College Football Blog College Football

Down Goes Russell

How many of you had Seth Russell in your DFS lineups only to find out the once superman of college quarterbacking statistics was human like the rest of us?  Count me as one.  Every DFS week that Baylor played, even at the $10K price tag he was playing with, I had to start him in at least one of my lineups.  I would get in my comfortable chair on Saturday afternoons and enjoy watching him carve up defenses and rack up fantasy points in video game fashion.  Sadly to say after taking a blow to the neck and shoulder during last week’s Iowa State game, Russell was removed in the 4th quarter with severe neck pain.  A few days later we discovered the neck injury is definitely season ending.  Say it isn’t so?  But unfortunately it is.  Your heart breaks for the young man who was having a Heisman worthy season going 119 out of 200, for 2,104 yards, 29 touchdowns and only six interceptions in not quite seven full games.  In addition, he had 49 carries for 402 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.  Fantasy Gold I call it.  While Russell’s pain and suffering is far greater than that of DFS players who count on him week in and week out during the college football season, we too have to make some adjustments.

While there are many other college quarterbacks to choose from with ample production, Paxton Lynch, Greg Ward, Brandon Doughty, and Luke Falk come immediately to mind,  for the purposes of this exercise, I would like to focus on what Seth Russell’s absence means for the rest of Baylor’s skill players.  So let’s start with his replacement.

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Bowl Game Confidence Picks

Hey guys, pretty busy at the moment so I apologize for the brevity/lateness of this post, but here are the confidence picks I’m going with in our own RotoWire pool for the bowl game slate this year. Feel free to message me on Twitter at the RotoWire NFL Draft account (@NFLDraft_RW)if you have any questions about the picks.

Also, be sure to check out how me and our other college football writers are picking against the spreads:

Thanks for reading!

(Higher the number, more confident the pick)

38. Stanford over Maryland

37 Auburn over Wisconsin

36. Arizona State over Duke

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College Football TUE/WED MACtion Rankings

Hey guys, here are the rankings I’m going with this week for the Tuesday/Wednesday MAC slate. This week we have Buffalo vs Akron, Northern Illinois vs Toledo, Bowling Green vs Kent State, and Massachusetts vs Ball State. The first two games are Tuesday, the second pair Wednesday.

NOTE: There are a couple high-impact injury situations to monitor. One is the lower leg injury suffered by Bowling Green RB Travis Greene, the other a leg injury suffered by Toledo QB Logan Woodside. If Greene is out, it greatly heightens the value of RB Fred Coppet. If Woodside plays, you can raise Toledo WRs Corey Jones and Alonzo Russell on the list, because Woodside looks significantly better than backup Michael Julian.

Feel free to shoot over questions on Twitter to @NFLDraft_RW. Good luck this week!


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College Football TUE/WED MAC Rankings

Hey guys, here are the rankings I’d go with for the Tuesday/Wednesday slate of MAC games for college football this week. Today we have Akron vs Bowling Green and Kent State vs Toledo, with tomorrow’s slate being Ohio vs Buffalo and Ball State vs Northern Illinois.

Feel free to shoot any questions on Twitter to @NFLDraft_RW if you had any questions about the slate.



1. Drew Hare – Northern Illinois at Ball State
2. Kyle Pohl – Akron vs Bowling Green
3. Jack Milas – Ball State vs Northern Illinois

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FantasyElite $8,000 CFB Kickoff Tournament

Fanium’s games are some of the most unique DFS formats out there, as the game combines the salary cap aspect of traditional DFS with a twist: the games are head-to-head and players are acquired through a draft, meaning no two teams in a single contest can own a given player at the same time. There’s never overlap, and it’s not as simple as picking the ‘best’ player at each pick – you need to consider how any given player’s salary might limit your selection options at the subsequent picks. You can play either on the web or through the site’s iPad/iPhone app.

On Wednesday night I drafted a team in FantasyElite’s $8,000 College Kickoff tournament, a 32-entry bracket with a $250 entry fee and big payouts ($625-$2,000) for the players that manage to make it into the Elite Eight. As you might expect with a relatively high-stakes contest like this, this bracket is nothing less than a shark tank. The first round’s player pool drew from the four FBS games in Thursday’s slate – South Carolina/Texas A&M, Mississippi/Boise State, Washington State/Rutgers, and Vanderbilt/Temple.

The game starts QB/QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/FLEX/FLEX/FLEX, with the flex spots allowing the use of RB, WR, or TE-designated players. The scoring system is somewhat unorthodox – it’s 2PPR, awards 0.1 points per carry, and all touchdowns are worth six points. This puts a premium on high-level passing quarterbacks and reception-heavy players at RB/WR/TE.

