Four Down, Eight to Go: 1st Quarter Analysis of the 2015 College Season

So you’ve made it! Past the shockers, great plays and four amazing Saturdays, you’ve made it to week 5 of the College Football season and so much happened, you’re probably wondering: what could we possibly see next? Well have no fear, as I, JayTezla, will break down the first four weeks and what they mean!

Now how this is going to go. First the conferences will be ranked in order of strength. Then we are going to look and review that conference, the conference’s sleeper team, and who won the first four weeks of the conference. Also we are going to focus on the Power 5 Conferences, and because they have played not one, but two ACC teams and will be playing a third in Clemson this week, I’m counting Notre Dame as a part of the ACC.

  1. The Big Ten

Review: I might come off as a homer here, but I truly don’t care. This conference to me is the best conference in the country( which will surprise you when you see where the SEC is). Every team, minus Purdue, has a .500 record or above. Both Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan have beaten ranked opponents in their first four weeks. Northwestern and Michigan, despite their opening loss to Utah, went from unranked to ranked in the top 25 within four weeks. But the supposed kings of this conference, Ohio State and Michigan State, are a step above, or at least they think so. They both play dominant football, that is no lie, but both teams haven’t been blowing out teams like we think they should. Ohio State barely squeaked out a win against Northern Illinois, and the only team Michigan State looked good was their game against Oregon, and had it not been for a quarterback having hand issues, they would have lost that game. These two teams should be more careful, because with the re-emergence of Northwestern, Iowa, and Michigan, these teams could see their national championship hopes go up in smoke.

Sleeper TeamNorthwestern. While most of the country might be doing this, I certainly am not sleeping on the wildcats. This team can play great ball and has a defense that could make the argument that it is the best in the conference, as I don’t believe any team in the conference could hold Stanford to a measly six points.

1st Quarter Conference Champion: Michigan and Michigan State. Now it would be easy as pie to hand the Buckeyes the championship early, but let me give you the reasons why. As much as I think Ohio State has the best quarterback corps in the conference, the fact that there isn’t any separation between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett is going to bite Urban Meyer in the most inopportune time. Now the reason I give MSU and Michigan the championships is for one reason. If both of these teams keep winning, it makes the fight between Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State more compelling. Michigan could beat both MSU and Ohio State and take the final four spot for their own, or they could play spoiler by beating one if they lose to the other. Remember that now that Michigan is playing good, the road to the Big Ten Championship now goes through Ann Arbor.

2. The Big 12

Review: Now I so badly wanted to put the Pac-12 in the second spot, but I just can’t overlook what the Big 12 has. After the game between TCU and Texas Tech, it only left me salivating for more. The only problem I have with this conference is it’s the only one that won’t spring the money forward to make a conference championship game. It’s that reason alone that it was kept out of the College Football Playoff last year because despite Baylor and TCU having great seasons, there was no real way to tell who was better. This year I believe that will change as there will be a definite champion in this conference but its hard to say who. On one hand, TCU keeps winning, despite the fact that they aren’t the same team they were last year. On another, I look at Oklahoma and Baylor, and see nothing but pure firepower ready to win it all. This conference has games I am definitely going to watch, if not for the ramifications they will have, but for the pure excitement.

Sleeper Team: Oklahoma. I know a majority of you are wondering why I chose the Sooners over Baylor and here is why: despite what I think of the SEC, they beat a ranked SEC team in their home. That stands for something and if any team can surpass both Baylor and TCU for the crown, its Oklahoma. They have an extremely well-balanced offense and a defense that could be top 5 in most categories.

1st Quarter Conference Champion: Baylor. Despite the fact that TCU is still undefeated, Baylor is playing on an entirely different level. Normally you beat cupcake teams easily, rack up 35 points and just coast. Baylor is racking up an average of 50 points per game. That isn’t coasting, that’s mutilation. Baylor has one of the best offensive lines, with a junior Quarterback in Seth Russell who could make a NFL roster today. Do you realize that in their first 3 games, Baylor has almost a thousand yards passing and 15 touchdowns scored via the air? Baylor could easily win this conference or at least make the playoff without winning it.

