It’s the third week of the season and the action is only getting better in the world of college football. With upsets happening left and right a plenty and a slew of big times games this weekend, chances are this list might see some considerable changes come next week including a possible new top dog or duck. Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings to see where everyone landed.
Back in July, there was a news story about how the Crimson Tide had last year’s upset loss to Texas A&M on replay in their weight room as motivation for the coming season. Months later, the match-up this team has been waiting for is now here. Making their first trip out to College Station since 1988, Alabama will be looking to pick apart an Aggies team that has looked rather weak through their first two games. With how talented this team is and how hungry they are for vengeance, expect the Tide to give 110% in this hard fought game.
Oregon jumps Ohio State this week for the #2 spot after their 59-10 win over Virginia. The combo of QB Marcus Mariota and RB De’Anthony Thomas continued to look scary good as the two combined for 473 yards of offense and six touchdowns. Nothing seems to be able to slow down this offense at this point. Hosting Tennessee this weekend, Oregon will probably have their third straight 50+ point game of the season. The Volunteers did look impressive defensively last weekend against Western Kentucky, but the Ducks aren’t the Hilltoppers, although they do both have equally annoying chrome helmets.
#3: Ohio State
An unsettling silence fell on Columbus during Ohio State’s 42-7 win over San Diego State. On the first drive of the game, QB Braxton Miller went down with a knee injury and the Buckeyes had to go to back-up Kenny Guiton for the rest of the game. Guiton was decent, throwing for 216 yards and one touchdown, but he isn’t Miller. OSU’s defense did a good job of holding their own, forcing four turnovers, but this team just isn’t anything to get excited about right now. A road-trip to Cal this weekend might be the first good test of the season. Miller’s status at this point is unknown.
Going into the season, Stanford needed a play-maker to along with QB Kevin Hogan and they might have found one in their 34-13 win over San Jose State. Stepping up into the starting role, RB Tyler Gaffney recorded 124 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in his best game going back to 2011. Hogan had a decent game as well, throwing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. The defense showed a lot of fight, only allowing 251 total yards of offense. Stanford hits the road this week to take on Army at West Point for the first time since their 21-20 loss in 1976.
If you expected Clemson’s game against South Carolina State to be close, you don’t actually exist. The 52-13 win for the Tigers saw QB Tajh Boyd fail to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since 2011, but that didn’t matter. After briefly leaving the game following getting the wind knocked out of him, Boyd gave the team over to back-up Cole Stoudt, who tossed three touchdowns on an impressive 19 of 20 passing. I don’t blame Clemson for resting Boyd. This team could make a run for the national title and losing him against a FCS is a dumb idea. The Tigers have the week off before returning on the 19th for a game against NC State.
QB Teddy Bridgewater just can’t be stopped. During Louisville’s 44-7 win over Eastern Kentucky, Bridgewater threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns, making it two weeks in a row now where he has posted nearly identical numbers. To be fair, neither EKU nor Ohio are exactly the toughest of competition, but he continues to look impressive. The Cardinals look to be a very dangerous team right now going into their match-up with rival Kentucky this weekend. Louisville has won the Governor’s Cup two straight years in a row and it would be difficult to see them not winning it again. The Cardinals have won this match-up eight times since 2000.
After a tough first week loss to Clemson, Georgia bounced back last weekend with a 41-30 win over South Carolina. In another close game, the Bulldogs fought off the Gamecocks for most of the game till a massive 85-yard pass from QB Aaron Murray to WR Justin Scott-Wesley early in the 4th quarter helped them pull away. Murray had his second 300+ yard game of the season, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Georgia’s defense is still suspect though, allowing 400+ yards for the second game in a row. This trend should end this weekend with a home game against North Texas.
We have all been waiting for QB Zach Mettenberger to change LSU’s offense and make them a legitimate aerial threat and under OC Cam Cameron, he just might. Mettenberger’s five touchdown passes in LSU’s 56-17 win over UAB was a career high and marked the first time he had thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game. WRs Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry benefited the most from Mettenberger’s performance as they were on the receiving end of all his touchdowns. LSU will stay in Baton Rouge this weekend to take on Kent State. I bet Coach Les Miles eats an eagle to prepare for the game.
