After three weeks into the college football season, we have learned that this year is WIDE open. Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma have not lived up to expectations. Alabama showed us they are not unbeatable after their performance against Florida, prompting what should be an exciting rest of the season. Here is my “Cream of the Crop” through Week Three.
1. Georgia: (40-13 win vs South Carolina)
J.T. Daniels made his return and did not disappoint, racking up 303 yards passing and three touchdowns against a fellow SEC foe.
His three scores were thrown to Adonai Mitchell (4-77-1), Jermaine Burton (3-70-1) & James Cook (4-20-1).
James Cook was also one of two running backs to get a rushing touchdown in this one, as he also had four carries for 51 yards and a score. Zamir White had 51 yards on eight carries & a score. Kendall Milton paced the team in rushing yards with 66 on ten totes.
We are three games in and the Bulldogs have only given up THIRTY total points. This defense along with Daniels will be very hard to beat.
2. Alabama: (31-29 win vs Florida)
Alabama came into “The Swamp”, got battle-tested, and survived.
Bryce Young had 240 yards passing and three scores in this one. However, all three of his scores came in the first quarter.
The running backs were vital in this one, as Brian Robinson Jr had 15 carries for 78 yards and a score on the ground and also hauled in a seven-yard pass for a score as well.
Jase McClellan had 58 total yards and a receiving TD in this one, giving him three touchdowns in the last two games and back-to-back games with one via the air.
However, the Crimson Tide allowed 245 rushing yards in this one and showed that they’re not unbeatable. Good news for the rest of the college football universe.
3. Oklahoma: (23-16 win vs Nebraska)
Oklahoma and Nebraska matched up in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “Game of the Century” and, boy, they did not disappoint.
In a strange turn of events, Oklahoma’s offense has not been the strength of the team thus far
Nebraska dropped back in coverage and dared Oklahoma to run the football with only two scholarship running backs, and OU struggled to do that in the first half.
They made adjustments in the second half and got Tennessee transfer Eric Gray (15 carries, 84 yards) and Kennedy Brooks (14 carries, 74 yards & a TD) going.
Their defense had five sacks, ten tackles for loss, and what is probably the greatest interception of ALL TIME.
Oklahoma needs to find more consistent play in their offense, but their defense has proven to be the strength of the team. If they can fix the offense with all the talent they have on that side of the ball, they should be undefeated going into the playoffs.
4. Oregon: (48-7 win vs Stony Brook)
After a tough game last week facing off against Ohio State on the road, the Ducks had an easy slate this week.
Their offense had three passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, and interceptions from Stony Brook in this lopsided affair.
5. Iowa: (30-7 win vs Kent State)
Iowa’s defense we knew going into this was one of the best in the country.
They had seven total sacks, ten tackles for loss, allowed only 1.9 yards per rush, as well as only three third-down conversions out of thirteen attempts.
The problem I have had with this team is their offense. This team needs an identity on that side of the ball.
Tyler Goodson had 19 carries for 99 yards and a score against Indiana week one and 55 yards and a score on 21 attempts against Iowa State last week. This week he took three of his 22 rushing attempts to the house, as he had 153 rushing yards.
The Hawkeyes have found their identity. Play elite defense, run the offense through Goodson and put their Quarterback in a good position on third-down plays to where he doesn’t have to do too much.
Junior Quarterback Steven Petras has zero interceptions so far this season. If he can continue to play clean football this Hawkeyes team will be hard to beat. Expect them to win the Big-10.
6. Penn State: (28-20 win vs Auburn)
Penn State now joins Alabama, Iowa & BYU as the only programs with wins against multiple top 25 opponents.
Their latest victim? An Auburn Tigers squad I predicted to upset the Crimson Tide before the season started.
I thought Bo Nix looked as if he took the next step this season, but missed his opportunity to show the country just that in this one.
The Nittany Lions only allowed 185 yards passing and 5.0 yards per completion in this one, as Nix had zero total touchdowns in this one.
Like Nix in this one, I questioned if Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had what it took to win big games, but found Jahan Dotson ten times for 78 yards and a TD in this one.
He completed 28/32 attempts for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Oh and also, the whiteout theme is still a pretty cool thing.
7. Texas A&M: (34-0 win vs New Mexico)
Freshman Haynes King went down with Injury last week, so Sophomore Zach Calzada got the nod again in this one, after leading the game-winning drive for the Aggies last week.
Calzada had 275 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, playing the best game by any A&M Aggie at the quarterback looked this season.
I questioned the upside of the talented A&M squad due to their Quarterback play & Calzada’s play this week gives me hope they can compete in the SEC.
