Regular Season Round Up

With the regular season complete now we have a better idea about every team and their faith. Now I’m going to have a look back over the events of the last couple of weeks and if you are looking for any news regarding coaching changes I’ll have another article up in the next couple of days.

    • Ohio State quite predictably beat Michigan easily in “The Game” 42-28 behind 3TDs from Heismann candidate JT Barrett and two more from sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliot and moved up to number 5 in the playoff rankings with Mississippi State losing to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. The win also stopped Michigan from becoming bowl eligible which is also a perk and almost certainly ended Brady Hoke’s reign as Michigan. It came at a cost though as JT Barrett broke his ankle in the 4th quarter and was carted off the field. Barrett will be out for the rest of the year after making massive improvements and becoming a possible Heismann finalist. Barrett’s blow was a massive one as he had just broken the B1G 10 record for touchdowns in a season by a freshman and particularly when they were facing high powered Wisconsin team that knows how to run up the score behind All American RB Melvin Gordon and the Nation’s top defence statistically heading into the game.


Cardale Jones with the B1G10 trophy after stepping in to lead the Buckeyes

    • Book your tickets for the Sugar Bowl because the Buckeyes are playoff bound. Ranked #5 heading in to the final weekend, the Buckeyes jumped TCU after annihilating Wisconsin in the B1G10 championship game 59-0. What made that even more impressive was the fact that they did this with 3rd string QB Cardale Jones starting in his first game and by holding the nation’s top back Melvin Gordon to only 79 yards. Cardale Jones finished 12-17 and two yards which is quite impressive for his first start against what was statistically the nation’s top defence coming into the game. This allowed the Playoff Selection Committee to put the Buckeyes in at the expense of the Horned Frogs but it most have been seriously uncomfortable for Wisconsin AD and Selection Committee member Barry Alvarez to have to see his own team lay an egg like that while watching with the other members.

    • Barrett’s injury makes next year’s QB competition all the more complicated as it would be a lot easier to start Braxton Miller if JT Barrett isn’t fully right but do you really want to stop the growth of a RS Freshman who had 43 TDs in his first season? There’s going to be a lot of speculation in Columbus and Urban Meyer has some tough decisions to make for next season. Cordale Jones performing well in the B1G10 championship game doesn’t help either but unless Jones went all the way and lead the Buckeyes to the National Championship, it would be difficult to see him being able to compete for the starting job.

    • Wisconsin really got kicked on the ground with Gary Anderson’s leaving Madison to take up the vacant Oregon State job. So for the second time in three years Wisconsin has had a coach leave for a similar if not lesser jobs in another Power Five conferences and left AD Barry Alvarez to step in and coach the team in a bowl game. At this you would have to wonder if Alvarez is part of the problem in Wisconsin. Alvarez as the former Badgers coach probably wants a big say in how the team plays and this kind of meddling has probably been a big part of why first Brett Bilema and then Gary Anderson left for other jobs.

    • The irony of the BIG12’s being left out of the Playoff because of a lack of a championship game and no way of separating Baylor and TCU and it’s motto of “One True Champion” is just unbelievably cruel. Without the conference choosing one way or another like it would have had to in the BCS days it would been very harsh for the Committee to choose one team over another and this no doubt helped Ohio State’s cause. I had to choose one over the other I would probably have gone with Baylor over TCU because of the head to head because the only true way of comparing teams is to have them play each other and when it came to the crunch TCU couldn’t get the job done.

    • It might be harsh and ironic but it does definitely strengthen the argument for having an eight team playoff. ESPN insists that the four team playoff is here for the next 5 years until this current television deal is up but surely if ESPN was told it would get the rights again it would be considerably more flexible and willing. If the move to an eight team playoff was made then this is how I think it should be done, a team from each of the Power 5 conferences, the top ranked Group of 5 and two wildcards up for grabs. That’s not to say that the Playoff Committee’s role is redundant. The matchups would still be decided by wear teams are ranked and there is no guarantee that a conference champion would be ranked ahead of a wildcard team. Location wise all six of the New Year’s six bowls would get a quarter/semi final and the final could be rotated on a six year cycle or they could bring in another bowl like the Alamo, Citrus, Outback or Sun and implement a seven year rotation.

    • What could have been a really special year for football in the state of Mississippi really fade as the season wound up. Only a few short weeks ago we had Ole Miss and Miss State at #1 and #2 in the polls but then every thing went astray. The epitome of this was this all was the Egg Bowl that was supposed to decide which team got to go the Playoff but instead it only decided nothing but the rankings. Ole Miss won back the Golden Egg trophy with a 31-17 win over the Bulldogs but didn’t make any real difference as both ended making good bowls anyway with Ole Miss playing TCU in the Chick-Fil-A/Peach Bowl and Miss State playing Georgia Tech playing in the Orange Bowl. That’s not to say that it was a disappointing season for either school but when it promised so much more it really is a bit anticlimactic.


Amari Cooper on his way to 224 yards in a win in in the Iron Bowl.

