Point After Touchdown: Murray Shuts Up Critics, Texas Embarrassed

The Point After Touchdown for this week breaks down Georgia and Miami (FL)’s big win and looks at whether it’s time for Texas head coach Mack Brown to step aside.

WHO’S HATING NOW: Georgia’s Aaron Murray has heard it all in his career. He’s been unable to consistently win against top 10 teams and going into Saturday he still had not won against South Carolina in his career. Plus, the Bulldogs were coming off of an opening loss to Clemson and hoping to avoid an 0-2 start that would end their national championship hopes before they could even get started.

Following Georgia 41-30 victory over South Carolina Saturday, Murray’s critics will probably be hard to find. Not only has he played extremely well through two weeks, but he’s also shown Georgia’s SEC East rivals that they are the class of the division.

HURRICANE REVIVAL: Speaking of those rivals, Florida dominated Miami (FL) in every aspect of the game on Saturday but on the scoreboard. The Gators got into the redzone seven times, but only scored two touchdowns. Jeff Driskel made two of the most bonehead throws you will ever see a junior make, considering Driskel has played in nearly every game since his freshman year.

The ‘Canes deserve a lot of credit for coming up big in the redzone and Miami’s crowd was as loud as I’ve ever it. Good for them. Those fans haven’t had anything major to cheer about in quite a while, so they should celebrate.

Head coach Al Golden has clearly turned the program around and Miami will jump into the top 25 this weekend.

UNDER THE LIGHTS: Michigan pulled away from Notre Dame 41-30 to win the rivalry’s last scheduled game in the Big House. Devin Gardner threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score as the Wolverines showed they warrant a top 10 ranking.

Michigan’s schedule looks very underwhelming at this point too. The Wolverines play Akron, at Connecticut, Minnesota, at Penn State, Indiana, at Michigan, vs. Nebraska, at Northwestern, and at Iowa. In other words, they’ll be favored to win every game down the stretch before they meet Braxton Miller and Ohio State.

BYU ran through, around, and over Texas in a 40-21 romp on Saturday night. (Picture: VictoriaAdvocate.com)

BYU ran through, around, and over Texas in a 40-21 romp on Saturday night. (Picture: VictoriaAdvocate.com)

SHOULD BROWN GO?: I’ve been one Texas head coach Mack Brown’s biggest supporters the last few seasons as the Longhorns attempt to rebuild themselves into a national championship contender, but Saturday night reached my breaking point. I think it’s time for him to step down and let someone else attempt to revive the program.

I say that because I have no explanation for Texas’ 40-21 loss to a BYU team that lost to Virginia last week. The Cougars ran for 550 yards. That’s not a typo. 550 yards. How does that happen when Texas has better and bigger athletes? That should never happen. Hell, Wisconsin shouldn’t even be able to run for 550 yards on Tennessee Tech. And they didn’t. The Badgers went for 387 yards. Even Baylor in a 70-13 romp over Buffalo only ran for 329 yards, despite 55 attempts. Texas should be ashamed of its loss – not because they lost, but because they showed a lack of effort.

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THE DAY: Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars pulled one of the nation’s biggest upsets Saturday, beating offensively challenged USC 10-7. Here’s the kicker: The Cougars did it without scoring an offensive touchdown. There was a time when even Leach’s biggest fans would tell you that his defense would stop him from getting a team to the national title game, but now that side of the ball is clearly carrying a team that cannot score points. Good for the Cougars.

On the other side, Lane Kiffin’s seat is so hot that he might as well just get out of the car. Kiffin has proven that he can’t field a consistently great team at USC, which is what fans demand. He can point to the NCAA probation and restriction of scholarships if he wants, but Leach had a tougher rebuilding job at Washington State than Kiffin had at USC. Although it isn’t by much, it’s already clear that the Cougars are better than the Trojans. How can that be possible? It’s time for Kiffin to go.

IT’S TIME TO WORRY: Oklahoma’s offense is among the national relevant teams struggling to score points. The Sooners won 16-7 over West Virginia,  although the Sooners failed to put points on the board most of the night. Quarterback Trevor Knight was awful, going 10 of 20 for 119 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Michigan State is in the same boat. The Spartans could only score 21 points against a South Florida team that gave up 53 points to McNeese State last weekend. Out of Michigan State’s six touchdowns this season, the defense has scored four of them. At Notre Dame in two weeks, the Spartans will likely need to put points on the board with their offense to win.

