Week 3 is in the books and here is the Southern Football Report’s Top Four heading into Week 4:
- Ohio State Buckeyes – They looked as bad as a number one ranked team could look last week in their seven point win over Northern Illinois, who in their own right is an upper echelon MAC team but who also had no business in a tight ball game against the reigning national champions. The quarterback revolving door continues in Columbus but so far it hasn’t paid off. It worked in the opener against Virginia Tech but has sputtered ever since with last week’s game against the Huskies where the combination of J.T. Barrett & Cardale Jones produced more turnovers (3) than it did touchdowns (1). The one positive that you can take from the win was how well the Buckeyes defense played, forcing two turnover and holding the Huskies to less than 200 total yards of offense. I am firmly planted in mindset that the number one team should get beat before they relinquish the top spot, so even after these past two poor performances Ohio State is still the number one team. Next Up: v. Western Michigan, 1-2
- Georgia Bulldogs – Heading into the season it was obvious how good the roster was in Athens. The Dawgs are loaded at running back, loaded on the defensive line, loaded at linebacker and have enough receivers & defensive backs to supply an entire football camp. The biggest question was at the quarterback position and until Saturday, all the questions still remained. I know it’s only one game but transfer quarterback Greyson Lambert was dialed in Saturday against SEC East rival South Carolina when he completed 96% of his passes for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. If that performance continues through the season Georgia could be in for a special season. It was no different on defense either, as the Bulldogs held the Gamecocks to just over 250 yards of total offense. The two game stretch of Alabama at home and Tennessee on the road will define the Bulldogs’ season. Next Up: v. Southern, 2-1
- TCU Horned Frogs – Personally, I think that SMU will be a good team by the end of the season and so far, after just three weeks they have kept pace with the top two teams in the Big XII. Last week it was TCU who they gave an honest effort against but in the end, the Horned Frogs were just too much. Quarterback Trevone Boykin was back to his old ways of throwing 5 touchdowns, rushing for another and racking up over 500 yards of offense by himself. The fact that defense can still stop anybody should be a testament in itself as the Frogs are without 6 starters from the beginning of the season. I feel that may come back to haunt them later in the season but for now the duct tape and krazy glue is holding the ship together. We’ll see how shaky the defense really is this Saturday in Lubbock. Next Up: at Texas Tech, 3-0
- Michigan State Spartans – This past Saturday was a prime time for Michigan State to have a let down game at home after a big home win against a service academy but Spartan Head Coach Mark Dantonio had his team ready to play. At first glance, the score doesn’t look like a super impressive one but midway through the 4th quarter it was 35-7 and Michigan State was in total control of the game. Quarterback Conner Cook looked very good and I’m pretty sure he found his favorite receiver in senior Aaron Burbridge who caught 8 passes for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively, it feels like the Spartans are finding their identity after losing multiple players to the NFL Draft and their coordinator to the Pittsburgh Panthers. They force three turnovers on Saturday and held the Falcons under most of their season averages on offense. Next Up: v. Central Michigan, 1-2
JUST MISSED THE CUT
Baylor Bears – I said last week that they were on the cusp of falling out of my Top Four and they very well may end up back in it but between their bye week, the losses ahead of them and the big wins behind them, this week they are on the outside looking in. If Texas Tech wins in Arkansas they may find themselves ranked but besides that it may be November before the Bears play anyone of note.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish- There is only one team in the country who has beaten three Power 5 opponents to start the season and that team resides in South Bend, Indiana. Saturday’s win over then-14th ranked Georgia Tech, in my opinion, is the best win by any team in the country given the fact of how they won and that they did it with a redshirt freshman quarterback in his first start.
LSU Tigers – The Tigers have played two games so far this season and both of them have been against SEC West opponents. That means that LSU & Les Miles have a two game head start on the rest of the league. Yikes. Kevin Steele’s defense has looked great so far and if LSU can keep that side of the ball on the up-and-up, MonStar runningback Leonard Fournette will handle the rest.