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NFL Power Rankings - Falcons & Panthers Top NFC South

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NFL Power Rankings Week 5 –
Falcons & Panthers Keep NFC South Perfect at Top

Rookies of the Week –
Offensive Player - RB Todd Gurley - Rams

Defensive Player - LB Stephone Anthony - Saints

Players of the Week
Offensive Player - RB Chris Ivory - Jets -

Defensive Player - Safety T.J. Ward - Broncos

Team of Week 4 - Giants
Matchup of Week 5 – St Louis at Green Bay

Rank / Team / Record

1. Green Bay Packers (4-0)
Packers face a tough Rams defense this week in a key NFC matchup.

2. New England Patriots (3-0)
Patriots are rested for their trip to Big D.

3. Denver Broncos (4-0)
Broncos’ defense is coming up big in the early action.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-0)
The Bengals get an acid test at home with the Seahawks coming to town this Sunday.

5. Atlanta Falcons (4-0)
Falcons’ HC Dan Quinn has this defense playing smart.

6. Arizona Cardinals (3-1)
Cards lost a tough contest with the Rams in the leagues strongest division.

7. Carolina Panthers (4-0)
The Panthers rest this week after a strong opening month atop the NFC South.

8. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
Seahawks continue their unimpressive play, but find a way to win in crunch time.

9. New York Jets (3-1)
The Jets buried the Dolphins and get their bye week before a stretch of weak opponents.

10. San Diego Chargers (2-2)
Chargers host the Steelers on Monday night and need to make a statement here.

11. New York Giants (2-2)
GMen pounced on the Bills last week and get the 49ers at home Sunday night.

12. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
Cowboys lost in overtime to the Saints and host the Patriots in a critical early season matchup.

13. St. Louis Rams (2-2)
The Rams’ won a hard fought contest vs the Cardinals and travel to Green Bay in another key NFC contest.

14. Buffalo Bills (2-2)
The Bills defense has been toasted under HC Rex Ryan. They should get well in Tennessee.

15. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
Vikings are on their bye week and hope to regroup with a soft month of upcoming games.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
Eagles are in disarray and must show up vs a rejuvenated Saints’ club coming to town.

17. Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Without QB Andrew Luck, the Colts just got by Jaguars in overtime. They face South rival, the Texans on Thursday night.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)
Steelers’ gave away game to the Ravens and need big effort in San Diego Monday night.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
The Chiefs got wacked by Bengals’ last week and face almost a must win situation at home vs the Bears this Sunday.

20. Baltimore Ravens (1-3)
The Ravens were handed a gift by the Steelers and stay in the division with the Browns coming to town.

21. Houston Texans (1-3)
Texans host the Colts on Thursday night with their highly touted defense a major disappointment.

22. Cleveland Browns (1-3)
Browns find new ways to lose games and face a strong schedule over next two months.

23. New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Saints won a key matchup with the Cowboys and go to Philly for major NFC matchup.

24. Washington Redskins (2-2)
Washington beat the Eagles last week in an impressive effort. Travel to Atlanta to determine if that was real.

25. Miami Dolphins (1-3)
The Dolphins were waxed again this time by the Jets to got HC Joe Philbin fired. They get their bye week to regroup after a horrible start.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
The Jaguars play hard every week but don’t know how to win yet. Face the Bucs this week.

27. Oakland Raiders (1-3)
The Raiders lost to the lowly Bears last week. They host West rival, Broncos in must win scenario.

28. Tennessee Titans (1-2)
The Titans host the Bills this week and had two weeks to prepare. Let’s see if rookie QB Marcus Mariota went to school on the opponent.

29. Detroit Lions (0-4)
Lions gave game to Seattle and will look for their first win at home vs Arizona in desperate situation.

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
The 49ers’ offense is struggling mightily and go to MetLife to face the hot GMen.

31. Tampa Bay Bucs (1-3)
Bucs will make key mistakes with young roster looking mature in tough division.

32. Chicago Bears (1-3)
The Bears beat the hapless Raiders and go on the road for the next two vs desperate Chiefs and Lion.

UCLA Linebacker Myles Jack Will Enter the NFL Draft 2016

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UCLA Linebacker Myles Jack Will Enter the NFL Draft 2016 After Season Ending Knee Injury

Photo – LB Myles Jack - UCLA

UCLA junior linebacker Myles Jack has withdrawn from school and will enter the 2016 NFL draft announced by Bruins coach Jim Mora today. Jack tore his anterior meniscus in his right knee in September and subsequently underwent surgery, sidelining him for the rest of the season. His projected recovery time is 4-6 months that would allow him to workout at the UCLA pro day in March. He would be a borderline NFL Combine participant if the recovery time is accurate. He is eligible for the NFL Draft 2016 and three years removed from his HS class graduation.

