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College Football Mondays

'College Football Mondays' - Frank Coyle's New Weekly Column

Michigan Dominates Northwestern With 3rd Straight Shutout

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College Football Mondays - Week 6

Michigan Dominates Northwestern With 3rd Straight Shutout

Photo: DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma St

Team of the Week: Michigan

Players of Week
Offense: QB Trevone Boykin – TCU
Defense: DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma St.

Michigan made their strongest statement of the season with their third straight shutout vs undefeated Northwestern. To say new HC Jim Harbaugh has made a big difference in Ann Arbor would be an understatement. The Wolverines reeled off their 5th straight victory since their opening day loss to Utah. They took the lead from the opening kickoff when Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a TD as the Wolverines never looked back. HC Harbaugh has set the pace and created a new culture quickly and starting to build momentum for key games with Michigan St, and Ohio St. on the schedule with every team in their Big Ten East division upcoming.

Their nationally ranked defense will get fully tested this week vs Michigan St. where QB Connor Cook leads a talented offense that has yet to right stride through the first half of the season. The Wolverines are showing the Harbaugh toughness and the ability to play sound football. They will challenge both Michigan St and Ohio St. for Big Ten leadership. We will have more on the upcoming Michigan vs Michigan St. game later this week.

Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tailback sustained a knee injury on his first rushing attempt vs Tennessee and was finished for the day. He is expected to miss at least the next month and possibly the season that could certainly be in jeopardy. Over his short Georgia career, he produced 13 straight 100 yard rushing performances entering the Tennessee contest that surpassed a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker.

LSU’s Leonard Fournette produced 158 yards on 20 carries that buried South Carolina 44-24. Fournette had produced three straight 200 yard rushing games that were both a new team and SEC record. At midseason with LSU a top five club currently, he is the leading Heisman Trophy candidate with over 100 yards rushing already in just five games. With several huge SEC games on the schedule like Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss, he will be center stage to impress voters on national TV.

Ohio St. tailback Ezekiel Elliott may be Fournette’s main competition for the Heisman Trophy with several impressive first half performances. Last week, he rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries and 2 TDs. For the season, he has totaled 835 yards on 121 carries for over a 7 yard average and 10 TDs. He has also showed big play ability to break 60 and 70 yard plays from scrimmage.

Two troubled programs, Tennessee and Texas both won huge conference games that can reverse their fortunes this season. The Vols’ beat Georgia 38-31 when they came back from a 21 point deficit. QB Joshu Dodd threw for 321 yards and ran for 118 yards that accounted for 5 TDs. They travel the next two weeks to Alabama vs the Crimson Tide and to arch rival Kentucky that could define their season. They had lost three straight 13 point leads in recent weeks that had the program thinking of major changes throughout.

The Texas Longhorns (2-4) came up big in the Red River Rivalry game vs Oklahoma. They beat the Sooners 24-17 that pushed Oklahoma out of the top ten. Their offense literally pushed the Sooners all over the field with 313 yards rushing that controlled the clock and field position. The Longhorns defense harassed Sooner QB Baker Mayfield with 6 sacks, in their best performance of the season. It was an impressive and surprising victory after getting waxed by #3 TCU last week 50-7 in a horrible overall effort. Texas gets a bye this week and faces a diet of six Big 12 opponents the next two months where they could salvage the season with a possible .500 season. HC Charlie Strong is only in his second season, but inherited a falling program that struggles to play with consistency and the firepower that is essential to winning in the wild high scoring Big 12 Conference.

Game of the Week - Michigan St. (6-0) at Michigan (5-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

College Football Mondays - Alabama Dominates Georgia in Statement Game

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College Football Monday - Week 5

Alabama Dominates Georgia in Statement Game

Photo: RB Leonard Fournette - LSU

Players of the Week
Offense: RB Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio St
Defense: LB Eric Striker - Oklahoma