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Week 8 College Football Thoughts

– The Noles went into Death Valley and delivered a beat em down style victory over Clemson on Saturday night that neither team won’t soon forget.  Famous Jameis Winston was spectacular with four touchdowns, leading his team with swagger few, if any, possess.  He is clearly in the Heisman race, if not the front-runner at this time.  He is second in the nation in passer rating, second in yards per attempt, and sixth in completion percentage. It wasn’t just him in this game though, as his wide receivers made great plays after the catch and the FSU defense held Clemson to just 3.79 yards per play and turned them over four times. The next big game for the Noles is a matchup with Miami on Nov. 2, where each team will likely be undefeated. In past seasons, many bought into the Noles, only to see them disappoint against lesser opponents (see NC State in 2012 & 2010), but this feels like a different team with Winston at the helm.
– Texas A&M’s run defense has been among the worst in the nation all season long and this past Saturday was no different, as Auburn ran for 379 yards against them, on their way to 45-41 upset in on the road. Credit needs to be given to new/old offensive guru Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff for the work they have done with this group of players.  Their turn around is nothing short of amazing and make this season’s Iron Bowl that much more intriguing. But there also needs to be some questioning as to just who A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is allowing to coach his defenses. This season the Aggies rank 117th in terms of yards allowed per play, which is just between Troy and Kent State near the bottom of the barrel. Moreover, defense was a problem for Sumlin while he was at Houston as well. Johnny Manziel’s case for the Heisman took some shots this weekend because some want to penalize him for the poor play of the Aggies’ defense, which is unfair to him as he has no control over their play. One should realize that part of the reason he’s on the field for so much, making incredible play with his arm and legs is because he has to, as his defense is terrible and has left him no choice to but bail them out with his heroics. If he had an even average defense behind him, there is little doubtful he would have to produce games of 500 total yards, as he did this season against Alabama and Auburn, which, by the way, is insane. But not even he can bail out a defense this bad every week. If anything, his critics should realize he’s the only reason Texas A&M is even in these games to begin with. To me at least, he’s still the most outstanding player in college football and worthy of winning another Heisman trophy.  It’s just tough to separate his individual success and talent from that of his team’s success and talent, which is tied so heavily to the anchor that is the Aggies defense. 
– Missouri is for real. They took Florida to the woodshed for 500 total yards of offense and destroyed what was once, and I guess still technically, considered at Top 10 defense. The Gators were without DT Dominique Easley, who is lost for the season due to a torn ACL & MCL in his right knee, but that’s still no excuse for getting rolled by frosh QB Maty Mauk, who was starting his first ever college football game. Maybe the Gators should look to travel more, as this was the farthest north the team has traveled for a road game since 1991, when they went up to Syracuse. Up next for the Tigers is a home game against South Carolina, who is likely to be without QB Connor Shaw, who is out with a sprained left knee. As recently as this past week, I thought the Gamecocks were the favorites to win the SEC East, but not after they lost to Tennessee in Knoxville this weekend. Now it appears Missouri is all but a lock to win the East, which is crazy considering the verbal abuse and public doubting their program experienced, when they came over to from the Big 12 to the SEC last season. 
– Ohio State and Miami (FL) narrowly escaped defeat against conference foes. For the Buckeyes, once again, just too much Carlos Hyde. Their pass defense has become a real problem though, as they’ve allowed 7.4 yards per attempt to FBS teams this season, which ranks 67th in the nation and 8th in the Big Ten. For the Canes, it’s not often that your QB throws 4 interceptions and you lose one of your best WRs to injury and you still go on to win the game. They were very lucky to get past North Carolina. It’s doubtful they’ll be as lucky when they face Florida State and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks next month. 
– What happened to LSU’s defense this week against Ole Miss?  Usually the Tigers are one of the best teams and shutting down opposing offenses with their fantastic secondary, but that was not the case as they gave up over 500 total yards to the Rebels. QB Zach Mettenberger looked like the old Mettenberger, as he threw 3 interceptions and severely hurt his team’s chances to win. And it’s not like these were tipped or deflected passes either, each of them he threw into double coverage, two of which were in the end-zone. He’ll need to make better decisions against Alabama.
– I’m not sure I can recall a team with such high expectations beaten down by injuries so badly the way Georgia has been this season. At Vanderbilt this weekend it caught up with them, as they just didn’t have the skill players needed to help QB Aaron Murray make one final drive to win the game. With the World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party on the horizon, the Bulldogs will need to get as many healthy bodies back on the field as they can, if they’re going to beat Florida. For Vandy, it’s a win they badly needed, before they face Texas A&M, Florida, and Tennessee on the road, in three of their next four games. One last thing from this game, the targeting rule has drawn criticism this season for being improperly called and no play may personify this more than the penalty Georgia drew in this game. Take a look for yourself, does this sort of play warrant a player being ejected? The play was reviewed and the ejection was upheld. A roughing the passer call would have been more appropriate in this instance. This happened again in the Ohio State game, with maybe an even worse call, as unnecessary roughness would have sufficed. On the flip side, this call, in the South Carolina game, for targeting seems appropriate and rightly called. It might seem like I’m splitting hairs here, but you’re ejecting a player, which is a sever penalty that affects the outcome of the game. 
– Stanford rebounded nicely from their loss to Utah with a defensive smothering of UCLA. They held the Bruins to just 266 yards of offense. The play of the game has to go to Kodi Whitfield, who made an amazing one handed catch in the endzone to give the Cardinal a lead they would never relinquish. Up next for Stanford is a meeting with Oregon State in Corvallis against QB Sean Mannion, who is starting to garner Heisman steam, what with his 29 passing touchdowns and 427.4 passing yards per game, both of which lead the nation. Just how good the Beavers are though is still suspect, considering they lost to Eastern Washington, a 5-2 FCS team, earlier this season, at home.  
– And finally this week, we shed ourselves of Louisville and their false dreams of going undefeated, as UCF overcame a 21 point deficit to beat them on the road. QB Teddy Bridgewater did what he could, and played a pretty good game going 29-of-38 for 341 yards, but it wasn’t enough. Their loss now opens up the BCS door to Fresno State and Northern Illinois, who if they continue to remain undefeated, will have a shot at a major bowl game come January. For UCF, they now have a very real shot at winning the conference, if they can beat Houston at home on Nov 9. They’re also left to wonder what might have been, as their lone loss of the season was by 3 points to South Carolina at home. And if it wasn’t already obvious, Teddy Bridgewater will not be winning the Heisman and will be lucky to even make it to New York as a finalist. Don’t feel bad for him though, as he’s likely to be the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
– This week we get Florida State at home, looking for serious payback for what NC State has done to them recently to derail their seasons and yet another test for Missouri at home against South Carolina. And perhaps this is the week that someone finally tests Oregon, who is at home against UCLA.  The game I’m most intrigued by though is Texas Tech, who remains unbeaten, on the road at Oklahoma.  It’s time to see what the Red Raiders are all about and if they’re someone we need to take seriously. Vegas has them as a touchdown underdogs in Norman. 

