Florida State Still On Top Of The Heap In College Football Entering The 2014 Season

Florida State Spring Game

It’s time to start thinking about college football once again with the NFL Draft now wrapped up and a new crop of college players ready to start taking center stage on Saturday afternoons this fall across the United States.

In every ranking system across the net, Florida State is by far and away the #1 ranked team in the nation, and why not?! The Seminoles won the BCS Championship last season with a Rose Bowl 34-31 victory over Auburn, the team that in many polls is ranked #2. Florida State will start the season on August 30th at Oklahoma State, and their big game on the slate early in the year is Saturday, September, 20th at home against Clemson.

If your betting on any team in the nation to be as good as advertised, Florida State is that team, and William Hill is the service to use to bet on them. The Seminoles have plenty of top returning talent, and with a unit that is riding high off a year ago with their BCS win over the Tigers, there’s no reason to bet against Florida State.

William Hill

Auburn is a safe bet to be competitive again in 2014, and if they should happen to take a step back, there’s a couple other squads that will vie for the chance to meet up with Florida State for the BCS Championship in January of 2015. Michigan State is actually ranked second by CBS Sports over Auburn, and they have top talent that can challenge just about any team in the Nation.

If there’s a team that can be a darkhorse in college football in 2014, it could be South Carolina, who are ranked at number four by both Associated Press Top 25 and the coaches poll as the season starts to get closer. The Gamecocks, who were 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC, won the Capital One Bowl (Citrus Bowl) last season beating Wisconsin 34-24. South Carolina is going to miss their best player, first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, but they have playmakers on both side of the ball.

With about three and a half months left till the start of the college season, there’s going to be plenty of ‘what ifs’ and experts that play out who they think are going to be there once the 2014 College Football season ends. Right now though, it’s hard to look any other way than Florida State. As for who they will play for the BCS Championship, the three teams that are going to fight it out over all the others are Auburn, Michigan State and South Carolina.

2012 NCAA Football Schedule for October 11-14 (FBS/FCS)

Below is the tentative NCAA football schedule for Thursday, October 11 through Sunday, October 14*:

FBS

Thursday, October 11
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
7:30 PM Western Kentucky at Troy
8:00 PM UTEP at Tulsa
9:00 PM Arizona State at Colorado
Friday, October 12
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
8:00 PM Navy at Central Michigan
Saturday, October 13
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
11:00 AM Louisville at Pittsburgh
12:00 PM Kansas State at Iowa State FX
12:00 PM Texas vs. Oklahoma
12:00 PM Syracuse at No. 20 Rutgers Big East Network
12:00 PM Iowa at Michigan State
12:00 PM Northwestern at Minnesota
12:00 PM UAB at Houston
12:00 PM Kent State at Army CBS Sports Network
12:00 PM Wisconsin at Purdue Big Ten Network
12:21 PM Auburn at Ole Miss SEC Network
12:30 PM Duke at Virginia Tech
1:00 PM Temple at Connecticut
1:00 PM Toledo at Eastern Michigan
1:00 PM Southern Methodist at Tulane
2:00 PM Akron at Ohio
2:30 PM North Carolina at Miami (FL)
3:00 PM Utah at UCLA FOX
3:00 PM Maryland at Virginia
3:00 PM Western Michigan at Ball State
3:00 PM Nevada at UNLV
3:30 PM Alabama at Missouri CBS
3:30 PM West Virginia at Texas Tech
3:30 PM Stanford at Notre Dame NBC
3:30 PM Oregon State at Brigham Young
3:30 PM Fresno State at Boise State NBC Sports Network
3:30 PM Illinois at Michigan
3:30 PM Miami (OH) at Bowling Green
3:30 PM UTSA at Rice
3:30 PM Oklahoma State at Kansas
3:30 PM Buffalo at Northern Illinois
4:00 PM Utah State at San Jose State
4:30 PM Memphis at East Carolina
5:30 PM Boston College at Florida State
6:00 PM Florida at Vanderbilt
6:00 PM Middle Tennessee at Florida International
6:30 PM Colorado State at San Diego State
7:00 PM USC at Washington FOX
7:00 PM Fordham at Cincinnati
7:00 PM Kentucky at Arkansas
7:00 PM TCU at Baylor
7:00 PM Idaho at Texas State
7:00 PM South Alabama at Arkansas State
7:00 PM Air Force at Wyoming
8:00 PM South Carolina at LSU
8:00 PM Ohio State at Indiana Big Ten Network
8:00 PM Southern Miss at UCF CBS Sports Network
8:00 PM Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Monroe
9:00 PM Tennessee at Mississippi State
9:00 PM Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
10:30 PM California at Washington State Pac-12 Network
Sunday, October 14
TIME (ET) MATCHUP
12:00 AM New Mexico at Hawaii