Jack has started for the Bruins at linebacker since his freshman season in 2013, and also earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors last season. He has played on both sides of the ball, filling in as a feature back where he was very effective for periods. He has also been a kickoff returner showing rare versatility and athleticism. He fits both pro schemes with the ability to play all positions in the standard 4-3 set.

“My personal opinion is, I think he’s a tremendous football player and a tremendous athlete,” Mora said. “I think it’s very risky to do this. There’s going to be a lot of speculation of who he is and where he fits.”

“After long discussions with my family, teammates, coaches and friends, I have made the tough decision to leave UCLA and start preparation for the next step in my journey,” Jack wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “While I wish I could be on the field playing with my brothers, I’m ready to fulfill a childhood dream.”

As a sophomore in 2014, Jack finished with 88 tackles, second most on the team behind Butkus Award winner Eric Kendricks, who became a 2nd round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL Draft 2015.
Mora said Jack’s decision to leave school in early October rather than wait until the end of the season and the fall quarter was influenced by the opportunity to rehab and train full-time without class obligations.
“He doesn’t see any point of staying in school,” Mora said. “He’s taking his chips and shoving them into the middle,” Mora said, “and we hope he draws a good hand.”

Mora is a former head coach for the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, soft-pedaled the possibility, expressing concern about the limited junior film of Jack, who played in just three games this season. “I’ve been in 25 draft rooms, and I’ve never seen a guy taken off that,” Mora said. “Never.”

His final play of his college career will be a victory-preserving interception of BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum in the waning seconds of UCLA's 24-23 win over the Cougars on Sept. 19. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker had started for the Bruins since his second game as a freshman, a 41-21 victory at Nebraska on Sept. 14, 2013. He tallied five tackles on that day against the Cornhuskers.

He also burst onto the scene as a running back that season. Appearing for the first time in a late October in a win at Arizona, he rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown on six carries. He was named the Pac-12 freshman offensive and defensive player of the year, believed to be the first player to be named both. Over three seasons, he carried the ball 68 times for 387 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also started returning kicks this fall. Jack, a Bellevue, Wash., native, is expected to rehab and prep for the draft in the Seattle area.

“Myles’ talent is without question,” Mora said. “He’s extremely talented. An incredible athlete, plays with great energy and great passion and great emotion. Can do so many different things. I hope that he’s put enough out there that he can get a true evaluation, because if they can’t get a true evaluation of you, they’re not going to take you. They don’t take on speculation, not in the first round at least. Maybe in later rounds you go, ‘hey, we’ll take a flier on this guy.’ But there’s no such thing as an NFL GM who says, ‘hey, we’ll take a flier on a first-rounder.”

Frank Coyle projected Jack as a top 15 prospect prior to his knee injury. With the injury and today’s announcement, Coyle held that Jack can still be a first round selection off his athleticism and production. “He will have to workout in March/early April to maintain a first round grade, but all indications are that his rehab will be on schedule and allow him to showcase his athleticism. He is capable of a sub 4.6 speed combined with high football IQ and good technique. He is not only scheme diverse, he shows good coverage skills and overall development currently plus the ability to blitz and be a very effective three down backer.”

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.

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.

Ohio St – Michigan St. Maintain Top Spots With TCU & Baylor Rising in Polls

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Ohio St – Michigan St. Maintain Top Spots in Draft Insiders' Poll
TCU Replaces Michigan St as #2 in AP & Coaches Polls

Draft Insiders’ 2015 Top 25 Poll - Week #6 Rankings

Photo - RB Ekekiel Elliott - Ohio St.

Team of Week - Alabama

Players of Week
Offense - RB Ekekiel Elliott - Ohio St.
Defense - LB Eric Striker - Oklahoma -

Draft Insiders’ 2015 Top 25 Poll – Week #6 Rankings

Rank/ Team /Record
1. Ohio St. - 5-0
2. Michigan St. - 5-0
3. TCU - 5-0
4. Baylor - 4-0
5. LSU - 4-0
6. Utah - 4-0
7. Clemson - 5-0
8. Oklahoma - 4-0
9. Alabama - 4-1
10. Texas A&M - 5-0
11. Florida St - 4-0
12. Florida - 5-0
13. UCLA - 4-1
14. Northwestern - 5-0
15. Mississippi - 4-1
16. Notre Dame - 4-1
17. Michigan - 4-1
18. Georgia - 4-1
19. USC - 3-1
20. Stanford - 4-1
21. Oklahoma St. - 5-0
22. California - 5-0
23. Iowa - 5-0
24. Boise St. - 4-1
25. Memphis - 5-0

