Devy Stock Up: Prospects To Get Excited About After Week 1

Big names, as well as some smaller ones, were doing big things in Week 1 as college football returned with a full slate.

Don’t Get too Excited…Yet

There are a couple of categories of these performances based mostly on level of competition.  Some guys put up some studly statlines, but they did so against a bunch of nerds and 17 year olds.  Justin Herbert put up 6 total touchdowns against Bowling Green and Trayveon Williams blew up for 240 and 3 scores against Northwestern State. Sweet numbers, but I certainly take them with a grain of salt.  Rodney Anderson straddles this category and the next because he was playing Florida Atlantic, but he only needed the 5 touches they gave him to rack up triple digit rushing yards and 2 touchdowns and that’s nasty.

Stock Up Performances

The next category is the big names who showed out to a point that it may affect their draft stock, especially in fantasy.  Guys like Will Grier, who shredded the Tennessee defense for 425 yards and 5 touchdowns, really showing us what he can do and putting it all together to start this draft eligible season off right.

Mike Weber scored 4 times, with 3 on the ground and 1 through the air against Oregon State. This is a big game for me proving that he provides the best option for Ohio State in that backfield with JK Dobbins breathing down his neck. If Weber can hold on to that starting spot all year and keep even a semblance of this level of production, he will jump right up my draft board in a big way.

The guy though, who has peaked my interest and put himself firmly on my must watch list for the rest of the season, JJ Arcega-Whiteside. A guy I wasn’t terribly fond of after watching a few games. He didn’t jump off the page athletically despite substantial size and good production last year with 9 scores. In the first week, against a San Diego State team that isn’t terrible, Arcega-Whiteside put up 226 yards and 3 touchdowns, but that isn’t even the most impressive stat. The man did it on 6 catches. That is an average of almost 38 yards per reception. Damn.  With the rushing game bottled up, the Cardinals looked to the air and this man delivered in a huge way. While I still don’t think he will test well, he has proven to be a prospect worth further investigation. Any improvement in the athletic numbers could send this guy up my draft board in a hurry.

Players You Don’t Know, That You Need Too Know

The final category is a couple players who weren’t even on the radar. This could be for a number of reasons.  Underclassmen, guys who weren’t heavily recruited, or just guys who haven’t had other chances to break out. A freshman wideout for the Maryland Terrapins, Jeshaun Jones, was only a three star recruit and he balled out. This man ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown and threw a damn touchdown all in the first half. Say hello to Mr. Jones everybody.

 Scottie Phillips is a transfer from Junior College to Ole Miss and he had a day against Texas Tech rushing for over 200 yards. He posted good numbers in JuCo and is already showing he belongs at the next level. It looks like there should be no worries surrounding athletic testing. More high level production could plant him firmly in fantasy rookie draft conversations after Bowl season.

And finally, a guy who stood out who may have a shot at the NFL was true freshman Rondale Moore who I watched in person break the Purdue all-purpose yardage record in his first game against Big Ten opponent Northwestern. Moore rushed for 80 yards and caught 11 balls for 109 scoring once in each category as well. Unfortunately it didn’t translate to win for the Boilers, but Moore was a revelation even for us fans who knew his name and what he might bring to the table. He is burner fast and unbelievably quick and shifty in space. He is on the small side, but he gave a Big Ten defense the business in the first game of his college career. Color me stoked.

T2’s CFB Playoff Ranking Prediction

Justin Shelley, Contributor 

In honor of the first College Football Playoff Rankings being released tonight, I have decided to post my Top 10 along with the order I believe the committee will have the teams. I decided to do a Top 10 list because there are still a large amount of teams that have a chance at making the playoff. As the season progresses, I will go down to a Top 4 and include the first 2 teams out.

The projection for the committee is based off of the CFP Selection Protocol (http://collegefootballplayoff.com/documents/2017/10/20//CFP_Selection_Committee_Protocol.pdf?id=23) and what we have seen in the first 3 years of the system. My rankings are based on what we have seen thus far and NOT projecting what will happen in the future. One of the unqiue aspects about the CFP rankings is we still don’t understand if the committee is choosing the 4 BEST teams or the 4 most DESERVING. Each member of the committee has a different opinion on this debate which makes the rankings very difficult to project week to week. 

 My Top 10:

1. Georgia 

2. Alabama 

If you’ve watched any CFB this season and have a functioning brain you can clearly see that UGA and Bama have been the top 2 teams on the field this season. Both have dominated the majority of their opponents and have looked great on both sides of the ball. The reason I have UGA ahead of Bama is the big win at Notre Dame, the projected #3 team in the rankings.  

