D.J. Foster

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

SHAKEUP SATURDAY AS CHAOS COMMENCES
At one point in the early evening hours Saturday, three undefeated teams (Clemson, Iowa, TCU) were all losing, while another (Houston) was tied.  While the week ended up not being as chaotic as it could’ve been, it was more than chaotic enough where we should see a rather sizable shakeup when the College Football Playoff Top 25 is released Tuesday.

Entering the weekend with 11 undefeated teams, those unblemished ranks were sliced to six as No. 2 LSU, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 TCU, No. 13 Memphis and No. 24 Toledo all suffered their first losses of the season.  That leaves No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State,  No. 6 Baylor, No. 9 Iowa, No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 25 Houston as the lone remaining unbeatens with a month left in the regular season/championship weekend.

Following Week 9, the first CFP Top 25 looked as follows:

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 LSU
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Alabama

Clemson added an impressive win over No. 16 Florida State to its win over No. 5 Notre Dame; the Tigers would seem to be a lock to remain at No. 1.  LSU was woodshedded by Alabama, so the Tigers will very likely drop out of the top four.  The Tide, meanwhile, will move on up as the highest-rated one-loss team.

Ohio State, on the other hand, was cruising right along with a 21-point fourth-quarter lead on Minnesota before allowing the Gophers back into the game with a pair of touchdowns before settling for a 28-14 win.  The Buckeyes will likely maintain a top-four slotting, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see them fall out.

And what of Oklahoma State?  No. 14 entering the weekend, the Big 12 OSU put a thumping on No. 8 TCU; could the committee vault the Cowboys up at least 10 spots and into the first four?  I’d say it’s unlikely, but they should be well within earshot heading into an ongoing stretch that, after a road trip to Ames, includes a pair of games to close out the season against No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Oklahoma.

So, how will the CFP’s top four look when the newest rankings are released Tuesday night?  My best guess is…

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Notre Dame

I think those first three spots are fairly well set with the committee, provided the group sees the Buckeyes of J.T. Barrett and not necessarily that of Cardale Jones.  That fourth spot, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Oklahoma State or Baylor there instead of the one-loss Golden Domers.  The only thing that would surprise me at No. 4, in fact, would be Iowa.

Still, remember that this will be just the second of six CFP Top 25s released, so there will be plenty of time for those in and around the Top 10 to find a seat at the playoff table.  Last year, after the second release, eventual national champion Ohio State was sitting at No. 14.  Just sayin’

Vanderbilt v FloridaCONFERENCE CHASE CLARITY
With three weeks still remaining in the regular season — four if you’re the Big 12 — there’s a surprisingly large amount of clarity in the Power Five conferences.  There’s also, of course, some uncertainty remaining.

The ACC Atlantic and SEC East were decided this weekend, while the ACC Coastal, Big Ten West and Pac-12 North are all but decided.  Conversely, the Big 12 is a muddled mess, while the SEC West has five teams that are still technically alive in the division.  The Big Ten East and Pac-12 South both have three teams each that could still win it.

With that in mind, below are the updates as to where each of the Power Five divisional races stand.

ACC
Atlantic
Thanks to the impressive double-digit win over Florida State, Clemson clinched its first division title since  2011.  The Tigers also snapped the Seminoles’ three-year stranglehold on not only the division but on the conference as well as FSU came into the season having won back-to-back-to-back ACC titles.

Coastal
This one’s not over yet, but a rather large woman is in the latter stages of warming up her throat.  With an impressive and dominating win over Duke, North Carolina, at 5-0 in ACC play, has complete and total control of the division.  UNC already owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh (4-1) and now owns the same over Duke (3-2).  For the Tar Heels it’s very simple: win two of their next three games (vs. Miami, at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State) and they’ll claim the Coastal regardless of what anyone else does.  UNC could also clinch next weekend with a win vs. Miami and a Pitt loss to Duke.  Pitt has to hope UNC stumbles twice as they are winning out (at Duke, vs. Louisville and Miami), while Duke needs to win out and have UNC lose out.

Iowa v IndianaBIG TEN
East
Ohio State stands at 5-0 in conference play, with Michigan and Michigan State tied at 4-1.  The Buckeyes host the Spartans week after next, then travel to the Wolverines to close out the regular season.  The only way this division is settled next weekend is if OSU handles Illinois and UM and MSU fall to Indiana and Maryland, respectively.

West
At 5-0, Iowa holds a half-game lead on 5-1 Wisconsin.  However, the Hawkeyes own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Badgers, which means Iowa would need to lose two of its last three games (Minnesota, Purdue, at Nebraska) while Wisconsin wins out (Northwestern, at Minnesota) in order for the latter to win the West.

BIG 12
Two teams are unbeaten after Week 10: Baylor (5-0) and Oklahoma State (6-0).  Oklahoma and TCU are both 5-1.  In the last four weeks of the regular season, those four teams will play each other in a total of five games.  In other words, we’re still (probably) a ways away from a conference bereft of a championship game deciding its one true champion.

PAC-12
North
At 7-0, all Stanford needs to do is either beat Oregon (4-2) in Week 11 or Cal in Week 12 to clinch a spot in its third Pac-12 championship game in five years.  The Ducks would need to win their last three and have the Cardinal lose out in league play in order to get back to the title game.

South
Utah (5-1) currently holds a one-game lead on UCLA (4-2) and USC (4-2).  The Utes, though, lost to the Trojans in the only game played between the three. With Utah still having to face UCLA, and the two Los Angeles schools set to meet in three weeks, this division likely won’t be decided until well into the month of November.

SEC
East
Just one weekend into November, and Florida, thanks to its win over Vanderbilt, has already clinched the division title and a spot in the conference championship game opposite the West winner.  The Gators will play in their first league title game since 2009 early next month.

West
Hello, Alabama. Welcome back to the driver’s seat.  As we headed into the weekend, LSU and Ole Miss controlled their own destinies in the West, with Alabama at the mercy of others.  Heading out, the combination of ‘Bama’s win over LSU and Ole Miss’ overtime loss to Arkansas leaves the Tide, at 5-1, in control of their own destiny.  They’re far from clinching, however, as LSU is still in the mix at 4-1, while there are three other teams in the division with just two conference losses: Ole Miss (4-2), Arkansas (3-2) and Mississippi State (3-2).

SATURDAY RESET
Below is a list of links for all of the Week 10 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Clemson — OK, OK, I relent.  Clemson’s wins over Notre Dame and now Florida State are more impressive than anything any other team in the country can offer up for an argument to be No. 1.  The mission moving forward for the Tigers is simple: don’t trip up against Syracuse, Wake Forest or South Carolina to close out the regular season, then handle North Carolina (probably) in the conference championship game to punch your playoff ticket.  Simple, right? (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: at Syracuse, Nov. 14

2. Ohio State — This ranking is based solely on the assumption that J.T. Barrett will return as the starting quarterback.  If not, the Buckeyes wouldn’t even be in my Top Five.  Allow me to repeat: With Barrett as the starter, OSU is a national title contender; with Cardale Jones, they are an upset waiting to happen. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: at Illinois, Nov. 14

3. Alabama — Yes, the woodshedding of LSU was an impressive performance.  ‘Bama still has the one loss, to Ole Miss, and that’s looking worse and worse with each passing week.  The Rebels suffered their third loss of the year this weekend, and one of the teams they lost to, Memphis, lost to a service academy. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. No. 20 Mississippi State, Nov. 14

4. Baylor — Jarrett Stidham passed his first quiz.  Whether the true freshman quarterback can pass his remaining tests, which includes a home date with No. 15 Oklahoma and road trips to No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 8 TCU, will go a long way in determining what if any chair the Bears will have at the playoff table. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 15 Oklahoma, Nov. 14

5. Oklahoma State — It’s not just the fact that OSU “upset” TCU; it’s the fact that they dominated a team that had won 16 straight in every phase of the game.  It was as impressive a performance as any team has put up all season, although the flimsy résumé the first eight games of the year won’t allow the Cowboys to move past those ahead of them.  Yet.  With the meat of their schedule coming up, though, they’ll have ample opportunity to show their playoff worthiness. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at Iowa State, Nov. 14

(Dropped out: No. 1 LSU, No. 4 TCU)
(Others considered: Notre Dame, Stanford)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (8-1, No. 8)
Saturday: 35-57 (61.4%), 445 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions; 19 carries for 73 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 233-354 (65.8%), 3,372 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions; 107 carries for 597 yards (5.6 ypc), seven touchdowns

