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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

College Football Power Rankings - Basketball Top 25 - It is Michigan Week

10 Things We Learned In Iowa City
By Brandon Castel
1. Pryor has a hero mentality. For three quarters, Terrelle Pryor was a mediocre football player. He was 12-of-20 passing for 132 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He also had 52 yards rushing on eight carries, but there just wasn’t anything special about him and as a result, the Buckeyes had only 10 points after three quarters.
Then the fourth-quarter rolled around and Pryor seemed to come alive. He completed six of his 13 passes for 63 yards and ran for another 26 yards on seven carries. He led the Buckeyes on two long scoring drives, including a 12-play 76-yard touchdown drive to win the game. Despite what looked like an outburst on the sideline in the first half, his teammates raved about his positive attitude and ability to stay calm. He threw some good balls that were dropped, including the long one to DeVier Posey, but it was his 14-yard scramble on fourth-and-10 that broke Iowa’s back.

2. Ohio State has no offensive identity. Despite their success in the fourth quarter, the Ohio State offense was a disjointed mess for most of the game. The so-called “favorite” gameplan of Pryor’s turned into a jumble of different strategies jammed into one. They wanted to pass more and run Pryor more a week after winning a game on the legs of tailback Boom Herron. They tried desperately to be creative, but it’s hard to all of a sudden be good at everything.
Unlike Ohio State teams of the past, this one doesn’t seem to have an identity on offense. One week they are a passing team and the next a rushing team. They use the pass to set up the run to set up the pass to set up the run. It gets a little goofy sometimes, and honestly they are fortunate to come away with a 10-1 season after 11 games. They had three games with three points in the first half and won two of them. That’s borderline absurd, especially considering those wins came against Penn State and Iowa.

3. No sense of urgency with this team. Another thing this Ohio State team has lacked this year is a sense of urgency. We saw it against Miami when they were anxious to show the world how good they could be with a win over the Hurricanes, but after that they have completely relaxed. These guys seem to think they are talented enough to just show up and win games. The scary thing is, they probably are, if they actually showed up. Instead, they were MIA on both sides of the ball in the first half against Iowa, particularly on offense, and for the second straight week it took a big second half to pull off the win. You would hope the year-round focus on Michigan would have them ready to play next week, but this team might very well take the Wolverines for granted. They will still win the game, but if they continue their current trend it might be tied at 28 at halftime.

4. Tressel desperate to believe in Pryor. There’s a reason Pryor was so highly sought after coming out of high school. He is a physical freak with a desire to be great and (we think) a work ethic to match. He doesn’t want to let people down and it seems like Tressel doesn’t want to let him down. The OSU staff promised they would turn him into an NFL quarterback, and likely a college star, in Columbus and Tressel seems desperate to believe that is still possible.
That’s not to say Pryor hasn’t shown glimpses of greatness, but it’s tough to watch a player that talented look as average as he did for most of the game. The Buckeyes should have focused their gameplan around Boom Herron and the running backs. They did it a year ago and ran for over 200 yards on the Hawkeyes despite their tough run defense. Herron did get 20 carries in the game, but it was hardly as if the gameplan revolved around him. Right from the start it was obvious they wanted to run the offense through Pryor, who has yet to prove he can take over a big game from start to finish in the Big Ten.

5. Offensive line was the difference. So how were the Buckeyes able to win this game? Mainly because their offensive line wore down the Iowa defensive front and took control of the game in the second half. Mike Adams in particular did an excellent job neutralizing star defensive end Adrian Clayborn, but it was a collective effort up front. They gave Pryor plenty of time to pass and while the holes weren’t nearly as wide as they were against Penn State, they still allowed the Buckeyes to average 4.4 yards per carry against the fifth-ranked run defense in the country.

6. Dane Sanzenbacher must be part of the gameplan. Tressel said in his post-game press conference that the gameplan included getting the ball to Sanzenbacher and the tight ends. Clearly, Tressel and his staff realized that it wasn’t a good idea to forget about their best pass-catcher the way they did against Penn State. Sanzenbacher managed one catch against the Nittany Lions despite the fact he was never directly targeted by Pryor. His long touchdown catch was intended for Posey, but Sanzenbacher made a great play to catch the deflection. He had four catches for 73 yards in the first half against Iowa and finished with six for 102. His leaping catch over the head of an Iowa linebacker in the fourth quarter was the second-biggest play of the game behind the fourth-down scramble.

7. DeVier Posey needs to get focused. It’s impossible to question the competitiveness of a guy like Posey, but wherever his head is at right now, he needs to get back to thinking about this team, this season and this last game against Michigan. He had two catches for 32 yards against Iowa, but dropped a pair of balls, including a 50-yard touchdown bomb. It’s one thing when he’s dropping the short passes because he usually makes up for it with the long bombs, but that was not the case against Iowa. He dropped what could have been the game-winning touchdown and would have been the biggest goat of the season if Pryor and Sanzenbacher hadn’t picked him up.

