Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 8 Under Review

Week 8, as it turns out, was separation Saturday. There were several top 10 teams falling, and several teams staking their place in their respective conference races (Missouri, UCF). Let's take a look at the week that was...

The Game That Was Never Played
The situation at Grambling State is worsening by the day, and if Eddie Robinson turns any faster in his grave, he'll dig himself right out into open air. There were player protests all week long, and meetings with President Pogue and others ended up collapsing into chaos. Interim coach George Ragsdale was fired, and Dirt Winston was hired as the interim coach, meaning that Grambling has had three coaches since last month. terrible relationship between the coach and his superiors.
The players have cited many complaints in their quest, such as the firing of Doug Williams, facility issues, and overall locker room conditions that they claim have led to several cases of staph infection. They also cite long bus rides to Indianapolis and Kansas City for (useless) neutral site games. In short order, and I agree with this assessment, the Tiger players have been treated like cattle at best, and they are tired of getting treated as such, when football is always the money making cash cow for any program. In a rare move, I am siding with the players in this complaint, as it looks as if the administration is completely to blame.
Doug Williams wanted to raise funds to improve conditions, and he had a plan. The Problem? It differed from the plan of campus leadership, widening an already disastrous relationship with the administration. Williams' idea, by the way, was much better.
It would seem to me that President Pogue would take any and all ideas not only to save the football program, but to save his school, which has seen budget slashes taking the school from approximately 36 million dollars down to around 13 million, for the entire university.
The argument has been spelled out by detractors that the players shouldn't complain when they are getting a free college education, but how quality is the education they are getting at Grambling when professors are asked to teach additional courses beyond their course load for a semester, and often these classes are outside of their specialties? To me, it becomes a matter of the blind leading the blind, especially when a high number of professors in America are already more worried about tenure than actually teaching.
In short, the protest dragged on to the point that when the buses showed up to drive the Grambling players to Jackson, Mississippi for their weekly game against Jackson State, the players were nowhere to be found. Those buses left empty, and the game, which was JSU's homecoming, was cancelled. Of course when you cancel any game, both schools suffer financially, no matter what they may say publically. When that starts happening, pressure will mount, and heat will rise.
In closing, I call for the resignation of President Pogue, as these conditions have now made it perfectly clear that he has lost control over a large segment of his institution, and he has shown me amongst others that he no longer has the ability to not only control the situation, but make it any better. Without huge changes, not only will the Grambling football program cease to exist, but the school itself may as well. Pogue's resignation is a must at this point.

Now for a look back at the week...


Bowl Eligible: Louisville

Winners: UCF, Cincinnati, Temple
UCF came back from 21 down to beat Louisville 38-35. With the win the Knights have gotten into position to take the AAC, but still must face down Houston, who lost out of conference yesterday. Cincinnati stayed alive in a blowout win over UConn, but they have not shown any consistency all season, so it's hard to see where they could fall in a spoiler role, which is where they are right now. Temple head coach Matt Ruhle got his first win for Temple in their 33-14 win over Army at home.

Losers: Louisville, SMU, Memphis, UConn, Houston
Louisville had their shot lined up to compete for a national title spot, and lost it, along with Heisman candidacy for Teddy Bridgewater in a loss to UCF. SMU may have beaten Memphis for just their second win, but they damn near blew a 31-3 lead, being outscored 26-3 after the half. Memphis never should have fallen behind like they did, so even with the massive comeback attempt, they still fall as losers this week. UConn looked horrible once again, and one more loss takes them out of range for bowl consideration, but let's face it, the dream is dead. Houston got into a shooting match and fell short against BYU in Provo, but they do stay unbeaten in AAC play.


Bowl Eligible: Florida State, Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech

Winners: Miami, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, Florida State
Miami had a rough game at UNC, and injuries cut deeply, but the Canes persevered, and survive as an unbeaten team into week 9. The bigger win came by Florida State, who's 51-14 thrashing of Clemson made the Noles not only the clear favorite in the ACC, but puts them right in line for a shot at a national title. Make no mistake, FSU is back. Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Duke all picked up must win victories, keeping them in line for bowl births.

Losers: North Carolina, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Clemson
UNC is falling apart this season, and they completely blew it against Miami, as they had the game within their grasp. Syracuse is fading fast with a 56-0 loss to Georgia Tech, and Virginia is joining them after getting hammered at home by Duke. Maryland, after a surprising fast start, has now lost three straight, starting with that conference opening thrashing by Florida State. Pitt won, but struggled, trailing 10-0 to Old Dominion in the first quarter of play.

Big 12

Bowl Eligible: Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma

Winners: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor
OSU is still plugging away quietly, but there is no mistake that something has been missing from this team this season, as the offense has been chugging along at a well below average pace for the Cowboys. Texas Tech struggled against a weak WVU team, but Morgantown is still a pit to play in. None of the Tech coaches had ever visited Morgantown before, so experience with the place was lacking. That said, Tech is now 7-0, and is quietly hanging around in what could be a messy championship picture. Baylor is back into 70 point land yet again, destroying ISU 71-7. Oh, the Bears are also ranked at their highest point in 33 years.

