Tag Archives: college football

The College Football Playoffs Are Finally Set

For the first time in the history of college football, there will be a four team college playoff to decide who hoists the National Championship Trophy will come January 10th, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The teams that made the final cut are The Ohio State Buckeyes, The Alabama Crimson Tide, The Ducks from the University of Oregon, and The Florida State Seminoles.

The request for a new playoff system has been requested for quite some time now. A lot of the sports world did not like the fact the BCS bowl selection took place.

Now more people than not are for the playoff system. The system is still flawed for some but better from where it was from previous years.

For the most part there was no movement between the first and second placed teams. The Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Ducks from the University of Oregon. They never strayed far from their positions.

The final two spots were a different story. The Seminoles from Florida State did the most movement. Even though, they did not lose one game during the season.

The top two teams have one loss each. The Buckeyes are also undefeated.

The reasoning for the placement is the toughness of the schedule and the conference each team is in respectively. The #1 team is Alabama, coming out of the powerhouse that is the SEC.

Oregon is coming out of another powerhouse from the west the PAC 12 conference, Florida State comes out of the ACC, and finally Ohio State coming out of the BIG 10 (but the conference has 13 teams, different conversation for a different day).

Other notable mentions were the Baylor Bears, and the TCU Horned Frogs. At one point TCU was ranked third a week prior to the final announcement, before Ohio State took the final spot in the last announcement.

With that said the teams are set, and there will be two games played on the first day of the New Year. The first is the Rose Bowl where the #2 Oregon Ducks will face the #3 Florida State Seminoles.

The Seminoles were always in the top four teams, but they struggled the whole season to beat some clearly easy wins against unranked teams. Despite this they were able to overcome this and still remain undefeated.

The Seminoles are the defending National Champions after defeating the Auburn Tigers. They are also led by reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston. This year the Seminoles have struggled to say the least.

Yet they are still undefeated and share an undefeated record with the Buckeyes. This year Winston was not even nominated for a finalist in this year Heisman Trophy.

The Oregon Ducks on the other hand now have this years Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. Mariota was the clear winner gaining more than 90% of the total votes, second highest in the history of the Heisman voting.

This year Mariota was having a standout season. Leading into the bowl games he has 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only two interceptions.

His competition included another player that is in the College Football Playoff, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Also included in the list was University of Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon was coming off a FBS record for single game rushing yards, only to have his record beaten the next week.

The matchups should be action packed, with four different types of high powered offenses.

The first matchup is the Rose Bowl between the #2 Oregon and #3 Florida State. One team has no losses while the other has one loss. Yet the team with the one loss is actually ranked higher than the undefeated team.

Jameis Winston and the Seminoles look to power through the quick play running Oregon. Even though, the Seminoles have struggled their past few games, they have found a way to win each one of those games.

This game will be like no other. It will show off the last two Heisman winners. Two amazing quarterbacks showing off their arm and capabilities on the field.

If the regular college football season is any indication of what will happen on January 1st, then the play of the quarterbacks is quite important.

The way Oregon runs their offense they will be scoring and scoring fast. The Seminoles will have to combat this with Jameis Winston and his arm.

Winston has thrown 17 interceptions this season. That against a high powered offense is definite trouble for the undefeated Seminoles.

The point is not to try to keep up with Oregon, but to combat them with smart offense, and even better defense.

The Florida State defense will probably not completely stop the Ducks, but they can at least slow it down enough for the Seminole offense to make the game competitive and try to come out victorious.

On the side of Oregon, they are already the favorite to win the game. They have their Heisman winner and a great overall offense as well as a defense.

Every game except the game they lost of course has been a dominant win for Oregon. That cannot be said for Florida State, who barely squeaked by in certain games, and in some cases needed overtime to carry them to a win.

In that case Oregon should probably prevail, but given the fight in the Seminoles it is easier said then done.

