Expect Clemson and Florida State to go undefeated over the next three weeks. The Tigers’ most dangerous opponent during this stretch will be Syracuse, who they face in the Carrier Dome. The Seminoles’ toughest challenge comes when they face Maryland for the final time in Tallahassee. The week eight matchup between Clemson and Florida State in Death Valley looks like it could be the most nationally relevant conference game for the ACC in recent memory.
Georgia Tech has played one hell of a basketball schedule so far to start conference play with games against Duke and North Carolina.
Baylor currently has the top rated offense in the following categories:
- Average ending field position
- Yards per play
- Yards per drive
- Percentage of available yards gained
- Punt percentage
- Fumble percentage
- Interception percentage
- Turnover percentage
- Scoring percentage
- Touchdown percentage
- Points per drive
Additionally, they sit at the top of the following net statistics:
- Net ending field position
- Net yards per play
- Net yards per drive
- Net interception percentage
- Net turnover percentage
- Net effective turnover percentage
- Net scoring percentage
- Net touchdown percentage
- Net points per drive
Baylor deserves to be written about as long as they continue to perform at a seemingly unsustainable level. Unlike Louisville, Baylor’s schedule and conference affiliation enables the Bears to position themselves as a national title contender. With Chip Kelly’s departure to the NFL, Art Briles can justifiably stake his claim as the premier offensive mind in college football because Baylor continues to play highly efficient offense despite starting its third different starting quarterback since 2011 and annually losing at least one outstanding wide receiver.
I certainly cannot claim to possess any inside information regarding the inevitable coaching coaching in Austin at what’s arguably the most coveted job in all of college football. Replacing Brown with a certain coach in Tuscaloosa would be an obvious decision, but paying Nick Saban an egregiously large salary may establish an irresponsible precedent in college sports that could ultimately force competing institutions at historically powerful programs to similarly compensate other prominent coaches. Hiring Art Briles seems like the most logical and attainable solution because it simultaneously hurts Baylor’s program while helping UT’s.
I rarely write about Kansas because most people do not find futility particularly interesting. After twenty-two consecutive losses to FBS foes, KU’s misery finally ended with an underwhelming win over Louisiana Tech in Lawrence. A game between two teams destined to win nothing perfectly illustrated the role of fumble luck in football. Here is what happened:
- Louisiana Tech leads Kansas by a score of 10-3 with a little less than fifteen minutes remaining in the game. Jake Heaps throws an interception to Daniel Cobb on a second and eleven from the KU 22. The Bulldogs run one offensive play, and their scrambling quarterback fumbles the ball through the back of the Kansas end zone. Kansas receives the ball and proceeds to tie the game after failing to score a touchdown on its previous thirteen drives.
- The next two drives end with both teams punting. The score remains tied at 10 apiece.
- Louisiana Tech begins a clock-killing drive with 6:02 remaining in the game. Their runningback, Kenneth Dixon, fumbles the ball with 1:33 remaining. Kansas recovers, drives sixty yards down the field, and ultimately hits a fifty-two-yard field goal to win.
Michigan’s performances in the past two weeks deviated significantly from their output during the first two games against Central Michigan and Notre Dame. In week three, Akron’s drive stopped at the Michigan three on the final play of the game to give the Wolverines a victory over the woebegone Zips. This past Saturday, Michigan unexpectedly struggled again when facing UConn in East Hartford. The following common factors led to the stunningly close margin of victory in each game:
- Akron and UConn each scored non-offensive touchdowns. While non-offensive touchdowns have no predictive value, they significantly influence a game’s outcome.
- When including the loss of downs as a turnover, Michigan turned the ball over four times in each of its previous two games on 26 statistically significant drives, and this gives them an effective turnover percentage on offense of 30.8% over the last two weeks. However, these numbers fail to account for the mishandled punt return by Da’Mario Jones that provided an anemic Husky offense with an extremely short field. (It needs to be pointed out that the Wolverine offense also scored on a drive where they started on the UConn 12 after Desmond Morgan intercepted Chandler Whitmer during the 4th quarter.)
Iowa scored four non-offensive touchdowns against Western Michigan en route to a fifty-six point victory. Those fifty-nine points scored by the Hawkeyes paint a deceptive portrait because Iowa’s defense and special teams scored as many touchdowns as its offense.
When I disparagingly referred to Stanford as a program incapable of defeating Alabama, I made this comment thinking that the Cardinal’s offense would fail to improve greatly after their pedestrian performance in 2012. Their offensive performances against San Jose State and Army failed to capture my attention because throttling defenses with inferior talent does not really impress that much. The Cardinal put together their best offensive performance of the season against Arizona State. Stanford averages 39.6 points per ten drives this season. With that being said, they cannot realistically expect to continue to start fourteen yards closer to the end zone than their opponents. Boise State posted a similar number during the 2011 season, but they played against feeble competition and with different kickoff rules.
Georgia forced seven 3 and outs against North Texas and allowed one offensive touchdown. Irrational fans in Athens may panic because the Bulldogs played an unexpectedly close game in Athens, but it’s highly unlikely another team will score two touchdowns off returns against UGA again this season.
South Carolina plays George O’Leary’s Central Florida team that just knocked off Penn State in Happy Valley. If any team in the American Athletic can defeat Louisville, it’s probably UCF despite the fact that they face the Cardinals on the road. Do not expect UCF to win this game, but it may provide some insight as to whether or not they could defeat Louisville.