Games to Watch

7:00 PM ESPN2: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Arkansas State – Both teams are undefeated in the Sun Belt.

6:30 PM ESPN: Kentucky @ Mississippi State – You’re better off watching the World Series.
6:30 PM FS1: Marshall @ Middle Tennessee – I know I’ll be watching baseball.

7:00 PM ESPN: Boise State @ BYU – I see few reasons to watch this game.

11:00 AM ESPN/2: #25 Nebraska @ Minnesota – After knocking off Northwestern, maybe we should take this Gophers team more seriously. 
11:00 AM ESPNU: Wake Forest @ #7 Miami – If the Canes can win this one, they’ll be undefeated entering their Nov. 2 meeting with the Noles at Doak.
11:21 AM SEC: Vanderbilt @ #14 Texas A&M – How bad will the Aggies defense play and can the Commodores defense contain Mike Evans?
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN2: NC State @ #3 Florida State – Famous Jameis.
2:30 PM CBS: Tennessee @ #1 Alabama – ROLL TIDE. 

2:30 PM ESPN: #9 Clemson @ Maryland – The Tigers will likely take out their frustrations on this Terps team. 
2:30 PM ESPNU: Duke @ #16 Virginia Tech – The Hokies continue to quietly roll along. 

2:30 PM FOX: #10 Texas Tech @ #17 Oklahoma – Time for Kliff Kingsbury and crew to show if they’re a contender or pretender in the Big 12. 
6:00 PM ESPN/2: #12 UCLA @ #2 Oregon – Playing Stanford and Oregon back to back just isn’t fair to the Bruins.
6:00 PM ESPN/2: #20 South Carolina @ #5 Missouri – Can the Tigers withstand the pressure of being the hunted? And more of this please. 
6:00 PM ESPNU: #6 Baylor @ Kansas – I’ll be sad if the Bears don’t hang a hundred on the Jayhawks.
6:30 PM FS1: Texas @ TCU – What has happened to this Horned Frogs team? They’re in jeopardy of not making a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
7:00 PM ABC: Penn State @ #4 Ohio State – Can the Nittany Lions take down Michigan and Ohio State in back to back games?
9:30 PM ESPN: #8 Stanford @ Oregon State – In Corvallis, Stanford will have it’s hands full with Sean Mannion (29 TDs & 3 interceptions) and this Beaver’s offense.
9:30 PM ESPN2: #15 Fresno State @ SDSU – The Bulldogs remain undefeated, as they march towards a BCS Bowl game.
10:00 PM FS1: Cal @ Washington – Late night Keith Price action.

Week 7 College Football Thoughts

– In a weekend full of upsets, none was bigger than Penn State’s 4 OT thriller over Michigan. Nittany Lions WR Allen Robinson made some amazing catches in the final minute of regulation to help his team force overtime. In OT, neither team was able to pull away as a series of botched special teams plays and mental miscues kept the game in doubt, until the 4th OT, when PSU head coach Bill O’Brien decided to go for it on 4th down and give his team a chance to close things out, which they did on a Bill Belton 2 yard TD run. For the Nittany Lions it’s a great win for as they deal with sanctions forcing them to play with one arm tied behind their back.  And for the Wolverines, they could’ve lost to UConn and likely should’ve lost to Akron, so to see them lose this one on the road is no surprise.
– No DeAnthony Thomas, no problem. Oregon kept Washington at bay for three quarters, before finishing them off in the 4th, in a game that was never as close as the score might suggest, and they won by 21 points. QB Marcus Mariota is likely your front-runner for the Heisman and it’s tough to argue, when he’s scoring 4 TDs with over 450 total yards against one of the better defenses in the nation. There is no slowing this team down.
– Speaking of the Pac-12, Stanford is no longer undefeated, after they lost on the road at Utah. Their offense has been shaky as of late (with the exception of Ty Montgomery) and against the Utes they tried to get too cute and pass the ball, when running it was likely the higher percentage play to get them in the end zone and win the game. This coming week they get UCLA, QB Brett Hundley, and stud LB Anthony Barr at home. A bounce back win here will likely vault them back up the rankings, but they must first correct their offense that ranks 2nd to last in the Pac-12 in total yards per game. 
– Mizzou upset Georgia to remain undefeated and gain some respect in the process, but at what price? They lost QB James Franklin for the season due to a separated shoulder and will now have to turn to freshman Maty Mauk to guide their offense. With games against Florida and South Carolina coming up, this will be the biggest test yet for the surprising Tigers, who are for real.  For the Bulldogs, they’ve simply been decimated by injuries and will have to rally around QB Aaron Murray once again, if they’re still going to win the SEC West.