Team of the Week: Alabama

Alabama education system will teach Mark Twain wisdom as part of their curriculum this week after a powerful statement by the football team. “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” This fits the Bama team completely. The Crimson Tide entered the matchup with Georgia at 3-1, but 0-1 in SEC action this weekend. The criticism of recent struggles was greatly exaggerated despite a good record. An early season loss to Ole Miss does that to national title dreams. Saturday they faced the Bulldogs in Athens and their perfect 4-0 and 2-0 SEC records. The Tide victories have been unimpressive wins vs non conference talent plus the disappointing lost to Ole Miss. The Tide opened vs Georgia and jumped to a 24-3 first half lead that translated into a 38-10 win in a huge SEC victory. This could set the stage for another strong performance with five SEC opponents on the upcoming schedule. The strong victory was an excellent balance between the pass and run behind QB Jake Coker and tailback Derrick Henry that ambushed the home town Bulldogs. QB Coker threw for 190 yards on 11 of 16 completions with 1 TD both running and passing. Tailback Henry rushed for 148 yards on 26 carries and 1 TD as the Tide pounded the rock behind the powerful runner from the opening kick. Henry struggled early, but HC Nick Saban did not abandon the ground game. Henry rushed for just 24 yards on the first eight carries with the downhill runner averaging over 6 yards per attempt the rest of the game.

Running backs continue to dominate the early action with several outstanding performances. Ohio St. tailback Ezekiel Elliott put together a classic performance against a gritty undefeated Indiana. He rushed for 274 yards on 23 carries and 3 TDs, an incredible 11.9 yard average per attempt. Most came over the second half in a game the Buckeyes trailed most of the day. His three TDs came in the second half on runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards in a dominant performance despite heavy attention by the Hoosiers. Elliott remains the irreplaceable part of the Buckeyes defending championship club. With the QB play of Cardale Jones inconsistent, Elliott continues to produce strong efforts despite the main focus of virtually every defense he faces weekly.

The SEC produced other strong performances by talented sophomores tailback, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia tailback Nick Chubb. Fournette produced his third straight 200 yard rushing game both a new team and SEC record. With week, he rushed for 233 yards and 3 TDs, one a 75 yard burst vs a weak Eastern Michigan club. He has produced 864 yards and 11 TDs in 4 games. The Tigers begin a heavy SEC schedule with only the Western Kentucky the exception. Fournette will be center stage to make a run at the Heisman Trophy.

Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tailback got lost in the waxing by Alabama, though he set a new Georgia record. Over his short Georgia career, he has produced 13 straight 100 yard rushing performances that surpassed a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker. He broke an 83 yard TD run late in the 3rd quarter. That accounted for most of his 146 rushing yards on the game. Over this season, he has rushed for 745 yards and 7 TDs in five games.
Michigan continues its strong return to the top of the Big Ten standings. They put together their second consecutive shutout vs a struggling Maryland team Saturday. It brought their record to 4-1 in the strong Big Ten East division. They are in one of the toughest divisions in college football that features Ohio St. and Michigan St., two top 3 clubs nationally. First year HC Jim Harbaugh has this club playing hard weekly. Their offense has been unspectacular but methodical and effective through the early action.

The Wolverines are not the only surprising Big Ten club this fall. Indiana (4-1) gave #1 Ohio St all it could handle Saturday before falling 34-27 behind Ezekiel Elliott. Iowa remains undefeated (5-0) off a hard fought victory 10-6 vs Wisconsin. Northwestern shut out Minnesota 27-0 to improve their record to 5-0 for the first time since 2012. Northwestern hosts Iowa in two weeks, Oct 17 for what could produce the leader and eventual winner of the Big Ten West.

Game of the Week - Northwestern (5-0) at Michigan (4-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Utah Heads Strong Pac 12 Group in Early Key Games

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College Football Monday - Week 4

Utah Heads Strong Pac 12 Weekly Performances

Photo: WR Josh Doctson - TCU

Team of the Week: Utah
The Utah Utes won their first Pac-12 opener since joining the conference in 2011 with an impressive and dominating 62-20 victory at No. 13 Oregon. The Utes are 4-0 for the first time since 2010 and drilled the highly regarded Ducks on their home turf.

QB Trevor Wilson threw for 227 yards on 18-of-30 passing with 4 TDs and also tallied 100 rushing yards and 1 TD as the Utes racked up the most points against a Pac-12 opponent in its five-year league history. They head an impressive group of five Pac 12 teams that rank in this week’s Top 25 teams. Utes tailback Devontae Booker had 98 rushing yards on 22 carries and also threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Britain Covey. Utah can rest on their laurels with an upcoming bye week prior to two home games vs Cal and Arizona St. that could be pivotal conference matchups.

