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Topic: ELA 130 Team Countdown

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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #98 on: April 09, 2018, 04:35:42 PM »
79. Appalachian State Mountaineers
#1 in Sun Belt
In just 4 years in the FBS, Appalachian State has been to 3 bowls (3-0), has only lost 5 Sun Belt games, and is coming off back to back conference championships.  So what's next?  For starters, they'd sure like to be mentioned in the conversation for the Group of 5's New Years Six spot.  The Sun Belt is so low in the pecking order, that will probably require a more marquee regular season win.  While they still have that 2007 win in their memory banks, they've been 0-6 against the Power 5 since making the jump, and a few of the losses (Michigan '14, Clemson '15 and Miami '16) were beat downs.  Last year, while the Mountaineers won the Sun Belt, they lost all three regular season FBS non-conference games, including to UMass.  Their performance in the bowl game though may have been their most complete performance of the year, demolishing the MAC Champs, Toledo, 34-0.  There are plenty of returning pieces, but there is a gaping question mark at quarterback, where Taylor Lamb, the Mountaineers four year starting quarterback, has graduated.  His 210 passing ypg don't overwhelm you, but he led the conference in both pass efficiency and Total QBR, and was 3rd in ypa, the Mountaineers just passed the ball less than any Sun Belt teams except Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern.  They do get Jalin Moore back though.  His 94.3 ypg and 5.7 ypc both led the conference, and helped the Mountaineers to the conference's best run game.  The issue is around Moore.  Lamb was a huge threat in the run game, with 584 rushing yards on nearly 8 ypc, and 3/5 of the first team all-Sun Belt offensive linemen were Mountaineers.  Victor Johnson returns, but the entire all-conference right side is gone.  The line play, and Lamb's experience were key to what Appalachian State tries to do.  They ran the ball well, and they didn't give up sacks.  Their adjusted sack rate was better than any non-triple option team in the nation.  The only way to slow this offense down was to get them behind the sticks, and force Lamb into passing situation.  Teams simply couldn't do it.  The defense wasn't quite Troy good, but it was more than enough for this potent offense, it also excelled at creating turnovers.  In fact, Appalachian State was one off from creating the most turnovers, and did turn the ball over least.  Needless to say, they led the conference in turnover differential by a healthy margin, and were top 10 nationally.  The front seven has some major turnover to overcome, but the best pair of cornerbacks in the conference will allow new defensive coordinator Bryan Brown to be more creative with his other nine men, trusting Duck and Hayes to handle their own business.  This is the first coordinator assignment for Brown, the 34 year old who takes over for Nate Woody, who left for Georgia Tech.  They only get one shot this year to end their Power Five 0-fer, the season opener in Happy Valley.  Win that one, and they should put themselves in the New Years Six conversation.  Lose it, and a third straight Sun Belt title is the ceiling.  Ho hum.
Key Players
RBJalin Moore, Senior
WRThomas Hennigan, Sophomore
TVictor Johnson, Junior
.
LBAnthony Flory, Senior
CBClifton Duck, Junior
CBTae Hayes, Senior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #99 on: April 09, 2018, 04:43:06 PM »






1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #100 on: April 10, 2018, 09:41:18 AM »
77. Houston Cougars
#8 in American
From how quickly Tom Herman had Houston turned into probably the best Group of 5 program in the nation, you would think the pipeline would have been more stocked.  Instead, in only the second year after Tom, it's Ed Oliver, and...?  There were still some highs, road wins over Arizona and South Florida, and 4 losses by 6 points or less.  But a loss to Tulane?  Not just being the lone conference win for Tulsa, but losing that game by 28?  Calling Major Applewhite's first shot as a head coach uneven would be an understatement.  When you have Tom Herman, and then Major Applewhite, you think offense.  But the Cougars offense has actually been fairly pedestrian the past couple years, and they've won with defense.  Obviously it begins with the big guy in the middle, Ed Oliver, who has essentially been the most talented Group of 5 player since the second he arrived on campus.   He'll be back for his mandatory third year, before putting himself in the discussion to be the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.  But there isn't much returning around him.  The line is going to have to do a lot of work on their own while a back seven figures things out on the fly.  The offense improved once Applewhite switch from Kyle Postma to D'Eriq King midway through the year, winning three of his first four starts.  While he looks like a more natural runner than Postma, I don't think they like the number of hits he took, tallying double digit carries in three of those four regular season starts.  But he's not just an athlete playing quarterback, the coaches were pleasantly surprised by his accuracy, completing over 70% of his passes in those four starts, throwing only one interception.  The thought was at least they'd also have Duke Catalon to rely on, who was the team's leading rusher the past two seasons.  He abruptly (at least to outsiders) left the team at the start of spring practice though.  Now a team that has really struggled to run the ball the past two seasons, may be relying heavily on their quarterback to provide that yardage.  Houston is well-positioned to be the top program in the West Division, but after back-to-back years falling short to Memphis, it's time to question why they aren't better.  Unfortunately in the third and final year of Ed Oliver, it seems like the Cougars aren't going to be able to get more than a third straight mid-tier bowl during the tenure of the greatest pure talent in school history.
Key Players
QBD'Eriq King, Junior
TJosh Jones, Sophomore
KCaden Novikoff, Senior
.
NTEd Oliver, Junior
LBEmeke Egbule, Senior
SGarrett Davis, Senior

