Heisman Watch: Make room for Tajh Boyd

540386.jpg

Heisman Watch: Make room for Tajh Boyd

Week 8 of the college football season dramatically altered both the BCS standings and the race for the Heisman Trophy.

The No. 6 ranked Wisconsin Badgers blew a 14-0 lead, came back from a 31-17 4th quarter deficit to tie it at 31, only to lose on an improbable Hail Mary as time expired.

The loss not only dropped Wisconsin to No. 15 in the BCS, but Russell Wilson's Heisman bid is practically a thing of the past.

The biggest shock of the weekend, however, was unquestionably Texas Tech's upset victory on the road at No. 3 Oklahoma. Landry Jones had a monster game (30-55, 412 yards, 5 TD, INT) but when you're team loses, you feel the effects in the Heisman Watch.

Fortunately for the Sooners, they only dropped to No. 9 in the BCS and still have three ranked opponents on the schedule to make up ground.

Does it make sense that Wisconsin fell nine spots after losing on a Hail Mary on the road against the No. 16 team, and Oklahoma only dropped six spots after losing to an unranked team at home? Of course not, but that's the world of the BCS.

The Heisman is also an imperfect science but it doesn't mean we don't try to get it right. Without further ado...

Rank Player, Position, School Recent Game Stats Season Stats Next Game 1 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 16-21, 169 yards, 2 TD in 65-21 win over 25 Washington 145-202 (72), 1888 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT, rush TD At USC (No. 20 AP Poll) 2 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 17 rush, 77 yards, 2 TD in 37-6 win over Tennessee 149 rush, 989 yards (6.6 YPC), 17 TD, 212 rec. yards, rec. TD Bye, No. 1 LSU 3 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson 27-46, 367 yards, 5 TD, rush TD in 59-38 win over North Carolina 172-278 (62), 2379 yards, 24 TD, 3 INT, 165 rush yards, 4 rush TD At Georgia Tech 4 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 23-29, 281 yards, 3 TD, INT in 37-26 win over Air Force 174-228 (76), 2010 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT Bye, At UNLV 5 Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State 33-49, 338 yards, 3 TD, INT in 45-24 win at Missouri 222-309 (72), 2436 yards, 19 TD, 7 INT Baylor
On the bubble: Robert Griffin IIIQBBaylor, Landry JonesQBOklahoma, Case KeenumQBHouston, Russell WilsonQBWisconsin

Analysis:

1) Andrew Luck: How was he supposed to put up big numbers when the Cardinal rushed for a school single-game record 446 yards? That surely won't be the case when Stanford travels to USC this weekend, as the Cardinal will need Luck's arm to get by the Trojans. But don't let anybody fool you, Stanford's season, and Luck's Heisman candidacy rides on the showdown November 12 with Oregon.

2) Trent Richardson: Had he not scored two touchdowns he probably would have slipped a spot in the rankings after registering just 77 yards rushing against Tennessee. Nonetheless, Richardson has a chance to steal in the show (and possibly the Heisman) when the Crimson Tide host No. 1 LSU on November 5 in the undisputed Game of the Year.

3) Tajh Boyd: Before the season, or before this week, or before one minute ago when you starting reading this blog, did you know who Tajh Boyd was? The redshirt sophomore has put himself, and No. 5 Clemson on the map and has the Tigers dreaming of a BCS tile game appearance (it's not a dream anymore, it's a reality). WARNING: Don't look past Georgia Tech this week -- yes, the Yellow Jackets have lost two in a row and have gone from No. 12 in the AP Poll to unranked, but they would like nothing more than to ruin your perfect season and then hope to meet you again in the ACC Championship Game. Consider yourself warned...
4) Kellen Moore: He had a solid game against Air Force but the Broncos shouldn't have struggled like they did against the Falcons. I said last week that Kellen Moore has smallest margin of error if he wants to remain in the Heisman hunt, and the same goes for Boise State's BCS quest. In reality, Boise has .00000009 chance of making the BCS National Championship Game but will surely earn a spot in a BCS game if they simply win out. Let's use this analogy for Moore's Heisman bid: He doesn't have a great shot at winning it (BCS Title Game) but if Boise wins out, he will be invited to New York (a BCS game).

5) Brandon Weeden: His 19 touchdowns to 7 interceptions doesn't scream "Heisman" but he is completing 72 of his passes and has thrown for 2436 yards for the No. 3 ranked team in the land. With a daunting schedule ahead (Baylor, No. 8 Kansas State, at No. 20 Texas Tech, at Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma) it's simple: If the Cowboys win out, they will be facing either LSU or Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, and Brandon Weeden will be in New York for the Heisman presentation.

Warriors bury Clippers rivalry with 50-point barrage in third quarter

Warriors bury Clippers rivalry with 50-point barrage in third quarter

OAKLAND -- The Warriors-Clippers rivalry, dead for a couple years, was buried 50 points deep Thursday night.

There were, and may always be, occasional fits of temper in which both players and officials will be tested. That surely was the case during the Warriors’ 123-113 victory over LA at Oracle Arena.

But scoring 50 points in 12 minutes, as the Warriors did in the third quarter, is a rather emphatic statement that serves as its own embellishment. It sent the Clippers back home, unable to muster even a half-hearted comeback.

