Alabama took a 21-3 lead against Florida but Nearly every second of four quarters was needed to beat the Gators., raising some questions about whether Crimson Tide is quite as unstoppable as they looked in two games.
Oklahoma met old rival Nebraska and struggled to keep the Cornhuskers away in the Sooners’ second mediocre performance of the youth season against an FBS competition.
Cincinnati remained unbeaten against Indiana and can begin planning a trip to Notre Dame on October 2. Virginia Tech was the latest casualty in the extremely disappointing ACC. Many Big Ten teams saw their share of true contenders.
Those teams and others are on top of the winners and losers from week 3 of the season.
9 Gators in Gainesville should be celebrated, even if the Tide had some concerns from a 3-0 start. There is no bigger issue than the state of the ongoing game, which was only in effect a year ago but has struggled under the direction of new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. After rushing 91 yards on 28 carries against the Gators, Tide averages only 3.9 yards per carry. That level of production is not enough for Alabama to run the table and repeat as national champions.
The Bearcats topped Indiana 38-24 and would have an extra week to prepare for the biggest game in the program’s history. On October 2, Cincinnati will travel to Notre Dame and attempt a second win against the Power Five competition and become the first group of five to truly factor in the playoff debate. To get there spotless, the Bearcats had to exit the hole 14–0 in the second quarter and face a rowdy, back-and-forth third quarter before being swept away by the Hoosiers in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Desmond Ridder finished with 246 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.
Michigan’s first three games have featured the Wolverines as a legitimate contender for the Big Ten Championship and New Year’s Six. UM ended the non-conference game with a 63–10 win against Northern Illinois based on another powerful performance on the field. Four players scored at least 40 yards, three scored at least twice and the massive offense went for eight touchdowns for 373 yards and 48 carries. This gives the Wolverines 1,056 rushing yards and 15 scores in three games.
And the Wolverines’ in-state rivals have continued to impress under second-year coach Mel Tucker. Scored to finish near the bottom of the East Division, the Spartans now beat Miami (Fla.) 38-17 to lead 3-0 with two Power Five wins. The influx of transfer talent and the ongoing flip of Tucker’s roster have gotten a team close enough to secure Bowl eligibility by the end of October.
The Wildcats beat Carson Strong and Nevada 38-17 without starting quarterback Skyler Thompson and would argue to earn a spot in the USA Today Sports AFCA Coach Poll next week. With Thompson sidelined, Kansas State used their running game to loosen Nevada’s defense and churned out five scoring drives lasting eight or more plays. Overall, the Wildcats ran for 269 yards and four touchdowns, while the Wolf kept the pack for 25 yards on 23 carries.
For a day, the focus was on the Trojans’ on-field performance, not the job openings that could be one of the key themes of the 2021 season. And USC looked great under interim coach Donnett Williams, who replaced Clay Helton earlier this week. Down 14-0 in the first half with less than a minute to spare and quarterback Caydon Slovis injured, the Trojans got 391 passing yards and four touchdowns from backup Jackson Darts and beat Washington State 45-14.
wake up forest
It may be too early to call this the best team of Dave Clausen’s tenure, which has seen Damon Deacon reach six straight bowl games and post a pair of eight-win seasons. But the end of the success and a push to the top 25 is likely after Wake barely sweated it out in a 35–14 win against Florida State. Now 3-0, Damon Deacon has several winnable games ahead of a tough round of opponents in November. Clausen is rarely mentioned among the best coaches of the ACC and Power Five, but he may finally get the national attention he deserves.
Miami’s 21-point loss to Michigan State was the low point in another low week for the ACC, which has already suffered a series of devastating setbacks since the end of September. Even before Saturday, the ACC had suffered the loss of Clemson, North Carolina and the Hurricanes, the league’s top three presidential contenders. He joined Miami’s terrible loss on Saturday, losing to Pittsburgh 44-41 to Western Michigan and Virginia Tech’s West Virginia 27-21. About the only ACC team to participate is Boston College, which went 3–0 after an easy win at Temple.
How bad will it be for FSU and coach Mike Norwell? A week after losing in a heart-wrenching fashion to Jacksonville State, the Seminoles fell 0-3 for the first time since 1976—the legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s first season—after an offense of 484 yards and an ugly loss to the Demons for the 27th time. Deacon. At this point, the only clear win on the schedule is Massachusetts at home on October 23. Could the Seminoles lose more than eight games for the first time since 1974?
The Huskies scored 21 points in the second half against Cena after failing to score a point in eight-quarter games against Fresno State and Purdue. (Not to mention a 38-28 loss to Holy Cross.) Unfortunately, the Huskies also gave up 52 points and 397 rushing yards to the Black Knights, who occupied more than 40 minutes and were named the worst team in FBS. suffocated.
One of the surprising Power Five teams of 2020, Buffalo will go into the Pac-12 game at 1-2 after being destroyed in a 30-0 loss by Minnesota. Far from last week’s competitive 10-7 loss to Texas A&M, Buffalo conceded 441 yards, allowed 277 on the field, and conceded just 63 yards on 45 plays. Colorado had not been locked out since a 28–0 loss to Washington State in 2017 or held under a 100-yard offense since taking a 76-yard lead in a 48–0 loss to Stanford in 2012. .
Follow college reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg