2014 Who's Not ... Week 14
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Summa Cum Lousy
The Falcons are in the MAC title as the East Division champ. But they’re stumbling en route to Ford Field, where Northern Illinois awaits. Bowling Green has dropped three of their last five games, including the last two to Toledo and Ball State. In Friday’s collapse to 5-7 Ball State, BGSU got trucked for 485 balanced yards, a bad omen for this week’s upcoming game with the Huskies.
Is it December yet? Notre Dame
Inexcusable. Sure, the Irish have run out of gas, and healthy bodies in certain spots. But their performance Saturday in the Coliseum was unequivocally dreadful, allowing 577 yards in a 49-14 loss to intersectional rival USC. Once 6-0 and in the playoff hunt, Notre Dame crawled to the regular season finish line with five losses in the previous six games. At one point turnover-machine Everett Golson was benched in favor of Malik Zaire, who was no better at providing a spark in the face of the Trojan pass rush.
Being Voted Off College Football Island: Texas QB Tyrone Swoopes
One step forward, two steps back. Swoopes is young, and needs time to develop his skills. But every time it looks as if the light is about to go on, he goes out and plays like a wide-eyed backup. Against TCU, which has not been impenetrable in 2014, Swoopes struggled badly, going 20-of-34 for 200 yards, a touchdown and four picks. If the sophomore fails to evolve in the offseason, his job will be up for grabs in 2015.
Heisman Nopeful: Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott
While Prescott played decent enough versus Ole Miss Saturday, a second loss means he probably will not get an invite to the Heisman ceremony in New York City in two weeks. That honor belongs to Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon and Alabama WR Amari Cooper. Prescott has had a dynamite junior season as the face of the Bulldogs, but he stopped being a serious Heisman contender a few weeks ago.
Start evacuating the bandwagon of … Texas A&M
It’s going to be an intriguing offseason for the Aggies and head coach Kevin Sumlin, whose team finished the regular season by going 2-5. Sure, the second-half schedule was brutal, but A&M lost by at least two touchdowns to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama, and dropped back-to-back home games to Mizzou and LSU. Just maybe Johnny Manziel was irreplaceable after all.
Shame on you, Tar Heels. With rival NC State in Chapel Hill, Carolina barely bothered to get off the bus, losing, 35-7, despite being favored. The Heels got absolutely trucked at the line of scrimmage, getting outgained on the ground, 388-30. While the Wolfpack will begin the bowl season with a tailwind, Carolina has gone 6-6 in consecutive regular seasons, a troubling trend for Larry Fedora and his coaching staff.
You emit a foul and unpleasant odor: Virginia
On Oct. 4, the Cavaliers were 4-2 and playing like one of the ACC’s biggest surprises. When the regular season ended on Friday night, though, they’d won just an additional game to finish below .500 for a third year in a row. And yet, it looks as if Mike London will be back to oversee Virginia’s commitment to mediocrity. Even worse, the ‘Hoos squandered a late lead to Virginia Tech on the final weekend, falling for the eleventh straight time to their in-state rival.
Needing a vote of confidence: Al Golden, Miami
How much longer can Golden lean on the problems he inherited? Sure, it was a mess when he arrived from Temple, but the coach just wrapped up the same regular-season record, 6-6, that he had in his first year back in 2011. And the Canes tanked down the stretch this fall, losing their final three to Florida State, Virginia and Pitt. Golden will be back in 2015, but if Miami straddles the fence of mediocrity once again, it could be the coach’s last chance to restore the glory at the program.
Talk about an epic gag. All the Bruins had to do to win the Pac-12 South was what five other schools had already done in 2014—beat an offensively-challenged Stanford team. They were never even close on Friday in the Rose Bowl, despite the fact that the Cardinal was without its best weapon, WR Ty Montgomery. UCLA reverted back to its first-half of the year self, struggling on defense and failing to protect Brett Hundley. And with the stumble, Jim Mora’s team is assured of this season, likely Hundley’s last, being filed away as a disappointment.
Team of the Weak: Michigan
What a disaster. This season could not have gone much worse for the Wolverines, from the handling of the Shane Morris injury and the incessant offensive woes to the exit of AD Dave Brandon and Saturday’s latest loss to Ohio State. In a fitting end to a 5-7 campaign, Michigan competed for three quarters in Columbus, and then self-destructed after the Buckeyes lost their quarterback. For the second time in four years, the program is in a position to tear the whole thing down and start from scratch with a new regime.
The SEC, specifically the East Division
It was common knowledge that the East was once again the little brother in the Southeastern Conference. But the weaker half hit a new low in Week 14, with four of its members falling to ACC programs. The biggest surprise came when Georgia lost Between the Hedges to Georgia Tech. Mizzou, which lost earlier in the year to Indiana, will represent the division in Atlanta on Saturday. And to make matters worse for the league as a whole, Mississippi State’s lost in Oxford, which means the SEC will not gobble up two playoff spots next Sunday.
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