College Football; UCLA, Nevada, and Other Schools With Their Stocks on the Rise
So far this season we have seen very few shockers, especially since most of the top teams are still playing directional schools from the various mid-major conferences.
However this past weekend UCLA became the first to "shock" a top opponent when they handed Texas a "Texas-Size" butt whipping.
Also you can't forget about Nevada, who with their win in Provo improved to 4-0 and earned their first AP poll ranking since 1948.
Those are just two teams who's stock is on the rise. Here are 7 others I am buying, and why I like both UCLA and Nevada to influence the BCS picture even more.
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So the Bruins started off 0-2 with losses at K-State and at home they were mauled by Stanford 35-0 in week 2. Next up was the Houston Cougars, a team that had dreams of crashing the BCS party.
That was then.
Now the Bruins sit at 2-2, having ended Houston's BCS hopes, and Texas' National Title hopes. A pretty good two week period.
So why is their stock up, and why will they further affect the BCS picture?
The reason their stock is up is that they are finally finding an identity on both offense and defense. Their D has been solid the last two weeks, allowing just 25 points.
On the Offensive side of the ball it all about running the ball. Kevin Prince has not gotten it done in the air, but on the ground he and Johnathan Franklin are going to be the keys.
The way the schedule shakes up, they get Arizona at home on Halloween weekend, which could be a trap game for the Wildcats as they may be looking ahead to a very important Stanford game. Also do not discount the importance of the USC game, as the Trojans are still unbeaten and looking to make a unbeaten run to show up all of college football.
The Bruins are only going to get better.
Now when it comes to Nevada it is simple as to why they are on the rise.
The Wolfpack is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in over 60 years. They have ran the table in their non conference so far with wins over Cal, BYU, and Colorado State, and all signs point to them smashing UNLV next.
They have the best dual threat QB West of the Mississippi in Colin Kaepernick, and Boise seems to be the toughest game left on their 13 game schedule.
Simply put, Nevada is a team that is going to either help themselves to a BCS bowl by winning out and beating Boise, or they are the team that if Boise beats will help their strength of schedule.
Nevada's stock right now is through the roof and I am buying, buying, buying!
Toledo was a team that many could have left for dead after opening night when they lost at home to Arizona 41-2.
It wasn't looking good on that early season Friday night, but since then they have gone 3-0, with all wins coming on the road. This past weekend they beat Purdue pretty convincingly to earn their first non-conference win of the year.
So why would you put them on the rise list?
First of all it appears their defensive problems that pretty much eliminated all bowl hopes a year ago have been patched up. If you take away the 'Zona game they are giving up under 20 per game, and they seem to be doing a better job at stopping the pass.
On offense they are doing just enough to get it done, with Austin Dantin doing a decent job at QB. Still they appear to have some issues with the running game and Dantin has been prone to make mistakes.
Toledo is on the rise, maybe not on a national level because they still travel to Boise to get sacrificed on the blue turf. But as far as the MAC is concerned, at 2-0 and with Central Michigan rebuilding a bit, they have an inside track at winning the conference.
Take Toledo as a MAC power when it is all said and done.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is another one of those 4-0 teams that everyone is questioning as to how good they are.
As of now they own a home win over UCLA, and beat a tough UCF team in a game where they played their worst game of the season this past weekend.
They are on the rise because of the man in the picture, Bill Snyder. The man simply knows what it takes to win in Manhattan.
On the field the best player the Wildcats have is tailback Daniel Thomas, who has amassed over 600 yards on the ground already. QB Carson Coffman has limited the mistakes and can beat you both with his arm and feet.
The defense is where the wildcats will live or die, and so far they have played it right down the middle, making big plays when needed.
Up next is Nebraska, so we will all see if the 4-0 romance in Manhattan is for real or a fluke.
Keep an eye on the Wildcats though, their stock will gradually keep rising throughout the season.
NC State Wolfpack
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There should definitely be some Heisman buzz going on in Raleigh right now as QB Russell Wilson has absolutely put up big numbers through the first 1/3 of the season.
Oh, and the Wolfpack is 4-0.
