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College Football Mondays

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

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.

Mississippi St. Beats Three Top 10 Teams in Recent Weeks

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College Football Monday - Week 7

Team of the Week: Mississippi St.

Players Of Week
Offense: QB Bryce Petty – Baylor
Defense: LB Zach Vigil – Utah St.

Photo: QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.

Upcoming Game of the Week: #6 Notre Dame (6-0) at #2 Florida St (6-0)

Mississippi St Leaps Florida St to Claim #1 Spot

In another wild early regular season weekend, the top ten had a major shakeup with three clubs losing critical matchups. Mississippi St. and Ole Miss won huge top twenty matchups. The Miss. St Bulldogs beat #2 Auburn in the biggest game in Starksville, Mississippi in years that propelled them to the #1 national ranking. Cross state rival Mississippi beat Texas A&M convincingly to solidify their #3 ranking.

The Bulldogs get Kentucky on the road while the Ole Miss Rebels will host Tennessee in what appears to be easy matchups. The SEC has proven anything but easy with Alabama sneaking out a tough win at Arkansas 14-13 last week.

Both Ole Miss and Mississippi St are part of the SEC West division that brings strong challenges through the rest of the fall. Ole Miss goes to LSU in two weeks with Auburn at home the following week before finishing with Arkansas and the instate rivalry Egg Bowl vs Mississippi St.

Mississippi St faces a stubborn Arkansas club on November 1st with a tough challenge mid November at Alabama before the potentially epic Egg Bowl matchup.

The Pac 12 was established itself as the nations’ 2nd best conference with Oregon a legitimate candidate for the final four. Both Arizona St and Arizona have had strong first half performances while a young USC club has made nice progress and appears ready to challenge for a top 15 placement with a run facing a soft schedule this month.

The only game this weekend of undefeated teams is Notre Dame at Florida St. Though neither team faced a strong first half schedule, the winner here is almost guaranteed placement in the final four playoff teams for the national championship. QBs Jameis Winston and Everett Golson get the spotlight and a big performance here puts them in the middle of the Heisman Trophy race.

The TCU vs Oklahoma St. may be another wild shootout. TCU allowed Baylor to get back in the game after a big early lead. They lost in overtime 61-58 to a Baylor club that rode the hot passing of QB Bryce Petty. Auburn gets South Carolina at home in a possible trap game while Alabama goes to Texas A&M where the Aggies face a key game after losing the past two weeks to top five ranked teams Mississippi St and Ole Miss.

Heisman Trophy Race
QB Bryce Petty – Baylor
Senior pocket passer threw six TD passes last week vs top ten opponent TCU, all of the scoring passes over 25 yards. His statistics will rival any passer in the nation and with a top 5 rankings get him heavy national attention.

QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.
Junior passer accounted for 3 TDs (2 rushing) in huge win over Auburn that propelled the Bulldogs to the #1 rankings in the polls. He faces Kentucky this week.

RB Todd Gurley - Georgia
Power junior back is currently suspended for signing autographs. He led the nation in rushing despite special attention weekly in the tough SEC.

QB Marcus Mariota – Oregon
Mobile passer had another top game with 2 TDs passing and 2 TDs rushing as the Ducks pounded UCLA 42-30. He faces a major challenge with Washington coming to town on Saturday.

Upset of the Week – Notre Dame beats Florida St. in Tallahassee. This should be a shootout between QBs Jameis Winston and Everett Golson with the winner in the Heisman Trophy finalist discussion.

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 Monday - Top Ten Shakeup

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College Football Monday - Week 6

Team of the Week: Ole Miss

Players Of Week
Offense: QB Bo Wallace – Ole Miss
Defense: DE Bud Dupree - Kentucky

Photo: QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.

