Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top 10 for 9/29

1) Alabama Crimson Tide (beat No. 21 Ole Miss Runnin' Rebels 25-0 at home)
This game speaks more about the defense than it does the offense. Ole Miss has a very talented group of skill players, so the fact that Alabama held them to no points and just over 200 yards is very impressive. Bo Wallace was able to hit some open receivers, but he was limited to about 160 yards on 17 completions. He connected to Treadwell and Moncrief on a few deep throws, but all in all the Tide secondary was very impressive. McCarron was efficient in this game, but that's really all that could be said. He completed 25 of 32, but that only amounted to 180 yards and had a pick mixed in. Yet this was the first game where the running game was really dominant. TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake gashed Ole Miss for 230 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. Credit to the offensive line for opening holes for them to average 7.9 yards a carry.

2) Ohio State Buckeyes (beat No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers 31-24 at home)
As usual, these teams played each other extremely well and had a very close game. On defense, Ohio State surprised by stepping up the run support and holding Wisconsin, who had been averaging 350 yards per game, to only 104. Gordon and White were neutralized for the most part, each being held to under 5.0 yards per carry and didn't have a rush longer than 20 yards. However, Wisconsin was able to move the ball up the field due primarily to Jared Abbrederis, who had an incredible night of 10 catches, 207 yards and one touchdown. He frequently got separation from All-American corner Bradley Roby and made catch after catch. Yet he was really the only one who could get going in the passing game, and Wisconsin struggled when he was not open. On offense, Ohio State continued on it's hot streak. The team came only 10 yards short of 400 total, but it was very evenly distributed. Braxton had a great game after missing time, throwing for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns, three coming in the first half. Urban got a bit cautious and wasn't letting him throw as much, but I would expect that he wanted to ease him back into the game before setting him loose at Northwestern next week.

3) Clemson Tigers (beat Wake Forest Demon Deacons 56-7 at home)
I think that a performance like this puts Tajh Boyd as the top contender for the Heisman. Wake Forest isn't a decent team by any stretch, but Boyd just makes it look so easy that he was done after the first half. He had already thrown for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns with another 70 yards and a touchdown rushing. He has such great touch at all levels of the field that it makes it so easy for his receivers. Sammy Watkins continues to look like one of the best in the country, this week hauling in 6 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. His ability to come out of breaks at lightning speed or speed to get downfield is the definition of game changing. One false step or missed tackle and he's gone. The defense wasn't challenged this week, but they did what they had to do and largely prohibited Wake Forest from accomplishing anything with the ball.

4) Stanford Cardinal (beat Washington State Cougars 55-17 in Seattle)
This was a good test for the Cardinal and coach Shaw who let Kevin Hogan air it out more than he had in recent games. The results were very encouraging, as Hogan completed 16 of 25 for 286 yards, three touchdowns and one pick. He appeared more comfortable with the mid to long range throws and it paid off as they were able to move up and down the field. The running game really only had to chip in, but still accumulated 240 rushing yards. They can get production out of at least three different running back, so they can rely on that should Hogan ever come up against a defense that he can't figure out. I doubt that will happen to them this year, however.

5) Oregon Ducks (beat California Golden Bears 55-16 at home)
They won by 41 points and De'Anthony Thomas didn't even play. I can't see this team losing any time soon.

6) Georgia Bulldogs (beat No. 6 LSU Tigers 44-41 at home)
This was a signature win that could go a long way for the Bulldogs if they can run the rest of the table. Aaron Murray was able to net another signature win in his senior year to lift Georgia over LSU. Murray accounted for 300 of the total 500 yards and four of the total five touchdowns. He was forced into an interception, but for the most part was able to move the ball against the LSU defense. He threw the game winner too, a perfect pass to a wide open Scott-Wesley to go ahead by 3. He has shown a lot of poise and leadership in these first few weeks that could really elevate this team to the next level. Scott-Wesley and Chris Conley were great for Georgia, able to get separation from the tenacious LSU defensive backs and make some tough catches in traffic. Todd Gurley was having a good day (8 rushes for 73 yards) before an injury ended his day. Keith Marshall showed that he is still a valuable asset to the team, running for almost 100 yards on 20 carries. He was able to bully his way to some crucial first downs that propelled Georgia to victory. Forget about the defense. If the offense can play like this, Georgia may be coming out on the right end of the SEC championship game this year.

7) Louisville Cardinals (bye this week; next week at Temple)

8) Florida State Seminoles (beat Boston College Eagles 48-34 in Chestnut Hill)
This was a bit of a surprise. Not that Florida State won, but that they gave up so many points to Boston College. They allowed some sustained drives and gave up almost 400 yards on defense to a team that is very average. They did intercept Chase Rettig twice, but giving up four passing touchdowns with a significant talent gap is a little troublesome. Fortunately, they have Jameis Winston who might just give this team a chance against Clemson in a few weeks. He has cooled off a bit since his hot start, but his accuracy and ability to get the ball downfield with a flick of the wrist has allowed Florida State to run up the score on opposing teams. This team will only get better with every week that Winston is on the field and is given the chance to make plays with his arm. He has deceptive athleticism, but his ability to make throws under pressure will determine how far the Seminoles go this year.

9) Texas A&M Aggies (beat Arkansas Razorbacks 45-33 in Fayetteville)
Maybe the Aggies should just elect to play offense for an entire game. Arkansas is pretty average this year (they lost to Rutgers...) and still managed to rack up 500 yards of offense and stayed competitive throughout this game. They intercepted Hogs' QB Brandon Allen twice, but allowed way to many big plays that kept them from ever putting the game away. Although Manziel doesn't look quite like the Heisman winner from last year, he has still be the focal point of the Aggies's attack. He threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, both going to the towering receiver Mike Evans who finished with 6 catches for 116 yards. Evans has asserted himself as one of the best and most dominant receivers in football. He has the size and hands to beat any corner in jump ball situations while having the speed and agility to burn receivers deep and out of breaks. Manziel hasn't had the rushing performance we were used to last year, but that might be a good thing. He won't take as many hits and will be able to surprise the defense more when they aren't expecting it.

10) LSU Tigers (lost to Georgia Bulldogs 41-44 in Athens)
I wanted to drop the Tigers out of the Top 10 for an undefeated (UCLA, Oklahoma, The U) but I think that LSU might be one of the best teams in the country. Their defense hasn't really shown up in the dominating fashion that they did last year, but they are still able frustrate opponents. They were one blown assignment away from winning that game too. What has really impressed me about LSU is Mettenberger and how good the receivers have come on. While Jeremy Hill and the running game could never get in rhythm, Mettenberger was able to take control of the game. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns while refraining for costly interceptions. I said a few weeks ago that LSU could struggle if he didn't find another target other than Beckham Jr and Landry. Disregard that. While Mettenberger did find senior receiver Kadron Boone twice for a touchdown, he still completed 16 passes to Beckham Jr and Landry. They have proven week after week that they can beat any coverage and are going to get their's. They might be able to take on Alabama this year in Tuscaloosa.

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