College Football’s eighth weekend: West Virginia bounces back

Geno SmithTwo strong match up’s this week as Geno Smith and West Virginia look to bounce back after a subpar game against the Red Raiders.

The Florida Gators have gotten up to the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings and are the next team in line in the SEC that controls their own destiny. Alabama still holds the top spot and the top two teams don’t meet in the regular season, but the Gators have a tough road ahead of them. Last week I did pretty well, going 17-1 in my picks.

(1) Alabama at Tennessee

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-Tennessee this and especially next year, but they don’t have the players on defense to keep this a close game. Tennessee’s offense is one of the most underrated offenses out there, but unless the Volunteers can at least slow down the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack, quarterback Tyler Bray will have to have a career day if they want to pull the upset. Alabama wins 45-24.

(2) Florida vs (7) South Carolina

The Gators come into this game with a lot of momentum and they get to play in front of their home crowd. South Carolina also doesn’t have their stellar running back Marcus Lattimore starting the game. My guess is he’ll play around 20 snaps, but he isn’t 100 percent, which kills almost any chance the Gamecocks had coming into this game.

LSU showed that South Carolina wasn’t worthy of a top five spot and unless quarterback Connor Shaw can break out in the Swamp, the Gators should be able to control this game. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is starting to get more comfortable the more he plays, and with the rushing attack led by Mike Gillislee, Driskel never feels like he has to force anything. Expect a ton of rushing plays from the Gators, and a win at home to keep their undefeated season going. Florida wins 31-21.

(3) Oregon at Arizona State

This game was played Thursday night* Oregon won 43-21. This game wasn’t as close as the 22 point difference indicated.

(4) Kansas State at (13) West Virginia

The Mountaineers are coming off a huge loss to Texas Tech and will be at home in this one looking for revenge. Geno Smith had a subpar game against the Red Raiders, and while Kansas State’s defense is certainly better than average, I expect Smith to get it going along with his wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

What many people don’t know about this game is that we have probably the two Heisman favorites playing in this game.

Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein is as close as you can get to Tim Tebow, and with his rushing abilities, could lead Kansas State to yet another huge victory this year. If Klein outperforms Smith, which is certainly possible, he may get the win, and the nod when it comes to winning the Heisman. If the Mountaineers want to win, Smith doesn’t only have to play like he has all year outside of the Texas Tech game, but the defense has to at least slow down Collin Klein. I think both will happen just enough for West Virginia to make it a bounce back week. West Virginia wins 45-38.

(5) Notre Dame vs BYU

BYU is only 4-3 and are on the road against a very tough Fighting Irish defense, but this one shouldn’t be a blow out. BYU’s defense is better than many people realize, and with quarterback Tommy Rees getting the start over an injured Everett Golson, this could be the upset of the week. I expect the Fighting Irish to keep it on the ground all game long and be able to stay undefeated for one more week before they head to Norman, Oklahoma. Notre Dame wins 24-10.

(6) LSU at (18) Texas A&M

I’m certainly not an LSU guy, but beating South Carolina last week doing what both teams do best was fairly impressive. In this game, I’m picking the Aggies though. What’s even more odd is that Texas A&M has a freshman quarterback who’s starting for them. The most interesting part is that the freshman Johnny Manziel may be the best offensive player on the field in this game.

Manziel has the top two total yard games in SEC history already, and like I’ve said… he’s just a freshman. Manziel is extremely talented, not only being able to throw, but will soon be regarded as one of the most dynamic quarterback in the country. He’s not as fast as Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez, but he’s certainly in Braxton Miller’s category, which is still impressive. If the Aggies can keep LSU’s running game at bay, expect the unexpected. Texas A&M wins 34-24.

(8) Oregon State vs Utah

The Beavers don’t have top 10 talent but they’ll stay undefeated here. They’re at home and are simply the better team. Oregon State wins 38-14.

(9) Oklahoma vs Kansas

Much like in the game above, Oklahoma’s the more talented team and at home. But I can’t go on without mentioning how impressive the 63-21 beat down was against Texas last week. That not only showed how good the Sooners were, but how good Kansas State is. Collin Klein’s team is the only team to beat Oklahoma this year. Oklahoma wins 52-14.

(10) USC vs Colorado

Yet again, the vastly superior talented team is playing at home in this game. USC wins 56-7. Read more…

Heisman Trophy watch: Early Heisman Trophy candidates

Heisman TrophyAs college football fans, what are we to do? The 2011-2012 season has been over for about a week and a half now and we won’t see any more games for almost seven and a half months. I say we take a look at the early candidates in the 2012 Heisman Trophy race. Next years race should be as exciting as any we have seen in the last 10 years. There are several big names coming back and there are several who “broke through” in 2012, and are at the cusp of stardom. The race should be skin tight right from the get go. It was tough to do, but I managed to scrap together a top ten list for next year. Lets take a look at the 2012 top ten shall we.

1. Matt Barkley-(QB/USC)- Matt Barkley was the hottest quarterback in the nation as we reached the end of the season and shocked a lot of people when he announced that he was returning for his senior season. In 2011, Barkley completed 69% of his passes and threw for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. It doesn’t hurt that he will have the best receiving core in the nation led by the dynamic duo of Robert Woods and Marquise Lee. They also have a ton of starters returning on offense and will make a run at a national championship.

2. Montee Ball-(RB/Wisconsin)-Mr. Ball will also return for his senior year after tying Barry Sanders single season record of 39 touchdowns. Last year, Ball was fourth in the country averaging 135.3 rushing yards a game. Ball will lose a couple of starters on the offensive line, as well as as Russel Wilson. The Badgers still should have a pretty good team and Wisconsin’s system will allow Ball to have huge numbers again next year.

3.  Geno Smith-(QB/West Virginia)-Geno Smith put up some serious numbers last year and put an explanation point on the end of it with a 407 yard 6 touchdown performance against Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He threw for 4,385 yards with 31 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 65.6 completion percentage. Smith can make every throw on the field, can run the ball and has a plethora of receivers coming back. If West Virginia stays in title contention, look for Smith to have a good chance to take home the Heisman. Read more here…