By Gary Brown
Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate
|New Orleans||Nevada vs. La.-Lafayette||New Orleans||Dec. 20||Nevada|
|New Mexico||UTEP vs. Utah State||Albuquerque, N.M.||Dec. 20||Utah State|
|Las Vegas||Colorado St. vs. Utah||Las Vegas||Dec. 20||Utah|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Western Mich. vs. Air Force||Boise, Idaho||Dec. 20||Air Force|
|Camellia||Bowling Green vs. South Ala.||Montgomery, Ala.||Dec. 20||South Alabama|
|Miami Beach||BYU vs. Memphis||Miami||Dec. 22||BYU|
|Boca Raton||Marshall vs. Northern Ill.||Boca Raton, Fla.||Dec. 23||Marshall|
|Poinsettia||Navy vs. San Diego State||San Diego||Dec. 23||San Diego State|
|Popeyes||Western Ky. vs. Central Mich.||Nassau, Bahamas||Dec. 24||Western Kentucky|
|Hawaii||Rice vs. Fresno State||Honolulu||Dec. 24||Fresno State|
|Heart of Dallas||Illinois vs. La. Tech||Dallas||Dec. 26||La. Tech|
|Quick Lane||Rutgers vs. North Carolina||Detroit||Dec. 26||Rutgers|
|St. Petersburg||NC State vs. UCF||St. Petersburg, Fla.||Dec. 26||UCF|
|Military||Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati||Annapolis, Md.||Dec. 27||Cincinnati|
|Sun||Duke vs. Arizona State||El Paso, Texas||Dec. 27||Arizona State|
|Independence||Miami (Fla.) vs. South Carolina||Shreveport, La.||Dec. 27||Miami|
|Pinstripe||Boston College vs. Penn State||Bronx, N.Y.||Dec. 27||Boston College|
|Holiday||Nebraska vs. USC||San Diego||Dec. 27||USC|
|Liberty||West Virginia vs. Texas A&M||Memphis, Tenn.||Dec. 29||TAMU|
|Russell Athletic||Clemson vs. Oklahoma||Orlando, Fla.||Dec. 29||Oklahoma|
|Texas||Texas vs. Arkansas||Houston||Dec. 29||Arkansas|
|Music City||Notre Dame vs. LSU||Nashville, Tenn.||Dec. 30||LSU|
|Belk||Louisville vs. Georgia||Charlotte, N.C.||Dec. 30||Georgia|
|Foster Farms||Maryland vs. Stanford||Santa Clara, Calif.||Dec. 30||Stanford|
|Peach||Ole Miss vs. TCU||Atlanta||Dec. 31||TCU|
|Fiesta||Boise State vs. Arizona||Glendale, Ariz.||Dec. 31||Arizona|
|Orange||Miss. State vs. Ga. Tech||Miami Gardens, Fla.||Dec. 31||Ga. Tech|
|Outback||Wisconsin vs. Auburn||Tampa, Fla.||Jan. 1||Auburn|
|Cotton||Michigan St. vs. Baylor||Arlington, Texas||Jan. 1||Michigan State|
|Citrus||Minnesota vs. Missouri||Orlando, Fla.||Jan. 1||Missouri|
|* Rose||Oregon vs. Florida State||Pasadena, Calif.||Jan. 1||Oregon|
|* Sugar||Alabama vs. Ohio State||New Orleans||Jan. 1||Alabama|
|Armed Forces||Pittsburgh vs. Houston||Fort Worth, Texas||Jan. 2||Pitt|
|Gator||Iowa vs. Tennessee||Jacksonville, Fla.||Jan. 2||Tennessee|
|Alamo||Kansas State vs. UCLA||San Antonio||Jan. 2||Kansas St.|
|Cactus||Okla. State vs. Washington||Tempe, Ariz.||Jan. 2||Ok. State|
|Birmingham||Florida vs. East Carolina||Birmingham, Ala.||Jan. 3||East Carolina|
|GoDaddy||Toledo vs. Arkansas State||Mobile, Ala.||Jan. 4||Toledo|
By Gary Brown
Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate
Right now Alabama is a 9.5 point favorite over Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, as the two schools compete for an opportunity to play in the national title game against the winner of the Florida State-Oregon game.
