Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Projecting the New Year's Six for Oct. 31

Welcome to the tenth New Year’s Six projections of the 2017 college football season.

Like last season, the projections will be based off the CSO Mock CFP committee rankings from that week.

Here are the tenth set of projections for this season:

Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal):

1) Alabama vs 4) Notre Dame

Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal):

2) Georgia vs 3) Ohio State

Fiesta Bowl:

10) Oklahoma State vs 11) Washington

Cotton Bowl:

8) Wisconsin vs 9) Oklahoma

Orange Bowl:

5) Clemson vs 7) Penn State

Peach Bowl:

6) Miami (FL) vs 14) Central Florida

Monday, October 30, 2017

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee Top 25 for Oct. 30

                                            Photo Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

Thanks to my mock selection committee for coming through and making the tenth edition of the rankings possible this season.

Biggest jump: Iowa State (+9) NR to 17

Biggest falls: TCU (-8) 12 and Michigan State (-8) 25

(##)- Number of first place votes

     Team                    W-L                Points       Last Week

1) Alabama (9)          8-0                  225               1

2) Georgia                 8-0                  215               3 (+1)

3) Ohio State              7-1                 202               6 (+3)

4) Notre Dame           7-1                 191              10 (+6)

5) Clemson                 7-1                 180               7 (+2)

6) Miami (FL)            7-0                  173              8 (+2)

7) Penn State              7-1                  167              2 (-5)

8) Wisconsin               8-0                  165              5 (-3)

9) Oklahoma               7-1                  157              9

10) Oklahoma State    7-1                  137             11 (+1)

11) Washington            7-1                 136             13 (+2)

12) TCU                       7-1                 135              4 (-8)

13) Virginia Tech          7-1                 125             12 (-1)

14) Central Florida      7-0                  95              19 (+5)

15) Auburn                    6-2                  90              18 (+3)

16) USC                        7-2                  84               21 (+5)

17) Iowa State               6-2                  73              NR (+9)

18) N.C. State                6-2                  66              15 (-3)

19) Stanford                   6-2                  61              20 (+1)

20) LSU                         6-2                  56               22 (+2)

21) Memphis                  7-1                  45               23 (+2)

22) Washington State     7-2                  29               16 (-6)

23) Michigan                  6-2                  24               25 (+2)

24) Arizona                     6-2                  22              NR (+3)

25) Michigan State          7-2                 21               17 (-8)

Others receiving votes:

South Florida 19, Mississippi State 16, Toledo 11, West Virginia 4, Texas A&M 1

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Adams, No. 9 Notre Dame Truck No. 14 NC State

Photo Credit: Daniel Barton/Icon Sportswire

By Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

SOUTH BEND, IN – The No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will remain in the conversation for the College Football Playoff with another victory over a top-15 opponent.  Notre Dame pleased the Irish faithful with an impressive 35-14 victory over the No. 14 North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Early on, Notre Dame had to battle to overcome adversity following a special teams miscue.  Kicking out of his own end zone, Notre Dame punter Tyler Newsome had his punt blocked by James Smith-Williams.  The blocked punt was recovered in the end zone by Germaine Pratt to get the Wolfpack on the scoreboard first.

“When you get a punt block, it has a tendency to really affect your football team.  Our guys
never flinched,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. “It was as if nothing ever occurred other than let's get back out on the field and get back to work.  That's hard to build.”

The Irish responded with a scoring drive that took just two plays and 0:29 to complete.  Josh Adams broke off a 35 yard run, which set up a 25 yard touchdown pass from Brandon Wimbush to Durham Smythe. 

The rush by Adams allowed him to eclipse 1,000 yards of rushing in a season faster than anybody in school history.  Adams also recorded 100+ yards of rushing for the sixth time this season, including five times before halftime.  Adams became the first player to rush for over 100 yards against the NC State defense this season.  The Wolfpack came into the contest allowing just 88.0 yards per game on the ground, which was good for sixth best in the FBS.

In the third quarter, Adams broke off his nation-leading fourth run of 70 yards or longer.  Adams added the 77 yard touchdown run and broke the game completely open.  Adams finished the contest with 202 yards on 27 attempts and a touchdown.

