Truthfully, if Rutgers can win 5 games this year, that would be a huge win for the program.

12. Maryland

Like Ohio State, Maryland is embroiled in controversy after the death of lineman Jordan McNair. Coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave after being accused of abuse and disparagement. If Durkin is not on the sidelines, that changes everything for the Terps. Putting controversy aside, the biggest reason for Maryland’s struggles last year was due to injuries. Both quarterbacks, Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill, are back from season-ending injuries from a year ago. However, your guess is as good as mine as to how the Terps season will play out without their coach.

11. Indiana

Last year, Indiana’s season came down to a few miscues. The Hoosiers had four single-digit losses. If the ball bounces the other way, they could’ve been a bowl team. Also, just today, a week after naming Peyton Ramsey the starting quarterback, graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins left the program. Despite the issues on offense, the defense has improved every year under Tom Allen, finishing 27th in the country in 2017. In order to make a bowl, Indiana will have to learn how to win the close games.

10. Minnesota

Can Fleck and the Golden Gophers row the boat to relevancy this year? It will all start with true freshman Zack Annexstad under center, who happens to be a preferred walk-on. Early on, look for the Golden Gophers to rely on running back Rodney Smith for production. The defense should be solid once again, which allowed 22.8 points per game in 2017. That being said, Minnesota is an extremely young team that is still a few years away from true success.

9. Purdue

The hype for coach Jeff Brohm is real. After bringing the Boilermakers to a bowl game last season, hopes are high that Brohm can eventually bring the Boilermakers to the upper tier of the Big Ten. The quarterback position is still a mystery since Brohm has yet to name either Elijah Sindelar or David Blough as the starter. Jackson Anthrop is a game changer at receiver. However, Purdue lost the majority of their contributors on defense. Their success will hinge on their ability to come up with stops in big moments.

8. Nebraska

I firmly believe that Scott Frost can make Nebraska a contender not only in the Big Ten West, but in the college football landscape. Though, it takes time to build a program and get your guys that are tailored to your style of play. True freshman Adrian Martinez will be the first freshman quarterback to ever open the season for Nebraska. Stanley Morgan Jr. is also an exciting receiver that could be a first round pick next year in the 2019 NFL draft. Don’t expect Nebraska to compete for a Big Ten title just yet, but be patient. It’s coming sooner than later.

Mark Dantonio Michigan State HC

7. Iowa

The Iowa Hawkeyes seem to always play spoiler for Big Ten title hopefuls. Two years ago, they upset Michigan on a last-second field goal. Last season, they blew the doors off of Ohio State, which most likely led them to miss the playoff top four. Kirk Ferentz’s team lost top rusher Akrum Wadley so expect the Hawkeyes to open it up a bit more with returning quarterback Nathan Stanley. Circle September 22 on your calendars because that’s when Wisconsin comes to town. Let’s just say this. If I was a Wisconsin fan, I would be extremely nervous going into this game.

6. Northwestern

Coaching is the top strength of the Northwestern Wildcats because Pat Fitzgerald is the most underrated coach in college football. The Wildcats also return experienced quarterback Clayton Thorson, who will be one of the Big Ten’s best at the position. There’s no secret as to why Pat Fitzgerald has stayed with this program all of these years despite being brought up for numerous coaching vacancies. Fitzgerald wants to be the man to win a Big Ten Title and bring the Wildcats back to the Rose Bowl, which would be their first since 1995. It’s unlikely that happens this year, but with Fitzgerald at the helm and an important game against Wisconsin at home later this year, you never know what can happen.

5. Michigan

The time for Michigan to rise to the top of the Big Ten is now. With the Urban Meyer scandal, a potential step back for Penn State, and potential problems with the Michigan State offense, this could be the year that Michigan Wolverines play for a Big Ten title, which they have never done since conference realignment in 2011. The defense will be one of the best in the country lead by linebacker, Devin Bush Jr. and defensive tackle Rashan Gary. The season will all depend on if Ole Miss transfer quarterback Shea Patterson is the real deal. If Patterson becomes Michigan’s best quarterback in the Jim Harbaugh era, a 10 win season is more than attainable.

4. Penn State

Before we talk about this year’s team, take a bow, Saquon Barkley. You helped bring the Nittany Lions back to the top of college football. Now, it’s time for senior quarterback Trace McSorley to be “the guy.” Penn State lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but James Franklin is a Top 5 recruiter in the country. If McSorley can carry the load until the young guys get up to speed, the drop off from last year will be minuscule.

3. Michigan State

Do not sleep on Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans. Nothing about this team screams the SportsCenter Top 10 in terms of talent, but this group is experienced, disciplined, and well-coached. The Spartans lose only four starters from last year and return veterans at every major position including quarterback Brian Lewerke and linebacker Joe Bachie. If Michigan State can play Michigan State football aka control the field and play good defense, they could upend Ohio State at the top of the conference.

2. Wisconsin

Had it not been for a 6 point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin would have made the College Football Playoff last season. This year, expectations should be very high as the Badgers bolster one of the best offensive lines in the nation to go along with the return of quarterback Alex Hornibrook and Heisman hopeful running back Jonathan Taylor. The Badgers have some holes to fill on defense, but the Badgers are the proverbial favorite to represent the Big Ten West in the conference championship game.

