After reaching the national championship game last year, the Oregon Ducks have failed momentously to live up to preseason hype. They are a measly 4-3 with losses to Utah, who was just shellacked by unranked USC, Michigan State and Washington State in double overtime. While their offense remains powerful, ranked 18th in the nation in total offense, their defense has been abysmal, coming in at 56th in the nation. Most notably, the Ducks’ defense has been terrible through the air, allowing over 300 passing yards per game. Additionally, transfer Vernon Adams Jr. has been a monumental disappointment. In his previous two seasons at Eastern Washington, Adams averaged 339 passing yards and four total touchdowns per game. He left for Oregon as the Eagles’ all-time leader in passer rating, passing touchdowns and quarterback rushing yards. In four games with the Ducks, however, Adams has posted just 213 yards per game and scored only seven total touchdowns.
In 2014, Georgia Tech lost by two in the ACC championship to Florida State, which went on to play in the Playoff. It then defeated a formidable SEC opponent in Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl. This year has been a completely different story as the Yellow Jackets are 3-5 and have won just one conference game. They snapped a five-game losing streak last week by beating Florida State by six. Their passing game has been atrocious, ranking 123rd in the nation. Quarterback Justin Thomas has completed just 44 percent of his passes and has thrown six interceptions. Nov. 21 sets up a thrilling matchup between Georgia Tech and Miami, who just lost 58-0 at home to Clemson.
The Cornhuskers first year under Mike Riley has been nothing short of dismal - calling all Jim Tressel conspiracy theorists - mostly because of their inability to close out games. They lost on a hail mary pass to BYU, in overtime to Miami, by one to Illinois and by two to Wisconsin and Northwestern. It could be argued that they’ve been victims of bad luck, but the game against Wisconsin summed up their late-game failures. The Cornhuskers could have easily ran out the clock with just one first down after a Badger missed field goal, but they were forced into a three-and-out. The defense then failed to stop the Wisconsin offense for a second time and Nebraska lost on a last-second field goal. With better play at the end of the game on both sides of the ball, the Cornhuskers could be staring at an undefeated season. Instead, they’re beelining toward a record far worse than Bo Pelini’s patented 9-4.
Usually a contender in the wild SEC West, Auburn sits at 1-3 in the conference after a quadruple-overtime loss to Arkansas last weekend. They are yet to have a convincing win over anyone and went to overtime against Jacksonville State, an FCS team. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson was expected by many to come out and light the college football world on fire, but has thus far been an embarrassment. In limited action as a freshman and sophomore, Johnson completed 73.1 percent of his 78 pass attempts for nine touchdowns and was intercepted just twice. As a starter, though, Johnson has completed only 59.7 percent of his 72 passes and sports a horrific 5:6 touchdown to interception ratio. Much like Oregon, their defense has failed them all season, allowing nearly 30 points and 200 rushing yards per game, and ranks 87th in the nation in total defense. The Iron Bowl is almost always an entertaining matchup, but if Auburn doesn’t fix their defensive woes in a hurry, they will get stomped by Alabama at home.