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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Getting Real

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The wild, wacky, and wonderful world of College Football!

Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

When college football gets around to Week 3, fans can get a better feel about where teams are. The excuses of being rusty, developing chemistry and the rest of that coachspeak are no longer viable. What you saw this past Saturday is most likely what you are going to get for the next several months.

If you go by the body of work so far, a few teams really stand out. Many others are not what the wagging tongues were telling us they would be.

THE BEST SO FAR

Alabama 48 Ole Miss 43 - Why bury the lead? Alabama just wins. Another crazy Bama-OM game goes down to the wire. Two scores by the Bama defense and one by special teams breaks the hex the Rebs had over the Tide.

Louisville 63 Florida State 20 - Ya know how they say "the game was closer than the score indicates"? This was not one of those games. The Cardinals scored at will running it up to 63-10. FSU's final 10 points came agains the 'Ville's twos and threes. Lamar Jackson was spectacular accounting for five touchdowns and 362 total yards.

Ohio State 45 Oklahoma 24 - J.T. Barrett connected with Noah Brown for four passing scores. Mike Weber had 123 yards on the ground. The Buckeyes are quietly going about things very business-like. This could be a scary team.

Stanford 27 Southern Cal 10 - The Cardinal look like the class of the PAC. Christian McCaffrey continues to eat up yards.

Michigan State 36 Notre Dame 28 - The Spartans want you to know the B1G is not a two team race between OSU and Michigan. MSU led 36-7 but allowed the Irish to get back in the game with 21 straight late in the game.

Texas A&M 29 Auburn 16 - Trevor Knight was 20-40 for 247 yards but the vaunted Aggies receiving corps only found the end zone on one occasion. TAMU's Trayveon Williams gained 127 yards on only 8 carries. Auburn's Kamryn Pettway had 20 carries for 123 yards and a score.

SEC logo

LSU 23 Mississippi State 20 - Leonard Fournette got back on track, rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers held a 23-3 halftime lead, only to let MSU score the next 17 thanks to a benching of QB Nick Fitzgerald in favor of Damian Williams. A late Bullies fumble ended the comeback threat. LSU has scored no fourth quarter points in three games.
Florida 32 North Texas 0 - The Gators outgained the Mean Green 471 to 53 but lost QB Luke Del Rio (see the sick guy icon below).
Arkansas 42 Texas State 3 - This one was 467 yards to 105. Domination and no injuries.
Georgia Tech 38 Vanderbilt 7 - The Yeller Jackets outcoached and outran Vandy. GT had 11 different players run the ball and had TD passes of 77 and 81 yards.
South Carolina 20 East Carolina 15 - SC ran up a 17-0 first quarter lead and then relaxed long enough for the Pirates to make it close. The defense held on for dear life.
Kentucky 62 New Mexico State 42 - Even though this goes down as a victory, it was a poor showing for UK with NMSU hanging close until some late scores put this game away for the 'Cats.

slow clap

Houston 40 Cincinnati 16 - If you want to teach kids how to play football, do not show them this game. Both sides were riddled with costly turnovers. The Bearcats actually led this game entering the fourth quarter 16-12. However, three interceptions on three straight possessions led to three straight Cougars touchdown, the last two being pick-sixes on consecutive plays from scrimmage. This may be the end for Tubby. He knows where he can put that thumb.
Michigan 45 Colorado 28 - Credit UM for regrouping after the Buffs jumped out to a 21-7 first quarter lead. But this Colorado team is no Bill McCartney team of the 1990s.
Clemson 59 South Carolina State 0 - Deshaun Watson gave a big speech and the Tigers came out and punished poor little SCSU (0-3). Good for you, Deshaun!
Wisconsin 23 Georgia State 17 - The Badgers almost had one of their most embarrassing losses in the program's history. GSU was leading 17-13 in the final period before Wisky made a QB change and righted the ship.
Georgia 28 Missouri 27 - Wow, the UGA fans are back in Super Bowl-winning mode again. In a game that they should've won by three touchdowns, the Bulldogs struggled to take control of this game until the messiah Jacob Eason, led the team to a final possession touchdown. Eason threw the ball 55 times. The Dawgs gained only 101 rushing yards with Nick Chubb getting 63. At least they won the game. A year ago, this would've been a big L.
Tennessee 28 Ohio 19 - The Vols struggled mightily against a team that lost to Texas State. Not only did the men in orange fumble five times, they also committed nine penalties and Joshua Dobbs threw a pick. Tennessee lost some key players to injury (see the sick guy icon below).

embarrassed

Cal 50 Texas 43 - Before the ink on the newspaper headlines of "Texas is Back" could dry, the Longhorns go back into faceplant mode. Back to obscurity with you!
North Dakota State 23 Iowa 21 - Why do teams keep scheduling the Bisons?! NDSU has beaten FBS teams in six straight games (Kansas in 2010, Minnesota in ’11, Colorado State in ’12, Kansas State in ’13 and Iowa State in ’14). Oregon has them scheduled for 2020.