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (8-0, No. 6)
Thursday: 11 receptions for 216 yards, two touchdowns; two carries for two rushing yards
Season: 58 receptions for 1,178 yards, 20 touchdowns; 13 carries for 51 rushing yards

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (7-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 21 carries for 194 yards (9.2 ypc), one touchdown; one reception for four yards
Season: 148 carries for 1,231 yards (8.3 ypc), 12 touchdowns; 16 receptions for 185 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (8-0, No. 3)
Saturday:
Season: 167 carries for 1,130 yards (6.8 ypc), 13 touchdowns; 23 receptions for 160 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-0, No. 2)
Saturday: 19 carries for 31 yards (1.6 ypc), one touchdown
Season: 195 carries for 1,383 yards (7.1 ypc), 16 touchdowns; seven receptions for 58 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (8-1, No. 4)
Saturday: 38 carries for 210 yards (5.5 ypc), three touchdowns
Season: 218 carries for 1,254 yards (5.7 ypc), 17 touchdowns; eight receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (7-2, NR)
Wednesday: 26-35 (74.3%), 365 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions; three carries for minus-five yards
Season: 268-380 (70.5%), 3,686 yards, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions; 77 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-1, No. 11)
Saturday: 23 carries for 147 yards (6.4 ypc); three receptions for 15 yards; two kick returns for 46 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown
Season: 198 carries for 1,207 yards (6.1 ypc), six touchdowns; 28 receptions for 325 yards, two touchdowns; 21 kick returns for 605 yards; nine punt returns for 25 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown

(Dropped out: TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson)
(Added: Henry)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Fournette — That sound you may have heard was the star LSU running back’s Heisman stock plummeting back to earth.  Fournette remains the stiff-armed front-runner, but the gap between himself and the rest of the field closed considerably even as his closest competitor coming in stumbled mightily.
2. Cook — Even in a loss, nobody likely raised their Heisman stock more than the FSU back.  Going up against a defense that came into the game 10th in rushing defense, Cook put up nearly 200 yards (194) in the loss to Clemson.  The fact that the Tigers keyed on Cook and he still put nearly a 200-spot on the ACC Atlantic winners tells you all you need to know about the kind of player Cook is.
3. Henry — Henry was on the periphery of the Heisman discussion prior to Week 10; that 200 yards he put on LSU, in a personal matchup with a struggling Fournette no less, puts him squarely in the mix.
4. McCaffrey — The Stanford running back’s stat sheet added a fourth dimension this weekend as the sophomore threw his first career touchdown pass.  He also tied a school record with his seventh consecutive 100-yard game.  I’ll point out again that McCaffrey is the only player west of the Rockies who’s in the Heisman discussion, which still bodes well for a mid-December trip to New York City.
5. Boykin — Entering Week 10, Boykin was viewed by many, or even most, as the only legitimate threat to Fournette’s Heisman candidacy.  Following a four-pick performance in a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State, the senior has a significant mountain to climb just to get back into the race.

DAMN YOU & YOUR EYE DUST, RINALDI
Say what you want about Les Miles, the coach, but Les Miles, the man, is someone the LSU community can be proud of.  If you haven’t seen the latest Tom Rinaldi tear-jerker, click “play” below.  And if you click “play” below, make sure you have a fistful of tissues nearby, just in case.

SEXY BERT
At least a portion of Bret Bielema‘s press conference following the overtime win over Ole Miss was decidedly PG-13.

WHEN YOU GOTTA GEAUX, YOU GOTTA GEAUX
Perhaps because ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling road show has stopped there so much, it appears that, based on the quality — or lack thereof — Tuscaloosa has pretty much run out of innovative sign ideas.  Well, save for one.  Or is that No. 2?

MOST RANDOM GAMEDAY SIGN EVER?
Deep in Alabama territory, we find the following:

Spectacular.

CATCH OF THE DAY
Winless UCF hasn’t had much to cheer about this season, but Tre’Quan Smith at least gave the fans of the program something to hang their hats on on yet another lost day.

UNINTENTIONAL HEADER OF THE DAY
Sometime you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And sometimes when you find yourself in such a spot you also find yourself hurting, as one official in the Penn State-Northwestern game discovered.

POLICE TWEET OF THE DAY
With Brandon Allen carving up their defense, some Ole Miss fans apparently looked for some help from the men in blue in slowing down the Arkansas quarterback.

HE SAID IT
“Those were Madden numbers. Set to rookie.” — North Carolina wide receiver Mack Collins, describing quarterback Marquise Williams passing for 404 yards in the first half of the blowout win over Duke.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“Overall, the coaches and the players did a wonderful job of focusing on what’s important.” — Georgia head coach Mark Richt, following a dominating win over Kentucky that came on the heels of a week rife with rumors and speculation regarding the state of his program.

HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“He’s a natural at everything he does.” — Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, after watching teammate and running back Christian McCaffrey run the ball 23 times, catch three passes, return a pair of kickoffs and toss his first career touchdown pass.

HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“I’m pretty offended by it, that it was called unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was really … everything was to not deceive.” — Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, addressing the fact that his Wolverines were penalized for “intent to deceive.”

HE SAID IT, THE FINAL ONE
“I got an explanation. They said that the receiver was pushed out of bounds… everybody saw the replay. I’m not qualified for that job. My job is to coach and I’m going to do the very best I can. That’s somebody else’s job.” — Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, biting his tongue following the controversial ending in the loss to Nebraska.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
10 wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 22 straight.  With TCU’s 16-game winning streak snapped… and Memphis’ 15-game streak snapped… and Michigan State’s 12-game streak snapped, Clemson is next up at 12 in a row.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 12 straight, followed by UCF (11) and Eastern Michigan (eight).

GOING BOWLING
Entering Week 9, there were 41 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 51 teams eligible for the postseason with four weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions hit double digits at 10: Air Force, Arkansas State, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Oregon, USC, Washington State and Western Michigan.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK I
There are five FBS head coaches who serve as their own offensive coordinator and two as their own defensive coordinator:

  • Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia, OC)
  • Mike Leach (Washington State, OC)
  • Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech, OC)
  • Doug Martin (NM State, OC)
  • Mark Whipple (UMass, OC)
  • Rocky Long (San Diego State, DC)
  • Derek Mason (Vanderbilt, DC)

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK II
Urban Meyer is a perfect 26-0 in games played in October (14-0) and November (13-0) at Ohio State and is 42-3 in his career in games in which he has more than one week to prepare for an opponent. That latter record includes bowl games and season openers as well as bye weeks.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK III
Running back Jacques Patrick had three rushing touchdowns, while Travis Rudolph caught three touchdown passes against Syracuse, marking the first time in Florida State history a Seminole rushed for three touchdowns in a single game and another caught three touchdowns in the same game.

S.I.D NOTE OF THE WEEK IV
Oregon is the only team in the nation to score at least 80 touchdowns in each of the last five seasons. The Ducks led the nation in touchdowns scored in 2014 (90), 2012 (89) and 2010 (81), while ranking second in 2011 (88) and fourth  in 2013 (81). Only Baylor has scored 80-plus TDs at least three times in the last five years.  The Ducks have scored 48 in nine games this season and are in danger of seeing that 80-plus streak come to an end, while the Bears have scored an FBS-best 63 in eight contests.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK V
Duke has posted a combined record of 25-7 during the first eight games of the last four seasons. From 2004-07, the last four seasons before David Cutcliffe took over the program, Duke was 3-29 in its first eight games of those years.

OFF THE CHARTS
Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department, a graphic showing the top five teams, percentage-wise, in holding their opponents below their seasonal points-per-game average.

Relative Scoring Defense

OFF THE CHARTS, PART II
Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department

Yards Per Play

OFF THE CHARTS, PART III
Courtesy of the Oregon sports information department

Consecutive 10-Win Seasons

OFF THE CHARTS, PART IV
Courtesy of the North Carolina State sports information department, the most balanced FBS offenses entering Week 10

Balance

(Writer’s note: obviously, the passing yards for NC State should be 1,721.  Deal with it, and move on.)

SAY WHAT?
There are nine current FBS head coaches who did not play college football: Todd Berry (Louisiana-Monroe), Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Sonny Dykes (California), Dennis Franchione (Texas State), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Mike Leach (Washington State) and Chad Morris (SMU).

YOU DON’T SAY
Since giving up 35 points to Alabama in their season opener, Wisconsin has surrendered an average of just 9.8 points per game.  In those nine games, the Badgers have allowed 10 points or less six times.  The most they’ve given up in a single game in this stretch is 24 in a win over Maryland this weekend.

