NCAA Football

The Monday After: What Every College Football Playoff Aspirant Should Fear This Halloween

The Monday After: What Every College Football Playoff Aspirant Should Fear This Halloween

It’s Halloween, the time of year when you’re supposed to be afraid of ghosts and people handing out pennies instead of candy when you trick or treat. This year, Halloween is the day before the 2022 College Football Playoff rankings are released for the first time, and that’s the scariest thing of all to me. It means we’re entering the least attractive part of the college football season: the time of year when the only thing anyone talks about is the College Football Playoff.

Although the playoff discussion has been a part of it all college football weekend since the format was introduced, having CFP Rankings means playoff discussion is about to increase by about eleven billion percent. Get ready to watch a Group of Five game between two teams with no chance of making a bowl, let alone the playoffs, and suddenly you see a top-four chart for the announcer, color analyst and the sideline reporter. Then they’ll spend 10 minutes sharing their thoughts on the standings as if they’re recording a podcast while the game you’re trying to watch continues in the background (though so far I’ll say ESPN has kept its word. and seriously curtail the discussion about CFP in unrelated games this year).

Instead of dreading it this year, I’ve decided to embrace it. For this week, at least. In this week’s Monday After, we’ll get down to business and go over what every national title contender is most afraid of this Halloween. I’ll use the order of the latest AP Top 25, limiting it to Power Five teams with no more than one loss. Both for my sanity and that of my editors.

No. 1 GeorgiaStetson Bennett: Although no one has ever mistaken Bennett for a Heisman front-runner or a future first-rounder NFL draft he was good in 2021. He finished the season ranked fourth nationally in pass efficiency, third in dropback yards and third in touchdown rate. While he wasn’t asked to dunk it 40 times a game like others, he was remarkably efficient when Georgia asked him to throw the ball.

That’s not the case in 2022. Bennett ranks 38th in pass efficiency this season, as his 176.69 rating from 2021 has dropped to 150.6. While he’s still sixth in rushing yards, his touchdown rate has dropped from 10.1% in 2021 to 3.4% in 2022, which ranks him 98th nationally among qualified QBs. The Dawgs get it Tennessee this weekend and would likely face off Alabama to the SEC Championship, if they get there. If they made the playoffs, they might see one again or Ohio State. Is the 2022 version of Stetson Bennett enough to beat these teams?

No. 2 Tennessee – Teams that can throw the football: The biggest difference between the Vols and other elite teams in 2022 is on the defensive side of the ball. They just don’t match up well in most areas. Where Tennessee excels defensively is against the run, ranking 9th nationally in expected points added (EPA) per run. Where he falls far behind is in pass defense.

Fortunately, Tennessee doesn’t have to play Tennessee. We know the Vols will score points, but when they meet teams capable of moving the ball in the air, we don’t know if they can stop their opponent from doing so. Tennessee’s defense ranks 84th nationally in EPA for dropbacks despite ranking 27th in pressure rate. Bottom line, if they don’t get to the QB, there isn’t much of a plan B. The 52-49 win against Alabama was fun for Tennessee fans and neutral observers alike, but tennis games like this are essentially coin flips. At some point, you have to stop.

No. 2 Ohio State – The secondary: Ohio State has an elite pass rush, and generally its numbers against the pass have been excellent, but those numbers are deceiving. The QBs the Buckeyes faced over their first seven games weren’t anything special, and it could be argued that Toledo it was the most dangerous passing attack I had ever seen. On Saturday, Penn State showed the world how you can beat this Ohio State defense.

The Nittany Lions swept Ohio State. They had their receivers lined up as close to the sidelines as possible (basically doing what Tennessee does) to spread Buckeyes defenders and found a lot of room to work with because of it. The Nittany Lions threw for 371 yards, and if not for an incredible performance by JT Tuimoloau and Ohio State’s pass rush, could have wrecked the Buckeyes there.

No. 4 Michigan – The red zone: The Wolverines have struggled to finish drives. He hasn’t caught up to them yet because they haven’t played the toughest schedule, but his inability to hit the ball in the backcourt has allowed opponents to hang on. The good news is that Michigan is even better at preventing opponents from finding the end zone. Still, when you’re trying to win a national title, you’ll be up against offenses that are far more dangerous than what Michigan has faced.

The Wolverines have scored touchdowns on 63.6 percent of their red zone possessions, which ranks 59th nationally. In the last two weeks against Penn State and State of Michigan, scored four touchdowns on 11 drives and settled for seven field goals. Settling for field goals gets you beat by playoff contenders.

No. 5 Clemson – The rest of the ACC: I can’t help but believe that undefeated ACC champion Clemson is in the playoffs no matter what, but it’s not a guarantee. What if TCU is it also undefeated? Let’s say there’s a scenario where the SEC and Big Ten champion are both, a Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State or Michigan sitting, and maybe a one-loss Pac-12 champion. What happens when the committee starts comparing resumes?

