Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 4 Top Ten

1) Florida State Seminoles
Week 4 Result: Beat No. 22 Clemson Tigers 23-17 at home in overtime
Last Week's Ranking: 1

I was tempted to drop Florida State a spot or two, but it is hard to really knock them for playing a sub-par game against an in conference rival and without their star quarterback. Sean Maguire started in relief of Winston and made some decent plays but overall was very streaky, He missed a few big play opportunities but made the biggest play when it mattered most, connecting with Rashad Greene for a 75 yard touchdown to tie the game at 17 with six minutes left in the game. It was pretty surprising to see the Seminoles only attempt 27 rushes. Clemson did a good job of bottling up the backs and closing running lanes quickly, but Karlos Williams did have some decent success against their front seven. The Florida State defense was bailed out by some missed opportunities from Clemson, but overall they played incredibly well. They secondary kept receivers out of the endzone, but did allow some big plays that allowed Clemson to get into the redzone. All in all, the Seminoles have just looked very average this year. I'm not sure if anyone in their conference is going to be able to beat them, but they need to improve in all phases should they make the playoffs.

2) Oregon Ducks
Week 4 Result: Beat Washington State Cougars 38-31 in Pullman
Last Week's Ranking: 2

It was a tough test for Oregon, but they were able to pull out a victory over a team that knows how to put up points. Mariota was on point and an absolute machine all night which was needed as the Cougars did surprisingly well against Oregon's dynamic rushing attack. Oregon still rushed for 172 yards, but they weren't finding the kind of room that they are used to operating in. Yet as mentioned, Mariota simply could not be stopped. He completed 21 of his 25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns. He has started a good connection with Devon Allen and Keanon Lowe, who combined for twelve catches and four touchdowns. Both have the ability to stretch the field vertically and are very sure handed. Oregon's defense was put to a real challenge this week as the Cougars aired it out 63 times and found success against the Ducks young and inexperienced secondary. Connor Halliday threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns and kept his team in the game against a far superior opponent. This game should serve to show that it is possible to beat Oregon. In the past, it has taken a tough and physical defense that could bottle the rush and make Mariota uncomfortable. But with the inexperience in the secondary, a quarterback who can straight up sling it could be enough to take them down.

3) Oklahoma Sooners
Week 4 Result: Beat West Virginia Mountaineers 45-33 in Morgantown
Last Week's Ranking: 3

The Sooners probably had the most impressive win this weekend over a team that can really put up points and made life miserable for Alabama a few weeks back. The defense had a tough challenge as Clint Trickett has been a great fit for Dana Holgerson's offense. The secondary forced Trickett into some mistakes and really made him work for his completions. The line also got into his face quite a bit, which helped force some throws that either turned into incompletions or picks. For the offense, it was all about the ground game for the Sooners. Despite losing their leading rusher Keith Ford last week, Samaje Perine has proven more than capable of taking the bulk of the carries. He converted 34 rushes into 242 yards along with four touchdowns. He ran over and through people all night. Trevor Knight didn't need to do much this game, but he was still a bit disappointing. He completed only 55% of his passes for 200 yards and throw an interception against no touchdowns. West Virginia has only an average secondary, so it was a little disappointing that he didn't have a bigger night. But Stoops knows how to play to his teams' strengths and with this being one of their toughest games of the season, the Sooners look primed for the playoffs.

4) Alabama Crimson Tide
Week 4 Result: Beat Florida Gators 42-21 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 5

Consider this: Alabama had four turnovers and STILL won by three touchdowns. The defense played an absolutely lights-out game as they held the Gators to only 200 yards of offense. Jeff Driskel was only able to complete 9 of his 28 passes and the kept the rushers to an average of any four yards a carry. Driskel is a bad quarterback, but the inexperienced Alabama secondary completely shut down receivers while the defensive line made life hell for Driskel. Alabama racked up the most offensive yards that a Florida team has ever surrendered. Blake Sims had a true coming out party as he passed for 445 yards and four touchdowns, most of that being completed to Amari Cooper. Cooper might actually be the best player in the country regardless of position. He caught ten passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He is a fantastic route runner with a great combination of size and speed that makes him practically unguardable. His three touchdowns all showed that he can do everything at an elite level. Whether it is completely burning the coverage or out-muscling a corner back, he is impossible to cover one-on-one. As long as he is part of the offense, it really doesn't matter who is throwing the ball as it is almost guaranteed that he will make the catch.

5) Texas A&M Aggies
Week 4 Result: Beat SMU Mustangs 58-6 in Dallas
Last Week's Ranking: 6

The SEC West is about to become a real shit show with three teams in the top ten. Kevin Sumlin continues to prove that he is one of the best coaches in the country. He can make a star out of almost any quarterback that he gets his hands on. Kenny Hill had another good game, completing 73% of his passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 60 yards on the ground. A&M has a great group of receivers who can pretty much do anything. Between sure handed receivers and pure burners, it is incredibly difficult to cover this team when they go five wide. They also possess a stable of backs to continuously wear down any defense. The rush attack provided 268 yards at an average of almost nine yards a carry and also tacked on four touchdowns. We all know that the Aggies can destroy teams with their offense, but this game showed that they can make some defensive stops. SMU has a terrible team so this game needs to be taken with a plate of salt, but their defense has given up a lot of yards to inferior teams before. A&M will begin their SEC season next week against Arkansas who possesses an incredible running game. While they've already proven themselves against South Carolina, this will provide another good test before some of their tougher SEC foes.

6) Auburn Tigers
Week 4 Result: Beat No. 20 Kansas State Wildcats 20-14 in Manhattan
Last Week's Ranking: 4

I'm dropping Auburn not because of their performance against the Wildcats, but simply because I think Alabama and A&M are truly better teams. Auburn had a tough game, registering "only" 360 yards of offense, but that is more of a testament to the terrific job that Bill Snyder can do with inferior talent. Nick Marshall had a really tough night, completing just over half of his passes and never finding much room to run. As a whole, Auburn only averaged 2.8 yards per carry against Kansas State. No one had a longer run that 17 yards. It was really the passing attack that allowed the Tigers to escape this trap game. D'haquille Williams has become the go to guy for Marshall as he hauled in 8 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. Auburn has other reliable receivers in Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis, but they were kept in check all night. The defense had a great night however. While the offense struggled the run the ball, the defense made life even more miserable against the viable Kansas State rush. The Wildcats averaged a paltry 1.3 yards a carry on 30 rushing attempts. Quarterback Jake Waters also had a tough night, throwing two interceptions against the athletic Auburn secondary. Kansas State is still a good team, so this is an excellent win for Auburn to make their case for a shot at the playoffs.

7) Baylor Bears
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
Last Week's Ranking: 7

8) Michigan State Spartans
Week 4 Result: Beat Eastern Michigan Eagles 73-14 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 8

I'm not even going to dive into this game because of how lopsided it was. Eastern Michigan has been an awful team for years and its basically just used as a punching bag for teams trying to warm up at the beginning of the season.

9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
Last Week's Ranking: 9

10) Georgia Bulldogs
Week 4 Result: Beat Troy Trojans 66-0 at home
Last Week's Ranking: 10

Again, I'm not going to delve too deeply into this game as it was a tune up before they start their real SEC schedule. It just continues to amaze me how ridiculous Georgia's group of running backs is. Sony Michel, a true freshman, turned 10 carries into 155 yards and three touchdowns. I'm assuming he got more carries than Gurley because Richt wants to get him in game reps so that he can utilize him more during the season. Georgia should consider taking the Navy approach and only throw the ball five to ten times a game with how incredibly their running backs are.

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