DULY NOTED
In 2015, more than 75 FBS quarterbacks have attempted at least 200 passes, and just two have thrown one interception: Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (300) and Florida State’s Everett Golson (207).  No quarterbacks who have attempted at least 200 passes have gone pick-less.  The player with the most attempts without an interception this year had been LSU’s Brandon Harris with 128, but he threw his first pick in the loss to Alabama.  That honor now goes to Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, who has no interceptions in his 56 attempts this season.  Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes has 55 pick-less throws.

Clemson v Florida StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… Clemson is now 11-0 when quarterback Deshaun Watson starts and finishes games?  They are 12-1 overall in games in which the sophomore starts.

… Arkansas running back Alex Collins became the third player in SEC history with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining former Georgia great Herschel Walker and former Razorback Darren McFadden?

… Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman‘s 20 receiving touchdowns in nine games this season were more than 108 FBS teams entering Week 10?  Georgia Southern has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last 20 games over the past two seasons.

DeAndre Washington now has 1,036 yards rushing on the season, becoming the first Texas Tech player to crack the 1,000-yard barrier since Byron Hanspard rushed for 2,000 in 1996?

492204726… Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has now caught a pass in 49 consecutive games, breaking the Pac-12 record of 48 set by USC’s Kareem Kelly (1999-2002)?  Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson (2006-09) holds the FBS record at 54 in a row.

… Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is the only coach in FBS history with four seasons of 13 or more wins?  Alabama’s Nick Saban has three such seasons, while Washington’s Chris Petersen and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne have two each.

 Tom Herman became the first head coach in Houston history to win the first nine games of his career with the Cougars? Back in 1990, John Jenkins won his first eight.

… Iowa’s 9-0 start matches the best start in school history, accomplished the first and only time back in 2009?  The Hawkeyes have never started a season 10-0.

Kansas v Texas… Kansas has lost 34 consecutive true road games and, overall, 37 consecutive played away from Lawrence? The Jayhawks have also lost 30 consecutive Big 12 road games.

… Baylor (No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 5 TCU) and Minnesota (No. 15 Michigan, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 10 Iowa) are the only teams currently scheduled to play three straight games against teams that were either in the Associated Press Top 15 when they played them or are currently in that Top 15?

… Florida and Michigan are the only teams to hold three FBS opponents without a touchdown this season?

… UCLA is 31-0 when leading at halftime under Jim Mora?

… the Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming is the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi, played every season since 1946?

The Fifth Quarter: Week 9 Rewind

Associated Press
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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

CRYSTAL BALLING INITIAL CFP TOP FOUR
With nine weeks of the 2015 season tucked neatly into bed, we’re on the cusp of the initial set of rankings that will ultimately produce the four teams that will play for a national championship.

On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first Top 25 of the new football year.  After Tuesday, four more sets of rankings will be released before the final one in early December that seats the four semifinalists at the playoff table.

So, how will the initial top four look a couple of days from now?  Before getting to that, let’s take a look back at the first year of the CFP and its inaugural set of rankings — and the major polls that came out around that time as well.

488830428For the Week 10 polls in 2014, the Associated Press and coaches had the exact same first four in the same order: Mississippi State, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn.  The CFP had the same top two as the polls, with Auburn initially slotted at No. 3.  The committee’s fourth?  Ole Miss.  The Rebels were No. 7 according to the AP, No. 9 per the coaches.  While it doesn’t mean the committee will follow a similar pattern this year, it should mean there will be little deviation from the polls to the first CFP rankings this year or any other.

As it stands now, the AP and coaches’ poll have the same teams at No. 1 (Ohio State), No. 2 (Baylor) and No. 4 (LSU).  The media has Clemson, TCU and Michigan State at Nos. 3, 5 and 6, respectively, while the coaches have it TCU, Michigan State and Clemson at the same spots.  CFP translation?  Ohio State, Baylor and LSU will be in the initial first four, and many would probably get to that same conclusion without the aid of inconsequential polls.

For the final spot, and realizing that more than three may/will be considered by the actual committee, let’s go to the résumés:

Clemson
— six wins vs. Power Five teams
— one win vs. currently ranked teams
— three P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 27-23 (.540)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 17.5 ppg (skewed significantly by 58-0 win over Miami)

Michigan State
— five wins vs. P5 teams
— one win vs. currently ranked teams
— two P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 20-20 (.500)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 8.6 ppg

TCU
— six wins vs. P5 teams
— zero wins vs. currently ranked teams
— four P5 road wins
— current record of P5 opponents: 21-26 (.447)
— average margin of victory vs. P5 opponents: 18.8 ppg

The verdict?  It’s close between all three of those listed, but I think, maybe, the committee would go with the Tigers in this scenario.  The first four order?  I’m going to go with LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Baylor.  Again, that’s my guesstimation as to the committee’s order, not my personal opinion.

At this time last year, there were two undefeated Power Five teams.  This year, there are a whopping eight from the P5s, and another three from the Group of Five for good measure.  That sheer number is one reason I believe, right or wrong, one-loss teams like Alabama and Stanford won’t yet be considered by the committee for one of the top four spots.  The nature of the schedule will naturally whittle the list of unbeatens down to a half dozen or less in the coming weeks, though, allowing teams like the Tide and Cardinal to make their way into playoff consideration — especially if it’s a team like the Tide that can help whittle down the list of undefeated teams beginning this coming weekend.

One final note: the eventual national champion, the Ohio State Buckeyes, was 16th in the first CFP rankings.  Just remember that when the initial rankings this year are released.

SATURDAY RESET
Below is a list of links for all of the Week 9 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. LSU — I think this is the best team in the country, but even I can’t say exactly how good the Tigers truly are.  After a Week 10 trip to Tuscaloosa, we all will be able to tell a whole hell of a lot more about the Bayou Bengals — and their opponents, for that matter. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: at No. 8 Alabama, Nov. 7

2. Baylor — Even as they’ve steamrolled the competition, the Bears are still looking for a signature win against a quality opponent.  After this Thursday, they’ll get the opportunity to rectify that as they’ll face No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 5 TCU in back-to-back-to-back weeks. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at Kansas State, Nov. 5

3. Ohio State — Were it not for J.T. Barrett‘s off-field situation, I would’ve moved the Buckeyes above the Bears and behind the Tigers.  Now, I almost dropped them out of the Top Five.  The Barrett-led Buckeyes are a national title contender; the Cardale Jones-led Buckeyes are an upset loss waiting to happen. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Minnesota, Nov. 7

4. TCU — The Horned Frogs are getting healthier, especially on defense, which is bad news for the rest of the playoff contenders.  The Thursday night win over West Virginia may have been their most solid all-around performance since Week 1. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: at Oklahoma State, Nov. 7

5. Clemson — I spent waaayyy too much time trying to decide on the fifth team in a meaningless Top Five, vacillating endlessly between undefeated Clemson and one-loss Stanford.  I ultimately went with the Tigers because the résumés were close enough that the Cardinal’s loss tipped the scales toward the team from the ACC. (Last week: No. NR)
Next up: at Colorado, Nov. 7

(Dropped out: Stanford)
(Others considered: Stanford)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (8-0, No. 5)
Thursday: 32-47 (68.1%), 388 yards, three touchdowns; 11 carries for 84 yards (7.7 ypc), one touchdown
Season: 198-297 (66.7%), 2,927 yards, 28 touchdowns, five interceptions; 88 carries for 524 yards (5.9 ypc), five touchdowns

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (7-0, No. 1)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 47 receptions for 962 yards, 18 touchdowns; 11 carries for 49 rushing yards

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (7-1, No. 17)
Saturday: did not play (injured)
Season: 127 carries for 1,037 yards (8.2 ypc), 11 touchdowns; 15 receptions for 181 yards, one touchdown

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (8-0, No. 5)
Thursday: 11 receptions for 183 yards, one touchdown; one carry for one yard
Season: 71 receptions for 1,250 yards, 14 touchdowns; two carries for seven yards

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (8-0, No. 1)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 167 carries for 1,130 yards (6.8 ypc), 13 touchdowns; 23 receptions for 160 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-0, No. 4)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 176 carries for 1,352 yards (7.7 ypc), 15 touchdowns; seven receptions for 58 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (7-2, NR)
Saturday: did not play (bye)
Season: 242-345 (70.1%), 3,321 yards, 29 touchdowns, three interceptions; 74 carries for 152 yards, three touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (7-1, No. 8)
Saturday: 22 carries for 107 yards (5.7 ypc); four receptions for 26 yards; one punt return for three yards
Season: 175 carries for 1,060 yards (6.1 ypc), six touchdowns; 25 receptions for 310 yards, two touchdowns; 19 kick returns for 559 yards; nine punt returns for 25 yards

