Recap from Week 3 of CFB
Week 3 gave us alot to process…
Is Lamar Jackson the greatest dual threat QB ever?
Will Ole Miss recover from blowing their second 21 point lead in 3 games?
Is Texas really “back”?
When will North Dakota State move to the FBS?
How good is Ohio State?
Will Gus Malzahn survive until the end of the season?
All of these questions and many others had us thinking about the landscape of college football after 3 weeks. While our opinions on teams and players might differ, I think all CFB fans can agree that these first 3 weeks have been very high on the fun meter.
Best Things I Saw
- Lamar Jackson
Through the first 3 weeks of the season Lamar Jackson is averaging 48 points per game. That would rank him as tied for 7th nationally. He’s a remarkable talent and Bobby Petrino has done an incredible job developing his passing game. His athleticism is just God given. However, I’m still shocked he showed the full package against Florida State. And I know FSU was not close to a 100% on defense, but regardless they are loaded with 4 and 5 star talent and had absolutely no answer. I honestly expected him to play a solid game throw 1 maybe 2 INTs, but still be the difference maker with his feet. He outdid everyone’s expectations and drove the Seminoles into the ground with every TD he scored. I am very curious to see how the team and Jackson respond after this emotional game. The offense shouldn’t skip a beat, though, as they face Marshall (the team that just allowed 65 points to mighty Akron) this week. Stay tuned to their showdown in Death Valley against Clemson on October 1st. If he can shred them like he did the Noles go ahead and give him the Heisman.
- Michigan State
I think most people had written off Sparty mentally. They respected what they’ve done the last few years, but thought without Connor Cook and Shilique Calhoun they inevitably struggle this year. Well, Mark Dantonio had other thoughts. Other than a furious attempted comeback by the Irish in the 4th quarter, Michigan State absolutely dominated them. Tyler O’Connor was throwing it well and LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes ran through Notre Dame on the ground. Most might blame the conservative playcalling for the sluggish offensive play, but you have to tip your hat to the Spartans tough defense for throwing off the Irish’s high-powered offense. I think this will be another year Michigan State will be a contender in the Big Ten West alongside the unanimous favorites, Ohio State and Michigan.
- Mike Riley
He’s not the most flashy coach, or have the most wins, but Mike Riley seems like a genuinely good dude who was due a win against Oregon. For those that don’t know Mike Riley came to Nebraska from Oregon State and had lost his last 7 games against the Ducks. This time he wasn’t going to be denied and got a gutty performance from his veteran QB, Tommy Armstrong. He also got a little lucky because Oregon’s best player Royce Freeman got hurt in the first quarter and Mark Helfrich thought it’d be a good idea to go for 2 after every TD, which cost Oregon 4 points. Nevertheless, the Huskers found a way to get a huge out of conference win and provide a feel good moment for Mike Riley.
Worst Things I Saw
I honestly didn’t see a blowout coming in this game. I went out on a limb and picked the Sooners to pull the home upset, but I figured if they lost it would’ve been in a close game. Safe to say I definitely missed the read on this game, and don’t think it’s drastic to say that something feels very off in Norman this year. Sure over the year’s Oklahoma lays an egg here or they, but they have looked completely overmatched against Houston and Ohio State. Their run game has been a complete mess, thus leaving Baker Mayfield to run for his life and force the issue. This has led to a -3 TO Margin in their two losses. Luckily for Oklahoma, Big 12 play is approaching and facing alot of mediocre to bad defenses might give them time to figure out what the heck is going on with their team. Improvement for this team will start up front on both lines as they have allowed 8 sacks and only recorded 3 sacks. It will definitely be interesting to see if Stoops and co. can right the ship this season or they will finish with a mediocre 7–5 or 8–4 record.
- The Texas and Cal 3rd Quarter
This game was as advertised, except for the 3rd quarter. These two teams combined for 93 points in 3 quarters and 0 in the 3rd quarter. I stayed up and watched this, and couldn’t believe that the offenses had all of a sudden gone to sleep, and then immediately woke up when the 4th quarter started. To put into perspective how bad the 3rd quarter was, it featured 4 punts and 1 missed FG. The other 3 quarters featured 12 TDs, 2 FGs, 1 blocked punt for a safety, 1 INT, 1 TO on downs, 1 missed FG, and only 5 punts.