Listening on the radio and television it seems that almost nobody is giving the Buckeyes a chance to beat Alabama and that Urban Meyer’s team is just showing up for the anointment of Alabama and their right to be in the championship game.
Remember, it was just last year when Alabama could not possibly lose to Oklahoma, and they did. It was just after the 2008 season in the Sugar Bowl when the Tide was going to roll over Utah, but got steamrolled themselves. Yes, the game with Ohio State this season has greater significance than the other two Sugar Bowls mentioned, but the point is the same. Bama can be beaten.
Here is a path that could make it possible for the Buckeyes to earn the trip to Dallas.
Before the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma relied on their ground game for 62% of their plays from scrimmage offensively. In the game with Alabama the Sooners put the ball in the air 59% of the time and only went to the ground on 41%. It was obvious the Tide had a game plan that was prepared for a heavy dose of the run and were never able to adjust to the hot hand of Sooner QB Trevor Knight during the game.
For the Buckeyes to beat Alabama they will need to break tendency and keep the Bama defense off balance during the game. While no college team wants to be playing their third team quarterback in a game of this magnitude, there is a slight advantage for the Buckeyes. Alabama has limited tape of what Cardale Jones does best and this will give the offensive staff for Ohio State a chance to create a game plan that will be “brand new” in many ways.
Take Deep Shots Consistently
Did anyone see the Iron Bowl? The most effective play Auburn had in their arsenal was to throw the ball deep and send a receiver up to get it.
Ohio State needs to learn from this and take advantage of it. Buckeye receiver Michael Thomas is 6’3” and weighs 215 pounds. He is the type of receiver that gives the Tide Secondary fits. He is bigger than both of Auburn’s big receivers, Sammie Coates and Duke Williams. Devin Smith needs to use his speed and size to test Bama downfield. He averages 26.6 yards per catch and has eleven touchdowns this season.
Third down is an ideal time to test Bama deep. When opponents faced third and ten or longer, they converted 42.9% of the time. Depending on down and distance, throw it up and take a chance. If the ball is intercepted, well it was just as good as punt. The upside is an opportunity to put your team in scoring position.
Win the Red zone on Defense
Alabama has scored forty-one touchdowns in sixty trips into the red zone, while Ohio State has allowed teams into the coveted field position thirty-seven times this season. The Buckeyes have given up twenty-six touchdowns on their opponents trips inside the twenty.
Winning in the red zone means holding Alabama to field goal attempts. Alabama has only made 63.6% of their attempts this season and have zero tries from inside the twenty. The Tide field goal kicking game is a mess and there are multiple problems from the consistency of the kickers to blocks by the opposing team.
Forcing Bama to go to the kick will almost assure Ohio State that there will be scoring opportunities where Alabama will leave points on the field.
If the Buckeyes can have success in these three areas, it will greatly increase their chances of moving on to the national title game. If Ohio State does not capitalize in these areas, well, Urban might be seen crying after losing to Nick Saban again.