(Dropped out: None)
(Added: None)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Fournette — The sophomore back has been the front-runner for most of the season, and for good reason: he’s the best player in college football playing for one of the best teams in the game.  It’ll take a superhuman effort over the next month to unseat him as the favorite.
2. Boykin — As an individual who plays the preferred position of voters, the only senior in the group has what it takes to put up a superhuman effort over the next month to “catch” Fournette.  The fact that he still has three high-profile games left (unbeaten Baylor and Oklahoma State, plus Oklahoma) leaves him with the best chance of overtaking the front-runner.
3. Elliott — The lone junior on my list, Elliott has rushed for 100 or more yards in a nation’s best 13 straight games.  There may be uncertainty at the quarterback position in Columbus, but Elliott’s the one constant, sure thing on that side of the ball.
4. Cook — Entering Week 9, the sophomore was responsible for 85 percent of FSU’s rushing yards and rushing touchdowns even as he’s accounted for just 55 percent of the Seminoles’ carries.  That screams MVP if not Heisman.
5. McCaffrey — If you haven’t noticed, the sophomore is the only player west of the Rockies on most if not all of these types of Heisman lists.  That could greatly aid the multi-purpose star’s efforts to at least get a mid-December trip to New York City.

STATE OF NEBRASKA FOOTBALL
There was much joy in Lincoln when Bo Pelini and his volatility — and his nine-win seasons — were replaced by nice-guy Mike Riley.  After losing five of the first seven games of the Riley era by a total of 15 points, NU was embarrassed by a woeful Purdue football team that came into the game at 1-6 — and that lone win came against FCS Indiana State.

The final score?  Purdue 55, Nebraska 45.  The current record?  3-6, and in danger of going bowl-less for the first time since Bill Callahan‘s last season in 2007.  The current state of Husker Nation?  This pretty much sums it up.

POOP HAPPENS
Kentucky’s Cory Johnson is a 300-pound defensive lineman who is nicknamed “Poop” as he has an issue keeping his weight up because (warning! medical jargon ahead!he poops too much.  Gastrointestinal issues or not, Johnson proved Saturday night that he can still run a sizable distance to earn himself a fat-man touchdown.

BTW, the loss to Tennessee still leaves Kentucky two wins away from going boweling errrrrr bowling this postseason.  Sorry, had to go there, so to speak.

ARE YOU SPITTIN’ ME?
This will serve as one of the greatest non-scoring run-after-catches you’ll ever see in college football.  And one of the longest, too.

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE
After Kenny Hill tore up South Carolina’s defense to start the 2014 season, the hype machine went into overdrive for the Texas A&M quarterback before ultimately dropping its transmission and blowing up before the end of the year.  Fast-forward a year, and A&M’s Kyler Murray carved up the defense from the same team in his first career start.  As the hype machine knows no bounds…

AIN’T NO HURDLE HIGH ENOUGH
Apparently, Penn State’s super freshman, Saquon Barkley, decided to dress up for Halloween as Edwin Moses.  Or Ezekiel Elliott.  One of the two.

PICK UP YOUR JOCKS, MANHOOD ON THE WAY OUT, PLEASE
What Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph did to the hapless Syracuse defense on this play is borderline criminal.

AN ALL-TIMER
With his 260th career catch, Colorado’s Nelson Spruce surpassed Arizona’s Mike Thomas as the all-time leader in Pac-12 history in receptions.  Below is Catch No. 260.

HELMET OF THE DAY
I’m not a huge fan, at all, of the alternate uniform craze that’s swept through college football the past few years, but these Halloween-themed helmets Boise State wore Saturday are pretty damn spectacular.

JUMPING THE LANDSHARK
From the soon-to-be-released movie “White Men Can’t Dance”…

TOMMY BOY SIGNAGE
You incorporate one of the greatest movies ever in your College GameDay sign, you will always merit a mention in ye olde Fifth Quarter.

I PICKED A BAD WEEK TO QUIT…
In the same vein as above, you reference “Airplane!”, you get mentioned.

Shirley

HALLOWEEN COSTUME OF THE DAY
This really needs no explanation whatsoever.  Well done, young man, dressing as an ACC official.

HE SAID IT
“I don’t mean this in a disingenuous — I really don’t care. I’m not worried about the playoffs. We’re still four games from the end of the Big Ten season. We’re going to enjoy this one. We’ll worry about our next opponent starting tomorrow afternoon.” — Kirk Ferentz, when asked about his 8-0 Iowa team’s standing in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“Well guys, that was painful to say the least. I apologize for that but the end result was awesome.” — Jim McElwain, following Florida’s ugly 27-3 shredding of rival Georgia.

HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“Not good. We lost, and all that counts are wins and losses. It’s not a good feeling. It is something you wish you never have to experience.” — Georgia quarterback Faton Bauta, when was asked how he felt he played following a four-pick performance in his first collegiate start.

HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“I think we are all frustrated. We should be playing better, and there’s no question about it, we’ve got to get it figured out and play better. There’s no doubt about that.” — Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, whose Bears have lost three straight after opening 2015 with five straight wins.

HE SAID IT, THE FINAL ONE
“There were all sorts of issues that the conference has to resolve. That’s not my job. Call the ACC, they should have answers.” — David Cutcliffe, on the shoddy officiating (on both sides) in Duke’s wild last-second loss to Miami.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Eight wins to start the 2015 season pushed on-a-bye Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 21 straight last Saturday.  Up next are TCU (16), Memphis (15), Michigan State (12), Clemson (11) and Toledo (10).

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, New Mexico State’s win in overtime over Idaho ended the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 in a row.  With that, Kansas is now the not-so-proud owners of the country’s longest at 11 straight, followed by UCF (10), Miami of Ohio (eight) and Eastern Michigan (seven).

GOING BOWLING
Entering Week 9, there were 33 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 40 teams eligible for the postseason with five weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions totaled seven: Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, Navy, San Diego State, Southern Miss, Texas A&M and UCLA.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK I
Daniel Carlson has five 50-yard-plus field goals in his last eight games, exceeding the total of 50-yard field goals by all Auburn kickers in the previous 150 games combined (four), dating back to 2003.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK II
Of Wake Forest’s 168 points scored this season, 160 have been by true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK III
Wisconsin has attempted 35 or more passes six times this season, posting a 4-2 record in those games. From 1990 to 2014, the Badgers were 0-23-1 in games in which they passed the ball 35 or more times.

S.I.D NOTE OF THE WEEK IV
The win over then-No. 3 Utah was the first time an Associated Press unranked USC team beat an AP Top-Three-ranked team since the Trojans defeated No. 2 Texas A&M, 20-0, in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 22, 1975.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK V
No program in the nation has a higher graduation rate over the past four years than Stanford (99%). Furthermore, no Pac-12 Conference team has had more draftees over the past four years than Stanford (19).

OFF THE CHARTS
Courtesy of the Toledo sports information department, and entering Week 9

Current Receptions Streaks

OFF THE CHARTS, PART II
Courtesy of the Duke sports information department, and entering Week 9

Career Tackles

OFF THE CHARTS, PART III
Courtesy of the Air Force sports information department, and entering Week 9

Longest Active Scoring Streaks

 

SAY WHAT?
With two more today, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds now has 77 rushing touchdowns in his career, tying him with Wisconsin’s Montee Ball for the all-time FBS record.  Ball gathered his in 924 career rushes, Reynolds in 863.

YOU DON’T SAY
There are only eight females in the 128-team FBS in charge of the athletic training function of their football programs. Jennifer Brodeur (UMass), Ariko Iso (Oregon State), Sally Nogle (Michigan State) and Kelli Pugh (Virginia) are head football athletic trainers while Jennifer Brown (Eastern Michigan), Brandy Clouse (Georgia Southern), Mary Vander Heiden (UCF) and Dawn Hearn (UTEP) are sports medicine department heads.

DULY NOTED
In Week 8, Duke and Virginia Tech played the longest game in ACC history with a four-overtime affair. Prior to the Blue Devils’ 45-43 win over the Hokies, the longest game involving at least one ACC team was three overtimes (six occasions).

