Written by: John Stocco
That was something. It all started on Friday where I called all my friends and told them it’s time to take care of business, and by taking care of business, I meant sitting in my basement, and watching college football from 8 pm on a Friday night, to 1 AM Sunday morning. It took all guts and glory to pull it off, and thankfully I did. Friday night lights was underway, and that’s where we’re going to start.
USC Makes It Interesting.
Major props to the USC Trojans. Through all the awkwardness and distractions going on before the game with Urban Meyer on the sidelines during the FS1 pregame, and the Trojan faithful having Clay Helton’s feet to the fire, they fought out of a huge hole that they fell into when Kedon Slovis was injured, and they won a must win game. It was a must win game not to put themselves in championship contention, but a must win game just to be bowl eligible. USC walked into this game against Utah at 2-1 after losing a heartbreaker against BYU in overtime, and when you look at their schedule in the future there isn’t an easy game in sight. Washington is next week, at Notre Dame, Oregon, Arizona State, and California. If they lose to Utah they’re easily looking at a 7 loss season and a new head coach. People were expected this game to get ugly because of Utah’s ability to run the ball with Zack Moss, and their ability to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides. Slovis was knocked out with an injury and you thought it was over right? False. Matt Fink steps in and starts dropping dimes on one of the best defenses in college football. Fink had to air it out with the Trojans to gain any momentum pounding the rock, and Fink answered the challenge. Fink aired it out to Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns, and it made Fink’s night a great one in which he threw for 351 yards, and 3 touchdowns. It ended up getting better after pulling off a win that should give the Trojans enough momentum to lift them out of mediocrity. Sometimes it’s a team that doesn’t show up, and other times it’s a team that simply outplayed their opponent. In this case, USC almost played perfect football and beat a talented Utah team.
Down Goes Michigan.
It’s not good. Since Jim Harbaugh was hired and took over as the Michigan Man, it seems like nothing has gone Michigan’s way. This was supposed to be the year, and to be fair it still can be the year if they win the rest of their games including the Big Ten Championship, but is it realistic at this point? Saturday it looked like Michigan wounded and Wisconsin put the final bullet in them. Jonathan Taylor ran all over them, the Badgers offensive front had their way with Michigan’s defensive line, the same could be said for Wisconsin’s defensive front against Michigan’s offensive line, and overall as a team from coach to trainer the Wisconsin Badgers put a beating on Michigan. It’s not easy winning at Camp Randall Stadium, but this is what it takes to win in the Big Ten. You have to go to hostile environments and play big time. Michigan hasn’t been able to do it. Can they pull the plug from Shea Patterson? Can Jim Harbaugh take over play calling duties from Josh Gattis? All of these options are valid. Shea Patterson has looked awful this season. When Shea Patterson arrived at Michigan everyone was excited because it was a quarterback that we all thought fit Harbaugh’s RPO/spread system. He had a cannon for an arm at Ole Miss, and he had the speed to take off and beat defenders with his feet. We didn’t see that last year. Then came Josh Gattis where we thought now is the time Shea Patterson is going to break out. We’re still seeing zero improvement. Is it over for Michigan? No. But with how unmotivated the team looks I can’t see this team improving. Wisconsin is legit, and Jonathan Taylor is a Heisman finalist. I think they’re the only ones in the Big Ten that can knock off Ohio State. Both on offense and defense they look incredible with the well balance of strength and speed. Up next for the Badgers is a home game against Northwestern which they should easily win.
Never Underestimating Auburn Again.
Auburn picked up a much needed impressive win on the road against Texas A&M in a game where it wasn’t as close as what the box score says. Jimbo Fisher was out coached by Gus Malzahn in every way, but the Auburn defense that showed up on Saturday was some of the best defensive efforts I saw this weekend. Auburn shut it down defensively and they forced Kellen Mond to beat them through the air. It’s already is a disappointing season for Jimbo Fisher, being 2-2, with tougher games on the way, but before we start calling for the hot seat, I just wanna say college football fans need to start being more patient with their programs. Nebraska feels like they’re going back to the 90’s with Scott Frost. UCLA thinking they’re going to the championship like the Chip Kelly Oregon days, and Texas A&M thinks they’re going to the National Championship. I understand Jimbo Fisher is making a ton of money, and 2-2 isn’t good enough, but can fans start letting these coaches get 2 full seasons under their belt to get their system ingrained into the program? Against a team that usually defends the rush better than almost everyone in college football, Auburn mixed it up in the running game. It was defeat by a million by a million papercuts. Bo Nix ran the ball 12 times for 38 yards, and threw it for only 100, but the most important thing for Nix was that he didn’t give the ball away. JaTarvious Whitlow was the workhorse carrying the ball 18 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, and then another YouTube superstar was born in Anthony Schwartz running a jet sweep for 57 yards to the house. Auburn is now 4-0 and they have put themselves in a position to be spoilers in the SEC West.
Notre Dame Shuts Up the Doubters Even in Defeat.
Even in a loss people are impressed with Notre Dame’s effort against Georgia. Everyone expected Georgia to demolish the Irish, and that wasn’t the case at all on Saturday night. This was a game that came down to intangibles, and tough defense. Of course if you believe the clown known as Paul Finebaum you were expecting to turn this game off at halftime, but the Notre Dame defense showed up to play and they shut down Jake Fromm and DeAndre Swift. Brian Kelly brought the Irish together and they came to play, as two of their best skilled players Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet stepped up when they were needed and they made big plays for Ian Book. In the end home field was truly an advantage. Notre Dame’s offensive line looked rattled. They couldn’t get a good feel for the silent count, and they were called on multiple pre-snap penalties. Ian Book got off to a slow start, but he made some key throws that always put Notre Dame in a position to score. Against a team like Georgia, you have to keep your foot on the gas and never take off. Notre Dame fought like hell, but in the end they took their foot off the gas and they were caught sleeping. Against a team like the Georgia Bulldogs, when you’re caught sleeping they will make you pay, and in the end, JR Reed picks off Ian Book, and even if they didn’t have their best games, Jake Fromm, and DeAndre Swift led the Bulldogs down the field for a score, and for the lead that they never looked back from. This loss shouldn’t take Notre Dame out of the college football playoff, but it makes it more difficult. Notre Dame has to win out, and win out in a big way without being in a conference. Georgia looks like an elite program again, and Notre Dame is good, just not good enough to make a difference.
Winners of Week 3:
CAL: Wait what? CAL! California has one of the best defenses in the nation, but you’re crazy if you thought they were going to be this good. CAL breaks the top 25, and they keep climbing the charts in their conference, and the national rankings.
Florida: No Franks, no problem. Florida is better than Tennessee and it isn’t even close. In a rivalry game, and with a backup quarterback, it actually could have been close, but the Gators dominated from start to finish.
Oregon: Remember when they lost to Auburn? Oregon looks good, Herbert is throwing well, and the Ducks are back in the mix to win the Pac 12.
Losers of Week 3:
UCF: Just when I start praising UCF, they lose. Unbelievable game by Pittsburgh, but a devastating blow to an undefeated team that keeps getting zero respect. This certainly won’t help them.
Arizona State: Another team that I began to praise, loses the next week. The Sun Devils were at home against Colorado, and after a great win at Michigan State this should have been a game they had in the bag.
Washington State: Scoring 63 points and still losing a football game. Only in the Pac 12. A wide open conference up for grabs and the Cougars couldn’t reach it.