#9: Texas A&M
In his first full game of the season, QB Johnny Manziel (aka evil Tim Tebow) and the Aggies showed off some offensive might in their 65-28 win over Sam Houston State. Manziel recorded 403 yards passing and three touchdowns, only part of the team’s overall 714 offensive yards. TAMU fans should be worried though going into this week’s match-up with Alabama. The Aggies have looked ugly on defense, even letting Sam Houston hang around till the third quarter. Alabama won’t be a push over and their defense won’t let them get away with as much as TAMU has been allowing.
#10: Florida State
It’s been a week since we last saw QB Jameis Winston open up his college career in grand fashion. He will get his first start in front of the home crowd this weekend against Nevada. Winston could have a pretty good day against the Wolfpack as they gave up 302 yards passing to QB Brett Hundley of UCLA two weeks ago. Something to watch in this game also could be the running game. Nevada allowed 345 yards rushing in that game against UCLA, so FSU backs could get an extensive amount of work. The Seminoles should win the first match-up between these two teams fairly easily.
#11: South Carolina
Make it two for two on lackluster games for DE Jadeveon Clowney. During South Carolina’s 41-30 loss to Georgia, Clowney was held to just three tackles and one sack while the Bulldogs put up 538 yards of offense on their defense. At this point, it seems like we may be expecting too much out of him. One saving grace is that the offense didn’t look too bad against that miserable Georgia defense (outside the fumble of course). Vanderbilt is next on South Carolina’s schedule and hopefully they can get their defense back into form for that game. The Gamecocks haven’t lost in four games against the Commodores.
When you are given part of a school’s legacy to wear on your chest, you don’t take that honor lightly. QB Devin Gardner proved that in a big way during Michigan’s 41-30 win over Notre Dame. Wearing Wolverine legend Tom Harmon’s 98 on his jersey, Gardner threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown. According to CBSSports, Gardner will wear the number for the rest of his career at Michigan. Michigan will stay home in Ann Arbor as they prepare for the easy part of their schedule against Akron.
#13: Oklahoma State
If his performance against Mississippi State didn’t lock up the starting job for OKST, QB J.W. Walsh’s 326 yards and four touchdowns in Oklahoma State’s 56-35 win over UTSA sure did. Walsh complimented that passing game with touchdown on the ground. OKST was pretty one dimensional though, passing for 518 and rushed for 87. The Cowboys have more to worry about than their match-up with Lamar this weekend. Rocked by scandal early this week, Oklahoma State has been hit with allegations of paying players and academic misconduct during the Les Miles days (2001-2004). It will be awhile though before we know the outcome of that.
Oklahoma was not impressive in their 16-7 win over West Virginia this past weekend. While having a great day on the ground rushing for 316 yards, the Sooners didn’t do much through the air as QB Trevor Knight was 10 of 20 passing for 119 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Oklahoma will face Tulsa at home without Knight as it was announced earlier this week that he will be out 1-2 weeks with a bruised knee, which might explain why he looked so shaky against WVU. Oklahoma has won six straight games over Tulsa and hasn’t lost to them since 1996.
Following a close call to Wyoming in the opening week, Nebraska responded nicely in their 56-13 win over Southern Miss. The play of the defense was considerably better as they forced four turnovers on interceptions and held the Golden Eagles to 284 yards of total offense. On the other side of the ball, QB Taylor Martinez had a decent game, throwing for 170 yards and three touchdowns while RB Ameer Abdullah rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Huskers will have their hands full this weekend as they host UCLA in what is their biggest game of the first half of the season.
Northwestern’s 48-27 win over Syracuse showed us that this QB pairing of Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter can get it done when they are both healthy. The tandem combined for 466 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns. Siemian did hold the edge on Colter in the passing game as he threw for 143 more yards on the same amount of completions, but Colter used his legs to even it out in the end. This Northwestern team has potential and they should be able to have their third straight 40+ point game this weekend as they take on Western Michigan.
Having a week off to prepare, UCLA better be ready to take on the Blackshirts in Lincoln this weekend. Nebraska is not an easy team to beat at home, but UCLA has done it four previous times with the last one coming nearly 20 years ago. The Bruins look, on paper, to be the stronger of the two teams at this point as they are the more efficient of the two teams on offense. If they can’t stop Nebraska’s running game though, it could end up being a very long game and they could end up losing.