A DAY IN THE LIFE
Have you ever wondered what a typical in-season day is like for a football player at the Air Force Academy?  If so, today’s your lucky day.

Air Force Typical Day

461635158DID YOU KNOW THAT…

… Boise State’s Darian Thompson now has 19 career interceptions, breaking Utah’s Eric Weddle‘s Mountain West record of 18?  Thompson’s teammate, Donte Deayon, has 17 career picks.

… Arizona State’s D.J. Foster‘s streak of 48 straight games with a reception ties the Pac-12 record held by USC’s Kareem Kelly (1999-2002)?  Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson (2006-09) holds the FBS record at 54 in a row.  Foster could actually tie that mark should 4-4 ASU reach the Pac-12 title game, although that seems unlikely.

… with 472 yards Thursday night, TCU’s Trevone Boykin became the 40th player in FBS history to top 12,000 yards of total offense?  The Horned Frogs quarterback now has 12,041 in his career.

… Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner has thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games after not having a 300-yard game in the first 28 games of his career?  The Gophers, incidentally, are 0-2 these last two games.

… Blake Anderson became the first head coach in Arkansas State history with 12 or more wins in his first two seasons?  Gene Harlow (1955-56) and Steve Roberts (2002-03) won 11 each in their first two seasons.

Iowa v Illinois… Iowa is 8-0 for just the second time in the program’s history?  The first came in 2009, when the Hawkeyes started out 9-0 before losing in their 10th game.

… Clemson has won 17 of 18 games for the first time since the 1938-40 era?

… Temple’s game against Notre Dame Saturday was the Owls’ first playing a ranked team while they too were ranked?

… Washington State is the only team in the country with seven players who have caught 20 or more passes this season? They have nine players with at least 15 receptions.

… Air Force and Toledo are the only teams through nine weeks that have not given up a sack this season.  The Falcons have attempted 85 passes, the Rockets 253.

… UCF running backs did not have a rushing touchdown this season until its Week 9 loss to Cincinnati Saturday?  The Knights now have three touchdowns on the ground in 2015, the first two of which were scored by wide receiver Nick Patti.

… Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium is the oldest on-campus football facility in the FBS, having opened in 1913?  Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium (1914) is a year younger.

 

The Fifth Quarter: Week 4 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

NO.1? LET THE BRONCOS BE YOUR GUIDE
Since the beginning of the season, Ohio State has seen its unanimous hold on the Associated Press No. 1 spot erode.  From a 105-point lead on No. 2 Alabama after Week 1 to a 100-point lead on the same team after Week 2, OSU then watched Big Ten East rival Michigan State jump into the No. 2 hole and just 85 points behind.  What’s more, the first-place voting bloc had been whittled down to 42 for OSU and seven for MSU, with the other 11 belonging to Ole Miss.

If voters are looking for a way to compare the two B1G teams and their No. 1 worthiness when it comes to this week’s poll — kind of like what some enjoyed doing last season when it came to Ohio State/TCU in relation to Minnesota, come to think of it — the scheduling gods have offered up a comparison.

It just so happens that MSU played Western Michigan in the opener, the same team OSU faced off against in Week 4.  OSU won their matchup with the MAC school 38-12, while MSU’s encounter was slightly closer at 37-24.  The Spartans, though, played on the road while the Buckeyes were at home.

Statistically, OSU rolled up 511 yards of total offense, MSU 452.  On the defensive side of the ledger, the Buckeyes allowed 338 to the Spartans’ 383.  WMU was able to muster just .8 yards per carry in the opener, while they were at 4.1 ypc against the defending national champs.  Conversely, MSU’s vaunted “No-Fly Zone” was shredded for 365 yards, while OSU limited the same passing attack to just 169 yards.

What does it mean?  Not much, other than both teams handled their business reasonably well against a team they should.  In the broader picture, though, it’s emblematic of just how wild and wide-open this 2015 college football season projects to be, that such a comparison could even be considered as part of the thought process.

STATE OF TEXAS
The performance of Jerrod Heard last week was a much-needed shot in the arm for the Texas football program.  Apparently, though, it wasn’t enough for a still-suspicious fan base.

As if portending the impending doom, there were plenty of good seats still available shortly before the kickoff of the Oklahoma State-UT game at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.  In fact, it was downright Miami Hurricane-ish in its barren, desolate look.

Those fans who decided to stay away seemed prescient as there was a second consecutive week of utter, kick-you-in-the-tentacles heartbreak in store.  More specifically, it appears as if Steve Patterson‘s buyout clause included him getting custody of UT’s special teams.

Be that as it may, it’s one thing for a fan base to be pissed off; at least that emotion shows they still care.  When apathy sets in?  Right or wrong, that’s an absolute coach-killer.

And, judging by the butts not in seats, apathy is quickly enveloping a program that’s doing nothing but spiraling downward — despite the best intentions of a very good football coach whose rope is getting shorter and shorter by the minute.

LSU v SyracuseLEONARD THE GREAT
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: through the first four weeks of the 2015 season, Leonard Fournette is the best player in college football.  There will be no discussion, there is no debate because any other answer is wrong.  That said, can the LSU running back win the Heisman, as everyone is seemingly already handing him?

Statistically, and thus far, there’s no reason why he can’t and every reason why he can.  Through three games, all of which have come against Power Five teams, Fournette is leading the country averaging 208.3 yards per game; next closest is Indiana’s Jordan Howard at just under 169 ypg.  Fournette has posted back-to-back 200-yard plus games, the first time in LSU history that’s been accomplished.

Hell, he had an 87-yard touchdown run called back against Syracuse yesterday because of an illegal formation penalty that had no impact on the play.

History, though, suggests Fournette’s Heisman march could be an uphill slog.

Essentially, the Heisman Trophy has become a quarterback award.  Just one time in the last 15 years — Mark Ingram in 2009 — has a running back wrested the stiff-armed trophy away from a quarterback.  As much as defenses stacking the line to slow him down moving forward, Fournette’s biggest obstacle in his race to the Heisman could very well be the signal-calling mentality of a significant segment of the voters.

Well, that and a player named Trevone Boykin.  Who’s a quarterback, it just so happens, and a very productive one on one of the top teams in the country.

on September 19, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland.RUNNING DOWN HISTORY
For those who haven’t been paying attention, a member of one of our nation’s service academies is quickly creeping up on making some FBS history.

With a pair of rushing touchdowns in a Week 4 win over UConn, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds now has 72 in his career.  That total ties him for third all-time with former Texas Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

It also pulls him to within one of tying Miami of Ohio’s Travis Prentice at 73 rushing touchdowns, and within six of surpassing Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (77) as the FBS’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns.

Reynolds, a senior, has played in 39 games in his career, meaning the Midshipman has averaged 1.85 touchdowns per game.  However, he’s averaged nearly 3.5 touchdowns per game over his last 18 contests.  Regardless, and provided he remains healthy, Reynolds should set the all-time standard at some point in October… and then set the bar much higher in November as well as on into December/January.

With nine regular season games remaining as well as at least one postseason matchup — could be two if the Middies qualify for the AAC championship game — there’s a realistic chance that, when his career is all said and done, Reynolds breaks the century mark and sets the bar so high that it’s be nearly impossible to reach in this day and age of pass-happy offenses.  Then again, with the likes of Navy and Georgia Tech and others running the option for the foreseeable future, I guess you never say never.

SATURDAY RESET
Below is a list of links for all of the Week 4 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Michigan State — For the second time this season, the Spartans somewhat struggled with a directional Michigan school. Still, not a single team in the country has, week-in, week-out played like the best team in the country, so I’m going to leave the Spartans right here at the top until forced to do otherwise. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Purdue, Oct. 3

2. Ole Miss — As if right on cue with the intimation above with every top team struggling at some point this season, Ole Miss was tied late in the third, and at home no less, with a not-so-good Vanderbilt team that came in just 1-2.  The Rebels may have exposed their warts, but they’re merely the latest top team to do so. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: at Florida, Oct. 3

3. TCU — They survived a huge scare, but the big thing is they survived.  The Horned Frogs are a wounded bunch, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but they have the kind of offense that can keep them deep in contention in the wide-open Big 12.  Whether that injury-ravaged defense could compete on the national stage is to be determined. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Texas, Oct. 3

4. Ohio State — After a couple of shaky weeks, the Buckeyes showed glimpses of the team that rolled through the postseason to the national championship.  There are still many bugs to work out, but there are still multiple weeks before the Buckeyes’ first real on-paper test — unless 4-0 Indiana is more than the paper unbeaten they seem. (Last week: 4)
Next up: at Indiana, Oct. 3

5. UCLA — After considering Baylor, Georgia and LSU as well, I pulled the trigger on UCLA.  Why?  The win over Arizona on the road last night mainly, and the win over BYU still holds a little weight with me. This spot, though, will likely be a revolving door throughout the season.  As will the other spots, for that matter. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. Arizona State, Oct. 3

(Dropped out: No. 5 Oregon)

CHEAPSHOT OF THE DAY
This Bowling Green player, who is a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, was ejected for targeting, and he’s lucky he’s not being brought up on charges. Or getting slapped around by some Falcons. Or both.

