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1) Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) [def. Colorado St Rams 41-23]
Head coach Nick Saban can’t be happy with the defensive performance. The offense was well-balanced in amassing almost 500 yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is getting better each week and that’s not good for the teams on their schedule. Which running back will establish himself as the alpha? Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Najee Harris all offer something different, which is a good problem to have. The defense underperformed, even if a lot of backups played in the second half. There is a standard of excellence for any player who steps on the field. Way too many yards and points given up. I know it’s nitpicking but this is Alabama.
2) Clemson Tigers (3-0) [def. Louisville Cardinals 47-21]
Clemson goes on the road to Louisville for it’s first test of the season and passed with flying colors. They leapfrogged Oklahoma to take back the No. 2 spot this week. Junior quarterback Kelly Bryant was shaky early but composed himself to have a very productive game. The running game finally got on track with Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster each close to 100 yards rushing which is a good sign for Tiger fans. The defense was outstanding again, holding Cardinal quarterback Lamar Jackson in check by not allowing him those explosive runs. They stopped the running game, making them one dimensional and easier to defend.
3) Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) [def. Tulane Green Wave 56-14]
Sooner fans may be wondering why they fell one spot despite crushing an overmatched opponent? Simple, I value impressive road wins. After a tight first quarter, Oklahoma flexed its muscles and ran away with an easy victory. Quarterback Baker Mayfield looked sharp once again with 331 yards passing and four touchdowns. A little more production from the running game will be essential against better teams. The defense got off to a slow start but made some great adjustments to completely shut down the Green Wave offense. Don’t make too much of Tulane’s rushing yards, they had 62 attempts.
4) Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0) [def. Georgia St Panthers 56-0]
Penn St. jumped on Georgia State early and never let up completely dismantling an inferior opponent. Quarterback Trace McSorley was impressive with four touchdowns and only five incompletions. The running game was a non-factor but was not really needed although they had a healthy 6.9 yards per carry. Running back Saquan Barkley showed his pass catching skills (four catches for142 yards and a touchdown) and why I believe he’ll be the first running back taken in next year’s NFL draft. The defense shut down the Panthers offense. Creating five turnovers helped their cause. The Nittany Lions handled their business.
5) USC Trojans (3-0) [def. Texas Longhorns 27-24 (2 OT)]
A win is a win but USC did not look good. For all the hype and talent regarding quarterback Sam Darnold, his interceptions are alarming and should be a cause for concern. It will eventually catch up to them. The running game was non-existent and it puts too much pressure on the passing game. This needs to be fixed moving forward as they get into Pac 12 play soon. The defense played well forcing four turnovers and shutting down the running attack. They pressured the Longhorn quarterback and only gave up one big play. A good sign for Trojan fans.
6) Washington Huskies (3-0) [def. Fresno St Bulldogs 48-16]
The Huskies established their dominance over the Bulldogs early by getting out to a big lead and cruised to a easy victory. The game was over at the half (41-17). Quarterback Jake Browning was good in limited action. The running game struggled once again and needs to be better if they want to make it back to the playoffs. The defense did it’s job but the lack of sacks and quarterback pressure may be a concern. Once they get into Pac 12 play, they must get better. They will face too many quality quarterbacks that could do some damage if given the time. The good news is a lot of backups played.
7) Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) [def. BYU Cougars 40-6]
The Badgers jumped ahead two spots by going into a tough environment in Provo, Utah and destroying a scrappy Cougar team. Although I’m not a fan of quarterback Alex Hornibrook, I have to give him credit for a great game (18-19 passing and four touchdowns). Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor continues to impress with 128 yards rushing and a whopping 7.1 yards per carry average. The defense did it’s job again in workmanlike fashion, giving up just two field goals. I’m still not convinced Hornibrook can win them a big game with his arm but this Wisconsin team will be in contention for the Big Ten title and a tough out for most teams.
8) Michigan Wolverines (3-0) [def. Air Force Falcons 29-13]
The Wolverines defense takes center stage again. They dominated, holding the Falcons vaulted triple option offense to under 200 yards rushing. Add three sacks and three pressures on seven pass attempts and that makes it even more impressive. This unit is one of the best defenses in the country but the offense is a different story. Quarterback Wil Speights is too inconsistent and can not be trusted for this team to be a serious contender for the playoffs. The Big Ten title is still within reach. The running game was solid but will need to be more explosive. Still waiting for the offense to put it all together for a complete game.
9) Oklahoma St Cowboys (3-0) [def. Pittsburgh Panthers 59-21]
The Cowboys offense continues it’s torrid pace of putting up points. They have so many weapons on offense and quarterback Mason Rudolph is the trigger man. Rudolph passed for nearly 500 yards and five more touchdowns. Four wide receivers had 100 yards receiving; Jalen McCleskey, James Washington, Marcel Ateman and Dillon Stoner. Sophomore running back Justice Hill was excellent with 91 rushing yards, a ridiculous 8.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns. The defense did it’s job again. They forced a couple turnovers and gave their offense plenty of opportunities to score. One great trait with their defense is they tackle well in space.
10) Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) [def. Samford Bulldogs 42-14]
The Bulldogs manhandled a top FCS team in Samford. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm had his best game, going 8-13 with three touchdowns. Star running back Nick Chubb set the tone with some tough running while compiling 131 yards on an outstanding 8.2 yards per carry average. Wide receiver Terry Godwin has established himself as the go to receiver (four catches, 98 yards and two touchdowns). The defense made easy work of Samford’s offense. They have the talent to be a top ten defense. Can the offense generate enough points against better SEC competition to be a serious threat?