Tag Archives: usc trojans

Are There Any Good Football Teams in 2017?

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Alabama.

Ok, maybe I made up that third one but since Nick Saban took over you can basically pencil the Crimson Tide into one of the top couple spots in the polls. Saban already has his team locked into the number one spot in the polls and everyone else is right on their heels… right?

The entire offseason has been filled with stories about how great other teams were going to be. That Texas was back (they aren’t) and that Josh Allen is the next big thing at quarterback (not so far).

So I guess that leaves us with the question… who’s actually any good? Three weeks in and I’m really not sure who’s any good. I know who I’m being told is good or going to be good but so far, the game has told another story.

Let’s start at the top of the polls.

You’ve got Alabama who took apart Florida State in week one. It’s hard to read into what they did against Fresno State and Colorado State too much but this is the one team in the polls that I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to. Why only Alabama? Well, because more than anyone, the Tide have a recent track record of excellence. Not a good few years in a row or a couple good years in the last decade, basically a decade of domination. There’s a reason you always see “We Want Bama” signs. 

Clemson is the only other team you can maybe convince me right now is any good after beating Louisville but dial it back a week and the Tigers only managed two touchdowns against Auburn. Auburn doesn’t seem to be very good (Sorry Bird) after only scoring 24 points against Mercer and turning the ball over five times. Louisville is a good win but the rest of the resume is lacking.

Then we’ve got the Sooners. How much can we read into the win over Ohio State? Everyone but Urban Meyer is calling for a quarterback change due to an anemic offense but Ohio State does have a good defense. We’re not going to find out if Oklahoma is any good until week nine when they play in-state rival Oklahoma State who is currently ranked sixth. The Cowboys have the offense but haven’t faced a dominant defense. That showdown is going to tell us a lot about both teams.

I know that I’m supposed to be the Big Ten guy but of the four Big Ten teams in the top ten, three of them are frauds. Both Michigan and Ohio State are downright anemic on offense. Wisconsin is only this high because of favorable preseason ranking and a weak schedule. Sure, the Badgers beat BYU but BYU is bad so all they’ve got is a name now. They’ve got a favorable schedule in their favor and at some point, Michigan’s defense isn’t going to be able to bail out the offense.

Penn State is the only legitimate Big Ten school in the polls. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley are absolute studs and the Nittany Lions return almost everyone from their Big Ten Championship season. I’m betting on Penn State until proven otherwise.

I actually forgot Washington was in the top ten. I’m not even kidding, I didn’t realize it because they’ve done absolutely nothing of note. Washington is that team that’s ranked highly because of achievements in the previous season. What happened when Washington played a good team last season? Alabama did what they do to everyone.

Then we’ve got what could turn out to be the most over-hyped team in the preseason in USC. All I heard was that USC was “back” and that quarterback Sam Darnold had already won the Heisman and put his team in the playoffs. Instead, they struggled with Western Michigan in their season opener and then had to use double overtime to beat what is not a good Texas team. Darnold doesn’t look like he’s holding up to the expectations either as he’s thrown seven touchdowns to six interceptions. I don’t care that the Trojans beat Stanford, right now this is not a good football team.

Who else is even left?

Georgia? The Bulldogs will start hot until their running back has a catastrophic knee injury like always.

Florida? They had a great hail mary win last week but we all know they’re bad.

Miami? Maybe, but that team has only played one game. There’s no way to tell.

Virginia Tech? I like what Justin Fuente did last season and so far but the Hokies only have a win over West Virginia. Going to need to see more than that.

Mississippi State? Don’t make me laugh. Dan Mullins’ team beat an LSU team with one good player in Derrius Guice.

Where’s this leave us then? Is anyone actually any good? Well at the moment, no.

But they will be. There’s a lot of good coaches out there in Harbaugh, Meyer, and Jimbo Fisher. At some point, one of these teams is going to start showing us that they belong up at the top with Alabama and probably Clemson. Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll get a hilarious year like 2007 where teams like Missouri, Kansas, and Hawaii were routinely seen near the top of the polls.