On Saturday LSU was the hammer and Florida was the nail, I think. Either way, the main difference was that the Tigers have a Jeremy Hill on their team and the Gators do not. QB Tyler Murphy didn’t turn the ball over, but that’s not enough against a team like LSU. The Tigers face Ole Miss this week and if they can win that one, they’ll be one small step away from their November 9th matchup against Alabama in T-Town.
– Speaking of Ole Miss, they gave Johnny Football and the Aggies all they could handle, but it wasn’t enough as they lost by a field goal as time expired at home. Manziel didn’t throw a TD and was actually picked off once, but he was accurate with the ball, shook off a knee injury, and made the plays with his feet when he needed to, to win the game. This week JFF and Uncle Nate get Auburn at home, in what should be another shootout.  
– Texas pulled the upset over Oklahoma, in the Red River Shootout, and likely kept the wolves at bay for just a bit longer for Longhorns coach Mack Brown. The Longhorns win likely doesn’t change Brown’s fate, but it’s nice to see that he can still get his team to rise to the occasion every once in a while and play a complete game from start to finish in all three phases.  Now if only he could get his team to play like that every week. For the Sooners, it’s only one loss, but Blake Bell does not look like the QB to lead this team moving forward. Trevor Knight should be given more time to show what he can do or the Sooners need to rework the offense around Bell throwing the ball less, as they only converted 2 of their 13 third downs against UT.
– Also in the Big 12, Baylor was finally given a test by K-State and they rose to the challenge, by scoring 14 points in the 4th quarter to come back and win on the road. Their defense was just as responsible for the win as their offense was (mainly Bryce Petty). With Iowa State and Kansas up next on the schedule, the Bears will likely be undefeated when they play the Sooners on November 7th, the same night Oregon goes to Stanford and the same weekend LSU goes to Alabama. That’s going to be a great weekend.
– For all the talk about the ACC and the up-coming Florida State/Clemson showdown, Virginia Tech continues to get no national respect. They’ve lost only one game and that was to Alabama, where they held the Tide to just 206 total yards of offense. They’ve got a shutdown corner in Kyle Fuller and QB Logan Thomas has cut down on the turnovers that plagued him last season. This Hokies team is a real threat to win out, claim the ACC Coastal division, and possibly even the conference crown.
– Is anyone watching Louisville and does it matter? This past Thursday, they got out to an early lead on Rutgers, but then let the Scarlet Knights back into the game and had to hang on late. The win did nothing to their ranking in the AP Poll, where they’ve been jumped and will continue to be jumped by teams that play more high profile games. This coming Friday may be their last chance to really capture the attention of the nation, as they take on a quality UCF team on ESPN. Come up short here and Louisville might as well kiss their hopes of a national title and Heisman for Teddy Bridgewater good-bye. 
– Tulane beat East Carolina in triple-overtime to move to 5-2 on the season and 3-0 in C-USA play. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but last season the Green Wave went 2-10 (2-6 in C-USA) and haven’t had a winning record since 2002. The play of QB Nick Montana (Joe’s kid), QB Devin Powell, and kicker Cairo Santos have really helped turn this program around this season. Winning 8 or possibly even 9 games seems like a real possibility, when looking at their schedule. If head coach Curtis Johnson, a former member of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s coaching staff, isn’t already a local hero, he will be soon. 
– Plenty of entertaining conference games this week, but all eyes will be on Florida State and Clemson as they duke it out to see who will reign supreme in the ACC Atlantic division and keep their dreams of playing for the national title alive. This will also be a chance for Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd to showcase their talents, as the two compete for the Heisman Trophy.