Weekend Picks: Michigan Will Defeat Notre Dame

Saturday’s Picks:

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner gets sacked by a Notre Dame defender during last season's Notre Dame-Michigan game. (Picture: Zimbio.com)

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner gets sacked by a Notre Dame defender during last season’s Notre Dame-Michigan game. (Picture: Zimbio.com)

No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan
Anyone that doesn’t believe this is a rivalry should be forced to sit in a chair and watch how the last few matchups have gone. Games between the Irish and Wolverines always seem to come down to the final play. This year’s game will likely be no different. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees was impressive against Temple and the Irish defense was able to keep the Owls from doing a lot of damage on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Devin Gardner at Michigan didn’t have to do much in the Wolverines big win over Central Michigan.

I’m going to be honest — Devin Gardner scares the heck out of me in this game. He is an improved passer over Denard Robinson, but so are 99.9% of college quarterbacks. Gardner seems to have a tendency to turn the football over, but in all honesty he’s only thrown interceptions on 6% of his attempts in his career. A closer look at the numbers also reveals that on third and long (3 & 6 or longer) he was 10 of 17 last season for 187 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.

So what scares me?

He doesn’t play as well in the fourth quarter as he does in other parts of the game. Last season, Gardner threw nine touchdowns and two interceptions in quarters 1-3, but int he fourth quarter he turned it over more than he threw touchdowns (2 TDs, 3 INTs). He also saw his running averages drop off significantly, although his sacks didn’t go up in the final quarter.

Even despite all that, I’m taking the Wolverines to win. Not only is Michigan at home, but they also are more talented than Notre Dame. Gardner is the one player on the field that can change the game at any point. Rees is capable of making big throws and senior receiver T. J. Jones and junior DaVaris Daniels can make plays in the passing game, but it won’t be enough Saturday night.

The pick: Michigan 31, Notre Dame 27


No. 12 Florida at Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes have had the Gators number for years, although Florida won the last matchup over an overmatched Miami team coached by Randy Shannon. This is Al Golden’s shot to prove Miami is back on the national stage and it wouldn’t surprise me if Duke Johnson finds open running lanes to give the ‘Canes an early lead. However, Florida is the type of team that gives Miami fits. They have a veteran running back in Matt Jones, who finally sounds healthy after missing the Gators opener, a smart quarterback in Jeff Driskel who typically doesn’t turn the ball over and an offensive line that should win the battle against Miami’s defensive line.

The pick: Florida 27, Miami 23


No. 2 Oregon at Virginia
As impressive as Virginia’s opening win against BYU was, the truth is that the Cougars probably outplayed the Cavaliers in that game. BYU outgained Virginia 362 yards to 223.  Unfortunately for BYU, they don’t have DeAnthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota. Fortunately for Oregon, they do. If the Cavaliers gave up 175 passing yards to Cougars sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill, imagine what they might allow to Mariota. Ouch.

The pick: Oregon 58, Virginia 12


No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia
Anyone bashing Georgia for losing to Clemson last week should check their team’s schedule to see who they played. Nobody played a tougher first week opponent than Georgia, considering they had to travel to Death Valley and take on a Tigers team itching for its second straight win over a SEC team. Bulldogs fans should cheer up. We’ve seen Georgia lose games early in seasons before, only to be discounted and find its way back into the national title discussion. I’ve gone back and forth a thousand times on this game, but eventually good sense hit me. South Carolina is talented and Jadeveon Clowney is scary, but Georgia is more talented and at home. I’ll even forgive Aaron Murray for the goose eggs he lays against top 10 teams if the Bulldogs find a way to make this prediction right.

Georgia 27, South Carolina 21


Other Predictions for Saturday:
Cincinnati 52, Illinois 31
No. 19 Northwestern 31, Syracuse 28
No. 16 Oklahoma 45, West Virginia 10
No. 3 Ohio State 48, San Diego State 7
Oregon State 31, Hawaii 10

Big Board: Geno Smith Quickly Rising On Draft Boards

Below is Daniel Evans big board for the 2012 NFL Draft. Matt Barkley is still No. 1, but the story is West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Smith has jumped from off the board in the preseason to nearly the top of it.

1. QB Matt Barkley

Barkley has not had the senior season that many expected thus far, but he still makes NFL scouts drool. He has a big arm, has played in a NFL offense, and is going to be taken early in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2. QB Geno Smith

Geno Smith isn’t this high on most draft boards yet, but he is clearly a big arm guy that is starting to entice scouts. He may end up winning the Heisman Trophy and then going in the top ten of the NFL Draft (or higher).

3. LB Jarvis Jones

Jones has been so impressive early in this college football season that many publications are listing him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

 4. CB DeMarcus Milliner

Alabama’s top cornerback is flying up draft boards right now. He was very impressive against Ole Miss on Saturday night.

5. DE Barkevious Mingo

Mingo has not done anything to slide down draft boards this season. Right now he looks like the top defensive end prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft.

6. LB Manti Te’o

T’eo has had a tough season off the field, but has been instrumental for the Irish defense. 

7. DT Johnathan Hankins

Hankins is a gigantic defensive tackle that could become the run stopper that NFL scouts dream about finding in the draft.        

8. CB Johnathan Banks

I think at this point Banks is the player that most NFL scouts are underrating. He makes big plays when he gets his hands on the football and he seems to always be near the ball. 

9. DE Bjoern Werner

Werner is leading the nation in sacks five weeks in. He has been one of the most impressive players in the country and is flying up draft boards.

10. DT Johnathan Jenkins

Like his counterpart, Hankins from Ohio State, Jenkins is a massive body that can shut down an opponent’s entire running game.

11. DE Sam Montgomery

LSU’s other defensive end is rated slightly lower than Mingo, but still figures to be a top 15 pick in the draft. Teams see him as a guy that can work in any defense.

12. DT Star Lotulelei

Scouts rave about Lotulelei because he is super impressive on video tape. His biggest challenge might be the other three defensive tackles in this draft. All have the talent to be top five picks.

13. OT Luke Joeckel

Joeckel is the first offensive tackle on the big board, although this position is typically where you see quick risers. Joeckel is described by most as a guy with great technique.        

14. C/G Barrett Jones

I feel like eventually scouts will wake up and realize that Jones’ versatility to play three offensive line positions with hardly any issues is a huge plus. NFL lineman are moved around constantly due to injuries.          

15. WR Justin Hunter

Before the season, I had Hunter on my big board. He isn’t 100% back from his ACL injury, but his potential is through the roof.

16. CB David Amerson

Amerson was picked on by Tyler Bray in N. C. State’s opening game, but his talent shines through one underwhelming performance.

17. G Chance Warmack

Warmack is one of the best offensive lineman in the country. He is looking more and more like a first round pick.

18. WR Keenan Allen

Some scouts believe Allen is the top receiver prospect in the draft. I’ll take Hunter, who has bigger upside, although Allen has better collegiate production so far.

19. DE Corey Lemonier

Auburn has been terrible this season, but Corey Lemonier has been one of the bright spots. He is a fantastic speed rusher that has a skillset that translates well at the NFL level.         

20. DE Alex Okafor

Okafor already has four sacks this season on a Texas defense that has been relatively underwhelming thus far.

21. DT Kawaan Short

Short has looked like a first round pick since midway through 2011 and he has continued to impress this year. He played really well against Notre Dame.

22. WR Robert Woods

Woods has all the talent in the world, although his teammate Marquise Lee is the better pro prospect.

23. S Eric Reid

Reid continues to look like the top safety prospect for the draft.

24. RB Marcus Lattimore

The South Carolina running back is fully back from his ACL injury. No other running back available runs with the power he does. He can truly carry a workload.

25. RB Le’Veon Bell

Bell is a lot like Lattimore, except he is carrying an entire offense right now. Bell does not have a passing game to take pressure off of him like Lattimore does at times with Connor Shaw.


