College Football Week 3: What We Learned
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Welcome to the rear-view mirror of Week 3 for the college football season.
We had the usual assortment of mastery and mystery yesterday, so let's get started.
They Can Play A little Offense in the SEC, Too ... You know the SEC has garnered a reputation of being the conference that plays the best defense in the country, but as we found out yesterday, they also play a little offense. Alabama and Texas A&M put on an offensive clinic yesterday that put the Big 12 to shame. Both teams piled up over 600 yards of total offense, and both teams scored in the 40's. Who knew SEC football could be this exciting? CBS is pinching itself.
The Pac-12 is Underrated ...We already knew that Oregon and Stanford were pretty good, but so are Washington, Arizona State and UCLA. Washington had already shocked the college football world when they went out and defeated Boise State a few weeks ago. But UCLA looked impressive as well, coming from 18 down to defeat Nebraska. USC also bounced back with a victory over Boston College, and Arizona State defeated Wisconsin in a bizarre finish. This may be the Pac-12's year.
The Big Ten Is Overrated ... Other than Ohio State, who really hasn't looked that impressive in their first couple of victories, the Big Ten, as usual, is overrated. Michigan -- a 36-pint favorite -- was lucky not to be upset by Akron, Penn State lost to Central Florida, Nebraska got their doors blown off in the second half by UCLA, and Wisconsin lost to Arizona State. Raise your hand if you are shocked that the Big Ten looked horrible yesterday. Didn't think so.
Refs had a Rough Day ... What in the hell happened to the referees in some of these games yesterday? Let's start off with the ending to the Arizona State/Wisconsin game last night. If you missed it -- and we've linked to it twice in this article alone -- Wisconsin had the ball with mere seconds remaining and was about to attempt the game-winning field goal. For some strange reason, the refs zoned out. Maybe they were double-parked or something. And what about that call in the Alabama-A&M game when a Tide defender was charged with targeting? Clearly on the replay, the kid was going after the football. Had the ruling on the field stood, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would have been kicked out of the game, which could have cost Alabama. Luckily, replay officials overturned that call. But they couldn't overturn diction issues in the Ohio State-California game. Rough day to be a ref.
Johnny Football is Human ... Johnny Manziel wowed the crowd with his antics on the field, but he is human. His two turnovers proved to be very costly to his team. But give Manziel credit for showing he is human on the field and off. He actually answered questions after the game and gave very mature answers. His press conference might have been his best play of the day.
AJ McCarron is more than a game manager ... While Johnny Football gets all the praise and most of it is well deserve, AJ McCarron just does his job and he does it well. No, he doesn't make unbelievable plays that make the crowd go "oooooooo!", but he is a playmaker in his own right. McCarron's poise and leadership is the main reason the Tide defeated the Aggies. But because he is not considered to be in a high-powered offense like Manziel or Andy Murray of Georgia, he doesn't get the credit from the media that he deserves. I think that stopped yesterday.
Oh yes, and Toledo beat the visiting giant-killers from Eastern Washington while the FCS Fordham Rams -- Vince Lombardi's alma mater -- went into Philadelphia and had the Temple Owls no longer saying "Hoo?"
Turn in next week as we end the first month of college football. Among other tidbits, we'll see how badly Texas A&M beats the tar out of SMU, if Alabama has a hangover against Colorado State, if the Big Ten will bounce back, and if the Pac 12 continues its winning ways.