As an aside, those are the most god-awful helmets Purdue is wearing. Now, you kids, get the hell off my lawn…

KICKER HURDLE!!!
It doesn’t happen often, the ever-elusive punter-posing-as-a-kicker hurdling another football player, but there was a sighting in the LSU-Syracuse game late in the first half — with a bonus fist-pump/punch thrown in for good measure.

ELEAPIEL ELLIOTT
It’s not just kickers/punters channeling their inner Edwin Moses, as evidenced — again — by Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott.

HARBAUGH GETS ONIONED
I am an unabashed fan of The Onion. I think Jim Harbaugh is one of the best things to happen to college football in years. When those two worlds collide? Pure Internet gold.

MOST. BRO-FFSIDES. EVER.
If you wanted one picture to encapsulate the futility that was the Kansas-Rutgers matchup, this is it.

And I can guarantee you that, given the rancid nature of this tilt, I wasn’t the only one that read that as “defecating” at first glance.

WE GOT MORE KETTLEBELL
One of the more bizarre storylines of the offseason involved Sean “Puffy” “Diddy” “P-Diddy” Combs, a member of the UCLA coaching staff and a kettlebell. With ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling road show on-site for the UCLA-Arizona game Saturday night, the fans in attendance unsurprisingly called back to that infamous incident in hilarious fashion.

NO KIDDING
One of the most famous rants in history belonged to the father of UCLA head coach Jim Mora. With the Bruins on the road for GameDay, well, you just knew something like the following would be in the offing.

NICE, BUTTS
Jake Butt of Michigan is one of the most talented tight ends in the country, but he’s also self-aware enough to realize that some people have a little fun with his surname. As it turns out, so does his own family, who showed up en masse to the Big House Saturday with some rather unique and self-deprecating t-shirts.

I LOVE THE NINETIES
Not that I would ever make fun of him to his face, or even in his general vicinity, but [chuckle] NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone still has a flip phone.

Malone’s son, K.J. Malone, incidentally, is an offensive lineman for the LSU Tigers, and the former Louisiana Tech hoops star was in attendance at the Carrier Dome for the Game against Syracuse.  Where he was again caught on camera with his [/giggle] flip phone.

SNAG IT LIKE BECKHAM
OK, it’s not exactly Odell Beckham-level difficult, but it was a nice catch for Michigan’s Amara Darboh, who celebrated his swearing-in as a US citizen earlier this week with this one-handed wonder.

HE SAID IT
“The significance of this day was as a team our football team won in a sloppy manner.” — LSU’s Les Miles, molding the English language in a way that only he can.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“I really wanted to kick his ass to be honest with you, and I know he’d appreciate that. You get a chance to play a Heisman Trophy candidate, you want to knock him backward. You want to get after him and you want him to no longer be in the Heisman race after you play him.” — Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, on facing the force that is Leonard Fournette.

HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“I’m not sure we deserved to win.  If nothing else, maybe we sold some more popcorn.” — Jim McElwain, following Florida’s heart-stopping win over Tennessee, the Gators’ 11th straight over the Vols.

HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“I definitely felt more comfortable. We’re starting to get on the same page as not just receivers or offensive line or things like that. I think everyone felt way more comfortable today.” — Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, after passing for a career-high 288 yards in a win over Western Michigan.

HE SAID IT, THE FINAL ONE
“A lot of times when you’re in the position you’re in, you have done it to yourselves, and that’s what happened to us. We did it to ourselves.” — Charlie Strong, after watching his Texas not-so-special teams literally cost the 1-3 Longhorns two wins already this season.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
Four wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 17 straight, tied for the fifth-longest in school history (1915-17).  Up next are TCU (12), Memphis (11), Michigan State (eight), Navy (seven), North Carolina State (seven) and Clemson (six).

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, New Mexico State, on a bye in Week 4, still owns the nation’s longest losing streak at 13 straight.  With UNLV (nine in a row) and FAU (eight) both winning, the second-longest negative streak falls to Wyoming (seven), followed by UCF and UMass at five in a row, then North Texas and UT-San Antonio at four in a row. Kansas deserves its own special sentence as the Jayhawks are the not-so-proud owners of the longest losing streak amongst Power Five conference members at six straight.

MY ANNUAL REMINDER THAT…
… Duke football was really bad prior to the arrival of David Cutcliffe. Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech was Cutcliffe’s 92nd as Duke’s head coach, and he has guided the Blue Devils to a 43-49 overall record.  In the 92 games (2000-08) prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival, Duke managed an overall mark of 10-82.

S.I.D NOTE OF THE WEEK
Dating back to 1996, only Kansas State (113) has more combined defensive and special teams touchdowns than Virginia Tech (108).

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK II
Ole Miss’ current streak of 21 straight weeks in the national rankings is the Rebels’ longest since appearing in 69 straight from 1957-62.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK III
Washington and Cal, who played each other Saturday, are the only two teams that have played in what is now the Pac-12 Conference in every season, all 100 of them, since the league was founded in 1916.

S.I.D. NOTE OF THE WEEK IV
Central Michigan’s Ben McCord and Devon Spalding accomplished something against Syracuse that has never happened in program history. Both McCord and Spalding caught 10 passes versus the Orange, the first time CMU has had two players with at least 10 receptions in a single game. McCord is also the first CMU tight end to catch 10 passes in a game while Spalding is the first running back to have 10 receptions in a contest.

S.I.D NOTE OF THE WEEK V
Georgia Tech has finished .500 or better in ACC play for 20 consecutive years. That’s the longest active streak by any team in any Power Five conference.

OFF THE CHARTS
Courtesy of the Wyoming sports information department

True Freshmen Played in 2015

OFF THE CHARTS, PART II
Top active head coaches in terms of winning percentage (minimum five years at the FBS level), courtesy of the Washington sports information department

Top Winning Percentage

OFF THE CHARTS, PART III
Courtesy of the Nevada sports information department

Longest FBS Road Trips

SAY WHAT?
All Pac-12 members posted two or more wins through the first three games this season, a feat that has been achieved just twice in the history of the conference — 1919 and 1921.

DULY NOTED
Minnesota, Navy and Northwestern are the only three schools in the country that have had the same offensive staff (all coaches) for the last five seasons.

Tennessee v FloridaDID YOU KNOW THAT…

… quarterback Josh Dobbs led Tennessee in passing (83) rushing (136) and receiving yards (58) in the heartbreaking loss to Florida?  That’s the first time that’s happened since James Kilian did it in 2003.

… Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson has thrown for 400 or more yards in all four games of the 2015 season?  In addition to the 402 he put up against Purdue in a Week 4 win (a little more on that below), Johnson threw for 491 against Maryland, 443 against Memphis and 424 against Tennessee as BGSU has gotten off to a 2-2 start despite three games against Power Five teams.

… Arizona’s Anu Solomon is the only FBS quarterback this season to have thrown 10 or more touchdown passes and no interceptions?  USC’s Cody Kessler had been in that club before throwing a pick in the Trojans’ rout of Arizona State.

Rice v BaylorSeth Russell threw more touchdown passes (six) than incompletions (four) in Baylor’s rout of Rice?  A full half of Russell’s 12 completions went for scores, with the six touchdown tosses setting a school record.

Kenneth Dixon‘s three rushing touchdowns in Louisiana Tech’s win over FIU gave him 11 games of three or more in his career, tying him with Wisconsin’s Montee Ball for the most such games in NCAA history?

… Arizona’s D.J. Foster became just the fourth player in FBS history to reach 2,000-plus rushing AND receiving yards, joining Stanford’s Darrin Nelson, Tulane’s Mewelde Moore and Texas Tech’s Taurean Henderson? The running back-turned-wide receiver has also caught a pass in 44 straight games; that ties the school record (John Jefferson) and is the longest current streak in the FBS.