Power 16: Week 5 Rankings Show Little Movement at the Top

1 Although the Crimson Tide did not dominate Ole Miss, Nick Saban’s team did feel what it was like to trail in a game for the first time all season (for 15 whole seconds).
2 Just like last week, Oregon struggled for a half. Washington State played well but the Ducks are on a mission. One thing to watch: DeAnthony Thomas has to touch the ball more early in games for Oregon.
3 The ‘Noles did not roll South Florida, but they did end up with a double digit win. Florida State’s defense was impressive, but we should all remember that the Bulls fell to Ball State last week. 
4 Kansas State was idle this week after knocking off Oklahoma in Norman last weekend. The Wildcats take on Kansas next week. Their in state rivals probably will not provide much competition for Collin Klein & Co.
5 LSU always seems to fool around with teams the Tigers should destroy. Auburn and Towson are great examples of that, but knowing that should we punish Les Miles’ team for doing what they always seem to do? A trip to Florida emerges as gigantic this weekend.
6 Georgia was lucky to survive a game Tennessee team in Athens on Saturday. If not for Tyler Bray’s late fumble, the Bulldogs could have been in overtime. Instead, Georgia is 4-0 and ready to face 4-0 South Carolina in Columbia.
7 The first half wasn’t pretty (trailed 17-7 at halftime) but eventually Steve Spurrier’s offense woke up against Kentucky. If the Gamecocks were busy looking ahead to Georgia, I don’t blame them. Kentucky is one of the most inept offenses ever.
8 Florida was off this week after beating Kentucky 38-0 last week. The Gators take on LSU in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon. A Florida win would change expectations for this team that seemed to be forgotten about by most preseason publications.
9 Notre Dame was off this weekend after back to back wins over Michigan State and Michigan. Although the Irish’s wins do not look as good as they might have in the preseason, Notre Dame is at least beating good teams. This weekend the Irish take on Miami, who is surprisingly 4-1.
10 Geno Smith is clearly the Heisman frontrunner with 20 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions, but I refuse to move up a team that gave up 63 points to Baylor. 
11 Texas showed toughness that it has lacked in recent years with a big come from behind victory in Stillwater on Saturday night. Now, David Ash and the Longhorns host West Virginia in a huge Big 12 battle.
12   Oregon State’s three wins: UCLA, Wisconsin, and Arizona are among the best three wins any team in the country has this season. 
13   It is a shame that Urban Meyer’s team cannot play for a Big Ten championship, because five weeks into the season it is pretty clear the Buckeyes are the conference’s best team.
 14   Clemson struggled for a while at Boston College, but eventually the offense took over and pulled away from the pesky Eagles. Next week, the Tigers take on a Georgia Tech team that just fell to Middle Tennessee.
 15 �� I don’t want to move Stanford down too low for its loss to Washington, but the offense looked terrible. It makes it almost hard to believe that this team was able to beat USC.
 16   The Trojans might be in for a tough battle on Thursday at Utah, who will have a fiesty crowd on hand for the primetime battle with the Trojans. All of a sudden games against Washington, UCLA, and Notre Dame look tougher than they did three weeks ago.

Bowl Projections Week 5: Louisiana Tech in a BCS Game?

I know what you’re thinking: This guy must be a little crazy.

Maybe I am.

I have Louisiana Tech going to a BCS bowl in my week five college football bowl projections. I know, it sounds stupid, but I can explain.  The official BCS rules state that a non-BCS team like Boise State or Louisiana Tech  will receive an automatic berth into a BCS game if:

  • It is ranked in the top 12, or
  • Ranked in the top 16 and higher than at least one BCS conference champion.

Well, the BCS standings aren’t out yet, but Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com is already projecting the BCS standings and he is usually pretty good at it. He has Louisiana Tech at No. 32, meaning the Bulldogs need to cut their position in half by the end of the season to get into the spot it needs to even be considered. I understand that, but look at where Palm has each BCS conference’s highest rated team:

Is it a realistic possibility for Louisiana Tech to play in a BCS game?

1. SEC (Alabama)
2. Pac 12 (Oregon)
4. ACC (Florida State)
8. Big 12 (Kansas State)
17. Big Ten (Michigan State)
19. Big East (Louisville)

The Big Ten and Big East are terrible. The ACC isn’t much better. After Florida State in the ACC, Clemson is the highest rated ACC team at No. 15. Virginia Tech, the team most likely to win the other division is at No. 35. It’s not inconceivable to think the Hokies could win the ACC, considering they do it most years. Virginia Tech would certainly rise if that happened, but would they be above a 12-0 Louisiana Tech team? Remember, Virginia Tech just lost to Pittsburgh, who lost badly to Youngstown State (a FCS school). Meanwhile, Louisville is the highest ranked team in the Big East.  Rutgers is right behind at No. 22. What happens if neither one of those teams wins that conference? That is very likely because the Big East is full of mediocre teams. Flip a coin to pick a winner there. The Big Ten’s best team cannot play in the postseason (Ohio State) and plays its best qualifying team (Michigan State) this weekend. In other words, the Buckeyes can really hurt the conference’s BCS appearance with a win this weekend because the Buckeyes do not qualify for the poll. A loss by Michigan State would drop the Spartans and lower the Big Ten’s already abysmal rankings in the BCS, increasing Louisiana Tech’s chances of earning a BCS spot.

To sum this all up, if Louisiana Tech finishes 12-0, I think the Bulldogs have a fantastic shot at being ranked in the top 16. They would have to win at Texas A&M in that span and this team already has a 52-24 win over Illinois of the Big Ten on its resume. I also believe they will be ranked above the Big East or Big Ten champions, making them eligible. Ohio could screw this up by running the table and being impressive and qualifying the same way or the Bulldogs could lose due to playing a tough schedule, but the team that causes the biggest threat to messing this up is Boise State. The Broncos have a loss, but still could qualify by being in the top 16 and being the highest ranked non-automatic qualifying team ahead of a BCS champion.

For now, I’ll go with the bold prediction and put Louisiana Tech in a BCS game. Remember, the WAC is dissolving after this year. The Bulldogs could sent it out with a bang that absolutely nobody sees coming.