It was another exciting weekend of football in the college world. Whether it was the upset in Morgantown or the epic battle between the hedges in Athens, there was something out there for all fans (including a win for a certain “tribe from the North”). Conference play is on deck for a lot of the team in the list this week including a handful of match-ups between ranked teams. Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings to see where everyone landed.
Kicker Cade Foster must be the most popular man in Tuscaloosa this week as he was the star of Alabama’s 25-0 win over Ole Miss. Struggling offensively, Alabama had to turn to Foster for three field goals in the first half as QB AJ McCarron and company couldn’t seem to get on the same page till the second half of the game. Thankfully, Alabama’s defense played a phenomenal game and prevented this for being the biggest upset of the year. Don’t expect the same struggles this week as Georgia State comes to town in what should be an absolute blowout.
Ugly jerseys and driving rain couldn’t stop Oregon from showering Cal’s defense with points or yards as the Ducks cruised to a 55-16 win over the Golden Bears. Bralon Addison came through for Oregon a big way, having two punt returns for touchdowns from 60+ yards out. The one downside of the game was the injury to RB De’Anthony Thomas which will sideline him for the foreseeable future as he rests his right ankle. Oregon will head east this week to take on Colorado as they look to move to 5-0 on the season. Spoiler alert: They will be moving on to 5-0.
#3: Ohio State
The longest active winning streak stayed intact this week as Ohio State narrowly escaped Wisconsin 31-24 in the first big match-up of their season. Close for a majority of the game, the Buckeyes were able to get a little bit of breathing room in the third quarter thanks in part to the returning QB Braxton Miller. Miller, who has been out for the better part of last two games, threw for four touchdowns, locking up his spot as the true starter. Wisconsin has been questionable this season and the fact that they almost came back in won this game in the fourth quarter puts some doubt in OSU’s defense. The Buckeyes will take on their second ranked opponent of the year this weekend against Northwestern on the road.
QB Tajh Boyd has to be loving the play of his Tigers right now. Clemson’s 56-7 win over Wake Forest marks the second time in the last three years that they have opened up a season 4-0. Boyd also found himself making an incredible personal achievement as his three touchdowns in the game pushed him to 102 all-purpose TDs on his career, making him just the second ACC QB to do that. Boyd needs 14 more passing touchdowns to surpass Philip Rivers as the ACC all-time career leader for passing touchdowns. He will get his chance to take a few steps closer to that record with a game this week at Syracuse.
A classic battle between the hedges has proven that Georgia might be a serious contender to Alabama in the SEC this season. Their 44-41 win over LSU is their third victory over a top ten team this season. QB Aaron Murray was near perfect, throwing for nearly 300 yards and having five all-purpose touchdowns in the game. Getting through the first four games with only one loss in a schedule as tough as this is pretty amazing and shows that this team has come to play. The defense is still super questionable and RB Todd Gurley is down for at least one game with an ankle injury, but they won’t have a tough game till November. A match-up against Tennessee will be an easy one compared to what they have had to deal with.
What was the bright spot of Stanford’s 55-17 win over Washington State this past weekend? Was it the WSU fan in the stands eating popcorn straight out of the bag? That was a good moment, but sadly no. It was the opportunity to see into the future when Barry Sanders Jr. took the field and made everyone have flashbacks to his pops. He also had a touchdown in this otherwise painful beat-down to watch. Stanford will get the chance to sweep the state of Washington this week as they take on the revitalized and ranked Huskies at home. The Cardinal has won four out of the last five games in this match-up.
QB Teddy Bridgewater is on pace to throw 56 touchdowns this season. This week, he will get his chance to pad his states against the Owls of Temple. This is the thing about this Temple team. They are winless and just allowed Idaho redshirt freshmen Chad Chalich to put up 400+ all-purpose yards on them. Louisville should cruise pretty easily in this one, even though Temple doesn’t allow a whole lot of touchdowns when around the 20-yard line. The Cardinals are going to be defensively too strong as well, so don’t expect the Owls to get much from their draw-draw-another draw run offense.
#8: Florida State
Falling behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Seminoles had to battle back against Boston College this past weekend to get their fourth win of the season by the score of 48-34. QB Jameis Winston has now thrown for two+ touchdowns in all of his appearances this season and this is his second four touchdown game of the season. His accuracy hasn’t been the best in the last two games compare to his first two, but he is getting wins and that is all that matters. Maryland comes to town this week in a battle of two undefeated ACC teams.
