Another week is in the books and it was an interesting one to say the least. The some of the nation’s best teams showed off some impressive scoring by putting up 70+ points in their games while nine others showed off their defensive skills by shutting out their opponents. This week brings with it a wide variety of match-ups including a few pitting ranked teams against each other. Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings to see where everyone landed.
Down two starters on defense, the Crimson Tide managed to escape what could have been a major upset with a big fourth quarter in their 31-6 win over Colorado State. Alabama was awful on third down conversions, going 2 for 10 on the game. The Tide took a big step-back from their offensive game against TAMU, only posting 338 yards of total offense. Hosting Ole Miss this weekend, Alabama needs to start burning on all cylinders to beat the Rebels. Then again, the Tide has won the last five match-ups, so that might not be an issue.
After a week off, the Ducks return this weekend for a home game against Cal. Despite spending the last seven days football-free, Oregon is still a top 15 team in total offense and only one of eleven teams to already have over 2,000 yards on the season. Figuring that the Ducks have scored 40+ points in three of their last four games against the Golden Bears, this one should be a high scorer. QB Marcus Mariota has been a stud this season and threw for 377 yards and six touchdowns last year against Cal. Expect another blow-out as the high powered Oregon offense proves again to be too much.
#3: Ohio State
A 76-0 win over Florida A&M may have marked the end of the Braxton Miller era (or at least making it part-time) in Columbus. QB Kenny Guiton, filling in again for the injured Miller, set a team record for passing touchdowns, finding the end-zone six times through-out the game. With Guiton’s stellar performance in this game and the week before, the two quarterbacks will share snaps now, meaning Miller’s chances at the Heisman are probably gone. Wisconsin is on deck this weekend, marking the first of three ranked games the Buckeyes will potentially play this season. OSU has won five of their last six games against the Badgers.
Stanford might not have a stand-out playmaker like other teams, but they showed they can still dominate offensively with a 42-28 win over Arizona State. One area of concern though was their fourth quarter defensive play. The Sun Devils dropped 21 points on the Cardinal and almost got back in the game. That kind of play isn’t going to fly against a team like Oregon. Stanford will make the trip up to Seattle this weekend to take on Washington State. The Cardinal has won their last five games against the Cougars, but this will be the first time that these two teams play in the Emerald City.
Getting to 3-0 wasn’t easy, but the Tigers were able to do it with a 26-14 win over North Carolina State. Close for a majority of the game, QB Tajh Boyd and company were finally able to pull away from the Wolfpack in the second half, scoring on two Boyd passes to give themselves a 26-7 lead. NC State was able to score late, but it was already over by then. Returning home, Clemson will take on Wake Forest this weekend in Death Valley. While the Demon Deacons aren’t a push over, the Tigers have historically dominated the series, winning 60 of the 78 match-ups and four of the last five.
Ohio State wasn’t the only team to drop 70 points on a school from Florida. The Cardinals romped on Florida International 72-10 as QB Teddy Bridgewater threw for four touchdowns on a disappointing 212 yards. FIU is historically awful, so Bridgewater having anything less 300 is kind of shocking. Then again, it’s not that big of a game and it won’t hurt his stock draft-wise at all. Louisville has the week off to relax and prepare for Temple on the 5th of October. Will they be watching the Owls take on the Mighty Vandals of Idaho? Probably not, but to think that they might is pretty funny.
The only thing that looked mean in Georgia’s 45-21 win over North Texas was QB Aaron Murray’s game. Murray threw for 408 yards (a single game high for the season) and three touchdowns against NTU. The running game was also in full effect, amassing 191 yards and three total touchdowns. This game must have felt like a bye week for the Bulldogs as this was the first game of their season that wasn’t against a ranked opponent. Georgia will have their hands full this weekend as they host LSU. This is the first game between the two teams since the 2011 SEC title game (that LSU won).
Remember 2011 when LSU was putting up at least 30 points per game every week? Those times may be back. A 35-21 win over Auburn marks the fourth straight game the Tigers have scored 35 or more points. To be fair, UAB and Kent State aren’t exactly defensive juggernauts. Still, LSU looks great on offensive and could cause some issues for the Bulldogs in this weekend’s game against Georgia. This game will start a brutal schedule stretch lasting the rest of the season that features five currently ranked teams in eight games. A win over Georgia would go a long way to telling us how that stretch will turn out.