GRAB BAG

Nebraska 35 Oregon 32 - Mike Riley finally found a way to beat Oregon - leave Oregon State for Nebraska! The 'Huskers Tommy Armstrong scored on a 34-yard quarterback draw with 3:30 left and the defense held on to upset the Ducks. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich made the odd choice of going for two-point conversions after every touchdown. The Ducks made the first one but failed the next four. That is a three point swing. Ya think they coulda used those three points??
Oklahoma State 45 Pitt 38 - The Cowpokes bounced back from their devastating loss to WMU just in time to hold off the Panthers' upset bid.

football drop

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is a-going on here?

For the second week in a row, not one, but two separate instances of guys running to the end zone and flipping the ball behind them just before they cross the goal line. All three occurrences looked almost identical. It baffles me. It goes against every instinct a football player should have of getting that ball across the line. The odd thing is, each got different rulings.

In the top photo, Oklahoma's Joe Mixon CLEARLY fumbles but no official caught it: Touchdown.

The second photo is Cal's Vic Enwere prematurely relieving himself of the pigskin on a potential knockout punch against Texas. With a slim one touchdown lead, Enwere's fumble was ruled Cal's ball spotted at the one since no Texas player made an "immediate recovery" - a very questionable ruling.

In Week 2, Ray-Ray McCloud's drop was correctly ruled a fumble recovered by a Troy cover man for a touchback. Instead of a 20-10 halftime lead, McCloud’s premature celebration kept it a 13-10 game after two quarters. Try and tell me that is not huge going into a locker room. The Tigers went on to eke out a close win over Troy but they dropped in the polls. It is hard to pinpoint one moment in a game that ruins a season, but that could be it for Dabo's crew.

What would you like to bet that there are some new football drills being run across the nation this week?

~~~~~

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Southern Cal (1-2) The Men of Troy were not good, losing to Stanford. Up next, Utah.
WKU (2-1) The Hilltoppers win at Miami (OH) 31-24. Vandy awaits.
Chattanooga (3-0) The Mocs defeat Furman, move to #3 in FCS rankings. Samford comes a-calling.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • Jacksonville State held off Coastal Carolina 27-26 to move to 2-1. USA lost again.
  • Can you take orphans back to orphanage for a refund if you don't like them? I ask because we are sending North Texas packing. The only reason to adopt them was to follow former Alabama QB Alec Morris. Despite losing to Florida 32-0 behind QB Mason Fine's pathetic passing of 6-22 for 66 yards and an INT (a QB Rating of 2.1!) with 9 rushes for -45 yards, Morris nor any other Mean Green signal caller entered the game.

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

The three teams are collectively 8-0.

RS-Patriot

  • Army 66 UTEP 14 - A big road win for the Black Knights, playing with a heavy heart after the recent death of their brother, cornerback Brandon Jackson, who died in a car wreck.
  • Air Force had the weekend off.
  • Navy 21 Tulane 14 - Quarterback Will Worth rushed for 111 yards and the winning touchdown in the final three minutes.

ELIMINATED:

The following four teams have two losses but the defeats came at the hands of ranked P5 teams. They would need SEVERAL teams to falter in order for them to have a chance at the CFP. But crazier things have happened.

ENDANGERED:

AUBURN - loss to Clemson and TAMU
NOTRE DAME - Texas and Michigan State
OLE MISS - FSU and Bama
SOUTHERN CAL - Bama and Stanford

FSU has one loss but it was a devastating blowout. Their chances are on life support as well.

DONE AND NOT COMING BACK:

All non-Power 5 teams
BOSTON COLLEGE - Shutout by VaTech 49-0? Buh-bye.
ILLINOIS - lost to WMU at home by 24? Buh-bye.
SYRACUSE - 25 point home loss to S. Fla? Yea, that's a buh-bye.
IOWA - I don't care how many FCS Championships they won, a loss to North Dakota State is a big BUH-BYE.
BOSTON COLLEGE
CAL
DUKE
IOWA STATE
KANSAS
KENTUCKY
MISSISSIPPI STATE
MIZZOU
NC STATE
NORTHWESTERN
OREGON STATE
VANDERBILT
VIRGINIA
WAKE FOREST
WAZZU

boxers

THE CONTENDERS

A way WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

  • ACC - Who would've thought that after three weeks, both FSU and Clemson would be looking like also-rans? Both teams could be a loss away from elimination. Louisville, who is in their third season in the ACC, looks like the only hope for the conference unless Clemson can turn it around.
  • Big Ten - Ohio State and Michigan State had big OOC wins. Nebraska did as well. Conference play finally starts this week which will kick some teams to the curb for good. Fortunately, we don't have to hear about Iowa anymore.
  • Big 12 - Sad days for whiny-pants Bob Bowlsby. Oklahoma and Texas are toast. Only West Virginia (2-0) and pariah Baylor (3-0) have yet to see defeat this season. The only good thing the B12 ever did is here.
  • PAC-12 - Stanford handled Southern Cal but have trips to UCLA and Washington up next.
  • SEC - Alabama is still #1. Florida and Tennessee have a "playoff" on Saturday. Texas A&M is still alive.
  • Notre Dame - The Irish have a new theme song.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to AP Poll voters who bounced Texas all the way up to #11 two weeks ago.

