While You Were Cheering: Recapping the CFB World – Week 3

If Week 3 of college football had it their way, it would demolish the idea of a “Power 5” conference system.

Yesterday was not kind to Power 5 teams. 9 teams in P5 conferences lost to a team in a G5 conference, and that number likely would have been 10 had UCF played their regularly scheduled game against a reeling UNC:

  • Troy defeated Nebraska, 24-19
  • Temple defeated Maryland, 35-14
  • South Florida defeated Illinois, 25-19 (to be fair, South Florida was a big favorite)
  • BYU defeated Wisconsin, 24-21
  • North Texas crushed Arkansas, 44-14
  • Nevada defeated Oregon State, 37-35
  • Akron defeated Northwestern, 39-34
  • Fresno State defeated UCLA, 38-14
  • San Diego State defeated Arizona State, 28-21

Maybe it wasn’t a Power 5 problem as much as it was a Big Ten problem. Only Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota won yesterday.

Michigan did take care of business against SMU yesterday, despite some penalty issues. Once the offense learned that wide receivers are allowed to catch touchdowns, that seemed to have opened a door of the playbook that was under lock and key for the majority of the 2017 season. It still wasn’t an A+ performance, but I feel comfortable moving into Big Ten play. Across the country yesterday, TCU had Ohio State sweating until the waning minutes of the 4th, Alabama continues to be so good it isn’t even fun to watch, and (most) of the other big names won, but don’t think that there weren’t entertaining games elsewhere in the country! Here’s what happened in Week 3 while you were cheering.

  • Florida State – Not Back 
    • After looking quite rough in two straight weeks, Florida State laid an absolute egg in a 30-7 loss to the Orange, to whom they had not lost since 1966 and the first time since both teams were in the ACC. Florida State did not score their sole touchdown until the bowels of garbage time and only got two first downs in the first half. Their first-half drive chart: 3 plays, 2 yards; 4 plays, 21 yards; 3 plays, 3 yards; 3 plays, 1 yard; 3 plays, 9 yards; 3 plays, 8 yards, 2 plays (interception); 8 plays, end of half (drive stalled at the Syracuse 12). They did not score until 6:16 in the 4th when it was 23-0.
    • Willie Taggart has always been a coach of growth and specific concept. He won 2 games in each of his first years at Western Kentucky and at South Florida  and then turned it around, but he has a lot more in the cupboard in terms of talent at Florida State. With a good Northern Illinois team coming to town next week, followed by the beginning of conference play, Florida State will be hard pressed to find a win streak let alone a bowl berth at this rate.
  • Has Louisville Found Their Answer to Lamar Jackson Leaving?
    • In a 20-17 victory over a bad Western Kentucky team (107th in S&P+), Jawon Pass did not see any game action after the first quarter when Bobby Petrino opted for sophomore QB Malik Cunningham to lead Louisville’s offense. Although Cunningham’s passing numbers weren’t eye-popping (10-18 for 88 yards), his rushing totals were impressive (21 rushes for 129 yards) and reminiscent of Lamar Jackson. I would be willing to bet that it is his offense moving forward.
  • Maryland, Make Up Your Mind
    • Are you good or not? After an incredible and emotional Week 1 win over Texas, Maryland looked really uncomfortable against a Temple team that lost to FCS Villanova in Week 1. Maryland did not score an offensive touchdown (their two touchdowns were on a pick-six and a blocked punt), but did fumble twice and threw a pick-six of their own against a team that entered the week 102nd in S&P+. For a team whose interim coach is an offensive mastermind, this was a really poor offensive performance; Maryland QBs were 8-21 for 63 yards passing and two interceptions.
  • More Like Yuck-Conn (Like UConn, get it?)
    • After allowing 818 yards to Boise State last week (not a typo), UConn did get a win against FCS Rhode Island, but not before allowing 351 yards passing and 199 rushing in a 56-49 shootout. The way UConn is playing, I don’t expect more than two wins to round out the season.
  • Texas Tech: Still Allergic to Defense
    • A win over Houston is a big deal. Houston is a good team with a talented quarterback, but they’re not a team that is built to put up 49 points regularly. Texas Tech (who is designed to put up 60+ points regularly), defeated the Cougars 63-49 in a back-and-forth track meet yesterday that saw 1,339 total yards of offense. For a head coach that hasn’t won a bowl game since 2013 and is under .500 in his tenure, a win over a talented team like this will help Kingsbury’s resume should his seat get hotter at the end of the year, but this doesn’t bode well for conference play when you have juggernauts West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State on the schedule.
  • Kansas – BACK!
    • Kansas handily defeated Rutgers yesterday, 55-14 in the Super Butt Bowl of two of the worst teams in the P5 (Oregon State needs to jump in for a round robin). Rutgers did not score in the second half and allowed 400 yards on the ground to Kansas, who has not rushed for that many yards since the turn of the century. This is the first time since 2009 that Kansas has defeated FBS opponents in back-to-back weeks and they could possibly improve to 3-1 (!!!) against a beatable Baylor team next week. The path to bowl eligibility for Rutgers’ that I spoke of last week is looking foggier each week. True freshman QB Artur Sitkowski threw 3 picks (one for a pick-six) and connected on only 7 of 19 passes before being benched for Giovanni Rescigno.
    • At least Rutgers has this:
  • Northwestern Sticks to the Script
    • I think Pat Fitzgerald is a tremendous coach – starting with conference play. In his tenure, they have lost early season games to Illinois State, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Army, and now Akron, losing 39-34 yesterday. Leading 21-3 at halftime, Akron scored on four straight possessions to open the second half to pull within two, and then recorded a #ScoopNScore and a pick-six to put the game away. Northwestern might not win 10 games for the 3rd time in 4 years. Relevant:
  • Chad Morris Definitely Needs a Year
    • When Arkansas hired Chad Morris away from SMU, they knew they were getting a forward-thinking head coach who will be starting from the ground up to redesign the offense (Bret Bielema was not a creative offensive mind), but losing 44-17 to North Texas was not part of the plan. North Texas is one of the better G5 teams, but Mason Fine torched the Razorback defense for a 34-10 halftime lead and ended his day 24-45 for 281 yards and a touchdown.
    • The SEC West will feast on this Arkansas defense in the coming weeks.
  • The Fightin’ Herms Lose a Tight One
    • Arizona State was on the ropes late against SDSU, but forced a fumble in the final minute and a great catch at the goal line was overturned because apparently college referees do not know the catching rules either.

