Midseason CFB review | October 30, 2012
We are halfway through the College football season, Coaches and Preseason polls have been thrown out the window with teams that we expected so much from having failed to deliver them expectations, but in College Football always expect the unexpected with “Shock” defeats happening all the time. I take a look at the CFB scene at the halfway mark and the Heisman Trophy.
The No.1 team in the country is Alabama, as champions they deserve the spot they have picked up from last season where they looked unbeatable at times with one of the best defences in the country, with the help of a dynamic run game but this season A.J McCarron has improved Alabama passing offence with it looking much better. The Crimson Tide haven’t played a strong schedule as of yet with Michigan, Tennessee looking like two teams who could have challenged them but have had poor seasons thus far. Alabama got its first test on Saturday against #11 Mississippi St but won comfortably 38-7, next up is LSU winner of this could go on and win the SEC West followed by Texas A&M.
Oregon’s high power offence continues to shine even with the loss of LaMicheal James and Darron Thomas, two of the stand out players who helped this team reach the Rose Bowl. Luckily for Oregon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas have stepped up big time with Barner being the workhorse and Thomas the mismatch. Redshirt Freshman QB Marcus Mariota has been a revelation for the Ducks showing level of maturity needed to run this up tempo offence, credit must go to the defence who continue to play well even with short breaks in between plays.
Of course College football wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have any surprises, we’ve had quite a few “surprise” teams this season including Florida who after scraping to a 7-6 (3-5 Conference) finish last season having turned it around dramatically going 7-1, suffering its first loss in the SEC East against Georgia after victories over Texas A&M, Tennessee, South Carolina and the big one against LSU at home with a memorable performance by their RB Mike Gillislee who ran for 146 yards including 2 TD. A lot of it is down to the QB position with Jeff Driskal taking over full time and not sharing the position, Muschamp brought toughness to the defence which wasn’t there last season.
The fighting Irish are back! Currently ranked no.3 in the BCS behind Alabama and Kansas St. Saturday was there first true test against the #8 Oklahoma and they came through with an impressive 30-20 victory in Norman. Led by MLB Manti te’o, whose name is in the running for the Heisman Trophy, is currently having a outstanding season for the Irish and has helped this defence become one of the elite in college football only giving up 1 rushing TD the entire season, with Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Boston College and USC remaining on the schedule there is a good chance the Fighting Irish can go undefeated and be involved in the BCS Championship game.
Kansas St currently sit no.2 in the BCS rankings and are currently undefeated with a 8-0 record (5-0 BIG12), beating ranked Oklahoma, West Virginia and Iowa State on the road. Last week they beat #15 Texas Tech at home with a impressive 55-24 victory. Kansas St success has been down to Heisman Candidate Colin Klein who has now become the front runner for the trophy when before the season his name wasn’t probably mentioned in the conversation. Klein has thrown for 1630 yards throwing 12 TD with 2 INT, also rushing for 634 yards including 16 TD if Kansas St go undefeated with Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas remaining expect him to lift the trophy in New York City as for Kansas St playing in the BCS title game they will have to continue doing what they do and hope at least two Alabama, Notre Dame and Oregon slip up somewhere for them to be in the National Title game.
Louisville are currently highest ranked BIG EAST team lead by Terry Bridgewater who name will continue to grow for Heisman discussion in 2013. In the BIG10 Ohio St is the only team not to suffer a defeat but with them being banned from the post season they do not affect the conference or national standings. Many people had Wisconsin favourite for the BIG10 title but with so much turnover on offence and with many of the coaching staff leaving to join Pittsburgh it was always going to be a struggle. They have managed to find there feet over the last few weeks with Ball coming alive. Like Wisconsin, Michigan St lost quite few players to the NFL but losing someone like Kirk Cousins hasn’t helped the cause meanwhile Michigan struggled in the opener against Alabama and even though they continue to get better a loss to Nebraska hurts their chances to compete in the BIG10 Title game. Nebraska and Penn St have played much better this season with Martinez stepping up but with Burkhead being injured most of the season has affected what they do on offence, with all the off field issues concerning the Nitty Lions they have played superb under first time HC Bill O’Brian.
The Heisman discussion has had its twist throughout the season with Barkley and Ball the two favourites at the beginning of the season. Into the spotlight came West Virginia Geno Smith who had been lighting it up throughout the season before losses to Texas Tech and Kansas St has seen his name disappear from the discussion. Colin Klein has been pushed to the front with his performances for Kansas St taking them to 8-0. Meanwhile Manti Te’o who has led the Notre Dame defence from the front could be the first defensive player to win it in a while, Kenjon Barner has been having a excellent season for Oregon and has been going about his business quietly for the Ducks. As Someone said to me the guy who isn’t getting a lot of love because he plays for Alabama is A.J McCarron with the team known for its run game and defence but McCarron has been quite impressive for Alabama throwing for 1684 yards including 18 TD without throwing an INT this season. On current form I would go with Colin Klein winning the Heisman especially if KSU go undefeated.
Important Dates: Oregon at USC 7th November, Alabama LSU 7th November, Ohio St Wisconsin 17th November, Oregon Oregon St, ND USC 24th November, 30th November Rutgers Louisville and course Rivalry Week!