|Daily Blog •Thursday, December 3rd|
I can’t believe it’s the last week of the regular season for college football! Obviously there are fewer games this week, but once again I am picking surprise players who I expect to have a good week. I hope you have enjoyed reading some of my surprise picks this year as they have been very successful going 73-25-7 (74%) the last 10 weeks. Last week was particularly successful as my picks went 12-4-1 and here are the results from week 13.
My Quarterback Selections from last week:
Kellen Moore, Boise St, Colt mccoy, texas, dan Lefevour, central michigan,
Jake Locker, Washington, and Kyle reed, san Jose St
Kellen Moore, Boise St-Moore hit 17 of 33 (51.5%) for 262 yards with 5 TD’s and 0 int in the 44-33 win over Nevada to clinch the WAC Championship for the Broncos. The 5 TD’s tied a season-high and Moore now has an incredible 38-3 ratio on the season. BIG WIN
Colt McCoy, Texas-McCoy hit 24 of 40 (60%) for 304 yards with 4 TD’s and 0 interceptions in the 49-39 win over Texas A&M. McCoy also ran for a career-high 175 yards (9.7) with a 65-yd TD. McCoy’s 5 total TD’s were a season-high and he is now the leading contender for the Heisman. BIG WIN
Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan-LeFevour hit 27 of 41 (65.9%) for 255 yards with 3 TD’s and 0 int in the 45-31 win over Northern Illinois in his final home game. LeFevour now has a 25-5 ratio and he leads the Chippewas with 650 rush yards (4.1) and 14 TDs on the season. WIN
Jake Locker, Washington-Locker hit 16 of 28 (57.1%) for 196 yards with 1 TD and 1 int in the 30-0 win over Washington St in the Apple Cup. Locker also ran for a season-high 94 yards (9.4) and a TD so he had 290 total yards and 2 TD’s. WIN
Kyle Reed, San Jose St-Reed hit just 2 of 2 (100%) for 22 yards in the 13-10 win over New Mexico St. On the opening drive, he led the Spartans down the field to the Aggie 1 before a sack on third down knocked him out of the game with a dislocated pinkie. Loss.
Top Honorable Mention performances:
Stephen Garcia, South Carolina-Garcia hit just 10 of 21 (47.6%) for 126 yards but tied a season-high for TD’s with 3 and had 1 int in the 34-17 win over rival Clemson. Garcia also made several key scrambles as he ran for a season-high 46 yards.
Tim Tebow, Florida-Tebow hit 17 of 21 (81%) for 221 yards with 3 TD’s in the 37-10 win over Florida St in his final home game. Tebow also ran for 90 yards (6.0) and 2 more TD’s. The 5 total TD’s were a season-high as well as the 81% completion percentage.
Case Keenum, Houston-Keenum hit 25 of 31 (80.5) for 321 yards with 2 TD’s and 0 int in ONE HALF in the 73-14 win over Rice. Keenum also ran for a TD as he played just one half with the Cougars leading 59-0. Keenum is just 80 yards shy of 5,000 yards on the season with the CUSA Championship game on deck against East Carolina.
My Running Back Selections from last week:
Montario hardesty, tennessee, mark ingram, alabama/ben tate, auburn,
dion lewis, pittsburgh, dexter mccluster, ole miss, and alfred morris, florida atlantic
Montario Hardesty, Tennessee-Hardesty ran for a season-high 179 yards (4.6) with 3 TD’s in the 30-24 overtime win over Kentucky. Hardesty’s 39 carries and 3 TD’s were also season-highs including the game-winning 20- yard score. BIG WIN
Mark Ingram, Alabama/Ben Tate, Auburn- These two combined for just 75 yards (2.2) in Alabama’s 26-21 comeback win. Ingram suffered a hip pointer late in the game and Alabama’s defense held Tate to a season-low. Loss.
Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh-Lewis ran for 155 yards (6.0) with 0 TD’s in the 19-16 loss to West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. Lewis now has 1,446 yards (5.8) and 13 TD’s on the season as the Panthers still have a shot to win the Big East Championship with a win over Cincinnati this week. WIN
Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss-McCluster ran for 82 yards (5.1) in the 41-27 loss to rival Mississippi St in the Egg Bowl. McCluster did have 5 receptions for 63 yards (12.6) and a TD as the Rebels had to lean on the passing game in the second half. He had a combined 145 yards total offense and 1 TD. WIN.
Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic-Morris ran for 122 yards (4.9) with 0 TD’s in the 29-23 win over Western Kentucky. Although he had 0 TDs, it was his 3rd straight 100-yard game and 6th of the season with one game left against rival Florida International. WIN.
My Wide Receiver Selections from last week:
danario alexander, missouri, emmanuel sanders, smu, and
damaris johnson, tulsa
Danario Alexander, Missouri-Alexander saved his best performance for last with 15 receptions for 233 yards (15.5) and 1 TD in the 41-39 win over Kansas. The receptions and yards were both season-highs as Alexander finished the regular season #1 in the NCAA in receiving yards with 1,644 (15.4). BIG WIN
Emmanuel Sanders, SMU-Sanders had 6 receptions for 144 yards (24.0) with 0 TD’s in the 26-21 win over Tulane. Sanders’ 24.0 ypc was a season-high as he finished the regular season with 91 receptions for 1,215 yards (13.4) with 6 TD’s. WIN
Damaris Johnson, Tulsa-Johnson had 8 receptions for 89 yards (11.1) and 0 TD’s in the 33-30 win over Memphis. While he led the team in receptions and yards, Johnson came into the game with 3 straight 10+ receptions and 100+ yard receiving games, so we will count this as a PUSH.
Alshon Jeffery/Moe Brown, South Carolina-These two combined for 5 receptions for 90 yards (18.0) in the 34-17 win over South Carolina. The Gamecocks threw for just 126 yards as their running game dominated with 223 yards.
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma-Broyles had 9 receptions for 103 yards (11.4) with 0 TD’s in the 27-0 win over Oklahoma St. Broyles added 209 yards on punt returns including a 88-yard TD. Broyles’ 312 all-purpose yards were a season-high.
Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green-Barnes had 9 receptions for 69 yards (7.7) and 2 TD’s in the 38-24 win over archrival Toledo. Barnes needed 13 receptions to tie Houston’s Manny Hazard (1989) to become the FBS’s single season reception leader and probably will get one more chance as the Falcons likely will get a bowl bid with 7 wins.
My Defense selections from last week:
san jose st, ole miss, and colorado
San Jose St vs New Mexico St-The Spartans’ defense had their best performance of the season in the 13-10 win over the Aggies. This was head coach Dick Tomey’s last home game as he announced his retirement a couple of weeks ago. Known for his defenses, Tomey’s squad held the Aggies to just 218 yards of total offense which was 164 yards less than they allowed any other FBS opponent this year. WIN
Mississippi vs Mississippi St-The Rebels defense was embarrassed as they gave up a season-high 41 points, 412 yards, and 317 rushing yards. Ole Miss was leading 6-3 in the game before Miss St inserted backup QB Chris Relf and the Bulldogs moved at will from that point on. Loss.
Colorado vs Nebraska-The Buffaloes held the Huskers to just 217 yards in the 28-20 loss. The 28 points were misleading as Nebraska had a 59-yard punt return TD and a 20-yard interception return TD. The 217 yards allowed including just 73 yards passing were the best performances of the season for Colorado. WIN
Arizona vs Arizona St-The Wildcats held the Sun Devils to 303 yards including just 86 yards rushing in their last second 20-17 win over their archrival. Arizona was in control of the game at the half leading 14-0 and had a 166-78 yard edge but couldn’t get key stops to put the game away.
TCU vs New Mexico-The Horned Frogs dominated as they held the Lobos to just 172 yards of total offense in their 51-10 win. TCU gave up just 10 yards rushing, which was their best performance in conference play and is allowing just 81 rush yards per game on the season. The Horned Frogs on five occasions this year have limited their opponents to less than 185 total yards.
