NCAA Mid-Season Report
I’ve conducted a list of my three top Pleasant Suprises, Dissapointments, and Wait-and-See Teams so far this season.
Top Three Dissapointments:
1) Texas A&M
To say that the two losses the Aggies surrendered so far this season were monumental collapses would be like saying Oregon’s football uniforms are just a tad showy. In week 3 Texas A&M led Oklahoma St. 20-3 at halftime, but a record-breaking performance by quarterback Brandon Weeden was enough to lead the #7 Cowboys in a come-from-behind victory. Déjà vu in Arlington…the very next week the Aggies once again blew an 18-point-lead as the Arkansas Razorbacks and yet another stellar second-half QB performance knocked off Texas A&M 42-38, thus handing Coach Sherman and A&M their second consecutive loss. Although they flat out dominated Robert Griffin and the Baylor Bears , I cannot see how this season can be considered a success for the Aggie faithful, after being ranked #8 in the pre-season top 25. The scary part is the worst has yet to come since the Aggs have to travel to play at ranked Kansas State and #1 Oklahoma; buckle up, Aggie fans…this might get ugly.
The tomahawk chop is a little less firm, the war chant a little less barbaric this season, as the Seminoles, who were at one point ranked #5, now have a losing record. In the game we all looked forward to, the top-ranked Sooners of Oklahoma traveled into Doak Campbell Stadium were they defeated the ‘Noles for the second time in two seasons. After fiercely competing with arguably the best team in the nation, Florida State was very much in the discussion but a week 4 win at Clemson was mandatory. In front of an utter electrifying crowd, the red-hot Tigers, sparked by freshman receiver Sammy Watkins handed FSU their second loss of the season, 35-30. The Seminoles were handed their third loss in a row during a very sloppy game at Wake Forest, which solidifies the fact that this season is no doubt a disappointment.
No matter how young, inexperienced or untalented the Texas football team is, whenever the Longhorns get
beat,abused,spanked,whipped,manhandled by nearly 40 points against arch-rival Oklahoma, consider the season a disappointment. The Red River Rivalry, as the game is referred to, publicly put on display in front of thousands of viewers nation-wide, the inability of Texas to even compete with Oklahoma. To add insult to injury, the Oklahoma State Cowboys put a beating on the Longhorns a week later, for once again the whole nation to see. With absolutely no passing game and a mediocre-at-best rushing attack, I can’t see Texas winning more than three of their remaining six games, which include Kansas St., Texas A&M, and Baylor. Embarrassing play results in a disappointing season for those who dawn the burnt orange.
Top Three Pleasant Suprises:
Did you know that the Clemson Tigers weren’t ranked in the preseason top 25 poll? Not only were they not ranked before the season started but it three weeks for Dabo Swinney and his team just to be ranked 21st. Fast forward to today, where Clemson sits at #8 and carries victories over ranked #21 Auburn, #11 Florida State and #11 Virginia Tech. Clemson’s success has been sparked by phenomenal play from freshman receiver Sammy Watkins who boasts nearly 50 receptions and has tallied up 8 TDs, and solid play from QB Tajh Boyd who has already thrown over 2,000 yards and has just about 20 touchdowns. The Tigers will be tested on the road against Georgia Tech and South Carolina but victories over these two teams will add to the already hyped BCS talk surrounding Clemson Football. Not to shabby for a team unranked entering the season.
For a team that wasn’t even in the discussion in the offseason, I’d say the Wildcats are sitting pretty at #17, boasting an unbeaten record of 6-0. 72-year-old head coach Bill Snyder and company have caught the attention of college football fans nation-wide with victories over Miami, Missouri, and a 15th ranked Baylor. Although they work cut out for them with games against #1Oklahoma, #6 Oklahoma St., and #21Texas A&M over the next three weeks, K-State unbeaten this far is a pleasant surprise…who knows, 72 years of knowledge may give the Wildcats a chance for a monumental upset!
With a chance to knock of the #7 ranked Stanford thus claiming a share atop the Pac-12 standings, I’m sure coach Steve Sarkisian has no problem of where his team is at this point. To think that senior quarterback Jake Locker’s shoes would be filled with ease when he left for the NFL would’ve been an outrageous comment a few months ago, but the play of sophomore QB Keith Price is making his mentor’s role seem pedestrian. Price has thrown more than 20 TDs this season so far and has led the Huskies to a 5-1 record thus far. Although they have a tough road ahead, the Huskies have definitely been a Pleasant Surprise this year.
Top Three Wait-and-See Teams:
All I need is a mascot head to complete the part, but I’ll try: No so fast my friends! Even when they were ranked absurdly at #12, I preached of how overrated the Gators were. Will Muschamp and his squad have been spanked by SEC opponents: Alabama, LSU and Auburn, three weeks in a row and I honestly don’t see it getting any better. The offense has tons of playmakers and infinite athleticism, but as the gator fans are witnessing, Charlie Weis’s complex offense takes time to master. Without senior John Brantley under center, the Gators looked absolutely baffled as far as producing a consistent offense goes. With games remaining against Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina, let’s wait and see… the Gators crumble.
The Irish’s stressful opening two weeks were put on display on the national stage with images of a purple-faced Brian Kelly, an upset loss to USF, and a dramatic defeat in Anne Arbour. Since their week 2 loss against Michigan, the Irish have looked like a completely different team. Led by a high powered offense that; for the first time in a long time, has a solid rushing attack as well as a potent passing game, the Irish look to defeat arch-rival USC this weekend in South Bend as they continue to dig themselves out of the early-season hole. The Irish have corrected an early disastrous turnover problem and continue to imporve as the season goes on. Barring no upset losses, look for the season finale at Stanford to be a high-scoring clash where all of college football will be able to see the true Notre Dame Football team.
The only thing keeping the Wolverines from my Pleasant Surprises list is a loss in East Lancing against the Spartans yesterday. First year head coach Brady Hoke and the Wolverines were undefeated and ranked #11 entering yesterday’s game against rival Michigan St. but now look a bit rattled as their offense was proven to be one dimensional, relying solely on the athletic ability of quarterback Denard Robinson. The Spartans showed the nation that a well disciplined defense will make Robinson and the Michigan offense no more than a bunch of backyard football. Although a dramatic win under the lights against Notre Dame put a start to the Brady Hoke era and added to the ‘Shoelace’ legend, road games against Iowa and an improved Illinois, and games at home against a high-powered Nebraska squad and arch-rival Ohio State can really taint this season. Let’s Wait and See if the Wolverines led by #16 under center can close out the stretch in hopes of landing a glamorous bowl bid.