I don’t think we will but it’s something that college football could use. We’re so entrenched in the idea that there are basically only 25 or so programs that are actually any good according to the polls. Washington broke the mold last season but we need more of that. There’s more than these 25 to 30 out of over 100 programs that are good at football but because they don’t have the right name, they never even get considered.

But let’s be honest: 2017 is Nick Saban and Alabama’s season. We’re all just waiting for them to be crowned at this point unless something unexpected happens.

Image courtesy Flickr

E-mail Tim at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @tbach84.

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Traveler The USC Horse Doesn’t Represent The Confederacy Any More Than The Coliseum Represents Slavery

When there was an outcry to replace the Ole Miss mascot, Colonel Reb, I understood it. I could also understand the changing of mascots in other instances as well. So when I saw the news in the LA Times about the pressure being placed on the University of Southern California (USC) to change its mascot, I began reading the article with the best of intentions.

Traveler is the name of the horse that the Trojan rides on and that is the problem as described by Saphia Jackson and the USC Black Student Assembly. The Black Student Assembly was not pleased with USC not issuing a statement about the Charlottesville terrorist attack that injured USC student Aubtin Heydari. Traveler is considered to be reflective of USC’s support of white supremacists.

We should not be surprised that a university boasting a mascot named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller, would be tongue-tied following the attempted murder of a student activist fighting for racial justice.

There’s just one problem. Traveler, the USC mascot, was not named after Robert E. Lee’s horse. It’s a difference in spelling for starters. Traveler with one “L” compared to Traveller with two “LL’s.” But in the eyes of the USC Black Student Assembly, it’s close enough.

Details should matter. Facts should matter. Close enough shouldn’t cut it. But in this case, none of that matters. Using the logic presented by the USC Black Student Assembly, let’s really drill down into the tradition of USC football and take a closer look at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

It’s obvious that the home of the USC Trojans is named after the Roman Colosseum. If you don’t know the history of the Colosseum, let me tell you, it’s appalling and I can’t believe that USC would be so insensitive as to name its football stadium after the Roman structure.

In A.D. 70 Titus conquered Jerusalem. The financial reward that came with this victory is what funded the building of the Colosseum. That reward included approximately 100,000 Jewish prisoners who built the Colosseum as slaves.

By naming its football stadium the Coliseum, it’s obvious that USC is glorifying slavery. Oh, Coliseum and Colosseum are spelled differently? The Coliseum wasn’t built with slave labor? You’re saying that there is no substantial association between the construction of the Coliseum and the Colosseum?

Traveler vs. Traveller. Coliseum vs. Colosseum. You say potato, I say ‘potata’. It’s all ridiculous. But one of these situations is being taken seriously.

We live in a world where feelings are what matter. The name of this poor horse is making a group of students feel bad. And this magnifies the problem with acting primarily on feelings. Feelings are based on emotion and emotion doesn’t often include objectivity and truth. Emotion can be based on whatever we want it to be based on.

Acting purely on emotion also places us in a position of ignorance and that’s exactly where the USC Black Student Assembly finds itself. In a state of ignorance.

There are plenty of legitimate issues for the USC Black Student Assembly to draw our attention to. But none of those issues include a horse. Claiming a horse represents the Confederacy when it really doesn’t won’t help the student activist group create the change they want to see.

Traveler the horse doesn’t represent the Confederacy any more than the Coliseum represents slavery.

Comment on this story in our free forum.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

Photo: Neon Tommy/Flickr

College Football’s Opening Weekend Owes Us More

I love college football just as much as the next guy.  Saturdays aren’t for the boys so much as they are for the boys to gather around a big screen, drinking as many 96-calorie Miller Lite’s as they’d like.  We’ve yet to find anything that comes anywhere near college football’s ability to help us justify that weekly decision.

We owe a lot to college football Saturdays.  When I pick through the Week 1 schedule we have lined up for Labor Day weekend, though, it feels like college football owes us a little more.

Stanford is beginning its season with a game in Sydney, Australia.  That’s cool.  The fact that the Rice Owls are the opposition is not cool.  There’s a Florida rivalry game right off the bat.  Unfortunately, it’s between Florida International and Central Florida.  University Alabama-Birmingham makes its glorious return to football after a two-year hiatus, against Alabama A&M.  How have we possibly contained our excitement all summer?

