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The First 2013 BCS Standings and My Analysis

The initial 2013 BCS Standings are out and I was shocked. I never would have guessed the Oregon Ducks would drop below the Florida State Seminoles. Since the beginning of the season I have been impressed with FSU quarterback Jameis Winston but I never would have guessed he would lead his team to a #2 BCS ranking when the first polls were released. Oregon has done nothing but win easily yet they are behind FSU. Even though Oregon is #3 right now they still have the opportunity to move up. The Ducks will play both UCLA and Stanford in the next two weeks so their strength of schedule will increase drastically. The biggest loser in the initial BCS standings is Ohio State as they are stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

Ohio State and the BCS

It is very hard for me to feel sorry for Ohio State because I feel as if they would not be able to compete in the national championship game. Even if they go undefeated they will have beaten nobody. That is correct. They play in the B1G conference which is as weak as ever this year. I saw a tweet recently stating that the B1G Conference had four teams in the top 25. Interestingly, three of those four come in between #21 and #25. This means the B1G Conference has one team in the top 20. Obviously, that one team is Ohio State. Even if Ohio State runs the table and wins the conference championship game their schedule will likely be too weak for them to get into the BCS National Championship game.

I would have sympathy for Ohio State if they would schedule someone outside their conference. I know Ohio State fan will claim they scheduled a decent Cal team from the PAC 12. Give me a break. If you want to schedule a team from the PAC 12 why not schedule Oregon, Stanford, USC or UCLA? Heck, I would even accept Arizona State or Oregon State. Instead you go out and find a Cal team that has been struggling since the Aaron Rodgers days.

Also, the MAC loves you for handing them money but play someone besides Ohio University or Miami (Ohio). There is no reason Ohio State cannot schedule an SEC game. The academic department needs to suck it up and schedule a game at Auburn or at Florida. Even if they scheduled a game at Vanderbilt or Mississippi I would be impressed. Instead they find a way to get directional Michigan on the schedule. In the long run this really doesn’t help Ohio State in any way. If you think it does just go back and look at the BCS games in which they played an SEC school. Ohio State is going to have to step up their level of play in the regular season if they hope to compete with the big boys during the bowl season. That will definitely be the case when the college football playoff starts in 2014.

Does Florida State Deserve the #2 Spot?

When Florida State went into Death Valley and throttled the Clemson Tigers they proved they are one of the best teams in the ACC. That said, some are still wondering if they are really a contender for the national championship. Clemson was #3 heading into that particular game but Clemson has not exactly had a strong reputation for winning big games. Now that Florida State has brought Clemson back to reality it will be interesting to see how they play over the next few weeks. Up next is NC State before the Miami game. The NC State game is a definite trap game as the Miami game could be a top 5 matchup. This will be two top 5 matchups in three weeks for the Seminoles. If they can pull lopsided wins out in each of these games it is safe to say they have their swagger back.

The one concern I have about the Florida State Seminoles is their strength of schedule. Much like Ohio State, it may come down to the end of the season and Florida State has not beat anyone that good. If Clemson spirals downhill and Miami ends the season with a few losses, Florida State will not have had a big win all year. To conclude the season Florida State will take on the Florida Gators. At the beginning of the year this looked like a huge game; not so much now. The Gators have already lost three games and they are reeling. Some believe Will Muschamp is on his way out in Gainesville. Florida State needs to hope Florida gets it together before the end of season game.

The SEC and Alabama Remain Atop the BCS

The Alabama Crimson Tide keep on rolling. It is amazing to see them throttle team after team in the SEC. On Saturday, October 19th they did it again to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Other than the Texas A&M game the Alabama defense has been out of this world. Another shutout against Arkansas on Saturday and it looks like this Alabama team could be better than the team that won the national championship last year. If the offense continues to improve we might as well hand another BCS title to Nick Saban and crew.

As if the Alabama dominance is not enough now we have to look at Missouri from the SEC. Missouri and Texas A&M are the newest additions to the conference. Almost every SEC guru felt as if Texas A&M had the best shot to win the SEC as a new member rather than the Missouri Tigers. After seven games it is the Tigers from Columbia, Missouri that are in the drivers seat to head to Atlanta to play in the SEC championship in early December. When looking at their remaining schedule it looks promising that the Tigers will have a shot at the Crimson Tide. Missouri’s two road games are at Kentucky and at Ole Miss. If you know anything about Kentucky you know that should be an easy win; especially with basketball season having started when the game will be played.

The SEC had a weekend of turmoil recently as many of their top teams went down. As I have said many times, the SEC is amazing top to bottom so it should come as no surprise that some of the best teams take a beating. There have been years in which a two loss SEC team has gotten into the BCS National Championship game. I do not think that will happen this year but there is a strong possibility that a two loss SEC team could be better than an undefeated team from another conference. We won’t name conferences.

Early BCS Rankings Don’t Matter

It is very important for all sports fans to recognize that early BCS rankings don’t matter all that much. The BCS will figure itself out by the end of the year. The only thing the BCS is asked to do is to place the #1 and #2 teams in the championship game. When all is said and done that is exactly what will happen. Ohio State, Oregon and Baylor fans have no reason to complain. If we get to the second week in December and they are undefeated and not #2, then they might have a reason to complain.

I find it very interesting that college football fans will find a way to complain about almost anything. If their team were #1 in the country they would complain they did not receive enough first place votes. If a team is not #1 there must be something wrong with all those that are submitting a poll. Unfortunately, college football fans are some of the most biased people in the world. It is best to take off the tinted sunglasses and look at the big picture. While a college football playoff will be fun there is nothing we can do about it right now. Heck, there is nothing you can do about your team going undefeated. Enjoy college football for what it is and stop worrying about all the things you cannot control.