Last Week's UPSET of the WEEK:
southern miss over East Carolina
Southern Miss and E Carolina were battling for a trip to the CUSA Title game and the game was worthy of it. The Eagles did blow some opportunities. They had a 1st & goal at the 1 but fumbled at the 3 and the Pirates led 17-7 at the half. In the 3rd quarter, Southern Miss also had a 1st & goal at the 7 but settled for a 24 yard FG which was blocked. The Eagles got the apparent game-tying TD with 7:35 left but their extra point was not only blocked but also returned for 2 and East Carolina led 22-20. The Pirates added a 27 yard FG to lead 25-20 and SM was stopped on downs at their own 49 with 3:05 left. Loss.
Now for this week’s picks:
My QBs of the WEEK (3 Selections): Tim Tebow, Florida, Colt McCoy, Texas, and BJ Daniels, USF
Tim Tebow, Florida-This is the game that could make all of the difference in the Heisman race. Tebow’s numbers don’t look especially Heisman-worthy this year as he’s only averaging 181 ypg (66%) with a 17-4 ratio but he does lead the team in rushing with 796 rush yds (4.1) and 13 TDs. Last week in his final home game vs rival Florida St, Tebow came to life with 221 pass yds, 3 TDs and 90 rush yds and 2 TDs for one of his most productive games of the year. Last year in the SEC Championship game vs Alabama, Tebow threw for 216 yds and 3 TDs and had 57 rush yds. Alabama is #2 in my pass defense rankings allowing just 157 ypg (47%) with an 8-19 ratio, so the yards won’t come easy this week. With the Heisman still up for grabs, a big game here could catapult Tebow ahead of Alabama’s Ingram and Texas’ McCoy to become just the second 2-time Heisman winner.
Colt McCoy, Texas-McCoy has stepped it up in the last 2 games posting back-to-back 300+ yard games both vs Big 12 foes (his only two 300 yd gms in B12 play this year). He is averaging 277 pass ypg (72%) with a 27-9 ratio, so his numbers look better than Heisman rival Tebow right now. If he has a big game vs Nebraska which currently is #1 in our pass defense rankings only allowing 190 ypg (48%) with a 7-16 ratio, he is a shoo-in for the big prize. NU did allow a season-high 269 pass yards to Colorado last week.
BJ Daniels, USF-Daniels has had a rollercoaster season with great outings and then very poor outings like last week when he hit just 6 of 16 for 77 yds with a 1-1 ratio vs Miami FL. Daniels is only averaging 146 pass ypg (51%) with a 12-9 ratio, but does lead the team in rushing with 710 yds (4.8) and 6 TDs. This week he takes a huge step down in level of competition facing Connecticut which ranks #105 in my pass defense rankings allowing 253 pass ypg (67%) with a 17-11 ratio. Calling for a QB averaging just 146 ypg passing to have a big game is a surprise pick.
Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon-Masoli doesn’t have the stats of some of the nation’s top QBs, but actually his stats are very comparable to Heisman hopeful Tim Tebow. Masoli is averaging just 187 ypg (58%) with a 14-4 ratio and is the team’s #2 rusher with 619 yds (5.9) and 12 TDs. This week he’s battling for the Rose Bowl in a nationally televised Thursday night game against rival Oregon St which ranks #59 in my pass defense rankings allowing 242 ypg (59%) with a 19-7 ratio. Masoli will have to have a good game in this high-stakes matchup to be Rose-bowl bound.
Sean Canfield, Oregon St-Canfield still leads the Pac-10 in passing averaging 254 ypg (70%) with a 19-6 ratio, but still isn’t getting the press like others in the Pac-10. Canfield has four 300+ yd passing games this year versus Arizona, USC, UCLA and Cal with all of those teams ranking in the upper half of my pass defense rankings. Oregon is #15 in my pass defense rankings allowing only 193 ypg (54%) with a 14-13 ratio, so a 300 yard game would be another fine outing for Canfield.