3. Notre Dame 

With wins over NC State, USC, and Michigan State, ND has by far the best resume of the one loss teams. Also, the Fighting Irish have the best loss against the projected #1 team UGA.

4. Oklahoma 

Best win of the season thus far at Ohio State in week 2 by double digits. The loss to Iowa State is looking better and better as the Cyclones should be ranked in the top 20 tonight.

5. Clemson 

2 great wins over top 15 teams, on the road at Virginia Tech and against Auburn. The only loss for the Tigers was at Syracuse by 3 in a game where they lost their starting QB Kelly Bryant.

6. Ohio State 

– Huge win over Penn State this past weekend but thats basically it for the Buckeyes. I believe the lost at home to Oklahoma by 15 points should hurt them at this point in the season.

7. TCU

Great win in Stillwater vs. a top 15 Oklahoma State team. Not much else to talk about for the Horned Frogs

8. Penn State

Tough loss to the Buckeyes by 1 point in the Shoe. Nitty Lions need Michigan to keep winning to make their W look more impressive. 

9. Miami

10. Wisconsin

Yes the Hurricanes and Badgers are undefeated at this point but we still don’t know much about them. Both teams have yet to beat a ranked team this season and haven’t dominated their relatively weak opponents. We should learn a lot about the Canes this weekend as they host a top 15 team Virginia Teach.

What I believe the committe will have:

1. Alabama 

2. Georgia

3. Notre Dame

4. Ohio State

5. Clemson

6. Oklahoma

7. Penn State 

8. TCU 

9. Miami 

10. Wisconsin

As a college football fan I always love a healthy debate so please tweet us (@Top2Sports) or leave a comment with your top 4 teams. Remember there is still a TON of football to be played and I’m sure this will look very different one month from today.

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Keeping Up With the Surprisingly Competitive Big 12

 

Adam McKay, Contributor Big 12 College Football

Another week goes by and the Big 12 continues to be the highest scoring Power 5 conference in the country. The conference perennially shoots off fireworks in every game and yet is still one of the more overlooked conferences in terms of playoff expectations. In a year in which the SEC has seen a downturn in play, you could make the argument that the Big 12 has the most talented football in the country. What I particularly enjoy in the 2017 year is the amount of parity throughout the Big 12. I predicted that teams such as Iowa State would take steps in the right direction and contend in most games this year, however I did not expect this level of offensive power. Taking it to Kansas is nothing to get excited over, but Iowa State absolutely dominated in this one Saturday. This game was strangely all about the defense for the Cyclones. I looked at the stat line during Saturday’s games and had to squint to make sure that the 106 total yards for Kansas wasn’t a typo. Field position led to Iowa State taking advantage of short fields, with David Montgomery rushing for a career high 3 touchdowns. ISU is now 4-2 (2-1 in conference play) and is well on their way to bowling. This is a team that has already tripped up Oklahoma in a well-deserved shootout and will be a tough out week to week. I was cautiously optimistic this team would be competent this season, however they have certainly exceeded expectations. I’m excited to see how they look going forward against the meat of the Big 12 schedule.

Elsewhere, TCU continues to roll through the season looking exceptional. A convincing win against Kansas State this week showed that this defense is simply not getting enough attention nationally. They are an experienced unit that has a propensity for consistency on a play by play basis. They elect to play stifling, aggressive defense to get offenses off the field quickly. Bill Connelly of SB Nation has TCU ranked 2nd in defensive S&P+ success rate, which determines whether every play of a given game was successful or not. They are simply getting the job done a per play basis and its becoming evident they have playoff aspirations. Next up is a walk in the park against the aforementioned lowly Kansas Jayhawks

I feel obliged that we must touch upon the Red River Rivalry which was not short of action. This had disaster written all over it, with Oklahoma coming off a loss to Iowa State. I will give credit to the Sooners for putting this one away against an underrated and inspired Texas team. Oklahoma needs to run the table at this point to have a shot at a playoff berth. Looking down the schedule, we are staring down two must watch games for the Sooners. Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma will include a lot of points so make sure to mark that down on your calendar. And don’t look now OU fans because you have TCU waiting around the corner, who quite possibly could be undefeated. November college football is actually the best.
Game of the week:

#10 Oklahoma State vs. Texas: 12:00 PM Austin, TX    ABC

(I also might encourage you not to sleep on Iowa State at Texas Tech at 12:00 on FS1, where there might be 200 combined points scored)

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Breaking Down the Big 12 by Strength of Schedule

