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As the third week of college football comes to a close, it’s safe to say the upset bug needed some time to recover. There were moments where some of the teams on this list looked vulnerable but most of them demolished their opposition with little resistance. With conference play beginning for some schools next week, this list could start to take a new shape in a hurry.
1.) Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) defeated South Carolina Gamecocks 48-7
The sheer domination continued for the best team in America. The offense was running on all cylinders, especially sophomore tight end Brock Bowers. His 121 yards and three touchdown (TD) performance (two receiving ,one rushing) helped lead a successful showing for the Bulldog offense.
The defense finally gave signs of humanity as they allowed their first touchdown of the season. It was in garbage time late in the fourth quarter but it’s something head coach Kirby Smart will hang onto as a teaching moment for the young pups.
Next Week: Home vs. Kent State Golden Flashes
2.) Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) defeated Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 63-7
The Sun Belt wasn’t much of the #FUNBELT in this one as the Warhawks got stomped. Just as they got an interception when the game was only 7-0 in Alabama’s favor, Will Anderson Jr. cashed in a pick-six that doinked off the running back’s helmet and into the air. Immediately after that, the Crimson Tide blocked a punt and it was 21-0 in the blink of an eye.
Not a ton of analytics to take from a blowout like this but Bama’s quest for the star wideout continues. When teams begin to take away running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the passing game, who has led in receiving the last two weeks, who does quarterback Bryce Young throw to? The elite defense should anchor them at least one more week until they head to Fayetteville and take on Arkansas.
Next Week: Home vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
3.) Michigan Wolverines (3-0) defeated UConn Huskies 59-0
As expected, the Wolverines wrapped up their out of conference cupcake invitational unscathed. The Huskies struggled to do just about everything in this matchup, such as catching passes or even snaps. That’s not a knock on Michigan as they took care of business.
The offense was basically run pass options (RPO) or screens as both the offensive line and wideouts shoved the Huskies around all afternoon. Wolverine wideouts Roman Wilson and Ronnie Bell have made a living this season off these screens, using their speed to make defenders look silly. Running back Blake Corum also had a career day with five TDs.
Only question going forward is how will J.J. McCarthy look against good defenses, knowing he’s not just situational anymore?
Next Week: Home vs. Maryland Terrapins
4.) Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) defeated Toledo Rockets 77-21
The Buckeye offense came out firing, going for 287 yards of offense in the first quarter. C.J. Stroud was his usual self, accurately dealing the ball all over the field for 367 yards and five TDs. The tight end position finally got involved in the passing game, as Cade Stover made some really nice catch and runs.
Once again, the defensive side of the ball was mostly solid and made key adjustments to slow down Rockets’ quarterback, Dequan Finn. He gave the Buckeyes a great look at a real running quarterback which will pay off down the road in conference play, especially against McCarthy and Michigan. This 56-point victory was a great cap to the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Next Week: Home vs. Wisconsin Badgers
5.) Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) defeated Nebraska Cornhuskers 49-14
The feel good story for the Cornhuskers lasted for just one drive as the Sooners scored 49 unanswered points. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel had this offense absolutely rolling in Lincoln, going for 580 yards. It was just big play after big play as running back Eric Gray averaged over 10 yards per carry while wideouts Marvin Mims and Jalil Farooq got constant separation.
Maybe the bigger story is the emergence of the defense so far under coach Brent Venables. Through three games, they’ve allowed only 30 total points, which is five less than the 35 they allowed in the opener against Tulane last year. A formidable defense was what they were missing to finally get over the College Football Playoff (CFP) hump. Looks like so far, so good.
Next Week: Home vs. Kansas State Wildcats
6.) USC Trojans (3-0) defeated Fresno State Bulldogs 45-17
The Trojan offense had a quiet 500-plus yard performance, if that’s even possible. The explosive plays weren’t there in waves like there have been this season but the offense was efficient and took care of the ball. The balance on offense was good to see as Caleb Williams threw for 284 yards while both Travis Dye and Austin Jones eclipsed the century mark on the ground.
The defense looked like they gelled a little more against a better than average Bulldogs’ offense. The more confidence they gain will only make this team that much better. They’ll need it, especially with a PAC-12 that seems to be a little better than previously predicted.
Next Week: Away vs. Oregon State Beavers
7.) Clemson Tigers (3-0) defeated Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 48-20
The fear here is nobody knows how good the Tigers actually are. Georgia Tech, who was the Week 1 opponent they struggled with, got throttled 42-0 by Ole Miss on Saturday. They struggled again in the first half, making it two out of three games thus far leading only 13-6 at the half. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is still showing inconsistencies but is getting more comfortable each week.
The bright spots were running back Will Shipley and the opportunistic defense. Shipley was chugging along Saturday, going for 11.6 yards per carry. The four forced turnovers by the defense was massive and will be a point of emphasis going forward as the Tigers hit conference play.
*Also, The 3 Point Conversion sends it’s condolences to the Bresee family. (Clemson star d-lineman Brian Bresee’s 15 year old sister, Ella, lost her battle with brain cancer on Thursday.)
Next Week: Away vs. #21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
8.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 63-7
The Cowboys took control of this game early, scoring 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Quarterback Spencer Sanders had an easy but short day, going 13-16 for 242 yards and four scores. The backups got a ton of work in this game, which is always nice to have some experience down the depth chart.
Just another all-around great performance by the Cowboys, who will enjoy the bye next week before they head down to Waco and take on Baylor.
Next Week: BYE
9.) Kentucky Wildcats (3-0) defeated Youngstown State Penguins 31-0
The Wildcats handled business accordingly on both sides of the ball with a few minor hiccups on the way. Five of the six drives faced by the defense in the first half ended in three-and-outs. They didn’t play as stout in the second half but only allowing 192 yards is a commendable effort.
On offense, quarterback Will Levis played well despite two interceptions, accounting for an 80% completion percentage and 377 yards. Freshman wideout Dane Key is emerging as a favorite target, who’s had a touchdown in each of the first three games. The run game will have to be better going forward than it was Saturday, averaging only 2.9 yards per attempt, which included the Levis 24 yard scramble.
Next Week: Home vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
10.) Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0) defeated Missouri State Bears 38-27
Twice this game, the Razorbacks were down by double digits and magically came back. The turning point was when they stared a 27-17 deficit with 12 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The Hogs transformed that into a 31-27 lead from a 73-yard TD pass and an 82-yard punt return for a TD by Bryce Stephens in just a minutes later.
The offense did move the ball for 597 yards but ball security issues from two first-quarter fumbles caused the initial 10-0 deficit. Arkansas has to stay out of their own way because they are as talented as almost all of these teams listed above them. Inconsistent play like that in the conference will have them off this list in no time.
Next Week: Away vs. #23 Texas A&M Aggies