Case Keenum, Houston - Keenum probably won’t get invited to New York for the Heisman presentation, but he does have one last chance to show voters that he belongs in the discussion. Keenum’s Cougars will face off with East Carolina in the CUSA Title Game. The game is being played on EC’s home field. Keenum leads the NCAA in every major passing category averaging 410 ypg (71%) with a 38-6 ratio & is looking for back-to-back 5,000+ yd passing seasons (has 4,922 and threw for 5,020 last year). My projections show Houston with 430 pass yds vs an ECU defense that is ranked #60 in my pass defense efficiency, allowing 240 ypg (60%) with an 18-14 ratio. With a trip to the Liberty Bowl on the line, I expect Keenum to give the Heisman voters something to think about with another stellar performance.
Kellen Moore, Boise State-After becoming the first QB to start at Boise State last season while earning WAC Freshman of the Year honors in 2008 (268 ypg, 69%, 25-10 ratio), Moore has shown no signs whatsoever of a “Sophomore Slump” and is averaging 254 ypg (65%) with an outstanding 38-3 ratio and leads the nation in pass efficiency (168.74). What’s more, the second-year Southpaw has thrown at least three TD passes in seven of his last eight games and in his last two outings (against Idaho & Nevada) he threw a career-high five TD passes in each contest with no interceptions. New Mexico State does feature the WAC’s #3 pass defense (196 ypg, 52%, 17-7 ratio allowed) and boasts a solid DE-duo in Pierre Fils (6 sacks) & Donte Savage (5 sacks), and Moore will be without top WR Austin Pettis (fractured leg), but it won’t matter enough to slow down this Bronco as he’ll look to dissect his final conference foe on “The Blue.”
MY RBs of the WEEK (5 Selections): John Clay, Wisconsin, CJ Spiller, Clemson, Shane Vereen, Cal, Dion Lewis, Pitt and Daniel Porter, Louisiana Tech
John Clay, Wisconsin-The Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year has run for 1,224 yards (5.1) this season behind an OL which averages 307 lbs per man and outweighs the Warriors’ DL by over 30 lbs per man. UH is allowing 194 rush ypg (4.8) which is #104 in the NCAA and my computer calls for the Badgers to rush for 204 yards. Clay told reporters this week that despite NFL overtures he’s definitely returning in 2010 and he starts a campaign for more national acclaim with a big game on the islands.
CJ Spiller, Clemson-Whenever he’s on the field, keep an eye on this playmaker because you never know when he’s going to break out with another huge play. Spiller has 912 rush yds (5.0) with 7 TDs plus 32 receptions (13.8) with 4 TDs and 5 TDs on returns this year including 4 KR TDs (35.8 avg). Georgia Tech’s defense is only allowing 136 rush ypg (4.5), but GT has allowed 2 KR TDs this year (22.7 avg allowed), so Spiller could be the difference-maker to vault Clemson into a BCS bowl.
Shane Vereen, Cal-Cal’s leading rusher Jahvid Best is still out for this game so Vereen maintains the starting role this week. Since taking over for the injured Best, Vereen has rushed for 352 yds (4.9) and 4 TDs in the last 2 games. This week Cal takes on a Washington team that is allowing 155 rush ypg (4.7) and my computer predicts that Cal will rush for 171 yards.
Dion Lewis, Pitt-Lewis is one of the top running backs in the nation and comes into this crucial game with 1,446 yds (5.8) and 13 TDs on the year. He has eight 100+ yd rushing games and outrushed WV’s Devine last week (155-134). A Pitt win knocks off 11-0 Cincinnati and puts the Panthers in a BCS bowl, so Wannstedt would be wise to ride Lewis to a Big East Title this week.
Daniel Porter, Louisiana Tech-Porter is closing in on back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as he enters the game with 933 yards (5.1 ypc). While Louisiana Tech is a very balanced offense (189 ypg passing, 179 ypg rushing), the Bulldogs like to run the ball, which bodes well for Porter as San Jose State is last in the WAC & #119 in the NCAA allowing 261 ypg on the ground. As if stopping the run hasn’t been difficult enough for the Spartans, the front four on the defensive line is riddled with holes because of injuries. Look for Porter to easily surpass the 1,000-yard plateau and for the Bulldogs to rack up their share of yards on the ground.