      It was a fun week being ranked though.

  • The Fightin’ Chips Lose a Not Tight One
    • Fresno State embarrassed UCLA in a 38-14 drubbing, pushing UCLA to 0-3 on the season. Like Chad Morris, Kelly inherited a completely lost UCLA team and is starting completely from scratch, but they just couldn’t hold on. After scoring a touchdown early in the 2nd half to make it 16-14, Fresno State forced back to back interceptions, scoring off of both to ice the game and make things interesting in Los Angeles. I don’t think this can be said enough this season:
  • Washington – U Up?
    • Washington won by two touchdowns, but the offense could use some work. The Husky defense is absolutely stifling but in crunch time, the offense failed to sustain a drive and put the game on ice (remind you of any other teams you know?) – and Jake Browning made this interesting decision as the 3rd quarter was dwindling with a 2-touchdown lead.
  • Other Notable Items
    • Hawaii is no longer undefeated after losing to Army.
    • Oregon State has a turnover chainsaw.
    • Wisconsin is likely out of the playoff (unless they run the table and somehow defeat an undefeated OSU).
    • Texas beat USC in a very tired narrative of the 2006 BCS rematch, but given that USC is nowhere near the USC of last year, it’s more a sigh of relief than a chest-thumping victory (USC rushed for 21 non-sack yards).
    • I owe Coach O and LSU a big apology.
  • Next Week’s Notable Games
    • Notre Dame vs Wake Forest
    • Texas A&M vs Alabama (I hate putting that knowing that Alabama will probably win 63-10)
    • South Carolina vs Vanderbilt
    • Texas Tech vs Oklahoma State
    • Stanford vs Oregon
    • Wisconsin vs Iowa (take the under, even if it is in single digits)
    • Arizona State vs Washington

Week 3 is in the books. Thanks for reading and thanks for cheering!

Photo Credit: Nick Krugg/KUSports.com

Bill Getschman