November 2012

NFC Playoff Picture Update (Week Ten)

Saints still have a chance, but it won't be easy.

NFC East:

The New York Giants always seem to hit a lull in the late fall, before coming back to life for Super Bowl runs.  Well, they've lost two in a row to drop to 6-4.  But it might not matter this year, with the Eagles in a free fall (five straight losses to go to 3-6) and Dallas and Washington not seeming to get much traction.

  • Giants ought to win the division.

NFC North:

NFL Stats & Stuff for Week Ten

Tampa Bay and Freeman rising ... but so are the Seahawks and Wilson ... etc.

Here come the Buccaneers ...

With a 34-24 win over the Chargers, the Bucs go to 5-4 and put themselves right in the thick of the NFC playoff chase.

We gave some spotlight to Doug Martin in this space the last few weeks, and his 68 yards on 19 carries was a help, but their other emerging star -- quarterback Josh Freeman -- has been taking a step up this year.

College Stats & Stuff for the SEC (Week Ten)

It's McCarron vs. Manziel as the red-hot Aggie visits Tuscaloosa ... etc.


Best Wins:

  • Alabama came from behind to rally past LSU, 21-17, to keep the Tide on course for the national championship game. 
  • Texas A&M and budding superstar Johnny Manziel romped past Mississippi State, 38-13.  It was the second consecutive loss for the Bulldogs after a 7-0 start.
  • And, it doesn't count for much, but once-touted Arkansas is actually hoping for bowl eligibility after a 19-15 win over Tulsa.  How the mighty have free fallen.  Bobby Petrino damaged more than just his motorcycle.

Stats Smorgasbord:

  • There are two quarterbacks of note in the SEC now.  Apologies to pretenders like Aaron Murray  of Georgia and Tyler Bray of Tennessee, but A.J. McCarron and his zero interceptions and Manziel and his all-around dazzle are the whole story now.
  • McCarron is third in the nation in passing efficiency, with a 66.7 completion percentage, 19 TDs and 9.1 yards per attempt to go with that goose egg in the INT column.
  • More importantly, he led the game-winning drive in the all-important win at LSU.  McCarron completed four of five passes on the 72-yard drive, including the winning 28-yard TD to T.J. Yeldon.  A.J. to T.J.
  • Manziel, meanwhile, leads the SEC in rushing after getting 129 yards against Mississippi State.  It was the fifth time this year he's gone over the century mark.  And, oh-by-the-way, he was just 30-of-36 passing for 311 yards.  You kinda expect this guy to have a Heisman in his collection by 2014 (he's a freshman).
  • Yes, they play each other this week.
  • Sure, there are other players in the SEC as well, in particular on defense.  Three of the nation's top five in total defense are in the SEC:  Alabama (2), LSU (3) and Florida (5).

College Stats & Stuff for the Pac-12 (Week Ten)

Barner's game is a barnburner ... Bruins continue to impress ... etc.

PAC-12 CONFERENCE [Scores] [Standings]

Best Wins:

  • Oregon greatly enhanced its chances at making the BCS national title game by outlasting USC, 62-51.  The Ducks also got an assist from Pittsburgh taking Notre Dame into triple overtime.
  • UCLA is suddenly looking "real" after a 66-10 trouncing of previously ranked Arizona.  The Bruins' early-season win over Nebraska is also looking better and better.
  • And Oregon State recovered from its first loss of the year by knocking off Arizona State, 36-26.

Stats Smorgasbord:

  • Kenjon Barner of Oregon placed himself firmly in the Heisman race with a massive performance in the Ducks' track meet with the Trojans.  Barner had 321 yards on 38 carries for 5 TDs.  Barner is now No. 2 in the nation in rushing with 1295 yards and 19 TDs.
  • Fellow Duck Marcus Mariota is making plenty of noise of his own.  The freshman was 20-of-23 passing for 4 TDs of his own.  Mariota has 22 TDs and only 5 INT on the season, and is ranked No. 7 nationally in passing efficiency.
  • Barner's brilliance has pushed the remarkable year of UCLA's Jonathan Franklin to the sidelines.  Franklin went for 162 yards on 23 carries in the Bruins' win.  It was the fourth time this year that Franklin has gone past the 150-yard mark.
  • And it was another strong week for USC receiver Marqise Lee despite the Trojans' defeat.  Lee had 12 more catches for 157 yards and 2 TDs.  It was the sixth time this year that Lee had double-digit reception totals.

College Stats & Stuff for the Big XII (Week Ten)

Texas steaming back into the picture? ... Dominant Kansas State awaits ... etc.

BIG XII CONFERENCE [Scores] [Standings]

Best Wins:

  • Kansas State  has a "best win" every week.  This week it was over Oklahoma State, 44-30. 
  • TCU gets its shot at K-State this weekend after moving to 3-3 in its inaugural Big XII season with a 39-38 win over reeling West Virginia.
  • Texas is kind of sneaking back onto the map with a 31-22 win over Texas Tech.  The 7-2 Longhorns can't be too happy that their ex-rivals Texas A&M are making some waves in the SEC.

Stats Smorgasbord:

  • And Collin Klein has more stats every week.  Klein is No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency and is averaging over 10 yards per attempt.  And he's third in the conference in rushing, averaging over 5 yards per carry.  He left the Oklahoma State game early, after 245 passing yards and 64 rushing yards, but is expected to play this week against the Horned Frogs.  Klein suffered a wrist injury.
  • Meanwhile, Geno Smith, the guy Klein shoved out of the Heisman driver's seat, threw his third interception of the year against TCU and, despite 3 TD throws and 260 yards passing, he's lost the video-game crazy stats he was flashing earlier in the year.
  • Smith is now No. 12 in the nation in passing efficiency and fourth in the conference.
  • In addition to having the best player, Kansas State has been the most opportunistic team in the country.  The Wildcats have a massive +20 turnover margin, with 24 takeaways and just 4 giveaways (2 fumbles, 2 INT).

College Stats & Stuff for the ACC + Notre Dame (Week Ten)

Boyd gets 5 TD tosses in Tiger rout ... Irish stay alive ... etc.


Best Wins:

  • Out of nowhere in the midst of a terrible season, Virginia jumped up and smacked around N.C. State, 33-6.  It was the first ACC win of the year for the Cavaliers, and it created tons more regret for Florida State, who would be in the national championship hunt if not for muffing its game against the Wolfpack.
  • Clemson delivered another reality check to Duke, which has not been competitive against the very top teams.  The Tigers won by 56-20.
  • Notre Dame, soon to be an ACC school in all sports other than football, stayed alive in its national championship quest by edging Pittsburgh, 29-26 in triple overtime.

Stats Smorgasbord:

  • Clemson's Tajh Boyd threw for 5 TDs against Duke while completing 16-of-23 for 344 yards.  But he also had three interceptions.
  • Boyd is No. 4 in the nation in passing efficiency, but that's only good for second in the conference, with Florida State's E.J. Manuel at No. 2 nationally.
  • With 526 yards rushing, Boyd is No. 8 in the nation in total offense.
  • Ross Cockrell of Duke snagged one of Boyd's interceptions for his fifth of the year.  That puts him at No. 7 nationally and first in the conference.