CatsbyAZ

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #101 on: April 11, 2018, 12:02:40 AM »
I had a few drinks with Gary Anderson in LaCrosse when he was in fall camp with the Saints
Gerry Andersen is available to resurrect it, once again. He wouldn't even have to move too far. It would be just like old times.


Gary Anderson was an excellent kicker for a long, long time.
Given the way Gary Anderson huffed away from TWO P5 gigs, burning a world of goodwill, Logan Utah is likely the last place that'll have anything to do with Gary Anderson. Maybe offer him an assistant position?

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #102 on: April 11, 2018, 12:17:06 AM »
I think the people in Corvallis were quite happy with the way he walked away.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 12:19:39 AM by ELA »

847badgerfan

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #103 on: April 11, 2018, 07:25:56 AM »
He's the AHC at Utah now. 
U RAH RAH! WIS CON SIN!

Cincydawg

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #104 on: April 11, 2018, 07:51:39 AM »
I'm a bit surprised #1 in the Sun Belt would be #79 overall.  Usually they have a team that is about as good as a poor P5 team, or better, compared to say Vandy or Duke.

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #105 on: April 11, 2018, 09:00:03 AM »
I'm a bit surprised #1 in the Sun Belt would be #79 overall.  Usually they have a team that is about as good as a poor P5 team, or better, compared to say Vandy or Duke.
Yeah, this is lower than I usually have one as well.  The problem is the top 3 was so far ahead of the rest of the pack, and all 3 lost a lot in the offseason.  There's really nobody else ready to jump up into that spot right now.
Based on the season ending composite computer rankings last year, Troy was #39, Appalachian State was #55 and Arkansas State was #86.  I think Troy and Appy State are substantially worse this year, and the rest of the conference was outside the top 100, so any improvement there isn't going to life them high enough IMO.

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #106 on: April 11, 2018, 09:02:51 AM »
77. Colorado Buffaloes
#11 in Pac 12
I admit it.  I bought in.  I thought Colorado was back.  I still had them in my preseason top 20 last year.  I picked them in cincy’s pool as my “most underrated team.”  After a thud, resulting in losses in 7 of their final 9 games, Mike MacIntyre may go from seemingly having Colorado back, to being out of a job.  2018 will go a long way towards determining if 2017 was just a necessary blip during the rebuild, or if 2016 was just the perfect storm of everything coming together, and nothing had really been fixed.  The 2016 team went 8-1 in Pac 12 play.  Aside from that MacIntyre is 4-32 in the conference.  And while the Buffs had to figure out the quarterback situation a year ago, they returned a lot of talent elsewhere.  That is far from the case this year, particularly on offense, where now quarterback is pretty much the only position that isn’t a glaring question mark.  Having a workhorse back like Phillip Lindsay is nice...until he’s gone.  The senior averaged over 25 carries a game, plus just over 2 receptions.  That leaves Beau Bisharat and his 21 carries for 61 yards as the leading returning rusher.  The only other tailback on the roster with carries last year was 5’7” Kyle Evans with 2.  The wideout position isn’t much better off with all three starting wideouts graduating.  Including Lindsay, four of the 5 top pass catchers are gone.  Throw in all three starters from the left side of the line, and you begin to see how bad it might be.  And this was from an offense that finished ahead of only Oregon State in scoring, there wasn’t much farther to sink.  It’s all going to fall on Montez to take a big step forward.  The defense is going to rely on a very underrated group of linebackers to steady them.  Considering safety Evan Worthington lines up at OLB a chunk of the time, the Buffs could be in the running for the best group of linebackers in the conference.  They’ll have to be, because the early NFL departure of cornerback Isaiah Oliver completely decimated a secondary that was already going to have some problems.
Key Players
QBSteven Montez, Junior
TIsaac Miller, Junior
KJay Stefanou, Sophomore
.
LBRick Gamboa, Senior
LBDrew Lewis, Senior
SEvan Worthington, Senior

CatsbyAZ

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #107 on: April 11, 2018, 11:46:20 PM »
Surprised Colorado falls all the way to the bottom of the PAC 12 South given how iffy I feel about the Arizona schools and how blahh I feel about SC, UCLA, Utah. It's a division that's truly wide open to the point the Buffs have as good of a shot as anybody. Even with SC I'm expecting them to take a big step back without Darnold holding the program together (he was much more than an effective QB; Darnold provided an onfield and sideline stability not seen in the Coliseum since before the days of Kiffin/Sark).

