|Are the Patriots Still Legitimate Super Bowl Contenders Without TE Rob Gronkowski?||Notes and Observations Week 14: Patriots Mount Another Improbable Comeback; Beat Browns 27-26||Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Stink but Exciting; Poor Gronk||Patriots Lose Gronk But Complete Miraculous Comeback to Beat Browns, 27-26|
As we all prepare to sit around the dinner tables with our families and feast on lots of turkey and stuffing, we as people have a lot to be thankful for. Whether it may be our job, our car, our wife, our husband, our kids, etc., we have at least one thing to be thankful for.
In college football, it’s no different.
The top 5 BCS teams have proven thus far to be the cream of the crop in the NCAA, so what does each one of these teams have to be thankful for on this holiday?
Where would the undefeated, No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks be without their offensive skill position players? Certainly, not atop the BCS standings. Led by quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James, the Ducks average more points-per-game than any other school in the nation.
Thomas has exceeded all expectations, as he’s passed for 23 touchdowns with just six interceptions. The Houston native also put together his best performance of his young career early in October when the Ducks derailed a confident Stanford Cardinals team. In that contest, Thomas went 20-29 for 238 yards, two touchdowns and he also accounted for 117 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Meanwhile, Thomas’ counterpart James is considered to be in the Heisman Trophy running. James burst onto the scene in 2009 after the LeGarrette Blount suspension and since then, he has dazzled opposing secondaries. Throughout the nine-game stretch this season that James played in, he rushed for over 100 yards in seven of those games, including three 200-yard performances.
Defensively, Oregon has struggled and that may prove to be the Achilles heel to this team come postseason play. But, for now, the Ducks sure have to be thankful for Thomas and James.
One man. One name. Without quarterback Cam Newton, the Auburn Tigers wouldn’t be two games away from a national championship. Without Newton, there wouldn’t be nearly as much exposure to the program as there is now. It’s safe to say that the former Florida Gator IS the Auburn University football program.
By now everyone knows his story. From throwing laptops out of the window, to dominating at a Junior College, to soliciting money, and now having a Heisman-like season. So, Auburn fans alike, you need to be thankful for Mr. Newton.
From a statistical standpoint, there isn’t anyone better — 3,335 total yards and 38 touchdowns. From a physical standpoint, there isn’t anyone more intimidating — 6-6, 250 pounds. On the field there isn’t anyone more athletic. Newton fills the bill, so to speak. Say what you must about Newton (off the field), but he’s the most prolific player in the country as of right now.
Auburn will have their biggest test of the season Friday when they travel to Tuscaloosa to face the 9-2 Alabama Crimson Tide. On Dec. 4, Newton and Co. will be in Atlanta to play SEC East winner South Carolina for the SEC Championship.
What does TCU have to thankful for this season? Try their strength of schedule — or in this case, their lack of a schedule. TCU boasts an undefeated record and one would think that they’re in good BCS bowl game position. To TCU’s credit, they have beaten the teams on their schedule easily, but the fact of the matter is that they haven’t played anyone of real competition.
If you put TCU in any BCS-eligible conference, they would be a two-or-three loss team. Can you imagine TCU playing Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU all in one season? Still, coach Gary Patterson should thank his team’s success to their easy schedule.
TCU’s opponents have a 61-63 record, the list of quality teams TCU has played includes: Tennessee Tech, SMU, Colorado State, Wyoming, and UNLV.
Ever since Kellen Moore stepped on campus, the Broncos have lost just one game. The southpaw quarterback has an astounding 36-1 record as a starter. Not bad for a 3-star recruit, whose only other offers came from Eastern Michigan and Idaho.
At the helm, Moore has passed for 9,943 yards and 92 touchdown passes — including a game earlier this season against Hawaii in which he passed for a career high 507 yards. Overall, Boise State should be thankful for a lot of things these days.
Their coach is one of the best in the business, their defense is deceptively quick, and their schedule extremely favorable. But, the play of Moore is a big reason why some think Boise State should be playing in the national championship.
Say what you want about Les Miles, but he’s the reason why LSU is 10-1 on the season. Now, don’t get me wrong, fans should thank Patrick Peterson, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis — but the “Madd Hatter” and his trick plays have made the Tigers, a one-time laughing stock of the NCAA, to a BCS bowl squad.
Miles took a lot of critcism early on this season, but he’s now a hot topic amongst the national media. Whether it was the fake field goal at the Swamp, or the reverse to tight end DeAngelo Peterson on a 4th and 1 — Miles has guts.
Also worth noting is Miles’ confidence in quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson struggled for the majority of the season, but Miles continued to stick with his man. Lately, it’s paid off. Since the bye week, Jefferson is 27-40 for 446 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to the bye, Jefferson had thrown for just two touchdowns in eight games.