Losers: TCU, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa State
TCU is just not getting it done this fall, but everyone has to rebuild sometime. WVU had Texas Tech playing scared, but ran out of gas in the 4th quarter and grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. Oklahoma beat Kansas, but struggled in the first half. They may have been looking ahead to Texas Tech, but they showed many deficiencies that remained from their loss to Texas in week 7. Kansas, although gutsy, is just a mess, James Sims not included. Iowa Sate gave up more points than they have in a very long time, and their season is just about done.

Big 10

Bowl Eligible: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State

Bowl Ineligible: Penn State

Winners: Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Minnesota got a huge road win against Northwestern, keeping their bowl hopes alive, and also winning a game without head coach Jerry Kill, who is still on a leave of absence. Minnesota may be ok, but they will have to beat someone from the upper echelon eventually. Ohio State got the scare of the year from Iowa at home, but the Buckeyes held strong, and stayed unbeaten. Wisconsin rolled on the road against an inconsistent and sloppy Illinois team.

Losers: Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana
Two winners make the losers list this week in the Big 10 in both Michigan State and Michigan. For the Wolverines, they won by scoring 63 points, but gave up a whopping 47 to Indiana. Indiana had this game within 2 heading into the 4th, but may have the worst defense in the nation. Michigan State was favored by 27.5 over Purdue (look at my picks this week, I told you Purdue would cover that) and barely managed to score 14 points in the entire game in a 14-0 win. Give Purdue credit, but their offense sucks. Northwestern is sinking like a stone, and has now lost 3 straight after starting 4-0. Iowa is sinking as well, giving up a prime opportunity to get a huge win at Ohio State. Illinois is just all over the place, and could be a year or two away from playing for a quality bowl.

Conference USA

Bowl Eligible: None

Winners: East Carolina, North Texas, Rice
The winners were clear this week, with all three of the above mentioned programs winning in double digits. East Carolina got a huge bounce back rout over USM, while North Texas made a move towards a bowl appearance with a win over Louisiana Tech, ruining Tech's homecoming. Rice was a clear winner (45-19) over New Mexico State, making NMSU, an Independent, officially ineligible for a bowl in 2013.

Losers: Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech
Southern Miss is now a loser of 18 straight games, and one win away from becoming officially bowl ineligible. Tech got pounded 28-13 on Homecoming. Nothing to analyze here, it just is what it is.


Bowl Eligible: None

Bowl Ineligible: New Mexico State

Winners: BYU
BYU won another shootout, and Taysom Hill showed his potential on the ground again. This was a big win over the previously unbeaten Houston Cougars, and keeps BYU in line for their annual trip to the Poinsettia Bowl.

Losers: Army, Navy, Notre Dame, New Mexico State
Notre Dame loses by winning this week, as they struggled to get by USC 14-10. Seriously, this was a chance to lay down the wood on the Trojans, and the Irish just barely showed up. Army got rolled by previously winless Temple, so they are just sucking huge right now. Navy can't stop a top tier running back, and Toledo ran all over the Middies in the OT win 45-44. NMSU is now 0-7, and may finish winless. NMSU fans still seem to doubt my call on Doug Martin being a short timer coach in Las Crucas. Yes, I read your fan message boards from time to time...


Bowl Eligible: Ball State, Northern Illinois

Bowl Ineligible: Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio)

Winners: Toledo, Akron, Ohio, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Buffalo
Toledo stayed alive as far as bowl hopes are concerned, but they still need to pick up some wins in MAC action to stay alive overall. It's been a struggle at times, and this week was no different as the Rockets had to go to OT to beat Navy in a 45-44 shootout. Ohio bounced back from a terrible loss to CMU last week, beating Eastern Michigan to hang on in the conference race. Ball State and Northern Illinois both picked up solid conference wins and are setting the pace in the conference, but both are in the same division, so it's going to come down to a game that won't be in the title tilt that may set up who wins the MAC. NIU's Jordan Lynch had an ok passing game, but he rushed for over 300 yards in the win and scored 4 TDs on the day in the win over C. Michigan. Buffalo is tied with Bowling Green in the East, and could play a major spoiler roll, as they are as hot as any team in the country right now.

Losers: Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Kent State, Central Michigan, UMass
With their latest losses, UMass and Miami have now officially fallen off of the bowl radar. Miami stayed winless in their loss to Akron, while UMass comes off of beating Miami by falling to Buffalo 32-3 to keep the Bulls streaking. EMU and WMU are just a combined 1-14 this season overall. Kent State fell apart once again, and lost to an upstart South Alabama program in non-league action.