I'm a little confused by your review though - wasn't it after 2016 the Buffs lost most of their starters, went into 2017 as an expected rebuilding year (shouldn't've been ranked) and are now poised to trend up this year with a lot returning experience?

I'm predicting a 7 or 8 win season and a top 3 division finish for Colorado.

EDIT: I looked up returning starter rankings and Colorado is 123rd Nationally, only returning 47% going into 2018. This after ranking 102nd returning only 53% going into 2017. I figured the percentage figure would correct itself this year, but instead it's worse. (65%, or 2/3rds, is a safe median percentage for returning starters and for 2 years in a row Colorado is more than 10 percentage points below that figure.)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 12:06:10 AM by CatsbyAZ »

DevilFroggy

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #108 on: April 12, 2018, 12:05:48 AM »
If Utah is ever going to win the South, this is the year. 

Mac is a good coach but talent wise the buffs are still bottom tier. Losing Darnold and Rosen will hurt the LA schools but they *should* beat CU on talent alone.  
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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #109 on: April 12, 2018, 08:04:44 AM »
76. Vanderbilt Commodores
#14 in SEC
Remember 3-0 Vandy, coming off a home upset of #18 Kansas State, calling out the Crimson Tide?  Saying they wanted Alabama next week?  59-0 later, and a losing streak of 7 of their next 8 games, made the vibe very different by the end of the year.  Derek Mason, who cut his teeth on the defensive side of the ball, has yet to deliver there.  That 3-0 start was marked by 13 points allowed TOTAL (4.3 ppg).  Over the remainder of the season they gave up an average of over 40 ppg.  Mason is back for a 5th year, in spite of a 6-26 SEC record, and only one bowl appearance, but he’s no longer serving the dual role of defensive coordinator.  That job now belongs to Jason Tarver, who was actually co-Defensive Coordinator with Mason at Stanford in 2011, David Shaw’s first season as head coach.  The problem is that he doesn’t have much to work with, and the seat under Mason is very hot.  It’s looking like a one year gig.  The Commodores lost 7 starters from a defense that struggled with an experienced group last year.  The one piece he can build around is Charles Wright, who led the SEC in sacks a year ago, as a perfect fit in Mason’s 3-4 scheme.  Offensively, Kyle Shurmur returns at quarterback, but the running back and receiver positions are a mess.  The only slightly proven commodity across those spots is wideout Kalija Lipscomb.  Lipscomb had only 37 receptions last year, but led the team with both 16.5 ypc and 8 receiving touchdowns.  In 9 of the 11 games he played in, Lipscomb had a reception of at least 25 yards.  But with both Trent Sherfield and C.J. Duncan graduating, Lipscomb needs to turn into a go to guy, not just the deep ball threat.
Key Players
QBKyle Shurmur, Senior
WRKalija Lipscomb, Junior
TJustin Skule, Senior
.
DEDare Odeyingbo, Senior
LBCharles Wright, Senior
SLaDarius Wiley, Senior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #110 on: April 12, 2018, 08:25:35 AM »

Surprised Colorado falls all the way to the bottom of the PAC 12 South given how iffy I feel about the Arizona schools and how blahh I feel about SC, UCLA, Utah. It's a division that's truly wide open to the point the Buffs have as good of a shot as anybody. Even with SC I'm expecting them to take a big step back without Darnold holding the program together (he was much more than an effective QB; Darnold provided an onfield and sideline stability not seen in the Coliseum since before the days of Kiffin/Sark).

I'm a little confused by your review though - wasn't it after 2016 the Buffs lost most of their starters, went into 2017 as an expected rebuilding year (shouldn't've been ranked) and are now poised to trend up this year with a lot returning experience?

I'm predicting a 7 or 8 win season and a top 3 division finish for Colorado.

EDIT: I looked up returning starter rankings and Colorado is 123rd Nationally, only returning 47% going into 2018. This after ranking 102nd returning only 53% going into 2017. I figured the percentage figure would correct itself this year, but instead it's worse. (65%, or 2/3rds, is a safe median percentage for returning starters and for 2 years in a row Colorado is more than 10 percentage points below that figure.)
The Pac South's MTZ teams are basically there for USC and UCLA to pad their records. 
Even with a paper tiger USC and a really down UCLA, those two teams went a combined 6-2 against the rest of the division.
Now you have Chip Kelly at UCLA, while RichRod is out at Arizona, and ASU has hired Herman Edwards....
Sure one of the MTZ quadruplets is going to win one here and there, but that division is going to go to the USC-UCLA winner most years. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Cincydawg

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #111 on: April 12, 2018, 01:57:27 PM »
I don't know why Vandy would fire Mason.  They need to shoot for making a bowl game, and even in the SEC East, that won't be easy for them.  Of course, they didn't go 0-8 in conference play last season.

 

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