Upcoming Game of the Week: #2 Auburn (5-0) at #3 Mississippi St. (5-0)

Upset Saturday Shakes Up Top Ten and Playoff Hopes

In the wildest early regular season weekend in decades, the top ten had a major shakeup with four clubs losing critical matchups. Ole Miss beat #3 Alabama in the biggest game in Oxford, Mississippi in years. Cross state rival Mississippi St was not outdone with an impressive whipping of Texas A&M who entered the game undefeated at 5-0. The Bulldogs jumped on A&M with a strong 48-31 victory. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi St are part of the SEC West division that is comparable to the NFC West. Incredibly, LSU at 4-2 and Arkansas at 3-2 bring up the rear in this powerful division.

The SEC West features another two major clashes this week with Auburn at Mississippi in the only game this weekend of undefeated teams, in addition to the Ole Miss at Texas A&M matchup in College Station. These two games will have a strong bearing on the SEC West leadership entering the critical second half of the season. The top ten could undergo another major reshuffling with six matchups that feature potential playoff finalists for January 2015.

The Auburn at Mississippi St. clash is the only game this weekend of undefeated teams with Ole Miss at Texas A&M, Oregon at UCLA, TCU at Baylor, Alabama at Arkansas and Georgia at Missouri, other great top twenty five matchups.

Heisman Trophy Race
RB Todd Gurley - Georgia

Powerful junior back continues to pound the rock with big numbers weekly vs tough SEC defenses. He faces Missouri this Saturday

QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi St.
Junior passer accounted for 5 TDs (3 rushing) in huge win over Texas A&M. He is in the spotlight this week with #2 Auburn coming to town.

QB Marcus Mariota – Oregon
Mobile passer had another good game, but the Ducks came up short vs Arizona. He faces a major challenge with road game at UCLA on Saturday.

Upset of the Week – Texas A&M recovers from their loss to Mississippi St and beats Ole Miss with help from the 12th man.

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.

Top 25 Teams - Florida St. Beats Miami

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Alabama Heads Polls - Florida St. Beats Miami
Seven Teams Remain Undefeated

Players of Week
Offense: QB Derek Carr – Fresno St
Defense: DE Jadeveon Clowney – South Carolina

Photo: Jadeveon Clowney – South Carolina

Upcoming Game of the Week: Oregon (8-0) at Stanford (7-1)
Florida St. Posts Impressive Win over Miami

Coaches Poll
Team of the Week -Florida St

Rank /Team / Record / First Place Votes
1 Alabama - 8-0 - 54 - 1
2 Oregon - 8-0 – 5 - 2
3 Florida St. - 8-0 – 3 -3
4 Ohio St. - 9-0
5 Baylor - 7-0
6 Stanford - 7-1
7 Clemson - 8-1
8 Oklahoma - 7-1
9 Missouri -8-1
10 Auburn - 8-1
11 Oklahoma St. - 7-1
12 LSU - 7-2
13 Texas A&M - 7-2
14 Miami - 7-1
15 South Carolina -7-2
16 Louisville - 7-1
17 Fresno State - 8-0
18 UCLA - 6-2
19 Michigan St - 8-1
20 Northern Illinois -9-0
21 Central Florida - 6-1
22 Wisconsin - 6-2
23 Texas Tech - 7-2
24 Arizona St. - 6-2
25 Notre Dame -7-2

Dropped Out: 21 Michigan

AP Poll
1 Alabama - 8-0 - 56 - 1
2 Oregon - 8-0 - 6 - 2
3 Florida St. - 8-0
4 Ohio St. - 9-0
5 Baylor - 7-0
6 Stanford - 7-1
7 Auburn - 8-1
8 Clemson - 8-1
9 Missouri -8-1
10 LSU - 7-2
11 Texas A&M - 7-2
12 Oklahoma - 7-1
13 South Carolina - 7-2
14 Miami - 7-1
15 Oklahoma St. -7-1
16 UCLA - 6-2
17 Fresno State - 8-0
18 Michigan St - 8-1
19 Central Florida - 6-1
20 Louisville - 7-1
21 Wisconsin - 6-2
22 Northern Illinois - 9-0
23 Arizona St. - 6-2
24 Notre Dame -7-2
25 Texas Tech - 7-2

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 18 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.

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