BY MICHAEL LEESE
A LOOK BACK AT WEEK 3
The most shocking thing I noticed in week three action was just how bad USC’s run defense was. Stanford ran at will on the Trojans. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was simply better than his counterpart Cody Kessler. Everytime the Cardinal needed a big play, Hogan or running back Christian McCaffrey were there to deliver. McCaffrey chewed up huge yardage through a defense that was thought to be one of the best. The Cardinal made a statement that they are indeed a player in the PAC 12. That performance came as quite a shock to me, as I had seen this team fail to move the ball at Northwestern.
Meanwhile, those same Wildcats, impressed with a road win at Duke. The Wildcats off to a 3-0 start, may well be a team to watch moving forward as BIG 10 play is about to get underway. Several teams are off to 3-0 starts. Among them are a few surprises. From the AAC, Temple and Memphis are looking strong. Temple has a legitimate shot at a double-digit win season. Both North Carolina State and Syracuse sit at 3-0. The Wolfpack have a solid team led by quarterback Jacoby Brissett. The Orangemen have somehow remained unbeaten despite now losing two quarterbacks to injury. They face LSU at home on Saturday, their toughest test of the young season. California went to 3-0 as they hung on to beat Texas 45-44. The Golden Bears might well be a threat to win the PAC 12 North. I want to also mention Oklahoma from the BIG 12. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has given the Sooners a major boost, with his outstanding play. If he continues to play at a high level, he might well enter the Heisman discussion.
Finally a look into the SEC. The classic battle between Mississippi and Alabama Saturday night was just that. Quarterback Chad Kelly is the real deal! He was “money” in leading the Rebels to victory. I honestly felt like Rebels Head coach Hugh Freeze, outmatched Nick Saban. The anticipated battle of the Tigers versus Tigers in Baton Rouge, never materialized. LSU simply pounded Auburn. I had predicted an Auburn victory, but again was disappointed in the play of quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who has now been benched in favor of Freshman Sean White. Auburn had better get things fixed quickly, or their season could spin out of control. Speaking of out of control, I think it’s safe to say Arkansas is a mess. What has happened to that punishing ground game?
COOL FACTS OF THE WEEK
- The Rebels win at Alabama accomplished a couple of interesting feats. It snapped the Tide’s 17 home winning streak, which was tied with Baylor for the longest in the nation. It was the first time in history, that the Rebels had defeated the Tide in back to back seasons.
- Northwestern has allowed only 16 points all season. The Wildcats allowed their first touchdown on defense this past Saturday to Duke.
- TCU has now lost six defensive starters to injury since the season started.
- Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert set an NCAA record by completing 96% of his passes against South Carolina. Greyson a transfer from Virginia, was flawless completing 24 of 25 passes for 330 yards and three scores!
TOP GAMES THIS WEEK
No.14 TEXAS A & M (3-0) versus ARKANSAS (1-2) This game will be played in Arlington. The Aggies have won three straight in this series. Quarterback Kyle Allen has been very efficient. He has tossed nine touchdown passes versus two interceptions. The Aggies have one of the best receiving corps in the country led by Christian Kirk and Speedy Noil. The Razorbacks are off two home losses to Toledo and Texas Tech. The “Smash mouth” running game has been dormant. Red Raider head coach Kliff Kingsbury predicted that the Aggies would win. I AGREE, AGGIES 38 HOGS 21
TENNESSEE (2-1) AT FLORIDA (3-0) This is a huge SEC East showdown. The Gators have been a pleasant surprise under new head coach Jim McElwain. Will Grier has been named the starting quarterback after a fierce battle with Treon Harris. Grier brings a nice blend of running and passing to the position. The Gator defense was stout in last weekends SEC opener at Kentucky. The Vols bounced back nicely last week after melting down the week before against Oklahoma. Tennessee has the better athletes at the skill positions on offense. The Gators have a defensive edge. Florida is 18-4 in this series of late. I just have a funny feeling Joshua Dobbs has the last say in this game. VOLS WIN A NAIL-BITER 20-17..
No.9 UCLA (3-0) AT No.16 ARIZONA (3-0) This is one of three outstanding PAC 12 showdowns this Saturday. The Bruins hit the road for the second time this season. Josh Rosen proved he was human this past Saturday against BYU. Rosen looked like a freshman for the first time. The Bruins used a powerful rushing attack last weekend to beat the Cougars. They will need more of the same by Paul Perkins, if they are to come away with a victory in the desert. The wildcats are led by quarterback Anu Solomon, who has completed 68% of his tosses, good for ten touchdowns. Nick Wilson has averaged seven yards per carry, thus providing a balanced offense. Each team is without one of their best defensive players. Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA) and Scooby Wright (ARIZ) are both out. The Bruins have won the last three games in this series. That streak comes to an end here, CATS TAKE DOWN BRUINS 31-27.
No.19 USC (2-1) AT ARIZONA STATE (2-1) Many people thought this game would be played between two undefeated teams. This game takes on added importance, due to the fact that a two loss team could likely be out of playoff contention. The Trojans were simply outplayed in all phases of the game last week in a loss to Stanford. Kody Kessler will need a bounce back game for a Trojan victory. The defense will need to shore up a poor performance against the run. The Sun Devils have played two cupcakes, since an opening week spanking by Texas A & M. Quarterback Mike Bercovici will have to have his best performance as a collegiate to pull this one out. If you remember back to last year, the Sun Devils defeated the Trojans in the final play of the game. That has left a bitter taste in the USC locker room. The Trojans are 12-1 in their first away game of the season. REVENGE WILL BE SWEET. TROY FORKS THE DEVIL 33-23.
No.18 UTAH (3-0) AT No.13 OREGON (2-1) .The Utes invade Eugene with an unblemished record. Kendall Thompson has taken over at quarterback with the injury to Travis Wilson. Devontae Booker will be the key to the Ute attack. If Booker kind find running room, it will surely open up a play action passing game. The Ducks have a question at quarterback with the injury to Vernon Adams. Jeff Lockie could get the start under center. I don’t think it matters who starts at quarterback for the Ducks. They simply have too much team speed and will be playing at home. The last time the Utes won in Eugene was all the way back in 1994. QUACK ATTACK DOWNS UTES 46-24.
BOISE STATE (2-1) AT VIRGINIA (1-2) We all know that Boise is a good football team. Taking on power five schools is something the Broncos do, and have a lot of success doing it. Quarterback Ryan Finley will miss this game after suffering a broken ankle last week. That means the Broncos will start a quarterback that has never taken a snap under center. Is the Bronco defense good enough to win this game? Virginia played Notre Dame at home, and gave the Irish a scare. If quarterback Matt Johns can play mistake free football, the Cavaliers will find the win column. This game will also be played on Friday night, and should draw a raucous home crowd. The Cavs also have a bye next week, ensuring a focused squad. ACC HOME COOKING TO MUCH FOR BRONCOS, CAVS 23-16.
PICK SIX—-SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS——Jerrod Heard runs rampant over Cowboys COWBOYS HORNED 38-30.
LSU AT SYRACUSE——I’ll be there for this one! UNDEFEATED ORANGE CRUSHED 41-13
CINCINNATI AT MEMPHIS——Paxton Lynch to much for Bearcats ELVIS IS IN THE HOUSE 32-17.
INDIANA AT WAKE FOREST—— Hoosiers offense takes down Demon Deacons HOOSIERS STAY UNBEATEN 31-23.
TCU AT TEXAS TECH——Will wee see 100 combined points? HORNED FROGS HOLD ON 51-48.
CALIFORNIA AT WASHINGTON—–The huskies will be praying for rain. FORECAST SUNNY AND 65 BEARS 52-37.
LAST WEEKS RESULTS
KEY GAMES 2-3 SEASON 9-5
UPSET EXPRESS 1-0 SEASON 2-1 STRAIGHT UP 3-0 SPREAD
PICK SIX 3-3 SEASON 12-6