  • Alabama managed to outlast Auburn in a shootout in the highest score in the Iron Bowl 55-44 to win the SEC West and head to Atlanta to play Missouri. This looked like a typical low scoring Iron Bowl at the half with Auburn winning 16-14 but both offenses exploded in the second half with 59 points between them. Really it was a story of two receivers with the Tide’s Amari Cooper hauling in 13 catches for 224 yards while on the other side the Tigers’ Sammy Coates had 5 catches for 206 yards. Cooper is clearly the best receiver in the country and rightfully won the Biletnikoff while also finishing 3rd in Heismann voting. Auburn proved they were “a team that can pass it but choose not to” rather than a team who just can’t pass it with Nick Marshall having a school record 456 yards but ultimately came up short. In a win that is far the typical Alabama we have seen over the last couple of years and may have more to do with Lane Kiffin being in charge of the offense. The Tide followed up that up with a win in the SEC Championship game against Mizzou 42-21 to cement their place at the top of the Committee’s rankings.

  • With Florida State’s wins over Florida and Georgia Tech and Marshall’s loss to Western Kentucky, the Seminoles are now the only undefeated team in the country and their reward is #3 ranking in the playoffs which is kind of head scratching. I know they have blown anyone out and possibly their most impressive win is against a five loss Notre Dame team or a real good but not great Louisville but they’ve got the job done every single week and there’s a lot to be said about that. Oregon is ranked ahead of them but got beat by an Arizona team at home that has no real business being 9-3 and Alabama by a three loss Ole Miss team and yet is still number one? They haven’t been great and people will questions the 4 INTs thrown by Jameis Winston against Florida but they got the job done and that’s the bottom line. You really have to wonder are others factors such as the off the field behaviour of certain players playing a part in how the committee view Florida State. Winning against a top 15 team in the ACC championship game didn’t help boost their ranking either for some reason. Until Florida State loses it should be #1. End of story.

  • Everything almost came together for Georgia Tech this year with Duke’s collapse and their win in the Governor’s cup over instate rivals Georgia. Duke seemingly had a nice easy route to Charlotte to play in the ACC Championship game against Florida State but a loss the week before last to North Carolina in a game that usually only holds weight in Basketball meant that Georgia Tech won out the Coastal division would be theirs. Win out they did with an impressive win against #9 Georgia in Athens snapping a 13 year losing streak and securing at the very least an Orange Bowl appearance. With only a week to prepare for their Triple Option offense Georgia Tech gave Florida State major problems as well but ultimately fell just short, losing 37-35 in the end but still having the consolation of going to the Orange bowl.


    Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer celebrates the score at the end of regulation

  • 0-0 that was the score at the end of regulation between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and the worst part was that Frank Beamer looked happy at the end of regulation. Eventually after double overtime Wake Forest “won” 6-3 with Virginia Tech missing a 35 yard in the second overtime. It was the first time in 9 years that it happened with the last case being between Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic back in 2005. In the game both teams managed to string together punts on 5 straight drives. Although both offenses were absolutely it’s still kind of impressive that not a single point could be scored in 60 minutes of play.
  • Competition for the access bowl spot for Group of Five teams was all but gone with both Marshall and Colorado State losing. Marshall lost a 67-66 shootout against Western Kentucky to ruin their perfect season and to lose out on the chances to make it to a New Year’s day Bowl while Colorado State got beaten by Air Force. That meant that after Boise State beat Fresno they were guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Bowl for the third time in the last number of years.

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Anxious apprehension and a hell of a lot excitement

Today marks Johnny Manziel’s first start at Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and I must say I’m a bit nervous about the whole thing. That’s not to say that I’m not excited to see Manziel’s and his big play ability and I really hope he does well. From what I saw against Buffalo there was more good than bad with Manziel showing a surprising amount of poise and be able to gain a few yards on the ground when all options are closed. This is going to be critical in the Redzone with the Browns cutting Kicker Billy Cundiff and signing former New Orleans Kicker Garrett Hartley his place after Cundiff missed a field goal in each of the last five games. Cundiff who was a Pro bowler in 2010 but may have difficulty finding another job after being so inaccurate of late and with his age. Hartley made 82% of attempts with the Saints but may have difficulty transitioning to the blustery Lake Erie weather after playing in a dome. The plus with Manziel over Hoyer is the movement I that opens up the read option game and allow s some plays when nobodys open.
Manziel in preseason against the Lions

On the other side of the coin you can’t forget the Tuck rule/Touchdown fumble that happened in the last minute of the game. On a miscommunication between Manziel and centre Ryan Seymour in both their first starts Manziel recovered the ball but fumbled it after a hit by Kyle Williams which should have been ruled a Touchdown but got reversed and was ruled an incomplete pass. I don’t mind admitting that it was a TD, the bit that bothers me is the holding on to the ball part. The play is busted and the thing to do is to throw the ball away and live to see another down. You can’t always try and make the big play happen every time and he’ll need to learn that and quickly.

I hope Manziel will do well but I’m not quite solid on him yet.