Next there is the Allstate Sugar Bowl between #1 Alabama and #4 Ohio State. The Crimson Tide has been in the first place spot for quite some time. They have not lost their ranking since they were ranked #1.

They are arguably the most difficult conference in the US next to the PAC 12. Alabama have been putting on clinics on their way to their wins.

They are led by head coach Nick Saban. Saban has four national championships under his belt, while at LSU he won one, at Alabama he has three (2009, 2011-12).

Along with a great coach at the helm they also have Amari Cooper who is having a stellar season and is leading all receivers in yards and points.

On the other side there is the Ohio State University. Leading them is a familiar name in Urban Meyer. Who left the Florida Gators, and tried his luck in his home state of Ohio.

Coach Meyer has led the Buckeyes to a 12 win season for the past three years, after they were not bowl eligible for the previous 2 years.

If the backs weren’t against the wall of the Buckeyes ranked 4th facing Alabama, they have to do it with their back up of the back up quarterback. That’s right they are facing the #1 team in the nation with their 3rd string quarterback Cardale Jones.

Yet with this same quarterback they were able to dismantle the Wisconsin Badgers in the BIG 10 championship. After the game they destroyed the Badgers 59-0.

In total Wisconsin only had 78 total yards on the ground, they held another Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon who was leading the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns to no touchdowns for the first time this season.

So the likelihood of this game being a great game is more than likely. Both of the games that will be played on New Years Day should be great and the championship January 10th.

No matter what the outcome of the Rose and Sugar Bowl, we are in for a treat when the four best teams in the nation face off against one another, and the final two will battle and claim the first ever College Football National Championship Final.

Heisman Watch 2014: Who’s In at Week 11

By Ashley Gulick


Although there is still a lot of football left to play, the 2014 Heisman Watch is beginning to finally take shape and produce a notable list of legitimate frontrunners. At Week 11 of the 2014 season, here are my thoughts as to which players are rising to the “cream of the crop.”

1) Dak Prescott – QB Mississippi State

Although the Bulldogs scraped out a 17-10 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night, it certainly was not their prettiest win of the season by any means. But, enter quarterback Dak Prescott. Once again, Prescott proved his ability and efficiency as a leader under pressure, and that is why I have him at the top of my Heisman list.

After a 69-yard pass to Fred Ross for the go-ahead touchdown, Prescott was more than clutch in a game-winning moment. After going 18 of 27 for 331 yards and a TD, Prescott is now the first Mississippi State QB to throw for 300 yards since 2007. The Bulldogs are also on an 11-game win streak, which is the second longest in the country behind Florida State. If Prescott can continue to lead his team—and most importantly bring home a huge win in a couple of weeks against Alabama—then I think he will definitely be sitting in prime position to bring home the trophy.

For the season, Prescott is 132 of 216 for 2,025 yards, 16 TDs and 7 INTs. He also has 137 carries for 725 yards and 10 TDs.

2) Marcus Mariota – QB Oregon

In true Mariota fashion, Oregon finally earned an impressive 45-16 win over Stanford to snap a two-series losing streak to the Cardinals. Finally getting the “monkey off of his back,” Mariota not only earned the plaguing victory, but also boosted the rankings for the Ducks and himself in the Heisman race.

This win was a huge confidence booster for the junior who threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also had nine rushes for 85 yards. Another interesting stat after Saturday’s win: Mariota now has a passing TD in 35 straight games, which is tied for the fourth longest streak in FBS history.

So far this season, Mariota is 169 of 248 for 2,541 yards, 26 TDs and 2 INTs. He has 71 carries for 410 yards and 7 TDs.

3) Amari Cooper – WR Alabama

Although the Tide had a bye this week, Cooper stays at No. 3 in my opinion, simply for his position as the true leader of this offense. With several key games coming up against LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn, his performance in those games will factor heavily into whether he stays in my top three.