Michigan has made a strong early season statement under new HC Jim Harbaugh with an impressive win over BYU. The Wolverines earned their first shutout win since 2012 with a dominating defensive showing, holding BYU to just 105 total yards and eight first downs in a 31-0 win. Michigan scored on five consecutive drives in the first half for all of its points to improve their record to 3-1 and rank in the top 25 standings for the first time in recent years.

The top two Big Ten clubs remain, Ohio St and Michigan St., though both registered lackluster victories Saturday. Ohio St. settled on QB Cardale Jones as their starter and looks to him to direct this young club that faces a soft schedule over the next month. They face an undefeated Indiana club this week that should answer some key questions in the early action. Michigan St. recorded a lackluster win over Central Michigan behind a strong defense led by DE Shilique Calhoun. The senior defender registered 2.5 sacks and two blocked kicks that earned him Defensive Player of the Week. The Spartans get struggling programs over the next two weeks in Purdue and Rutgers before facing improved instate rival Michigan on Oct 17th.

The SEC teams produced two huge performances by talented sophomore tailbacks, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia’s Nick Chubb. Fournette is the first Tiger runner ever to produce back to back 200 yard rushing efforts. Fournette was the #1 HS player in the nation coming out in 2014 and is a currently a true sophomore. He has produced 631 yards and 8 TDs in just 3 games, though can not enter the NFL until the NFL Draft 2017. He is a legitimate Heisman Trophy front runner in the early action. Chubb is also a true sophomore and a typical Bulldog tailback – tough, fast and the ability to run both inside and outside. Over his short Georgia career, he has produced 12 straight 100 yard rushing performances that ties a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker. He has rushed for 599 yards and 6 TDs in four games.

Outside the SEC, the TCU/ Texas Tech shootout was one of the season’s insane contests in a Big 12 league that produces weekly 80-90 point totals. TCU had a miraculous comeback with a TD on a deflection with only 23 seconds remaining to win a wild shootout 55-52. TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts which included 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns. It was his deflection that was caught by wideout Aaron Green that changed the outcome of the highest scoring contest of the young season. The 18 catches by Doctson were the most in a game by an FBS player this season while tying TCU and Big 12 single-game career records. Doctson is one of just four players since the start of the 2013 season to have 18 receptions in a game. The 267 yards receiving broke the TCU single-game mark of 226 while his 3 TD catches gave him 21 in his career, ranking second on the Horned Frogs’ all-time list.

Meltdown of the Week – Tough call. Both Tennessee and Texas invent new ways to lose games. Each head coach has to look in the mirror after shaky calls over the weekend vs conference foes. Tennessee caved in vs a young Florida team who came back from a 13 point deficit. It was the Gators 11th straight win over the Vols at 28-27. The Vols continue to look for their signature victory under HC Butch Jones in his third season. Jones failed to go for the 2 point conversion with a lead that could have spelled the difference late in the game. The Vols missed a game winning FG that completed their collapse on what appeared to be a huge early season win for a struggling program. Texas went 0-3 to an undefeated OSU Cowboy club that improved to 4-0.

The Longhorns made critical mistakes throughout the game with a few critical late game penalties including an unsportsmanlike flag against HC Charlie Strong. The frustration over the final quarter performance was evident by both the players and coaching staff. Texas lost the prior week to Cal when they failed to convert an extra point in a one point loss that would have gone to overtime. Longhorns face TCU, Oklahoma and K-State over the next month that will fully test the once renowned program that currently struggles to reach the .500 mark.

Contenders or Pretenders – Florida (4-0), West Virginia (3-0) and Indiana (4-0)
Florida hosts Ole Miss this week in a matchup that could determine if the Gators deserve a top 20 ranking. Ole Miss is ranked #3 in the nation after beating Alabama in their third game. Florida will have to improve to beat a talented Rebel defense that has shown dominant efforts in recent years. Indiana hosts Ohio St. in the acid test for a program that has been a Big Ten doormat over the past decade. Ohio St. has continued to win, but has finally settled on QB Cardale Jones. This club could be ready to explode this week vs an Indiana team that won only 4 games all of last season. They lost to the Buckeyes 42-27 in 2014.

