A big week of college football supplied fans with some amazing endings to some amazing games. Upsets are bound to happen and this weekend could be no exception as a few teams almost walked into losses (looking at you Michigan). With a handful of top ranked teams in action, let’s take a look at this week’s rankings to see where everyone landed.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and when not allowing your opponent to score 42 points. A year after getting shocked by a relatively unknown freshman quarterback, the Crimson Tide managed to keep pace and survive a shoot-out with Evil Tim Tebow and Texas A&M. While Johnny Manziel may have been the main subject of conversation, QB AJ McCarron powered the Tide to this win. His 334 yards and four touchdowns, coupled with the 73-yard interception return for a touchdown by Vinnie Sunseri, saved Alabama’s run for the national title. The Crimson Tide will host Colorado State this weekend in a game that shouldn’t be as remotely close as this game.
We are only three weeks into the season and Oregon has already hit the 2,000 yard mark for total offense. Their 59-14 win over Tennessee didn’t start out as smooth as the Ducks had probably expected with the Volunteers keeping it within three after the end of the first quarter. For the following three quarters, the Ducks poured it on. While I would like to attribute the win to QB Marcus Mariota’s 456 yards and four touchdowns, I feel like Tennessee not being able to focus as a byproduct of those incredibly ugly jerseys that the Ducks were wearing might be the better explanation. Oregon and our eyes have the weekend off in preparation for their home game against Cal on the 28th.
#3: Ohio State
No Braxton Miller? No problem for the Buckeyes as back-up Kenny Guiton led OSU to a 52-34 win over Cal on the road. Fans had to be impressed to see that this team’s offense will be able to hold up without their star quarterback just fine. What they probably weren’t impressed by was to see was their defense give up so many points and 503 yards of total offense. OSU hasn’t been the most stellar in their first three games and with a game against Florida A&M this weekend, the chances of them getting jumped in the real polls this week by someone like Louisville or Stanford are high if they don’t show defensive improvement.
For a half, it legitimately looked like Stanford was going to lose to Army. Only up by seven at the half, QB Kevin Hogan and RB Tyler Gaffney helped power the team to two touchdowns which turned out to be just enough to get away with a 34-20 win. Stanford may have had Gaffney around to rush for 132 yards, but this offense is no where ready to take on someone like Oregon. Arizona State this weekend should be a good test based on the Sun Devils being surprisingly good thus far. Stanford has won the last two match-ups with ASU.
QB Tajh Boyd has to be excited about getting back on the field this Thursday against N.C. State. The Tigers are 52-28 all-time against the Wolfpack and have only lost to them once since 2004. What Boyd probably isn’t excited about is the prospect that need might start the next phase of his NFL career out in Cleveland. This week, the Browns traded RB Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first round pick in next year’s draft, putting themselves in position to make a potential run for Boyd. Cleveland is where QB careers go to die and it would be a shame if Boyd landed there.
QB Teddy Bridgewater might not have thrown for 400+ yards this past week, but he did enough to help the Cardinals move to 3-0 with a 27-13 win over rival Kentucky. The star of the game was RB Senorise Perry whose 100 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns were a key part to the victory. Bridgewater is another one of those quarterbacks that might be in the unfortunate crosshairs of the Browns. Thankfully for him, he is only a junior and can opt to stay at Louisville and avoid them all-together. Louisville hosts FIU this weekend to move to 4-0.
Georgia returns this week from their hiatus to take on North Texas at home, which means we are going to talk MORE about Cleveland’s trade because QB Aaron Murray may be the one top senior who, at least at this point, doesn’t have to worry about it. Fairly undersized for a NFL QB, Murray may end up being a pick somewhere in the later rounds, far away from the poor judgment of the Browns. As for now, this week’s game will be a good warm-up for their game against LSU next week. Georgia has never played North Texas before.
LSU’s 45-13 win over Kent State this past weekend has again shown the nation that LSU is ready to move from being a primarily defensive team to a well-rounded one that can dominate on both sides of the ball. LSU is currently 24th in the nation in total offensive yards, a position they haven’t really been near 2007. QB Zach Mettenberger is playing the best football of his career and his play has improved the team overall. Hosting Auburn this weekend, LSU will be looking to go 4-0 for the seventh season in a row. They have also won five of their last six games against Auburn.
