Week 3 Wrap Up:
Most Impressive Team Performance: There are several teams who really stood out to me this week. First, I’d like to give credit to two in particular who I doubted going into the week. Kansas was my most disappointing performance a week ago and I didn’t think they stood any chance going on the road to play Boston College, and they sure proved me wrong by winning 48-24. Next, Maryland was my most impressive team from a week ago and I fully expected them to go on the road and beat Temple. However, Temple played an outstanding defensive game and overcame a seven yard punt from their own endzone in the final minutes to win 20-17. Though, the team who takes the award this week are the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa went on the road to an extremely hostile environment to beat Iowa State 18-17. College Gameday paid their first ever visit to Iowa State on Saturday and the atmosphere was electric in Ames. The Hawkeyes then were able to overcome two lightning delays which totaled just under three hours. If that wasn’t enough, they trailed 17-15 with just under five minutes remaining in the game when they kicked the game winning field goal and hung on to win. Iowa should remain undefeated until October 5th, when the have another tough road test against Michigan.
Most Disappointing Team Performance: Where do I even start? I spent the entire day Saturday watching games and I must have thought to myself on nearly half a dozen occasions that one team or another would fit this category hands down. Michigan State tying the game in the final seconds against Arizona State only to have 12 players on the field and needing to attempt the game tying field goal for a second time and miss. Florida State not being ready for the final play of the game and losing while snapping the ball to the running back as time expired. However, there is one team that left me shaking my head above all the others, Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were set to enter a new era this season, the retirement of former head coach Paul Johnson and hiring Geoff Collins meant they were finally implementing a modern offense and getting away from the triple option. That being said, there should be few big programs more adept to defending the option than Georgia Tech, yet that didn’t stop them from losing to The Citadel, a military school who plays at a lower division and runs the triple option. If that isn’t embarrassing enough, the Yellow Jackets scored the game winning touchdown with seconds left, only to have it called back because Collins had called timeout before the snap. Georgia Tech would go on to lose 27-24 in overtime.
Most Impressive Individual Performance: Over the course of the first two weeks, I singled out players who had outstanding statistical performances in helping their team win. This week I will take a bit of a different approach and select a player who was inserted into an extremely difficult situation and led his team to victory. With 3:21 remaining in the third quarter, Florida trailed Kentucky 21-10, it was then that Florida Quarterback Felipe Franks suffered a gruesome ankle injury that ended up with him being carted off with an air cast on his leg. Junior, Kyle Trask entered the game with Kentucky having more than a 90% chance to win. Trask was 9/13 passing over the final quarter and change for 126 yards and ran for a touchdown. Florida went on to win the game 29-21 and remain undefeated behind the inspirational play of Trask.
Best Game: There really wasn’t any spectacular games this past weekend. The close games were either due to the favorite underperforming or both teams playing a sloppy game. The game that held my attention the most was between USC and BYU. USC entered the game ranked #24 in the country and were led by Kaden Slovis, a true freshman quarterback making only his second start. The game was close throughout, with neither team possessing more than a one score lead at any point. With just under six minutes left BYU scored a touchdown to gain a 27-24 lead. However, Slovis drove USC down the field where their kicker made an impressive 52 yard field goal with under two minutes to play and forced overtime. After taking a 30-27 lead in the first half of overtime, BYU tipped and intercepted a Slovis pass to clinch the win.
Week 4 Preview:
Team Who MUST Win: This is the easiest decision that I’ve had to make so far all season. The team who absolutely needs to win on Saturday is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish were embarrassed last season in the playoffs by Clemson after going undefeated in the regular season. This is finally their chance to make up for it, when they go on the road to play the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Not to mention, if Notre Dame has hopes of making the playoffs for the second straight season they need to be undefeated at the end of the regular season. Without playing in a conference and having the benefit of playing a premier team on the final weekend of the season, Notre Dame needs to take advantage of their opportunity now. If they can win this weekend, the Fighting Irish will be in the playoff discussion for the remainder of the season with a road game against Michigan in late October, being their only other real tough test. Should they lose to Georgia, I just don’t see a path back into the playoff conversation. The SEC would have already picked up two major out of conference wins and will be pushing to get multiple teams in the semi-finals, there just flat out won’t be space for Notre Dame.
Best Chance for an Upset: No, I don’t think this will be Notre Dame, I see Georgia winning and ending their playoff hopes. The team I see potentially being upset is #12 ranked Texas. They host an unranked but 3-0 Oklahoma State team on Saturday night. Oklahoma State defeated Texas 38-35 as one of their only six regular season wins last season. This year they are better and have dynamic playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Running Back, Chuba Hubbard has run for over 200 yards in two of the three games this season while Wide Receiver, Tylan Wallace averages over 100 yards per game and has six touchdowns in only three games. Texas struggled defensively in their only big game to this point, giving up 45 points to LSU. Yes, Texas absolutely has the offensive fire-power to outscore Oklahoma State if need be, but if they make mistakes and turn the ball over, don’t be surprised to see them lose Saturday night.
Biggest Game: The biggest game of this week is Notre Dame at Georgia. But, I don’t want to repeat everything I already said, so I will focus on another game. Michigan has been one of the most underwhelming teams in the Top 25 so far this season. A lackluster win over Middle Tennessee and needing overtime to beat Army has left many questioning whether this will indeed be the season where they take “that step” and win the Big 10 Championship. On the other hand, one of the most impressive teams so far this season has been flying under the radar. Wisconsin has not allowed a point in either of their two games so far, winning them by a combined 110-0. The two teams will square off on Saturday afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin. They will meet while both being ranked in the Top 25 for the fourth consecutive season. I expect Wisconsin to continue their stellar play and don’t see Michigan’s struggling offense having much success against the Badgers defense. Wisconsin will win by at least a touchdown.