It’s not Clemson’s fault that the ACC stinks, nor is it Clemson’s fault Our Lady he’s having a bad season, but what will be Clemson’s best win if he wins? There’s a chance the Tigers won’t have beaten anyone with less than three losses by judgment day.

No. 6 Alabama – Bryce Young’s Health: We already saw glimpses of Alabama without Young when he was knocked out Arkansas game and lost the Texas A&M game The Tide managed to escape both with wins, but his injury showed the world how vulnerable the Tide are without him.

Also, and let’s say it in hushed tones so no one hears, he hasn’t been that good since he came back. I don’t know if he is completely healthy. In 4.5 games before the injury, Young had a passer efficiency of 162.7, averaging 7.91 yards per return, 9.28 yards per attempt and a 10.4% touchdown rate . Since returning, his efficiency rating is down to 147.5, his yards per dropback are down to 7.41, his passing yards are about the same at 9.21, but his touchdown rate is of 4.6%.

No. 7 TCU – Having to pressure a QB: Horned Frogs don’t seem to know how to do this. His 25.6% pressure rate ranks 114th nationally. It’s part of the reason the Frogs are 8-0 but don’t blow teams away. Sure, they crushed Colorado and Tarleton, but the 31 points won oklahoma is misleading because of Dillon Gabriel being kicked out of the game (even though TCU was leading by 17 at the time).

As good as TCU is, it probably won’t beat Tennessee, Ohio State or Alabama if it can’t pressure the QB.

No. 8 OregonFacing Georgia again It’s the defense: The Ducks’ defense isn’t “bad for a national title contender,” it’s legitimately bad. Like, one of the worst villains in the country. The Ducks rank 106th in EPA per click, 117th in hitting percentage and 108th in points allowed per drive. You’re not winning a national title that way.

No. 9 USC – His defense: Seriously, copy and paste everything I wrote about Oregon and put it here too. The only thing we have to change slightly are the numbers, as the Trojans rank 103rd in EPA per play, 126th in hitting percentage and 92nd in points allowed per drive. USC’s defense relies entirely on forcing turnovers, but you know what good teams don’t do? exactly

number 10 UCLA – The red zone: Like Michigan, the Bruins have struggled to finish drives. They’ve scored touchdowns on just 61.4% of their red-zone possessions, which ranks 75th nationally. Unlike Michigan, they are just as bad in the red zone on defense. In fact, they are worse. UCLA’s opponents have scored touchdowns on 70.8 percent of their red zone possessions against the Bruins, which ranks 114th nationally among defenses.

number 11 be miss – The rest of the schedule: Ole Miss is 8-1, but doesn’t have the most impressive resume. The SEC West has been pretty mediocre this season, and the Rebels’ best win is a 22-19 win over a 5-3. Kentucky team that fell out of the AP poll after a loss to Tennessee. The best team they faced, LSU, beat them 45-20. They now have a week off before facing Alabama, and if they somehow get past the Tide, Arkansas and Mississippi Statethey’ll have Georgia or Tennessee waiting in Atlanta.

number 14 Illinois – State of Michigan and/or Ohio: Illinois has a legitimately outstanding defense. Even when adjusting for their opponents, the metrics scream that the Illini are excellent at holding teams off the scoreboard. But life is much different in the Big Ten West than it is in the East, and they still have to play Purdue, they have a bigger game waiting in Ann Arbor against Michigan in late November. If they somehow get past the Wolverines, they will face Ohio State in Indianapolis. If that happens, we’ll all have a better idea of ​​how good the defense really is.

number 17 North Carolina – My God, the defense: Remember all those numbers I shared about Oregon and USC? Well, the Heels are even worse. They rank 120th in EPA per snap, 122nd in passing percentage and 111th in points allowed per drive. They have a future first round pick at QB a Drake Maye helping paint the cracks, but it’s hard to believe a team with such a bad defense will make the playoffs.

Point of the Week

Look at this beauty from FAU gambler Riley Thompson. I’m actually mad that the coverage team jumped on the ball to be safe instead of letting it roll inside the 1.

Drill type of the week

I mentioned how Stetson Bennett’s touchdown rate dropped this season, and it would be even lower if not for this wizardry of Brock Bowers.

Fake field goal of the week

It’s not often you see kickers running inside the zone, but Oklahoma’s Zach Smith seems to have the game down. Look at the solid foundations! Look at his balance and low center of gravity as he makes the cut.

Angriest AD of the week

It seems USC athletic director Mike Bohn isn’t a fan of the Pac-12 officiating. The Big Ten officials are sure to be better! And at least if they aren’t, you can always look at your budget to soothe your soul.

The catch of the week

West Virginia didn’t beat TCU, losing 41-31, but that doesn’t make that diving touchdown catch from Reese Smith less impressive.

College Football Playoff week preview

We actually have rankings to compare my projection to this week. How exciting

  1. Tennessee
  2. Ohio State
  3. Georgia
  4. TCU

See you next Monday after that!

#Monday #College #Football #Playoff #Aspirant #Fear #Halloween

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button