#9: Florida State
If you missed Florida State’s 54-6 win over Bethune-Cookman it’s probably because there were more interesting games on. FCS opponents (outside of North Dakota State) are usually no match for the FBS teams and this was a clear example of that. QB Jameis Winston had a sleeper of a game (148 yards, two touchdowns) and the FSU defense outscored the Wildcats 8-6. Hopefully the Seminoles match-up against Boston College this weekend is much more entertaining. FSU has won the last three match-ups against the Eagles with the last two games being complete blow-outs. Expect the streak to extent to four.
#10: South Carolina
The Gamecocks find themselves with an interesting match-up with week in the undefeated Knights of Central Florida. While they are 3-0 all-time against UCF, the Knights are coming in averaging 36.7 points per game and have the 34th ranked passing game in the nation. They are also coming off a close game with a tough Penn State team, although their first two games were against subpar teams. South Carolina should walk away with this one, but anything can happen when a team hits the road. Pay attention to the Gamecocks on defense as we start to see the long term effects of Jadeveon Clowney’s foot injury on his game.
Alright Wolverines, it’s time that we have a serious discussion about your contender credentials. After two pretty good games to open the season, you have almost lost in two straight games against teams that finished a combined 6-18 last season. Last week’s 24-21 win against UConn should have been a loss as you trailed the game for nearly two full quarters. QB Devin Gardner was a complete no-show in that game, only throwing for 97 yards. Michigan, go ahead and take this week off. We want you to take advantage of the next seven days to really think over and decided whether or not you want to lose to Minnesota on the 5th of October.
#12: Oklahoma State
When Oklahoma State met West Virginia last season, there was this certain sense of excitement that came with the idea that the game was going to be an offensive show like none other. This year’s edition might not be nearly as entertaining. WVU is coming off of a 37 point shut-out at the hands of Maryland and just don’t look as threatening as they have in the past. Defensively, WVU has shown some flair, which could be troublesome for the Cowboys. Then again, it probably won’t and OKST will move on to 4-0 on the season before a potentially tough game against Kansas State.
#13: Texas A&M
A week after having their dreams crushed by the Tide, Evil Tim Tebow and company were back in action, beating SMU into the ground 42-13 at College Station. QB Johnny Manziel had his usual style game, scrambling everywhere other than the kitchen to make himself some eggs, gaining 346 total yards and three touchdowns. Despite the set-back, the Aggies are still going to be a competitive team in the SEC, even with their shortcomings. Traveling to take on Arkansas this weekend, TAMU hasn’t done too well historically against the Razorbacks, winning just one of their last four games (the one win was with Manziel under center though).
Remember when Notre Dame walked into Norman last season and beat the Sooners by 17 points? Well Oklahoma coach and visor aficionado Bob Stoops probably wishes he didn’t. Those memories are coming back to him though this weekend as Oklahoma takes their wagons east to South Bend to play the Fighting Irish. The Sooners are 1-9 all-time against Notre Dame and haven’t won in South Bend since 1956. The first big game of the season, Oklahoma needs a big win over a ranked opponent to bolster their early schedule. The loser of this game will more than likely drop down far or completely out of the rankings come next week.
Not sure how it happened, but UCLA made a 692 yard offensive day seem incredibly unimpressive. While tearing up New Mexico State 59-13, UCLA had three ugly turnovers, two of which came from QB Brett Hundley. Three turnovers against a bottom-dweller of a program like NMSU doesn’t always have a negative effect, but it does cause doubt to arise. Thankfully, UCLA has the week off to get ready for a big divisional match-up against Utah on October 3rd. The Bruins have historically dominated the Utes, wining nine of eleven games, but are only 1-2 in their last three games.
Defense wins games and the Wildcats know that first hand with their 35-21 win against Maine this past weekend. Thanks to two interceptions returned for touchdowns, Northwestern was able to jump out to a 21 point lead and didn’t look back. Taking the week off, the Wildcats will be all about game-planning as they prepare for a home game against Ohio State on October 5th. The first of two games against ranked opponents in a row; this is a make-or-break game. A win would rocket Northwestern up the rankings and strengthen their BCS chances. This won’t be easy though as they have dropped their last four games to the Buckeyes and have only beaten them twice in 35 games.
