Tag Archives: Western Michigan Broncos

What to Make of PJ Fleck

Remember the 2016 season? Western Michigan University was the darling on the NCAA and on the Broncos were on the way to a regular undefeated season. The Broncos actually had more Big Ten wins than some Big Ten teams. Sure, the Rose Bowl was won by Wisconsin but outside of Jim Harbaugh, there was only one larger than life coach that everyone was talking about: PJ Fleck.

Hearing Fleck scream “Row the boat!” became commonplace throughout sports media as pundits began speculating that the head coach wasn’t long for Western Michigan. The talking heads turned out to be right although few people expected Minnesota to snatch him up after dismissing Tracy Claeys in a rather ugly situation.

PJ Fleck was the hottest coaching prospect, even paying to bring his catchphrase to the Golden Gophers. There’s even an ESPN mini-series dedicated to PJ Fleck’s first season because everyone knew he was going to be the next big thing. He’s got to be doing great, right?

Well, about that…

Minnesota is currently 3-3 and winless in their conference. It’s not going to get any easier from here on out either. After Illinois, PJ Fleck has to face in order Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Wisconsin. None of those teams are what you’d call a cakewalk. Best case scenario, PJ Fleck finishes his first season in the Big Ten at 6-6 which is not really what anyone was expecting.

So what gives? Minnesota went 8-4 last regular season and very easily could’ve been 9-3 after an overtime loss to eventual Big Ten Champion, Penn State. It shouldn’t be the run game as Minnesota returned Rodney Smith who had six 100 yard games in 2016. A couple of experienced receivers returned in Tyler Johnson and Nate Wozniak so there’s that.

What is Minnesota missing that Western Michigan had?

Well for one, a four-year starter in Zach Terrell. Even if Terrell isn’t playing in the NFL this season, there’s something to be said for having a guy who spent his entire career in the same system. He knows what works, what doesn’t, and how to run the show.

Oh, and Western had an NFL first-round draft pick in Corey Davis. You know, the guy who set the FBS single-season record for receiving yards.There is not anyone like Davis at Minnesota and that’s not being mean. There’s not a lot of guys like Davis and Minnesota just doesn’t have one. Last year’s top receiver was Drew Wolitarsky who didn’t even top 900 yards.

We’re about to find out if PJ Fleck is going to be worth what Minnesota paid for him. Despite having one of the hotter names in coaching, the 2017 recruiting class for the Golden Gophers is actually worse than 2016’s. In case you don’t want to click the links, it’s by 11 spots which isn’t exactly insignificant.

Typically it takes a couple seasons for a coach to get his guys in and get his system fully in place so it’s a bit early to start judging PJ Fleck. But there needs to be an improvement. There’s clearly talent on the team but can Fleck bring it out of his players? Or will he be the next Gene Chizik who rides one player to a National Championship and then completely falls off? Chizik hasn’t been a head coach since 2012 which isn’t to say that’s the fate that awaits PJ Fleck but where will he go if he fails at Minnesota.

There’s a joke about boats and paddles that I refuse to make.  

Email [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @tbach84.

Image courtesy Flickr

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Felton’s Debut Season at Cleveland State Will Be Grueling

For as many basketball pundits who have already predicted that Cleveland State, under Dennis Felton, will finish at the bottom of the Horizon League rankings, the Vikings’ new head coach didn’t seem deterred by loading up the non-conference schedule with some tough contests.

Cleveland State will, for its opening months, be facing the likes of Rutgers, Michigan State and Cincinnati. As expected, The Spartans and the Bearcat will provide the Vikings with, quite bluntly, nearly impossible odds of winning, especially given the recent changes in the Cleveland State roster and coaching staff.

Ironically, though, the CSU-Cincinnati game on December 21st will be played at the home of one of Cleveland State’s conference foes, Northern Kentucky. The Bearcats, while their permanent home is being renovated, will take up temporary residence at BB&T Arena, which the Vikings will see one more time later in the season when they face the Norse in Horizon League play.

As for the Scarlet Knights, second-year head coach Steve Pikiell may find some challenges in Cleveland State, which travels to New Jersey as part of the Phil Sellers Showcase, though Rutgers has made some significant improvements to its roster since last year. This showcase will also find the Vikings hosting Coppin State on November 17th, which will be Felton’s home debut, and Central Connecticut State, with a road trip to East Carolina in between.