The only thing you can control when it comes to your team is being in the stadium cheering on your alma mater. If you are a diehard college football fan that wants your team to get to the best bowl game possible you should make it a point to attend every game. Teams that get the best bowl bids are often teams that have fan bases that travel well. There is a reason Clemson and Georgia get some of the better bowl bids even when they have not had the best season. Travel with your team, cheer them on and you will find a great location for your January 1st bowl. If you are unhappy with the teams performance do not go to the game and stop donating money. That is the only way a change is going to happen in the athletic department. That is another story for another time.

Defense Wins Championships in the SEC

Every single year we learn that defense wins championships in the SEC. Not long ago I wrote an article about Georgia struggling on defense. They had no problems outscoring teams but eventually there was going to be a game in which the defense needed to take over. That game was Saturday, October 12th, 2013. The Missouri Tigers came to Athens, Georgia and the Bulldogs were decimated with injuries. Most of the skills players on offense were hurt and the team needed the defense to step up big. When playing in the SEC there are going to be games when the offense struggles. It is just the nature of the beast. Early in this game it was quite obvious that Georgia was going to be challenged by the Missouri Tigers.

Georgia vs Missouri 2013

Like many of the Georgia games in the early part of 2013 the Missouri game was high scoring. Unfortunately, the high scoring was in favor of the Tigers and not the Bulldogs. The Missouri Tigers were up 28-10 at halftime and Georgia QB Aaron Murray was struggling without his regular offensive weapons. As the second half opened the Georgia coaching staff recognized they needed to get on the scoreboard quickly. At one point in the second half Georgia had trimmed the lead to 28-26. They went for a two point conversation and ended up failing. Down just two points most Georgia fans felt good about the possibility of a win as Aaron Murray has been very good in the 4th quarter this year.

With less than seven minutes to go in the 4th quarter Georgia got the ball back down eight points. With this being a one possession game many fans expected Aaron Murray to lead his team down the field to score the final touchdown and two point conversion to tie the game. That did not happen. Murray was flushed from the pocket and threw an interception. This basically sealed the deal and Georgia went on to lose. Their top 10 ranking has been relinquished and their national title hopes are gone. Most feel as if they do not have a chance to win the SEC East either. That remains to be seen. What this Georgia vs Missouri game told us was that any team that wants to compete for an SEC championship needs a defense that can win games.

Running the Ball in the SEC

The Georgia Bulldogs also struggled to run the ball against the Missouri Tigers in their loss. Having the inability to run the ball and stop the other team is a recipe for disaster in the SEC. Most of the past champions were teams that were very physical. Even though they could throw the ball when they really needed they could still line up and get two yards when on the goal line. With the new age, fast paced offenses out there I have seen a few teams that can’t line up on third and one and run for the first down. This is something that just won’t fly in the SEC.

There are some conferences that can be won by throwing the ball all over the field, but that is not the SEC. Southern football is a little bit different. Stadiums in the SEC get very loud so the opposing teams struggle to call plays that involve lots of patterns and intricate passing routes. When a team is at home it is much easier because the crowd is silent when the home team has the ball. When you head on the road it is a much different atmosphere. Some teams try to simulate the loud stadiums with noise at practice but nothing compares to a Saturday night in Baton Rouge or other SEC university towns.

Over the last few decades most people that have watched SEC football on Saturday afternoon on CBS Sports know that running the ball is important. When they do the graphics at the beginning of the games one of the keys to the game is always controlling the line of scrimmage. Even though Texas A&M and Missouri have come into the conference and have thrown the ball they have yet to win a conference championship. Many people can put up the stats but when it comes to winning the SEC Championship you’d better be able to run the ball well. This is why I have always said that the best teams run the ball and stop the run. Even if their QB is having a bad day they can still win the game. This does not happen with teams like Texas A&M and Georgia.

Alabama Continues to Dominate

Week in and week out we hear about teams that could challenge Alabama for the SEC and BCS Championship. Alabama keeps winning and the contenders keep dropping. This past weekend it was Stanford and Georgia. There were experts that thought Stanford was physical enough to play with some of the SEC teams. Then they go out and lose to an unranked Utah team. That is no disrespect to Utah as they are a good team but they did lose to UCLA at home. It is not like Utah is the creme of the crop on the west coast. We all know what happened to Georgia which means they will not get to play Alabama in the SEC Championship game again this year.

Nick Saban has built a powerhouse in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is amazing to see how consistent this team is. They can dominate the line of scrimmage which means they can win games ugly or they can win a shootout. This year they beat Texas A&M 49-42 and they beat Ole Miss 26-0. There are not many teams in the country that can play several different styles of football. Ultimately, Alabama would love to play physical football and beat their opponent into submission. This is what they have done in three of the last few national championship games. If teams from other conferences play Alabama in the BCS National Championship game they learn what the SEC is all about – physical football.

It is so very hard to win every week in college football. I have repeatedly said that college football has the best regular season as everything is on the line. With the pressure building there are many 18 to 22 year olds that would crack. Whatever Nick Saban is telling these kids is working. It is shocking to see them dominate the way they do. Once you are the best there is no way to go up. Keeping any young man grounded is difficult and Saban has to do it with individuals that have been the best their entire college career. Whatever psychology books he is reading I would strongly suggest other coaches check them out from their university’s library.

Defense Will Always Win SEC Championships

Many of my friends feel as if Oregon or Clemson could go into the SEC and win because of the different style offenses they run. I couldn’t disagree more. These teams have had the opportunity to play SEC opponents in big games and they have lost. I know that every year is different but to be the best you have to beat the best. When Oregon or Clemson can win a BCS bowl game against an SEC team they will have an argument to be made. Make a note that the ChickFilA Bowl does not count. It needs to be a big time bowl game in which the SEC will be prepared to play. Some of these lesser bowls are not all that important to an SEC team that could be vying for a national championship.