Cooper’s stats for the year stand at 71 catches for 1,132 yards total and 9 TDs. In his last performance against Tennessee, Cooper had a career and school single-game best of 224 yards in the Tide’s 34-20 victory. Cooper only needs one more yard to match Alabama’s single-season record set by Julio Jones in 2010.

4) Melvin Gordon – RB Wisconsin

Even though the Heisman race is quarterback-heavy, do not count out Melvin Gordon, who is quickly making a name for himself behind his consistency week after week. Although their schedule may not carry the weight that most find important, his numbers are still just too good to keep him out of contention. After routing Rutgers 37-0, Gordon ended his night with 19 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Although he left the game with a knee injury, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said he would be fine going forward. So far this season, the junior has 173 total carries for 1,296 yards and 18 TDs. Saturday also marked his sixth game in which he has rushed for at least 100 yards total. His performance against Nebraska in a couple of weeks will definitely be a determining factor in if he stays in this race or not.

5) Everett Golson – QB Notre Dame

Although their 49-39 win over Navy did not impress overall, it was not about the win as much as it was about what Golson did individually on the field. On Saturday, the senior QB became the first player in Notre Dame school history to throw for three touchdowns and also run for three scores. With the lack of defense for the Fighting Irish, they relied heavily on Golson’s performance to take home the win. Accounting for six TDs total, Golson was 18 of 25 for 315 yards. He also rushed nine times for 33 yards.

This season, Golson is currently 184 of 293 for 2,311 yards, 22 TDs and 7 INTs. He also has 78 carries for 275 yards and 7 TDs.


Ashley Gulick is a staff writer for Scouts Alley. You can follow her on Twitter.

How Did Kentucky Win?

By Murphy Powell


Kentucky beat South Carolina.

Just read it again. This might take some time to sink in.

It was a strange weekend in the SEC, with two teams from Mississippi beating top-six teams in the AP Poll, then becoming top-five teams themselves. Things were even strange outside the SEC, and 11 teams in the Top 25 lost.

But the weirdest of all events had to take place in Lexington on Saturday. Kentucky beat South Carolina.

So how did this happen? I’m not sure yet. We’re going to find out together.

Just looking at team stats, South Carolina should have edged Kentucky out. SC outgained Kentucky overall, 500 yards to 447, but Kentucky averaged more yards per play. The Wildcats averaged one more yard per pass, and about half-a-yard more per rush, than South Carolina. So that’s a difference, but it’s not a big one.

Kentucky had more penalties for more yards, so there seems to be another edge for SC there. And while it’s not necessarily a great stat to pick a winner, South Carolina held the ball for 10 more minutes than Kentucky, which is notable.

But now we hit turnovers. That’s where the problem—and the difference in the game—comes in. South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson threw three interceptions, plus SC had a fumble, and, boy oh boy, did those hurt.

South Carolina had a 17-7 lead and was cruising along with 4:45 left in the first half, like they should have since they’re South Carolina and Kentucky is Kentucky.

Then Braylon Heard broke off a 38-yard touchdown run, making the score 17-14 with SC still ahead. Once South Carolina got the ball back, they started to drive, and things were looking alright. Then Thompson threw an interception.

This interception hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much as the other two. This first one just led to a field goal, but it was a field goal that tied the game at 17. So now we go to the half. I’m imagining that Spurrier and his team were a little disappointed with the turnovers, but they probably had some confidence since they were playing Kentucky, who—don’t forget—is Kentucky.

Kentucky came out firing in the second half, scoring on a 75-yard drive to start the third quarter. But the third quarter was boring, because South Carolina scored all three times and didn’t do anything to lose the game, so we’re fast-forwarding to the fourth quarter.

So now it’s 38-31, with South Carolina still ahead. With six minutes left, Kentucky makes a stop, and Jojo Kemp runs in his third touchdown of the game, tying things up at 38.

Here is where the interceptions start, and things go downhill immediately for South Carolina.