For the third year, Cleveland State, along with Akron, Kent State and conference foe Youngstown State, will gather for the annual Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. This season, the classic will be held in Akron, with the host Zips facing off against the Vikings on November 14th.

Akron will be one of four MAC teams that Cleveland State will face. Toledo will come to the Wolstein Center for CSU’s annual pre-Christmas match on December 23rd, while the Vikings will make the road trip to Kent State (12/2) and Western Michigan (12/6).

In what seems to be a given with Cleveland State and every other mid-major, there will be a non-Division I team on the home slate. This year, it will be Notre Dame College on December 10th. The Vikings will play a second non-D1 team, Cedarville, but this will be a November 2nd exhibition game.

Cleveland State will, in addition to its conference slate, play 14 games in the confines of the Wolstein Center. The Vikings will play host to Arkansas State on November 29th, a return matchup from the trip CSU took to Jonesboro last season.

Of course, the most anticipated game on the schedule may very well be on New Year’s Day, when the Vikings open the year, and the Horizon League, with a home contest against Youngstown State. The duel between new coaches Felton and YSU’s Jerrod Calhoun is probably marked on a few people’s calendars, though it’s a safe bet many of those folks are wearing red and white.

The competition that Cleveland State will face in 2017-18 is some of the stiffest that the Vikings have seen in some time, and you’d be forgiven if you’re not sure what to make of it. With three high-major road trips and an ever-improving Horizon League (IUIPUI notwithstanding), it seems as if CSU will not spend Felton’s opening year trying to ring up wins against low-majors to inflate its record.

At the same time, a slow burn may hinder Felton’s effort to rebuild the fan base. Whether the scheduling will serve as a benefit or deterrent to the Vikings when January 1st rolls around remains to be seen.

Email Bob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bobmcdonald.

Image via CSUVikings.com

Is P.J. Fleck The Answer At Minnesota?

It has been a tumultuous past month to say the least for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The university administration fired head coach Tracy Claeys in part for publicly supporting 10 players, who were suspended for the Holiday Bowl due to their roles in an alleged sexual assault. None of the players involved were convicted due to lack of evidence but Claeys felt they should have been given due process instead of being suspended. Fair or unfair (my fellow writer Tim Bach certainly thinks so), Claeys was dismissed and it looked like the Minnesota football program was headed for big trouble with an uncertain future. But just 72 hours after the controversial firing, the university made a monumental splash by hiring one of the most coveted coaches in America, Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck.

Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said he wanted strong leadership to address challenges in recruiting and the culture of the program. He also said Fleck “is a proven winner and a strong leader [and] his infectious energy and passion make him a terrific coach and dynamic recruiter.”

It certainly appears like Coyle struck gold as Fleck has already received 10 verbal commitments since he was introduced as head coach on Friday, including nine former Western Michigan commits. Though, starting center Tyler Moore is transferring and three players who made verbal commitments to Claeys decommitted on Monday.

When I initially heard that Fleck was going to be the Gophers next head coach, there were already several reports praising the decision but I had a burning question. How successful would Fleck be in a bigger conference when he spent the past four seasons in the much smaller Mid-American Conference? This isn’t saying the MAC is weak but the past few coaches hired by the Big Ten from that conference haven’t fared the best. Tim Beckman left Toledo for Illinois in 2012 and compiled a 12-25 record over three seasons before being fired over accusations of player mistreatment, while Darrell Hazell left Kent State for Purdue in 2013 and went 9-33 before being let go.

Then again, at the same time, Urban Meyer started his career at Bowling Green and that translated into great success at Utah, Florida and now Ohio State. Also, though it wasn’t a MAC school, Chris Petersen helped turn once-lowly Boise State into a very competitive, respectable program before taking the head coaching position at Washington, where he has done the exact same thing, turning the Huskies into a playoff contender this season.

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that one of the biggest reasons they were successful as opposed to the former was due to recruiting. With his boundless energy and contagious enthusiasm, almost everyone has talked about Fleck’s recruiting prowess. In fact, his 2016 class at Western Michigan ranked No. 64 in the nation by rivals.com, ahead of Big Ten schools Illinois (68), Purdue (74) and Rutgers (78).