In all seriousness, there are some things worth looking forward to.  P.J. Fleck, Lane Kiffin, and Tom Herman take the field with their new teams for the first time.  Ohio State opens on the road, on a Thursday night, against a conference opponent for the first time in… probably ever.  Florida State and Alabama collide in a top-five matchup in Atlanta.  Michigan and Florida head for Jerry World and a top-15ish meeting.  West Virginia and Virginia Tech will likely both be ranked for their opening contest in Landover, Maryland.

If you’re not a fan of those programs, you’ll probably be forced to watch your team playing in a glorified scrimmage.  Whether your team is the one laying the beat down or getting its ass kicked makes no difference, really.  Nobody wins if the boys had to finish the Miller Lite by halftime just to make it interesting.

At what point do we stop flooding to football just because it’s back?  At what point do we demand more as consumers, as opposed to blindly accepting whatever we’re given?  My guess is that will never happen.  Until it does, we’ll continue to receive a mediocre slate of games on opening weekend, with the only ones truly worth watching happening hundreds of miles off campus, in NFL stadiums.

This is big business we’re talking about and there’s a ton of money involved in these neutral-site games.  I understand that.  Still, it pisses me off.  These are essentially bowl games.  Actually, these games are more important because the whole season is still ahead.  If money grabbing is what we’re doing now, and it most certainly is, then why not take it to the extreme?

What Can We Do?

Let’s schedule bowl game rematches for the first week of the season.  Think for just a second about the storylines.  Would Clemson be able to pull off another upset of Alabama eight months after their instant classic?  Could USC and Penn State replicate the craziness of last year’s Rose Bowl Game?  Is Lamar Jackson really that containable, or did LSU’s defense just do everything right that day?

Wouldn’t it be fun if the two semifinal losers got a crack at each other to start the new season?  Imagine the hype that would surround a Washington-Ohio State clash in a couple weeks.  Automatically, one of the top contenders to reach the playoff would have an impressive feather tucked into its cap.  The four-letter network could have a field day with that buildup.

If your team was not invited to participate in a bowl game the previous year, it can do whatever it would like.  Honestly, nobody outside of the school gives a damn about your five-win team.  I’m only concerned with the primetime programs here.  And in tying them all up in these bowl game rematches, I am, in turn, saving a lot of you from an opening week embarrassment anyway.  It’s a win-win, even for the losers.  You should be thanking me for ignoring your meaningless team.

Is this grand idea ever going to materialize?  No, it won’t.  Like so many things in the world of college football, it makes too much sense to become a reality.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to dream, especially when the boys still have two weeks to save up their beer money.

E-mail Mitch at [email protected] and follow him @GreatGatzke.

Photo: Wikipedia

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The Best and Worst of 2016: Pac 12

There were a lot of praise-worthy moments during the 2016 Pac 12 campaign. And in the same breath, I can say with 100% certainty, there were equally plenty of cringe-worthy moments as well. In my opinion, I would say that the Pac 12 took a step back this year. There were some teams that performed extremely well (Pac 12 Champion Washington Huskies) and some teams that stumbled out of the gate, fell, face-planted, and remained on the ground for 12 weeks or so (Arizona, Oregon, Cal, take your pick).

Amongst the peaks and valleys this past season, there were some teams that represented the very best of the Pac 12 and what this conference has to offer to college football. Conversely, there are some teams that flat out stunk and left an ‘un-Febreze-able’ odor, stinging the nostrils of hapless fans up and down the Pacific coast. Depending on your perspective, some of these teams are interchangeable. In the end, we know good football when we see it, straight up. No exceptions. Looking back on this past season, here are my takes on the best and worst of the Pac 12.

The Best

Washington Huskies

Washington made good on their preseason picks to represent the Pac 12 and possibly crack the top four in the College Football Playoff. With an impressive 12-2 (8-1) record, the Huskies punished would-be opponents en route to the Pac 12 championship. It was their first since 2000. Led by sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, The Huskies jumped out of the gate winning their first nine games before falling to eventual Rose Bowl Champion, USC. However, despite the loss, U Dub was able to regroup after the loss, win the Pac 12 Championship and face Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Though the Huskies were put down 24-7, they showed no quit and scrapped it out until the very end.

