Wayne Root's College & NFL Top Ten
Wayne Root's College Football Top Ten- Week # 6
1) Alabama---There was a panic that hung over the entire stadium last Saturday night. No.1 Alabama actually trailed for a change, a predicament that lasted a grand total of 15 seconds. The Tide trailed briefly, 7-6, for the first time in regulation since last year's Tennessee game, a span of about 10 games. Saban had tried to keep his players focused by broadcasting Tim Tebow's memorable speech after the Rebels upset Florida four years ago. Alabama goes into its open week without needing such a podium prompter. Meanwhile, it was a 33-17 win. That was almost a bye for 'Bama- a restful walk in the park. This is their real bye week.
2) Oregon---This is a very good team. I hope that they get to play Bama at season's end. They have scored over 50 points in both conference games to start their year. This game was played at the home of the Seattle Seahawks which Washington St does once a year, and the Ducks put on a show to 60,000 fans that usually do not watch a Washington State game. Now they host Washington, a team coming off a Stanford win and need to stay focused on the game at hand. The defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, a former Oregon player, is focused on stopping the Ducks. I say "good luck". This Duck team can put up 50 points without even quacking!!
3) Florida State---A hangover effect or a minor letdown was expected after the Clemson win and hitting the road for the first time this year. South Florida kept is close, but the Noles prevailed in the end: 30-17. EJ Manuel threw for 242 yards and one touchdown, helping the third-ranked Seminoles remain unbeaten. FSU entered the game averaging 575 yards and 56 points per game. Manuel completed 19 of 26 passes with no interceptions and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals for Florida State. Jumbo Fisher gets a second road game this week as his boys play at North Carolina St.
4) LSU---I'm embarrassed for the entire Bayou State. Mighty LSU beat Towson in the Paycheck Bowl, 38-22. LSU paid Towson $510,000 to travel to Baton Rouge's Tiger Stadium, which seats more than 92,000 people and is considered one of the nation's most difficult places to play. How does Towson score 22 points on LSU's defense? Zach Mettenberger is a problem at QB. The offensive line allowed four Towson sacks. Some thought the Auburn game was a wake-up call. Now this mess, before they travel this week to play Florida. Five of LSU's first six drives ended with three punts, a fumble and a missed 51-yard field goal attempt last Saturday night.
5) Georgia---What a game last week against Tennessee. The Bulldogs won 51-44. This game had it all. Forget the numbers, throw out the stats and enjoy the narrative of the contest. Georgia recovered after blowing a 17-point lead. They needed three takeaways in the final six minutes to stay unbeaten. The game was a special teams mess for both sides. There were three missed extra points, including two by Georgia. The Bulldogs blocked a punt and Tennessee's Derrick Brodus missed a 28-yard field goal. The Vols' only touchdown in the first quarter came on Byron Moore's 35-yard interception return. Tennessee capitalized on lost fumbles by Murray and Marshall and other mistakes for 20 unanswered points to take the lead. The deluge of mistakes continued for Georgia when Gurley caught the kickoff and stepped out of bounds at the 1. Four plays later, Marshall fumbled when hit by Curt Maggitt. Defensive end Darrington Sentimore recovered at the Georgia 18. Now for the bad news. Georgia travels to play at #6 South Carolina.
6) South Carolina---The Gamecocks defeated Kentucky 38-17 last week in SEC play. What's interesting about this game is that UK lead 17-7 at half-time. Even a coach who loves passing as much as Steve Spurrier knows there are times his South Carolina team must run the ball to win games. Trailing 17-7 at halftime and held to just 26 yards on the ground, South Carolina out rushed Kentucky 174-7 in the second half and scored 31 unanswered points for a 38-17 victory. Marcus Lattimore rushed 23 times for 120 yards and two second-half touchdowns and Kenny Miles added a 17-yard run as the Gamecocks scored on five of six possessions. They also moved into a tie with Florida and Georgia atop the East division, with the Bulldogs coming to Columbia, S.C., this week. It will be fascinating to see how SC QB Conner Shaw performs against a quality team.
7) Kansas State--Kansas St must've had their hands really full trying not to get too emotionally high with their Oklahoma win and enjoying their bye week. And there's little motivation this week as they prepare for the Governors Cup against state rival Kansas. More interesting stuff to report on them next week, as they are more than a 3 TD favorite this week. This is the 110th SunFlower Showdown between these two teams.
8) West Virgina---I think RGIII sent his formula to Geno Smith on how to win the Heisman as the Mountaineers played host to his former team, Baylor Bears. West Virginia won in an incredible game 70-63. Smith tied a conference mark with eight touchdown passes and narrowly missed another one with 656 yards passing. Smith outdueled Baylor's Nick Florence, who broke Heisman Trophy-winning predecessor Robert Griffin III's school record with 581 yards. Florence threw for five TDs. How wild was it? Smith, the early Heisman front-runner, had more TD passes than incompletions (six). He finished 45 of 51 and still doesn't have an interception this season. (pass the Heisman please!). West Virginia amassed a school-record 807 yards and the teams combined for 1,507 yards of offense and 67 first downs. Six receivers had at least 100 yards receiving. It has not been confirmed if either defenses played. The Mountaineers now must hope they can generate points on the road when they head to No. 12 Texas and Texas Tech over the next two weeks.
9) Florida---The Gators are coming off a bye week having beaten Kentucky 38-0 the prior week. This past week was 100% prep time for their upcoming game this week at home against LSU. They've had this date circled since last years 41-11 loss. This year, Florida's secondary is tougher, and the quarterback making the start isn't making his first career start on the road, there's no injured QB that the coaching staff is trying to shoehorn into a game plan, LSU's secondary is weaker, and the LSU offense appears even less imposing (unless they've been playing possum). This could make it a great game coming down the stretch.
Wayne Root's NFL Top 10 - Week #5
1) Houston---The Texans are a great example of team-building and trusting your coordinators to do their jobs. Wade Phillips has been a Godsend for the Houston defense, and with him taking control Gary Kubiak has been able to focus on the offense. The Texans have a very talented roster, but J.J. Watt is the anchor for this team and a key reason the team is the AFC's Super Bowl favorite right now. The Houston Texans are the best of the NFL's 4-0 teams and arguably the best overall team in the NFL right now. Watt is a QB's worse nightmare, and Schaub and Foster have the offensive side covered.
2) San Francisco---Last week's final score told the whole story. Final score of 34-0 on the road playing in the Jets home town hanger. It was suggested here last week that the 49ers needed to go back and re-start and re-think. The 49ers won by going back to the basics of what they do so well-running the ball and setting the tempo for the game with hard-hitting plays on both sides of the ball. The key to that is Frank Gore. The San Francisco 49ers proved this week that their Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings wasn't a sign of things to come. With a knockout win this week, the 49ers stay at No. 2 overall, despite the Falcons having a better overall record.
3) Atlanta---Matt Ryan has been the catalyst to everything the Falcons have done on their way to a perfect 4-0 record. There is no better example of that than his play in Week 4. Ryan started the game poorly, throwing an early interception that allowed the Carolina Panthers to build momentum. He shook it off and went on to throw for 369 yards and three touchdowns. No throw was bigger than his 70-yard bomb to Roddy White from his own 1-yard line, trailing by one point with 59 seconds left on the clock. Granted, the Falcons took full advantage of a Cam Newton mis-cue but that's what good teams do.
4) Baltimore---The Ravens went through the motions last Thursday and beat the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens are winning- their 3-1 record tied for second best in the AFC. The defense is still hard-hitting and fueled by the strong play of Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb. What's different is that more than ever before, the Ravens are an offensive team. Ray Rice is still Ray Rice-and that's pretty damn good. The most pleasant surprise has been second-year man Torrey Smith, the team's MVP and spark after four weeks. Joe Flacco has played his best ball at quarterback, and while he still makes the occasional bad throw, Flacco has been good enough to win. It's still a Ray Lewis defense that holds the team together week after week no mater how old the media portrays them to be.