During Wisconsin’s 45-0 win over Tennessee Tech, I kept thinking that I was just seeing a replay of their previous week’s win over Massachusetts. The Cerberus of a running attack that the Badgers have developed with Corey Clement, Melvin Gordon and James White has been the biggest catalyst for their offense as the trio all rushed for over a 100 yards and combined attributed four touchdowns. QB Joel Stave looked impressive as well, throwing for 219 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 29 passing. Wisconsin has their first big road game of the year this weekend as they take on Arizona State. The Badgers are 1-2 all-time against the Sun Devils and have never won in Tempe.
Holy scoring frenzy Baylor Bears! For years, TV pundit Stephen Colbert has warned us about bears and Buffalo learned that the hard way of how dangerous they are in Baylor’s 70-13 win last weekend. The Bears scored at will and gained 781 yards of total offense in the process. In two games, this team has recorded 139 points and gained 1,473 yards of offense, making them the top offense in the nation in both of those categories. Even though the two teams they have played aren’t the best, it is still insane to watch this team. Baylor has the week off and will return the 21st for a home game against LA-Monroe.
#20: Miami (FL)
Since the departure of Larry Coker as coach in 2006, times have been tough for the Hurricanes. They have lost their last three bowl appearances and over only won 56% of their games in the last six seasons. This Hurricane team could be the one to break that trend with their big 21-16 win over Florida. The defense gets all the credit on this one, especially the run defense as they held the Gators to just 2.8 yards a carry. Miami (FL) looks to go 3-0 to open a season for the first time since 2004 this weekend against Savannah State.
After a week off, Washington returns to the field in a match-up against Illinois on the road in Chicago. This will be the tenth game between these two schools and the first since 1972. Washington shouldn’t be overlooking this game. Illinois beat up on a very good Cincinnati team last week and this one could be close the entire way. Let’s hope, for Washington’s sake, that they can pick up from where they left off against Boise State and keep their momentum. The Huskies are 44-44 against teams from the Big Ten, but are 10-18 on the road.
#22: Notre Dame
Thanks to Michigan, we don’t have to worry about Notre Dame showing up in the national championship to embarrass themselves again. In Notre Dame’s 41-30 loss, the Fighting Irish didn’t look that bad overall. It was just the last five or so minutes that made them look bad. The late game interception that QB Tommy Rees threw was ultimately their undoing in this game and was the nail in the coffin for Notre Dame. With so few of these match-ups left, it was one of those games that fans will remember for a few years. The Irish will look to bounce back this weekend with another road game, this time at Purdue.
I’ve been saying this for awhile now; it’s time for Florida to replace QB Jeff Driskel under center. In Florida’s upset loss to Miami, Driskel recorded a career-high 291 yards passing, but could only manage one touchdown while throwing two interceptions. The Gators played sloppy, losing the ball a total of five times to the Hurricanes. The defense should get some kudos though for only allowing 212 total yards. The Gators will take on Tennessee on the 21st in what should be another solid match-up for them. They are 23-19 against the Volunteers all-time and haven’t lost to them since 2004.
#24: Northern Illinois
Returning to the field after their win against Iowa, Northern Illinois heads out west to take on the Mighty Vandals of Idaho in Moscow. These two teams have met each other six times with each team winning three. Their most recent games in 2007 and 2009 were incredibly competitive and ended with the winning team taking home victory by seven or less points. This will not be the case this year as the Vandals have allowed 40+ points in two straight games and QB Jordan Lynch should have a field day in this one. This game will hurt me to watch.
Things just aren’t getting better for QB Casey Pachall in his return from last season. During TCU’s 38-17 win over SE Louisiana, Pachall injured his arm and will now miss eight weeks. QB Trevone Boykin came in to replace the injured Pachall. Boykin started most of last season for the Horned Frogs, so this wasn’t anything new. TCU’s defense played well, but will really need to step it up this week as they take on Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 2nd in the nation in passing right now and will test TCU’s secondary all day.
DROPPED: Texas & USC
ON WATCH: Ole Miss, Arizona State & Michigan State