Blog by College Football Analyst Marty Jenkins
1. Alabama- Prior to every season beginning, I take the field over the Tide. You would have thought that I would have learned my lesson by now. LSU put up a fight for two quarters but the Tide just wore them down. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron tossed three touchdowns as Alabama ran away from the Tigers 38 to 17 in Tuscaloosa. Running back T.J. Yeldon had a big day on the ground accounting for 133 yards and two scores. LSU had two turnovers in the contest while Bama’ had none. One of the turnovers was very costly as LSU running back J.C. Copeland was a couple feet away from making it a 7-0 game before coughing it up. The Tigers came into the game averaging 185 yards a game, but ran for only 43 on Saturday. The Tide should have no issues this weekend at Mississippi State. I don’t see them losing again in the regular season or SEC Title game. They will likely face Florida State in what could be a very intriguing National Championship game.
2. Florida State- FSU put on a show in Winston-Salem as they crushed Wake Forest a 59 to 3 Saturday. Quarterback Jameis Winston continued to do his thing w a couple of touchdowns. The freshman is currently the frontrunner in the Heisman race. The Noles’ defense was nasty as they forced seven turnovers and held the Demon Deacons to only 166 yards. FSU has Syracuse, Idaho, Florida, and the Coastal winner left on their schedule. Start booking your trip to Pasadena FSU fans.
3. Stanford- If it wasn’t for that darn slipup at Utah than the Cardinal would be sitting at number two. However, they are still in a good spot after taking down the Ducks 26 to 20 Thursday night. Oregon had a great fourth quarter but they dug themselves too big of a hole after falling behind 26 to 0. The Cardinal defense forced two turnovers and held the potent Oregon offense to 312 total yards. The Ducks also had several penalties and were only 3 for 10 on third downs. It was the second straight year the Cardinal punched Oregon in the mouth and the Ducks didn’t respond. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota fell behind in the Heisman race with a crucial turnover and a quarterback rating of 46.5. Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney had a huge day on the ground with 157 yards and a score. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Stanford if FSU or Alabama loses. Will Stanford get the nod at number two or will it be the Buckeyes? OSU probably has the slight edge because of name recognition. I don’t agree with that. Stanford will have six top 25 wins and the Buckeyes will have two (#22 Wisconsin, and whatever Michigan State is ranked at the time of the Big Ten Championship). Six wins vs. two in a down Big Ten…and I stress the word ‘down’.
4.Ohio State- The Buckeyes had the week off as they kicked up their feet and rooted for LSU, Wake Forest, and Stanford. They now head to Champaign to take on a terrible Illini squad. After they take care of business against Illinois, they take on Indiana and Michigan. They should win both of those as well. The question is can Michigan State or Nebraska give them an issue in the Big Ten title game. Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the land. However, they won’t be able to score enough to hang with a Buckeyes bunch that clearly has a lot more talent than the Spartans do. For the next several weeks Buckeyes fans will be rooting HARD for whoever plays the Tide and Seminoles.
5. Baylor- All year long we’ve heard about how Baylor hasn’t beaten anyone worth a darn. That changed Thursday as they thumped the Sooners in Waco 41 to 12. Bears quarterback Bryce Petty helped his Heisman cause with five touchdowns and 249 all-purpose yards. Running backs Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk left the game with injuries and in stepped Shock Linwood who ran for 182 yards. Talk about making the most out of an opportunity. Oklahoma turned it over twice and had only 237 yards against a much improved Baylor defense. The victory did come at a cost though as leading receiver Tevin Reese was lost for the year with a dislocated right wrist. Reese was second on the team in receiving yards with 824. He also had eight touchdowns. It is a big blow for a Baylor offense that is first in the land in points per game (61) and third in passing yards per contest (391). They still have several good receivers on the squad. However, losing a weapon like Reese is going to hurt them in terms of running the table. They should still win at home this weekend vs. Texas Tech, but it going to be difficult without him to go 3-0 down the stretch vs. Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech. They still have somewhat of a chance to go 12-0 but it’s unlikely. I would like to see it though, because they are really fun to watch. Head coach Art Briles is doing a terrific job in Waco.
6. Oregon- they wet the bed for the second straight year against the Cardinal. They can’t play smash mouth football. I like watching them play, but they can’t score against a great defense and their defense can’t make stops when they need to in big games. They still have the slimmest of chances of getting to the BCS title game this year… and, I mean slim.
7. Auburn- The Tigers are laying in the weeds with a 9-1 record and a number seven spot in the BCS standings. They are quietly putting together a great campaign. Their only blemish was a two touchdown road loss in Baton Rouge. Auburn has a good defense and they run the ball very well. Are they good enough to hang around in the Iron Bowl this year?
8.Missouri- The Tigers had no issues in Lexington as they blew out Kentucky 48 to 17 behind four touchdown tosses from Maty Mauk. Four of those touchdowns were to stud receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Mauk has been very good since starter James Franklin went down with an injury. It appears as if Mauk’s time this year may be over though as Franklin is set to start in two weeks at Ole Miss. The Tigers control their destiny in a wacky SEC East. The question is can they win their last two and get to Atlanta. It’s going to be tough in Oxford and then they come home for an even tougher game vs. Johnny Football and A&M. I think Mizzou splits those. It will be very interesting to see how those two games play out.
9. Clemson- The Tigers are coming off a bye week and now get ready for a home tilt vs. Georgia Tech. They then host Citadel and finish the season off at South Carolina. They have a solid shot at finishing 11-1, but they won’t go to the ACC title game because of FSU.
10. Texas A&M- Johnny Manziel’s Heisman stock may have taken a slight plunge as he tossed three picks in a win over Mississippi State. However, he did have five touchdown tosses and 493 total yards. Boy, that A&M defense is really bad. They gave up 556 yards to the Bulldogs. It’s a good thing A&M’s offense is so potent. It will be very interesting to see how Manziel and the Aggies fare in their last two games of the year (at LSU and at Mizzou).