#9: South Carolina
Even when South Carolina wins, they lose. Not only did they about fall to Central Florida, winning by three points in a 28-25 point game, they also lost QB Connor Shaw in the game to a shoulder injury. He will likely return for this weekend’s game against Kentucky. The Gamecocks held their own fairly well, forcing four turnovers, three of which were interceptions. Too bad South Carolina gave up four turnovers on offense to offset that accomplishment. Shaw’s status is favorable for South Carolina, just like their recent history with the Wildcats as they have won 11 of their last 12 games.
Give LSU a lot of credit; they gave it their all against Georgia. QB Zach Mettenberger had a season-high 372 yards passing, but it just wasn’t enough. The Bayou Bengals are still a very dangerous team and should continue to be one of the top ten teams in the nation for the rest of the season. That task won’t be simple as there are still four potential ranked match-ups left in their schedule. For this weekend, LSU will travel to take on Mississippi State in a game that shouldn’t challenge them too much. With match-ups against Alabama, Ole Miss, and TAMU still left, each division match-up is key.
#11: Texas A&M
Much like Florida State and South Carolina, Evil Tim Tebow and the Aggies played it close to the vest in their 45-33 win over Arkansas. Manziel was held to his lowest production day of the season (outside of the Rice game), only gaining 320 yards and two touchdowns. TAMU just wasn’t able to shake off the Razorbacks till the fourth quarter. The Aggie defense didn’t do much to help as they didn’t force any turnovers while Manziel threw two interceptions. TAMU hasn’t been the same since the Alabama game and it makes one wonder what the rest of the season will become. Ole Miss pushed the Crimson Tide defensively and won’t be a push over.
Oklahoma’s 35-21 win over Notre Dame was the first win in South Bend for the Sooners since Eisenhower was in office. QB Blake Bell continues to look comfortable in the starting QB role and the future looks bright for the Oklahoma offense. The defense fully contained Irish QB Tommy Rees, forcing him to go 9 for 24 and throwing three interceptions. The win gives the Sooners their first top 25 win of the season, which is good, since TCU and Texas are no longer ranked and the fates of Baylor, TTU and OKST are up in the air. Oklahoma will host struggling TCU this weekend in Norman.
Ok Michigan, you have a game this weekend. The last two have not been enjoyable to watch, nor have they been impressive. Hosting Minnesota this weekend, every game has now become a giant question mark. To be fair, the Golden Gophers haven’t exactly beaten anyone of note and got destroy by Iowa last week, but the two teams that almost beat Michigan are a combined 1-8. If Michigan loses this game, the chances of them beating rivals Michigan State and Ohio State are slim to none. QB Devin Gardner needs to step up big in this one and prove he is worthy of the 98 he wears on his jersey.
It’s conference play time for the Bruins and after a week off they get newer PAC-12 member Utah who hasn’t been very competitive since joining the league. UCLA has dominated Utah historically, winning nine of 11 games dating back to 1933. Utah has only taken on one opponent, Oregon State, who challenged them offensively and even the Beavers aren’t on the same level as the Bruins right now. A strange Thursday game, it’s hard to think that this game will end poorly for the Bruins and it should end with UCLA getting their first 4-0 start since 2005.
Alright Wildcats, the time to shock the nation has finally arrived with the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes coming to town this weekend. A seven-point underdog, Northwestern has only beaten OSU 14 times ever and it hasn’t happened since 2004, so the numbers don’t favor them at all. This year’s team could be the one to do it with QBs Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter adding an interesting level of offensive momentum and strategy that OSU hasn’t experienced this season. Stopping QB Braxton Miller will be pivotal and doing so will be the main driving force behind getting a win in this game.
Will West Virginia’s big win against fellow ranked Big 12 member Oklahoma State put fear into the Mighty Bears of Baylor going into this weekend? Well figuring that Baylor’s offense is the scariest thing next to being first in line at the door at Wal-Mart on “Black Friday”, I would say no. QB Bryce Petty should have another 300+ yard game and the Bears should cruise through this game without any trouble. WVU is super sporadic and haven’t really played consistently this season. Watch for Baylor to move to 4-0 leading into their road trip the following weekend against Kansas State.
#17: Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes are now 4-0 for the first time since 2004 following their 49-21 win over South Florida. The Bulls haven’t been competitive for a few seasons and they really weren’t in this game at all. QB Stephen Morris had a pretty good 222 yard, two touchdown game before leaving with an ankle injury. Morris should be back for the game this Saturday against Georgia Tech, but will it really matter? It’s not like his play has been that great and back-up Ryan Williams did just as well. Miami hasn’t been tested and this game against the Yellow Jackets could be the first true competition of the season that has been on a similar level.
Continuing the trend of wearing gold chrome helmets, the Huskies continued their impressive start with a big 31-13 win over conference foe Arizona this past weekend. QB Keith Price, who has shined thus far, was oddly disappointing, only throwing for 165 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. RB Bishop Sankey carried the team offensively, literally, carrying the ball 40 times for 161 yards and a touchdown. The proving point of the season is this weekend for Washington as they travel to take on Stanford. Just a season ago, the Huskies upset the Cardinal in Seattle and will be looking to repeat that success.
Sitting at 3-1, the Huskers still have a lot to prove offensively and defensively for fans and critics alike. Nebraska continues to run the ball well, but the passing game lacks. Coach Bo Pelini is still dealing with all the negative reactions from his comments. The one good thing is that they don’t face a ranked opponent till November, which gives them time to restructure themselves with a slew of games against teams that are as questionable as them. Having not lost to Illinois since 1924, Nebraska will be challenged in this game. The Fighting Illini are 3-1 on the season and have shown some knack for scoring. Keep an eye on this game to be the upset of the week.
“Stop the presses! Florida has a quarterback that can throw for big yards!” is something I will hopefully say at some point in my lifetime. Maybe it was first game jitters, but QB Tyler Murphy was a bit underwhelming yards wise in Florida’s 24-7 win over Kentucky. Throwing for 156 yards, Murphy was incredibly accurate, completing 83% of his passes. Hosting Arkansas this weekend, it will be interesting to see how the Gators contain the Razorback offense. Big stops will be major for Florida as getting into a shoot-out with Arkansas will not be a possibility. Maybe they can get Tebow back for the weekend.
#21: Fresno State
Getting a ton of hype as the 2013 “BCS Buster” team, Fresno State didn’t look like a serious contender toward the end of their 42-37 win over Hawaii. After going up 42-3, the Bulldogs allowed 34 unanswered points by the Warriors while turning the ball over five times during the course of the game. QB Derek Carr threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. Fresno State can still do undefeated this season, but not if their defense gives up points like they did this past weekend. This weekend they travel north to take on a “resurgent” Idaho team coming off their first win of the season.
#22: Oklahoma State
In what was the biggest upset of this past weekend, the Cowboys never really looked that great during their 30-21 loss to West Virginia. Following their first score on a 73-yard pass from QB J.W. Walsh to WR Josh Stewart, OKST never led again during the game as WVU took control and never gave it up. The blame on this one needs to go on the offense who turned the ball over three times and had a third down conversion percentage of 30%. Returning to Stillwater, the Cowboys will take on the Wildcats of Kansas State this weekend in the hopes to stay ranked with a win.
#23: Northern Illinois
The question must be asked, were Idaho and Eastern Illinois secretly good or is Purdue really that bad? We have to ask this because the last three games for the Huskies have made no sense. After struggling against both the Vandals and Panthers, NIU came out and throttled Boilermakers 55-24. Their second win against a BCS automatic qualifying conference team, the Huskies forced five turnovers and became the first team in MAC history to beat two Big 10 teams in the same season. NIU looks to be refocused and will take on Kent State this weekend to start conference play in the MAC.
Remember the last time Maryland opened up a season 4-0? Well I didn’t either so I looked it up. The answer is 2001. The Terrapins haven’t made any noise in the ACC for some time now and to see them and their ugly jerseys doing so well is outstanding. Their competition this season thus far hasn’t been that impressive with WVU possibly being an exception following their win against OKST. This week they get their first real challenge in Florida State. The Seminoles have beaten the Terrapins 21 of 23 games and haven’t lost to Maryland since 2006 with both of those games being played in College Park.
#25: Texas Tech
Opening up 4-0 for the third season in a row, the Red Raiders like to play with our emotions. Here is a team, more or less, hidden in the shadows of Texas, TAMU, and Baylor who starts out hot and then flounders. In the four games following their 4-0 starts, TTU is 3-5 and failed to win more than eight games in either of those seasons by the end of them. Coming off a bye week and taking on Kansas this weekend in Lawrence, Texas Tech will try to get their first 5-0 start since 2008. TTU has only lost to the Jayhawks once in their 14 match-ups.
DROPPED: Ole Miss & Notre Dame
ON WATCH: Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, & Arizona State