Adam McKay

Contributor, Big 12 College Football 

For those of you who watched Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State, you were treated to a quintessential Big 12 showdown. Mason Rudolph managed to score a 16-yard rushing touchdown with under 2 minutes to go to potentially save the Pokes’ season. It was a heartbreaker for Tech, who had a chance to really make a statement by protecting their undefeated record going into the stretch of conference football. OSU’s defense kept a high flying Red Raiders offense in check, allowing them just 384 yards of total offense. This was such an important win for OSU as it was just what they needed following a loss at the hands of TCU last weekend. Here’s the thing though, TCU is a legitimate contender for a playoff spot this year and it may not be the worst loss to endure for OSU. TCU has been one of the more efficient teams in the country and have shown they can win on the road in a hostile environment.  If you had to use your one loss card, TCU early in the season isn’t the worst option. Elsewhere around the league, Texas grinded out a much needed win against Iowa State 17-7. I must say I am impressed by the back to back strong performances by this Longhorns’ defense against and underrated ISU offense and USC.

It was relatively quiet in the Big 12 this week which provides a nice opportunity to take the temperature of the conference landscape. Opposed to other sports, the college football season is relatively short and one could argue that we never get a truly accurate sample size with the 12-game season. Often win/loss records are deceiving at this point of the year and don’t give us the whole picture of each team’s identity. Let’s take a quick look at the strength of schedule of Big 12 teams this year so far as well as their efficiency stats to get a better idea of who has been challenged so far and who’s been coasting by against easier opponents. According to Football Outsiders, these are the strength of schedules to date for each team in the Big 12 as well as their S&P + efficiency rankings up against their AP Poll ranking:

School & AP Poll Rankings Strength of Schedule (PSOS) RANKING as of 9/30/17 S&P + Efficiency Ranking
Baylor (0-5) 18th 62nd
#15 Oklahoma State (4-1) 19th 13th
#3 Oklahoma (4-0) 26th 3rd
#29 Texas Tech (3-1) 45th 53rd
Texas (2-2) 47th 27th
#8 TCU (4-0)  53rd 14th
#23 West Virginia (3-1) 103rd 41st
Iowa State (2-2) 116th 45th
#32 Kansas State (3-1) 124th 24th
Kansas (1-3) 128th 112th

 

These types of stats are helpful in providing context for each team beyond simply their record. For example, West Virginia is 3-1 through four games, however they have the 103rd hardest schedule in the nation and haven’t necessarily been tested outside of their one loss against Virginia Tech. They’ve beat up on easy opponents and are ranked 22nd in the AP Poll, but their schedule gets much tougher as the season moves forward. I’m skeptical that the Mountaineers will be as successful against tougher opponents. On the flip side of that argument, a team such as TCU has also experienced a fairly easy schedule outside of Oklahoma State which may contribute to their 4-0 start. Again though, this is all about putting everything into context and TCU currently is 14th in the country in S&P + overall efficiency in addition to that huge road win against Oklahoma State. You could make the argument that you can only play the teams that are on your schedule, but TCU has also been more efficient compared to West Virginia and provides a better resume once putting everything together.

I will say I was surprised to see that Baylor currently has faced the 18th hardest schedule in the nation. Their FBS opponent’s average S&P + ranking without preseason predictions is just over 25, showing that their schedule has been tougher than we may have thought before the season. Baylor has been dreadful this year and I’m not making any excuses for them, but it is possible that one contributing factor could be the quality of their opponents. Of course, this is all just a part of the overall story but it helps give us a unique perspective of where each team is at this point in the season.

 

Games to keep an eye on this weekend:

22 West Virginia vs. 8 TCU: 3:30 PM FS1, Fort Worth, TX

Iowa State vs. 3 Oklahoma: 12:00 PM FOX, Norman, OK

Kansas State vs. Texas: 7:00 PM FS1, Austin, TX

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Fromm Irrelevant to Irreplaceable: Georgia’s Freshman Quarterback is Leading the Bulldogs to a SEC East Title

Matt Hicks

Staff Writer, SEC and Fantasy Football 

Georgia dominated Mississippi State in what I deemed to be the “Battle of the Most Generic Mascot in Sports”. Likely fueled by the anger of a bitter Uga, Georgia scored early and often in Athens on the backs of Fromm and Chubb. Fromm, the true freshman, has gone from irrelevant to irreplaceable and he continues to fill in for an injured Jacob Easton. Georgia just needed Fromm to be a game manager, and he has managed to do that. He went 9-12 for 202 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT this week, to add to his total stat line of: 43-69, 650 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT. That’s exactly the consistent, safe player they need behind center. Fromm proved he can be flashy too, he threw a beautiful spiral down the field to finish off a big flea flicker play early in the game. Chubb and Swift provided a dual rushing threat, combining for 150 yards on 25 carries, Chubb added on 2 TDs to that.