“That was incredible,” Kevin Durant said of third-quarter scoring frenzy.

“That’s a lot of points,” Klay Thompson said. “It’s that the most we’ve had all season?”

Well, yes, it is. The Warriors’ previous high for points in a quarter was 45, also against the Clippers, on Jan. 28.

So this was astonishing even to the Warriors, the highest-scoring team in the NBA for three seasons running. This is the Warriors’ fourth 50-point quarter in franchise history and their first since March 1989. They made nine 3-pointers, tying a franchise record for triples in a quarter.

Fifties are rare, period; the last one by any team in the NBA was on March 25, 2014, when the Lakers dropped 51 in a quarter against the Knicks.

“I had no idea we scored that much,” said Stephen Curry, who scored 20 in the quarter -- 17 in the final 3:37 before halftime. “Obviously, coming back from 12 down to having a double-digit lead, it all started with the defensive end and finding transition.”

The scoring breakdown: Curry scored 20, Durant 15, Thompson 5, Andre Iguodala and Zaza Pachulia 4 each and JaVale McGee 2. The Warriors shot 73.9 percent (17-of-23) in the quarter.

“It all started from our defense, getting rebounds and getting out in transition,” Durant said.

The Warriors forced five LA turnovers in the quarter, off which they scored 11 points. Trailing by 12 at the half, they led by 12 entering the fourth quarter.

The Warriors have defeated the Clippers 10 consecutive times overall. They’ve beaten them 11 straight times at Oracle Arena. The average margin of victory in four games this season is 21.5 points.

This was a matter of how the Warriors responded to the threat posed by LA in the first half.

“I’m not sure what needed to happen,” Draymond Green said. “But I know we took that quarter over. And it was pretty spectacular.”

With Clippers rivalry over, Warriors feed off feud with Foster

With Clippers rivalry over, Warriors feed off feud with Foster

This will come as a sharp blow to Warrior fans who like things the way they are, but they probably can no longer use Scott Foster as an alibi for failure, or a stalking horse for rage.
 
Well, I mean they can, but let’s be honest here – the evidence just doesn’t support it any more.
 
Foster, who no matter what you say is one of the elite officials in the league, has also been cast as a bête noire by all things Golden State. Either he’s imperious, or he’s standoffish, or he makes himself too conspicuous – they’re all standard complaints made of all officials who aren’t otherwise branded as just plain terrible.
 
Only Foster isn’t terrible, given the fact that he has worked a series of NBA Finals, and that remains the gold standard for officiating.
 
But the Warriors bang their heads against the backboard when he works their games, and were on the verge of doing that again Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Foster called third quarter technicals on Andre Iguodala and the Warrior bench, and J.T. Orr called one on Draymond Green, all in the space of 6:34. The Warriors were unhinged, the fans were unhinged, innocent bystanders were being hit with flying hinges throughout the arena.
 
And in that stretch, the Warriors outscored the Clippers, 26-15, en route to a 50-point quarter (the first in two seasons and the third since the turn of the millennium) and another harsh slapdown of what used to be known as the Warriors-Clippers Cavalcade Of Hate, this time 123-113.
 
It isn’t that any more, not close. Truth is, the Warriors have won 10 consecutive games against the Clips, but probably never quite at decisively as this. At the game’s most lopsided stretch, Golden State outscored Los Angeles, 72-33, in a shade over 17 minutes.
 
Because that’s what they do.
 
Only this time, the comeback was not fueled by the existence of the Clippers, who had outplayed them pretty convincingly for the first 22 minutes and change, but with the officials, who as we have said before irk the hell out of them when their number includes Foster.
 
Who, again, is one of the game’s best officials. I think it’s a personality clash, to be frank, in which both sides can take some blame.
 
Truth is, though, when a team can go for 50 in a quarter and still have time to engage in a feud with the officials, it is making a kinky little statement about what they can do when enraged, and how difficult it is to stop them when they have a serious mad-on.
 
Yes, it is probably stretching a point to make this case, especially when the Warriors make 17 of 23 shots (9 of 15 from three) and assist on 13 of the 17 field goals. It is probably minimizing Stephen Curry’s 20-point quarter and his four assists, or Kevin Durant’s 15 and five rebounds, or David West imposing his body between Green and the officials to keep him from getting T’d up again for the second successive game.
 
But we have already established that rivalries are dying at their feet left and right. In the last three years the Clippers have gone from the Warriors’ arch-enemies to a team that has finished an aggregate 44 games behind the Dubs in the standings, making whatever animosity they can still stir 

Against the Clips a curio of a much earlier time. The Oklahoma City Thunder have come and gone, and even the Durant-Russell Westbrook has lost its last bit of elasticity.
 
Oh, there is still Cleveland, but that cannot be resumed for another 14 weeks at the earliest.
 
The Warriors, in short, have run out of opponents, and given that they will manufacture a foe when one does not otherwise exist, Scott Foster may have to serve for the time being, even if he is nothing but an intermittent prop to amuse the customers when the game cannot provide.
 
Though you’d have to think the third quarter Thursday makes that pretty thin oatmeal. The Warriors ate an entire game in 12 minutes, including the officials. They seemed like they got their fill.