When looking at recruiting rankings the first position I look at is the defensive line. Almost every single year Alabama, LSU and Florida dominate defensive line recruiting. It comes as no surprise that these are the teams that end up winning the most SEC games by the end of the year. Every once in awhile a Texas A&M or South Carolina will sneak into the SEC Championship game but they are not consistent. If you want to know who is going to be in the top 10 in college football in the next few years just look at the defensive line recruiting rankings. There is a very good reason a defensive line can dominate a game.

Not only can the defensive line stop the run but they can completely disrupt the passing game of the opposition. Strong defensive tackles to go along with fast defensive ends works magic in college football. We have seen this from LSU for many years. The defensive ends get up the field while the defensive tackles clog up the middle. The quarterback of the opposition has to worry about getting hit on every play and he starts looking at the pass rush rather than looking downfield. This is exactly what happened to senior quarterback Aaron Murray in the Missouri at Georgia game and we saw the outcome. If you hope your favorite team has conference championship aspirations in the near future just check out the defensive linemen they are recruiting and developing.

Does the USC vs Notre Dame Game Matter in 2013?

At one time the USC vs Notre Dame game was one of the biggest games of the year in college football. Unfortunately, in the past 20 years it has often been the case that only one of these two teams is at the top of their game when they clash during the regular season. There have not been many top 10 match ups in recent years. Even when the game is competitive one team usually comes in ranked significantly higher than the other. The same will happen in 2013. In fact, this game will likely get overshadowed by an ACC game. Who would have ever guessed the ACC would rule the primetime ratings of this week’s Saturday slate? Trust me when I tell you many more people are going to be interested in Clemson vs Florida State than USC vs Notre Dame.

USC and the Lane Kiffin Debacle

The Lane Kiffin era did not last very long at USC. After Pete Carroll abruptly left the program to head to the NFL the Trojans felt as if they could replace Carroll with one of his disciples and have the same success. They did not have a problem luring Lane Kiffin away from the University of Tennessee, but it did not work out as planned for either party. Lane Kiffin came in with huge expectations but one issue after another made it difficult for him to lead the Trojans back to national championship status. As soon as Kiffin arrived on campus USC was under investigation. After getting stripped scholarships most USC fans were willing to give Kiffin a few extra years to turn it around.

Whether or not he should have been given these extra few years is an argument for another time. What we know now is that Lane Kiffin was not the man for the job at USC. He was an amazing recruiter but he was not a great coach. I think I saw the writing on the wall very early when Kiffin would go for a two point conversation after about half of his team’s touchdowns. There is absolutely no reason to do this at a big time football program. This is the type of stuff small schools do just to try to get attention. Lane Kiffin was acting immature and that does not lead to success as a Division I college football coach.

USC decided to let Lane Kiffin go earlier this year and it should have happen. Some would argue that it should have happened sooner. Even though USC was hampered by scholarships being reduced they were never the team that lived up to their talent. Year in and year out the team was in the preseason top 25. By the time the season ended they were lucky to finish in the upper half of the Pac 12 conference. Two years ago the Trojans finished the season strong and they were preseason top five last year. That didn’t last long as Matt Barkley actually got worse during his senior season. This was all I needed to know to make my final decision about Lane Kiffin.

Is Notre Dame Back?

Last year many people thought Notre Dame might be back to their championship ways when they finished the season undefeated. So many people were excited about the BCS National Championship game against Alabama that it was one of the highest selling tickets in the history of the BCS. As we got closer to the national championship game more people began to recognize that Notre Dame did not match up well with the Alabama team that had won two of the last three national championship. Some experts were even predicting a blow out in the national championship game. When all was said and done it was exactly that. About 10 minutes into the game it was quite obvious that Alabama was in a class of its own. They were not going to be challenged by Notre Dame in any way.

Does this mean Notre Dame is not back? Well, maybe or maybe not. Brian Kelly has only been at Notre Dame a handful of years and he is still building the program. Seeing Notre Dame in the top 25 is nice as a college football historian. Unfortunately, Notre Dame fans are not happy with a team that is just in the top 25. They want their team competing for a national championship every year. I honestly don’t think that is going to be possible as the landscape of college football has changed drastically. It is no longer the case that high school football players only see games on NBC, ABC and CBS. In the past, this was the way Penn State, Notre Dame and USC recruited. They were the only teams that were on TV every single weekend. With ESPN and Fox Sports now airing games all day on Saturday high school football players can watch any team play from the comfort of their home.

Growing Up a Notre Dame Fan

I am in my early 30s and I grew up in a very small town. While we did get ESPN we did not get other sports channels. On a Saturday afternoon in the fall I had the option to watch NBC, which always had Notre Dame games. The local ABC and CBS stations had games in the ACC but ACC football has never been great. This meant that I watched Notre Dame week in and week out. I eventually became I diehard fan as I could name all the players on the team. Names like Kevin McDougal, Jerome Bettis and Lee Becton come to mind. With NBC paying millions for these broadcasts it stands to reason they would push the Fighting Irish as much as possible. During my younger years Notre Dame only won a single national championship and that was in 1989. After that they were in the top 10 every single year and challenged for a title.

The change happened when Lou Holtz decided to leave Notre Dame. The coach after Holtz was Bob Davie and it was a steady slide through the Davie years. NBC and Notre Dame still have a very strong relationship but there are so many options for college football fans. At the moment I can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1, the Pac 12 Network, the B1G Network and all the local affiliates. At 3:30 pm on a Saturday there are about seven or eight games that fans have the opportunity to watch. When I was growing up I had the opportunity to watch two or three and one was always Notre Dame.