… Storm Barrs-Woods in Week 4 became the second Oregon State Beaver in the program’s history to accumulate 2,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in his career?  The first was Jacquizz Rodgers from 2008-10.

Southern v Georgia… Nick Chubb has rushed for 100-plus yards in 12 straight games, one off the Georgia record of 13 straight held by the great Herschel Walker?

Lorenzo Nunez became the first true freshman quarterback to start for Steve Spurrier since Jesse Palmer did so for Florida at Auburn in 1997? The last true freshman to start at quarterback for South Carolina was Mikal Goodman during the 1999 season, and the last true freshman quarterback to win a game for the Gamecocks was Steve Taneyhill in 1992.

… Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant is the only FBS player who has thrown a touchdown pass, rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown and returned a kickoff for a touchdown this season?

… the offensive coordinators in Saturday’s Tennessee-Florida game — Mike DeBord (UT) and Doug Nussmeier (UF) — were each at Michigan during the 2014 season? Nussmeier was the Wolverines’ coordinator and quarterbacks coach while DeBord was a sport administrator.

… the last time Indiana started a season 4-0 was 1990?  IU is now 4-0 on the season thanks to Saturday’s win over Wake Forest.  It’s also the Hoosiers first four-game winning streak since 1993.

… Duke has started 3-1 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1986-88 and just the sixth time in program history? The other five came in 1920-21, 1932-41, 1949-53 and 1960-66.

… Baylor has started a season 3-0 for the fifth straight year, the first time that’s ever happened in the football program’s history?

Bowling Green v Purdue… with wins over Arkansas/Iowa State and Maryland/Purdue, Toledo and Bowling Green, respectively, joined Northern Illinois (Iowa and Purdue, 2013) as the only MAC schools to beat two Power Five teams in the same season?

… the 2015 season is the only time in at least the past 35 seasons Nebraska has lost a pair of games on the final play?

… the 56 points allowed by Virgina in its beatdown loss to Boise State Friday night was more than its men’s basketball counterparts gave up in 22 of 34 games last hoops season?

… North Carolina has allowed 14 points in each of the last three games? This is the first time the opponents have scored the same number of points in three consecutive games since 1950 when Maryland, South Carolina and Duke each scored seven points.

… the Big 12 and Big Ten were the only Power Five conferences to win at least one game each of the first three weeks of the season against another P5 league?

… the Mountain West’s .574 winning percentage in bowl games since 2004 is second only to the SEC’s .649 in that span?  The other Power Five winning percentages are .567 for the Pac-12, .506 for the Big 12, .435 for the ACC and .400 for the Big Ten.

… only Stanford, Western Kentucky and Wisconsin have produced three different 1,500-yard rushers since 2009?

… Memphis’ streak of six straight games scoring 40 or more points is not only the longest such streak, but it’s twice as long as the next-longest run?

… Tennessee has played the most overtime games (17) since it was instituted in 1996, and is tied with Missouri (16 OT games played) for most wins in extra sessions at 11 each?

… USC is the only FBS school never to have had surnames on the backs of its jerseys?

… instead of the Power Five moniker, Boise State goes with Resource Five in all of its press releases?  BSU is simply following the lead of its conference, with the Mountain West referring to the P5 as the autonomous 5 — no capitalization intentional.

… Nevada’s game against Buffalo marked that football program’s first-ever to be played in the Northeast?  And, no, I have no clue if the dearth of games in that area of the country makes them a viable candidate if/when the SEC decides to expand.

Week 1, Statistically Speaking

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A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.845Urban Meyer‘s winning percentage, the best among active coaches with at least 10 years of head coaching experience.  Bob Stoops and Nick Saban are next at .792 and .749, respectively.

1 — Games in Week 1 that pitted ranked opponents (No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama).

3 — Sacks for Michigan State’s Riley Bullough in his first career start at middle linebacker in Michigan State’s win over Western Michigan.

4 — Touchdown passes for Everett Golson in his Florida State debut, a 59-16 win over Texas State.  Golson also threw for 302 yards.

4 — 10-win seasons for Michigan State under Mark Dantonio.  Prior to Dantonio’s arrival, the program had two 10-win seasons in its history.

6 — Different teams that have won the Big 12 the last six seasons (Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and TCU). No other Power Five conference has had as many different champions in that six-year span.

8 — Road games for Louisiana-Monroe this season, the only FBS team that can make that claim.  Those eight games will lead to ULM traveling 17,224 round-trip miles.

10.48 — Yards per play averaged by Baylor in its 56-21 win over SMU, setting a school record in the process.  The Bears rolled up 723 yards of total offense.

11 — Knee surgeries for Bobby Swigert since 2012.   In his first game in three years, the Boston College wide receiver caught two passes for 16 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown.

11.5 — Yards per carry averaged by North Carolina’s Elijah Hood in rushing for a career-high 138 yards in South Carolina’s 17-13 win.

11.6 — Wins per season for Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, the most of any active head coach with at least five years experience.  The only others currently averaging in double digits are Washington’s Chris Petersen (11.1), Ohio State’s Urban Meyer (10.9) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (10.5).

13 — Consecutive weeks Colorado and Hawaii will play without the benefit of a bye this season, the only FBS teams that can make that claim.  Arizona, FIU, UMass and North Texas will all play 12 straight weeks to open the year.

14 — Consecutive road wins for Ohio State, the longest amongst FBS teams.  OSU’s last road defeat came on Nov. 26, 2011 at Michigan.  The Buckeyes will begin their defense of their national title on the road in Blacksburg Labor Day night.

16.78 — Miles Georgia Tech has run for since Paul Johnson took over the Yellow Jackets in 2008.  That equates to 29,536 yards, the most of any FBS team in that span.

20 — Returning starters for Ohio, the most of any FBS program.  Tennessee, UCLA and Vanderbilt, with 18 apiece, pace all Power Five teams.

23 — Yards per carry true freshman Marcus Marshall averaged in rushing for 184 yards in Georgia Tech’s Thursday win over Alcorn State.

26 — Career wins for Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, the most of any active FBS quarterback.  Miller likely won’t add to that total this season, though, as he moved to H-back in the offseason.

41 — Consecutive games in which Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has caught at least one pass, the longest such streak in the country.  Foster is also coming off a season in which he was the only FBS player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and catch at least 600 yards worth of passes.

76 — Points scored by Ole Miss, the most the Rebels have scored in a single game since a 1935 win over West Tennessee Teachers College.

88 — Times Wake Forest’s Alex Kinal has punted without a touchback.  Kinal’s last punt that sailed into the end zone came in November of 2013.

95 — Consecutive games Stanford had scored at least 10 points, the longest such streak in the country, prior to its 16-6 upset loss to Northwestern.

152 — Yards rushing for Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins in a 26-7 win over Weber State, averaging 8.9 yards per carry.

134 — Seasons Navy spent as a football independent before playing its first game Saturday afternoon as a member of the AAC.

184 — Players on Navy’s roster, easily outdistancing No. 2 Army’s 145.  Nebraska carries the biggest Power Five roster at 136.

223 — Rushing yards for Ray Lawry in Old Dominion’s win over Eastern Michigan.

233 — Return yards for Maryland’s Will Likely, setting the Big Ten record in that category.  The previous mark was 201 by Iowa’s Nile Kinnick way back in 1939.

322 — Passing yards for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes against Stephen F. Austin… in the first half alone.  The Red Raiders quarterback finished the game with 425 yards and 473 yards of total offense as he added 48 on the ground.

323 — Passing yards for Wake Forest’s John Wolford in the win over Elon Thursday.  It was the first 300-yard game of his career, and bested his previous high of 291 yards set last September.

399 — Passing yards for Al Cobb in VMI’s loss to Ball State.  His previous career-high was 396, set in the 2014 regular-season finale.

424 — Career-high passing yards for Matt Johnson in Bowling Green’s loss to Tennessee.

659 — Yards of total offense Southern Illinois put up against Indiana in a 48-47 loss.  It was the program’s most yards against an FBS team since 1970.

1,302 — Games Rutgers has played in its history, the most of any FBS program.  Penn, with 1,353, holds the all-time NCAA record.

1944 — The last season a true freshman started an opener at left tackle for Clemson prior to Mitch Hyatt lining up Saturday and protecting his quarterback’s blind side.  The last to do it was Phil Prince, who went on to become the university’s president.

1967 — Up until this season, the last year Michigan played host to both Michigan State and Ohio State.