8. Philly Brown is still a freshman. The only guy who had a tougher day catching the ball than Posey was freshman Corey “Philly” Brown. Maybe he got caught up in making his first career start (Buckeyes were in three-wide) but Brown had a day to forget. He dropped three passes, including a bomb from Pryor in the first half. He took a hard hit to the helmet, but clearly lost the ball before contact. Fortunately for Buckeye fans, Brown is still a freshman. He was fast enough to get himself open a few times Saturday and should develop into a solid receiver.

9. Brian Rolle came to play. One of the often-most criticized players on the team, Brian Rolle was flat out balling against Iowa. Considered a speed guy who only suits their defense when playing against the spread, Rolle played big in Iowa City. He led the team with 10 tackles, including three stops in the backfield. He was used as a blitzer and always seemed to be around the ball. Big games for Rolle the last couple weeks.

10. Devin Barclay has a clutch leg. Who knew Barclay had a 48-yard field goal in him? With a career-high of 42 yards coming into the game, many OSU fans were holding their breath when Tressel sent him out there to kick from 48 yards with his team down 17-10 in the fourth quarter. Barclay blasted one through the uprights with the kind of boom we haven’t seen from him on the long field goal tries. It wasn’t as big as his kick in overtime against Iowa last season, but it ultimately led to victory over the Hawkeyes for the second year in a row.

College Football Power Rankings - Week 12
1 (1) Oregon (12) 10-0 492 Oregon took a week off to prepare for its Friday night visit from Arizona and, hopefully, give LaMichael James' ankle extra time to heal. They'll need him. The Wildcats are No. 14 in the country against the run.
2 (2) Auburn (4) 11-0 473 It's a game that needs little introduction. The Tigers have already booked their place in Atlanta but don't want to see their national title hopes put in jeopardy by their nemesis at the Iron Bowl.
3 (3) Boise State (4) 10-0 468 The longest active winning streak in the nation was extended to 24 games after Boise State's rout of Fresno State. The Broncos are creeping up on TCU in the BCS standings; another opportunity to close the gap awaits with a trip to Nevada.
4 (4) TCU 11-0 447 Gary Patterson hit the campaign trail, so to speak, making the case for his Horned Frogs during their bye week. He can feel the heat from Boise State and knows voters might be cool toward whatever TCU does to its next opponent: 1-10 New Mexico.
5 (5) Stanford 10-1 412 The Big Game was little more than a glorified practice session for Stanford, which scored on all its offensive possessions in a 48-14 rout of Cal. The Cardinal close the regular season with Saturday's visit from Oregon State.
6 (7) Wisconsin 10-1 402 With their best running back sidelined, the Badgers have racked up almost 700 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns through their past two games. Maybe John Clay has to earn his minutes from Montee Ball and James White when he returns. That's a joke. We think.
7 (6) LSU 10-1 379 Was there any doubt? LSU engineered another escape act, this time against Ole Miss. Much-maligned QB Jordan Jefferson enjoyed a career night in leading the Tigers to a 43-36 win, giving Les Miles his fourth 10-win season in six years.
8 (8) Ohio State 10-1 365 The Buckeyes have gotten off to slow starts on the road, and Saturday was no exception. It looked like Iowa might end a three-game skid, but OSU scored 10 unanswered points in the final half of the fourth quarter to keep pace in the Big Ten title race.
9 (11) Oklahoma State 10-1 323 Justin Blackmon is turning the amazing into just plain ordinary each week. The sophomore WR turned in his 10th consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving and a TD in the Cowboys' 48-14 win over Kansas.
10 (10) Alabama 9-2 322 Former Tide coach Bill Curry offered up his current team, Georgia State, as Alabama's pre-Iron Bowl sacrifice. The Tide rolled to a 63-7 victory, their highest point total since 1979.
11 (12) Michigan State 10-1 297 Michigan State fans' worst nightmare was unfolding Saturday as the Spartans were unable to get the better of Purdue for three quarters. But a 22-3 fourth quarter gave MSU a narrow win, keeping its Big Ten title hopes alive.
12 (13) Arkansas 9-2 278 Such is the nature of the SEC West that one of the nation's hottest teams has to settle for fourth place in its own division. The Hogs survived a thriller against Mississippi State in OT and can turn a very good season to great against LSU on Saturday.
13 (14) Virginia Tech 9-2 236 On Sept. 11, Virginia Tech lost to an FCS team to open the season 0-2. On Dec. 4, the Hokies will play for the ACC championship. This after clinching the ACC Coastal title with a 31-17 win over Miami. Go figure.
14 (15) Oklahoma 9-2 223 Baylor and Oklahoma have been playing football since 1901 and the Sooners have never lost to the Bears, a streak that extended to 20 games after Saturday's 53-24 win. Up next for OU: Bedlam.
15 (17) South Carolina 8-3 210 The Gamecocks topped 60 points for the first time in 15 years with a 69-24 win over Troy. Marcus Lattimore went over 1,000 yards for the season, giving S.C. its first-ever 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in the same season (Alshon Jeffery).
16 (16) Missouri 9-2 199 The biggest Colorado fans outside Boulder reside in Missouri this week. A Nebraska loss to the Buffaloes and a Tigers win over Kansas clinches the Big 12 North title for Mizzou, which beat Iowa State 14-0 on Saturday.
17 (9) Nebraska 9-2 196 Nebraska could only muster a pair of field goals without a full-strength Taylor Martinez, condemning the Cornhuskers to a 9-6 defeat at Texas A&M. They can still clinch the Big 12 North with a win over Colorado on Friday.
18 (18) Texas A&M 8-3 181 One of the nation's hottest teams claimed Nebraska as its latest victim as Texas A&M picked up its fifth straight win, keeping its slim hopes of a Big 12 South title alive. The Aggies face Texas on Thursday.
19 (19) Nevada 10-1 150 The Wolf Pack picked up their 500th win in school history after defeating New Mexico State 52-6, as well as their first 10-win season in FBS play. Nevada now turns its sights to Friday night's visit from Boise State.
20 (22) Arizona 7-3 96 After a two-game losing streak, perhaps a bye was the best thing for Arizona, especially with a visit to Eugene on Friday looming large.
21 (26) North Carolina State 8-3 92 A trip to the ACC championship game remains firmly in NC State's grasp after beating North Carolina this past Saturday. The Wolfpack need only beat Maryland on Saturday to clinch a date with Virginia Tech on Dec. 4.
22 (25) Florida State 8-3 87 The Seminoles did their part in keeping their ACC Atlantic hopes alive with a 30-16 win over Maryland. Now they need the Terps to beat NC State to book their trip to the title game. They end the regular season against Florida.
23 (28) Utah 9-2 48 Utah stopped its free fall in the standings with a win over San Diego State, ending a two-game skid. In the process, the Utes clinched their fourth straight nine-win season under Kyle Whittingham -- they had four such season the previous 41 years.
24 (21) Iowa 7-4 43 Iowa saw a win over Ohio State slip out of its grasp Saturday, the third time the Hawkeyes have blown fourth-quarter leads in Big Ten play. They close the regular season with a visit to Minnesota.
25 (23) Mississippi State 7-4 35 The Bulldogs erased a 10-point deficit in just over four minutes to force OT against Arkansas before falling 38-31. They close the regular season at Ole Miss on Saturday.

