By Phil Steele
Happy New Year’s Eve! Two fantastic days of football start today when NC State travels to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. Georgia Tech and USC meet in the Sun Bowl. Iowa St faces Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl. And Clemson and LSU meet in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Each day there is a bowl I will have a breakdown of the game here on my blog. But if you can’t wait for the actual writeup, make sure you download my FREE Bowl Guide which gives you a glimpse of each game being played this bowl season. The Bowl Guide includes Stat Leaders, Past Meetings, Bowl Records, Game By Game Stats and Previous Bowl Game Results. Everything you need for this post season at your fingertips! Here is the forecast for today’s bowls. Make sure you check back tomorrow for the first blog of 2013! Everyone have a safe and happy New Year!
Categories: Bowl Projections, College Football Forecasts Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Iowa St, Liberty Bowl, LSU, music city bowl, NC State, Sun Bowl, Tulsa, USC, Vanderbilt
By Phil Steele
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…
Categories: News & Notes ACC Championship, Alabama, Arkansas St, Baylor, Big Ten Championship, Boise St, Cincinnati, Connecticut, CUSA Championship, FAU, Florida St, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Kansas, Kansas St, Kent St, Louisiana, Louisville, MAC Championship, Middle Tenn, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico St, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Pac-12 Championship, Pittsburgh, rutgers, SEC Championship, South Alabama, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas St, Tulsa, UCF, UCLA, USF, West Virginia, wisconsin
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…
Categories: Top 25 Games ACC Championship game, Alabama, Baylor, Big Ten Championship game, Boise St, CUSA Championship game, Florida St, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas St, Kent St, MAC Championship game, Nebraska, Nevada, Nicholls St, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Oregon St, SEC Championship Game, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Tulsa, UCF, UCLA, wisconsin
By Phil Steele
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.
Categories: News & Notes Air Force, Akron, Alabama, Apple Cup, Arizona, Arizona St, Arkansas, Auburn, Ball St, big east, Bowling Green, Bryn Renner, Buffalo, BYU, Central Mich, Cincinnati, Colorado, Connecticut, CUSA Title game, Derek Carr, Duke, East Carolina, Eastern Mich, Fresno St, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Giovani Bernard, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa St, Iron Bowl, James Lark, Joker Phillips, Kent St, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Miami, Montee Ball, Nebraska, New Mexico St, North Carolina, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio, Pat Hill, Penn St, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Quinshad Davis, rutgers, SMU, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas St, Thanksgiving, Toledo, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, UMass, USF, Utah, UTSA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington St, West Virginia, wisconsin, WKU
By Phil Steele
Ball St solidified its bowl standing and Ohio’s banged up team kept sliding. The Bobcats missed as many as 10 players due to injury but did only trail 21-17 at the half. Ball St lost their starting QB Keith Wenning who hit 16-20-172. Veteran Kelly Page came in and ran 7 yards for a td on his only play of the 1H and OU did get to the BSU12 with :12 left in the half but was sacked on the final play and did not score. OU got a 58 yd td run by Blankenship on the first drive of the 2H to take a 24-21 lead but Ball got a 68 yd Edwards run keying a 71/2pl drive for a td and OU missed a 27 yd FG. After 2 punts, BSU went 59/10pl for a 38 yd FG and OU went on an 11pl drive for a 34 yd FG, 31-27. Ball, after a 46 yard KR and a 15 yd penalty on a personal foul, drove 38/1pl for a td then after a punt went 65/6pl for a td and after OU went 3&out again, went 77/8pl for a td and turned it into a 52-27 rout with 2:18 left. Page hit just 5-7-41 rushing 4x’s for 34 yards.
Categories: News & Notes Air Force, Alabama, Arizona St, Arkansas, Arkansas St, army, Ball St, Boise St, Boston College, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Colorado, Colorado St, Duke, Eastern Mich, FAU, FIU, florida, Florida St, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Jacksonville St, Kent St, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Michigan St, Middle Tenn, Mississippi St, Montel Harris, Navy, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Penn St, rice, rutgers, Sam Houston St, Shula Bowl, SMU, South Alabama, South Carolina, Temple, Texas A&M, Texas St, Toledo, Troy, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, USF, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington St, Western Carolina, Western Mich, Wofford
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.
Categories: Top 25 Games Alabama, AP Top 25, Arizona St, Arkansas, army, Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, California, Clemson, florida, Florida St, Georgia, Houston, Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi St, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon St, Penn St, rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas St, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington St
#23 Toledo takes on Ball St today. For the Top 25 Forecast and the projections you would normally see on Friday – head on over to PhilSteele.com today!
