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Bowl Picks

Dec 19, 2014 -- 10:13am

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

BOWL MATCHUP LOCATION DATE The Pick
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

 

There is a path for OSU to beat Alabama

Dec 16, 2014 -- 10:38am

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.

Be Unpredictable

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.

SEC Football Bowl Schedule

Dec 11, 2014 -- 2:47pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

BowlLocationDate/TimeTV
Duck Commander Independence BowlShreveport, La.Dec. 27ABC
South Carolina vs. MiamiIndependence Stadium3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT 
AutoZone Liberty BowlMemphis, Tenn.Dec. 29ESPN
Texas A&M vs. West VirginiaLiberty Bowl Memorial Stadium2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT 
AdvoCare V100 Texas BowlHoustonDec. 29ESPN
Arkansas vs. TexasNRG Stadium9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT 
Franklin American Mortgage Music City BowlNashville, Tenn.Dec. 30ESPN
LSU vs. Notre DameLP Field3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT 
Belk BowlCharlotte, N.C.Dec. 30ESPN
Georgia vs. LouisvilleBank of America Stadium6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT 
Chick-fil-A Peach BowlAtlantaDec. 31ESPN
Ole Miss vs. TCUGeorgia Dome12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT 
Capital One Orange BowlMiami Gardens, Fla.Dec. 31ESPN
Mississippi State vs. Georgia TechSun Life Stadium8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT 
Outback BowlTampa, Fla.Jan. 1ESPN2
Auburn vs. WisconsinRaymond James StadiumNoon ET/11 a.m. CT 
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus BowlOrlando, Fla.Jan. 1ABC
Missouri vs. MinnesotaFlorida Citrus Bowl1 p.m. ET/Noon CT 
Allstate Sugar BowlNew OrleansJan. 1ESPN
College Football Playoff SemifinalMercedes-Benz Superdome8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT 
Alabama vs. Ohio State   
TaxSlayer BowlJacksonville, Fla.Jan. 2ESPN
Tennessee vs. IowaEverBank Field3:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. CT 
Birmingham BowlBirmingham, Ala.Jan. 3ESPN
Florida vs. East CarolinaLegion FieldNoon ET/11 a.m. CT 

 

Broyles Award Finalist

Nov 28, 2014 -- 7:48am

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.

  • Alabama - Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
  • Appalachian State - Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
  • Arizona - Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
  • Arkansas - Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
  • Arkansas State University - Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
  • Boise State University - Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
  • Boston College - Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
  • Brigham Young University - Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
  • Clemson - Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
  • Colorado State - Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
  • Duke University - John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
  • East Carolina University - Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
  • FIU - Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
  • Georgia Southern University - Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
  • Louisiana - Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
  • Louisiana Tech - Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
  • Louisville - Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
  • Memphis - James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
  • Miami - Mark D'Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
  • Michigan - Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
  • Michigan State University - Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
  • Minnesota - Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
  • Mississippi State - Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
  • Missouri - Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
  • NC State - Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
  • Ohio State University - Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
  • Ole Miss - Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
  • Oregon - Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
  • Penn State University - Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
  • Stanford - Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
  • TCU - Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
  • Temple - Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
  • UCF - Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
  • UCLA - Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
  • Utah - Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
  • Utah State University - Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
  • UTSA - Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
  • West Virginia University - Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
  • Western Michigan University - Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
  • Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator

 

SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Fourteen

Nov 26, 2014 -- 9:04pm
DateTime (ET)MatchupNetwork
Thu, Nov 277:30 PMLSU at Texas A&MESPN3, ESPN
Fri, Nov 282:30 PMArkansas at # 17 MissouriCBS
Sat, Nov 2912:00 PMSouth Carolina at # 21 ClemsonESPN
Sat, Nov 2912:00 PM# 16 Georgia Tech at # 9 GeorgiaSEC NETWORK
Sat, Nov 2912:00 PMKentucky at # 22 LouisvilleESPN2
Sat, Nov 293:30 PMFlorida at # 3 Florida StateESPN
Sat, Nov 293:30 PM# 4 Mississippi State at # 19 Ole MissCBS
Sat, Nov 294:00 PMTennessee at VanderbiltSEC NETWORK
Sat, Nov 297:45 PM# 15 Auburn at # 1 AlabamaESPN

 

Arkansas vs. Missouri: Who has the Advantage?

Nov 26, 2014 -- 9:02pm

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.

Advantage: Arkansas

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.

Advantage: Missouri

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.

Advantage: Arkansas

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.

Advantage: Arkansas

Special Teams

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.

Advantage: Missouri

Coaching

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

Advantage: Arkansas

The Call

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

 

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