College Basketball
AP Top 25
1 Duke (58) 3-0 1,616
2 Michigan State (6) 2-0 1,547
3 Ohio State 3-0 1,437
4 Kansas State (1) 3-0 1,423
5 Pittsburgh 5-0 1,388
6 Kansas 3-0 1,263
7 Villanova 4-0 1,260
8 Kentucky 2-0 1,063
9 Syracuse 4-0 972
10 Purdue 3-0 905
11 Missouri 2-0 862
12 Baylor 3-0 757
13 Washington 2-0 735
14 Memphis 4-0 707
15 Minnesota 5-0 608
16 Florida 3-1 589
16 Georgetown 5-0 589
18 San Diego State 4-0 567
19 Illinois 4-1 460
20 Texas 3-1 424
21 Temple 2-0 362
22 Gonzaga 2-1 355
23 Brigham Young 3-0 347
24 Tennessee 3-0 164
25 North Carolina 2-2 124

ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
1 Duke (29) 3-0 773
2 Michigan State (2) 2-0 741
3 Ohio State 3-0 670
4 Kansas State 3-0 666
5 Pittsburgh 5-0 664
6 Kansas 3-0 599
7 Villanova 4-0 584
8 Purdue 3-0 508
9 Kentucky 2-0 476
10 Syracuse 4-0 474
11 Washington 2-0 429
12 Missouri 2-0 411
13 Baylor 3-0 341
14 Florida 3-1 308
15 Memphis 4-0 287
16 Georgetown 5-0 265
17 Minnesota 5-0 219
18 Gonzaga 2-1 215
19 Illinois 4-1 211
20 Temple 2-0 197
21 Texas 3-1 188
22 San Diego State 4-0 164
23 Butler 2-1 113
24 Tennessee 3-0 102
25 North Carolina 2-2

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