Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2013: Week 5

If There Was a College Football Playoff This Year, Would LSU Win it All?

If There Was a College Football Playoff This Year, Would the LSU Tigers Win it All?

The dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (immediately following the 2014 season), so this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-another-year feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (projected by BCSGuru), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Rose Bowl (semifinal): #2 Oregon vs. #3 Clemson

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #1 Alabama vs. #4 LSU

National Championship: #4 LSU over #4 Oregon

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Ohio State

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Oklahoma

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Louisville vs. Georgia

I’m convinced that LSU could completely handle Alabama at this point, and since Oregon’s yet to play a truly challenging opponent, it’s tough to think they’re going to be able to beat the Tigers either. As usual, a bunch of SEC teams are handed at-large bids here, with Louisville taking the “group of five” spot.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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ACC Football Standout Senior 2013: NC State

Facing Defensive Turnover, NC State's Relying on Darryl Cato-Bishop to Be a Disruptive Force

Facing Defensive Turnover, NC State’s Relying on Darryl Cato-Bishop to Be a Disruptive Force

Last season’s juniors are now this season’s seniors, and with that comes extra responsibility and expectations. In the ACC, while there were plenty of players selected in the NFL Draft, the conference still returns a strong group of seniors — many of whom are set to make a strong impact in their final seasons of eligibility.

Over these few weeks, we’re going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his respective squad, and why he’s so important. Think we should’ve featured another player, though? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

NC State Wolfpack: Darryl Cato-Bishop, DE

For the Wolfpack defense, the secondary has been the unit’s crown jewel in recent years, rightly or wrongly — something that’s about to change. As the team’s best coverage men like David Amerson and Earl Wolff depart, it’s an opportunity for the team to take a new focus not seen much since Mario Williams roamed the defensive line. We’re of course talking about an individual pass-rush guided by one standout defender. Enter: Cato-Bishop, the senior who could change all that.

After missing the first two games last season (rough outings for State, which went 1-1), Cato-Bishop returned in the third contest against South Alabama, and made his presence felt immediately. Leading a strong pass-rush, he racked up 1.5 sacks while pressuring Jaguars’ quarterbacks into quick throws and effectively shutting down the run game. Though the stat line doesn’t necessarily pop for the rest of the year, he still managed to record over a half-sack per game in the ensuing nine regular season contests, and make major strides in stuffing the run, too. But of course, there’s certainly room for improvement for Cato-Bishop, especially in terms of getting after the quarterback.

In 13 games, 455 passes were attempted against the Wolfpack, a group that at times took advantage of the fact (33 sacks as a team) and at others, did not (still allowed 249 passing yards per game). That’s where having an elite pass-rusher comes in, as the players on this version of NC State may not realize. When David Amerson was in the defensive backfield in 2011, teams tried to gameplan around him while others tested him. After watching a full season of game tape, teams realized how to challenge Amerson, and as a result, he got burned more often. Cato-Bishop, on the other hand, doesn’t the same gaudy film going into his final season, which can actually be a bonus for him.

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Conference Realignment: Which FCS Programs Could Be Next to Upgrade to the FBS?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt Conference Along With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Schools are upgrading their football programs at a rapid pace. By 2015, 129 full members will be participating in FBS-level competition, up from 120 in 2012. That’s a 7.5-percent increase in just three years. And yet, there’s still plenty of talk about adding more schools to college football’s top tier too. While the ACC’s not jumping to add any of these schools, it’s not out of the question that this shuffling could eventually affect the sport’s top conferences – as top teams from football’s “mid-majors” look to upgrade their competition and move into the “Power Five.”

First, a recap of the recent moves from FCS to FBS:

2009: Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

2013: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (Sun Belt), UT-San Antonio (Conference USA), UMass (MAC)

2014: Georgia State (Sun Belt)

2015: Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Charlotte (Conference USA), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Old Dominion (Conference USA) (*Appalachian State and Georgia Southern moves just reported today, via SB Nation)

And there’s still more schools that could potentially make the call. But who are they? Well, first a look at the basic eligibility requirements to move up to FBS from FCS (from the NCAA):

  1. Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20. Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams (males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams. [Bylaw 20.9.7.1]

  2. Schedule and play at least 60 percent of its football contests against members of Football Bowl Subdivision. Institutions shall schedule and play at least five regular season home contests against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. [Bylaw 20.9.7.2]

  3. Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.3]

  4. Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of overall football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(a)]

  5. Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid or expend at least four million dollars on grants-in-aid to student-athletes in athletics programs. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(b)]

Obviously, the second bullet is taken care of with the commitment to upgrade the program and the final two can easily be attained by just reaching those scholarship numbers. As far as item no. 1 and no. 3 though, the following schools would qualify for an FCS-to-FBS upgrade:

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ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week Four

Florida State Won Big on Saturday, and Hopes to Continue That Trend Against Clemson this Week

All 14 ACC squads participated in the weekend’s events to varying degrees, and unfortunately, the league’s down to just two undefeated teams and a very crowded middle. Check out the list below, and weigh in down in the comments if you disagree.

1. Florida State Seminoles (3-0) (LW: 1): All of that “Florida State is back” talk? Dead on. The Seminoles absolutely ran through Wake Forest on Saturday, finally exorcising one of the oddest dog-bites-man stories in recent college football memory. Through three contests, FSU has proven itself to be ruthless with pressure on defense, a sound running team (11th in FBS with 279 yards per game) and a team that waits to make smart passes. If this machine is what Jimbo Fisher’s been building these last few years, it’s probably worth the wait.

