CFB Midterms: Missouri, Mariota, Manziel get "A's" - WSET.com - ABC13

CFB Midterms: Missouri, Mariota, Manziel get "A's"

Posted: Updated:
Undefeated Missouri, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel received "A's" on the midterm college football report card. (AP Photos) Undefeated Missouri, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel received "A's" on the midterm college football report card. (AP Photos)

Time for midterms.

The college football season has reached the halfway mark and it's time to assess what's happened and what's ahead.

So far there haven't been a many surprises. Alabama is No. 1. No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Ohio State are national title contenders. No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Florida State are the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Louisville is plowing through a weak schedule. Johnny Manziel has been at his Johnny Football best, a leading Heisman Trophy contender, along with a group of star quarterbacks that includes Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and Tajh Boyd. Florida State's remarkable redshirt freshman Jameis Winston has also been added to the list.

Utah's victory against No. 13 Stanford on Saturday represents the only victory by an unranked team against a top-10 team.

It isn't terribly surprising that Southern California and Connecticut are looking for new coaches, though the timing — Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni were fired before October — was startling.

The offensive revolution has now engulfed the Southeastern Conference, thought by its loyalists to be the last bastion of good defense. Only three SEC teams (Florida, Alabama, South Carolina) rank among the top-25 total defenses in the country. The SEC is still, however, the best conference in the country. This week it set a record with eight teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Its only real challenger: the Pac-12, led by Oregon, No. 9 UCLA, Stanford and No. 20 Washington.

No. 12 Baylor is the new Oregon, with its warp-speed offense threatening to smash records and maybe even win the Big 12.

The targeting rule that now includes ejections for illegal hits to the heads has been more of a nuisance than a game-changer — so far. It's also still a work in progress.

Jadeveon Clowney's Heisman campaign didn't make it past the opening night of the season. There's been much debate and chatter about South Carolina's sensational defensive end, who has played hurt and below lofty expectations. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier didn't help the situation by letting the world know Clowney made himself a late scratch for a game. More drama than sacks for Clowney at this point — but still few NFL teams would pass on him.

Remember when Manziel was considered the problem child of college football?

The best and worst of the first half.

PLEASANT SURPRISES

1. No. 14 Missouri (6-0). Gary Pinkel came into the season on the hot seat. Now the road to the SEC East title runs through Columbia, Mo.

2. Tulane (5-2). The Green Wave already have more wins than they did the last two years combined. Second-year coach Curtis Johnson has a program that was all but washed away by Hurricane Katrina in 2007 on course for its first winning season since 2002. If the Wave can keep it up, they'll be one of the best stories in college football.

3. No. 16 Texas Tech (6-0). Former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury proves as a coach he's more than just a pretty face.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

1. North Carolina (1-4). The Tar Heels were expected to contend with Virginia Tech and Miami in the ACC. Injuries have played a role, but getting blown out by East Carolina does not suggest a turnaround is coming.

2. Vanderbilt (3-3). James Franklin has set a new standard at Vandy, so no more treating the Commodores with kid gloves. They've won three games against terrible teams and lost three against good ones. More was expected.

3. Texas (4-2). Sure the Longhorns just beat Oklahoma, but are we supposed pretend those epic beatdowns by BYU and Mississippi didn't happen?

BEST TRUE FRESHMEN

1. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida. The Gators' secondary is full of studs and Hargreaves might be the most talented. He has three interceptions and five pass breakups, both lead the team.

2. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has 32 catches, second-best on the team, and has quickly become one of the team's most reliable weapons.

3. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State. Leads the Big Ten at 278 yards per game. Needs to become more accurate, but at 18 he's more than held his own.

Honorable mention: Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech, who has gone from walk-on to starter.

COACHES IN TROUBLE(asterisk)

(asterisk)Mack Brown not included

1. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest. Beating NC State last time out got the Demon Deacons to 3-3. Bowl-eligible might be good enough for Grobe, but a fourth season in the past five with no postseason might be too much even at a place where expectations are modest.

2. Mike London, Virginia. The Cavaliers (2-4) are heading toward a third losing season in four under London. They play the next three at home (Duke, Georgia Tech and Clemson), when they're done we'll probably have a good idea about London's future.

3. Ron English, Eastern Michigan. In 2011, English led the perpetually downtrodden Eagles to a 6-6 season. Seems like a long time ago. EMU is 1-5, with no wins against FBS teams and English is 11-43 overall.

HALFWAY HEISMAN

1. Mariota.

2. Manziel

Both have been spectacular, producing crazy stats and endless highlights. Manziel has been a little more careless (five interceptions) than Mariota (zero picks), so for now, the Ducks' QB is on top.

3. Winston. Ranks second in the country in passer rating and yards per attempt, and if he can lead Florida State to a win at Clemson on Saturday he might take the lead in the Heisman race.

Honorable mention: Pryce Petty, QB, Baylor. The numbers are crazy, but the schedule has been too cushy.

BCS PROJECTIONS

Rose Bowl — UCLA vs. Ohio State.

Orange Bowl — Florida State vs. Louisville.

Sugar Bowl — South Carolina vs. Wisconsin.

Fiesta Bowl — Baylor vs. Clemson.

National championship — Alabama vs. Oregon.