USC Trojans

The Trojans stumbled out of the gate, losing three of their first four games. They were beyond cross road status. They were picking out a plot and resting in shame for the rest of the season. But, somehow, some way, they picked themselves up by their bootstraps and forged ahead to what was a turnaround of all turnarounds. After a 31-27 defeat to the Utes (Utah), USC went on a torrid win streak (eight straight) and displayed why they are perennial favorites to compete and win the Pac 12 year in and year out. And the ultimate cherry on top, you ask? It was an ‘instant classic’ of a game as you can imagine with an improbable come-from-behind Rose Bowl victory over Big Ten Champ, Penn State 52-49.

Colorado Buffaloes

No, this isn’t a typo. I meant it. Yes, I certainly wasn’t a believer for this pick, but I had to really sit down and catch a few games. And to my surprise, the Buffs were quite good this season. They finished 10-4 (8-1). I think Colorado would have given eventual champion Washington a bit more competition in the conference championship had Sefo Liufao not injured his ankle early in the game. That’s my opinion. But we’ll never know. It’s remarkable what Colorado could do in a course of two seasons. Talk about a serious 180 degree turn around from last season where they went 4-9 (1-8). It’s incredible, especially since it’s with the same group of players. Just goes to show you what continuity can do for a team. Unfortunately, the Buffs had to come crashing back to Earth from a 38-8 smack down at the hands of Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Despite the loss, this was an impressive campaign and their heads should be held high.

The Worst

Oregon Ducks

A very popular acronym comes to mind when I think of the Ducks: W.T.F? To those not up on current social terminology, let’s just say that it’s a serious inquisition into understanding the unlikeliest of outcomes. Going into the season, there were some question marks regarding the quarterback situation. Graduate transfer Dakota Prukop didn’t quite live up to the hype and his position was given to true freshman, Justin Herbert midway through the season. The issues didn’t just end there. Their porous defense was atrocious. During the October 8th game against Washington, the Ducks surrendered 70, that’s right 70 points and a whopping 682 yards of total offense! To complement a passive defense, All Pac 12 running back, Royce Freeman battled injuries throughout the season and wasn’t even close to being a factor. All totaled, the Ducks finished 4-8 (2-7). Subsequently, Mark Helfrich was relieved of his duties at season’s end. His replacement, former University of South Florida head coach Willie Taggart assumed the position and is looking to retool a once proud and dominant program. One notable bright spot is that running back Royce Freeman will return for his senior season.

UCLA Bruins

Injuries to quarterback Josh Rosen quickly derailed what would be been a championship campaign for the Bruins. Without the sophomore quarterback, UCLA stumbled and bumbled to a 4-8 (2-7) record. Despite the record, the Bruins’ defense kept them in most of their games. Unfortunately, the offense could not drum up enough of a rhythm to keep the defense off the field for extended periods of time. The Bruins look to have Josh Rosen back for his junior season. Hopefully, he will be healthy and the defense, though losing some key playmakers, can resume consistent, strong play.

Cal Golden Bears

Oh, this pains me so! There is no way I can’t say that this season was an absolute disappointment. Early predictions had Cal contending for the Pac 12 North division title – key word, early predictions. When news that Cal had landed graduate transfer Davis Webb from Texas Tech, it seemed that the Golden Bears’ prayers had been answered as far as a replacement for former signal caller, Jared Goff. Statistically, Webb performed well above expectations- throwing for 4,295 yards with 37 TD’s versus 12 picks. Of course the other side of the coin reveals a much darker, bleaker situation. Cal’s defense, which showed some improvement last season, seemed to have left that improvement somewhere in 2015. Cal’s defense ranked at or near the bottom in several defensive statistical categories. It was a hot mess of a dumpster fire. However, the defensive highlight of the season and a moment which I figured would turn Cal’s season around was the epic goal line stand against then #4 Utah. It was the type of stand that sets the tone for the rest of the season. Alas, it was only good enough to get the win and nothing more. Sadly, it would be only one of two wins to come in the final seven games of the season. The blaze that was the 2016 season saw coaching casualties in Defensive Coordinator Art Kaufman and Head Coach Sonny Dykes. With a new regime taking place in Strawberry Canyon, first-time head coach Justin Wilcox is poised to right a ship that has been astray for some time.