|Duck Commander Independence Bowl||Shreveport, La.||Dec. 27||ABC|
|South Carolina vs. Miami||Independence Stadium||3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT|
|AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Memphis, Tenn.||Dec. 29||ESPN|
|Texas A&M vs. West Virginia||Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium||2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT|
|AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl||Houston||Dec. 29||ESPN|
|Arkansas vs. Texas||NRG Stadium||9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT|
|Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl||Nashville, Tenn.||Dec. 30||ESPN|
|LSU vs. Notre Dame||LP Field||3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT|
|Belk Bowl||Charlotte, N.C.||Dec. 30||ESPN|
|Georgia vs. Louisville||Bank of America Stadium||6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT|
|Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl||Atlanta||Dec. 31||ESPN|
|Ole Miss vs. TCU||Georgia Dome||12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT|
|Capital One Orange Bowl||Miami Gardens, Fla.||Dec. 31||ESPN|
|Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech||Sun Life Stadium||8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT|
|Outback Bowl||Tampa, Fla.||Jan. 1||ESPN2|
|Auburn vs. Wisconsin||Raymond James Stadium||Noon ET/11 a.m. CT|
|Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl||Orlando, Fla.||Jan. 1||ABC|
|Missouri vs. Minnesota||Florida Citrus Bowl||1 p.m. ET/Noon CT|
|Allstate Sugar Bowl||New Orleans||Jan. 1||ESPN|
|College Football Playoff Semifinal||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT|
|Alabama vs. Ohio State|
|TaxSlayer Bowl||Jacksonville, Fla.||Jan. 2||ESPN|
|Tennessee vs. Iowa||EverBank Field||3:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. CT|
|Birmingham Bowl||Birmingham, Ala.||Jan. 3||ESPN|
|Florida vs. East Carolina||Legion Field||Noon ET/11 a.m. CT|
By Gary Brown
Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate
Here are the finalist for the Broyles Award that honors the nation’s top assistant coach in college football.
|Thu, Nov 27||7:30 PM||LSU at Texas A&M||ESPN3, ESPN|
|Fri, Nov 28||2:30 PM||Arkansas at # 17 Missouri||CBS|
|Sat, Nov 29||12:00 PM||South Carolina at # 21 Clemson||ESPN|
|Sat, Nov 29||12:00 PM||# 16 Georgia Tech at # 9 Georgia||SEC NETWORK|
|Sat, Nov 29||12:00 PM||Kentucky at # 22 Louisville||ESPN2|
|Sat, Nov 29||3:30 PM||Florida at # 3 Florida State||ESPN|
|Sat, Nov 29||3:30 PM||# 4 Mississippi State at # 19 Ole Miss||CBS|
|Sat, Nov 29||4:00 PM||Tennessee at Vanderbilt||SEC NETWORK|
|Sat, Nov 29||7:45 PM||# 15 Auburn at # 1 Alabama||ESPN|
By Gary Brown
Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate
Friday the Arkansas Razorbacks will travel to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers at in a game to be played at Memorial Stadium. Kick-off will be at 1:30 p.m. and televised on CBS.
All team stats used are from SEC games only.
Here is a preview of what to expect.
When Arkansas Runs the Ball
RB Jonathan Williams has rushed for 1,013 yards this season and Alex Collins only needs thirty-five more to make it two 1,000 yard carriers for the Razorbacks this season. The road for the Arkansas ground game is paved by an offensive line that averages 328.4 pounds. Guard Sebastian Tretola has emerged as a solid performer and has been penalty free in ten of the Hogs eleven games.
Missouri is the SEC’s leading defense against the rush and features a deep group along the defensive front. Markus Golden and Shane Ray are both aggressive defensive ends who tend to disrupt plays in the backfield. Kentrell Brothers and Michael Scherer both provide solid support from their linebacker spots.
Arkansas has struggled to make the power running game work in SEC contests. Missouri had their poorest two days against the rush when they faced Georgia and Indiana, both ended in losses for the Tigers. This matchup will set the tone for the game and be a critical key in winning the game.
When Arkansas Throws the Ball
An assumption is being made here that Arkansas QB Brandon Allen will be healthy after missing the second half of the Ole Miss game last weekend. The Razorbacks look to run first, but there have been signs of life in the passing game in 2014. Allen has completed 56% of his passes in league play. Keon Hatcher is the leading receiver, but tight ends Hunter Henry and AJ Derby are the keys to a successful passing game for the Hogs.
Missouri also features a strong pass defense. In SEC play they allow only 193.3 yards per game and have seven picks this season. Much of the success of the pass defense starts with the rush from the Missouri front four, which leads the SEC in sacks with twenty-six. The secondary is young, but has grown as a unit through the season.
For the Razorbacks to have success in the passing game they will have to protect Brandon Allen in the pocket, and they have done a solid job of that this season, giving up just twelve sacks. The challenge for Arkansas, like every game, will be relying on a group of wide receivers who just are not ready for SEC play.
