Monday, November 26, 2012

College Football Week 13 Reflections

by John Huffstetler

SEC >>>>>>>>>>> ACC- Of course, anyone who watches College Football already knows that the SEC is MUCH better than the ACC, but oddsmakers still installed both Florida St. (-7 vs. Florida) and Clemson (-4 vs. South Carolina) as favorites in their huge in-state tilts. In both instances, the SEC schools out-gained their ACC foes and dominated the 4th quarters on their way to outright victories. Additionally, Vandy and Georgia decimated Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, respectively, to push the SEC record to 5-1 on the season against the ACC. The lone ACC win came in the opening week when Clemson squeaked out a 7 point win against an Auburn that finished the season 0-8 in the SEC and then fired their head coach (see below). There will be at least one SEC/ACC match-up in the bowl season (Peach Bowl) to watch and see if this trend continues.

Big 12 = No Defense- It's absolutely pathetic how poor the defense is in the Big 12. There are two teams who have, on occasion, shown the ability to stop opposing offenses: TCU and Kansas St. Not surprisingly, they are the top-ranked Big 12 teams in yards per play at 5.1; however, this only ranks 33rd and 36th nationally. 5 teams (half of the conference) ranks 89th or lower in Defensive YPP, which is staggering for a major conference. On could argue that the Big 12 has strong, high-tempo offenses, which helps to account for the poor rankings, but this still shouldn't account for rankings that poor when also factoring in the poor out-of-conference schedules of most Big 12 squads. The Baylor 52 - Texas Tech 45 and Oklahoma 51 - Oklahoma St. 48 OT thrillers on Saturday were great games, but they demonstrate that the Big 12 desperately needs better athletes on defense if they want a team to emerge as a title contender next season.

Gene Chizik at Auburn firing makes sense/Danny Hope firing at Purdue makes no sense- When you consider how his players seemingly gave up on the season mid-way through. There were moments early in the season where Auburn looked like a potential bowl team with close losses to strong Clemson (by 7) and LSU (by 2) squads. By October, however, it already appeared like the Tigers had given up on being competitive. The offense was never strong, and hasn't been since Gus Malzahn departed to coach Arkansas St., but a defense that looked potentially strong early started to get gashed by Ole Miss for 41, Texas A+M for 63, Georgia for 38 and Alabama for 49. There just appeared to be a lack of effort and intensity, capped by there listless effort against Alabama. I watched Purdue battle in a tough-fought win over Indiana on Saturday to earn a bowl-berth and thought about how different these teams finished the year. Purdue battled for head coach Danny Hope for 3 straight wins and left every bit of their effort on the field. Obviously, the Hope  firing rumors have been there the whole season, but watching that Indiana game and seeing the energy and enthusiasm of the Purdue sideline says everything about Hope as a coach. Newsflash're Purdue!! You will not get great recruits. You need a guy who can get good recruits and coach up the player's he has. They played their hearts out for him and you just punched them all in the face.

USC Back-up QB Max Wittek is a future stud- "With the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Max Wittek, QB from USC." Wittek's stat line against Notre Dame was far from impressive with just 186 yards passing and 2 picks, but he showed me an incredibly quick release and off-the-charts arm strength. His comments before the game guaranteeing victory, although ultimately misguided, shows his confidence in his own abilities. He reminds me of Brett Favre when I watch him play. No player I've seen this year collegiately at QB impresses me more from a raw talent standpoint than Wittek. There does appear to be a major drop in QB talent coming to the NFL over the next 3 years following the recent surge in NFL-caliber talent. He will undoubtedly be a better NFL player than USC's highly-touted starter at QB Matt Barkley.

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