NCAA

Wisconsin Badgers Have Easiest Road to College Football Playoff

Wisconsin Badgers Football College Football Playoff

(Photo Credit: Athlon Sports)

Although the #5-ranked Wisconsin Badgers are undefeated and have an excellent football team, a dark cloud hangs over the team: it will not face a ranked opponent until the Big Ten Championship Game, which will take place on December 2, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Indianapolis Colts) in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Badgers will most likely play either #2-ranked Penn State or #6-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. An undefeated record in regular season competition and defeating Penn State or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game should be enough to put the Badgers in the College Football Playoff.

National Championship Dark Horse: Wisconsin Badgers

Focusing on each team it encounters each week, and not worrying about polls and external analyses and prognostications, Wisconsin positions itself for the College Playoff and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. While most devote their dominant attention to teams like Alabama, Penn State, Georgia, TCU, Ohio State, and Clemson, they fail to see just how talented the Badgers are. Regardless of the teams the Badgers have beat, a sophisticated observer can recognize that this team matches up well with any team in the country. Any team that Wisconsin plays better be equipped to withstand the physicality it brings.

On offense, Wisconsin has arguably the best offensive line in the nation—and it’s a huge, athletic, and punishing offensive line! Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, already receiving Heisman Trophy consideration, has 149 carries and 1,112 rushing yards. Sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook has completed 98 of 149 passes attempted (a completion rate of 65.8%) with 13 touchdowns. The Badgers, therefore, feature a balanced and effective offense.

The team has the #6-ranked defense in total yards.

Beware of the Wisconsin Badgers

This is one of the smartest and most disciplined teams in the nation. In his third year at Wisconsin, Head Coach Paul Chryst has a 28-6 record (an undefeated bowl record at Wisconsin). His team is simply wonderful in all three dimensions of the game: offense, defense, and special teams.

In short, with great coaching, an impressive offense, and a top-ranked defense, the Wisconsin Badgers are ready to surprise many people when they win the Big Ten Championship, advance to the College Playoff, and win the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Advertisements

Arkansas Must Fire Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney

Arkansas Razorbacks Football

(Photo Credit: Whole Hogs Sports)

Although Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney had some positive play-calling moments against Texas A&M, he’s not the appropriate fit for the power running game Bret Bielema is establishing at Arkansas.  During the first half of the Auburn loss, Jim Chaney also had some positive play-calling moments. Unfortunately, in losses to both Auburn and Texas A&M, Chaney has demonstrated he cannot stay committed to the power running game.  He seems to be more interested in moving the Arkansas offensive into more of a passing team.  While no one is expecting him to never call a pass play, it’s vital for Chaney to understand when to employ the passing game.  Arkansas isn’t built to be a passing offense with the current players the team has and with the players it has recruited.  Bret Bielema has intentionally recruited players for a physical power running game.  For Chaney to continue to neglect the running game, especially at crucial points in games, is an affront to Bielema’s leadership.

Yes, Brandon Allen has demonstrated he can provide Arkansas with a much needed passing game, but Chaney shouldn’t get carried away with the passing game as he has.  His play-calling has been quite questionable in games against Auburn, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M.  In the Auburn game, his failure to make a commitment to the running game resulted in Auburn defeating Arkansas in the second half.  On the last play in overtime against Texas A&M, the Texas A&M defense dared him to throw the ball by loading the box with 8 to 9 men, and he foolishly ran the ball and Alex Collins was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Bielema simply needs to transition to an offensive coordinator who will give Arkansas the best chance to win, and this offensive coordinator must be someone who is comfortable making a significant commitment to the power running game.  Although it defies conventional wisdom to transition to a new offensive coordinator at this point in the season, it wouldn’t be a difficult job to find a offensive coordinator who could quickly adjust to the key principles of the current offensive schemes Arkansas employs.  Bielema could even get more active in the offensive play-calling until the new coordinator makes the full adjustment to what he desires for him to do.

Arkansas has proven that it can compete with any of the elite teams in the nation, but it’s unfair for the players to continue to suffer from the poor play-calling of Jim Chaney.  The Razorbacks have a credible chance to finish well in the SEC and make it to a bowl game this year.  Right now, however, Jim Chaney is the enemy within who can prevent the team from having the kind of year its capable of experiencing; he’s already proven it.

If Chaney does not ameliorate his play-calling against Alabama this Saturday, then Bielema shouldn’t give him another chance to hinder the progress of the team.  With Arkansas squaring off against Alabama in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where it’s always a mighty tough place to play, one can only hope Chaney will not harm the team’s legitimate chance to defeat the Crimson Tide.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

Why Arkansas Lost to Auburn in the Second Half in Week One

Arkansas Razorback Football 2014

(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Although several of the Arkansas coaches, including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, got stuck in the elevator during the entire halftime period and didn’t have a chance to meet with the players, it was the failure of Jim Chaney to stay committed to the running game that resulted in Arkansas losing in the second half of the game.  Chaney had to send text messages with his instructions for players to the coaches who were present with them during halftime.  As a coach, I understand how important it is to be physically present with your team during halftime, considering you have a chance to make key adjustments.  Chaney foolishly decided to abandon the power running game, featuring Arkansas’ huge offensive line, and a power running game that Auburn couldn’t handle in the first half, for a greater focus on passing.  While Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen had a good game, the strength of the team lies in its great stable of running backs, led by Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins and Korliss Marshall.

Arkansas has one of the biggest and most athletic offensive lines in the nation.  For Jim Chaney to fail to remain committed to the running game in the second half defies all logic.  Yes, Arkansas did run the ball in the second half, but passing the ball so much in the second half resulted in Arkansas not being able to wear down the Auburn defense as it did in the first half.  When Jim Chaney decides to neglect the power running game, which made Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema one of the winningest active coaches and such a success at Wisconsin, Bielema must step in and refocus Chaney on the running game.

Without question, Arkansas is a much improved team than last year, and the team is going to surprise some teams this year.  Arkansas’ coaches, however, must stay true to who the team is, a power running football team; a team designed to play physical on both sides of the ball.  The NCAA has determined that Arkansas has the toughest schedule in the country.  It will, therefore, be essential for the Arkansas coaching staff to make wise decisions throughout this season.  Arkansas has some really great coaches, including Bret Bielema and Randy Shannon, and those coaches will need to evince their great coaching prowess this season to maximize the team’s success and make it to a bowl game.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison