Let’s face it, I was so wrong about South Carolina in my blog on five teams nobody’s considering for the first ever College Football Playoff – now we know why no one had the Gamecocks as an actual contender – that it’s time to revise the weekly blog. So let’s go with five teams that truly impressed and deserve some playoff potential consideration.
- Got to start with Texas A&M. The Aggies performance last Thursday, still ranks as the most impressive of the weekend. Sophomore QB Kenny Hill not only picked up where Johnny Manziel left the program, he took the offense to a new record-setting level. Four touchdowns, a field goal and one punt – those were the first-half possessions for the A&M. In the second half; three touchdowns, a punt and a “run out the clock” 17 play, 10:05 minute drive to close the game. The defense also held South Carolina to 2-9 on third down. The schedule is still brutal, but you can’t look at it and say there’s one team you don’t think A&M can’t beat – at least after one week.
- The team that replaces the Gamecocks in my “Top 5 overlooked” is Georgia. The Bulldogs pulled away from a solid Clemson team in the second-half for a convincing 45-21 victory in Athens, GA. Aaron Murray’s replacement at QB – Hutson Mason was efficient [18/26 131-yards], but what’s truly shocking about this game – and perhaps concerning if you’re worried about Georgia’s coaching costing them a game down the road – is that Heisman contender, RB Todd Gurley only the ball 17 times and still accounted for 293 yards and four touchdowns [or 17.23 yards per touch]. Solid idea Bulldog OC Mike Bobo to give Gurley only five carries in the first half. Even the Dawgs defense did its part holding Clemson to one first down and 15 yards in the second half.
- I’m sticking with Michigan State in my “Top 5.” No there’s nothing overly impressive about beating Jacksonville State – an FCS bought win – 45-7, but still, Connor Cook was solid going 12/13 for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Also, I wasn’t overly impressed with Ohio State’s 34-17 win over Navy considering it was still a three-point game with nine minutes remaining [and the Spartans host the Buckeyes in November. [Some special mention goes to Wisconsin who held at 24-13 lead going into the 4th quarter at NRG Stadium on Saturday night, but Les Miles “Forrest Gumped” his team to victory yet again to keep the nations longest non-conference regular season winning streak going – think the win over the Badgers puts it a 46, dating back to 2002 – but Michigan State wouldn’t have to face that Badgers team until the Big 10 title game. One a second side note; no chance LSU plays for the SEC Western division title let alone a playoff spot, their quarterback play – or almost complete lack thereof – will keep them from competing.]
- Another team I’ll keep in my original “Top 5” is Auburn. Like I predicted the offense will be even better in 2014 – and after one week [and an hour and a half rain delay] it was. Despite starting QB Nick Marshall sitting the first-half for a summer arrest for possession of marijuana, the Tigers offense still rolled up 585 yards and 38 points [yes Auburn scored 45 against Arkansas, but seven belong to a Jermaine Whitehead 33 yard interception return for touchdown]. Gus Malzahn’s offense passed for 293 yards and ran for 303. While this game went to the half tied at 21, keep in mind two things; Jeremy Johnson [12/16, 243 yards, two-touchdowns] was subbing for Marshall, and Arkansas will be a much better team than the one that went winless in SEC play last year.
- They’re like the gum you can’t seem to get off your shoe – annoying rather than endearing – but Stanford has to be in the discussion again. The Cardinal opened the season by beating UC Davis 45-0 – big deal. Still, there a tough fundamentally sound football team [tough an interception and two lost fumbles might say otherwise], that has solid quarterback play, “do-it-all” Ty Montgomery doing his thing; five catches, 77 yards and a 44 yard TD catch, a 60 yard punt return to start the scoring and a rush for eight yards. The Cardinal also, again, has a tough physical defense that limited the Aggies to 115 total yards, just one third down conversion in 13 tries, and six first downs. The Cardinal host a Southern Cal team that started the Steve Sarkisian era with a 52-13 beat-down of Fresno State next week, and tough road match-ups with Notre Dame, Oregon and UCLA before the Pac 12 title game, but Stanford looks like they’ll hang around and be a part of the conversation, again, all year.
As for the four teams that everyone had in the four-team playoff before a game had been played; Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon, the Ducks and Sooners were solid – Trevor Knight threw for 253, a TD and INT in OU’s 48-16 win over LA-Tech while Marcus Mariota tossed three touchdowns in Oregon’s 62-13 win over FCS patsy South Dakota State. Neither the Seminoles, who struggled mightily with Oklahoma State in Dallas [the Cowboys are probably underrated and will be right there with Baylor, OU, TCU & Texas fighting for the Big 12 title], nor the Crimson Tide [who looked to have some “chemistry” issues in their 33-23 win over West Virginia in Atlanta Saturday night] were impressive, but it’s week one and you can’t write them off just yet.
SIDE NOTE: Yes I had my alma mater Ole Miss in my “Top 5” last week. I admitted it was a homer pick [that I truly don’t believe in though I wish I could], but I was being given a lot of grief by my co-host Paul Gallant, so I included them. As Wayne & Garth would’ve said – yes a 20yr old dated reference to an overplayed SNL skit – “we’re not worthy,” and Ole Miss isn’t. The Rebel offensive line looked clueless – unless false starts [12 in the game] are a new wrinkle to the Hugh Freeze offense – and couldn’t open a hole for a running back if world peace depended on it against Boise State. Without an unpredictable turnaround from the O-line, 8-4 seems about right for the Rebels this fall.
FYI – NEW FALL SCHEDULE for the Bstraw & Pauly G Show: Tuesday 9:00-11:00pm, Wednesday 8:00-11:00pm, Friday 8:00-11:00pm. [Monday & Thursday evenings on SportsRadio 610 – NFL Football, Tuesday’s from 6:00-9:00pm – Texans Radio.]
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