It is also important to point out that regional games dominated in my younger years. If I wanted to watch Oregon or Texas A&M I was out of luck. We would have to order a special package and it was just too much for my parents to afford. Rather than getting upset about not seeing these teams play I simply let it go and knew nothing about them. I did not have the Internet at the time. The only way I could get score updates was to wait for Sportscenter at the end of the night. This was a time when there were not daily sports shows dedicated to the college football updates.

With so many options available it is obvious that high school football players and athletes do not have to watch only one team. There are dozens of games on every weekend and sports fans can use the Internet to get updates at any time during the day. Finding out insider information in the early to mid 1990s was nearly impossible. Unless you knew someone walking around the campus you had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. Now, every single program has a specific website dedicated to recruiting and analysis of the team.

Ratings for 2013 USC vs Notre Dame

The USC vs Notre Dame game will kick off at 7:30 pm on Saturday, October 19th. As mentioned previously, the Florida State vs Clemson game will likely be much more widely viewed. If all things work out the Clemson vs Florida State game will be a top 5 matchup while the Notre Dame vs USC matchup will feature a team that has recently fired their head coach and another team that is trying to find its identity as a program. I am a diehard college football fan and I love tradition. I would throughly enjoy watching this game if it actually mattered. Notre Dame will not be playing for a championship this year and USC will be playing for a mid level bowl. This makes the game unappealing to me as a fan.

I also have the opportunity to watch two of the best quarterbacks in college football in Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston in the Clemson vs Florida State game. This is not a difficult decision at all. Also, the geographic differences in Notre Dame and USC make it unappealing. Neither is in the south and neither is in the hotbed of recruiting. These are just a few of the many reasons the TV ratings for the USC vs Notre Dame game will be subpar.

Why ACC Football Will Never Change

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 was a great illustration as to why the ACC will never change. During the entire summer I made fun of the ACC because of the lack of depth and quality football. There is no arguing the fact that the ACC is one of the best basketball conferences in the nation. In fact, it can be argued it is the best basketball conference because of the number of championships won in the last three decades. That said, football is a much different story. The ACC has been throttled in BCS Bowl Games since the inception of the BCS. The middle to bottom half of the conference is downright bad. We saw more of that in recent weekends which should come as no surprise to most diehard college football fans.

Maryland and UVA Are A Joke

The University of Maryland came into Saturday, October 5th, 2013 undefeated and #25 in the country. Some analysts were predicting an upset of the top 10 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. Maryland was coming off a huge win against West Virginia and they had tons of momentum. When all was said and done Maryland had the wood laid to them at Florida State. They left Doak Campbell Stadium with a 63 spot hung on them. To make matters even worse, Maryland couldn’t even get on the scoreboard. While Florida State and Jameis Winston are very good in 2013 they are not so good that the final score should be 63-0. This is all too typical of a subpar ACC team that breaks into the top 25.

Another lackluster performance on the weekend of October 5th took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Cavaliers have not been a good football team in years but most thought they could beat Ball State in Charlottesville today. When the scoreboard read zeros it was Ball State with a total of 48 points and Virginia with 27; absolutely embarrassing. This is no disrespect to Ball State but no ACC team should allow a MAC team to drop 48 points on them in their home stadium. At one point the ACC thought they could be one of the elite BCS football conferences when they added Virginia Tech and Miami in the early 2000s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Maryland and Virginia laid eggs today it is important to note that other cellar dwellers sucked it up as well. North Carolina State University lost to Wake Forest in Raleigh and the UNC Tar Heels took another conference loss. These teams are just straight up bad. If they played in the SEC or PAC 12 they would get routed every single week. It is almost basketball season on Tobacco Road so there isn’t too much longer to wait for something exciting to happen. That said, college football season will continue to grind on through the end of the year. Clemson and Florida State are very good college football teams but the rest of the conference is just plain terrible. What is interesting is that both Florida State and Clemson have been rumored to be leaving the conference to head to the SEC. With a few more years of terrible ACC football I believe it would be smart for them to leave.

Should Clemson and FSU Go To The SEC?

When SEC expansion was a hot topic a few years ago two ACC schools continued to come up – Clemson and Florida State. It makes perfect sense that these two schools would jump from the ACC to the SEC. First of all, they are not historically strong in basketball. In fact, Clemson has gone over 50 years without beating UNC in Chapel Hill in round ball. Florida State has been good recently but it has not been a long term trend. The ACC is historically strong in college basketball and they are trying to expand that even more by adding Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The second reason it would be smart for the Tigers and Seminoles to go to the SEC is because of their football history. We can all agree that the ACC has not been strong in football. In fact, it has been well over a decade since the ACC has had a team in the national championship game in college football.

Part of the reason the ACC does not compete well in big time games is the level of competition. If Florida State and Clemson want to truly step up their level of competition they will go to a better football conference. Florida State’s main rival is Florida which happens to be in the SEC. Clemson’s main rival is South Carolina which happens to be in the SEC. These are just a few more reasons it would make sense to get out of a basketball conference and into a football conference.

The other issue is money. The SEC Network will start in 2014 and that will be a huge revenue generator for the conference. This will put more money in the pockets of all the teams that are in the SEC. Right now, there are no plans for the ACC to start a network. There are deals with the ACC with major networks but they do not have their own cable or satellite network. It would be smart for the ACC to get things in place before some of the bigger players in the conference decide to jump ship for more money. This has already happened with Maryland leaving the ACC to head to the B1G conference. Ten years ago there is no way Maryland would have left but the B1G Network is a huge revenue generator and the Terps want that extra cash. If the ACC continues to stumble it may be the case that it no longer exists as it is today. It might end up being just a basketball conference on Tobacco Road and the northeast.