Thompson has 2:45 to lead his team down the field and at least get a field goal to take the lead. Mike Davis has been running all over Kentucky, and while running the ball is a little questionable here, going with the hot hand wouldn’t have been a terrible idea.

But instead, Thompson threw it, and he threw it right to Alvin Dupree of Kentucky who ran it in for a touchdown. Now UK is ahead 45-38. It took 17 game seconds from the time South Carolina got the ball to the time South Carolina got the ball after an interception. Like I said, things went downhill immediately.

Thompson still has 2:29 left to tie things up. He has to pass here, which Kentucky knows. SC gets a first down, Thompson completes two passes, and then he throws a pick. Two interceptions in about one minute of game time. Two interceptions at the absolute worst times they could be thrown for South Carolina. Three interceptions if you could the one in the first half.

South Carolina is probably missing Connor Shaw a little more than expected.

So how did Kentucky win? They forced three interceptions at the absolute perfect times to get them.


Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter if you really want to.

What to Watch For: 9/13/14

Here’s a quick look at some of the top storylines in college football this Saturday.

  • No. 6 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina: Two of the best running backs in the country, Todd Gurley and Mike Davis, face off today. For some extra drama, South Carolina already has one loss on the year, and Georgia has started to look like a national title contender.
  • No. 12 UCLA vs. Texas: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley takes his team to the JerryDome in Arlington to face a tougher-than-it-looks Texas team. The Longhorns were boatraced last week against BYU, and UCLA has kept its games a little too close (28-20 at Virginia, 42-35 vs. Memphis). Both teams need to prove something on a big stage.
  • Iowa State heads to Iowa for a rivalry that has led to the school police departments tweeting at each other. Will it be a good game? We have no idea. But any time campus police get involved with social media, we’re on board.

Week 3 In Review: Big Ten, Big Wins, Big Fines

By Ariel Bedford


The still-fresh college football year’s third official weekend, besides one colossal top-ten clash, was more bark than actual bite. Here’s what we learned in Week 3:

1. This was the week that the athletic director scheduled your big-time school for a paid win

Dick Vitale’s signature phrase “Cupacke City, Baby!!!” couldn’t have been more fitting for many games on the ledger. Take this telling fact: There were tons of high-scoring matchups during Week 2, but no team scored over 70 points in a contest. There were five teams that did so this past week.

Even the Miami Hurricanes, who previously lost a tough conference road opener to Louisville, got some mojo back with a 41-7 drubbing of frequent FCS in-state opponent Florida A&M.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers hurtles over free safety Mariel Cooper #20 of the South Carolina State Bulldogs on September 6, 2014 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images)
Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers hurtles over free safety Mariel Cooper #20 of the South Carolina State Bulldogs on September 6, 2014 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images)

 

Clemson bounced back from their loss to Georgia with a 73-7 trouncing of South Carolina State University at home, which highlights a common trend of Power 5 Conference stalwarts sending large checks to smaller (often HBCU) FCS schools as compensation for literally being feasted upon.

While the funds are sorely needed for these colleges as a whole, for simply the sake of equal competition, the new formatting of FBS postseason play will likely diminish the amount of these types of games slated in the future.

2. The Big Ten got exposed

Michigan State falling to Oregon wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible, either. Purdue 17-Central Michigan 38, Notre Dame 31-Michigan 0, and Virginia Tech 35-Ohio State 21, however, were all nightmares for your grandfather’s favorite football conference.

The shocker of the weekend was almost Nebraska losing to the McNeese State Cowboys out of the Southland. Pundits have wondered aloud whether the traditionally revered conference would have a team worthy of a playoff spot by the end of the regular season. The flat-out embarrassing results from the majority of its football collectives don’t bode well for their argument as deserving a shot at the national title.