~~~~~

Sad_face_medium

  • What is it about Ole Miss that make Crimson Tide players get injured? In 2014, it was Kenyan Drake (who btw scored a touchdown on his second NFL carry on Sunday). Last season it was Robert Foster. This past Saturday, Alabama corner Minkah Fitzpatrick took a blow to the head in the second half and had to leave the game. WR Ardarius Stewart left in the first half with a sprained knee. Don't be surprised if both players skip the Kent State game. Nick Saban also said starting quarterback Jalen Hurts "sprained his wrist a little bit" in the second quarter, but "he's fine." Many coaches and players were getting IVs due to the heat. Everyone else should be good to go on Saturday.
  • Florida may have taken the biggest hit this past weekend when QB Luke De Rio injured a knee in their win over North Texas. While it is not as bad as first believed, it will knock him out of the lineup for a few weeks including the big showdown with Tennessee. Grad-transfer quarterback Austin Appleby will take over the starting job. My condolences.
  • The Vols did not fare too much better losing senior cornerback/punt returner Cameron Sutton who injured his ankle in the first quarter and will be out for several weeks. Also lost was senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder). His status is questionable for Saturday. UT was already without the services of linebacker Darrin Kirkland who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 and may not return for the Florida game. Redshirt freshman linebacker Quart'e Sapp left the game late in the second quarter on crutches.
  • Houston QB Greg Ward (shoulder) is probable Saturday vs. Texas State. They won't need him.

tiny football

STAT OF THE DAY

Western Michigan is now 2-0 in Big Ten play this season. Although they play in the mighty MAC, the Broncos have defeated Northwestern and Illinois, both on the road. Any ideas WMU may have about crashing anyone's playoff party might be dashed when they attempt to stop Georgia Southern's (3-0) triple option this weekend.

KEY & PEELE PLAYER NAME OF THE WEEK

Tennessee linebacker Quart'e Sapp. Sapp could not be present to accept his award but his brothers Pint'e and Gallon'e accepted in his stead.

LET'S GO BOWLING!

While it is still early to eliminate (especially with the silliness from last season), these teams are 0-3:

Arkansas State
Florida International
Georgia State
Iowa State
Miami (OH)
Northern Illinois
Rice
Virginia

These schools should expect a phone call from Jim Harbaugh in the near future.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

  • Who Will Win - Louisville QB Lamar Jackson has taken a commanding lead and well deserved after shredding the FSU defense. He is second in the nation in rushing at any position. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey is putting up good numbers but the voters like that shiny new toy and the Boy Wonder is not that. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers had a 56-yard punt return for a TD. He also plays defense and had two rushes for 17 and 7 yards. He'll be good for some filler articles but I can't see the voters going that route again.
  • Who Should Win - Jackson is looking pretty good but can he keep it up for nine more games? He likes to run and with every attempt there is a chance to get popped.

cbs sux

OMG what an excruciating game that Ole Miss-Alabama game was to watch. I am not talking about the nail-biting due to the action on the field. It was the looooong commercial breaks, the interruptions to let the viewers know that the exceptionally unfunny Kevin James has a new sitcom, the irrelevant graphics, Gary's fastball theory (that CBS was so enthralled with that they had to show us three times), Verne and Gary trying to say something that happened in seasons past is apt to today, and my favorite: shots of Verne and Gary in the booth in between plays (This happens every week. Why is that necessary?). In addition, most of these interruptions came while the game was going on. Yep, no reason to show any replays or shots of the sidelines. Here is a full-screen graphic generated on a Commodore computer on something that happened in 2008!