AP Top 25

Rank/Team /Record /Points
1 Ohio State(38) 5-0 1444 —
2 TCU(5) 5-0 1371
3 Baylor(10) 4-0 1364
4 Michigan State 5-0 1291
5 Utah(7) 4-0 1254
6 Clemson 4-0 1217
7 LSU 4-0 1212
8 Alabama 4-1 1026
9 Texas A&M(1) 5-0 1009
10 Oklahoma 4-0 976
11 Florida 5-0 935
12 Florida State 4-0 922
13 Northwestern 5-0 753
14 Ole Miss 4-1 731
15 Notre Dame 4-1 721
16 Stanford 4-1 617
17 USC 3-1 498
18 Michigan 4-1 452
19 Georgia 4-1 441
20 UCLA 4-1 415
21 Oklahoma State 5-0 332
22 Iowa 5-0 254
23 California 5-0 233
24 Toledo 4-0 87
25 Boise State 4-1 65

Dropped from rankings: Wisconsin 19, Mississippi State 21, West Virginia 23

Others receiving votes: Oregon 39, Duke 31, Houston 31, Temple 23, Memphis 19, Navy 19, Arizona State 15, Mississippi State 11, West Virginia 8, Texas Tech 4, BYU 3, Kansas State 1, Missouri 1

Coaches Poll

Rank /Team /Record /Points
1 Ohio State(50) 5-0 1523
2 TCU(4) 5-0 1435
3 Michigan State(1) 5-0 1409
4 Baylor(5) 4-0 1408
5 LSU(1) 4-0 1257
6 Clemson 4-0 1196
7 Utah(1) 4-0 1118
8 Florida State 4-0 1067
9 Oklahoma 4-0 1009
10 Alabama 4-1 990
11 Texas A&M 5-0 983
12 Florida 5-0 755
13 Ole Miss 4-1 727
14 Northwestern 5-0 707
15 Notre Dame 4-1 674
16 Georgia 4-1 562
17 USC 3-1 540
18 Stanford 4-1 535
19 Oklahoma State 5-0 519
20 UCLA 4-1 401
21 Michigan 4-1 322
22 California 5-0 311
23 Iowa 5-0 243
24 Boise State 4-1 100
25 Memphis 5-0 68

Dropped from rankings: Wisconsin 18, West Virginia 21, Mississippi State 22, Oregon 24

Others receiving votes: Oregon 64, Duke 59, West Virginia 31, Toledo 24, Kansas State 17, Temple 16, Arizona State 16, Mississippi State 14, Navy 12, Houston 11, Kentucky 6, Arizona 5, Missouri 4, Wisconsin 4, North Carolina 4, Indiana 2, Illinois 2

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.

Notre Dame Invades Death Valley in Game of the Week

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College Game of the Week

Notre Dame Walks Into Death Valley for Top Ten Matchup
#6 Notre Dame (4-0)at #12 Clemson (3-0) - ESPN 8 pm Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015

Photo – LB Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame

Two top ten undefeated teams, Notre Dame and Clemson meet Saturday night in one of the pivotal early season college football matchups. The Irish face their toughest test of the young season vs a Clemson team that was undefeated last season at home. Both clubs are directed by young mobile QBs. The Irish look to freshman QB DeShone Kizer who was called in to replace injured Malik Zaire who is gone for the 2015 season. Kizer made a dramatic start to his career with only 12 seconds left with a bomb to pull out an apparent loss to lowly Virginia a few weeks ago. He helped beat a solid Georgia Tech club at home last week. He faces his sternest test with his first road game in Death Valley that has been a graveyard for countless young starters. ND is only 2-5 vs ranked teams on the road under coach Brian Kelly.

The Tigers have the nation's ninth-best defense, allowing 260 yards per game, though a soft early schedule helped this ranking. They will have to contain Irish tailback CJ Prosise who has rushed for over 600 yards in four games. He started the season as the backup but inherited the feature back role after Tarean Folston went down with an early knee injury. Kizer will continue to look to big play wideout Will Fuller to stretch the defense.

The Tigers will be directed by sophomore QB Deshaun Watson who combines mobility and accuracy to be a consistent double threat. He is without talented wideout Mike Williams who was lost for the season with a serious neck injury in the opening contest. Watson has relied mainly on his short game to move the chains.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney joked that ''I do think it's a little unfair that they brought the Pope into town just in time for the Clemson game.''

Clemson was the preseason pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title with Watson the favorite for player of the year. The Tigers are 3-0 for the fourth time in five years but will be tested by the talented, though erratic Irish defense.