2. Clemson Tigers (3-0) (LW: 2): Their College Gameday warmup went just as well as planned, but that said, the Tigers will enter their big game against Florida State with a ton of questions. Who is their top receiver? What about the offensive line? And most importantly, can defensive coordinator Brent Venables draw up a scheme to cure Clemson of its putrid run D? We’ll find out soon enough.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1) (LW: 4): Georgia Tech’s offense found its rhythm against Virginia, amassing rushing yards at will and owning the line of scrimmage to open up those running lanes — especially to the outside. It’s games like this that tell you the triple-option works and Tevin Washington‘s the man for the job. Then you have a game like the opener that meets that statement with an emphatic laugh.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) (LW: 3): Not a single team deserves to occupy the fourth slot in these rankings, but the Hokies will be slotted here by necessity. On Saturday, VPI finally dealt with the questions we’ve been asking for weeks: what if the offensive line is too inexperienced? And what if Logan Thomas has to carry the offense? Both of these scenarios played out in full this weekend, and Virginia Tech failed miserably. Thomas’s accuracy is certainly not up to snuff, and most surprisingly of all, the run D may not be as good as initially given credit for.

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 3 (Part Two)

Andre Ellington and Clemson Will Be Using This Weekend’s Matchup Against Furman As a Warm-up for Florida State

This is Part Two of this week’s Previews & Predictions feature. Also check out Part One.

Furman Paladins (0-2) at Clemson Tigers (2-0): Clemson should be happy that their pass defense is improved, because the Paladins know how to throw the ball. Last year, a mild scare against fellow FCS school, Wofford, seemed to wake the Tigers up a bit. This season, they’ve got to use it as a tune-up for a presumed College Gameday matchup with Florida State a week later. Along with fitting Sammy Watkins back into the gameplan on Saturday, Clemson will likely be handing plenty of carries to Andre Ellington as well. One big concern they won’t get to work on, unfortunately, is run defense, since it’s likely Furman is throwing the ball for most of the game. Prediction: Clemson 63, Furman 18

Boston College Eagles (1-1) (0-1) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-0): Even if the Wildcats’ win over Syracuse a couple weeks back was luck, it’s hard to discount their effort in a win against a tough Vanderbilt team many thought was on a steep upswing. Boston College gets some help from NU’s less-than-stellar pass defense, which could surrender another huge day to Chase Rettig. The key for the Eagles will be running the ball effectively, however. SU was unable to do so, and it was their undoing against the Wildcats. Prediction: Northwestern 35, Boston College 27

North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1) (0-1) at Louisville Cardinals (2-0):UNC quarterback Bryn Renner took a beating versus Wake Forest last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s spared the same fate against an aggressive Louisville blitz. One obvious solution is running the ball more, though that depends entirely on Giovani Bernard‘s availability. If they can remain balanced on offense, and actually play some semblance of pass defense, the Heels could score an upset. Prediction: Louisville 30, UNC 26

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ACC Football 2012 TV Schedule & Spread: Week Three

Wake Forest and Florida State Are Among the Earlier Kickoffs For the ACC This Saturday, Starting at Noon ET on ESPN

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 3 Television Schedule & Spreads

Saturday, September 15

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Miami Hurricanes (no odds), noon ET, ESPN3

Virginia Tech Hokies at Pittsburgh Panthers (+11), noon ET, ESPNU

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Florida State Seminoles (-24), noon ET, ESPN

Connecticut Huskies at Maryland Terrapins (+1.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Furman Paladins at Clemson Tigers (no odds), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN Gameplan

Virginia Cavaliers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-10.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Boston College Eagles at Northwestern Wildcats (-3.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

North Carolina Tar Heels at Louisville Cardinals (-3.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Stony Brook Sea Wolves at Syracuse Orange (no odds), 4 p.m. ET, SNY

South Alabama Jaguars at NC State Wolfpack (-31.5), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN3

N.C. Central Eagles at Duke Blue Devils (no odds), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3

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ACC 2012 Scheduling Outlook: NC State Wolfpack

Tom O'Brien and NC State May Have A Lot to Celebrate Come the End of 2012

With all of the realignment and rescheduling nonsense going on around the country, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC‘s schedules — how the teams stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. If these change at all, we’ll also be sure to update them on a rolling basis. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from FBSchedules.com.

Today’s breakdown: NC State Wolfpack

From all accounts, it appears the Wolfpack picked the right year to schedule light for their four non-conference tilts. The ACC is due to be improved and a bit top-heavy, plus the school could actually figure itself into upper-tier bowl conversations. With an opening slate featuring both The Citadel and FBS newcomer South Alabama, plus 5-7 schools Tennessee and Connecticut, it’s a nice start. However, it’s also worth noting that the latter two teams figure to be improved and can cause problems when overlooked. Specifically the Volunteers, who fall victim more to their conference than a lack of talent on either side of the ball. If State runs through these teams though, they’ll likely be sitting pretty as a top-20 program.

In terms of the ACC schedule, the ‘Pack also get several additional breaks. Most notably, avoiding both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, plus getting league-favorite Florida State at home. Road games at North Carolina, Clemson and Miami may prove difficult (especially with several of those opponents out for some revenge from last season), but these matchups are countered with opportunities against Boston College and Maryland. Will this be the year that NC State finally breaks through into the ACC’s upper echelon and contends for a league title? Clemson surprised everyone in 2011 with an exciting run to the championship game. Why not the Wolfpack in 2012?

Previously: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami

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