Smashmouth Football Still Wins and Other Things We Learned From Week 3 in College Football
It was a big week in college football as we saw our first real upsets of the season, an exciting, down-to-the-wire SEC matchup and one defeat snatched away from the jaws of a massive upset victory.
Ugly Football Beats the Pretty Boys
While spread offenses and 50+ passes a game may be the flavor of the month in college football, sometimes it's no match for good ol' smashmouth football. A week after a disappointing performance in a loss to Pitt, Boston College rallied to rush for 452 yards in an upset of No. 9 USC. The Golden Eagles managed just 54 passing yards, but still outgained the Trojans 506-337 in BC's first win over a Top Ten team since 2004.
Meanwhile, out in the Texas panhandle, Arkansas blew out Texas Tech,49-28, by rushing for 438 yards and controlling the clock for 40:39, keeping the Red Raiders and coach Cliff Kingsbury's up-tempo offense off the field. Kingsbury may be the heartthrob among coeds in the Big 12, but Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema's power game is the one getting results.
Speaking of Big Sexy . . .
As a big man myself, it always does my heart good to see fat guys making the big play. With that, I give you Missouri's 335-pound nose tackle Josh Augusta making a diving INT against Central Florida.
The Texas Giant at Six Flags Has Nothing on Texas Football
Being a Texas fan in recent years has been a lot like riding a roller coaster. Yes, there have been a few moments of calm and high points (e.g. 2013 vs. Oklahoma), but its mostly been a lot of sudden fast drops and screaming. This week's matchup with UCLA was really a snapshot of the Longhorns.
UCLA won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. But for some inexplicable reason, Texas' captains chose to kick off first. They gave UCLA an extra possession and the ball to start both halves, a move so boneheaded it left coach Charlie Strong speechless on the sideline.
It seemed like this would be another Texas debacle, going against the No. 12 Bruins. But much to everyone's surprise, the Longhorns didn't get the memo that they were just supposed to roll over and play dead. Texas kept UCLA's offense in check most of the day and the Longhorns actually took a 17-13 lead with just 5:13 to go when backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes hit John Harris for an eight-yard touchdown. When the Longhorns recovered a fumble on UCLA's next possession, it looked like Texas had the game in hand with just 4:17 to play. But, again inexplicably, instead of draining the clock the Longhorns tried to go into a hurry-up offense. The result was a quick three-and-out that gave UCLA the ball back and, of course, the Bruins struck paydirt on their next play with a 33-yard touchdown pass that gave UCLA the lead and the victory.
I'm sure Texas fans are split on which is the worst way to lose--last week's 41-7 beatdown at the hands of BYU or this week's choke job in a game they had in hand. Either way, the Charlie Strong is off to a less than auspicious start and Longhorn fans are advised to keep their hands and feet inside the ride car at all times.
The Big Ten is Still Really Bad
No. 22 Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska had little trouble in big wins over small conference opponents. But most of the rest of the Big Ten continued to be a raging dumpster fire, with Maryland, Indiana and Iowa all falling by three points. But at least they were competitive, which is more than can be said for Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue, who lost by an average of more than three touchdowns apiece. Altogether, the conference went 3-6 in nonconference games, with none of those six losses coming to ranked opponents. Conference season can't get here soon enough for the Big Ten--at least then the conference can get to .500 every week.
Georgia Has the SEC Right Where It Wants It
Look, I'm not saying that Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan threw the game against South Carolina in the Gamecocks' 38-35 win. All I'm saying is that the last two times the Bulldogs have lost to South Carolina, they have gone on to win the SEC East. So the fact that Morgan, who was riding an SEC-record 20 consecutive made field goals, missed a 28-yarder that would have tied the game with 4:24 to play is not the worst thing in the world. Aside from a November 15 matchup with No. 5 Auburn, Georgia will not play another ranked team this season. So the Bulldogs have the schedule--and recent history--on their side.