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Louisville Offense Looks for Identity Heading into BIG EAST Opener at Pitt

If Mother Nature has a heart, she will give the Cardinals’ offense a break this week at Pittsburgh. For the last two games, rain has limited the playbook and made the Cardinals one-dimensional.

Flooding limited the Louisville offense, but didn’t stop the Cardinals as they recorded a 28-21 win over FIU on Sept. 22. Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater threw for 194 yards and a pair of interceptions. However, that was nothing compared to the severe drowning the Cardinals took in a 21-17 win over Southern Mississippi on Sept. 29.

Heavy rains left the field covered in almost 2-3 inches of water and completely took the Cardinals out of their play-action offense, which the team relies on heavily. Louisville registered only 13 passes and Bridgewater was held to a career-low 85 yards passing.

“You look at us offensively, we have played fairly well down the stretch,” said head coach Charlie Strong. “We have been able to move the football. I still like the way our receivers are continuing to compete. Our offensive line is blocking and moving people out of the way to allow our running backs to run the ball. You look at Senorise Perry and you look at Jeremy Wright. Then, the quarterback is so poised right now. He started off hot. But still, we can really improve.”

Perry recorded his second 100-yard game, with a career-best 118 yards and two scores, and Wright added 84 yards on the ground. As a team, Louisville ran for 184 yards in the come-from-behind win.

However, no one knows what the offense is supposed to look like right now because it’s been so crazy with weather the last two weeks, but Bridgewater thinks the Cardinals are getting close to finding it.

“We all have a vision of what everything should look like in our head and we’re pretty close to that,” he said after practice on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are going to get a stiff test on Saturday when they face a stout Pittsburgh defense that has yielded just 320 yards of total offense through its first five games of the season.

“Their defense is similar to ours,” said Bridgewater. “Our defense has been doing a great job of just giving us a look and preparing us for Pittsburgh in practice this week. Their physical and fast and well-assigned. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.

“They’re a pretty physical team. They’ve found their identity. They just line up and come after you.”

Strong has stressed to his team the importance about getting off to a fast start in the BIG EAST Conference. From here on out, the Cardinals are entrenched in BIG EAST play, and they know they must get off to a fast start in the league race.

“It’s very important, because it sends a message to the rest of our conference,” said Bridgewater of the first conference game. “Our coaches haven’t really been stressing it much, but they have been mentioning that it’s the start of our real season. Even though we’re 5-0, we’re 0-0 in conference.”

The Cardinals, the last team to start BIG EAST play, will get their first crack to see how they stack up with an 11 a.m. game on Saturday morning at Heinz Field, where they haven’t won since 2006, and Strong knows his team needs to play well to win.

“You look at our first year here and we go up there and lose 20-3,” said Strong. “Then, last year, we get beat. You look at last year’s game and we won two and then we go and lose that game. Then we had to go beat Connecticut and South Florida at the end. We’ve got to know what we’re up against. We have to make sure that we go in as a football team and we have to be prepared to go play that game. And we haven’t been as locked in with that game.”

Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson’s Weekly Press Conference

Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference. Assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and special teams coordinator Mark Hagen also discussed Saturday’s primetime showdown with Ohio State.