3. Guess what? Humans can be just as flawed as computers!

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian jumps in celebration with Athletic Director Pat Haden after they beat the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Palo Alto, California. EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian jumps in celebration with Athletic Director Pat Haden after they beat the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Palo Alto, California. EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

 

The men of Troy have been down in the dumps lately. From dealing with a depleted talent pool from NCAA-sanctioned scholarship limitations, to coaching issues/rumblings of strained relationships with current players, Southern California’s football program has been due for some luck.

But the breaks USC tried to lobby for in their nail-biter with Stanford raise too many flags to ignore. While a head coach taking umbrage to a referee’s calls against them is normal, calling your athletic director down from the press box to protest on your squad’s behalf isn’t.

The general thinking was that everyone agreed to finally have a playoff because the BCS was flawed. This flaw was mostly due to computers being the main determining factor of who the #1 and #2 teams in the land were. By getting rid of the BCS, computers could be replaced by the human “eye test” element that is supposedly pivotal to truly figuring out a champion.

Instead of tweaking what was already in place, a committee of 13 was chosen last year to select four contestants in the upcoming college football playoff for the first time ever at the FBS level. The list is impressive, including Ole Miss legend Archie Manning and former Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham.

And yet, that may be just what’s so wrong about this committee. The names of the members runs like an ensemble cast in the next classic American drama centered on collegiate athletics. Many are former and current athletic directors, including one Pat Haden.

A public reprimand and $25,000 fine by the league was more than warranted, but is it enough? Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, in a statement yesterday, stated that “such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.” Should said actions be acceptable of the same individual in charge of picking the quartet of participants in 2014’s College Football Playoff, albeit without bias or prejudice?

As we approach Hump Day, we can look forward to more competitive games and even more interesting developments within the lower tiers of the Power 5 this weekend. Unfortunately, we may also wish that the Sagarin Ratings were more respected than Barry Alvarez if Wisconsin mysteriously leaps up in the polls.

Featured Photo Credit: Zach Llorens | The Observer


Ariel Bedford is a writer for Scouts Alley. Follow him on Twitter @mpcmi.

Week 1 in Review: Kenny Trill! But SEC Still?

By Ariel Bedford


It seems like the three major American sports are year-round spectacles nowadays, with all the offseason attention to every little detail sandwiched between any proverbial break of competition. Big-time college football is no different, with arguably as much hype for the ’14 openers than the feverishly exciting ’13 finale.

With major programs such as Maryland and Louisville moving off to new conferences, intriguing questions about replacements to former stars turned pro and the unveiling of the SEC’s own cable network, the 2014 season could very well pull off the seemingly impossible task of topping last year’s whale of a campaign. Oh, did I mention that the big boys also will FINALLY have a playoff?

The starting act gave those salivating for gridiron battles plenty to chew on as we venture into life without the BCS. Here are five things we learned about college football in Week 1:

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University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya runs through drills as the University of Miami practices on August 24, 2014. PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

1. The youth movement is REAL

Clemson lost an all-time school great in Tajh Boyd. So obviously in the attempt to replace him experience trumps talent, right? Ask “Sunshine Scooter” what the proper response to that question is and you will understand why the future is now in FBS football.

Senior Cole Stoudt started off well vs. Georgia at Sanford Stadium, capping off a 12-play drive with a touchdown for his squad. Yet after a trio of three-and-outs, Dabo Sweeney inserted true freshman Deshaun Watson as the signal caller. The former four-star recruit and top dual-threat QB of 2014 (who just so happens to hail from Gainesville, GA—a mere 40 miles from UGA’s campus) rewarded his coach by zipping a 30-yard post down the heart of the Bulldogs D, recording a TD on his first series as a Tiger.

The Killers’ track “When You Were Young” is a fitting theme song for Coral Gables fans right now, with lyrics like “…We’re burning down the highway skyline/On the back of a hurricane that started turning.” University of Miami fans sure hope true freshman Brad Kaaya has what it takes to turn things around for the ‘Canes, finally free from years of major sanctions to the football program.