West Virginia has beat weak clubs, Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland thus far and travels to Norman, Oklahoma to face the #15 ranked Sooners this Saturday. WVa will be hard pressed to stay with the Sooners and could be vulnerable to a fall with a strong Big 12 schedule on the agenda with OSU, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech coming up over the next month.

Game of the Week – Notre Dame at Clemson

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Big Ten Dominates Early Season Honors

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College Football Monday - Week 3

Ohio St & Michigan St. Claim #1 & #2 in Polls

Photo: DL Robert Nkemdiche - Ole Miss

Though the college football 2015 season is still in the early stages, it has provided some interesting changes in the first month. Ohio St. still claims the top ranking but barely escaped an upset at the hands of MAC opponent, Northern Illinois. Ohio St. changed QBs from Cardale Jones to JT Barrett once again with marginal success. Both QBs have struggled with accuracy and overall consistency that has left the defense to be the difference maker in Columbus. The Buckeyes complete their MAC schedule with a matchup at home vs Western Michigan this Saturday before starting their Big Ten agenda.

Michigan St. continued their hot streak with a solid 34-21 performance over Air Force. The Spartans were once again lead by QB Connor Cook who threw 3 TD passes for 247 yards. Wideout Aaron Burbridge set career highs with eight receptions, 156 receiving yards and 3 TD catches in their victory. He was emerged as one of the premier receivers in the nation this season and scored on touchdown receptions from 28, 32 and 21 yards, while notching at least 100 receiving yards for the third straight game. On Saturday, seven of his eight catches resulted in first downs or touchdowns including a highlight TD reception in the corner of the end zone.

Joining the Spartans and Buckeyes in the Big Ten with 3-0 marks are Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern. The Spartans, Wildcats and Buckeyes last started 3-0 in 2013. The Hoosiers are 3-0 for the first time since 2010 and the Hawkeyes are off to their best start since 2009. Northwestern leads a group of five Big Ten defenses that rank among the top 20 teams in the country in scoring defense. The Wildcats have held opponents to a nation-leading 5.3 points per game en route to their 3-0 start. The Big Ten schedule does not match conference opponents until the first week of October.

Both Alabama and Auburn have struggled out of the gate this season and each lost on Saturday and fell out of the top ten. Auburn fell out of the Top 25 rankings after being bashed by a tough LSU team behind star sophomore runner Leonard Fournette. The LSU Tigers avenged their lost 41-7 loss at Auburn last season behind Fournette’s career high 228 yards rushing and 3 TD performance. Fournette moves to the head of the Heisman race off that effort with a mediocre midseason schedule on the agenda.

The Ole Miss Rebels beat Alabama on its home field for the first time since 1988, forcing five turnovers that led to 24 points in a thrilling 43-37 win in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels beat Alabama in consecutive years for the first time in the 60-game series and earned them a perfect (3-0). The Ole Miss Rebel club came out fired up Saturday night and with the defense the deciding factor in the game behind a dominant performance by tackle Robert Nkemdiche who controlled the line of scrimmage. Nkemdiche runs like a linebacker and was disruptive all night. Ole Miss jumped into the top five while Bama fell out of the top ten, a rare event in recent years especially early in the season.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey led the Cardinals to a huge 41-31 win over Pac-12 rival USC at the Coliseum on Saturday. McCaffrey showed his versatility racking up 249 all-purpose yards and touching the ball three different ways. He carried the ball 26 times for 115 yards, caught three passes for 37 yards and returned five kickoffs for 97 yards. McCaffrey is averaging 195.3 all-purpose yards per game this season, which is ranked first in the Pac-12 and fourth in the FBS. His 249 yards was Stanford's most since 2014 Paul Hornung Award finalist, Ty Montgomery, had 296 yards at Utah in Oct. 2013.

Upset of the Week – Arizona knocks UCLA from the unbeaten ranks and claims Pac 12 leadership.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Ohio St. Dominates Top 25 Polls Week 2

QB Connor Cook - Michigan St.

