College FootballDownload App

College Football Week 3: 50 Lessons We Learned

Danny FlynnSenior Analyst IJune 18, 2016

College Football Week 3: 50 Lessons We Learned

1 of 51

    Remember all that time ESPN and other sports media outlets spent hyping up USC as an unstoppable juggernaut during the summer?

    Wow, that seems like such a huge waste of time now.

    The Trojans were exposed in their first real test of the season when Stanford overpowered them 21-14. It was the most surprising outcome of what turned out to be the most exciting weekend of the college football season thus far.

    The loss dropped USC from No. 2 all the way down to No. 13 in this week's AP poll.

    USC's loss wasn't the only big news of the weekend, though. Here's a look at some of the other lessons we learned from Week 3.

Alabama Is the Best Team in the Country

2 of 51

    If there was any question before this weekend about who the best team in college football really was, there certainly isn't now.

    Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide went out and made a statement by destroying Arkansas 52-0 on the road.

    The Tide are a team that have all the ingredients needed—steady running game, consistent play at the quarterback position, dominant defense and key veteran leaders on both sides of the ball—to make another run at a BCS championship this season.

    Saban's squad has had no trouble replacing all the top-tier talent it lost to the NFL this offseason. Breakout stars such as RB Eddie Lacy, LB C.J. Mosley and CB Dee Milliner have all stepped up in a big way so far.

    Besides LSU, it doesn't appear there's any team on the schedule that can seriously challenge Alabama this year.

USC Was Overrated

3 of 51

    Once QB Matt Barkley announced that he would return to USC for his senior year, the Trojans instantly became the media darlings of the 2012 offseason.

    It didn't take long for them to prove that they weren't deserving of all the hype.

    USC failed its first true test of the season on the road at Stanford this past Saturday night.

    The Trojans definitely didn't look like a national title contender against the Cardinal, as they could only muster 14 points and 280 total yards in the losing effort.

    While they may still have a shot to ultimately win the Pac-12, right now, USC has to be considered the early favorite to earn the label of "most disappointing team of 2012."

Matt Barkley Made the Wrong Decision

4 of 51

    Matt Barkley could have chosen to enter the 2012 NFL draft and likely been guaranteed to be the No. 3 overall pick.

    Barkley instead decided that he wanted to return to USC, citing the fact that he had "unfinished business" to tend to.

    That unfinished business included winning a BCS championship as well as a Heisman Trophy, two goals that have now been destroyed by a loss to Stanford in Week 3.

    Following the defeat, it's easy to second-guess Barkley's decision to return to school instead of earning millions to play at the professional level.

    We'll have to wait until next April to know for sure if Barkley truly made a terrible mistake like former Trojan Matt Leinart did when he returned for his senior season and lost millions of dollars.

    Still, right now, it's hard for Barkley to justify that coming back was the right choice.

Notre Dame Is a Legitimate Top 15 Team

5 of 51

    Notre Dame is a program that's been heavily criticized over the last decade. Admittedly, the Irish have usually deserved the backlash, as they've annually been one of the most overrated teams in college football.

    This year's team, however, looks like it's truly deserving of a Top 15 ranking.

    The Irish put together a dominant performance in a 20-3 win at Michigan State in Week 3, showing that this is a different type of group than the one that's constantly disappointed its fans recently.

    The team's 2012 schedule may be grueling, as it includes matchups with Michigan, Miami (FL), Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, Pitt and USC. Nevertheless, Notre Dame seems like it should be ready for all of the tough challenges it will face this season.

Everett Golson Is Ready for the Spotlight

6 of 51

    One of the reasons that Notre Dame has the chance to contend for a BCS bowl spot this season is the emergence of QB Everett Golson.

    Even though he only completed 14 of his 32 passes for 178 yards against Michigan State, Golson proved to be a key playmaker for the Irish offense.

    He accounted for both of the team's touchdowns (one passing score and one rushing score).

    The 6'1", 185-pound redshirt freshman showed that he could handle the spotlight and the pressure of a nationally televised road game against a tough opponent, which is certainly encouraging.

    Golson is only going to get better as the season wears on. Notre Dame fans have to be very excited about his intriguing potential.

Le'Veon Bell Will Not Win the Heisman

7 of 51

    First it was Michigan QB Denard Robinson. Then it was Wisconsin RB Montee Ball. Now, another Big Ten star, Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell, has seemingly bowed out of the Heisman race early in the season.