“It was New Mexico State Trenton!!”
They’re not much worse than Kent State who picked off King three times in week one.
If Calzada can continue to grow at the QB position and just let the talent around him win the team games, A&M will have success.
8. Notre Dame: (27-13 win vs Purdue)
Purdue isn’t the toughest of opponents, but they do have two potential first-round picks in receiver David Bell & pass rusher George Karlaftis.
Notre Dame won this game on the back of running back Kyren Williams and his two long touchdowns. He had 138 total yards and two scores in this one.
Senior wideout Avery Davis outperformed NFL hopeful David Bell (7-64) in this one.
He had five receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown in this one.
9. Cincinnati: (38-24 Win vs Indiana)
The Bearcats struggled early in this one, as did their quarterback.
However, Desmond Ridder showed great resiliency in the comeback win.
He finished with 255 total yards two touchdowns and an interception.
Star RB Jerome Ford struggled from a yards per carry standpoint but still managed to score twice. He had 20 carries for 66 yards.
10. Clemson: (14-8 win vs Georgia Tech)
There are two ways you can go about this. Through three weeks, Clemson hasn’t given up a touchdown. But they stink.
D.J. Uiagalelei was supposed to be a promising breakout prospect this year but has struggled so far this season. In Particular, this weekend, as he totaled just 172 yards and no scores against GEORGIA TECH.
11. Ohio State: (41-20 win vs Tulsa)
Like Clemson, Ohio State is just not very good. Tulsa gave the Buckeyes everything they had in this one.
C.J. Stroud completed just 15 passes for 185 yards along with a touchdown and an interception.
Talented Freshman Treveyon Henderson had 277 yards and three touchdowns in this one.
If Ohio State wants to win the Big-10, they’ll have to figure out their defensive woes. This defensive front was supposed to be one of the nation’s best and they’re simply not.
They also need to put the ball in Henderson’s hands more often and keep it out of Strouds in the future in my opinion.
12. Florida: (29-31 loss vs Alabama)
Florida almost upset Alabama at the Swamp and didn’t have who in my opinion, is their best quarterback in Anthony Richardson.
Emory Jones didn’t play poorly, but I believe Richardson is much more effective with his legs & especially with his arm.
Jones had 195 yards passing and an interception, along with 77 rushing yards and a score as well.
The Gators ran all over Alabama in this one.
Senior running-back Dameon Pierce led the team with two rushing scores. Malik Davis paced the team in rushing yards with 86 and had a rushing score as well.
Once Anthony Richardson is healthy and eventually becomes the team’s starter, this team is going to be scary.
13. Iowa State: (48-3 win vs UNLV)
After getting beat down last week against Iowa, the Cyclones responded well against inferior competition.
Brock Purdy responded from getting benched last week with a 288 yard, 3 touchdown performance.
Breece Hall had his first good game of the year with a 100 yard, two-touchdown performance. They’re going to need more play like that from him going forward.
Someone else they’re going to need to produce going forward? Senior wideout Xavier Hutchinson. He had 10 receptions for 133 yards and a pair of tuddies in this one.
14. Ole Miss: (61-21 win vs Tulane)
Your Heisman favorite after three weeks? Matt Corral. He accounted for SEVEN total touchdowns in the rout of Tulane.
He had 335 yards passing and 3 scores, along with 68 yards & four touchdowns on the ground.
Ole Miss had 707 yards of total yards led by Jerrion Ealy (105 rushing yards), Henry Parrish Jr (103 total yards, 1TD), Jonathan Mingo (136 receiving yards, 1TD) & Dontario Drummond (71 total yards, 2 TD).
I’m expecting them to give Alabama all they can handle next week after watching their performance against the Gators.
15. BYU: (27-17 win vs Arizona State)
Welcome to the “Cream of the Crop” (and the Big-12), BYU! Their win over Arizona State is their second against a top 25 ranked opponent (Utah & Arizona State).
Only Alabama, Iowa & Penn State can say that.
In both of their wins against top 25 opponents, the Cougars have won the turnover battle & haven’t allowed more than 17 points scored on them all season.
16. Liberty: (45-17 win vs Old Dominion)
It was a rout of Old Dominion, as Malik Willis totaled SIX touchdowns.
He tallied 242 yards and four scores on the ground & added 77 yards and two more scores on the ground.
They’re probably going to be undefeated for another six weeks. Then tune in for a MUST watch game against Ole Miss on November 6th.
17. Costal Carolina: (28-25 win vs Buffalo)
Coastal Carolina played in their first road game this weekend and it showed.
They gave up 262 rushing yards and three scores in this one, allowing three different running-backs to eclipse 60 yards rushing.
The offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders like they were the previous two weeks, but I’ll give them credit for coming away with a win in their first road contest of the season.
18. Arkansas: (45-10 win vs Georgia Southern)
Arkansas won against Texas last week thanks to their ground game (47 rush attempts for 333 yards & four touchdowns).
It was an impressive performance, but I caught myself asking, “But can KJ Jefferson pass the ball effectively to provide balance?”
Therefore, KJ Jefferson threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns in this one to prove me wrong.
One of those touchdowns went to NFL hopeful Treylon Burks, who totaled three receptions for 127 yards.
19. Fresno State: (40-37 win vs UCLA)
Another new member of my “Cream of the Crop” rankings, as Fresno State, upset my 11th ranked UCLA team.
So, how did they do it?
First, we’ll mention college football’s leader in passing yards, Jake Haener. The fewest passing yards he’s had in a game this season is 298.
Senior RB Ronnie Rivers broke out in this one with 136 yards and two scores.
Wideout, Jalen Cropper (Has had a TD in every game this season) had 141 yards and a score in this one.
His counterpart, Josh Kelly had five receptions for 72 yards in the team’s close loss to Oregon, 127 yards & two scores last week, and tallied eight receptions for 120 yards in this one.
This high-powered offense should win the Mountain West conference this season.
20. UCLA: (37-40 loss vs Fresno State)
Fresno State gave Oregon all they could handle earlier this year, so I’m not too worried about the result of this game.
Zach Charbonnet’s 19 rushing yards won’t cut it, even if he did have two scores in this one. The Bruins will need more from the Michigan transfer
They’ll also need to make sure to limit the 455-yard passing games on defense. However, they were going up against college football’s leader in passing yards this season.
I still expect UCLA to be in the PAC-12 title game.
21. Michigan State: (38-17 win vs Miami)
The Spartans’ Kenneth Walker III ERUPTED onto the scene week one against Northwestern, as he tallied 264 yards and four touchdowns.
Youngstown State was pretty much a bye week for Michigan State in week two.
However, in week three Walker picked up where he left off, as he ran all over the Hurricane, totaling 172 yards.
He’s not the only threat, however, as quarterback Payton Thorne threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns (9-0 TD to INT ratio so far this season) in this one.
On the back of Walker, my newly added Spartans will be a tough team to go against.
22. TCU (Didn’t play)
After their loss to Oklahoma last season, the Horned Frogs have won seven of their last eight games, winning five in a row, including two in a row to start this season.
They will face off against a scorching hot SMU Mustangs team next Saturday led by former Oklahoma Sooner transfers in quarterback Tanner Mordecai & tight end Grant Calcaterra.
Lincoln Riley’s brother, Garrett is their offensive coordinator.
23. North Carolina: (59-39 win vs Virginia)
After a week one upset loss against Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels have rattled off back-to-back impressive victories against Georgia State and Virginia.
Sam Howell has been amazing in both games.
In this one, he had 307 yards passing, with five touchdowns and a single interception.
In the words of Billy Mays: “But wait, there’s more!” He also totaled 112 yards rushing in this one.
Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler had 198 rushing yards and a touchdown in this one, while breakout wideout Josh Downs had eight receptions for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s scored in every game this season & hasn’t had less than 73 yards receiving.
With how Clemson and Miami have looked this season, I genuinely believe North Carolina has. Good shot at winning the ACC this season. I don’t see how Clemson can keep up with this offense.
24. Michigan: (63-10 win vs Northern Illinois)
Can the Wolverines beat Ohio State this year? It sure looks like it. They have started to a red hot 3-0 with wins over Western Michigan, Washington & Northern Illinois.
Much of that success is on the back of Sophomore, Blake Corum. He is a legit Heisman candidate so far, as he’s had over 100 yards and a touchdown in each game.
He has back-to-back games with over 100 yards and three scores, with last week’s game totaling 125 rushing yards & three scores.
25. USC: (45-14 win vs Washington State)
New coach, new quarterback for the Trojans? After Kedon Slovis went down with an injury, we got to see what highly recruited Jaxson Dart was made of. He’s made of a lot, as he had 391 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also led the team in rushing yards, with 32.
Much of that production was thanks to elite wideout, Drake London. The standout receiver had 13 receptions for 170 yards and two scores. Expect his name to be called early in this year’s NFL draft.
Another name you’ll hear? Drake Jackson. He had his first sack of the season in this one.
Look, I understand they had an egregious loss to Stanford & fired their coach, but this team still has a lot of talent. They’ll compete with UCLA to win the PAC-12 south.