LaMichael James, Oregon-Hard to believe a player with 1,310 rush yds (6.9) and 11 TDs is #3 in the Pac-10 in rushing, but James certainly deserves mention in this blog. James has eight 100+ yd rushing games this year including the last 6 in a row. Oregon St is #1 in the Pac-10 in rush defense allowing just 98.5 ypg (3.5), so if James has another 100 yd game, that is a Win.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon St-Rodgers is just ahead of Oregon RB James (3 yds difference) in the Pac-10 rushing leaders with 1,313 yds (5.5), but has 19 rush TDs (8 more than James) and 67 receptions (6.5) also. This week they face-off in a must-win for both teams for the Rose Bowl. Quizz might have the edge in this head-to-head duel because Oregon’s defense is allowing 130.6 rush ypg (3.4) which is #5 in the Pac-10 compared to OSU’s D which is #1 in rush defense.
Tre’ Newton, Texas-This pick definitely counts as a surprise pick because he only has 477 rush yds (5.7) on the year with his only 100+ yd game last week versus rival Texas A&M (107, 1 TD). If Nebraska shuts down McCoy, the ground game will have to step it up, but the Huskers are only allowing 101 rush ypg (3.0), so any yards will be tough to come by and a big day by Newton will certainly be a surprise.
MY WRs of the WEEK (3 Selections): Carlton Mitchell, USF, Tim Brown/Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers, Jonathan Baldwin/TE Dorin Dickerson, Pitt
Carlton Mitchell, USF-Who?? Mitchell is 6’4” 212 lbs and is USF’s top receiver but has just 30 receptions for 563 yds (18.8) with 4 TDs on the year. Connecticut’s CBs are 6’0” and 5’9” so Mitchell definitely has the matchup edge and could have a big game this week.
Tim Brown/Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers-Brown is probably one of the least publicized 1,000 yd receivers in the NCAA and he leads the Big East in receiving ypg (95.5) with 8 TDs on the year. Brown has five 100+ yard receiving games this year and this week is looking for #6 versus a solid West Virginia defense. Mohamed Sanu is a WR/Wildcat QB who has 41 receptions (10.7) and 258 rush yds (7.2) with 4 TDs combined. WV ranks #29 in my pass defense rankings allowing 217 ypg with an 18-15 ratio but allowed 300+ yds to Connecticut and Auburn and 292 to Colorado and Rutgers is probably the strongest passing team they have faced all year.
Jonathan Baldwin/TE Dorin Dickerson, Pitt-This duo has been highly productive for Pitt with Baldwin grabbing 48 receptions (20.1) and 6 TDs and Dickerson has 45 receptions (11.3) and 10 TDs with seven 100+ receiving games between them. Cincy ranks #52 in my pass defense rankings allowing 212 ypg (61%) with an 11-14 ratio. I expect Pitt to come out full-force for this huge game and Baldwin and Dickerson will have to be productive for Pitt to clinch a BCS bid with a win over undefeated Cincy this week.
Jordan Shipley, Texas-In order for McCoy to have a big day, his #1 receiver must have a big day and Shipley comes in with 99 receptions for 1,292 yds and 11 TDs on the year. He is one of 3 finalists for the Biletnikoff Award which goes to the nation’s top receiver. With outstanding stats and accolades, some might not think this is a surprise pick, but as noted above, Texas is facing the #1 pass defense in the nation this week and a big day by Shipley should equal a big Win for the Longhorns.
James Rodgers, Oregon St-Rodgers leads the Pac-10 in receptions per game (7.0) and receiving ypg (78.6), but only has three 100+ yd receiving games this year. With his brother RB Jacquizz the team’s #2 receiver, the Rodgers will be counted on heavily if the Beavers hope to go to the Rose Bowl.
Damian Williams, USC-Williams is definitely on the NFL’s radar, but hasn’t had that many big games this year due to an injury and probably partially due to USC’s young QB Barkley. On the year he has 50 receptions for 770 yds (15.4) with 6 TDs with three 100+ yd receiving games. Arizona is allowing 209 pass ypg (57%) with a 17-11 ratio and has only allowed two 300+ yard passing games this year. Williams is a possible early entry to the NFL and will want to play well now that he is finally healthy.