1. Ohio State

This preseason, the biggest story at Ohio State has nothing to do with the play on the field. All of the storylines revolve around the Urban Meyer controversy and his three-game suspension. As bad as it is at Ohio State, it will only get worse in terms of media attention once Meyer returns from his suspension. Let’s remove Urban Meyer from the equation right now. The Buckeyes are still the best team on the field in the Big Ten. Defensive end Nick Bosa, who will most likely be a Top 5 draft pick, anchors a defense that has NFL talent all over. The biggest transition will be at the quarterback position as Dwayne Haskins takes over for JT Barrett. Expect some growing pains early, but if Haskins shows promise, the Buckeyes will fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

College Football Betting: Five Over / Under Win Totals To Bet

College football season is so close that you can taste it. In a few short days, the pigskin will be flying and Lee Corso will be putting on headgear. All will be right in the world. College football season also means that gamblers can come out of hiding from the dog days of summer. Before the games begin, it’s time to place your futures bets on over/under win totals. Let’s take a look at five intriguing bets to consider.

*Note: The over/under totals represent regular season games only. Conference championships and bowl games are not included. All totals are taken from Oddshark.*

Georgia: O/U – 10.5 wins (-130)

Can the Georgia Bulldogs recapture the magic from last season and make the College Football Playoff? The Bulldogs have to replace a lot of talent on both sides of the ball with the big pieces being linebacker Roquan Smith and running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. However, quarterback Jake Fromm, who is a future NFL prospect, returns with more experience so look for the offense to rely on his arm a little more this year. Plus, it’s not like this team is going to be falling off the face of the Earth with a rebuild. It’s not a rebuild, it’s a reload. Coach Kirby Smart is bringing in a 5-star recruiting class. Looking at the schedule, I see two potential hiccups: at LSU and vs. Auburn. I expect Georgia to win one out of the two and then run through everyone else. Bet the over. Georgia Over 10.5 wins

Washington: O/U – 10.5 wins (-145)

Since his arrival in 2014, Chris Petersen has brought the Huskies to two New Year’s Six games including a trip to the College Football Playoff (CFP) in 2016. The Huskies did not lose a lot of impact players and will return veteran quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. This team has the potential to be very, very good. However, needing 11 wins from a team with the following games on the schedule is a tough pill to swallow: Auburn (in Atlanta), at Utah, at Oregon, vs. Stanford, at Washington State. Washington is going to be at the top of the Pac 12, but I see 10 wins in their future, not 11. Washington Under 10.5 wins

Notre Dame: O/U – 9.5 wins (+110)

If you hate Notre Dame, this is going to be a tough year for you. Notre Dame is going to fight for a spot in the CFP. I’m actually shocked the win total is set at 9.5. The biggest loss on the defensive side was their star defensive coordinator, Mike Elko, to Texas A&M. That being said, the defense is outstanding, ranking first in the country in terms of returning production. Plus, the offense still has Brandon Wimbush, Dexter Williams, and Myles Boykin carrying the load. What favors Notre Dame is their schedule. Most of their ranked opponents will travel to South Bend (Michigan, Stanford, Florida State) and they will be favored in most, if not all, of their games. Hammer the over. Notre Dame Over 9.5 wins

Missouri: O/U – 6.5 wins (-155)

If you don’t know a thing about Missouri football, that’s ok. All you need to remember are two words, Drew Lock. He is arguably the most explosive quarterback in the country, who threw for almost 4,000 yards and absurd 44 TDs. If you had no idea Lock played for Missouri, you might think he plays in the Big XII. Lock is putting up huge numbers against SEC defenses. The schedule is not easy with Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama in three straight weeks. That being said, this team won 7 games last year. If Lock stays healthy, they have a chance to win every game. Missouri Over 6.5 wins.

TCU: O/U – 7.5 wins (-135)

I had to do a double take when I first saw this. 7.5 wins for a team that’s coming off an 11 win season? Expect that low total to be bulletin board for the best coach in the Big XII, Gary Patterson. The defense is going to be fine with defensive end Ben Banogu and linebacker Ty Summers up front. The quarterback and offensive line are giant question marks. Kenny Hill aka Kenny Trill is gone so now the keys to the offense belong to sophomore Shawn Robinson. Plus, the Horned Frogs need to replace four all-conference linemen. Notable games are Ohio State (in Arlington), at Texas, vs. Oklahoma, and at West Virginia. If the line holds up and Robinson is decent at best, TCU can win at least 8 games. TCU Over 7.5 wins.

College Football: ACC Coaching Power Rankings 2018

Who is #1 in the ACC Coaching Power Rankings?

The ACC is an interesting conference when it comes to the strength of its coaches. There is one king in the ACC, and that’s Dabo Swinney. It’s a no-brainer, and his resume speaks for itself. Every other coach is playing for second. A few names such as Mark Richt of Miami, Bobby Petrino of Louisville, and Justin Fuente come to mind. If no one can knock Dabo off the top, can any team at least take down Clemson for conference supremacy?