Email David at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @VirgosAssasin.

Featured images courtesy of collegeswimming.com

New Year’s Six Preview: Rose Bowl

This year’s Rose Bowl is a matchup between two programs that have an eerily similar story this year. Both the Penn State Nittany Lions and the USC Trojans struggled early in the season. They both lost big to a top-five team (Penn State to Michigan and USC to Alabama). However, both teams came storming back in the second half of the season. Both, despite their big losses, were actual contenders for the College Football Playoff at the end of the season. The team similarities, the growing hype once again around the Penn State football program, and the fact that this game is, after all, the Rose Bowl, makes the USC-Penn State game probably the most interesting among this year’s New Year’s six, maybe even including the CFP semifinal games.

Though USC’s offense is ranked above Penn State’s by several dozen spots, I still believe the Nittany Lions offense is the one to watch. After an amazing second half comeback against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, it will be interesting to see how PSU comes out. Southern Cal certainly has a competent defense, so Penn State will want to break through early to try and keep the game as close as possible moving into halftime.

Looking at the Southern Cal offense, it is so well-rounded that it’s near impossible to point to a single facet of it as the “key.” I think the Trojans need to keep themselves loose offensively, and not over-commit to the pass or the run. Penn State’s defense is good, but beatable, and the Trojans need to keep that in mind. Seeing how much of a second half team Penn State is, the USC offense really needs to ensure that they have a lead going into the half.

These two squads seem, on paper, extremely even. This year’s Rose Bowl may be the most highly contested of the NY6 matchups, with each team landing blows throughout. Personally, I see this game becoming high-scoring. If that does occur, the West Coast style Trojans definitely are in better shape than the Nittany Lions, who are a classic Big Ten team. Though I expect a close game, in the end I think USC will overcome a late Penn State run to win the Granddaddy of Them All.

 

Final Score: USC Trojans 41, Penn State Nittany Lions 37

 

Email Cooper at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.

Photo: maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

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Mock College Football Playoff 2016: Final Rankings

Welcome to the season finale of Campus Pressbox’s official mock playoff committee. Thank you to all the readers who kept up with our weekly rankings. Special thanks to all the wonderful people on this year’s committee. You can view the previous weeks’ results here.

The committee:

Tim Bach (@Tbach84)
Kristen Botica (@OGKristenB)
Damien Bowman (@damienbowman)
Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke)
Cooper Goetz (@uf_goetz)
John Horlander (@John_Horlander)
Seth Merenbloom (@SethMerenbloom)
Evan Skilliter (@EvanSkilliter)
Ben Belden (@bbelden330), Founding Writer- Golden Domer Daily
Cole Hankins (@Cole_Hankins), Writer- SB Nation
Thomas Gardner
J.R. Goetz

The rules:

Each week, committee members will submit their top 10 teams and each team will receive points based on their position. The team’s will be ranked 1-10 based on which has the most points. Ties will be broken by which team has the highest votes in a specific position.

Points are assigned as follow: first place – 10, second place – 9, third place – 8, fourth place – 7, fifth place – 6, sixth place – 5, seventh place – 4, eighth place – 3, ninth place – 2, tenth place – 1.

Final Results:

Place Team Points First Place Votes
1 Alabama (1) 120 12
2 Clemson (3) 99
3 Washington (4) 94
4 Ohio State (2) 89
5 Penn State (7) 73
6 Michigan (5) 60
7 Oklahoma (8) 52
8 Wisconsin (6) 28
9 Western Michigan 21
10 USC (10) 16
Additional Votes: Colorado (9) 5
Oklahoma State 2
Florida State 1

(#)=last week’s position.

