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stormstopper

Conference Commissioner
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stormstopper last won the day on April 2

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About stormstopper

  • Rank
    Tigerslayer, Duck Hunter
  • Birthday 06/05/1993

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

CFBHC

  • Favorite Team
    Duke Blue Devils

Coaching Information

  • Offense
    11
  • Defense
    16
  • Special Teams
    9
  • Clock Mgmt
    12
  • Discipline
    12
  • Youth Mgmt
    16
  • CFBHC Career
    Kansas Jayhawks (2014-Present)
  • NFLHC Career
    Cleveland Browns Owner (2014-2016), Chicago Bears Owner/GM (2017-Present)
  • Achievements
    2x Big XII Champion (2014, 2018)

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  1. I've wanted to go to Paris for years and years now, and the Notre Dame fire adds a bit of urgency to that. Le Louvre and La Tour Eiffel are obviously on the list, definitely want to get in a PSG match, and if there's an architecture tour then I so want in, plus anything else that can fit in within that whirlwind timeline. I'm bringing Darman of course.
  2. College: Amral Brown. My current runningback does not meet the Walrus test (i.e. "is he better than Paul Gibbs). Amral is one of the better players named Brown in the history of the Big XII (he's no Brian or Sterling, but he's really good.) Pros: LaMont Sheriff. To serve and protect our backfield, keep the bad guys out, be easily marketable, and also to take him away from Detroit.
  3. Thanks! And I go back five years, which when I was setting up the formula in the first place seemed to have a stronger relationship with success than a four-year or two-year average. For programs that have been around less than five years I just use the average from all existing years, which is less precise but the best I have.
  4. Due to the easier accessibility of player stats thanks to @Jieret and everyone who helped put together the consolidated statsheet, the nerds at the Chicago Tribune's college football analytics department have a lot less work to do to put together the annual preseason ratings. That means that teaser time comes early as well in the form of our (hopefully annual) outlook ratings. As a reminder, the formula used takes into account past performance, recruiting rankings, and returning production. What you're about to see is where that as-yet-unreleased final rating compares to last year's performance as measured by readjusted margin of victory (which is opponent-adjusted margin of victory, but opponent-adjusted a second time)--not in comparison to their win-loss record. We'll also include which category each team does best in, weighted the same way that the preseason ratings formula is weighted. From worst to best, the outlook ratings go: Freefall (regression worse than 2 standard deviations below the mean, 6 teams) Bearish (regression worse than 1 standard deviation below the mean, 14 teams) Mildly Bearish (regression worse than one-third of one standard deviation below the mean, 27 teams) Steady (within one-third of one standard deviation of the mean in either direction, 42 teams) Mildly Bullish (improvement better than one-third of one standard deviation above the mean, 33 teams) Bullish (improvement better than 1 standard deviation above the mean, 19 teams) Skyrocketing (improvement better than 2 standard deviations above the mean, 1 team) One standard deviation corresponds to ~21.6 spots in outlook regression/improvement. This is NOT the preseason ratings, just the one-year trend. A really good team in 2022 with a bearish outlook in 2023 can still be expected to be better than a really bad team in 2022 with a bullish outlook in 2023, and last year's top teams are generally not gonna rate above "steady" just because they have no room to improve. AAC East Cincinnati: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Connecticut: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance East Carolina: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production USF: Bullish (no pun intended); Best Category: Recruiting Temple: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting UCF: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting AAC West Houston: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Memphis: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Navy: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Tulsa: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance SMU: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Tulane: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance ACC Atlantic Boston College: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Clemson: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Florida State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Louisville: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production NC State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Syracuse: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Wake Forest: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance ACC Coastal Duke: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Georgia Tech: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Miami (FL): Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting North Carolina: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Pittsburgh: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Virginia: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Virginia Tech: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big XII Conference Iowa State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Kansas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Kansas State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Oklahoma: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting West Virginia: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Baylor: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Oklahoma State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance TCU: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Texas: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting Texas Tech: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big Ten East Indiana: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Maryland: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Michigan: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Michigan State: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Ohio State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Penn State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Rutgers: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big Ten West Illinois: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Iowa: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Minnesota: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Nebraska: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Northwestern: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Purdue: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Wisconsin: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance C-USA East Charlotte: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Florida International: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Marshall: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Middle Tennessee: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Old Dominion: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Western Kentucky: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Florida Atlantic: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting C-USA West Louisiana Tech: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Rice: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting North Texas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Southern Miss: Skyrocketing; Best Category: Returning Production UTEP: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production UTSA: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production UAB: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production MAC East Akron: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Bowling Green: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Buffalo: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Kent State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Miami (OH): Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Ohio: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance MAC West Ball State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Central Michigan: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production Eastern Michigan: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Northern Illinois: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Toledo: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Western Michigan: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance MWC Mountain Air Force: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Boise State: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Colorado State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance New Mexico: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Utah State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Wyoming: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance MWC West Fresno State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Hawaii: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Nevada: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting San Diego State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting San Jose State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance UNLV: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Pac-12 North California: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Oregon: Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting Oregon State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Stanford: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Washington: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Washington State: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Pac-12 South Arizona: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Arizona State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Colorado: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance UCLA: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting USC: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Utah: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance SEC East Florida: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Georgia: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Kentucky: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Missouri: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting South Carolina: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Tennessee: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Vanderbilt: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting SEC West Alabama: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Arkansas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Auburn: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance LSU: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Mississippi State: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Ole Miss: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Texas A&M: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Sun Belt East Appalachian State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Coastal Carolina: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Georgia Southern: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Georgia State: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Troy: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Sun Belt West Arkansas State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Louisiana-Lafayette: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Louisiana-Monroe: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance South Alabama: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Texas State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting FBS Independents Notre Dame: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance BYU: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Army: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production UMass: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Liberty: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production New Mexico State: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting FCS* Delaware: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Eastern Washington: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Harvard: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Illinois State: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance James Madison: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production Montana: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance New Hampshire: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production North Dakota: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance North Dakota State: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Northern Iowa: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production South Dakota State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Youngstown State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production *note: FCS ratings are less likely to be reliable due to their one-game non-conference schedule and only one year of data
  5. Kenyon Randall with more yards passing than rushing? Hey Lions, I think your LeCount dilemma has a solution...
  6. If your NFLHC team page is not up to date, please get it up to date ASAP. If your NFLHC team page is up to date, please treat yourself to something nice such as a pat on the back or a cookie.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      The Platonic ideal of a cookie is a made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookie imo. With just enough of a splash of vanilla to make it pop. Outside of that, Insomnia Cookies are always great. 