ICYMI:

Big XII Coaching Power Rankings

Pac-12 Coaching Power Rankings

Big Ten Coaching Power Rankings

Here are the ACC Coaching Power Rankings.

14. Syracuse – Dino Babers

Well, at least they beat Clemson last year. Syracuse football is one of the toughest jobs in the country because of the location. Syracuse is a basketball school in central NY that is trying to compete with the likes of Florida State and Miami every year. Florida or Central NY?  It is a pretty simple choice for most kids. Getting kids to turn down the sunshine for snow is not exactly the easiest recruiting pitch. Do I think Dino Babers is a bad coach? No. Do I think he can do better than back-to-back 4-8 seasons? Absolutely. If Babers can win at least three games in the ACC this year, he might have a job for a few more years. Baby steps for the Orange.

13. Steve Addazio, Boston College

Steve Addazio is a smart coach. If you’re a vital member of Urban Meyer’s staff for two National Championships at Florida, you must be doing something right. However, his time at Boston College has been below average in the win/loss category. In 6 seasons with the Eagles, Addazio’s record is 31-33. For a Power 5 school, it’s nothing to brag home about. However, Addazio is well-respected and revered by both his peers and the school, who signed him to a contract extension through 2020. For my money, Steve Addazio is probably one of the most likable dudes out there. I use the word dude because Addazio coined the legendary phrase, “Guys being dudes.” For that, Addazio has my stamp of approval.

12. Pittsburgh – Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh football is the definition of mediocre. Since 1999, the Panthers win total has been between 5 and 9 wins besides 2009, which was their only 10 win season this century. Will Pat Narduzzi be able to take the Panthers back to the top tier of college football, which is a place they have not been since Dan Marino played quarterback. Narduzzi is a master of defense and proved that by becoming one of the best defensive coordinators in college at Michigan State. In three seasons at Pittsburgh, Narduzzi’s Panthers have been slightly above average with a season-high win total of 8. Last season, Narduzzi shocked all of college football when his Panthers beat previously unbeaten Miami in the final game of the regular season. Can Narduzzi build momentum off of that historic win?

11.Virginia – Bronco Mendenhall

The record may not show it, but Bronco Mendenhall has made significant strides with Virginia. Winning has not exactly been part of the program with their last winning season coming in 2011. Mendenhall built a very respectable program at BYU with 11 straight trips to bowl games. Year 1 was a learning year for Mendenhall and the Cavaliers, which resulted in 2 wins. However, the Cavs shocked a lot of people last year as they not only tallied 6 wins but reached a bowl game. Let’s see what Mendenhall can do in Year 3 with the program.

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College Football: Top 5 Teams Likely To Disappoint In 2018

If your college football team is not coached by Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, or Dabo Swinney, there’s a good chance that things may not go your way in 2018. I’m talking about disappointing seasons. There are bound to be quite a few teams that will have sour tastes in their mouth come December. It’s inevitable.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 teams that are likely to disappoint in 2018.

#5 Michigan

This hurts to write because I am a big Jim Harbaugh fan, but his three seasons have been a letdown for Michigan fans. It’s hard to say a coach underachieved with two 10 win season in his first three years, but for a coach to be making over $7 million a year, Big 10 titles and wins over Ohio State are a necessity and so far neither of those accomplishments have happened. This will be Harbaugh’s best chance to silence the critics thanks to Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson, who is easily the best quarterback that Harbaugh has had in his tenure at Ann Arbor. However, for Michigan to rise to the top of the Big 10, they will need to beat Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State. Maybe they can beat one, but all three? It’s just not happening especially with trips to East Lansing and Columbus. Until that happens, I can’t bet on Michigan.

#4 Florida State

The talent is there. Running back Cam Akers is a Heisman hopeful. Quarterback Deondre Francois is healthy after missing almost the entire 2017 season. The team is young and full of potential. Despite the talent, Jimbo Fisher took his talents to Texas A&M. He had five straight years of 10+ wins at one point as well as a National Championship victory. Taking over for Fisher is Willie Taggart, who bolted from Oregon after one year. I have no idea how to judge Taggart because this is only his second year as a head coach at a Power 5 school. Can he handle the pressure and live up to the lofty expectations? Clemson is still the king of the ACC and Miami is closing in on them. Florida State is not better than those two teams right now, so they will have their work cut out to stay above the middle of the ACC.

#3 Florida

Staying in the Sunshine State, let’s go to Gainesville to talk about the Gators. First-year coach Dan Mullen inherits a team from a year ago that had no energy and was flat out inept on the offensive side of the ball. Their super “vanilla” offense finished #101 in the nation during McElwain’s last year. I expect Mullen’s knows he has to spread it out and score a lot of points. With questions at quarterback and on the offensive line, it will take a while for Mullen to find his next Dak Prescott to revitalize the Gators. The strength of the team will be the secondary lead by the ballhawks at corner, CJ Henderson, and Marco Wilson. The season is already off to a rocky start as six players face potential discipline after a confrontation with “Tay Bang” that involved airlift guns and a frying pan. I’m not kidding. Mullen will turn Florida around, but not this year.

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