It figures to be a huge week on Clemson's campus. ESPN College GameDay will broadcast from the school for the first time since the Florida State defeat in 2013. Tickets are nearly impossible to get yet requests continue to pour in.

The Irish are 2-5 under Kelly on the road against ranked teams, with both wins coming in 2012 at No. 10 Michigan State and No. 8 Oklahoma. Clemson is 41-6 at home in seven seasons under coach Dabo Swinney and have won 11 straight.

This matchup could be determined by the better ground game and which team makes fewer mistakes. The Tigers in Death Valley might prove too much for the young ND club especially at the key offensive positions. Tigers win a huge early season matchup to ride into their tough ACC schedule.

Clemson 31 Notre Dame 13

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.

NFL Power Polls - Packers & Patriots Rise to Top

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NFL Power Rankings Week 3 –
Packers & Patriots Rise to Conference Leaders

Rookies of the Week –
Offensive Player – WR Amari Cooper - Raiders

Defensive Player - LB Vic Beasley - Falcons

Photo -QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers

Players of the Week
Offensive Player - WR A.J. Green - Bengals

Defensive Player - CB Josh Norman - Panthers

Team of Week 3 - Packers
Matchup of Week 4 – St Louis at Arizona

Rank / Team / Record

1. Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Packers smoked the Chiefs behind the incredible Aaron Rodgers.

2. New England Patriots (3-0)
The veteran Patriots get a bye to rest on their hot start.

3. Arizona Cardinals (3-0)
Cards lead the league in scoring behind the talented Carson Palmer.

4. Denver Broncos (3-0)
Broncos are taking care of business, but can they sustain it the full schedule.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)
The Bengals off to fast start, but they will be judged by the postseason.

6. Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
Falcon’s beat the overrated Cowboys and host the tough Texans this Sunday.

7. Carolina Panthers (3-0)
The Panthers are atop the NFC South, but will have to beat the Falcons for the title.

8. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Seahawks will be pressed to be the best in the NFC West this season.

9. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Cowboys could rank lower except for a few gifts in the early action.

10. Buffalo Bills (2-1)
The Bills will be tested with the Giants coming to town in a pivotal game for both clubs.

11. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Vikings face a key matchup in Denver this week to establish themselves as a legitimate playoff contender.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)
Eagles hope to get to .500 with a trip to the Capital vs the Skins.

13. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
QB Andrew Luck hides countless faults in Indy, though maybe the best team in the weak AFC South again.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
Steelers’ move forward without Big Ben over the next few weeks behind the erratic Michael Vick.

15. New York Jets (2-1)
The Jets have to find a way to score more points if they expect to be a playoff contender.

16. San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Chargers host the Browns this week in a key game to move up in the AFC West.

17. New York Giants (1-2)
GMen could be 3-0, but gave away the first two and look to get back to .500 in Buffalo this week.

18. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
The Chiefs got wacked by Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. Now must go to Cinny and face the hot Bengals this Sunday.

19. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
The Dolphins were waxed by the Bills at home last week. Face the Jets in London in a critical AFC East matchup.

20. Oakland Raiders (2-1)
The Raiders are off to a good start, and go to Chicago where the Bears appear to be ready to start rebuilding for next year.

21. Baltimore Ravens (0-3)
The Ravens are looking for their first win in Thursday night as they renew their bitter AFC North rivalry in Pittsburgh.

22. Houston Texans (1-2)
Texans travel to Atlanta in a stern test of their playoff contention aspirations.

23. Detroit Lions (0-3)
Lions travel to Seattle for a critical early season contest where the loser is in big trouble.

24. St. Louis Rams (1-2)
The Rams’ offense struggles to score points and faces a key West rival, the Cardinals in the desert.

25. Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Browns struggle scoring points and look to settle on a starting QB with Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel on call.

26. New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Saints lost a key South matchup to the Panthers and host the Cowboys Sunday night in a critical matchup and possibly without QB Drew Brees.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
The Jaguars were toasted by the Patriots and go to Indy for a key South matchup.

28. Washington Redskins (1-2)
Washington host the Eagles this week in an NFC East game that could determine the direction of these teams.

29. Tennessee Titans (1-2)
The Titans will ride rookie QB Marcus Mariota through the learning period this year both the good and bad.

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
The 49ers were bombed in the desert. That may be the norm this season.

31. Tampa Bay Bucs (1-2)
Bucs will go through the growing pain of a rookie QB in Jameis Winston.

32. Chicago Bears (0-3)
The Bears may have the #1 pick in NFL Draft 2016 as the event returns to Chitown.

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.

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