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Time to go again. This is Year Two of the four team playoff format.

Is the Big 10 on the way up? Are they the most likely conference to get two teams in the playoff? Does Ohio State repeat?

Will either of the SEC or PAC 12, due to competition, get shut out of the playoff? Will a two loss SEC champ get in?

Which will be the surprise breakout team?

As always, this is the most fun and compelling regular season sport. The regular season matters more in CFB than any other sport, and this is part of its charm. It is only two weeks away.
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Here we go again. 19 days until Oregon kicks off their season against Eastern Washington University (EWU). The Ducks have a QB controversy. The former QB for FCS powerhouse EWU Vernon Adams used the graduate transfer rule to enroll for his last year as an undergrad at Oregon. Jeff Lockie has been QB in waiting for three years behind Mariota. This one will be interesting. Who starts September 5 against EWU? Probably Lockie. The big question is who starts September 12 in East Lansing against Michigan State? This will be a huge game for each team just as it was last year. I like to see out of conference big games like this.
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Originally posted by Redhawk:
Yes, Oregon at MSU will be huge. I believe my Spartans will be a better team this time around. How about the Ducks?


Ducks will be better in all phases except QB. WE will be good at QB but how do you replace Marcus Mariota? I think this game will be big and pretty even but the Spartans do have the home field advantage.
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Originally posted by Pippin:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
Yes, Oregon at MSU will be huge. I believe my Spartans will be a better team this time around. How about the Ducks?


Ducks will be better in all phases except QB. WE will be good at QB but how do you replace Marcus Mariota? I think this game will be big and pretty even but the Spartans do have the home field advantage.


I thought the Ducks had to replace some quality guys on the O-line? You think the line will be better? Mariota pretty much put Oregon on his back in the 4th Q last year to put the game away. He had my Heisman vote right there. As you say, that can't be replaced.
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
quote:
Originally posted by Pippin:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
Yes, Oregon at MSU will be huge. I believe my Spartans will be a better team this time around. How about the Ducks?


Ducks will be better in all phases except QB. WE will be good at QB but how do you replace Marcus Mariota? I think this game will be big and pretty even but the Spartans do have the home field advantage.


I thought the Ducks had to replace some quality guys on the O-line? You think the line will be better? Mariota pretty much put Oregon on his back in the 4th Q last year to put the game away. He had my Heisman vote right there. As you say, that can't be replaced.


Oregon will be better on the O Line this year. Do not forget that when you run a spread offense, you are really playing 10-12 O Line players a game. The experience is there. Assuming the Spartans and the Ducks win their first game, I would bet the line for the game is Plus 2 for the Spartans. Essentially even but acknowledging the home field advantage. You might find this "I love my Ducks video" funny from a few years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_P1PPy7FTo
Although zilch playoff implications, I just saw that my alma mater University of Illinois fired its head coach today -- one week before the opener -- based on the preliminary results of an investigation. Going into the final game of the season last year, I was actually hoping the Illini would lose so as not to achieve bowl eligibility and likely resulting in the coach being fired. Now, finally, he is gone. He was terrible. On the bright side, at least they get a head start on finding a coach for next year.
quote:
Originally posted by Pippin:
Five days to kick off (three days for some). Vernon Adams, graduate transfer from Eastern Washington named Oregon starting QB. This notice is just to wake up Redhawk!


Oh, I'm very much awake. Sparty has a little road game Friday night against what should be a solid Western Michigan team before focusing on the Ducks.
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Originally posted by jburman82:
It was finally back. Had some good games last night. None of the teams jumped out at me. Suprised TCU struggled that much. Very suprised UNC/uSC was that close. Not sure if UBC got a lot better or uSC isnt very good or a little of both.


Always nice to see The Team Up North Lose.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
I fear its gonna get worse before it gets better. Its not swamp donkey's fault but the oline is incredibly thin and he is still starting Treon Harris. That's a big problem. I do hope you guys get better. It makes for a more interesting rivalry.


No doubt, anyone that thinks this year can be anymore than a stepping stone in the right direction would be delusional. As you point out, the O-line is a huge reason for that. No real experience there and far too many Freshmen and Sophmores (and red-shirt freshmen) will be seeing significant playing time there.

I do hope Grier eventually earns the nod, just because I believe he presents the better opportunity to at least stretch the field, something Florida hasn't been able to do since Tebow.
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Originally posted by Pinotlvr:
No doubt, anyone that thinks this year can be anymore than a stepping stone in the right direction would be delusional. As you point out, the O-line is a huge reason for that. No real experience there and far too many Freshmen and Sophmores (and red-shirt freshmen) will be seeing significant playing time there.