Playoff:

Bowl Matchup
Peach No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State
Fiesta No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Washington

New Year’s Six:

Bowl Matchup Tie In
Orange Florida State vs.  No. 8 Wisconsin ACC vs. Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC
Cotton No. 9 Western Michigan vs. No. 6 Michigan At Large vs. At Large
Rose No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 10 USC Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Sugar No. 7 Oklahoma vs. Auburn Big 12 vs. SEC

Notes and Observations:

  • It’s official. Alabama has completed a clean sweep of this year’s rankings. The Crimson Tide were the unanimous No. 1 team every week.
  • Penn State’s great showing in the Big Ten Championship allowed the Nittany Lions to steal a Playoff spot on many of our committee member’s rankings this week.
    • Penn State’s performance is also the reason for Ohio State’s drop from No. 2 to No. 4.
  • As Big Ten Champs, the Nittany Lions should absolutely get a bid to this year’s Rose Bowl.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the boat has been rowed. Western Michigan, after being in the honorable mentions for multiple weeks, has at long last broken into the top 10.
    • Committee members had the Broncos ranked as high as 7th in the final rankings of the year.

Our Work:

For transparency, here is how each member of the committee voted this week:

final-ranks

E-mail Cooper at [email protected]or follow him on twitter @uf_goetz
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
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Mock College Football Playoff 2016: Week 13

Welcome to week five of Campus Pressbox’s official mock playoff committee. Every Tuesday I’ll be publishing the top 10 based on a group vote. You can view the previous weeks’ results here.

The committee:

Tim Bach (@Tbach84)
Kristen Botica (@OGKristenB)
Damien Bowman (@damienbowman)
Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke)
Cooper Goetz (@uf_goetz)
John Horlander (@John_Horlander)
Seth Merenbloom (@SethMerenbloom)
Evan Skilliter (@EvanSkilliter)
Ben Belden (@bbelden330), Founding Writer- Golden Domer Daily
Cole Hankins (@Cole_Hankins), Writer- SB Nation
Thomas Gardner
J.R. Goetz

The rules:

Each week, committee members will submit their top 10 teams and each team will receive points based on their position. The team’s will be ranked 1-10 based on which has the most points. Ties will be broken by which team has the highest votes in a specific position.

Points are assigned as follow: first place – 10, second place – 9, third place – 8, fourth place – 7, fifth place – 6, sixth place – 5, seventh place – 4, eighth place – 3, ninth place – 2, tenth place – 1.

Week 11 Results:

Place Team Points First Place Votes
1 Alabama (1) 120 12
2 Ohio State (2) 101
3 Clemson (4) 99
4 Washington (5) 88
5 Michigan (3) 64
6 Wisconsin (6) 57
7 Penn State (8) 43
8 Oklahoma (7) 33
9 Colorado (9) 33
10 USC 10
Additional Votes: Oklahoma State 6
Western Michigan 6

(#)=last week’s position.

Playoff:

Bowl Teams
Peach No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington
Fiesta No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson

New Year’s Six:

Bowl Teams Tie In
Orange Florida State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin ACC vs. Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC
Cotton At Large vs. At Large
Rose No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 9 Colorado Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Sugar No. 8 Oklahoma vs. Auburn Big 12 vs. SEC

Notes and Observations:

  • I’m unsure whether or not there is a need to acknowledge that Alabama is the unanimous #1 for the fifth straight week.
    • I am also beginning to doubt my continued inclusion of the First Place Votes column in the Weekly Results.
  • Oklahoma and Colorado tied for total points this week. Normally, the tie breaker would be who received the most votes at the highest position, but both teams received a single vote at No. 6. Thus, the tie breaker came down to the seventh place votes, where Oklahoma received two more than Colorado, giving the Sooners the No. 8 spot over the Buffs.
    • Oklahoma, interestingly enough, had its total points drop 14 points (47 to 33), which is fairly substantial.
  • Despite Tim’s heroic attempt to get WMU in the top 10 by putting them at No. 9 in his rankings, the Broncos still fell a few points short of being ranked this week.
  • Michigan received a single tenth place vote.
  • In my mind, the winner of the Big Ten championship is all but guaranteed one of the two possible Big Ten New Year’s Six bowl spots.
    • The Big Ten Championship is being played by the third and fourth best Big Ten teams according to our panelists.
  • The winner of this year’s Bedlam Series will win the Big 12 and earn the conference’s bid to the Sugar Bowl.