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • 2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:40:23 GMT
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.
  • Auburn football announces two-game series with Clemson

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:38:41 GMT
    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to a two-game series beginning in 2016. Auburn will host Clemson on Sept. 3, 2016 and play at Clemson's Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.The programs have played 49 times in the past, including three times in the last five years. Auburn leads the all-time series 34-13-2 despite losing the last two times it's played Clemson, in 2011 and 2012.The agreement with Clemson will fulfill Auburn's obligation to play at least one non-conference opponent from a Power 5 co...
    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to a two-game series beginning in 2016. Auburn will host Clemson on Sept. 3, 2016 and play at Clemson's Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.The programs have played 49 times in the past, including three times in the last five years. Auburn leads the all-time series 34-13-2 despite losing the last two times it's played Clemson, in 2011 and 2012.The agreement with Clemson will fulfill Auburn's obligation to play at least one non-conference opponent from a Power 5 co...
  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:12:02 GMT
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...
  • UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:58:33 GMT
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.
  • Roddy White gets three-year extension from Atlanta Falcons

    Roddy White gets three-year extension from Atlanta Falcons

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:58:02 GMT
    Roddy White is set to sign a contract extension that will keep him in Atlanta for four more seasons.
    Roddy White is set to sign a contract extension that will keep him in Atlanta for four more seasons.
  • Local SportsMore>>

  • 2014 PGA Championship Field: Shoal Creek golf pro readies for chance of a lifetime

    2014 PGA Championship Field: Shoal Creek golf pro readies for chance of a lifetime

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-08-01 16:33:37 GMT
    A look at the 154 players who have qualified for the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
    A look at the 154 players who have qualified for the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
  • Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:47:50 GMT
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.
  • Former NBA, Alabama player Leon Douglas hired as new basketball coach at Miles College

    Former NBA, Alabama player Leon Douglas hired as new basketball coach at Miles College

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:38:15 GMT
    Former Alabama and NBA player Leon Douglas has been named head coach at Miles College.
    Former Alabama and NBA player Leon Douglas has been named head coach at Miles College.
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Proposed EPA rule could affect Alabama coal industry, power rates

    Proposed EPA rule could affect Alabama coal industry, power rates

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:03 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:03:07 GMT
    Within the next 15 years, President Barack Obama wants to cut carbon emissions nationally by 30 percent.The Alabama Public Service Commission calls the president's clean power plan a war on coal. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees. It says the plan would quash the development of more than 220,000 jobs per year.Environmental groups, on the other hand, love the proposed rule. They say it will clean the air and cut heal...
    Within the next 15 years, President Barack Obama wants to cut carbon emissions nationally by 30 percent.The Alabama Public Service Commission calls the president's clean power plan a war on coal. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees. It says the plan would quash the development of more than 220,000 jobs per year.Environmental groups, on the other hand, love the proposed rule. They say it will clean the air and cut heal...
  • Tuscaloosa police: Missing teen found safe

    Tuscaloosa police: Missing teen found safe

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:22:11 GMT
    TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- A Tuscaloosa girl who went missing nearly a week ago has been found, police said late Friday afternoon.
    TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- A Tuscaloosa girl who went missing nearly a week ago has been found, police said late Friday afternoon.
  • Shoppers take advantage of 'tax-free' holiday August 1-3

    Shoppers take advantage of 'tax-free' holiday August 1-3

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:20:02 GMT
    Moms and dads across most of the Birmingham area have an opportunity to check off their child's 'back-to-school' list and save money at the same time. The tax-free holiday is this weekend.
    Moms and dads across most of the Birmingham area have an opportunity to check off their child's 'back-to-school' list and save money at the same time. The tax-free holiday is this weekend.
  • Birmingham man charged, accused of setting house on fire while 2 people were inside

    Birmingham man charged, accused of setting house on fire while 2 people were inside

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:29:32 GMT
    A Birmingham man on probation for manslaughter has been accused of setting fire to a home while two people were inside.
    A Birmingham man on probation for manslaughter has been accused of setting fire to a home while two people were inside.
  • Alabama Power cutting back coal use at 3 plants due to federal environmental rules

    Alabama Power cutting back coal use at 3 plants due to federal environmental rules

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:12:34 GMT
    Alabama Power says it is cutting back on coal use at three generating plants because of federal environmental rules.
    Alabama Power says it is cutting back on coal use at three generating plants because of federal environmental rules.
  • Brookwood Fire announces rodeo

    Brookwood Fire announces rodeo

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:55:58 GMT
    3d Rodeo Company is putting on Brookwood Fire Department's annual rodeo.
    3d Rodeo Company is putting on Brookwood Fire Department's annual rodeo.
  • Dr. Craig Pouncey looks to the future of JeffCo schools

    Dr. Craig Pouncey looks to the future of JeffCo schools

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:43:25 GMT
    With a new superintendent at the helm, the Jefferson County school district is in launch mode for the future. Dr. Craig Pouncey is determined to make the district the best in the state. To do so, he plans to engage local communities as well as the system's personnel on a much stronger level than they've seen. Pouncey understands communication can go a long way in solving problems. One of those problems Pouncey wants to nip in the bud is more municipalities in the county considering breaking ...
    With a new superintendent at the helm, the Jefferson County school district is in launch mode for the future. Dr. Craig Pouncey is determined to make the district the best in the state. To do so, he plans to engage local communities as well as the system's personnel on a much stronger level than they've seen. Pouncey understands communication can go a long way in solving problems. One of those problems Pouncey wants to nip in the bud is more municipalities in the county considering breaking ...
  • Official: NYPD officer's chokehold during arrest caused man's death

    Official: NYPD officer's chokehold during arrest caused man's death

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:42:04 GMT
    A chokehold used by a white police officer on a black New York City man during his arrest for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes last month caused his death, the medical examiner announced Friday, ruling it a homicide.
    A chokehold used by a white police officer on a black New York City man during his arrest for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes last month caused his death, the medical examiner announced Friday, ruling it a homicide.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSET. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.