When Missouri Runs the Ball
Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy are both solid ball carriers. Hansbrough has 858 yards and averages 5.5 yards per carry. Murphy is a versatile player that the Tigers use in a variety of ways. He has 474 yards rushing and fifteen career touchdowns on the ground. The Missouri offensive line is not as big as the Razorbacks, but plenty big to move a pile. QB Mart Mauk is also a dangerous playmaker with his feet.
Trey Flowers has 12.5 tackles for a loss this season and is one of the leaders on a defense that has posted back to back shutouts by controlling the line of scrimmage. In their last two games the Hogs have given up only 99 yards rushing. The Hogs also held number one Alabama to just sixty-six yards rushing in their narrow loss to the Tide.
Missouri has been very unpredictable on offense this season and were held to just fifty yards on the ground against Georgia and ninety-nine in their game with Florida. Arkansas is playing at a high level right now, and continuing to do so will be important this weekend.
When Missouri Throws the Ball
Tiger QB Maty Mauk is a player that many thought would be among leading SEC passers this season. Instead he is completing 47% of his conference pass attempts. In all games he has thrown twenty-one touchdowns and ten interceptions. The receiving group has some talent, but is also very thin on the depth chart. Bud Sasser has the most catches with fifty-six. He has also caught nine touchdown passes, five in SEC games. Jimmie Hunt may be the most explosive pass catcher with a 16.1 yard average per catch. Missouri has one of the lowest ranked passing games in the SEC.
Last week against Ole Miss the Arkansas secondary intercepted Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace twice, with Rohan Gaines taking one back 100 yards for a touchdown. Both came in the red zone on plays where the Rebels looked like they were about to score. Jared Collins has also emerged as a playmaker in the Arkansas secondary. Linebackers Martell Spaight and Brooks Ellis provide critical support in coverage.
The Razorbacks have had great moments on special teams and not so great moments. On kickoff returns the Hogs are among the nation’s leaders, but punter Sam Irwin-Hill has been inconsistent in 2014. He is coming off an excellent outing against Ole Miss. Kicking field goals is still a work in progress for Arkansas with Adam McFain showing real potential.
Marcus Murphy averages 12.6 yards per punt return and has one touchdown in 2014. He also has a kick return for a touchdown and is a very dangerous player when the ball is in his hands. Andrew Baggett has made eight field goals this season in SEC games, which is tied with several others for the league lead. He has connected on 66.7% of his attempts with a long of forty-four yards.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a plan and is working it steadily by building the Hogs in the mold of his Big Ten teams at Wisconsin: big and physical. There is more work to be done, but the foundation for future success is being laid.
Bret Bielema Career Record: 77-38
Gary Pinkel is in his fourteenth season leading Missouri football and if the Tigers win Saturday it would mark the fifth time he has led the Tigers to a ten win season. He is the all-time winningest coach in Missouri football history.
Gary Pinkel Career Record: 184-102-1
There are three Missouri games that just keep raising their head in the evaluation of this matchup.
Missouri’s two losses, to Georgia and Indiana, were games when the offenses attacked the Tigers defense on the ground. Against the Dawgs they gave up 210 yards rushing and the Hoosiers gashed them for 241. Both teams gaining over 100 yards more than the Missouri defense typically gives up in SEC games. There is also the issue of the Florida game. The Tigers won that day with only 119 yards of offense.
Arkansas, obviously, has lost more games than Missouri. The Razorbacks have faced a gauntlet of the nation’s top teams and played most of them within one score. In many ways this Arkansas team is much more “tested” than the Tigers. The best Missouri win this season is probably their victory over Texas A&M in College Station.
When everything is considered, there is just a sense that Arkansas is ready to take on a team like the Tigers, and that just maybe Missouri has accomplished quite a bit this year because of the schedule they were dealt. All that said, expect a third straight Arkansas victory.
Final Score: Arkansas 28 Missouri 17
There are no games scheduled for today.