Florida State and Clemson would like to improve in basketball but it is quite obvious they are more focused on football. For quite some time I have said that universities should focus on something they have been historically good at. NC State does a terrible job of this. They have won two national championships in basketball yet the alumni want a good football program. The NC State football program has never been good over a five year period. Instead of sinking money into Carter Finley Stadium they would be smart to spend money on the basketball program. Duke and UNC are just down the road so it should not be hard for NC State to get recruits that want to play at the highest level of basketball.

Is the ACC Just a Basketball Conference?

In the next two years the ACC is going to add Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville. Louisville is coming off a national championship in college basketball and Syracuse has been one of the best teams in the Big East for several decades. One of the reasons the ACC is adding these schools is to have the ACC Basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden. This will be a huge draw for ACC fans. Most ACC fans are used to going to Atlanta or Greensboro for the ACC Basketball Tournament so this will be something completely different. If they do finalize plans on MSG I think it is safe to say that the ACC is a basketball conference and will always be a basketball conference.

Florida State and Clemson have a little bit of an identity crisis in the ACC. Clemson rarely makes it out of the first round of the ACC Tournament and Florida State has only recently had success in this tournament. That said, they have no problems running up and down the field on ACC teams during the football season. If Clemson and Florida State end up in the top 10 in football this year I predict the SEC will make a strong push to pull them out of the ACC and into a conference that is football centered.

As we continue to move into basketball season most schools in the ACC are gearing up for a huge season. In Chapel Hill they are getting ready for Late Night with Roy. In Durham, Coach K and the boys are hoping to make another Final Four run. Teams like Syracuse and UVA are hoping to make a strong run in the ACC Tournament. These are teams that do not care about college football. They have all been throttled in the last week on the gridiron so the fan bases are looking for revenge on the hardwood.

I can clearly remember being at NC State years ago and hoping college football season would come around because our basketball team could not beat Duke or UNC. I was a little bit short minded in that I should have accepted that the ACC will forever be a basketball conference. This weekend proved that ACC football is not going to change in the near future. The only way it is going to change is if the conference loses the power teams to the SEC or another power conference.

 
By Jesse Wojdylo

Florida State vs Clemson 2013

The biggest regular season game in recent history in the ACC will take place in Death Valley on Saturday, October 19th at 8:00 pm on ABC Sports. The Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles have been very impressive this year as both teams have moved the ball up and down the field on their opponents. There is little argument to be made that these are two of the best teams in college football. Clemson finds a way to score over 40 points even against SEC defenses. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles dropped 63 points on a Maryland team that had one of the better defenses in the country. This makes the matchup on Saturday, October 19th all the more interesting.

Florida States’s Offense

Coming into the season most experts knew the name Jameis Winston but they had no idea how good he was going to be. He is a freshman so the only game tape that was available was from his high school days. When trying to make a prediction as to the success of a young quarterback most cannot make an accurate assessment when looking at high school games. The other issue is the fact that Jameis is a young kid that will likely be rattled during away games, right? Well, that has not been the case. In fact, he has played very well under pressure in the two ACC away games for Florida State this year. At Pittsburgh and at Boston College were no problems for this young quarterback from Tallahassee.

Even when Florida State has been behind in games Jameis Winston remains a cool character and he leads his team back to a huge victory. This happened in the Boston College game that was in Chestnut Hill. Something that makes the Florida State offense very difficult to defend is the fact that Winston can run the ball if he needs to. Prior to this year, Florida State has not had a duel threat quarterback since Charlie Ward in 1993. That 1993 team lead by Charlie Ward went on to win the national championship. If the Seminoles can continue to put points on the board there is a good chance they will have an opportunity to play for the national championship in the final BCS championship game this year.

I have watched Florida State play football since the early 1990s and I have not seen a dominate performance like the Maryland game in a long time There were some mid 1990s Florida State teams that used to roll up the ACC. It was not unheard of for FSU to win games by 40 or 50 points. This has not happened in almost a decade. To see the score Florida State – 63 and Maryland – 0 scrolling across the bottom of sports TV stations brought back memories of the past. Jameis Winston has Florida State Seminoles fans thinking this might be the year the team could make a run.

Clemson’s Offense

Tajh Boyd has lead the Clemson offense for several years. He has been at Clemson for what seems like decades. Being a senior quarterback means he has been through many difficult situations. Those tough road games in October and November become much easier when a team has an experienced quarterback. This has proven to be true for Clemson with a road win at NC State on a Thursday night. There will be some other tough road games as the year progresses but Tajh Boyd has looked very good thus far. If he can play at 75% of what he has been playing at early in the season the Clemson Tigers will not be challenged by anyone other than Florida State. During the Florida State game Tajh will need to be at his best.

The Clemson offense is one of those new age offenses that likes to get in as many plays as possible. The Clemson offensive coordinator would love to snap the ball 100 times every single game. This is not possible some games but it doesn’t mean they will not try. If Clemson gains some momentum on offense it is very difficult for ACC defenses to slow them down. This is especially true when they play in Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. When the big crowd starts rocking Death Valley it is almost impossible to slow down the Tigers. The Clemson fans are quite unique for the ACC as they have won a national championship and they know quite a bit about college football. This means they do not cheer loudly when the offense is on the field. This allows Tajh Boyd to get the plays called with ease.

If the Clemson Tigers are able to get off over 80 plays in the game against Florida State I would imagine they will come out on top. If the Tigers offense has to sit on the bench for much of the game I believe Florida State has the opportunity to knock off the #3 team in the country. It will be fun to watch an amazing offense like Clemson take on a top 5 defense such as Florida State.