3. The Pac 12

Review: Now this conference is going through a changing of the guard, especially after last week. Normally, when a in-conference matchup happens between any Pac-12 team and Oregon, you are expecting one of two outcomes: either Oregon loses close or Oregon blows a team out. No one expected Oregon to lose to a dominating Utah team 62-20. No one. With that second loss on the season, Oregon is out of the CFP picture, they might even be out of the New Year’s Six picture. That leaves a power vacuum in the conference, with no definite team to carry it. Sure Stanford looks great, but they lost against Northwestern. UCLA, USC, Arizona and ASU all look great, but who takes Oregon’s spot? This conference needs to clear the duck feathers out of their eyes and figure out who really will win this before it’s over.

Sleeper Team: California. This team is really, really good. They are quick, move to the ball quickly on defense and have played an easy schedule without much injury. The reason they might be so lowly ranked and considered a sleeper is because to date their biggest win is against Texas. If this team wants to make a statement in the Pac-12, it has to start this and next week with wins over Washington State and Utah.

1st Quarter Conference Champions: Every team in the State of California (USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford). This conference is going to be decided by one thing, and one thing only: which team survives this state-wide dogfight. Sure, Stanford has the upper hand at the moment with a win over USC, but that could all change if either Cal, USC or UCLA run the table. More than likely UCLA and USC will beat Arizona  leaving a fight between those two in the Pac South, and Cal and Stanford will battle for position in the Pac North. Overall, I think the winner of this conference is an automatic bid into the CFP.

4. The SouthEastern Conference

Review: Let me say for the sake of being completely honest, I absolutely hate this conference. I know it has a whopping seven teams ranked in the top 25 in it, but in all honesty I trust only two in the conference. Every team is a bit over-hyped and there really isn’t a game, short of the Ole Miss vs Alabama game that I truly care about on the upcoming game schedule. There isn’t good quarterback play, your best player maker in the conference is a running back who should be in the NFL and not every team deserves to be ranked. But hey, it’s the SEC, so we will throw them a proverbial bone and rank them because we can. But mark my words, I do not believe a SEC team will make the playoff and if they do, it will not be who everyone expects.

Sleeper Team: Texas A&M. Seriously, why is no one talking about them as the favorite to win this conference? They have arguably the best quarterback, of the best defenses in the country, and if we are being perfectly honest, they beat an Arizona State team that is good, while Ole Miss beat an overrated Alabama team. Texas A&M will more than likely win this conference, and I would have even more confidence in this if they weren’t in the same divisional side as Ole Miss.

1st Quarter Conference Champions: Ole Miss. This team is on a mission. I feel as though last year’s loss to TCU was more than just a statement to the country about the power of the Big 12, it was also about the frailness of the SEC. Now, the SEC ultimately has come down to Ole Miss. I don’t care how good LSU running back Leonard Fournette is, he can’t win this conference on his own. Ole Miss has everything they need to win: Great Quarterback play, extremely dangerous playmakers, and a defensive front 7 that would make any team tremble. I expect them to win the conference, but they might be singing the swan song of the almighty SEC.

5. The ACC

Review: God this conference sucks. It is the only conference with less than four teams ranked in the top 25. Everyone prior to the season starting was raving about Clemson being a top 5 team in the country, and while they are undefeated, they have proven nothing to me to earn that claim. Louisville looks like Teddy Bridgewater and Devante Parker made that team relevant because I don’t see any spark player coming from that team. Florida State looks good, but they don’t look like the same team that went undefeated and to a national championship semifinal last year. Heck, even Notre Dame, the so-called power of this conference isn’t even technically in it, and they are so beat up that its a miracle they keep winning games.

Sleeper Team: Miami. Something about this team gives me the feeling that they could win the conference. This isn’t saying they would receive a slot in the final four, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the New Years Six against a team that was either second or third in their division. They have some good pieces, and if the Nebraska game was any proof they seem to be up to closing when the game is tight.

1st Quarter Conference Champions: Winner of Notre Dame v. Clemson. In all honesty, I hope the game gives me an idea of who is the lead dog in this conference because nothing from the first four weeks have given me that. Notre Dame looked good, but there only valuable win was against Georgia Tech. Clemson hasn’t had a valuable win yet and is still in search of it. Hopefully this game settles some debate, but it more than likely won’t as Notre Dame can’t even play in the conference championship.

So that is my analyst of the first four weeks of the season. Hopefully, we get four more weeks of exciting football and the College Football Playoff becomes more clear for people to see. See you in a month’s time when we will talk about who is winning halfway through the season.





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