Same can be said for my Longhorns - just posted the starting lineup for tonight's game and there are 6 freshmen and 5 sophomores starting. Great talent + young and inexperienced = who knows how the season will go? Hoping to see them play well and keep it close tonight.
Weekend Summary

Thankfully, college football is back and life is a bit better.

As with any new season, there are new faces, particularly at QB. True frosh Josh Rosen put up big numbers against Virginia and makes UCLA the favorite in the Pac 12. Malik Zaire showed why Everett Golson left for FSU (he did fine also) as he led the Irish to an impressive win. Many of the SEC teams played multiple QBs, but all with good results.

The SEC West was maligned and ridiculed as over rated by gleeful critics, but that was not the case yesterday. Alabama had the duo of Derrick Henry and Kenyon Drake run all over a good Wisconsin team 35-17. Texas A&M alternated QBs, but frosh Christian Kirk ran all over Arizona State for a 38-17 win. Auburn withstood a late Louisville rally for a 31-24 victory. Arkansas and Ole Miss were impressive as well.

The two trophy hire coaches of 2013 suffered bad, bad losses. Charlie Strong's Longhorns were smoked in South Bend 38-3. James Franklin and Penn State lost to Temple for the first time since 1941 27-10. Other bad losses included Stanford losing to Northwestern 16-6 (not sold on David Shaw as an elite coach) and Washington State losing to Portland State. BYU completed a 42 yard pass at the buzzer to shock Nebraska 33-28.

As for Florida, the Gators have a good coach again. Yes, they merely did what they had to do, beat an overmatched opponent. However, they displayed a disciplined offense (no penalties and mix ups) which spread the ball around. Coach Mac actually played some freshmen and used real tight ends (not converted DEs). While not the starter yet, Will Grier slung it around better than any QB in Gville since Rex Grossman. I will watch this team week by week and not jump to any conclusions.
College Gameday next week will be in East Lansing for the Oregon vs. Michigan State game. It should be a lively atmosphere. Oregon and MSU are both coming off opening games where they showed competent offenses, but surprisingly porous defenses. I believe this will be the only non-conference match-up between pre-season top-10 teams. We will see if Oregon and MSU hold their spots in the polls. It will also be interesting to see how both week one opponents, Eastern Washington (FCS) and Western Michigan (MAC), fare tis year. I suspect they both may be better than a lot of FBS schools. But both Oregon and MSU have some serious patchwork to to if they aspire to the playoff.
Buckeyes Defense looked rusty, but will certainly be upgraded with Joey Bosa back next week.

The offense was without 3 of their top receivers/H Backs, and still put up 42.

Braxton Miller looks to have easily made the transition to WR/Playmaker. His spin move was spectacular.

I still like Barrett over Jones, but they should both see plenty of time before the end of the season.
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
Braxton Miller made himself some money with that performance. One thing about Urban is that he finds a way to get the ball in his playmaker's hands.


So who on Urban Meyer's team this year is not a playmaker?

I have said all along that Miller is a great athlete, but was never going to be an NFL QB. This game just confirms that he will be an NFL talent, just not at QB. (On a related note, I hear Terrell Pryor just made the Cleveland Browns 53-man roster--as a wide receiver) I also suspected tO$U would start Jones over Barrett, for a number of reasons, and it seems to be working out. Ohio State is absolutely loaded at the skill positions, and is a scary team right now. The only consolation is that they can only put 11 guys on the field for any one play. It's too bad their schedule is so pathetic this year.
Games to watch this weekend

Oregon at Michigan State - rematch of a big Duck win last season. Both teams gave up points to lesser opponents in their openers. MSU QB Conner Cook could be the difference. I say 38-31 Sparty.

Oklahoma at Tennessee - the Vol fans have been non-stop talking about this season. Well, this is the first time we get to see what UT has. OU will score on the young Vol defense, but UT should as well. Make no mistake, Butch Jones has to start winning this season, which is why this game is interesting. Too close to call.

LSU at Miss St - plenty of cowbells in Stark-Vegas this weekend. LSU had their first game postponed, so QB Brandon Harris may be an unknown factor. SEC West opener for both.
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
Braxton Miller looks to have easily made the transition to WR/Playmaker. His spin move was spectacular.

Agreed, but I was actually more impressed by his first catch, which showed his hands are as good as any receiver who has played the position his entire career.

quote:
I still like Barrett over Jones...