Wilson is the catalyst, throwing for over 1100 yards and 11 scores so far in 2010. His decision making in the pocket has greatly improved since last year and he single-handedly keeps the Pack in ACC title talks.
As a whole wins over Cincinnati, UCF, and Western Carolina doesn't scare anyone out of the stadium, but their win in Atlanta over defending ACC champ Georgia Tech opened up some eyes.
The VaTech game Saturday will be the contender-pretender match-up, but it is in the comfort of Carter Finley Stadium.
Buy the Wolfpack. They are a team that will make noise all the way til the bitter end of the ACC season, which includes a Thursday night home game against FSU that could be for the division.
Army Black Knights
Army deserves some love. That is it.
At 3-1, they are a close home loss to Hawaii away from being perfect.
Sure, they haven't really beaten anyone, unless Duke and North Texas are better than what we think?
But they are doing pretty well for themselves. The question is, can they become bowl eligible?
They can beat Tulane, VMI, and Kent State, plus you never know what you will get when you play Rutgers and Notre Dame. To top things off, never look past them upsetting either Navy or Air Force.
For a group of guys to choose to attend college at an institution where they are expected to serve our country upon graduation deserves respect in itself. For a group to do so and win deserves a salute, and Army will go bowling in 2010.
Buy stock in our United States Military Academy.
Air Force Falcons
Moving on to our next entry on our "buy em cause they're hot" stock market is another military academy, Air Force.
The Falcons are 3-1 with a 2-0 MWC mark that includes a dismantling of BYU and a road win at Wyoming. In fact they actually could be 4-0 as they played very well in Norman, a place where no one has won in more than 30 tries.
The Falcons lead the nation in rushing, averaging nearly 400 per game. Defensively they are doing pretty well for themselves, giving up just a shade under 20 a game.
The Falcons are the obvious choice to be a potential thorn in both Utah and TCU's side as they head for their collision in November.
Watch for the Falcons to be a Cinderella hopeful, but it will be up to how they play against the Horned Frogs and Utes that will determine if their glass slipper falls off.
Falcons go bowling again and I would buy 'em now before their stock gets too much higher.
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For those who thought that Auburn was a bit overrated to start the year, well, I guess you may be wrong.
Auburn has not blown out teams, but what they have done is start 4-0 with 2 SEC wins and a non conference "W" over Clemson.
Cam Newton has been as good as advertised, accounting for more than 1000 all purpose yards and 14 TD's. But the story may not be with Newton, but with the improved Tigers defense.
Their run defense allowed South Carolina all world RB Marcus Lattimore to run for just 33 yards on 14 carries. Overall they have gotten better at not allowing the big gashers that have hurt them in the past. Auburn will go only as far as the defense allows them too.
Sure the Tigers have not played the other Tigers, or the Hogs, or Bama. However watch for that final game of the season to be for the SEC West and a potential rematch with.... South Carolina.
Auburn is hot and rising big time!
Western Illinois Leathernecks
Okay, now it's time to be a homer and give a shout out to my alma mater, Western Illinois.
They are currently 3-1, with their only loss coming at Purdue.
Last season they went through tough times both on and off the field as a 1-10 season was only made worse by the mid-season retirement of Head Coach Don Patterson due to health reasons.
This year they are getting it done offensively, just like they did back in the days of Russ Michna and Aaron Stecker. Guys like Bryce Flowers and Michigan State transfer Caulton Ray are pacing a steady ground attack, and QB Matt Barr is making pretty good decisions when in the pocket.
They haven't been 3-1 in a while, so why not give them some credit, right?
I know I am now a homer....
From Wall St to BCS St?
So the big question is, does it matter if your stock is rising in early October?
The answer, maybe....
A good bit of confidence early can always go a long way when it comes to conference play, but how long will that last when you start to play the Boise's, OSU's, and Bama's of the world?
Although these teams' stocks are rising now on main street, you never know how that may translate when it comes to heading off to BCS Street.
So who else is hot that wasn't on the list? And no, Bama, OSU, and others shouldn't be on here because their stock was already pretty high when the season began.
Who is shocking you so far?
Who's stock will rise the highest come next month?
As always feel free to drop the comments below, and please be nice to your neighbor....