Top 5 Non-Conference Wins
Against Power 5 teams, the Big Ten collectively has won two games against winning teams. There was also a pair of wins by Ohio State and Rutgers over independent Navy (7-5), and an AAC win over 9-3 Central Florida.
1. Indiana 31, Missouri 27
This game helped salvage the non-conference season. Aided by 10 penalties and a turnover, Indiana got the best of the eventual SEC East champs with a little bit of Tevin Coleman (132 yards), a lot of good punting, and a balanced receiving attack. The Tigers' other two losses were to Alabama and Georgia.
2. Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40
Northwestern had four turnovers in this game, but luckily for them, so did the Irish. Justin Jackson had his way with the Irish run defense, and Northwestern found plenty of small chunks in the pass game against a more talented secondary, to move the chains and keep the ball for the majority of the game despite gaining fewer yards per play. They came back from down 40-29 to win it in overtime.
3. Nebraska 41, Miami 31
Brad Kaaya passed for a season high against Nebraska's secondary, but Ameer Abdullah found 313 yards on the field and scored three times. Duke Johnson was held to 93 yards on the ground and 84 through the air.
4. Penn State 26, Central Florida 24
The Lions outgained the Knights by more than 250 yards, but it was barely enough as Sam Ficken hit a game-winning field goal from 36 yards. In a sign of things to come, Penn State rushed for two yards a carry, but Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton were fantastic: a combined 338 yards for the two receivers who would get another 1179 the rest of the way.
5. Iowa 24, Pitt 20
C.J. Beathard replaced Jake Rudock in the second half, jumpstarting a comeback win after appearing dead on arrival in the first half. Pitt's running back, James Connor, had 155 yards on 29 carries, which was actually his fifth-worst performance of the season for him by yards per carry.
Htl Takes Advice from Matthew McConaughey
Alabama has not allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season, and they've faced some elite running attacks. And while the Buckeyes will surely miss J.T. Barrett's decision-making in the option game, it's also true that Cardale Jones will be able to run over a few Alabama linebackers if he needs to.
Something tells me James Franklin and Penn State will be on this list in some fashion next year. Vandy, under James Franklin, was a bit quirky on offense and very creative at times to make up for some talent shortcomings. 2014 was a down year, but Franklin is no fluke. His staff quietly fielded the best defense in the Big Ten, beating Michigan State in scoring defense (17.7 to 19.9) and Wisconsin in total defense (269.8 yards to 283.2).
The four-star defensive end is already 6'4", 275. He's from Illinois.
Texas Tech struggled mightily this year, losing 6 different games by double digits. Despite playing Central Arkansas, UTEP, Kansas, and Iowa State, they won only one game by more than a touchdown.
This comes on the heels of Will Muschamp saying some unflattering things on his way out the door about Florida's facilities.
Georgia was bugged with injuries this year, and it also shows the challenge of holding onto coaching talent, particularly for teams like Alabama. A coaching staff is always more than just the head coach, OC, and DC, and working for a champion is a great way to get promoted elsewhere.
CSU's first choice was Oregon's offensive coordinator Scott Frost, but Frost was not interested in the position. Instead, Georgia's offensive coordinator takes the job, bringing with him a reputation for developing quarterbacks and running a great pro-style offense.
This is a great read about an athletic freak who will have a chance to pass 1,000 receiving yards this Friday.
Like me, these writers are higher on the Big Ten than the rest of the country is. With that said, I don't see how 5/6 picked Michigan State over Baylor, or 6/6 picked Rutgers over North Carolina. But on the flip side, I agree with their Sugar Bowl pick and think Tennessee will probably destroy Iowa.
There is simply something you have to respect about Michigan. 'No' is not an answer.
This was an absolute stroke of brilliance.
There's a bit of a conundrum in handling sensitive issues. Discussion is by far the best way to move forward, but discussion leads more quickly to other things, like fighting, name-calling, etc. Conversations about race, gender, or poverty usually get ugly too quickly to be much good.