Florida State’s Defense

Florida State is giving up less than 300 yards per game and they seem to get better every week. Before heading into the Clemson game they will have a bye week which will give them seven extra days to prepare for Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. This will play a huge roll in the game. Giving a great defense extra time to prepare for a fast paced offense can make a huge difference. If the Seminoles are healthy and have done their homework this might be the first time we truly see the Clemson Tigers offense challenged in 2013. It is interesting to see how teams react to a situation that is unique. If Clemson has a couple of drives that stall early it might frustrate them. When an offense gets frustrated they often try to do things out of their comfort zone. This is when turnovers happen.

Clemson is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to turnover margin. They average getting about two more turnovers than they give up. Florida State gets about one more turnover than they give up. With both teams being top 10 in the country there is a good chance that this game will come down to turnovers. Look for Florida State’s defense to put some extra pressure on Tajh Boyd. Tajh has not thrown a lot of interceptions in the first part of the season but he has also not been pressured by a great defensive line. Pay close attention to this matchup when the Tigers take on the Seminoles.

Clemson’s Defense

If there is one weakness for either team in this game it is the Clemson defense. It is not the case that the Clemson defense is bad but they have given up a lot of points in big games. When the Tigers opened against Georgia this year the defense gave up 35 points. This isn’t the first time a Clemson defense has give up over 30 points in a big game. It is important to note that the defense has played much better since that Georgia game. I will also point out that Georgia has one of the best offenses in the country that has yet to be stopped. I would like to see Clemson play well on the defensive side of the ball in a big game and the Florida State game will give them an opportunity to do just that.

Once again, turnovers could play a very large roll in this game so the Clemson defense will need to create a few. This has not been a problem in the first few weeks of the season but the level of competition, minus Georgia, has not been to the level of Florida State. Florida State’s offense is one of the best in the country and Jameis Winston could be the best quarterback in the United States. He has not turned the ball over much. His decision making is that of a senior quarterback. This means the Clemson defense is going to have to rattle him if they want him to throw bad passes or fumble the ball.

Who Will Win?

The Clemson Tigers will be favored in this game because they will be playing at home. That said, the Seminoles will have a week to prepare for the game. Ultimately, it will come down to the quarterback play. Tajh Boyd is the senior leader of the Clemson Tigers and he is the leading passer in ACC history when it comes to TDs. On the other side of the ball Jameis Winston is the new kid of the block but he has been very impressive. I think the Clemson Tigers will end up winning this game close solely because of the home field advantage and the senior at quarterback.

 

Can Florida State Reach The BCS Title Game?

Jameis Winston QB

Jameis Winston


So far this college football season the majority of BCS title game talk has focused on whoever comes out of the SEC (most feel Alabama), Oregon, Clemson and Ohio State. All four teams have a strong argument to make the title game if undefeated, with both Alabama and Oregon likely a shoe in if they make it through their conference schedule unscathed. Clemson, who defeated a very good Georgia team has a very good opportunity to represent the ACC in the title game if they run their schedule, including wins over Florida State and South Carolina. Ohio State, with the easiest schedule, is the most likely second tier contender to go undefeated but the Buckeyes will need a lot of help due to their poor strength of schedule. With all the talk of Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson there may be a new contender with a path to the BCS title game. The Florida State Seminoles, fresh off a 63-0 destruction of Maryland, have a superstar quarterback in Jameis Wilson and a potential clear path to the title game if they can go undefeated.

Can Florida State reach the BCS title game? Here are three factors in their favor.

The Schedule: The Seminoles have three remaining games against teams ranked in the twenty, a home game against the University of Miami and trips to Clemson and Florida. If Florida State gets through those games unscathed they’ll finish above both Clemson and Ohio State in the BCS standings and potentially could finish above Oregon/Stanford based on the quality of their victories. Whether they can finish without a loss is a bigger question. Death Valley and Gainesville are hostile environments to play in and a home game against a resurgent Miami team will be a tough rivalry game. The good thing for college football fans is that we’ll find out very soon as FSU travels to Clemson on October 19th.

The Jameis Winston Factor: Freshman quarterback Jameis Wilson is quickly becoming a Johnny Manzeil-like phenomenon. He put together yet another incredible performance versus Maryland with several highlight reel plays. Winston has 17 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions on the season with a 73% completion percentage. Winston is a legitimate Heisman candidate and the most touted FSU quarterback since Charlie Ward. His presence has pushed Florida State back onto the national stage and just may have an impact on the important pollsters. If Winston continues is stellar play and the Seminoles continue to win his presence could be a factor in FSU leap-frogging Ohio State or perhaps Oregon/Stanford.

Florida State or Stanford? From a profile perspective both Stanford and Florida State have a similar argument for reaching the top spot in the BCS poll if they go undefeated. Both teams have a brutal upcoming schedule that includes three games against top fifteen teams. Both clubs are currently the second ranked teams in their respective conferences but have an opportunity to defeat Oregon and Clemson respectively to vault up the rankings. So what happens if both Florida State and Stanford finish their schedule without a loss? Could they both vault a one loss SEC team and play each other in the title game? If Alabama wins out and earns the top BCS spot where would these two clubs land? Who knows? The first BCS standings will tell us a lot and they’re scheduled to be released on October 13th. By:Chris Michaels

Famous Jameis Winston Continues to Impress

Not long ago I wrote an article comparing Jameis Winston to Johnny Manziel. Throughout the entire article I pointed out how Johnny Manziel continues to make poor decisions off the field while Jameis Winston seems to be quite upstanding with amazing character. As the college football season progresses it looks as if Jameis Winston is here to stay. Some felt as if the first few games were just a fluke. After watching much of the first half of the Boston College game I can say that is not the case. Winston came out slow with a few incompletions. Most young quarterbacks would have hung their head; Jameis did not. He finished the first half strong with 216 yards and three touchdowns. Even though he started the game with a few incompletions he still ended up 9 of 13 for the half. This tells me that the kid can bounce back from a tough situation.