Jermaine Kearse, Washington-Here’s a player that most people won’t know, but he has certainly had a solid season with 43 receptions for 719 yds (16.7) and 7 TDs. Kearse only has one 100+ yd receiving game this year, but has 5 TDs in the last 3 games. Cal ranks #58 in my pass defense rankings allowing 258 ypg (62%) with a 14-10 ratio, so Kearse could have just his 2nd 100+ yd receiving game this week.
MY DEFENSES of the WEEK (3 Selections): Texas, Louisiana Tech, and Florida
Texas vs Nebraska-With all of the talk about Nebraska’s fine defense, I’m going against the grain and picking Texas’ defense this week. Texas actually ranks ahead of Nebraska in total defense only allowing 263 ypg and in rush defense (62 ypg, 2.0!). My computer predicts Texas will hold Nebraska to just 199 total yards and 15 points which is well below the Huskers’ season averages of 335 ypg and 25.6 ppg.
Louisiana Tech vs San Jose St-Here’s a surprising defense for you as LT has allowed 373 ypg and 26 ppg on the year, but at home those averages fall to 309 ypg and 18 ppg. This week Tech takes on a struggling San Jose St team making the long road trip in Head Coach Tomey’s final game. My computer predicts that LT will hold the Spartans to just 7 pts and 210 total yards which would be their 2nd best defensive performance of the year (142 allowed vs New Mexico St).
Florida vs Alabama-This could shape up to be a defensive struggle and the Gators come in with my #1 defense (Alabama #2), but will go without DE Carlos Dunlap for this one (7 sacks) due to an arrest earlier this week. Florida is only allowing 233 total ypg and 10 ppg this year and just 235 ypg and 12 ppg in SEC play. Alabama is averaging 32 ppg and 407 ypg this year, but my computer predicts that Florida will hold them to just 16 points and 270 total yards. The Gators’ defense has carried the team most of the year, so expect another solid outing this week.
Boise State-The Broncos feature the WAC’s #1 scoring defense (18.6 ppg), total defense (308.7 ypg), pass defense (183.1 ypg), pass efficiency defense (105.4) and is #2 in the conference in rush defense (125.6 ypg). Those figures are also lofty enough to place Boise State in the Top-20 in the NCAA in total defense (#16), scoring defense (#17), pass efficiency defense (#17) & pass defense (#18). Looking across the line of scrimmage and staring into the eyes of the Broncos are the hapless New Mexico State Aggies - a team which holds the dubious honors as being the lowest scoring team in the NCAA (11.8 ppg) & rated dead last (#120) in the NCAA in total offense (232.5 ypg). What’s more, the Aggies’ passing offense is rated #117 in the nation at 91 ypg is only ahead of the three service academics - all of which run option-based offenses. Did I fail to mention that Boise has outscored NMSU a combined 107-0 (58-0 last time here in ‘07 & 49-0 in ‘08) and outgained them a combined 1,099-239 in the last two meetings?! This one is as big of a mismatch as there is on paper in the WAC, and with Boise still in need of impressing the pollsters; another shutout is potentially in order here.
UPSET OF THE WEEK: PITT over Cincinnati
This game will crown the Big East Champ and send the winner to a BCS bowl so the stakes are very high especially for undefeated #5 ranked Cincinnati. Cincy broke a 7 game win streak by Pitt in the series last year with their 28-21 win. Pitt may have been caught looking ahead to this game as they lost to West Virginia 19-16 on a 43 yd FG as time expired last week. With Cincy playing with BCS pressure and rumors circulating about Head Coach Kelly leaving to go to Notre Dame, Pitt will be the more focused team this week, and should claim their first BCS bid since ‘04.
A special thanks to our friends at CFFinsider.com for providing us with their Week 14 Rankings
CollegeFootballGeek.com will not have their Waiver Wire Report and Sneaky Plays for this week due to the limited number of games.