5) Green Bay---The Packers really proved how mentally tough they are after that outright theft in Seattle and then trailing the Saints and having to fight back to avoid dipping to a 1-3 record. A 2-2 record this time of the year is so manageable. Clay Matthews finally gives the opponents something to worry about with his seven sacks thru the first four games. If their defense has improved, it's his spark and effort. We know that Aaron Rodgers is the King Packer but for now, props to Matthews.
6) New England---This is a great challenge for Coach Billichick this year. He loses to Arizona at home, then experiences a back to back loss in Baltimore and then goes on the road and finds himself trailing 21-7. Well, 45 second half points later, his team is 2-2. This type of inconsistent play will leave the Oddsmakers and players perplexed for the next few weeks. My suggestion; do not play on or against the Patriots with out first checking with this Professional Handicapper. You can bet I'll have the game-plan and practice reports along with the thinking coming out of the Oddmakers office.
7) Arizona---I am one to believe Kevin Kolb is back. He was great with Philadelphia. The Cards gave him 63 Million last season but he hurt his toe in week one. He then tried to play thru that injury piling up losses and losing confidence. Then in week 7 he received a concussion because of his lack of mobility. He then lost his starting job in pre-season. This guy will only get better and the organization has given him the offensive weapons. Meanwhile, the defense is one of the best in the NFL and their special team are the best in the league. Who knows, maybe they can even beat the 49ers at home this year. But first things first, Jeff Fisher and the St Louis Rams in Primetime Thursday football.
8) Philadelphia---No turn-overs in week 4 and the Eagles soared to a hard fought win over the New York Giants. Let's get the obvious out of the way. Do these three names ring a bell on defense? Jason Babin at defensive end, DeMeco Ryans at middle linebacker and fellow defender, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. These players are ringing plenty of offensive players bells!! Now back to the offense. Don't get too excited that Vick had no turn-overs. He can and will at any given moment. He's not a great thinker and not a great passer. So when will Andy Reid start to use LeSean McCoy more to establish the run and take some heat off Vick so he throws and runs less? Are you listening Coach???
9) Cincinnati---This is a crucial week for the Bengals. This is when they usually have their letdown. They won on the road last week and now come home to play a mediocre team. Let's see if the Coaching staff prepares them about this. I will be monitoring everything coming out of their practice sessions this week. Meanwhile, it's all about Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Their defense can only get better and it's very good right now. For the remainder of the season, coaching will really play a role as this is a very young team.
10) Chicago---With the Bears winning at Dallas, they overtake the Broncos and nudged them out of the top ten and this was clearly a Jerry Jones beating at every level embarrassing him, their Coach and the entire team!! Congrats to the Bears. With the Vikings winning and the Pack back to 2-2, the Bears needed a win to remain tied for first place in the NFC North. It would have been too humorous to see the Viking at the top. It looks like Cutler to Brandon Marshall will pay dividends. Urlacker, Peppers and CB Tim Jennings are getting the defense to gel. This team can go far as long as they can reel in Jay Cutler and his antics.
THESE TEAMS ARE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!
11) Denver---Beating Oakland at home is nice, warm and fuzzy. Let's see how you do at New England.
12) New Your Giants---As long as you have Eli Manning and plenty of games left to play, you'll be OK.
13) Minnesota---I am one of the few that thinks that Ponder at QB manages the team to perfection as a role player.
14) Pittsburgh---It seems that through week 4, Ben Roethlisberger is the entire team. Their week 4 bye might have helped.15) San Diego---Their record may say 3-1, but this is not your typical 3-1 team. We'll see how they play this week in New Orleans.
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