2010 — Last year Arkansas State started a season with same head coach as the year prior until 2015. Blake Anderson is in his second season at ASU; his predecessors, Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss, 2011), Gus Malzahn (Auburn, 2012) and Bryan Harsin (Boise State, 2013) spent one season each with the Red Wolves.

3,473 — Undergraduate students enrolled at Tulsa, the smallest of any FBS program.

40,122 — Total miles Hawaii will travel for its six 2015 road games. UH will be the only FBS program to play games in five separate time zones, traveling to Ohio State (Eastern), Wisconsin (Central), Boise State (Mountain), New Mexico (Mountain), Nevada (Pacific) and UNLV (Pacific).

CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: Pac-12 Predictions

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As the 2015 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we will be examining the home of the defending national champion, the Big Ten. 

And while we’re at it, check out some of our other Power Five conference predictions HERE (ACC) and HERE (Big 12) and HERE (Big Ten) as the CFT team continues to take its month-long glimpse of the upcoming season.

PAC-12 NORTH

1. Oregon (Last year: 13-2, lost to Ohio State in College Football Playoff national championship game)

First thing’s first, replacing Marcus Mariota is not exactly easy for Mark Helfrich. The Heisman Trophy winner from a year ago leaves big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Oregon added one of the top quarterbacks in the nation to transfer schools this offseason with Vernon Adams leaving FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington to join the Ducks (he is now listed as the starter). The transition will go well enough for Oregon’s offense to continue making big things happen, especially with Royce Freeman looking to join the young crop of running backs expected to have a big season. The good news is Adams has a pretty solid offensive line back with starting experience, but road trips to Michigan State and Arizona State will be tough to return home with wins. Oregon finishes the season with two wins, which puts last year’s national runner-up on the fringe of the playoff conversation at the end of the season.

2. Stanford (Last year: 8-5, beat Maryland in Foster Farms Bowl)

Stanford will once again be Oregon’s biggest threat in the Pac-12 North this season, while Washington takes some time to rebound and Cal’s defense a major work in progress. Defense will be the consistent key to the Cardinal this season even though it returns just a small handful of starters from last season. The biggest concern for Stanford last season was a slow-starting offense. The offense finally started to click at the end of the year and must get off to a better start this year. Kevin Hogan has nearly his entire starting offensive line back this fall, and Stanford should have a decent running game to work with. Stanford gets Oregon at home and an early road trip to USC could be a toss-up.

3. Washington (Last year: 8-6, lost to Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl)

I still believe good things are coming to Washington under Chris Petersen. I just think this is a step back before the Huskies start stepping forward. There are just too many holes on the roster right now after losing a load of talent to the NFL. Give Petersen some time though and Washington should be an improved team in 2016. This season could get off to a rough start on the road against Boise State and a home game against Utah State. Good for the Mountain West Conference. Not so good for the Pac-12. Washington also gets USC, Oregon and Stanford in consecutive weeks in the middle of the year. Ouch.

4. California (Last year: 5-7)

No win total will justify how fun this team will be to watch this season. The offense is there with Jared Goff leading the offense. The defense is a different story, as it will struggle to slow down anybody. Cal suffered some close calls last season. Getting to six wins is not impossible if the Bears can get off to a fast start. I’m just not sure if they will do that. A 1-3 record before hosting Washington State is what I’m seeing in the cards, and that cannot happen if Cal is to go bowling this season.

5. Oregon State (Last year: 5-7)

Mike Riley left for Nebraska, and he may have taken the good vibes with him this season. In steps Gary Andersen, fresh off a 59-0 beatdown at the hands of Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game last year. Andersen is a good enough coach to make Oregon State do some good things, but his defense returns just two starters and he inherits an unstable quarterback situation lacking in experience. They may be up and down in the first half of the season but they run into a wall starting with, believe it or not, Colorado.

6. Washington State (Last year: 3-9)

The Mike Leach experiment at Washington State may come to a close soon if things do not show promise and progress this season in Pullman. After winning just three games last season, the Cougars added some junior college experience to the roster this season. If Leach can channel his inner Bill Snyder (whom Leach once called a sorcerer), maybe the Cougars can scratch together enough wins to reach the postseason. I’m not sure I see enough of those wins though, especially in Pac-12 play.

PAC-12 SOUTH

1. Arizona State (Last year: 10-3, beat Duke in Sun Bowl)

The Sun Devils do few things extraordinarily well, and getting out of the Pac-12 South unscathed will be difficult for every team in the division. So it must be the schedule, right? You may actually like Arizona State’s chances in the opener against Texas A&M in Houston, and they get USC at home a few weeks later. Tough road tests at UCLA and Utah before the bye week are not automatic losses, although those games could spell trouble. Fortunately for Arizona State,they score an upset at home on a Thursday night after a bye week against Oregon (setting up an eventual rematch in the Pac-12 championship game) and they will not lose again in the regular season. Quarterback Mike Bercovici finds a comfort level with receiver D.J. Foster as the Sun Devils put a streak together at the perfect time. While all that is happening, cannibalism within the division will help place Arizona State on top of the pile.

2. USC (Last year: 9-4, beat Nebraska in Holiday Bowl)

The Trojans were tabbed the media preseason favorite at Pac-12 media days. Sure, USC looks attractive, but don’t we need to see some more consistency out of Cody Kessler and to see Steve Sarkisian win a big game before buying into the hype? Throw in the fact this is a tough division, is anybody sure USC gets out of it without a couple of losses along the way? That said, they are in the running for the Pac-12 South crown, but I do not see them getting by Arizona State on the road the week after hosting Stanford. I have USC splitting those two games, but it could just as well end up being an 0-2 setback heading into the bye week (sure, I suppose it could also be 2-0). I also think USC comes back from South Bend with a loss to Notre Dame and a road game at Oregon is a probable loss as well.

3. Utah (Last year: 9-4, beat Colorado State in Las Vegas Bowl)

Utah is my wild card team in the Pac-12 South this season because they play what may be the best defense in the division, if not the conference. Utah will be extremely difficult to beat at home, but three tough road games ultimately hold Utah back from reaching the Pac-12 championship game (Oregon, USC, Arizona). I do think things get off to a good start at home against Michigan, spoiling Jim Harbaugh‘s debut as head coach of the Wolverines, and the next week against Chuckie Keeton and Utah State. They even get a chance to knock off Arizona State at home in the middle of the season. Potential is there, but the offense needs to keep its foot on the gas to make any run.

4. Arizona (Last year: 10-4, lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl)

After coming up small against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last season, the Wildcats still look to be moving forward. Anu Solomon is one of the top quarterbacks in the conference and should be ready for a big season with Caleb Jones back as his go-to receiver. The offensive and defensive lines have some holes to plug, but the Wildcats have linebacker Scooby Wright III at linebacker to pick up the slack in the middle of the defense. What I do not like about Arizona is the schedule. Arizona plays 12 straight games without a bye week. It will be a grind, but Arizona is capable of being in the hunt in this crazy division and may be welcoming that bye week at the end of the season if things fall into place again this fall. I think the final four games could be hitting a wall for Arizona though, as I have them losing three of the final four games (three of the final four on the road).

5. UCLA (Last year: 10-3, beat Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl)

The Bruins were the trendy pick last summer. Now it seems we are taking a much more scaled-back stance on UCLA. But why? UCLA returns a ton of starters from a year ago and has added a new defensive coordinator in Tom Bradley that should help. The talent is there with just one key position to address; quarterback. If Josh Rosen can step right in and have an impact, UCLA will be a contender in this competitive division. But freshmen, even the great ones, can make mistakes. Rosen has the hype, and there is a good chance to get comfortable early on with home games against Virginia and BYU and a road game at UNLV. UCLA can play itself into controlling the fate of the Pac-12 South coming down the stretch, but back-to-back road games at Utah and USC to end the season is not an easy draw.

6. Colorado (Last year: 2-10)

Colorado is not going to return to its 1990s powerhouse form in 2015, but we should see some signs of continued progress with the program under Mike MacIntyre. Colorado has a chance to enter October with a winning record, which would be a promising start. The Buffs return nine starters on defense and six on offense, so the hope is experience helps develop some talent to continue being competitive. Colorado lost some close calls last season. If they can turn a couple of those close games the other way, Colorado and a bowl trip is not out of the mix. Seriously.

PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Oregon over Arizona State

Oregon remains my team to beat, and they could be hitting a stride just at the right time by the time the conference championship game comes around. Oregon would be playing in the title game for the third time in five seasons while Arizona State would be in the game for the second time in three years. Oregon’s offense once again leads the way, but Arizona State gives them a run.