Draft Insiders’ 2015 Top 25 Poll – Week #2 Rankings

Photo – QB Connor Cook - Michigan St.

Team of Week – Michigan St.

Players of Week
Offense – RB Dalvin Cook - Florida St.
Defense - LB Kentrell Brothers - Missouri

Draft Insiders’ 2015 Top 25 Poll – Week #2
1. Ohio State – 2-0
2. Alabama -2-0
3. Baylor – 2-0
4. Michigan State – 2-0
5. USC – 2-0
6. TCU – 2-0
7. Georgia – 2-0
8. Florida State – 2-0
9. Clemson – 2-0
10. LSU – 1-0
11. Notre Dame – 2-0
12. Georgia Tech – 2-0
13. Auburn – 2-0
14. Mississippi – 2-0
15. Oklahoma – 2-0
16. UCLA – 2-0
17. Oregon – 1-1
18. Arizona – 2-0
19. Texas A&M –2-0
20. BYU – 2-0
21. Utah – 2-0
22. Missouri -2-0
23. Wisconsin – 1-1
24. Oklahoma St. – 2-0
25. Northwestern - 2-0

AP Top 25

Rank/ Team /Record /Points
1. Ohio State - 2-0
2. Alabama – 2-0
3. TCU – 2-0
4. Michigan State – 2-0
5. Baylor – 2-0
6. Southern California – 2-0
7. Georgia – 2-0
8. Notre Dame -2-0
9. Florida State – 2-0
10. UCLA – 2-0
11. Clemson – 2-0
12. Oregon – 1-1
13. LSU – 1-0
14. Georgia Tech – 2-0
15. Ole Miss – 2-0
16. Oklahoma – 2-0
17. Texas A&M – 2-0
18. Auburn – 2-0
19. Brigham Young – 2-0
20. Arizona – 2-0
21. Utah – 2-0
22. Missouri – 2-0
23. Northwestern – 2-0
24. Wisconsin – 1-1
25. Oklahoma State – 2-0

Coaches Poll

Rank /Team
1. Ohio State
2. Alabama
3. TCU
4. Michigan State
5. Baylor
6. Florida State
7. Southern California
8. Georgia
9. Clemson
10. Notre Dame
11. Ole Miss
12. UCLA
13. Oregon
14. LSU
15. Auburn
16. Georgia Tech
17. Oklahoma
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. Missouri
21. Utah
22. Brigham Young
23. Wisconsin
24. Northwestern
25. Oklahoma State

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

North Dakota State Bisons (14-1) Defends FCS Title

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North Dakota State (14-1) Defends FCS Title with 4th-Straight Championship Game

For the first time in FCS history, two teams from the same league (MISSOURI VALLEY FOOTBALL) will play one another in the title game. The FCS began conducting a tournament in 1978 (then called I-AA).

Semifinal #1 (Friday, Dec. 19) -- #2 North Dakota State 35, Sam Houston State 3
Semifinal #2 (Saturday, Dec. 20) – #5 Illinois State 21, #1 New Hampshire 18

Photo – DE/LB Kyle Emanuel – North Dakota St.

Next: Jan. 10, 2015 – 12 noon CT (ESPN2) – Frisco, Texas. Illinois State vs. North Dakota State

Illinois State (13-1) is making its first title game appearance. The Redbirds beat UNI, Eastern Washington and New Hampshire in the playoffs to get there.

North Dakota State (14-1) is making its fourth-straight title game trip. The Bison are the three-time defending national champions and beat South Dakota State, Coastal Carolina and Sam Houston State to reach Frisco this year.

The teams did not play each other this year and shared the MVFC title with identical 7-1 league records (both teams lost at UNI). The teams (ISU, NDSU) were declared co-champions and NDSU earned the league’s automatic bid designation to the playoffs by virtue of a better national GPI rating (NDSU-1, ILS-2 in that rating).

The MVFC finished the season 30-2 against non-league FCS teams, with the only two losses on the road at then-ranked #4 Montana (regular season) and then-ranked #8 Chattanooga (playoffs).

The league also set a record with 11 wins against non-conference top-25 teams (five in the regular season, six in the playoffs).

