Teddy Bridgewater gave a remarkable performance. He was playing with a broken wrist, a sore ankle and looked like he wouldn’t play but trailing 7-0 he came in and finished 20-28-263 and was sacked 3x for 28 yards. He was very mobile but helped Louisville to the win over Rutgers. Two big plays gave RU a 14-3 halftime lead. They got an 85 yd td pass on their first offensive play to Coleman and then after UL got a 20 yd FG with 9:54 left in the 2Q, RU, 2pl later, got a 68 yd td pass to Harrison for their 14-3 lead. In the 1Q UL was SOD at their own 48 but RU was SOD at the UL41. At the half it was 14-3 and UL had a 9-4 FD edge but RU thanks to 2 big plays had a 219-158 yd edge. UL missed a 47 yd FG then drove 90/14pl for a td. RU fmbl’d the KO and UL got a 20 yd td pass on the next play by Bridgewater for the lead, 17-14. Bridgewater was int’d at the RU29 on their next poss with 10:17 left and RU drove 21/7pl for a 38 yd FG to tie. UL got 1 FD and punted with 4:39 left and RU on 3&8 was int’d. After a pen on UL, they started back at the RU40 but got a 30 yd pass and a 29 yd FG with 1:31 left. RU30 got a FD to the 48 but then there was miscommunication and Nova’s deep pass was int’d with no WR around on a diving catch by Floyd at the 18 with 1:06 left and UL got the BCS Bowl berth. Read more…
By Phil Steele
A week after an outstanding 17-4 81% record for my Top 25 forecasts, last week’s results are very surprising at just 12-7 63%. Still, on the year they are now 209-49 81%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which look to bounce back this week.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
GEORGIA DOME (Atlanta, GA)
#2 ALABAMA VS #3 GEORGIA
In what is, in essence, a national title semifinal, the winner here will advance to play #1 Notre Dame in the national champ game in Miami on January 7th. These two have not played since ‘08 when #8 Bama beat #3 Georgia on the road 41-30, a game that many Bama fans point to as one of the key wins which got the Crimson Tide’s recent run of dominance started. The Tide/Bulldogs have played just 6 times in the last 20 years (3-3 split) and have not met here in the SEC Championship game. In fact, this is the Tide’s 8th appearance in the SEC Title game (3-4) but first against a team other than UF. UGA makes its second straight trip here and its fifth appearance in the Richt era (2-2). While not many can argue that these two don’t deserve to be here as Bama beat LSU on the road 21-17 and UGA handed UF its only loss 17-9 (thanks to 6 UF TO’s), it should be noted that both benefitted from rather fortunate SEC scheduling as UGA skipped out on the top 3 teams in the West (Bama, LSU and A&M) while Bama didn’t play the top 3 teams in the East (UGA, UF and SC). Both come in off blowout wins of their rivals as Bama crushed Auburn 49-0 (most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years) rolling up 25-7 FD and 483-163 yard edges and led 42-0 at the half. Meanwhile, UGA rolled to a 42-10 win over GT as they led 42-3 midway through the 3Q but were outgained 426-379 and outFD’d 26-18. They did average an astonishing 10.5 yards per play in the 1H. Both teams are led by veteran QB’s as Murray and McCarron are #1-2 in the NCAA in pass eff and have combined for a 55-9 ratio! They also have stout D’s as while Bama’s ranks #1 in most categories, one could argue that UGA’s is more talented and since S Williams called out the D prior to the UF game, they’ve allowed just 9 ppg in the last 5 games. The Bama D did give up 400+ yards in back-to-back games vs LSU/A&M earlier this year while UGA OC Bobo has called this UGA offense the best he’s ever seen as they are avg a school record 38 ppg. While each has Top 20 units on both offense and defense, Bama does have the significant ST’s edge (#22-71) and Saban is 7-2 in his last 9 games vs Top 20 teams while Richt is 1-6 in his last 7. Read more…
Akron gave Toledo a game. In fact, leading 3-0 they brought in backup QB Pole on the 3rd series and Pole led them 81/14pl and UA took a 10-0 lead with 14:03 left in the 2Q. The drive began when UT was SOD on 4&2 at their 19. UT went 75/6pl and 85/8pl. Austin Dantin hit a 55 yd td pass to Pasquale and finished 29-35-327 yds. UA answered with an 81/7pl drive for a td with 5:44 left, 17-14. UT punted on their next poss but then took the momentum going 77/5pl for a td with 1:37 left in the half. At the half UT had a 295-257 yd edge. The 3Q opened with 3 punts. UA then went 46/17pl but were SOD on 4&gl from the 16. UT went 51/7pl but was int’d at the UA19 but UT went 62/12pl for a td, 28-17 (9:56) then after an int drove 25/3pl for a td with 8:19 left to go up 18 pts, 35-17. UT fmbl’d a punt with 5:59 left and UA went 45/7pl for a td with 3:30 left but UT rec’d the onside kick, got a FD to the UA36 and took a knee.
By Phil Steele
Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-4 81% and on the year they are now 197-42 82%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which look to bounce back this week.
For projected box scores and the last 14 years matchups, click here.