    After totaling 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his first two games, Bell was stymied by Notre Dame's defense on Saturday night.

    The powerful and athletic 6'2", 244-pound junior only rushed for 77 yards on 19 carries in the 20-3 loss to the Irish.

    Bell still has the chance to have an All-American campaign in 2012 and eventually end up as a first-round draft pick in 2013. However, it doesn't appear that he'll be taking home the Heisman Trophy in December.

Florida Is a True Contender in the SEC East

8 of 51

    Will Muschamp has been telling everyone who will listen that the 2012 edition of his Florida Gators is a much better team than the one that won just six regular-season games in the coach's debut season last year.

    His players backed up his praise with a huge early-season road conference win against rival Tennessee in Knoxville.

    The 37-20 victory on the road shows that the Gators are a team that's definitely capable of competing with Georgia and South Carolina for a spot in the SEC championship game in 2012.

Tennessee Is an SEC Also-Ran

9 of 51

    There was a ton of energy in Knoxville on Saturday, as over 100,000 rabid Tennessee fans packed into Neyland Stadium for what they thought would be the defining win of the Derek Dooley era.

    What they got, however, was a disappointing loss that proves that the Volunteers aren't yet ready to contend in the SEC East division this season.

    Sure, Tennessee has plenty of top-notch talent with QB Tyler Bray, WR Justin Hunter, OG Dallas Thomas and linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt. However, Dooley's squad just doesn't have the necessary intangibles to compete with the conference's power teams in 2012.

Logan Thomas Is Not an Elite Quarterback Yet

10 of 51

    Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas possesses the type of physical skills that will intrigue NFL scouts, and he has the potential to one day develop into a truly dynamic playmaker.

    At this point, though, Thomas is simply not the elite franchise quarterback prospect that he was made out to be before the season started.

    The 6'6", 260-pound junior barely looked like a competent starter, let alone a star, in the Hokies' 35-17 loss to Pittsburgh.

    Thomas completed just 14 of his 31 pass attempts, threw three interceptions and was sacked twice in the losing effort.

    The big, athletic dual-threat quarterback may be loaded with potential. However, he simply has yet to put it all together and learn how to consistently make the most of his natural physical ability.

Sammy Watkins Is Back

11 of 51

    Clemson WR Sammy Watkins made his return to the field against Furman after sitting out the first two games of the season due to a suspension.

    Watkins didn't look rusty at all in his first live game action. He caught four passes for 52 yards and scored a touchdown on a 58-yard run.

    The explosive 6'1", 200-pound sophomore returned just in time, as the Tigers are now preparing for a huge ACC showdown with Atlantic division foe Florida State on Saturday night.

    Clemson is going to need the difference-making receiver to make some big plays in Tallahassee if it hopes to topple the Seminoles.

John L. Smith Is Not Equipped to Lead a Big BCS Program

12 of 51

    We're only three weeks into the season, but already the "Fire John L. Smith" sentiment is starting to spread among the disgruntled Arkansas fanbase.

    Smith, who was thrust into the head coaching role following Bobby Petrino's sudden termination back in the spring, has shown that he is simply not equipped to lead a big BCS program.

    The 63-year-old former Razorback special teams coach has been heavily criticized following the team's upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe in Week 2 and a listless showing in an embarrassing 52-0 blowout loss to Alabama.

    Given the way that Arkansas' season is starting to spiral out of control, it wouldn't be surprising if the fans get their wish and Smith is fired before the end of the year.

Tyler Wilson Is Not a Happy Camper

13 of 51

    Arkansas' star quarterback Tyler Wilson was forced to sit on the sideline and watch as his team got dismantled by Alabama. The concussed signal-caller certainly wasn't happy with what he saw.

    Wilson had this to say during an impromptu message to the media following the 52-0 loss:

    Obviously, it wasn't very pretty to watch. It wasn't pretty for me to sit on the sideline and watch as a player. It sucks I can't be out there to do anything about it. Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely. As a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and things go wrong.

    The senior's frustration is certainly understandable. This was setting up to be a big year for both Wilson and the Razorbacks, but it's all gone very wrong very quickly.

    Arkansas would have likely gotten thumped by the Tide whether Wilson played or not. However, you have to believe that the veteran leader would have gotten his teammates to at least play with some more passion and intensity.