    3. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      @thatfunk Please update your team page

    4. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      @Nmize0 Please update your team page

  7. Congratulations @Rome! Tough finish, Danger, but between the talent you have returning and the fresh blood you have coming in TCU will be on the short list of favorites for next year. And the year after that. And beyond.
  8. 2022 CFBHC National Championship Game: #6 TCU (13-2) vs. #1 Auburn (14-1) (-1.5) We move in circles Balanced all the while On a gleaming razor's edge A perfect sphere Colliding with our fate This story ends where it began Preseason #1 Auburn and preseason #2 TCU kicked off this season in New Orleans oh so many months ago. Since then, we've seen the landscape of college football shift over and over again. We saw players like Troy McMurray rise from obscurity to seize the nation's rapt attention, and known stars like Solomon McLaughlin rewrite the record books entirely. We saw North Dakota State and James Madison highlight an exciting season in the rapidly growing FCS. We saw teams like Nebraska and Kentucky and Colorado rise from obscurity to impact the national picture. We saw teams like Michigan, Georgia, Texas A&M, San Diego State, Clemson, USC, Alabama, and even the Big XII's own Oklahoma find themselves into contention, only to fall heartbreakingly short. And now the dust has settled, we return back to the Superdome in New Orleans, and the final two teams standing are the same two preseason favorites who started this season with a bang. TCU versus Auburn, with a first national title for either program hanging in the balance. It doesn't get bigger than this. When these two teams met at the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of the 2022 season), Auburn came out ahead--and don't let the 31-24 final score mislead you into thinking the game was close most of the way. The Tigers never trailed, led 24-10 heading into the fourth quarter, and only a late flurry by the Frogs brought the scoreline back into competitive territory. Auburn's offense was dominated, with presumptive top-ten draft pick Marcus Black throwing for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns while Sean Meade ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Wide receiver Jariel Martinez (6 for 94 yards, 1 TD) was one of the few receivers to win a head-to-head matchup with William Cooper, and true freshman slot receiver Benjamin Hurd put up 85 yards and a touchdown on 4 catches to win the matchup against fellow true frosh Patrick Ross. Auburn's offense steamrolled, and TCU's offense was merely solid. But this is hardly the same TCU team that played in week 0. For instance, Felix Luck threw 41 passes against Auburn the first time around, completing 27 of them for 305 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That was a solid effort, but it was also borne out of a lack of faith in the run game that limited Martin Gifford to just 55 yards and a touchdown on a mere 12 carries. That's not TCU's strategy anymore. That's the only time that Gifford has not carried the ball at least 20 times in a game, and he's rushed for at least 100 yards seven times out of fifteen. He was instrumental in TCU's first win over Oklahoma when Felix Luck struggled. He's shown that he can torch a team that doesn't respect him, putting up 167 yards and 3 touchdowns on Iowa State and 138 yards and 3 touchdowns on Kansas. And he's allowed Felix Luck to evolve from a high-volume slinger into a quarterback who marries efficiency and volume as well as any TCU quarterback ever has. He will set the TCU single-season completion percentage record; he's currently a tick under 64.0%. His 148.1 passer rating is on pace for a school record as well. He's matched his own school record with 31 touchdown passes, and his career-best 1.5% interception rate isn't far off from the school record either. The tandem of Luck and Gifford is part of what makes this the highest-scoring offense TCU has ever had (which will remain true even if they are shut out against Auburn). But what separates them from, say, Texas is that they can hit you downfield as well. Finn Nielsen was the most consistently effective Horned Frog on offense against Auburn, reeling in 7 catches for 112 yards. That previewed a season in which he caught 60 passes for 925 yards and 9 touchdowns. Nielsen is surehanded, he gets yards after the catch, and he's been TCU's most effective wide receiver by far. He'll be lined up against Dennis Beach, who intercepted 4 passes (one returned for a touchdown) and batted down two in the regular season. His counterpart, senior Miles Key, had 5 picks and 3 pass breakups and will be matched up against Griffin McHanna primarily. TCU has to win one of those matchups, and they'll likely pin their hopes on Nielsen. Adding to that equation is tight end Miguel Aguilera (85 catches for 1102 yards, 9 TD), who had a solid game against Auburn but lost his only fumble of the