“Numbers don’t lie.  He’s been productive – maybe more productive than any other college football player right now.  He does things the right way and people may overlook that,” said Wimbush.  “But I’m promoting the hell out of “33 Trucking” and hope he continues to do what he’s doing.”

“33 Trucking” is the campaign that Notre Dame launched for Adams to get national attention in regards to the Heisman Trophy.  Many players, including Brandon Wimbush and Mike McGlinchey wore “33 Trucking” hats while meeting with the media following the victory.

“Josh is a hell of a player.  He makes our job easy up front to open up holes for him,” said McGlinchey, Notre Dame’s starting left tackle.  “He’s so special and should be deserving of any attention that he’s getting.”

Wimbush set a new Notre Dame quarterback record with his eleventh rushing touchdown of the season in the second quarter.  The 3 yard run broke Deshone Kizer’s previous record of ten, which was set in 2015.

The Irish stepped up and made multiple huge plays on the defensive side of the ball as well.  Julian Love intercepted Ryan Finley’s pass and returned it 69 yards for a Notre Dame touchdown.  The touchdown was Love’s second interception returned for a score this season.  Brian Kelly awarded Te’von Coney the game ball for the second straight week following his team-leading nine tackle performance.

Kelly rolled the dice on throwing the challenge flag and it paid off for the Irish.  Wimbush found Kevin Stepherson in the corner of the end zone but the play was initially ruled incomplete.  After the challenge, it was deemed that Stepherson got his foot down in bounds and the call was reversed to a touchdown for the Irish.

“It’s hard to defend just one guy now,” said Wimbush.  “We have guys all across the board who can take the top off of coverage and I think it’s a huge asset to have him and the rest of the guys out there.”

Notre Dame caps off a three-game home stand next Saturday against Wake Forest (5-3, 2-3 ACC).  Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM ET and the game will be featured on NBC.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pick Six- Week 9 CFB Slate

                                              Photo Credit: Jeremy Birmingham- Land of 10

Welcome to Week 9 of Pick Six.

Bailgian is still on Larimore's tail as both went 4-2 last week, while Lucas finished 3-3.


Larimore    36-18    -

Baligian     34-20    2

Lucas        32-22   4

Week 9 picks:                                  Larimore         Baligian           Lucas

Oklahoma State at West Virginia       West Virginia   Oklahoma St.  Oklahoma St.

Penn State at Ohio State                  Penn State       Ohio St.          Ohio St.

N.C. State at Notre Dame                 Notre Dame    Notre Dame    Notre Dame

Utah at Oregon                                  Utah              Utah              Utah

Mississippi State at Texas A&M          Texas A&M     Texas A&M    Mississippi St.

Wild Card:

Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky    W. Kentucky  Florida Atlantic  Florida Atlantic

Notre Dame encounters another Top 15 opponent in N.C. State

                                         Photo Credit: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

After soundly defeating then-No. 11 USC 49-14 last week, the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) have no easy task this Saturday when the No. 14 North Carolina State Wolfpack (6-1, 4-0 ACC) come into Notre Dame Stadium (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC). With a win, Notre Dame will remain in the conversation for the College Football Playoff.

“Our mission from day one is to win a national championship. You guys are just catching up to us. Whatever's being said and has been said has been what our mission has been from day one,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. 

“We've been in the playoffs since we lost to Georgia. Every game is a playoff for us. Everybody is talking about getting to the playoffs. Every game we play is a playoff game. Our guys don't know it any other way. That's what we play for. We're an independent football team, and our mission is to graduate all of our players and play for a national championship. That's all we have. It's not really any different than it was yesterday or the day before or last week.”

North Carolina State has won its last six games, highlighted by two over ranked opponents— No. 12 Florida State and No. 17 Louisville. At No. 14 in the current AP Poll, it is the highest a Wolfpack team has been ranked since 2003 when Phillip Rivers played quarterback.

“I think I would have preferred that North Carolina State played a very physical game (last week) against Clemson maybe. In all seriousness, really for us it's more about our preparation. We know what we're going to get from North Carolina State. They've shown it. I think once you win six in a row, you've shown who you are as a football team. So we know what we're going to get there,” Kelly said.

