It was an interesting week of college football so let’s hand out some superlatives:
Los Angeles – The City of Angels had a pretty good night Saturday night. Both USC & UCLA went on the road and got big Pac-12 South wins. The Bruins punched the football into the end zone on the ground six times in their beat down of Arizona in Tucson a week after they narrowly escaped the BYU Cougars at home. True freshman quarterback Josh Rosen looked calm, cool & collected in a hostile atmosphere when he threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the first half. The Bruins’ crosstown rival USC Trojans had a similar result against the Arizona State Sun Devils but their butt kicking didn’t truly begin until the 2nd quarter when the Trojans put 28 points on the scoreboard on their way to a 35-0 first half score. USC finished the game with a 42-14 drubbing in the desert behind the superior performance from quarterback Kody Kessler who threw for 375 yards and 5 touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say that it was a good night for the teams from Los Angeles.
Georgia Bulldogs – Dawg fans all across the South have been waiting on this Saturday since 2008 and the Georgia Bulldogs did their part in getting to the big cross-division matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide without a blemish on the record. So far this season, Georgia has looked like a legitimate College Football Playoff contender with the emergence of Greyson Lambert as an efficient passer who won’t throw the ball to the other team and a Bulldogs defense that has the look of a top 5 group in the nation. Alabama didn’t arrive at the first Saturday in October undefeated & have opened as a road underdog in Vegas but none of that has taken any of the palpable anticipation away from this Saturday’s game Between the Hedges. Kudos to the Georgia Bulldogs for not stubbing their toe on the way to the big game but I’m sure the nerves of fans across the Peach State will begin to rise the later in the week we get.
Big 12 Conference – Last season both Baylor and TCU probably would have done well in the College Football Playoff but when the music stopped all the chairs were taken and both the Bears & Frogs were relegated to the Cotton & Peach Bowls respectively. All offseason, the discussion has been how can the Big 12 get back into the national spotlight and claim a spot in this season’s College Football Playoff. Continue having games like the ones this past weekend and at least one team will definitely get in. Baylor annihilated Rice and West Virginia completely decimated Maryland in out of conference games. There were two league games that were as exciting as any game in the country where TCU and Texas Tech had one of the most electrifying 4th quarters of the season and Oklahoma State & Texas went down to the wire as well. Big 12 fans better buckle their seatbelts because if last Saturday is an indication of how every conference game will be, it’s gonna be a wild season in 2015.
State of Arizona – Both Arizona State & Arizona began the season in the Top 25 but the Sun Devils lost on the opening weekend to Texas A&M who look pretty good so far and the Wildcats, before this past Saturday, hadn’t played anyone worth noting. Then Saturday night arrived where both Arizona and Arizona State were playing host to blue blood Pac-12 South powers in prime time. The Wildcats are still the reigning Pac-12 South champions but had no answer for the UCLA rushing attack and were basically ran out of their own stadium. Their quarterback suffered a concussion in the game and their best defensive player who was returning from an injury was injured again. It was a bad night for the Wildcats. Things weren’t much better a little of 100 miles north where the Sun Devils had no answer for the passing attack of USC. Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler threw all over Arizona State on their way to 42-14 beat down in Sun Devils Stadium.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – The Jackets have played four games so far this season; two against an FCS team and another against a Group of Five team and two against Power 5 opponents. Georgia Tech is 2-0 against the lesser teams with an average margin of victory of 59 points but are 0-2 against the Power 5 teams with a double digit average margin of defeat. Georgia Tech began the season ranked in the top 15 after coming off of an impressive 2014 campaign but so far this season, the Jackets have left a lot to be desired and now enter one of the toughest stretches of the season with Clemson and Florida State on the schedule in the month of October. Before the Notre Dame loss there were actually people who were discussing if Georgia Tech was the most underrated team in the country and if they were the best team in the state of Georgia. If you want to know just how bad it is in Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets are converting less than thirty-five percent of their third down opportunities where last season they were upwards of seventy percent on the season.
Sun Belt Conference – It was a rough Saturday for the Sun Belt, simple as that. The UL-Monroe Warhawks got shutout in Tuscaloosa by Alabama who were surely taking out some frustration after last week’s loss to Ole Miss. UL-Lafayette got drubbed at home by the Akron Zips 35-14. The Toledo Rockets continued their dominance over the state of Arkansas after beating the Arkansas State Red Wolves 37-7. The South Alabama Jaguars were unable to set the trap for NC State when they were beaten badly by the Wolfpack 63-13. Texas State gave up almost 700 yards of offense to Houston on their way to a 59-14 loss to the Cougars. Thank goodness for the two newcomers, Georgia Southern & Appalachian State who got big wins over the weekend but is was conference-on-conference crime with the Eagles who beat Idaho 44-20 in their first trip to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.
Player of the Week – Brandon Doughty – QB – Western Kentucky – The senior Hilltopper quarterback and reigning FBS total offense leader had quite a day slinging the football for Western Kentucky. When the clock hit zeros at the end of the 1st quarter he had already thrown for three touchdowns through the air and that was only half of what he accomplished. When the game ended, the Hilltoppers had defeated Miami of Ohio 56-14 behind a 457 yard performance and 6 touchdown passes. Yes, you read that correctly. Brandon Doughty had 6 touchdown passes on Saturday and he only threw the ball 41 times, completing 33 of them.
Honorable Mention – Josh Doctson – WR – TCU – Doctson was the main target for Trevone Boykin on Saturday in Lubbock when he hauled in 18 passes for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say that he had a big day.
Coach of the Week – Jim Harbaugh – Michigan – Don’t look now but the Wolverines are playing at an extremely high level at the moment and the month of September couldn’t have ended on a higher note than a 31-0 beat down of a team that everyone has had trouble with so far. The Wolverines are averaging over 200 rushing yards per game but the real story is how well their defense is playing and only allowing just over 200 yards of total offense per game.
Uniform of the Week – Oregon Ducks – Typically I’m not a fan of mono uniform combinations but every now and then a team executes it to perfection and the Ducks busted out what is easily my favorite of their numerous uniforms combinations. The all green and the matte/satin green helmet come together for a very good, clean look.
Dud Uniform of the Week – East Carolina Pirates – These knuckleheads earned Dud Uniform of the Week honors last season when they work the jersey only but decided this season to bust out the entire black ensemble which included the God awful black helmet with mustard yellow facemask that made the Pirates look like a high school team. Not many things are worse than wearing black for black’s sake. Do better East Carolina.