It all started when the scheduled 2:30pm CT kickoff was delayed by a good 12-13 minutes for no good reason other than to hype a game that we are already there to watch. By the time foot hit leather, many of the other 2:30pm games already had teams scoring points. The South Carolina-East Carolina game started on SECN at 3:00pm and ended at 6:24pm. I looked at the clock when the Bama-OM game ended and wrote down "6:44pm CT". The game was suppose be finish at 6pm. Yes, there was a lot of scoring but four hours and 14 minutes is too much. Screw Kevin James.

Black_white_tv_salesman_medium

Despite the torture CBS put us through, the Alabama-Ole Miss game drew the second-highest TV rating of 2016 season to date. It landed just behind the Labor Day night game between Ole Miss and Florida State - which was the only game on that day. The 5.4 rating doubled the same time slot from the same week a year ago (Auburn-LSU, 2.7). Other games in the 2:30pm time slot included Oregon-Nebraska and Pitt-Okie State.

Times are CT/ET.

Thursday, September 22
Clemson at Georgia Tech 6:30pm/7:30pm ESPN ESPN - Tech has a pretty good defense and Clemson has a short week to learn how to defend that tricky flexbone triple option. This could get real interesting real fast.

Friday, September 23
Wyoming at Eastern Michigan 6:30pm/7:30pm CBSSN - awful.
TCU at SMU 7pm/8pm ESPN ESPN - It's amazing how the Horn Frogs have fallen off the radar since losing to Arky.
Southern Cal at Utah 8pm/9pm FS1 - The Trojans need to start winning. This will not be an easy one.

Saturday, September 24

SEC:

Georgia at Ole Miss 11am/noon ESPN ESPN - It's disappointing that this game is on at the same time as the Bama game. I'm taking the Rebs. Who you got?
Florida at Tennessee 2:30pm/3:30pm CBS- Well, here it is. The Game the Vols have been waiting for.
Mississippi State at UMass 2:30pm/3:30pm espn3 - Played in Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA. Why in the heck did Mullen agree to this game? What could the program possibly gain from this trip? Even the SEC Network didn't want to air this stinker.
Delaware State at Missouri 3pm/4pm SECN-  Gary Pinkel didn't leave Barry Odom with a very good team but he did leave some cupcakes.
Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky 3:30/4:30 CBSSN - I truly think the Hilltoppers will win this.
LSU at Auburn 5pm/6pm ESPN ESPN - A must-win for both teams and two endangered coaches. SEC Nation will be there.
South Carolina at Kentucky 6:30/7:30 SECN - The Battle to Stay Out of the Basement!
Arkansas at Texas A&M 9pm/10pm ESPNESPN - A major SEC West game. Played at Jerry World (aka Bryant-Denny West) in Arlington, TX.

DURING COMMERCIALS:

Florida State at South Florida 11am/noon ABCABC- The 'Noles better get over themselves REAL fast because South Florida is 3-0 with three double-digit wins and this game is in the Bulls' home stadium of Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL.
Wisconsin at Michigan State 11am/noon BTN - loser is in a bit of a hole.
Duke at Notre Dame 2:30pm/3:30pm NBC - The Irish take out their anger on the Dukies.
Pittsburgh at North Carolina 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPNUESPNU- One or both of these teams could play spoiler down the road.
BYU at West Virginia 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPN2 - WVU is one of two undefeated B12 teams remaining.
Penn State at Michigan 2:30pm/3:30pm ABCABC- Maybe PSU should honor Jeffrey Dahmer next.
Boise State at Oregon State 2:30pm/3:30pm FS1 - The Smurfs try to stay relevant.
Nebraska at Northwestern 6:30/7:30 BTN - The 'Huskers are raising eyebrows. Here's to B1G chaos!
Louisville at Marshall 8:00 PM CBSSN - Watch Lamar go off like he is on EA Sports.
Stanford at UCLA 8:00 PM ABCABC- Another challenge for the Cardinal.

(Nothing else worth mentioning.)

CAN'T SLEEP?

Washington at Arizona 9:30pm/10:30pm PAC12 - Are you buying the UW hype?

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

Kent State at ALABAMA 11am/noon SECN- I think Nick Saban would appreciate it if you stayed for the fourth quarter...

#RollTide!