Georgia Tech DC Al Groh Relieved Of Duties

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson announced today that defensive coordinator Al Groh has been relieved of his duties with the Yellow Jacket program, effective immediately.

Groh is in his third year at Georgia Tech and the 45th season of a storied career that has taken him to eight different college campuses — two as head coach — and 13 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He served one season as head coach of the Jets in 2000.

Groh came to Georgia Tech after serving for nine seasons as head coach at the University of Virginia, his alma mater.

Statement from Al Groh:

“The Institute has decided to go in a different direction, which I respect. I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) Charles Kelly, Joe Speed and Andy McCollum, and the effort of all the players.

“I aimed to give the best that I had every day. It’s been an honor to be a part of the legacy of Georgia Tech football. I feel positive that this is a good time in life to move on to a new situation.”

Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp’s Monday Press Conference

Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ upcoming game as they travel to Nashville, TN to face SEC opponent Vanderbilt (6:00 PM on Saturday).

Jackson and Maynard Add to Honors

Kameron Jackson and Zach Maynard added to their honors Monday for their performances in Cal‘s 43-17 victory over UCLA last Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Jackson was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and is also a nominee for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Pac-12 Player of the Week. Maynard was one of eight quarterbacks selected as Manning Award Stars of the Week and was also selected the California Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week.

Fans can vote for Jackson on the official Facebook page of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas through Noon PT on Wednesday. To vote for Maynard for the Manning Award Player of the Week, go to the official Facebook page of the Allstate Sugar Bowl by Thursday at 9 a.m. PT.

On Sunday, Maynard was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as the organization’s National Performer of the Week for all players and the National Quarterback Performer of the Week. Jackson was selected as one of the CFPA’s two Defensive Back Performers of the Week nationally.

Maynard was responsible for a career-high five touchdowns on a special homecoming night in which a renovated Memorial Stadium was rededicated in memory of all Californians who have lost their lives in war during a halftime ceremony. Maynard tossed a career-high-tying four touchdown passes (his first non-overtime game with four TD throws) and ran for another score. He finished 25-of-30 overall for a season-high 295 yards, with an 83.3 completion percentage and 203.27 quarterback efficiency rating that were both career highs.

Jackson came off the bench to tie a Pac-12 single-game season high with three interceptions after replacing injured starting cornerback Marc Anthony in the first quarter. His first interception came in the Cal end zone with 0:23 seconds remaining in the first half and preserved a 16-7 Bears’ lead at the break. He would add two more in the fourth quarter to seal the game. Jackson also had four tackles and Cal’s lone pass breakup in the contest.

Steelman Racks Up Weekly Awards

Army quarterback Trent Steelman was named the Football Bowl Subdivision Independent Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 141 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning 29-yard run with 45 seconds left, and throwing for 79 yards in Army’s 34-31 win over Boston College. Steelman is the third Black Knight to win the award in the last four weeks.

Steelman’s game-winning touchdown run was the 36th of his career, breaking the Academy mark for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. Steelman ranks third overall on Army’s all-time list behind Glenn Davis (43) and Mike Mayweather (37). He already held the Army quarterback records for most rushing attempts (628) and rushing yards (2,503). Steelman is just the 30th quarterback in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,500 yards during their career.

The Bowling Green, KY native guided the Black Knights to 595 yards of total offense against the Eagles, the program’s most ever against a current Football Bowl Subdivision team. He was one of three Army players to reach the 100-yard mark in the contest.

The FBS Independent Players of the Week are selected by members of a nationwide media panel, which includes equal representation from each of the independent institutions’ coverage markets.

The honor is one of many for Steelman in the aftermath of the win over the Eagles. Steelman was named the Army Athletic Association Athlete of the Week and is one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. Fans can go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Facebook page to vote for their favorite quarterback with the winner earning Manning Award Player of the Week honors. Voting closes at 12:00 PM ET Thursday. Steelman also was named the Independent Offensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.