season as well. None of Auburn's five options are perfect for covering him: either you bring Brett Combs out of run stop, you bring Francesco Tidwell out of the pass rush, you cover him with Brian Jensen, you bring free safety Daniel Joiner down and leave true freshman Jackson Smith on an island, or you cover him with true freshman strong safety Jackson Smith. Reading how the defense handles Aguilera will be crucial, because that will expose where Nielsen, McHanna, and even F.T. Grady can slide in to make plays. And Felix Luck will have to make that read quickly, because there's not a lot of time to breathe against this defensive front. That's particularly true thanks to true freshman right end Myles Wallace, who should be on every NFL team's radar for 2025 or 2026. He had a monstrous regular season with 11.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 fumbles forced, a safety, and 35 tackles. He and middle linebacker Brett Combs are a ferocious 1-2 punch, with Combs adding 45 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, a sack, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Of their four combined forced fumbles in the regular season, two were against TCU in the opener. That's despite Wallace lining up against TCU's Tyson Chadwick. The Horned Frogs should also worry about Thomas Handy (even with a mere 2.5 sacks and 1 TFL in the regular season) lining up against Hayden Breaux. Auburn has a lot of different guys who can rush the passer, stop the run, set the edge, hurry the quarterback--anything and everything. TCU has one of the best offensive lines in the country to counter them. If they win that matchup up front, they will be in good shape on offense. Auburn is the #10 scoring defense in the nation--but they're also the #7 scoring offense, making them one of just three teams to rank in the top 10 in both categories. We've talked about how Marcus Black, Sean Meade, and company impacted the game the first time around. After that, though, both basically continued the same trajectory they set for the rest of the season. Black completed 65.9% of his passes for 3625 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions in the regular season; he also added 6 rushing touchdowns. He's not going to take you to the house with his legs for the most part--but his running ability makes him a great closer in the red zone. His arm is special. He can make every throw in the book, and he's good at finding his home-run threats. Jariel Martinez had drop issues during the regular season, with 4 miscues against 6 touchdown catches. But when he hung on, he averaged over 16.4 yards per catch in the regular season. Benjamin Hurd was more reliable, even if he was targeted less. He was even more explosive, averaging nearly 17.5 yards a catch. But their everydown threat, who only had 3 catches for 53 yards back in week 0, is Kelvin Andrade. He uses his speed to get just enough separation, to slither into just wide enough of a gap, and then once he makes the catch you have to tackle him immediately or he'll take as many extra yards as you give him. Roman Blackmon did a fantastic job on him last time. He'll need to do the same again, because the last thing TCU wants is for Auburn to feel like they can start lining up deep shot after deep shot. That's gotten TCU into trouble a couple of times, even if they've been able to survive it. TCU has to turn the deep ball into a low-percentage play, which is the case for most quarterbacks not named Marcus Black. That means they need the game of Ian Worley's and Anthony Easter's life. That means they need to limit Sean Meade, who seems to be rounding back into form after a major midseason swoon. Meade has played a complementary role similar to Gifford this season: he can take the top off a defense that doesn't bother to check him, but otherwise Auburn is satisfied if he can get 100 yards and a touchdown or two. Slowing him down, however, means that Auburn will have longer passing-down situations to deal with, which means they can't use the threat of a checkdown or a screen to draw the secondary closer to the line of scrimmage to open up the deep ball. But most importantly, they'll have to get into the backfield. The Horned Frogs have a number of guys who are capable of bringing pressure from all sides of the equation. Chance Herring is chief among that group, with 7.0 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. But they can also get defensive ends Aidan Morrell (5.0 sacks, 2 TFL) and Aidan McAlister (4.5 sacks, 1 TFL) around the edge, and they can get defensive tackles Kwon Shaw (6.0 sacks, 5 TFL) and Jasiah Pickens (5.0 sacks) to bring pressure straight up the middle. They got into the backfield in week 0, though, with Herring sacking Black and recording one of the team's three tackles for loss. This is a very, very good Auburn offensive line they're facing. The Tigers start four seniors led by left guard Charlie Cooper, along with redshirt freshman left tackle Julien Reagan. No matter where TCU