Games to Watch

7:00 PM ESPN2: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Western Kentucky – You’re better off watching the MLB playoffs and yes, Tuesday football is now here.

6:30 PM ESPN: #10 Miami @ North Carolina – The Canes need this one to keep pace with Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal division.

7:00 PM ESPN: UCF @ #8 Louisville – Likely the stiffest test the Cardinals will face in AAC play this season.

11:00 AM CBS: #15 Georgia @ Vanderbilt – If the Fighting James Franklins lose this one, they’ll be 0-4 in the SEC and in serious jeopardy of not getting bowl eligible this season.
11:00 AM ESPN: #11 South Carolina @ Tennessee – Will the real Jadeveon Clowney please stand up.
11:00 AM FOX: TCU @ #21 Oklahoma State – The Cowboys can ill afford to lose pace in the Big 12 standings.
11:00 AM FS1: #16 Texas Tech @ West Virginia – Kliff Kingsbury.
11:21 AM SEC: #22 Florida @ #14 Missouri – The Tigers are undefeated, but how far can they go with freshman QB Maty Mauk under center?
2:30 PM CBS: #24 Auburn @ #7 Texas A&M – What can Johnny Manziel not do? 
2:30 PM BTN: Indiana @ Michigan – The Wolverines will likely have their hands full with this Hoosiers offense that averages 331.5 yards per game passing.
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN/2: Iowa @ #4 Ohio State – The Buckeyes should have no problem with this one.
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN/2: #9 UCLA @ #13 Stanford – Huge game for both teams in the Pac-12.
5:00 PM P12: #20 Washington @ Arizona State – The Sun Devils need this one to keep pace in the Pac-12 South (UCLA).
6:00 PM ESPN: Arkansas @ #1 Alabama – Roll Tide!
6:00 PM ESPNU: Iowa State @ #12 Baylor – The Cyclones took Texas and Texas Tech to the brink, can they break through against the Bears?
6:00 PM ESPN2: #6 LSU @ Ole Miss – In The Grove, this will be a good test for LSU and their defense.
6:30 PM NBC: USC @ Notre Dame – Classic rivalry game.
7:00 PM ABC: #5 Florida State @ #3 Clemson – ACC games don’t get much bigger than this.
7:00 PM BTN: #25 Wisconsin @ Illinois – If you haven’t seen Melvin Gordon yet this season, tune in for this one.
9:00 PM P12: Utah @ Arizona – The Utes have lost two games by a combined 6 points. The Wildcats better be prepared for this one.
9:00 PM FS1: Washington State @ #2 Oregon – Marcus Mariota can not be stopped.
9:30 PM ESPN2/U: Oregon State @ Cal – Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing yards per game (418.5), passing TDs (25), and broken TV graphics.