Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 3 Top Ten

1) Florida State Seminoles
Week 3 Result: Bye Week
Last Week's Ranking: 1

2) Oregon Ducks
Week 3 Result: Beat Wyoming Cowboys 48-14 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 2

As you'd expect, Oregon completely overwhelmed Wyoming. They had a very balanced attack on offense, with Mariota accounting for almost 300 yards and four touchdowns. What has impressed me the most is the emergence of freshman running back Royce Freeman. With all of the talent they have in the backfield, he has managed to work his way into getting his share of carries. He had only 22 yards, but his game against Michigan State showed that he can be special. Oregon doesn't face a real tough opponent until mid October at UCLA, so expect some of the younger guys to get a lot of playing time.

3) Oklahoma Sooners
Week 3 Result: Beat Tennessee Volunteers 34-10 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 3

If this is the kind of defense that Bob Stoops can get to play week in and week out, this team will have a real chance of winning the championship. Tennessee has some very good skill players at wide receiver and at running back, yet they barely accounted for 300 total yards of offense. They allowed a few big plays through the air, but Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley completed less than 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. They can go long stretches of being suffocating, as evidenced by them only allowing 3.4 yards per rush. Offensively, they are still trying to find a good rhythm but Trevor Knight has been playing much more consistently. He did throw a pick, but overall played very well and moved the ball pretty easily. They had a big blow to their offense when their top rusher, Keith Ford, suffered a minor foot injury that could keep him out for up to a month. They have some other good runners, especially Samaje Perine, but Ford was undoubtedly their best runner. Next week will provide their best challenge of the short season when they travel to West Virginia for a night game.

4) Auburn Tigers
Week 3 Result: Bye Week
Last Week's Ranking: 4

5) Alabama Crimson Tide
Week 3 Result: Beat Southern Miss Golden Eagles 52-12 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 5

Not going to learn a lot from this game. Blake Sims looked very good, but you should expect that when playing against inferior competition. What was very impressive was the display of running backs, who combined for 333 yards. TJ Yeldon gets most of the carries by seniority, but the best runner has the be Derrick Henry. Henry has the ability to take any carry to the house with his unique blend of raw power and top notch acceleration. Kenyan Drake got most of the action, and he brings more pure speed to the equation. With this backfield, Sims will barely have to throw to win games. Next week's game against Florida will provide a good test for an inexperienced quarterback.

6) Texas A&M Aggies
Week 3 Result: Beat Rice Owls 38-10 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 7

Again, not going to learn too much from this game. Kenny Hill seems like the perfect quarterback to run Sumlin's offense. He threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes. He doesn't run nearly as much as Manziel did, but he doesn't really need to considering they have more talented running backs like Tra Carson. Yet as has been the case of the last few years, the defense continues to struggle mightily. Its pretty amazing that they can give up almost 500 yards of offense to Rice. That will most likely come back to bite them as it did all last season.

7) Baylor Bears
Week 3 Result: Beat Buffalo Bulls 63-21 in Buffalo
Last Week's Ranking: 8

Baylor looks to be the only team that can compete with Oklahoma in the Big 12 this year. Art Briles has mastered the air raid offense as evidenced by Bryce Petty throwing for 400 yards after suffering a minor back injury only a week and a half before the game. Despite losing leading receiver from last season Antwan Goodley for an extended period, numerous receivers have stepped up to make big plays when needed. They are all incredibly fast receivers who are sure-handed, and the explosive play potential is limitless with this offense. The defense also looked solid, not allowing any points until the second half, but that was to be expected. This defense won't really be challenged until they play West Virginia in a month.

8) Michigan State Spartans
Week 3 Result: Bye Week
Last Week's Ranking: 10

9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Week 3 Result: Beat Purdue Boilermakers 30-14 at home
Last Week's Ranking: Outside Top 10

As much as I hate to admit it, Notre Dame has been really impressive this season. They've outscored their opponents 109-31 and been dominant on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they rank 4th in the country allowing only 10 points a game. Linebacker Jaylon Smith is a true star on the rise, an athletic playmaker able to make plays sideline to sideline and find his way into the backfield. Its surprising that they have done so well despite losing a lot of guys from the front of their line from last season. On offense, Everett Golson has matured beyond belief after serving a season long suspension. He has improved drastically as a passer, adding a lot of velocity to his throws and becoming much more accurate. He is still a threat to run as he lead Notre Dame in rushing yards against Notre Dame. He doesn't have to do it all either as the Irish have several guys that are very capable of carrying the load. The offensive line still needs some work in the rush attack, but that should come with some more experience together. Notre Dame has a few more games of good competition to get them ready for their showdown in Tallahassee.

10) Georgia Bulldogs
Week 3 Result: Lost to South Carolina 35-38 in Columbia
Last Week's Ranking: 6

As per the script, the biggest thing holding Georgia back is Mark Richt. Richt is a very good head coach, but he makes some really baffling decisions at the most crucial times. Georgia had the ball on the South Carolina 4 yard line, yet Richt opted to throw on first down rather than run the ball with any of their Five Star running backs. Huston Mason ended up throwing the ball into the ground, drawing an intentional grounding penalty that moved them back and made a chip shot field goal a bit more difficult in the downpour, which their kicker would in fact miss. Mason is a solid quarterback, but he isn't the guy who is going to take over a game and win it for the Bulldogs. Predictably, they had a great day running the ball, rushing for 217 yards at almost six yards a pop. The defense also took a surprising step back after crushing Clemson. The secondary got torched and the front seven could not make the stops necessary to get the ball back at the end of the game. If the defense can't maintain any sort of consistency, they will have a hard time winning the SEC East.

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