“Maybe a little bit more creativity on offense, a couple of wrinkles here or there. But they're going to settle into who they are, just as they know we're going to settle into who we are. I think from our perspective, the break was great for us before the USC game. Having now played, I think both teams know what they're going to get regardless of whether there's a bye or not.”

Defensive end Bradley Chubb is the leader on defense for N.C. State as they look to slow the potent Notre Dame offense. Chubb was named ESPN’s midseason defensive player of the year as the senior has recorded 37 tackles, including 13 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks, so far this season.

Chubb will be challenged as Notre Dame’s All-American offensive lineman in Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson lines up on the side of the ball. The matchups could be a preview of future potential matchups in the NFL. 

North Carolina State will continue to attempt to find a way to slow down the two-heading monster of Notre Dame’s running game that includes quarterback Brandon Wimbush and running back Josh Adams. Wimbush has already tied Notre Dame’s single-season rushing touchdown record by a quarterback with ten.  

Following the Notre Dame victory over USC, Adams has started to garner attention from the national media in the Heisman Trophy conversation. With an average of 9.21 yards per carry, Adams is currently second in the FBS.

All-Time Series:

North Carolina State defeated Notre Dame in both previous contests between the two schools. The Wolfpack defeated the Irish last season by a score of 10-3 in a game that was played with Hurricane Matthew pouring down. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Howard's expanded role will play a pivotal part in Marquette's success in the 2017-18 season

                                                   Photo Credit: Marquette Athletics

Marquette Golden Eagles

2016-17 record: 19-13, 10-8 Big East

Postseason result: 93-73 L to South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament first round

Notable games: vs Purdue (Nov. 14), Maui Invitational (Nov. 20-22), at Wisconsin (Dec. 9), vs Xavier (Dec. 27), at Villanova (Jan. 6), vs Seton Hall (Jan. 9)

Projected starting five:

G Markus Howard
G Andrew Rowsey
F Sam Hauser
F Harry Froling
C Matt Heidt

Progress, not perfection.

Marquette Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski fits the mold to a tee as his third season saw a drastic improvement with 19 wins, a win over No. 1 Villanova and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since the 2012-13 season.

With winning comes higher expectations and despite Katin Reinhardt, Jajuan Johnson and Luke Fischer graduating, along with the transfers of Duane Wilson (Texas A&M) and Traci Carter (La Salle), the Golden Eagles return one of the more exciting backcourts in the country with Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey.

Howard took the Big East by storm as a freshman as he led the team in scoring (13.2 per game) and played a pivotal part in Marquette’s league-high 82.2 points per game last season.

“It will be a big emphasis for us to lead given we are guards and me and [Andrew] are going to be the guys that everyone will be looking to,” Howard said.

The addition of SMU transfer Harry Froling could help balance the perimeter play with a consistent post presence— a part Marquette lacked last season.

“Offensively, we want to play in many cases similar to last season because it was a strength of ours,” Wojciechowski said. We want to play with pace, great spacing, take the care of the ball and be unselfish. I think our group understands what we expect.”

“We want to balance things out by getting the ball to the paint, more off the drive post passes and offensive rebounding.”

As flashy as the offense played, the Marquette defense looked more like a bad fast food meal at McDonald’s as it allowed the third most points per game in the Big East at 77.2 points per game and gave up more than 80 points in eight games. Wojciechowski has instituted unconventional defensive tactics at practice in the off-season in hopes of seeing a more inspired effort.

“We practiced with bricks in our hands to start out practice in a defensive stance. Rowsey said. “Coach [Wojciechowski] has emphasized defense, defense, defense this year and not that we didn’t play it last year, but we didn’t like it. We liked offense way better because it was our bread and butter, but it is more about finding our defensive edge, so we can some more games.”

Marquette’s non-conference slate should provide an outlook on how its season might fare as it hosts Purdue in the Gavitt Tipoff Games and could play teams such as VCU and Wichita State in the Maui Invitational. The annual rivalry against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center rounds out a challenging slate before entering Big East play against Xavier on Dec. 27.