The West Hills, California native (whose actress mom starred in cult classic Friday) experienced somewhat of a baptism by fire against Louisville’s formidable defense built by former head man and new Texas jefe Charlie Strong. Kaaya did show signs of good things to come, though, being able to matriculate Miami’s offense when protected for a TD early in the contest.

Oregon is not new to the recent trend dominating the college scene, considering Marcus Mariota was a redshirt freshman when he flashed before our eyes. But just the fact that so many players coming from prep-level play are being counted on to contribute means mountains.

And with the war on the recruiting trail being just as, if not more, important than the war in the trenches, the elite programs are staking their cases to potential signees loud and clear: “If you come here, you will play here. Not someday, right NOW!”

2.  SEC West is top division in the land

Five teams in the AP Poll’s Top 15. A perennial basement dweller (Mississippi State) getting well over 100 votes to potentially soon crack into the Coaches and/or AP Top 25. The current worst team (Arkansas) scrapping toe-to-toe with the defending conference champions on the road until wilting late. If the SEC is the baddest bully on the block, it is mostly due to its west side connection.

Alabama and Auburn are in most national chip topics of discussion, and yet the pair from the Magnolia State could not only be huge determining factors of who gets to go to Atlanta, but also legitimate oddball picks as playoff participants. LSU looked like LSU against the Badgers in Houston. But based off of who dazzled the most…

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Texas A&M defensive lineman Justin Manning (55) and quarterback Kenny Hill (7) celebrate with fans after defeating South Carolina 52-28 in an NCAA college football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)The Associated Press

3. Texas A&M will be SEC Champs

Do the Aggies have a porous secondary? Yes. Will Johnny Football be able to suit up and work his magic against the Crimson Tide this year for them again? No. None of that matters. College Station, start accepting applications and get the WD-40 ready for your giant bandwagon.

Courtesy of Kenny Hill, any doubts of how A&M would replace #2’s production on the field have been muted. Connecting with an eye-popping 12 different receivers and amassing 511 yards in the air, the Southlake Carroll blue-chipper and 2012 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year broke Manziel’s school single-game passing yardage record in his first real game as the true leader of Texas A&M football.

The guys that rep for college football’s version of the 12th Man took the basketball approach against South Carolina. The Aggies simply ran the Gamecocks out of the gym using their vaunted spread attack. Malcome Kennedy’s 14 receptions addressed the potential void of big play from the wideout spot left by Mike Evans; A&M’s run game complimented their pass game subtly but with marked effectiveness. Regardless of their schedule, if they bottle up their first showing, no one will be able to stop them. A “bend but don’t break” defense will be all they need to beat Georgia for the crown in December.

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Kenny Hill, left, is among the candidates to replace Johnny Manziel as the starting quarterback in Kevin Sumlin’s offense at Texas A&M. (Associated Press)

4.  Kevin Sumlin is the new Jeff Tedford

Almost every program aims to have a powerful passing scheme, but many can’t cut the mustard with longevity. The reason? Inconsistency at the quarterback spot. One season you have a Heisman hopeful, the next a guy some third-stringers on opposing rosters could out-duel.

Every few years a person catches fire within the ranks, becoming the buzz word for how to draw excellence out of QBs. In the 1990’s that coach was Jeff Tedford, the one responsible for revitalizing Cal football with his West Coast/Spread offensive mix (and sending Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, David Carr, Kyle Boller, and Aaron Rodgers to the NFL).

Enter Kevin Sumlin. The Indiana product was a defensive gem at Purdue, but he understudied in the coaching realm with the likes of Mike Price and Joe Tiller, known for their offensive prowess. After a successful stint as associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator in Oklahoma with Bob Stoops, where the Sooners averaged over 40 points a game, he got his own gig in Houston. Grooming Case Keenum into a record-setting thrower after having to split time under Art Briles was a start. Turning the world upside-down with Johnny Manziel in College Station has been the clincher.