The MVFC set a record with 9 playoff wins (the league is 9-3 in the playoffs this year, and that includes two games in which it played another league member). The previous record was 8 by CAA Football in 2004, 2008, and 2009). The MVFC is guaranteed a 10th win.

Valley Football teams have defeated the No. 1 tournament seed five times (including New Hampshire this year). Illinois State's win at New Hampshire also marked the 14th win for the league against a No. 1-ranked team.

North Dakota State has won 15-consecutive playoff games.

A Valley Football team has played in the title game 7 previous times, winning five of those games.
Valley Football teams are 76-54 all-time in the playoffs (since the league was founded in 1985). The league is 28-10 this decade. And the league is 24-7 in the last four tournaments, including this year.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

#2 Florida St. beats #5 Notre Dame in Classic Matchup

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College Football Monday - Week 8

#2 Florida St. beats #5 Notre Dame in Classic Matchup

Team of the Week: Florida St.

Players Of Week
Offense: QB Jameis Winston – Florida St
Defense: S Cedric Thompson - Minnesota

Photo: QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.

Upcoming Game of the Week: #2 Ole Miss (6-0) at #22 LSU (6-2)

SEC West Places Four Clubs in Top Five

The top ten had another major shakeup with three clubs losing critical matchups. Florida St. beat Notre Dame in a classic battle that ended with an Irish penalty on an apparent go ahead touchdown. ND was rightly called for a pass interference call on a pick play that scored the winning score. The Seminoles made a great comeback to go 7-0 behind a laser hot QB Jameis Winston who climbed right in the middle of the Heisman Trophy race with the victory. The win extended the FSU winning streak to 23 games Winston was incredible throughout the 2nd half comeback that saw him complete 15 of his last 16 passes. He still faces possible suspensions from an alleged sexual assault from Dec. 2012 and illegal earning money for signing autographs through the recent offseason. The Seminoles face a fairly easy remaining schedule that probably earns them a spot in the final four in January.

The SEC West division continues to get national news with four teams ranked in the top five clubs, a new milestone in the AP polls. With Mississippi St sitting out this past week with a bye and Ole Miss beating a soft Tennessee club, both Alabama and Auburn moved into the top five with Baylor and Notre Dame losing. Both the Egg Bowl (Mississippi St vs Ole Miss) and Iron Bowl (Alabama vs Auburn) will have major final four implications this year, in two the best rivalries in college football.

Ole Miss goes to LSU this week in what may be the best matchup on the schedule. LSU is currently in 5th place in the SEC West, though certainly capable of beating the Rebels at home. The sleeping Giant in the SEC may be the East leader Georgia which moved into the top ten off a nice win over Arkansas. They play Florida in the biggest cocktail party game, though the matchup has lost its luster with the Gators falling significantly in recent years. The countdown on HC Will Muschamp’s tenure is reaching a peak with only five games remaining on the schedule.

Kansas St. hung on to beat Oklahoma that puts them atop the balanced Big 12 Conference. K-State and TCU have moved into the top ten area but will need help to elevate into the top five. TCU thumped Oklahoma St. 42-9. An unbeaten Baylor team was thrashed by an underrated West Virginia team that saw them fall to #12 in the AP Poll. Baylor had dodged a bullet the prior week, coming back from a 21 point deficit to beat a TCU team in overtime.

Heisman Trophy Race
QB Jameis Winston – Florida St
Erratic sophomore passer comes off his best performance in a huge victory over Notre Dame. The effort puts in position to repeat as both the Heisman Trophy and national champion.

QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.
Junior passer is back in action this week at Kentucky. His biggest games come late vs Alabama and Ole Miss that could determine the final Heisman race overcome.

RB Todd Gurley - Georgia
Power junior back sat out his second consecutive game due to suspension for signing memorabilia. It has all but eliminated him form the Heisman race.

QB Marcus Mariota – Oregon
Slick mobile passer had a strong game vs Washington that keeps him in the discussion. With no matchups vs top ten clubs on the schedule, he may have trouble gaining momentum for a push over the second half of the season.

Upset of the Week – LSU beats Ole Miss in Baton Rouge.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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