brings pressure from, this is a unit that's capable of reading it and adjusting in real time--and, of course, it's capable of winning the physical battle as well. They allowed just 9 sacks during the regular season. TCU will need at least 1, and should hope to get at least 2. It's hard to say that this game will be decided in any one area or another. Everything's interconnected, and there are simply no obvious matchup advantages. Auburn's ability to stop the run will feed into TCU's ability to balance the offense, which will feed into Auburn's ability to anticipate the pass, which will feed into TCU's ability to stay on the field, which will feed into TCU's defense's ability to stay fresh, which will feed into TCU's ability to bring consistent pressure, which will feed into Auburn's ability to move the ball like they did in week 0, and so on. If this game comes down to kicking, you have to like Eric McCurdy--after all, he didn't miss a kick in the regular season at all, whereas William Finn has struggled from long range. If the game comes down to field position, whoever turns it over less will obviously be favored--but in the event of a tie, TCU's Evan Coon is a better punter than Auburn's Angelo McCollum. And if it comes down to returning, it's hard to bet against TCU's Griffin McHanna, who has 1313 kick and punt return yards this season and 3 punt return touchdowns. The TCU team that will show up on Monday night is lightyears ahead of the one that started the season. They're more balanced on offense. They're capable of running the ball, they're more efficient through the air, and Auburn has to respect both elements now rather than leaning on the pass like they did last time. Their defense had one of its worst games against Auburn. The last time the defense underperformed was the second game against Oklahoma; it brought its A-game for round three. I think they will do a better job of containing Auburn's speedy receivers and keep a similar level of pressure on the Auburn backfield. I think Felix Luck to Finn Nielsen will be a connection that's there all day. I think it will be a close fight, an exciting battle befitting of the nation's most exciting conference--and I think it will be a TCU win. #6 TCU 23, #1 Auburn 17
  9. Obscure records department: Donald Garrett has broken the Big XII career record for most wins by a QB (in which he threw the majority of his team's passes in that game) with fewer than 100 passing yards with his 7th such win. Chase Shapiro (6) was the previous owner of that record, then Mel Stover (5) when UCF was a Big XII member in 2013. The other quarterbacks to do so at least twice: Ralph McCrary (3), Jeremy Hubbard (2), and Nathan Burden (2). Of the 30 Big XII games won by quarterbacks who threw for fewer than 100 yards, 16 have been won by Texas Tech. This is also the fourth game in Big XII history in which a quarterback won with fewer than 100 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and at least one interception (Stover, Hubbard, and Burden had the others). It's the first bowl win by a Big XII quarterback who did not record a passer rating of 100 or better. It's the eighth-lowest passer rating in a win in Big XII history and the lowest since Kansas State upset Houston in 2018 with 28 yards on 4-of-9 passing from Aiden Higgins in 2018. So Solomon had even less help than normal but still decided he was going to put the team on his back and there was nothing anybody else could do about it.
  10. Sugar Bowl: Texas Tech (8-4) vs. #12 Georgia (10-3) (-9.5) One last time, a living legend of the nation's most exciting conference will take the field. His final challenge: take on the nation's #1 scoring defense and come out on top. Most teams that face Georgia simply don't see the other side of 16 points. The Bulldogs have held their last three opponents, six of their last seven, and nine out of thirteen overall to 16 or fewer, and a lot of that has come as a result of several unsung heroes. Dominique Dawkins is the big name to know, and most of the time he's the glue that holds the whole unit together from the free safety spot. He made extremely little impact on the statsheet until the very end of the season, when he had a pick-six and two pass breakups against Georgia Tech and another interception in the SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Having Dawkins back there lets the rest of Georgia's defense stick to their assignments and attack more recklessly. It allows redshirt freshman cornerback Davion Mayo to gamble more, and that's resulted in 9 interceptions and 6 pass breakups for him. (No other Bulldog has more than two.) And it allows the trio of right end Omar Barner (9.5 sacks, 11 TFL), left end Jaylin Cox (6.