Georgia (4-0, 0-1) has now defeated a better than expected Mississippi State team, Notre Dame in South Bend, and a pair of weak out of conference opponents. Their talent and schedule, combined with the mess of teams that reside in their division make me confident Georgia is on their way to the SEC East title. Next week Georgia heads north to Knoxville and barring a Butch Jones firing, Dormandy benching, and John Kelly Jr. cloning the Bulldogs will walk out of Neyland with a win. Following that they play Vandy (not in trivia, unfortunately for the Commodores) and then Mizzou, which for some reason still counts as a conference game. The Gators then come into Athens, which hypothetically is a tough match-up. The Gators however look bad. They didn’t beat Tennessee, Tennessee beat themselves (nothing new for the Vols) and does that win against Kentucky even count? I say nay (got it neigh, nay, Kentucky horses…whatever, man). I wouldn’t bet on Florida in this game even if you gave me 10 points. They will then go to Auburn, which could be a loss for them but it wouldn’t drop them below any SEC East (based on head-to-head tiebreaker). Barring a trip up to the Gamecocks (again, that’s more of a Tennessee thing) Georgia is on their way to Atlanta.

We may only be 4 Weeks into the season for the most unpredictable conference in sports but two things seem apparent: that Georgia is for real, and that the rest of the division is not. I’m confident that the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing in Athens, and if they keep building on this foundation, that may even be able to the West a run for their money.

The SEC is in a Glass Case of Emotion

Matt Hicks

Staff Writer, SEC and Fantasy Football 

Much like Ron Burgundy himself, SEC fans are confused, very emotional, and don’t quite know what’s going on right now. This week’s SEC games were pure pandemonium; leaving no clear path to the SEC East and no clear threat to Alabama in the SEC West. It was a wild weekend that left Mississippi State cowbells ringing loud late into Saturday night and Rocky Top being sung only by a few very sad and very drunk Tennessee fans.

Let’s start there: Mississippi State was the biggest winner of the weekend. Nick Fitzgerald lit up the LSU defense, totaling 4 TDs through 180 passing yards and 88 rushing yards. Aeris Williams solidified the potency of the Bulldog offense, totaling 146 rushing yards on 23 carries. This loss means that Alabama’s two biggest threats to the SEC West, Auburn and LSU, both have taken early losses on the season. This could make for an easy path to Atlanta for the Crimson Tide, or maybe it’ll lead to late season drama.

Vanderbilt also won big on Saturday; with a 14-7 win against 18th ranked Kansas State. The Commodores win will be sure to shut down Big 12 and Kansas State truthers, who saw the Wildcats put up just 7 points behind Jesse Ertz who went 10-28 for 76 yards and 2 INT. Although Vandy made the SEC look good, Ole Miss and Mizzou showed that the bottom of the conference can’t compete with an average Pac-12 team (Cal) and a Purdue team that gets made fun of in the BIG 10. Texas A&M also looked bad, again, finding themselves trailing at halftime to yet another irrelevant out of conference opponent.

Speaking of looking bad, I’ll breakdown the Tennessee and Florida game. Neither team looked like an SEC East champion, albeit that’s a low criteria recently. Florida deserved to win the game, but looked very beatable. Butch Jones left an overwhelmed and under talented Quentin “Sleeves” Dormandy literally throw away the chances Florida’s defense kept giving him. I wrote before the game that Dormandy can’t win the Vols the East, and he proved it this game interception after interception…after interception. The good news for the Gators is Franks looked markedly improved from Week 1, throwing for 18-28 with 212 yards, 2 TDs. Florida also rushed for 168 yards. That’s exactly 157 more rushing yards than against Michigan. For the Vols, John Kelly looked like a Heisman candidate. Kelley rushed for 141 yards on 19 carries and caught 6 passes for 96 yards, capped off by a touchdown and a very controversial Gator chomp.

Other Week 3 winners include: Kentucky who fought off a tough Gamecocks squad and Georgia and Alabama who easily handled their out of conference opponents.

Watch for Kentucky in Week 4 to potentially upset the Gators in Lexington. You’ll also want to watch Georgia take on Mississippi State, in what I’m calling the “Battle of the Most Generic Mascot in College Sports”. After their performance against K-State, Vandy and Alabama could be an intriguing prime time game. Last but not least, if you’re having a bad day next Saturday make sure to tune into the Auburn and Mizzou game and you’ll be able to see the Mizzou squad have a much worse day than you.