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that in four seasons at Kalamazoo, Michigan, Fleck went 30-22 overall and 21-11 in the MAC. He took the Broncos to a bowl each of the last three seasons after a 1-11 debut in 2013 and led Western Michigan to a 13-1 overall record (8-0 MAC) in 2016 with wins over Northwestern and Illinois. In the final game against Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl, though it was a loss, Fleck showed he could keep pace with a premier program.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a unique situation in that Minnesota is not rock-bottom like Western Michigan was. The team won nine games this year and has appeared in 14 bowl games in the last 18 years. This isn’t a total rebuild from scratch and if he can remain strong in recruiting, the future looks bright.

My gut instinct tells me he will win games at Minnesota but I still have reasonable doubts. Will there be unrealistic expectations given all the success he has achieved? What if Minnesota never wins ten games, never makes a Big Ten championship or never makes a New Year’s Six bowl? What is considered a successful season for a program that has enjoyed just moderate success in its recent history and will fans turn against him if he doesn’t replicate the results his predecessor’s achieved? No matter how likeable a guy is, how good at recruiting he is or how savvy of a game-planner he may be, there’s only so much a coach can do and I’m worried he is being overhyped. Plus, Wisconsin and Nebraska are still ahead of the Gophers and the thought of them being able to dethrone those two is something I won’t believe until I see it for myself.

Maybe I’m over-analyzing all of this and focusing too much on the negative. Maybe he will be just as good if not better than advertised. I’m not sure exactly will happen and only time will tell but there is no doubt, Fleck has brought a great deal of excitement to the Gophers and the Big Ten.

E-mail Mike at mike [dot] tews [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @MDeuces2051.

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New Year’s Six Preview: Cotton Bowl

Forewarning: While I have zero affiliation with either team in this year’s Cotton Bowl Classic, I would be lying if I said I was unbiased. I grew up in Ohio in an Ohio State family. While I no longer root for the Buckeyes, some of my emotions and opinions about Michigan certain Big Ten football teams remain. While we always despised the “Team Up North” we also, to a degree, respected them. We did not, however, in any way shape or form, respect the Wisconsin Badgers and, especially their fan base. Also, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to see P.J. Fleck and the Western Michigan Broncos row the boat over any and every Power 5 opponent. That being said, I’m going to keep this as diplomatic and unbiased as I possibly can manage.

Whilst I was holding out for an in-state matchup between the two best Michigan teams (sorry MSU) in this year’s Cotton Bowl, I was pleased with the Wisconsin Badgers vs. Western Michigan Broncos draw. If I’m going to be honest, I believe that this game could actually be close. Granted, WMU needs to play at its top possible level, but I believe that the Broncos have a legitimate shot at beating Wisconsin. Zach Terrell has made very few mistakes this season, throwing only 3 interceptions. However, he did that with very little pressure, only being sacked 14 times over the 13-game season. Wisconsin, which probably has a top-10 defense, will definitely look to disrupt and hit Terrell early and often to force mistakes. The key for Terrell will be to suck it up, take the hits, and not change his progression whatsoever. If he does so, the Broncos should be able to dent the Badger defense.

Many people, myself included, will focus on the matchup between the Broncos offense and the Badgers defense. However, the other side of the football offers an interesting storyline. Coming into the Cotton Bowl, the Badgers have the 86th ranked offense, directly behind the Rice Owls. There is a chance that the Badgers could seriously struggle offensively, which could turn the game into either a Western Michigan blowout or a defensive struggle.

In the end, I see this game being a defensive struggle. While both offenses may put up a good chunk of points, the winner of the Cotton Bowl will be determined by which defense steps up in the fourth quarter. I think this game will stay tight, but the Wisconsin pressure will be too much late, and the Broncos will be unable (unfortunately) to score the winning touchdown at the end of the game.

 

Final Score: Wisconsin Badgers 31, Western Michigan Broncos 28

 

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

Photo: Pixabay

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The Group of 5 Does Not Need its Own College Football Playoff

The debate that has been raging since the inception of the College Football Playoff is whether or not four teams are enough. Some say that four teams are enough. Others say, “not so fast,” we need more than four participants. And there is yet a third opinionated group of voices that tells us that a playoff isn’t needed regardless of the number of teams participating.

And now there is a fourth voice in the argument and its proposal would be the most disruptive of all. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier is leading the charge for the Group of 5 to have its own college football playoff.

Schools that compete in the American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt conferences feel like they’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. The reason that these conferences feel this way is justified, but it’s also not unfair.

Even when schools like Houston and Western Michigan have magical years, they don’t get into the playoff. Houston proved with its 2015 Peach Bowl victory over Florida State that it could not only compete with but beat a Power 5 school. The Cougars followed that up with a 2016 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Then, as the season progressed, things went down hill for Houston.