- Ole Miss trying to hold a lead
Wow, somehow Ole Miss has blown to 21 point leads in their first 3 games. After the sack, fumble, TD and the Rebs went up 24–3, it seemed inevitable that they were going to somehow beat Alabama 3 years in a row. Oxford was popping and there wasn’t a care in the world, and in the blink in just 6 minutes of gametime Alabama had tied it back up 24–24. It was inexplicable how easy Ole Miss made the comeback. Eddie Jackson’s punt return is probably the play that irrefutably changed the game, and Ole Miss had no answer. It took Alabama getting up by 18 before Ole Miss realized they needed to turn the offense back on, and then it was just too late. This week’s matchup with Georgia will be crucial for Ole Miss because it will be very hard for them to get out of a 1–3 hole with a banged up D and an offense with no running game that can’t hold a lead.
My Thoughts on Auburn’s Week 2
Well, I thought I was being realistically optimistic with this team when I projected 9 wins. However through 3 games, it looks like we will be lucky to make it to a bowl game. To me, this Texas A&M was the most telling of what Auburn’s going to be this season. Despite the continued suspect play-calling, Auburn was completely outplayed by Texas A&M. Their extremely talented D-Line overpowered Auburn’s O-Line, while our supposedly talented D-Line was for the most part manhandled by A&M’s O-Line. Kamryn Pettway seemed to be a bright spot for the Auburn offense rushing for 6.3 ypc, but AU as a team only rushed for 4.4 ypc. Trevor Knight had all day to throw most of the night, and I credit our secondary for playing great coverage and forcing A&M’s 5 FGs. As I tweeted, though, the defense can only do so much after Trayveon Williams ran for an 89 yard TD to seal TAMU’s win. The defense isn’t Auburn’s problem, it’s the offense. Besides Auburn’s 2nd drive of the game, the offense was completely stagnant the entire game. Coming into this season I thought Sean White was capable of leading this offense, but he seemed overwhelmed against the 3rd of 4th best defense Auburn will face this year. JF3 did come in and “give the offense a shot in the arm”, but he still lacks in knowledge of the offense and his passing ability is extremely inconsistent. With all that being said I think Auburn just needs to focus on getting better every week. That was Gus’ theme in 2013, and I think it took pressure off the players as they knew what the clear message was. Now there seems to be no theme, and no clear message which is leading to chaos throughout the entire Auburn football program.
Auburn Coaching Dilemma
I just wanted to take a minute and give my two cents on Auburn’s current coaching dilemma. I understand the people who are calling for Gus to be fired. It really is unacceptable to be where we are after competing for a national championship 3 years ago. However, I disagree that we should fire him as of right now. The article below gives a great explanation on my belief for what Auburn should about Gus Malzahn
Over the next few days, there won't be a more compelling conversation in college football than the future of Gus…www.foxsports.com
I agree that Auburn is not a desirable job. Why would any coach want to come to a school that fires you after winning/playing in a national championship? Plus, you have to play in the toughest division in CFB and your rival just happens to be the best team with the best coach. It doesn’t sound fun and I think at best Auburn would have to hire a coordinator or power 5 coach looking for a bump in pay. Also if you think back, Auburn has never had a history of making a splash hire.
Pat Dye hired from Wyoming
Terry Bowden hired from Samford
Tommy Tuberville hired from Ole Miss
Gene Chizik hired from Iowa State
Gus Malzahn hired from Arkansas State
So if you think Auburn’s going to go out there and land a big name hire, you’re playing yourself. If I were Gus I would re-evaluate my assistant coaches starting with Rhett Lashlee. I think it would help to get someone new in as OC that hasn’t worked with Gus before. If you think about who is currently on Auburn’s offensive coaching staff they are all guys that Gus has worked with or coached previously. I think new eyes and a new perspective is just what the offense needs. If Gus does this and the offense is still struggling then maybe it is time to fire Gus. I won’t even get into the business perspective of firing Gus because that will automatically be a loss for Auburn. Gus can figure it out and get Auburn winning again, but I think it has to start with him making a difficult decision to part ways with his long time friend and OC Rhett Lashlee.