Jameis Winston is Mature

At one point in the first half of the Florida State at Boston College game the Seminoles were down 17-3. There are a number of experienced quarterbacks that would have tried to do too much and get their team back in the game with one play. Famous Jameis methodically worked down the field a few times. He gained his confidence with some completions. By the time the half was over the Seminoles had scored 21 straight points. This is the sign of a very mature young quarterback. Having watched thousands of hours of college football in the last decade I can tell you that quarterbacks like this do not come around often.

There are a number of young quarterbacks that burst onto the scene of college football and have a few impressive games early in their career. After defensive coordinators get some game film of these players it is harder to throw for the big yards. Jameis Winston is still very early in his career so it will be fun to watch his progression. It is often true that young quarterbacks go in one direction or the other. They continue to grow and mature both on the field and in the classroom. These are the quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck that go on to impressive professional careers. There are other quarterbacks that let the success get to their head and they stop doing the hard work needed to succeed. There are hundreds of quarterbacks that have a few great games but never amount to anything.

The fact that Jameis Winston is such a mature young man makes me believe he will be the quarterback that continues to study the game while also studying in the classroom. I do not think that is the case with Johnny Manziel. I think Johnny Football has other things on his mind. He enjoys partying and going out way too much. While Manziel is at the party Winston is in the film room watching game tape of the teams coming up. I think we can all agree that Peyton Manning became the amazing quarterback he is today because of hard work. Peyton does not have the best throwing motion nor is he the most skilled. What he has is the best work ethic in the game of football today.

The ACC Helps Winston

Something that diehard college football fans recognize is the conference in which an athlete plays will greatly determine their stats. The ACC is not considered one of the strongest conferences in college football so Jameis Winston will have several layup games. Boston College was one of those games. When the game was over Winston had 329 passing yards and four touchdowns. No one will make the argument that Boston College is even a decent team. Other terrible teams in the ACC include Wake Forest and UNC. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels gave up 55 points to a very bad ECU team. This means that Florida State will likely be able to drop about 50 on them. With the upcoming schedule being rather weak look for Jameis Winston to have a huge year when it comes to stats.

I am a numbers guy but I do warn my friends about looking at stats too closely. Recognize that stats do not mean everything. Johnny Manziel is going to have huge stats this year because the Texas A&M defense is terrible. Some quarterbacks might not have the best stats but they are great leaders and great players. As it looks right now, Jameis Winston is going to have amazing stats and he looks to be a strong leader. As mentioned earlier, this is not common when it comes to freshmen in college.

The biggest game Jameis Winston will have in 2013 will likely be the Clemson game. Unless something unusual happens in the next two weeks it looks as if Clemson will play Florida State as one of the top three teams in the country. If Florida State continues to win and a few other teams take a loss this could be an ACC matchup of two top five teams. This has not happened in a very long time. Tajh Boyd, the quarterback of Clemson, recently set the ACC record for most touchdown passes in a career. The press will eat this alive as it will be young against old. Tajh Boyd is a senior and he has taken his bumps and bruises along the way. Jameis Winston is still a freshman and he has a lot to learn over the course of the next several years. That does not mean he will not perform well against the Clemson Tigers this year.

This game will be played at Clemson on October 19th, 2013. Interestingly, the FSU Seminoles will go into the game off a bye week. This gives them seven extra days to prepare. One would think Florida State would have the advantage with this being the case. It should be one of the more enjoyable ACC games to watch in 2013. If Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd are both healthy it will probably be a very high scoring game.

Tajh Boyd vs Jameis Winston

Any other year and I would say that Jameis Winston is a lock for ACC Player of the Year with this type of play. This year, he might not even get a handful of votes. Tajh Boyd has already thrown for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns in the very early part of the season. Tajh Boyd is also a senior so he has been around the block a time or two. This is going to garner him even more votes from the media. It will also be hard for Famous Jameis to have any chance at the Heisman because there are so many great quarterbacks throughout the country. In the southeast alone there are big names like Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and Stephan Morris. All of these quarterbacks have had outstanding years in the early part of the season. This does not include names outside the southeast like Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota. As we continue to progress through the 2013 it might end up being the year of the quarterback.

Not too long ago I wrote the article, “Is 2013 the Year of the Athletic Quarterback?” Well, it looks as if that prediction is coming true. It is truly enjoyable to watch the great quarterback play in college football this year. One of the things many NFL fans say about college football is the quarterback play is substandard. That is not an argument this year. There are eight to ten college quarterbacks that will have a great future in the NFL. These young men are throwing the pigskin around every Saturday afternoon or night. If you have yet to watch college football this year I would suggest checking out some of the games on CBS, ABC, ESPN or Fox Sports. You will be shocked at the stellar play from the quarterback position.

I will be the first to admit that I am a college football homer. I watch very little NFL football as I love the fervor and passion of college football fans in small towns. I also love to see student athletes succeed. One of my joys is to see young men and women graduate from college and move on to bigger and better things. This is sometimes related to athletics, but many times it is not. I feel as if most NFL players do not have a future outside of their athletic ability. If they get hurt there are few ways they can make help society. This is not true with college athletes. While there are some that have no desire to get a college degree there are many that are enjoying the chance to get a free education while doing something they love. Check out these young men on Saturday and enjoy their love of the game.

An Undefeated Oregon vs Ohio State

After four weeks of the college football season most fans feel as if an undefeated SEC team is a shoe in for the 2014 BCS National Championship game. This isn’t really up for debate as the SEC has won the last seven BCS titles. The bigger debate is who will play the SEC champion if several teams go undefeated. The major contenders right now include Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson. Clemson has a propensity to lose a game they should not so I will save that argument for last. The more interesting argument is Oregon vs Ohio State. If these two teams go undefeated who deserves to play an undefeated SEC champion in the title game this year?