 This Week’s Marquee Matches:

No. 9 Colorado @  No. 4 Washington (Friday 9 PM in Levi’s Stadium)

Oklahoma State @ No. 8 Oklahoma (Saturday 12:30 PM)

No. 6 Wisconsin @ No. 7 Penn State (Saturday 8 PM in Lucas Oil Stadium)

Our Work:

For transparency, here is how each member of the committee voted this week:

rankings

E-mail Cooper at [email protected]or follow him on twitter @uf_goetz
Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit – Flickr
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Mock College Football Playoff 2016: Week 12

Welcome to week four of Campus Pressbox’s official mock playoff committee. Every Tuesday I’ll be publishing the top 10 based on a group vote. You can view the previous weeks’ results here.

The committee:

Tim Bach (@Tbach84)
Kristen Botica (@OGKristenB)
Damien Bowman (@damienbowman)
Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke)
Cooper Goetz (@uf_goetz)
John Horlander (@John_Horlander)
Seth Merenbloom (@SethMerenbloom)
Evan Skilliter (@Skilliter)
Ben Belden (@bbelden330), Writer- Slap the Sign
Cole Hankins (@Cole_Hankins), Writer- SB Nation
Thomas Gardner
J.R. Goetz

The rules:

Each week, committee members will submit their top 10 teams and each team will receive points based on their position. The team’s will be ranked 1-10 based on which has the most points. Ties will be broken by which team has the highest votes in a specific position.

Points are assigned as follow: first place – 10, second place – 9, third place – 8, fourth place – 7, fifth place – 6, sixth place – 5, seventh place – 4, eighth place – 3, ninth place – 2, tenth place – 1.

Week 11 Results:

Place Team Points First Place Votes
1 Alabama (1) 120 12
2 Ohio State (2) 100
3 Michigan (4) 100
4 Clemson (5) 86
5 Washington (7) 67
6 Wisconsin (6) 63
7 Oklahoma (8) 47
8 Penn State (9) 30
9 Colorado 23
10 Louisville (3) 9
Additional Votes: USC 7
Western Michigan 5
Oklahoma State 3

(#)=last week’s position.

Playoff:

Bowl Teams
Peach No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Clemson
Fiesta No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan

New Year’s Six:

Bowl Teams Tie In
Orange No. 10 Louisville vs. No. 8 Penn State ACC vs. Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC
Cotton At Large vs. At Large
Rose No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Washington Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Sugar No. 7 Oklahoma vs. Florida Big 12 vs. SEC

Notes and Observations:

  • Alabama made it four straight weeks of racking up all the 1st place votes.
  • The first tie in points this season came this week, as Ohio State and Michigan both earned 100 total. Ohio State got the No. 2 spot because it received more 2nd place votes than Michigan.
  • Oklahoma received both a 4th place vote, as well as a 9th place vote, which is an extremely large range.
  • And somehow, Louisville is still ranked this week, coming in at No. 10.

 This Week’s Marquee Matches:

No. 3 Michigan @ No. 2 Ohio State (12 PM)

It’s Rivalry Week, boys! Every game matters!

Our Work:

For transparency, here is how each member of the committee voted this week:

week-4

E-mail Cooper at [email protected]or follow him on twitter @uf_goetz
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Irish Proved They Still Have Much to Play for

After falling short by one point against a Navy team that played the game of its life, Notre Dame rebounded with a convincing 44-6 dismantling of Army. Defending the triple option is always hard, but it’s much easier when Army doesn’t complete 4-5 fourth downs and holds the ball for half a quarter at a time.

The Irish dominated from start to finish, roaring out to a 21-0 lead and finishing the game with twice as many yards and three times as many first downs as the Black Knights. It was exactly the type of commanding performance that Notre Dame needed; it proved that it won’t be going away easily to end this year.

But the road is the toughest it has been so far. The Irish welcome a tough Virginia Tech squad to Notre Dame Stadium on Senior Day. Jerod Evans, the Hokies’ dangerous dual-threat quarterback, promises to make life difficult for an Irish defensive unit that, while showing great improvement since Brian Van Gorder was fired, is still young and inexperienced. They follow that up with a trip to Los Angeles to face USC in the mausoleum colosseum. USC has looked much better since it was obliterated by Alabama, and the Irish will need to be careful to avoid another beatdown like the last time they visited the Trojans.

The Irish, especially freshman Julian Love, looked good against Army. Love began to stand out against Navy, finishing with eight tackles, a tackle for loss and a blow to the head that many thought would rule him out against Army. After tests showed that Love had no concussion, he stepped up again and had three tackles, an interception and a pass break up this weekend. Love, smiling like only a freshman on the sidelines after his first career interception could, symbolized to Irish critics and fans alike that Notre Dame is not done yet.

A season filled with tough, close losses can often lead to uncertainty and separation in the locker room for a program like Notre Dame. There has been a great deal of debate and speculation as to whether or not Brian Kelly will retain his job next season (he will, by the way) and whether or not the players still like him (they do, by the way).

At 4-6, with two tough games remaining, the Irish proved that they aren’t just looking to fast forward to next season. An absurdly talented offensive group seems to have alleviated the problems which befell it against Stanford and NC State. Equanimeous St. Brown, C.J. Sanders, Kevin Stepherson, and more headline a standout wide receiving corps. Balanced with Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, and Tarean Folston in the run game, Notre Dame has a lot of weapons with which to strike. If the defense can keep up the good work, Kelly may have just turned this season around. Kind of. Beat the Hokies. (Time to play some real football).

Contact writer John Horlander on Twitter: @John_Horlander or via email: [email protected]

Flickr – West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Mock College Football Playoff 2016: Week 11

Welcome to the third week of Campus Pressbox’s official mock playoff committee. Every Tuesday I’ll be publishing the top 10 based on a group vote. You can view the previous weeks’ results here.

The committee:

Tim Bach (@Tbach84)
Kristen Botica (@OGKristenB)
Damien Bowman (@damienbowman)
Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke)
Cooper Goetz (@uf_goetz)
John Horlander (@John_Horlander)
Seth Merenbloom (@SethMerenbloom)
Evan Skilliter (@Skilliter)
Ben Belden (@bbelden330), Writer- Slap the Sign
Cole Hankins (@Cole_Hankins), Writer- SB Nation
Thomas Gardner
J.R. Goetz

The rules:

Each week, committee members will submit their top 10 teams and each team will receive points based on their position. The team’s will be ranked 1-10 based on which has the most points. Ties will be broken by which team has the highest votes in a specific position.

Points are assigned as follow: first place – 10, second place – 9, third place – 8, fourth place – 7, fifth place – 6, sixth place – 5, seventh place – 4, eighth place – 3, ninth place – 2, tenth place – 1.

Week 11 Results:

Place Team Points First Place Votes
1 Alabama (1) 120 12
2 Ohio State (6) 102
3 Louisville (5) 89
4 Michigan (2) 88
5 Clemson (3) 76
6 Wisconsin (7) 55
7 Washington (4) 47
8 Oklahoma (9) 37
9 Penn State (10) 23
10 West Virginia 12
Additional Votes: Western Michigan 4
Colorado 2
Oklahoma State 2
USC 2
Utah 1

(#)=last week’s position.

Playoff:

Bowl Teams
Peach No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan
Fiesta No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Louisville

 

New Year’s Six:

Bowl Teams Tie In
Orange No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 9 Penn State ACC vs. Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC
Cotton At Large vs. At Large
Rose No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No 7 Washington Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Sugar No. 8 Oklahoma vs. LSU Big 12 vs. SEC

 

Notes and Observations:

  • In a surprise to no one, Alabama received all of the first place votes for the third consecutive week.
  • Up until this week, Louisville had been in front of Ohio State by a single vote each week. This week, the Buckeyes jumped the Cardinals and have a secure 13 point cushion for the No. 2 spot.
  • In general, there was a lot less certainty following all the losses this past weekend. The standard deviation was definitely much larger this week compared to weeks previous.

 This Saturday’s Marquee Matches

No. 3 Louisville @ Houston Cougars (8 PM)

No. 8 Oklahoma @ No. 10 West Virginia (8 PM)

Washington St. @ Colorado (3:30 PM)

Our Work:

For transparency, here is how each member of the committee voted this week:

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-51-48-pm

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @uf_goetz
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Comment on this and every article by becoming a Campus Pressbox Insider.