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Tag Archives: 2015

Week 2 Preview: Oregon/Mich State, Oklahoma/Tennessee

checkboardOur Kickoff Games of the Week are Oregon at Michigan State and Oklahoma at Tennessee. These two evening games should be fun to watch.

Oregon (ranked No. 6 on our Kickoff Top 25, No. 7 by AP) and Michigan State (our No. 7, AP’s No. 5) have played five times since 1979, both winning games they respectively hosted. The Ducks lead the series, 3-2, and are favored over the Spartans by a very slim margin, making this one a tough one to call. Oregon won last year, 46-27, en route to the playoff game. They play in East Lansing at 8 pm Eastern with the game on ABC.

Saturday marks just the third time No. 23 Oklahoma (19 on the AP ranking) and No. 21 Tennessee (23 for AP) have played each other since 1938, the Sooners winning two of those, including last year’s 34-10 game in Norman. The teams have played each other twice in the Orange Bowl. The Volunteers have earned a higher power rating based on what we saw last week. Kickoff is at 6 pm at Neyland Stadium, televised on ESPN.

In Monday’s edition of The Kickoff in our Top 25, TCU traded places with Ohio State. This was based on the scheduling of the Ohio State opener after our last issue went to press earlier that day. The Buckeyes defeated Virginia Tech 42-24 in that opener and remain at the top of the AP poll. It’s worth noting that Bovada has named Cardale Jones as a 7/1 favorite to win the Heisman after he won the starting QB job while giving Boykin 9/1 odds. The Horned Frogs should have no problem putting away Stephen F Austin on Saturday. The Buckeyes are also favored over Hawaii.

Alabama and Auburn switched spots as No. 3 and No. 4 on our Top 25 after Jake Coker showing he could lead the Crimson Tide while the much-hyped Jeremy Johnson stumbled with three interceptions. Bama meets up with MTSU as Auburn plays Jacksonville State. The AP moved Alabama to No. 2 behind Ohio State while Auburn was unchanged at No. 6 after beating Louisville 31-24 last week.

In the rest of our Top 10, Baylor, USC, Georgia, Clemson are unchanged in ranking from week one in spots 5, 8, 9, and 10 respectively. Baylor plays Lamar, USC plays Idaho, Georgia is favored to win over Vanderbilt, and Clemson shouldn’t have any problems with Appalachian State.

In the rest of our Top 25, FSU, UCLA and Notre Dame moved ahead while LSU fell a spot (not playing last week due to the rainout) . Boise State and Oklahoma State moved ahead of Wisconsin (after the 35-17 loss to Bama last weekend). Ole Miss jumped from 22 to 18. Arizona and Tennessee moved up 1 spot each. Oklahoma jumped 2 spots from 23 to 21. Arkansas also impressed us, moving from 24 to 22. Utah entered our Top 25 while Missouri was unchanged at No. 25. Gone from the Top 25 is Arizona State (which debuted at No. 12), after losing last week to Texas A&M, 38-17.

On our Kickoff Thermostat this week, we had Notre Dame, UCLA and Boise State trending up. Penn State’s 27-10 loss to Temple was the most shocking of the first week upsets.

Which games are you most fired up to watch? Which teams do you expect (or hope) to see an upset this week? Let us know.

2015 Heisman Odds: The Favorites to Win

The Heisman Trophy.

The Heisman Trophy.

It’s impossible this early to predict who will win the 79th Heisman Trophy for his work in the 2015 college football season, but The Kickoff has a few thoughts on the leading candidates to have their name called in Times Square this December.

Tommy Duff, Editor of The Kickoff, said the uncertainty of who will be the starting quarterback for defending national champion Ohio State against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7th alone makes it tough to prognosticate. The starting quarterback chosen by Urban Meyer will almost certainly begin the season as a Top 5 contender for the Heisman, which typically goes to a running back or quarterback.

J.T. Barrett was the Big Ten POY last year, but as of now, he is not the favorite to land the starting job,” Duff said. “He still has three years of eligibility left and may have to wait his turn. Bovada gives him odds of 25/1 to win the Heisman.”

Senior Braxton Miller told The Columbus Dispatch this week that he plans to return this season as a fifth-year senior, suggesting he’s best positioned for success and the Heisman as “the best athlete in college football.” Unless something changes, however, chances are we won’t see much of Miller in his final year of eligibility. As of July 7, Bovada has his odds at 10/1 to win the Heisman.

As for Ohio State Junior Cardale Jones, how much can one predict when you have only started three games? According to odds makers, a whole lot when you look at the opposition in those three games (Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon). Bovada gives him odds of 20/1 to win the Heisman.

Some other favorites in the mix at this stage in the preseason (given odds of 25/1 or better by Bovada) include:

  • Trevone Boykin (QB, TCU… 6/1) “Arguably one of the frontrunners for the 2015 trophy, but it will be difficult to meet the expectations he set in 2014.”
  • Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia… 10/1) “One wonders what Chubb can do with a full season as the starter. He was brilliant in his freshman year.”
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State… 7/1) “With 3 potential candidates fighting for the starting QB position, Elliott is the one Buckeye on this list who is firmly entrenched as the starter.”
  • Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU… 14/1) “Can you say hype? Fournette has gotten it since the moment he stepped on campus last year. Though he started slowly, he gradually grew to meet the insane expectations.”
  • Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama… 16/1) “Henry will no longer have to share carries, and barring injury, his numbers will explode in Lane Kiffin’s offense this season.”
  • Jeremy Johnson (QB, Auburn… 10/1) “Another case of a QB receiving attention who has a limited resume. The fact is that Johnson was outstanding during the time he did play, and will get even better on a stacked Auburn team.”
  • Cody Kessler (QB, USC… 12/1) “Kessler turned the corner in 2014, putting together AA type numbers. Second year in Sarkisian’s system should pay off in Kessler’s last season.”
  • Samaje Perine (RB, Oklahoma… 20/1) “Set the NCAA single game rushing record last season as a freshman with 427 yards. Somewhat underrated because of the number of stud underclassmen at position.”
  • Paul Perkins (RB, UCLA… 20/1) “Underrated RB had been overshadowed by Brett Hundley, but this year he will be the main attraction in the UCLA backfield.”
  • Dak Prescott (QB, Miss State… 12/1) “For much of 2014, Prescott was the assumed leader in the Heisman race. We think it will be difficult to repeat those numbers with the loss of talent around him.”
  • Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson… 16/1) “The hype is justified when it came to Watson in 2014. His impact was felt from the moment he stepped onto the field; a game-changer who will improve in 2015.”
  • Connor Cook (QB, MI State… 25/1) “Cook has been a steadying hand at Michigan State. If the Spartans continue their winning ways Cook could be in contention late in the season.”
  • Everett Golson (QB, Florida State… 25-1) “One wonders what to expect from Golson as he transferred for his final year. 5th year transfers rarely pick up their new system and mesh with teammates without growing pains.”

The July issue of The Kickoff included our watchlist of every potential Heisman candidate, along with Tommy’s commentary on each of the players. This is exactly the type of content we put together in the newsletter to inform our readers as you size up your favorite teams and players throughout the season.

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