By Phil Steele
Toledo had a 526-446 yd edge and benefited from a 3-1 TO edge but still lost to Ball St at home. Toledo had entered the AP Poll for the first time since 2001 and as you see many times, teams that enter the AP for the first time in a long time, usually struggle with the attention that next week. Ball St took their opening 2 drives 82/11 and 87/7pl for td’s to lead 14-0 but UT battled back to 17-17 at the half and had a 350-220 yd edge at the half. UT had settled for a 29 yd FG. BS got a 61/10pl drive for a td to open the 3Q then missed a 35 yd FG and UT went 75/14pl. They settled for a 22 yd FG to make it 24-20. UT went 25/4pl and on 4&1 got a 16 yd td run to lead 27-24. BS tied it on a 30 yd FG with 9:41 left. UT went 68/7pl. After the game, Campbell was questioned for going for it on 4&1 on their next drive as they went 68/7pl and based on them settling for 2 short FG’s and the fact they had a td on the last 4&1, he probably made the right decision but UT was stuffed with 6:02 left. BS then went 86/11pl and got a 13 yd td run with 1:43 left to take the lead 34-27. UT on 4&7 from its own 27 fired incomplete.
Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 15-4 79% and on the year they are now 163-35 82%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which added another winner last week when East Carolina upset Houston.
For projected box scores and Last 14 Years Matchups for all of these games, please click here.
#1 Alabama vs #15 Texas A&M
Bama is, of course, coming off the huge game vs LSU although they do only have Western Carolina on deck. A&M, meanwhile, is on its third straight away game and playing for the 10th straight week. Last week the Tide jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead at #5 LSU but found themselves down 17-14 late in the game as McCarron completed just 1-7 passes for 0 yards in the 2H prior to the final drive. LSU blew some opportunities to put the game away including 3 failed FG attempts. McCarron led Bama 72/5pl in a drive that culminated with a td pass with just :51 left as the #1 Tide won 21-17. McCarron has still not thrown an int this year but the #1 Tide D did give up 435 yards and they will have their hands full again this week vs ‘Johnny Football’ who tore through Miss St’s D to the tune of 440 total yards (30-36 passing!) as the Aggies rolled to a 38-13 win at MSU. A&M outgained MSU 693-310 and had a 36-15 FD edge. Keep in mind, the last 2 times Bama has lost a game it came at the hands of mobile QB’s in Cam Newton and Jordan Jefferson. Still I can’t step in front of the elephant here as A&M’s offense has been sluggish in the 2H of games vs the other two elite D’s it faced earlier this year in UF/LSU.
Ohio was coming off its first loss of the year and rolled up Eastern Michigan with a 555-305 yard edge. It was just 17-14 when OU took over with :55 left in the half and went 65/7pl and on 2&10 got a 19 yd td pass with :11 left to lead 24-14. EMU in the 3Q went on a 14pl drive but punted and OU got a 3&5, def pass interference for a FD and on the next play a 79 yd td pass, 31-14. OU drove 44/5 for a td after a 38 yd PR with 5:03 left and got a 29 yd td run with 1:33 left.
Middle Tennessee and WKU played on a Thursday and MT pulled the first upset of the weekend. MT settled for a 19 yd FG on a 73/13pl drive to open and after a punt the teams would score td’s on 4 straight poss. WKU settled for a 29 yd FG, MT on 4&1 was SOD at the WKU32 with :32 left in the half and WKU missed a 47 yd FG on the final play of the half and it was 17-17. The game was tied 27-27 after a 27 yd WKU FG with 6:17 left but MT had a 96 yd KR for a 7 pt lead. WKU went 57/10pl but from the 21 yard line on FD was int’d at the 2. MT on 4&9 ran the ball into the back of the EZ for a safety on the last play of the game. WKU finished with a 438-342 yd edge.
Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game.
Last week the Top 25 forecasts went 15-3 83% and on the year they are 118-21 85%!! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which are 5-1 the last 4 weeks!! To get projected box scores for theses Top 25 games, click here.
#1 Alabama at Tennessee
Giovani Bernard ran for 177 yards and North Carolina had a 485-415 yard edge. Stephen Morris was having a fine game for Miami and had hit just 12-26-155 yds. He had some crucial runs for 40 yds on 7 carries. He was helped off the field with 8:26 left. Bkp Ryan Williams hit 9-13-80. NC led 7-0 when they were int’d at the UM25 then on the next drive missed a 33 yd FG. UM punted but roughing the P kept the drive alive and they would go 80/12pl for a td. NC led 15-7 at the half with a 313-191 yd edge. UM got to 15-14 after a delay of game pen had then go for just a regular xp. NC got a 48 yd FG then missed a 43 yd FG. UM went 48/13 and on 3&6 was SOD at the NC26. Their final drive got to the NC29 but on 4&16 they gained 11 yds with :22 left.
I will admit when I’m wrong and last week I thought Texas had a great situational advantage. I thought Texas, with their defense would be able to handle West Virginia at home and win the game more comfortably than most thought before a record crowd of 101,851. WV finished with a 26-21 FD edge and 460-404 yd edge. After WV had a 40 yd FG blk’d they attempted to go for it numerous times on 4th down and met with success almost every time. On their 3rd drive they converted on 4&2 at midfield then on 4&4 were stopped but UT called time-out prior and on the next play WV got a 40 yd td pass. Texas led 28-27 at half and got the ball to open the 3Q and appeared to be in good shape going 54/13pl and settled for a 36 yd FG. WV’s 2nd 3Q poss converted on 4&6 and 4&1 on a 76/12pl drive for a td, 41-38 (10:50) UT was SOD on 4&13 and then a key play happened when on 3&6 from the WV 8 the snap got past QB Ash and he fell on it for a 16 yd loss. That forced a 41 yd FG and they missed and WV went 76/8pl as UT couldn’t get them off the field. Perhaps their most impressive player in the game was Andrew Buie who constantly broke tackles and rushed for 207 yards although Geno Smith is clearly the frontrunner for the Heisman hitting 25-35-268 yards. Hats off to WV for going into a hostile environment and beating a pretty good Texas team and they deserve to be in the Top 5.