The Argument for Oregon

Undefeated Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks


The Oregon Ducks have been a stellar program over the last five years. Even though they lost head coach Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles after last season the offense has not skipped a beat. Oregon has been known as having a new age offense that moves the ball up and down the field quickly. The “Quack Attack” has revolutionized the way some teams play college football. Instead of snapping the ball with less than 10 seconds on the play clock teams are trying to snap the ball as quickly as possible. The Oregon offense doesn’t even get into a huddle. This is much different from traditional football which is to huddle after every play and take time to work down the field. The traditional way to play college football usually keeps possessions at five to eight minutes. Oregon often scores in less than two minutes.

Oregon has played in a national championship game in the last five years. There is little argument that Oregon was the most competitive team to play an SEC team in the national championship game. In fact, Oregon had a very good chance to win the 2010 National Championship. Other teams like Texas and Notre Dame were blown out in the national championship game by SEC teams. This matters to voters because they want to see the best possible game in the Rose Bowl on January 6th, 2014. Last year the college football world was burned when Notre Dame was dominated by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship game. A team from the midwest did not match up well with the dominate SEC champion. This is one of the reasons some diehard fans feel as if Ohio State should not get a chance in the BCS title game. Oregon has a much faster paced offense and they have competed well against SEC and southern teams in recent years.

Another argument for Oregon is the entertainment factor. The Nike creator, Phil Knight, graduated from Oregon and he has a field day creating their uniforms. You never know what you are going to get when Oregon runs on the field. From personal experience, watching an Oregon game has a lot to do with the uniforms and the off the field antics from the Duck mascot. Entertainment is now a very important part of college football. After a 2013 BCS National Championship game that was not entertaining at all voters will want to put in a team that will keep eyeballs glued to the TV. The ratings for the championship game last year were terrible because Alabama had it wrapped up by the middle of the second half.

Oregon may not be the second best team in the country by the end of the season but they might be the best choice to play Alabama, or any SEC champion, in the BCS national championship game for entertainment purposes alone. Even if Oregon goes does 14-0 or 21-0 you can almost guarantee they will continue tossing the ball all over the field as quickly as possible. If other teams get down by more than two touchdowns the game is all but over. Even though this did not matter in the past it does today. Advertisers want eyeballs on the game and one way to keep eyeballs on that particular channel is to put Oregon in the game knowing they will not slow down and never be out of it.

The Argument of Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes BCS

Ohio State Buckeyes


Ohio State has been in a national championship in the last decade and they were blown out by an SEC school. In 2006 the Ohio State Buckeyes went into the BCS National Championship game undefeated and heavy favorites versus the University of Florida. Interestingly, the current Buckeye head coach, Urban Meyer, was the Florida head coach in that national championship game. Some people may remember the game because Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown but ended up hurting himself on the play. After that play the game was all but over because Florida dominated. There was nothing Ohio State could do to compete with the speed of Florida. When all was said and done Florida defeated Ohio State 41-14.

The fact that the Florida speed dominated the Big 10 champions makes many people wonder if this will happen again. Well, that argument is not necessarily valid as Ohio State is now coached by Urban Meyer who runs the spread option. The spread option was perfected at Florida with Tim Tebow. Meyer ended up stepping down from the University of Florida for health reasons. He took over the Ohio State coaching position last year and led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season. This has changed everything in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer has proved to be one of the best coaches in college football when his heart is in it. At this point in his career it looks as if his heart is still in it at Ohio State.

When Urban Meyer has his types of players on the field he can compete with anyone in the country. This is the main argument for Ohio State being in the championship game if they run the table. The other side of that argument is the depth of Ohio State. Every year there will be injuries. The fact that this is Urban Meyer’s second year means that many of the backups are not his recruits. One of the biggest issues with B1G football is the lack of speed. Urban Meyer recruits speed but he only has two recruiting classes at Ohio State for the 2013 season. If a key linebacker or defensive end goes down he may have to insert someone that was not necessarily his recruit. The lack of depth and speed is a cause for concern when it comes to the backups.

If Ohio State can remain healthy they can compete with any team in the country. In the second week of the season we saw a major injury to the Ohio State Buckeyes roster. Braxton Miller, the starting quarterback, has been out the last two weeks due to an injury. If these injuries start to add up in Columbus I personally feel as if we would see a national championship game similar to 2006 if the Buckeyes play the SEC champion. Urban Meyer is definitely an SEC style coach but it takes several years to fill the roster with speed. Ohio State is still a year or two away from having the potential to go two deep with any team in the country. Their starters are very talented but it is the backups that I worry about.

The Argument for Clemson

Crimson Tide BCS

Crimson Tide


An interesting player in the 2014 BCS National Title race is the Clemson Tigers. Clemson has a huge advantage over Oregon and Ohio State because of their non conference schedule. If Clemson runs the table this year they will have beaten two of the top SEC teams – South Carolina and Georgia. If Clemson can go undefeated they have every right to be in the national championship game. They will have victories over South Carolina, UGA and Florida State this year. That is enough for me to say they are the second best team in the country behind any undefeated SEC team. No other team, outside of the SEC, will have beaten schools of this caliber.

That said, Clemson is known for losing games they should never lose. In past years they would beat the great teams and turn around and lose to Virginia or Wake Forest. Some people feel as if Clemson is over that hump but I will believe it when I see it. I really do hope that Clemson runs the table because I live in the heart of ACC country. It would be nice to see the ACC well represented in the national championship game. It has been too long since the ACC has had an appearance in a big time game. When they have appeared in a BCS game they often lay an egg and make the conference look bad. Let’s see how Clemson plays the rest of the year and we may address this conversation again. At this point, I have to see Clemson win the games they should to put them in the national title talk.

By Jesse Wojdylo