Again, I agree, and I hope to see him get the start. As teams load up to stop Zeke Elliot, I look for Michael Thomas (WR) to have a huge game. It will be interesting to see who gets playing time at H-Back, with the suspended players returning. I'm fine with Braxton staying in the whole game! Cool

I also agree with scbeerman on the Oregon/MSU game; I think experience, home-field advantage, and Dantonio's coaching make the difference in a a tough game.

I'm leaning toward OK over TN and Mississippi State over LSU... [self-edit].
Last edited by stickman
quote:
Originally posted by stickman:


I'm leaning toward OK over TN and Mississippi State over LSU, but I may be letting my distaste for Bielema affect my view.


Agree with you on this one Stick. I think TN is overrated and at least one year from where the experts think they will be. My take is they (talking heads) had to pick someone as the favorite in the weak SEC East and TN is the sexy pick over Mizzou.
Cant wait for Sportscenter tomorrow to hear all about how great the SEC is because Tenn gave Oklahoma a good beating while ignoring the teams that struggled and lost.

Remember when Jeremy Johnson was going to be a Heisman contender? Auburn is a total fraud. We now know Muschamp's stink can infect an entire team.

Bielema should have never left Wisconsin. He could have won 9-10 games a year there for two decades. Now, he's losing to Toledo.

ND is in for a long year. Starting DT lost for the season one week before the first game. Starting RB lost for the season in week 1. Now Zaire is gone for the season in Week 2. What started out as a promising season has gone south.

FSU is going to lose 2-3 games this season.
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
quote:
Originally posted by stickman:


I'm leaning toward OK over TN and Mississippi State over LSU, but I may be letting my distaste for Bielema affect my view.


Agree with you on this one Stick. I think TN is overrated and at least one year from where the experts think they will be. My take is they (talking heads) had to pick someone as the favorite in the weak SEC East and TN is the sexy pick over Mizzou.


Regarding TN, the past two NCs were supposed to one year away from greatness and it came early. You never know when things will gel.
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
Cant wait for Sportscenter tomorrow to hear all about how great the SEC is because Tenn gave Oklahoma a good beating while ignoring the teams that struggled and lost.




Except for the fact Tennessee just lost in OT. Congrats OU (and W+A).


Hahaha. Just turned the TV back on and saw that.

Is it possible SEC QB play is actually worse this season than last?
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
Agree with you on this one Stick. I think TN is overrated and at least one year from where the experts think they will be. My take is they (talking heads) had to pick someone as the favorite in the weak SEC East and TN is the sexy pick over Mizzou.

Agreed; Mizzou gets unfairly over-looked IMHO, but I feel the same for Oklahoma. With all the talk about Baylor and TCU, I think OK is flying under the radar and is likely better than they're being credited.
Weekend Summary

I was able to watch a lot of football, so this may be a bit long.

We will start with the games previewed on Friday, and all of them proved true to form. First, Oklahoma went into a frenzied Neyland Stadium with Vol fans pining for the 90s glory days. The young Vols went up 17-0 before the Sooners gamely rallied to tied it late at 17. OU then prevailed in double OT for a very nice win (I said it was too close to call). QB Baker Mayfield is a gamer and WR Sterling Shepard made some plays late. Michigan State edged Oregon 31-28 in the best football game of the day, a contest that should help both squads. LSU got up 21-6 in Stark-Vegas due to Leonard Fournette, and then held on for dear life for a 21-19 win (Miss St missed a 52 yarder at the gun). The other great game was Notre Dame rallying for a 34-27 against Virginia on the road. The Irish lost QB Malik Zaire for the season, but replacement DeShone Kizer hit the winning TD to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left.

As has been noted, the SEC performance in week two was a) uninspired, b) embarrassing and c) sorry. Other than Ole Miss and possibly Texas A & M, no team can consistently throw it. Auburn beat (technically) a 41 point underdog Jax State in OT. Their QB, Jeremy Johnson, and I will be kind here, may not be the brightest bulb in the shed. He likes to throw it to players with different covered jerseys. They may have buyers remorse on the Plains for paying Will Muschamp $1.6/year for average defense and his penchant for losing. Georgia has two great backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but they cannot pass. I am not sold on the Tide's offense either.

This looks to be a year of parity as only Ohio State looks to be an elite team. It is just too soon to tell who really has what, but I have not seen a lot of good QB play. Yes, many can run with the spread offenses, but I have not seen many QBs that I really want to watch play. Now there are a lot of RBs and WRs that are exciting, but not the QBs.

Coach Jim McElwain has a long ways to go establishing a culture change for the Gators. He was none too pleased last night with the lack of discipline (numerous stupid penalties) and lack of preparation. East Carolina is a very respectable program, but the Gators did not come close to playing a clean game last night. The only bright side is that last year's coaching staff would have lost that game.

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