His offensive coaching tree ties are about as extensive as an Eastern Cottonwood. Dana Holgorsen and Kliff Kingsbury were both OCs for him. Aggie legend R.C. Slocum gave him the chance to call plays on gameday, a crucial element of any offense’s direction. Now on his second run with Texas A&M, this time as chief, he succeeds with his quarterbacks in similar fashion to the aforementioned Tedford. But in an opposite style entirely.

Tedford’s offenses, lauded in the NFL for giving college kids an advantage in the transition to the pro level, are known for being intensely complex. Sumlin’s offenses use Air Raid spread principles made famous by Mike Leach but with streamlined concepts in order to facilitate voluminous repetition during practice sessions. The result is a rocket-fueled passing arsenal run at a Chip Kelly-esque pace that not just the quarterback, but all 11 players master. Sumlin’s niche, however, is the way he instills confidence into his extension on the field. Former quarterbacks of his swear by his loyalty to them after poor outings and ability to make playing not only simple, but fun—the ingredients of quite a few winning college coaches that eventually got NFL jobs (Pete Carroll, anyone?)…

5. Only 1 SEC squad will survive to make 4-team playoff

Due to many factors, this will be true, and it will disappoint fans all over the South. But a stacked division that will cannibalize itself, a flawed Georgia gang, a depleted South Carolina squad, and a much improved cellar dweller bunch, among others, will prove to be the reasons for a derailing of an SEC monopoly within the new system to determine the best in college football.

Kentucky and Tennessee are better than you think. So are Vanderbilt, no matter how bad they lost to start their schedule. Which means USC and UGA both will be lucky to even be ranked by the time they complete their gauntlet of a regular season.

The Wild, Wild SEC West will surely be a joy to watch. The members of this juggernaut, however, will not be as enthusiastic about their division by Thanksgiving weekend. Ole Miss is used to possibly having four losses around that time of the year; Alabama will be livid about it. Even if Auburn, LSU, or Texas A&M make it out alive, they may already have two, or even three, stains on their record. The team that leaves the Georgia Dome victorious will probably be assured at least the last spot in the playoff, but that’s about it.

FSU will almost certainly have the number one position on lock. An Oregon team that manages to beat either the Spartans or Cardinal and win the Pac-12 should have another. That leaves just a single chair at the table. Would a 9-3 Auburn or 9-4 Georgia deserve that place over an 11-2 UCLA (whose only losses could come to the hands of the Ducks, setting up a potential rubber match in the Rose Bowl), or even an 11-1 Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Baylor? Smart money would say the answer will be no, and the good ol’ boys conference will have to eat a small slice of humble pie.

If the first week was any indication, we are in for a roller coaster ride this fall. Everyone that loves college football (including those that are die-hard SEC fans) should buckle up—it will get bumpy.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images


Ariel Bedford is a writer for Scouts Alley. Follow him on Twitter @mpcmi.

Cool Sports Thing of the Day: 8/29/14

We have two things today. The first is a football player you have probably already heard about by now, and the second is a Major League Baseball record that was broken that you might not have heard about.

Kenny Hill of Texas A&M did unspeakable things to South Carolina’s defense last night in a 52-28 win. Hill threw for 511 yards, three touchdowns and completed 44 passes, which…

So it was a good night for Hill. A&M looks a good bit stronger than that No. 21 ranking, and South Carolina looks a little worse than its No. 9. Things in the SEC should be pretty interesting.

Yusmeiro Petit broke set the MLB record for most consecutive batters retired Thursday (46). It was a record previously held by Mark Buehrle after he sat down Nick Markakis in one game, then threw a perfect game, then sat down the first 17 batters in the start after that.

Petit did it a little differently. Buehrle’s streak covered 10 days, three teams and three games. Petit’s streak went 38 days, as he was a reliever for most of the streak.