As Tom Herman led the Cougars into the October 8 game against Navy, Houston was sitting at 5-0. That unblemished record was highlighted with the win over the Sooners. The team had positioned itself well for playoff consideration. And then Houston lost to Navy. But that wasn’t Houston’s only loss. The Cougars then lost to SMU and Memphis. Game over. Playoff consideration was off the table and rightfully so.

But being shunned by the playoff committee was not the fault of the playoff committee. It was Houston’s fault. Houston took care of Oklahoma but then couldn’t take care of its AAC business. Too bad. Go back to the Island of Misfit Toys.

Having a separate playoff for the Group of 5 will not solve this problem because there isn’t a problem to be solved. All that this proposed second tier playoff will do is create a larger divide between the Group of 5 and Power 5 schools. The perceived difference in quality will grow at an exponential rate.

Frazier believes that the current playoff system is designed to crown a Power 5 champion. He believes that the Group of 5 is being held down and left out at a systemic level. Frazier wants us all to ignore the fact that the highest-ranked Group of 5 team is guaranteed a spot in one of the New Year’s 6 bowls. That isn’t the definition of being left out. That isn’t being confined to the Island of Misfit toys no matter what your teams do.

Western Michigan is the 2016 version of the 2015 Houston program. P.J. Fleck and his Broncos rowed the boat all the way to a 13-0 season. The reward is a trip to the Cotton Bowl where the opponent will be the Wisconsin Badgers. Western Michigan had a great season, but don’t be fooled, all 13-0 seasons are not created equal. The Broncos, much to Frazier’s assumed chagrin, do not belong in the playoff. Western Michigan didn’t have its “rightful” spot in the playoff stolen.

P.J. Fleck did go undefeated against the Big Ten this season, but those wins came against a 7-6 Northwestern team and a 3-9 Illinois team. Nope. Sorry/not sorry. The Broncos don’t belong in the playoff. And to be honest, the Broncos are lucky to be in the Cotton Bowl. Thank goodness for negotiated contractual clauses.

2017 has the potential to be an interesting year in terms of playoff consideration if, and only if, Western Michigan can upset Wisconsin. If Western Michigan can manage to do that, it will surely start 2017 off with a high preseason ranking. Package that potential ranking with road games against Southern Cal and Michigan State and the Broncos could be in consideration for the 2017 playoff. But even if the Broncos knock-off Wisconsin, Southern Cal and Michigan State, Fleck will still have to go undefeated in the Mid-American Conference. Sound easy? Just ask Houston about beating schools from the Power 5 only to screw it all up by struggling against its Group of 5 competition.

The Group of 5 is what it is. It’s a collection of good, but not great football programs. There are teams like Houston and Western Michigan that have the potential to be in the same conversation as the Power 5 schools, but teams like the Cougars and Broncos have to build up to a playoff run over the course of multiple seasons. Unlike a Power 5 school, it can’t be done during a single season. Creating a Group of 5 playoff won’t solve this non-problem. If anything, it will be perceived as the Group of 5 creating its own participation trophy.

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

Photo: Pixabay

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Michigan State: The End Of An Era

It was a nice run but it’s over.

Michigan State had a fun time in the limelight but now it’s time to go. The premier programs in the Mitten State are now the University of Michigan and Western Michigan. So long Spartans, have fun battling it out with Rutgers to not be in the last place in the East.

I’m sure you might think that I’m overreacting just a touch. I am known to do that from time to time but this time, not so much. Sometimes I do know what I’m talking about and this is one of those time.

After a disastrous 3-7 season, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had his end of the season press conference and dropped a couple of surprise bombs on the press. The biggest surprise is that he plans to make no coaching changes and plans to make no changes in responsibilities on his staff. Look, Dantonio had a good run and is still a pretty good coach but this is a dumb decision.

Yes, this is the same coaching staff that won a Big Ten title and made an appearance in the College Football Playoff but look at the talent that was on that team. Most notably, there was an NFL-caliber quarterback in Connor Cook. A good quarterback can make an average offensive coordinator look a lot better. Cook had the ability to scramble and the accuracy to go downfield. That let him bail the Spartans out of a lot of unfortunate situations.

Now look at what offensive play caller Dave Warner did with this year’s starter, Tyler O’Connor. Less than 2000 yards with 16 scores and nine picks while losing his starting spot. Sure, he did get it back but that’s because no one was any better. Warner continued to call the same kind of plays he did with Cook and guess what? They didn’t work.