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF), and right outside linebacker Brendan Benson (8.0 sacks, 6 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF) more time to get into the backfield and make their presence felt. This Texas Tech offense will test Georgia's defense up front. Texas Tech has a very good offensive line, and despite the productivity of that trio it's easy to see it matching up favorably with the Bulldog front. The main spot of worry is whether Cox can get penetration against the right side of the Red Raider line, but neither he nor left outside linebacker Nathaniel Snow has been all that productive of a run stopper. Certainly the Red Raiders will be ecstatic to have standout sophomore center Charlie Becker matched up against nose tackle Tanielu Aiavao. Winning those matchups up front is crucial for Texas Tech's offense for the obvious reason of springing Solomon McLaughlin loose. With Dominique Dawkins and strong safety Jarvis Bolton each likely to spend a lot of time down in the box, getting McLaughlin through that first level becomes even more important. After all, one of the hardest tasks in college football is stopping McLaughlin in space. He averages more than 6.0 yards per carry, even though there is no subtlety about this offense whatsoever. Yes, you'll stack the box and get him behind the line sometimes. But give him an inch and he'll take a mile. He's had a rush of 25 yards or longer in eight different games this season, a rush of 31 yards or longer in six, and who can forget the 86-yard touchdown run that highlighted his 307-yard performance against South Alabama early in the season? This season, he has rushed for a career-high 1,911 yards this season. He needs 89 yards to have the Big XII's first 2,000-yard rushing season since Sterling Brown and Trace Buchanan in 2013--and in 38 career games played he has never, ever, ever rushed for fewer than 100 yards. He's rushed for 73 career touchdowns, two short of two-time Doak Walker Award-winner Sterling Brown's conference record that was once thought unbreakable. Texas Tech would ordinarily look to get McLaughlin the ball because he's one of the best players in the country at any position. But with the potential to make history, this will be special. Whereas Texas Tech firmly believes that the forward pass was a mistake, Georgia embraces it cautiously but not wholeheartedly. The future of their offense is true sophomore quarterback Zeke Burkett, who accounts for 213.3 yards per game for them. He completes 65.6% of his passes with 17 passing touchdowns, 6 rushing touchdowns (almost exclusively on short-yardage), 7 interceptions, and 2 fumbles lost. Much of that is propped up by stellar out-of-conference numbers against four opponents who combined for 14 wins, however. Against SEC opponents (including Auburn in the SEC Championship Game), he's a 60.4% passer who averages 182.9 yards per game with 7 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and still 2 fumbles lost. Of those 7 passing touchdowns in SEC play, 5 have gone to true freshman Joel Dorsey (59 for 801 yards, 8 TD for the whole sesaon). Leonard Elam has been the other top target (61 for 783 yards, 4 TD), but he's also dropped 5 passes outright. Elam has only reached the 70-yard mark once against an SEC foe. Usually Elam lines up at split end, which is more likely to be the assignment of Nigel Wooten; that means #2 corner Jamie Blake is going to be the one to contain the speedster Dorsey. I like Texas Tech's secondary to be able to at least keep a handle on that side of the offense. Georgia will also try and keep things somewhat balanced via the efforts of junior runningback Grant McLean. He's carried the ball 280 times for 1,485 yards (5.3 yards per carry, 114.2 yards per game), 14 touchdowns, and 2 fumbles lost. Those are great numbers, but they're also inflated by Georgia's non-conference play. Against SEC foes, he's rushed for 824 yards on 187 carries--that's barely 4.4 yards a pop and 91.6 yards per game--and his touchdown in the SEC Championship Game broke a four-game scoring drought against conference opponents. The Bulldogs have a very good offensive line, led by left tackle Shane McCord. His matchup against Curtis Jones should be a treat to watch, but the matchup that ought to make more of an impact will be Samir Sample against the much weaker right side of the Georgia line. Sample has been a force, sacking the quarterback 8 times and blowing up the run in the backfield 16 times this year. He'll be lined up against a true freshman in Max Shaffer, and I don't think that's something Georgia's going to be able to handle. Try to run, and Sample will be there. Try to pass, and there will be traffic thanks to linebackers Josh Poe Jr. and Ralph McAdams--in addition to a strong if low-impact secondary. This game will come down to whether or not McLaughlin can claw through the Georgia defense, because I think Texas Tech's defense will have a good day against Georgia. And I believe in McLaughlin. I believe in Charlie Becker and the offensive line. I think they match up well against Georgia, I think they have the best player on the field, and I think Texas Tech will pull the upset in New Orleans. Texas Tech 28, #12 Georgia 21
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