#9: Florida State
QB Jameis Winston’s second game as the starting QB at FSU didn’t start off as smoothly as the first, but ended just the same as the Seminoles dominated Nevada 62-7 after some early struggles. Winston opened the game two of five (one of which was an interception), finished with a decent 214 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 18 for through the air. Florida State primarily turned to the run game for this win as they rushed for 377 yards and six touchdowns as a team. The Seminoles will host Bethune-Cookman this weekend and Winston should excel against this FCS opponent.
#10: South Carolina
South Carolina’s 35-25 win over Vanderbilt wasn’t the biggest thing to come out of that game. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward made it known this week that both of their starting defensive ends Chaz Sutton and Jadeveon Clowney are dealing with bone spur injuries. This could affect their play down the road since neither of them will be sitting out to get surgery. For Clowney, he has been dealing with them since high school, so it might not be that big of an issue. South Carolina has the week off to prepare for a road trip to take on Central Florida.
The Wolverines are on watch majorly after their awful performance in their 28-24 win over Akon. Michigan’s defense looked like a straw house in a hurricane and QB Devin Gardner couldn’t keep his passes out of the hands of the other team. If it wasn’t for RB Fitzgerald Toussaint’s late touchdown, the Wolverines would have fallen pretty hard down this list, if not off of it ala Nebraska. Michigan travels to take on Connecticut this weekend and they need to show a lot of improvement. If this team puts up another poor effort like they did this week, it won’t be hard to drop them in these rankings.
#12: Oklahoma State
It’s weird to think that putting up 59 points in a game doesn’t equal an impressive offensive day. That’s what happened in Oklahoma State’s 59-3 win over Lamar. Nothing was that spectacular about the Cowboys or either offensive game. RB Jeremy Smith had three touchdowns, but only 40 yards. QB J.W Walsh had a disappointing 181 yards and one touchdown while back-up Clint Chelf had 90 yards with a passing and rushing score. The Cowboys have the week off to prepare for a very good West Virginia team on the 28th. Oklahoma State won last year’s match-up 55-34 in Stillwater, but hasn’t played in Morgantown since 1928.
#13: Texas A&M
Despite Evil Tim Tebow having 562 total yards of total offense, Texas A&M wasn’t able to repeat their amazing win in 2012 over Alabama, falling to the Crimson Tide 49-42. Johnny Manziel’s two interceptions had a major impact on how the game ended, especially the one that went back for a touchdown. It’s tough to say if TAMU’s production offensively was because they are actually that good with Manziel leading them or if they just took advantage of a bad Alabama defensive performance. Unless the Tide loses down the road, TAMU is blocked from the SEC title and national title. TAMU will take on SMU this weekend looking to rebound.
The Sooners have finally broken out of their offensive slump with a big 51-20 win over Tulsa. QB Blake Bell had a career high 413 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. Bell will start against Notre Dame next weekend and for good reason. Former starter Trevor Knight just wasn’t getting it done to the extent that this team needed. Without a solid air attack, the Sooners aren’t going to be able to do much and Notre Dame could be the challenge Bell needs to prove his worth. Oklahoma hasn’t beaten Notre Dame since 1956 and lost last year to the Irish in Norman.
Every team needs that big win to push themselves to the next level and the Bruins may have gotten theirs with a 41-21 win over Nebraska. If QB Brett Hundley sticks around through his senior season, their offense could make them serious title contenders. Throwing for 294 yards, Hundley’s three touchdowns were part of a big 28 point third quarter that led the team to eventually pull away from the Huskers. UCLA will return home to the Rose Bowl this week to take on New Mexico State. This will be the first match-up between these two schools and should be the third win of UCLA’s season.
The rushing combo of RB Treyvon Green and QB Kain Colter is all that Northwestern needed to nab a 38-17 win over Western Michigan this past weekend. The two combined for 264 yards and three touchdowns on the day with Colter adding an additional touchdown through the sky. The Wildcat defense was a bit sloppy though, allowing 345 total yards, which included a 75-yard touchdown pass. Hosting Maine this weekend, this will be the last game the Wildcats have before a massive home game against Ohio State. Expect Northwestern to use this as practice and perfect some of their problem areas on defense.
Even though Baylor had the week off, it feels like they still managed in some fashion to gain 500 yards. Not sure how it happened, but that’s what it feels like. Baylor takes on LA-Monroe this week in what is almost a lock to be a blood bath. Outside of Oklahoma at the beginning of the year, ULM hasn’t faced anyone with the offensive power of Baylor. The Bears should make this a laugher early and run away with the game. Feel free to skip this game and wait a week for Baylor to take on West Virginia the following week to open up Big 12 play.
#18: Miami (FL)
This might as well be another bye week for the Hurricanes. Savannah State will pose absolutely no threat to them in any way, shape, or form. While some analysts are claiming that Miami could make a BCS run, this team hasn’t really shown us anything to get excited about. Yes, they did beat a highly over-ranked Florida, but that’s the only moderately good team they have beaten. Their next big challenge may be Georgia Tech, but it’s highly likely that it really won’t be till they play Florida State in November. For now, we will just keep an eye on the Hurricanes at this spot until somebody impresses me more.
Alright Huskies fans, it’s officially time to get excited about Washington football. After UW stole our hearts with their magnificent win over Boise State two weeks ago, Washington showed they could be a serious PAC-12 threat with a 34-24 win over Illinois. QB Keith Price had his second 300+ yard and two touchdown day while RB Bishop Sankey stole the show with a huge 208 yard rushing day. Until this game, Washington hadn't won away from home and outside the PAC-12 since a 2007 win against Syracuse. The Huskies will return to the Emerald City this week to take on FCS opponent Idaho State.
#20: Notre Dame
If there was ever a time for QB Tommy Rees to have a big game, it was the fourth quarter of their 31-24 win over Purdue. Down a touchdown going into the quarter, Rees found the end-zone twice on back to back drives to give the Irish the advantage. While Purdue did threaten a comeback late in the game with a touchdown, Notre Dame was able to hold on for the win. The Fighting Irish will play Michigan State this weekend in South Bend in what should be a tough game that will be followed with a home game against Oklahoma.
It’s been a rough week in Lincoln for the Huskers. A bruising loss to UCLA was only made more depressing by the leaking of a profanity-laced rant delivered from Coach Bo Pelini back in 2011. So saw that things are a bit rough for Nebraska is an understatement. On the field, QB Taylor Martinez looks to be out for this weekend’s game with South Dakota State, which means that redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong will probably get the start. South Dakota State shouldn’t be an issue, but it will give us a chance to see how this team will recover from everything.
Florida hasn’t had to worry too much about Tennessee these last eight years, but this year might be different. The Gators are struggling offensively and QB Jeff Driskel is more than likely the reason why. While he did hurt his knee in Florida’s loss to Miami (FL), he is set to play despite my obvious wishes. Driskel had three turnovers against the Hurricanes and has 10 turnovers in the last three losses while producing less than 300 yards a game this season. If Florida can’t put up the offense yards and points, this might be the end of their streak against the Volunteers.
#23: Ole Miss
It’s been three seasons since Ole Miss had a winning season and the Rebels haven’t opened a season 3-0 since 1989. They make the list this week thanks to a 44-23 win over floundering Texas last weekend. Using a fairly balanced attack, the Rebels gained 449 yards of total offense. The defense should get some credit as well in this win, holding the Longhorns to just 320 yards, mostly field goals and forcing a fumble. Ole Miss will take the week off as they will need it as they will head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. The Rebels haven’t beaten the Crimson Tide since 2003.
#24: Northern Illinois
Following their 45-35 win over Idaho, I have serious concerns about the validity of this team’s skill. QB Jordan Lynch was well contained through-out the game and for a team like this to struggle and at one point trail a team that gets 40+ points dropped on them a week and had only scored two touchdowns before that game this season. A win is a win though and that is what NIU got, even if it was an ugly one. They will return home this weekend to take on Eastern Illinois, obviously, looking to avoid another close call.
#25: Michigan State
Quietly undefeated, the Spartans aren’t going to win people over with their offense. Ranked 105th in passing and 44th in rushing, Michigan State runs a balance offense with a defense that is ranked 12th in points allowed. To be fair though, Michigan State hasn’t played anyone remotely good. Notre Dame will be the first major test of their young season. The Spartans are 28-47-1 all-time against the Irish, losing three of their last four match-ups with their game in 2009 being the only game that was decided by less than seven points. If Michigan State can pull off this win, it should validate their skill and position on this list.
DROPPED: TCU & Wisconsin
ON WATCH: Arizona State, Fresno State, & UCF