Here’s an interesting way to gauge what Warner is worth. How much do you think he’s paid? Warner makes less than $450,000 which puts him at the 129th highest paid coordinator. Lane Kiffin who just left Alabama was making $1.5 million. Michigan’s offensive coordinator makes almost double what Warner makes at $850,000. Greg Mattison coaches the defensive line at Michigan for $500,000.

So what’s it mean?

It means that Michigan State isn’t willing to pony up and get a really good coordinator. If you want to be taken seriously as a national power, you have to have an outstanding coordinator. You can’t continue to promote from within. Is it going to work sometimes? Sure, sometimes you’ve got that coach in waiting that you can seamlessly transition in. Then there are coaches like Michigan State has.

The easiest way to say it is that Michigan State has gotten complacent. This is how they’ve done it in the past and dammit, they’re going to do it that way from here on out. What worked before is going to work again because that’s how things work.

Well, college football is an evolving game. Remember when the spread offense was new and innovative? Now almost every program has run either the spread or some variation of it. Even the super traditional Alabama has a running quarterback in Jalen Hurts now.

Tying this all back to the beginning, maybe this is why Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck didn’t leave Western Michigan. Maybe he can see the same thing myself and everyone but Mark Dantonio can see. Dantonio’s contract is up in 2020 if he can make it that long. As a Michigan fan, I kind of hope we don’t see Fleck rowing his boat to East Lansing though.

E-mail Tim at .

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Q Sweep Gives Cleveland State a Boost

Going into the game against Bethune-Cookman at Quicken Loans Arena, there were so many reasons to think that Cleveland State would have no problem dispatching of its MEAC foes. However, the specter of a four-game losing streak, coupled with the Vikings’ inability to win at the Q at all last season likely gave head coach Gary Waters a bit of pause.

In spite of Rob Edwards still appearing to be hampered by a hand injury (as evidenced by 8-14 from the free-throw line), he still managed to drop in 19 points. And a healthy Demonte Flannigan lead CSU with 21, allowing the Vikings to stave off a Wildcat surge, led by Quinton Forrest’s 24 points, to take their second win of the season, 73-62.

While the win was much-needed, especially on the heels of a 28-point drubbing at the hands of Arkansas State the game before, it did seem as if Cleveland State was a bit out of sorts. It probably didn’t help that the Vikings were a meager 21.9 percent on three-point shots.

Or perhaps it was because it seemed as if depth in the backcourt was seriously lacking against Bethune-Cookman. Gavin Peppers remains out with the bone bruise to his foot, and now walk-on Nelson Maxwell, who provided CSU with minutes backing up Kash Thomas, is out of the lineup with a hamstring injury.

Despite all of this, the Vikings regrouped and finally put together the kind of complete game fans have been hoping for all season with an 85-62 pasting of Western Michigan. The win game Cleveland State a sweep of the two games at the Q, a venue that gave the Vikings nothing but headaches last season, as they couldn’t muster a single win in the five games there.

In the win, Edwards’ hand appeared to be much improved from the previous game, shooting 50 percent from the field and finishing with 15 points. Flannigan, who has slowly but surely eased his way back into the swing of things since returning to the start lineup, dominated the paint and finished with 20 points.

But the big news coming out of the Q on Wednesday was the performance of Oral Roberts transfer Bobby Word. The junior had struggled mightily during the four-game slide, and even in the B-C game wasn’t terribly efficient (eight points on 3-9 shooting).

The WMU game, however, was a much different story.

Word practically couldn’t miss against the Broncos, and torched them on an astounding 75 percent (9-12) from the field, including making five shots from beyond the arc. His 25 points led all scorers, and could possibly serve as the spark the Vikings need on offense.

And that need won’t be felt more than it will be when Cleveland State travels to West Lafayette on Saturday to face 18th-ranked Purdue. And while the last ranked opponent the Vikings faced, then-No. 1 Kentucky, almost felt like an automatic loss, the Boilermakers, particularly their coach Matt Painter, isn’t underestimating CSU.

Whether the Vikings can retain the momentum from overcoming their woes early this season remains to be seen. But maybe Cleveland State, especially when Peppers, Maxwell and also-injured Anthony Wright return, can get to a point where it’s not sitting near the bottom of the Horizon League standings.

Email Bob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bobmcdonald.

Image via CSUVikings.com

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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