This 2013 Baylor Bear team is making a legitimate case to being declared the top offense in the nation. With their 70-7 win over ULM, Baylor is currently averaging 69.7 points, 444.3 passing yards, and 307 rushing yards a game. Only TAMU has more total offensive yards and that’s just because the Aggies have played one more game than the Bears. While their first three opponents haven’t been that tough, Baylor really doesn’t play anyone of value till November. If the offense keeps up its current pace, this team could be 7-0 going into that month. For now, they will take the week of to prepare for West Virginia on the 5th of October.
#18: Miami (FL)
One of the many teams that put up 70+ points this week, Miami blew away Savannah State 77-7 in a laugher of a game. Impressive, a little bit. Does it tell us anything about this team? Not at all. Miami is one of the many teams on this list who have gone untested this season. This trend won’t change this week as they travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the winless South Florida Bulls. Once a surprising young program, South Florida has crumbled in the past few years, winning five or less games in the last two seasons under Skip Holtz. Miami should win this by a landslide.
Seattle may be known for its quasi-depressing weather, but nothing this season has been able to rain on QB Keith Price’s play. Throwing for better than 70% accuracy for the third game in a row, Price threw for just 213 yards against Idaho State last weekend. To be fair, the game was 42-0 at half, so he really didn’t need to do much against this FCS foe. The Huskies have been offensively surprising thus far this season and should be tested even more this weekend against undefeated Arizona. Washington has won the last two games played in Seattle against the Wildcats.
#20: Notre Dame
Getting those wins in a tough stretch is key for any team and Notre Dame started that process this past weekend by sneaking away from Michigan State 17-13 at home. The Irish defense played a bit part in the win, holding the Spartans to 20 total yards on their final three drives. Hosting Oklahoma this weekend, Notre Dame’s season could be riding on this game. A loss would drop them out of the national rankings while a win would help elevate them. The Irish, though, have lost their last two games against ranked opponents. Watch for this game to be a close one.
Things just haven’t emotionally been the same in Lincoln since the tape of Bo Pelini exploding leaked. The fans gave him mixed reactions during the opening of their 59-20 win over South Dakota State and the team performed decently without start QB Taylor Martinez. Back-up Tommy Armstrong Jr. did a decent job, but it’s definitely not a situation like what is happening out in Columbus. Having the week off, Martinez’s condition will be monitored closely before the Huskers take on Illinois on October 5th. This will be the first game between the two teams since 1986. The Huskers won that game 59-14 in Champaign.
For weeks now (and part of last year), I have wished that Florida would get rid of QB Jeff Driskel under center. In a slightly bizarre turn of events, that has now happened as Driskel is out for the season after suffering a fractured right leg in Florida’s 31-17 win over Tennessee. That wasn’t the only loss that the Gators had on Saturday sadly. They also lost DT Dominique Easley for the season as well. Offensively, the Gators will turn to back-up Tyler Murphy to play QB. Murphy had 134 yards and one touchdown against the Volunteers, but it could be their game against Kentucky this weekend to show us if he will be any major improvement over Driskel.
#23: Ole Miss
For the past ten years, Ole Miss has been a giant bag of mixed results. One year they are a winning program, the next two they are sitting at the bottom of the SEC. The Rebels have opened the 2013 season with three straight wins, a first since 1989. This week they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the top ranked Crimson Tide. Ole Miss hasn’t had a whole lot of success against Alabama in the past. Ok, “success” is a bit of a stretch. The Rebels have only beaten the Crimson Tide nine times since their first game in 1894 and have dropped the last nine games.
#24: Fresno State
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Bulldogs of Fresno State join the list this week after a close 41-40 win over Boise State in Fresno. QB Derek Carr had a monster game, throwing for 460 yards and four touchdowns in the win. The win keeps them as the only undefeated team in the Mountain West and provides them with some much needed national recognition. The big question about this team is their defense. Wins are wins, but when two of your three wins are by one point and both teams scored 40+, that’s a problem. The Bulldogs will head to the islands this weekend to take on Hawaii.
#25: Northern Illinois
Apparently NIU’s performance at Idaho was less of a one off. The Huskies this past weekend almost lost to Eastern Illinois 43-39 in a score-fest of a game. At one point early on, NIU was down 20-0 and had to battle their way back into the game much like they had to against the Vandals. This team’s defense is playing really bad right now and that won’t help them against Purdue this weekend. Purdue isn’t the best, but being from a BCS conference, the match-up should still be a tough one for Northern Illinois. The Huskies need this win as it will be their last game of the season against a BCS conference team.
DROPPED: Michigan State
ON WATCH: Texas Tech & UCF