Nine of the 15 teams that made my Most Improved List featured in this year’s magazine have already clinched bowl bids and there is still a month left!!
Jordan Lynch only accounted for 3 td’s for Northern Illinois despite the final being 63-0 vs overmatched Massachusetts. NI played 2 backup QB’s leaving Lynch in for just the first series of the 3Q and he left with them up 42-0. UMass went for it on 4th down 4 times in the 1H on 4&2 at the NI47, 4&9 at the NI50, 4&2 at the NI27 and 4&8 at the NI7 and all 4 times, failed. They fumbled on their first two 3Q poss and were SOD on 4&6 at the NI46.
Categories: News & Notes Akron, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona St, Arkansas, Arkansas St, Baylor, Boise St, Boston College, Clemson, Colorado St, Connecticut, Duke, Fresno St, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Kent St, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Oregon, Oregon St, pitt, San Diego St, San Jose St, SMU, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Texas, Texas St, Texas Tech, Troy, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, UCLA, UMass, UNLV, USC, USF, Utah St, Wake Forest, Wyoming
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.
Categories: News & Notes Aaron Kelly, Air Force, Akron, Andrew Buie, Andrew Maxwell, Arizona, Arkansas, Arkansas St, army, Auburn, Baylor, Beehive Boot, BJ Daniels, Boise St, Boston College, Bowling Green, BYU, Casey Pachall, Clemson, Cody Getz, Connecticut, Conner Vernon, Duke, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, FIU, florida, Geno Smith, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Gio Bernard, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa St, Jared Barnett, Jeff Driskel, Josh Nunes, Kain Colter, Kansas, Kansas St, Keith Marshall, Kent St, Kentucky, LSU, Lyle McCombs, Maikon Bonani, Marcus Lattimore, Marshall, Maryland, Matt Scott, Michigan St, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi St, Navy, North Carolina, Northwestern, October 6, Oklahoma, Penn St, phil steele, Pittsburgh, rutgers, Saturday Recap, SE Louisiana, Sean Renfree, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, Stephone Diggs, Syracuse, Tajh Boyd, TCU, Temple, Texas, Texas Tech, Todd Gurley, Trevone Boykin, Trevor Simian, Tulsa, Tyler Van Tubbergen, UAB, UCF, ULM, UMass, USC, USF, Utah, Utah St, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Western Michigan, wisconsin, Zach Mettenberger
Here are my projections for games being played on Saturday, October 6th.
I list the projected scores from my computers forecast. Another column shows you the computers yardage forecast for each game. I think it will be interesting to see who the computer picks to win the yardage battle and see if they win the game. In my College Football magazine I have the plus and minus ratings. I update them weekly and then factor in the home edge and I will show you who the Plus Minus ratings forecast. I will also list who Vegas has favored to win each week and we can see how they do picking the actual winners of games. There is also a WEEKLY POLL which you can enter for free each week.
Categories: College Football Picks Air Force, Akron, Arizona, Arkansas, army, Auburn, Ball St, Boise St, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, California, Central Mich, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado St, Connecticut, Duke, Eastern Mich, florida, Florida St, Fresno St, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Houston, Idaho, Illinois, Indian, Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Kent St, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami Fl, Miami Oh, Michigan, Michigan St, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Navy, NC Staate, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico St, North Carolina, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon St, Penn St, Purdue, rice, rutgers, San Diego St, SE Louisiana, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas St, Texas Tech, Toledo, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCLA, ULM, UMass, UNLV, USF, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington St, West Virginia, Western Mich, wisconsin, Wyoming
Stanford went on the road for the first time and led 13-3 late 3Q but on a key play of the game, Washington on 4&1 got a 61 yd Sankey td run to get back in it. They later got a 35 yd td pass with 4:54 left and SU’s last gasp was a 4&4 incomplete pass with 1:46 left. Josh Nunes hit 18-37-170. It was UW’s first win over a top 10 team since 2009 and the student section poured on to the turf of CenturyLink Field at the end and actually gave them more of a home field edge than I thought they would playing away from their home stadium this year. UW finished with a 313-235 yd edge and 13-10 FD edge.
Categories: News & Notes Air Force, Arkansas, army, Ball St, BCS Buster, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, BYU, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado St, Duke, fbs, FCS, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent St, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Minnesota, Missouri, Navy, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Penn St, Rhode Island, San Jose St, South Alabama, Stanford, Stony Brook, Texas A&M, Texas St, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, ULM, Upset, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington