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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Week 3

Letdowns Lead to Upsets

The Psychology of Big Wins
The Psychology of Big Wins
Streeter Lecka

If you don't believe in the psychology of sports, then you haven't been paying attention. In college football, they have an interesting phenomenon called "the Letdown". Interestingly, it can work two ways:

  1. Depression Letdown: After a disappointing loss, a team can be listless and apathetic causing them to lose a game they probably shouldn't. Sometimes, it can kill a whole season.
  2. Inflated Ego Letdown: After a BIG win, a team can get a little full of themselves, get lazy, and not respect the next opponent. Some recent examples are listed below.

Aw, shucks. (Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)

South Carolina 38 Georgia 35

The Bulldogs got an extra week to rejoice in their triumphant defeat of big bad Clemson 45-21. Because of that one win, most UGA fans and Georgia media worked themselves into a tizzy crowning running back Todd Gurley as the Heisman Trophy winner, new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as some kind of messiah, and UGA as the National Champion favorite. However, psychology and history were not on their side.

The Gamecocks put together three long sustained 75 yard first half drives to put them up 24-13. When a team trades field goals for touchdowns, it is hard to catch up and that's what happen to the Dawgs.


Before and After (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports; Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Boston College 37 Southern Cal 31

One week after taking down Pac-12 foe Stanford on the road, the Trojans traveled to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. A 30-20 home loss to Pitt the week before did not damper the spirits of the Eagles as they rushed for 452 yards on the Southern Cal defense.

Maybe it was Steve Sarkisian's youth and inexperience of having a team with a bull's-eye on their back but he did not have the Trojans ready for this game. They looked lost at times and confounded by the Eagles' unrelenting rushing attack led by quarterback Tyler Murphy who put up 191 yards on 13 carries. BC put up 452 total rushing yards.

After jumping out to a 17-6 first half lead the Trojans offense went to sleep allowing BC to come back with 24 unanswered points and a 30-17 lead that they would not relinquish.


"Respect mah authoritah! (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

East Carolina 28 Virginia Tech 21

Speaking of unprepared... A week after the Hokies took down Ohio State in Columbus 35-21, they could not get things going in the first half against ECU as the Pirates jumped out to a 21-0 first half lead. Va Tech gained just 30 yards on their first 25 plays on seven drives. The first three drives were 3-and-outs followed by two more punts, two interceptions and a missed field goal.


Up Next?

Alex Collins (above) and Jonathan Williams rush for 357. (Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

Arkansas 49 Texas Tech 28

The Hogs slowed down the Red Raiders by running, running, and then running a little more. Arkansas had 68 rushing attempts as opposed to 12 pass attempts. Alex Collins (212 yards, 2 TDs), Jonathan Williams (145, 4) and the rest of the team compiled 438 yards on the ground and held the ball 40:39 compared to Texas Tech's 19:21.

It was a HUGE win for the Razorbacks and for Bert but they need to learn a lesson from the above examples. Up next is 3-0 Northern Illinois. Arky is a 14 point favorite. Take the underdog.



Virginia 23, No. 21 Louisville 21 - Much-improved UVa knocks the Cardinals out of the Top 25 and any hope for a playoff birth. Hopefully this is the beginning of Lady Karma cashing in some of Bobby Petrino's debts.
Georgia Tech 42, Georgia Southern 38 - Georgia Southern (1-2) have lost two games they should've won (NC State is the other). Look for the newest FBS team to be a pesky bunch for years to come.
Vanderbilt 34, Massachusetts 31 - Vandy needed a late TD to escape 0-3 vs. a dreadful team.
Iowa State 20, Iowa 17 - Do you think Big-10 commish Jim Delany STILL thinks his beloved conference has a chance at the playoff? Yes, he probably does.
Abilene Christian 38, Troy 35 - The Trojans have officially passed Georgia State as the worst team in FBS.
No. 12 UCLA 20, Texas 17 - Aw, don't you feel sorry for the Longhorns (1-2)? Me neither.



If you are a Bama fan, you need to start pulling for their opponents when they are not facing the Crimson Tide.

West Virginia 40, Maryland 37 - Clint Trickett passed for 511 yards and four touchdowns, as the Mountaineers held off the Terps. For the 85th straight time, their cute little uniforms did not bring them glory on the field.
FAU 50, Tulsa 21 - I am not sure if anything the Owls do is going to impress the committee but a "W" is a "W". FAU jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead and pushed it to 33-7 at halftime. QB Jaquez Johnson amassed 318 yards passing and 3 TDs.



INDIANA - loss to Bowling Green? Yeah, you're out.
Boston College - it's only a matter of time.
Texas - 0-3
Wake Forest
Iowa State
Washington State



Heisman Hype

  • Ho Hum. Yet another 130 yard receiving game for our favorite wide receiver. Amari Cooper's eight catches for 135 yards and a touchdown moved him into third in career Alabama receiving yards with 2,190. He passed Ozzie Newsome (2,070) with an eye towards Julio Jones (2,653) and DJ Hall (2923).
  • UGA's Todd Gurley had 20 rushes for 131 yards and a TD in a losing effort.
  • Oregon's Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 23 passes for 221 yards with two touchdowns in three quarters of play as the Ducks trampled Wyoming 48-14.


Extra Points

  • As many Bama fans saw, Nick Perry was ejected for targeting on a helmet to helmet hit during the Southern Miss game. He will be forced to sit out the first half of the Florida game. Look for Geno Smith, Hootie Jones, and Jabriel Washington to step up.
  • In the first overtime of Florida’s defeat of the Kentucky, the play clock appeared to hit zeros without the officials throwing a delay of game flag. On Sunday, the SEC released a statement saying they found nothing wrong with non-call. In part, the statement said: "The back judge is responsible for delay of game calls. The procedure for the back judge is for his eyes to stay on the clock when it nears zero. When the clock hits zero, he immediately looks from the clock to the ball. If the ball is moving, there is no delay of game. If the ball is stationary, a delay of game penalty is called."
  • College football saw yet another weather delay as the start of the Georgia-South Carolina game was held back an hour and 26 minutes. I am not sure what has catapulted all this sudden overprotectiveness concerning lightning 8 miles away.
  • Don't look now but guess who is creeping back up the polls. Notre Dame is now ranked #9 based on their three spectacular home wins against powerhouses Rice, Michigan, and Purdue leaving national media frothing at the mouth. But fear not. Games with Stanford and FSU are coming up in October.
  • Speaking of the Seminoles, has anyone noticed how LITTLE coverage there has been of the nation's number one team as of late? Their two lethargic wins over Okie State and Citadel did not blow anyone's mind. They host Clemson on Saturday.



Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to that pie-faced joke of an NCAA President Mark Emmert for reinstating Penn State's bowl eligibility this past week.



  • Bama coach Nick Saban sounded optimistic that wide receiver DeAndrew White (shoulder) will return for the Florida game. White dressed out for the USM game and was seen riding a stationary bike on the sidelines.
  • The outlook for a return of safety Jarrick Williams (foot) is not as rosy. With an off week after the Florida game, it is more likely he returns for the Ole Miss game on October 4.
  • Auburn expects WR Sammie Coates (left leg) back for the Thursday game at K-State.
  • Oklahoma's leading rusher Keith Ford will be out 2-3 weeks with a foot injury. The Sooners next two games are at WVU and at TCU.
  • Nick Chubb underwent thumb surgery on Monday after suffering an injury during practice last week. He will likely miss Saturday's game with Troy. Chubb is starting to look like the #2 running back for Georgia behind Todd Gurley.



Only two games pit ranked teams against each other this week. However, there are a few other interesting games to keep an eye on. Below are the highlights:


Auburn at Kansas State 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET ESPNESPN



Troy at Georgia 11:00 AM CT / 12:00 PM ET SEC Network- sleep in, go to brunch, clean the gutters, and skip this one.
Texas A&M at SMU 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET ABCABC
Indiana at Missouri 3:00 PM CT / 4:00 PM ET SEC Network
Northern Illinois at Arkansas 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET ESPNUESPNU- Don't get cocky, Hogs.
Mississippi State at LSU 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET ESPNESPNGAME OF THE WEEK
South Carolina at Vanderbilt 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET SEC Network


The ACC steps into the spotlight with some intriguing games.

Virginia at BYU 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET ESPNESPN- The two biggest surprises in the nation square off.
North Carolina at East Carolina 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET ESPNU ESPNU
Utah at Michigan 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET ESPN2ESPN2- What is a Ute?
Oklahoma at West Virginia 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET FOX - GO WVU!
Miami (FL) at Nebraska 7:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM ET ESPN2ESPN2- rematch of the 2002 BCS Championship Game won by the U 37-14.
Clemson at Florida State 7:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM ET ABC ABC- This game looked more interesting 3 weeks ago.

Nothing else really worth mentioning, except...

(Photo by CB969)


Alabama vs. Florida 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET CBS - Forget the Kentucky-Florida game. If we learned anything this week, it's never underestimate your opponent.