Mountain West

Bowl Eligible: Fresno State

Winners: Colorado State, Boise State, Utah State, Fresno State
Colorado State won their rivalry game over Wyoming, and they even their mark in conference play. The season may not be done for the Rams just yet, even at 3-4. Boise State stayed even at the top of their division, beating Nevada 34-17. I still see Boise State as the clear winner of the division when we get to the end of the season. Utah State will challenge BSU, and they got a much needed bounce back win over New Mexico on the road 45-10. The Aggies may be finding their way without Chuckie Keeton, but they have to find someone to lead soon. Fresno State is still unbeaten, and made themselves officially bowl eligible by cruising past UNLV 38-14 at home. The Bulldogs are trying to crack into the BCS bowls, and they are still alive in that goal.

Losers: Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, UNLV
Wyoming is starting to show some major flaws, and getting crushed by CSU was not a good place to find themselves heading into the crunch time part of the season. Nevada is in a rebuilding period that may last a couple seasons. New Mexico is definitely better now than they were under Mike Locksley, but they are nowhere near competitive yet. UNLV has not beaten an FBS team with a winning record this season, and lost once again to a team with a winning record in Fresno State, snapping a 4 game winning streak by the Rebels.


Bowl Eligible: Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford

Winners: Colorado, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State
Colorado needed a win, and playing an FCS program general makes that happen, but it's very weak to schedule this type of game so late in the season. That being said, Charleston Southern is in the midst of their best season ever, and was ranked in our FCS top ten last week. Stanford got  huge win over UCLA, and keeps pace a game back from Oregon. The win wasn't pretty, but it was a must. Arizona State's blowout win over Washington put the Sun Devils into first place in the South division, a half game now over UCLA. Arizona got their first win in conference play over a Utah team that had beaten Stanford last week. Oregon and Oregon State cruised, and Oregon State is unbeaten since losing to FCS Eastern Washington in the season opener, and is tied atop the North with Oregon. The Civil War stands to be a great game this fall.

Losers: UCLA, Washington, USC, Utah, Washington State, California
UCLA's loss was costly, but by no means are they out of the race to the conference title game. The Bruins, however looked terrible throughout the 24-10 loss to Stanford, and nobody on the field looked worse than Brett Hundley. Hundley saw not only the end of the Bruins run to a dark horse national title contention, but also saw his Hiesman candidacy vanish in a single day. Washington is falling fast in the North race, and Keith Price is just not right this season. USC saw yet another inept offensive performance against their arch rival Notre Dame. Utah bounced back from a win over Stanford to get beaten on a late 4th quarter run by Arizona on the road. Washington State fell hard to Oregon, but they're definitely improving under Mike Leach by leaps and bounds, and a bowl is still within reach for the Cougars. Cal is toast, and will be working towards next year moving forward.


Bowl Eligible: Missouri, Alabama, Auburn, LSU

Winners: Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Missouri, Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama
Missouri is now on a crash course with Alabama for the SEC title game, with a little help from their friends at Vandy and Tennessee this weekend. The Tigers remain unbeaten, and have a wide lead in the East after Vandy knocked Georgia out of the race in the east, and Tennessee hit a game ending FG to beat South Carolina. Those were huge wins for the Commodores and Volunteers, but they were bigger for the Tigers, who crushed Florida behind Maty Mauk at home. Auburn came from bhind late to knock Texas A&M out of the West race, and stay in the race themselves. What a difference a year makes out on the plains under Gus Malzahn. Alabama is still the undisputed favorite after crushing Arkansas 52-0. Ole Miss stayed alive, but they really are on the fringe, but beating LSU is always sweet for the Rebels, and it was in fine, game ending fashion with a late FG for a 27-24 win.

Losers: Georgia, South Carolina, Florida. Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas
Oh the Georgia Bulldogs are in trouble, and the haters will be out for Mark Richt's job after consecutive SEC losses, this time to Vanderbilt, where UGA blew a 24-14 lead. South Carolina also finds themselves out of the SEC race for now, after starting the season in the top ten nationally, and again, it came to a game ending FG, where Tennessee stole the 23-21 win. Florida is dead in the water, and may be lucky to finish the season at .500 after what I saw in the loss to Missouri. Texas A&M has proven that even with Johnny Manziel at QB, you still have to play defense. The Aggies fell to Auburn 45-41, and traded leads several times with the Tigers. LSU has also fallen out of the race in the west, handing the division to Alabama, as they too lost on a last second FG by Ole Miss. Arkansas has been dead for weeks now, and Bret Bielema must be starting to wonder why he left Wisconsin.

Sun Belt

Bowl Eligible None

Bowl Ineligible: Georgia State

Winners: UL-Lafayette, South Alabama, Texas State
ULL went on the road and trashed Western Kentucky, giving the Cajuns a half game lead in the Sun Belt race. South Alabama got a win out of conference, and the rapidly inproving Jaguars are 3-3 on the season, and are only one game out of the lead. Texas State had to grind out a 24-17 win over winless GSU, getting their first SBC win, and keeping the Panthers winless.

Losers: Western Kentucky, Georgia State
The Toppers had an opportunity to win at home, and make some noise in the SBC race, but fell flat, losing by 17 to ULL. WKU is now 1-2 in conference play under Bobby Petrino. Georgia State is now 0-7 after falling to Texas State in a game that was actually within their reach.

Coming up next, FBS and FCS PRS Rankings...

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