Bjoern Werner Is the Best Defensive End in the Country

14 of 51

    There are a lot of great defensive ends in college football this season. But so far, none of them have looked as good as Florida State's Bjoern Werner.

    Werner has been an absolute pass-rushing monster in the Seminoles' first three games, and he kept his early-season tear going against Wake Forest this past Saturday.

    The 6'4", 260-pound junior currently leads the country with 6.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss.

    The German native is really beginning to come into his own in 2012, and he looks like he's destined to develop into a potential top-10 pick in next year's NFL draft.

Khaled Holmes Is Invaluable to USC’s Offense

15 of 51

    When USC center Khaled Holmes was carted off the field with a leg injury during the fourth quarter of a Week 2 win over Syracuse, most Trojan fans probably didn't think to themselves, "Oh no, now we're going to lose to Stanford."

    Holmes' absence clearly played a huge role in USC's offensive struggles against the Cardinal, though.

    The Trojans allowed five sacks in the 21-14 loss, and they clearly had no answer for Stanford's ferocious defensive front seven.

De’Anthony Thomas Is the Early Heisman Favorite

16 of 51

    Now that USC QB Matt Barkley, the consensus preseason Heisman favorite, has been knocked down, there has to be a new Heisman favorite that everyone can fawn over.

    Since it's still so early in the season, there are still a ton of contenders and challengers for the award.

    The one player who has looked the most impressive in the first few weeks of the season is Oregon RB De'Anthony Thomas.

    Thomas has only touched the ball 24 times on offense, yet he's still managed to total 382 yards and score seven touchdowns. He's also averaging 13 yards per punt return.

    The 5'9", 173-pound sophomore is clearly one of the most dynamic and dangerous playmakers in college football. He just hasn't had the chance to prove himself in a meaningful game this season.

    West Virginia QB Geno Smith, Kansas State QB Collin Klein, UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron, Georgia QB Aaron Murray, Florida State QB E.J. Manuel, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor and Ohio State QB Braxton Miller all belong in the Heisman discussion. However, at this point, Thomas has to be considered the early front-runner for the award.

Texas Has Finally Found a Quarterback

17 of 51

    One of the big reasons that Texas has struggled and fallen from grace over the past two years is instability at the quarterback position.

    Since the departure of Colt McCoy following the 2009 season, the Longhorns have been searching for a signal-caller that they can rely on, and they may have finally found that player in David Ash.

    The 6'3", 223-pound sophomore had an outstanding game against Ole Miss this past weekend, completing 19 of his 23 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns in the 66-31 rout.

    If Ash keeps developing and maturing as expected, the Texas offense could become a true force to be reckoned with in 2012.

Penn State Fans Can Celebrate Again

18 of 51

    After a long and challenging offseason, Penn State fans suffered through two very disappointing losses to start the 2012 season. Now, the Nittany Lion faithful finally have something to celebrate following the team's 34-7 win over Navy.

    First-year head coach Bill O'Brien probably won't be picking up many more victories in 2012, but it was nice to see him get his first win.

Stepfan Taylor Owns the USC Defense

19 of 51

    In his first three meetings with USC, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor combined to rush for 265 yards and three touchdowns. However, Taylor saved his best performance for his last matchup with the Trojans.

    In his final game against USC, the powerful senior back torched the Trojans defense, as he rushed for 153 yards, caught five passes for 60 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 21-14 victory.

Jeff Driskel Is Developing into a Dangerous Passer

20 of 51

    Florida QB Jeff Driskel didn't exactly look stellar in his debut as a starter against Bowling Green in Week 1. However, in the weeks since then, he's shown a great deal of improvement.

    After leading the Gators to a huge win at Texas A&M in Week 2, Driskel followed it up with his best game of the season at Tennessee.

    The sophomore signal-caller completed 14 of his 20 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 81 yards on eight carries.

    Driskel is slowly but surely starting to show why he was considered the best quarterback prospect of the 2011 recruiting class.

Florida State Can Run the Ball Efficiently

21 of 51

    One of Florida State's main weaknesses last season was that the Seminoles could just not put together a consistent rushing attack. In fact, the team ranked just 104th in the nation in rushing offense in 2011, averaging only 112 yards on the ground per game.

    Judging from the running attack's 385-yard performance against Wake Forest in Week 3, it looks like the Seminoles should be able to put together a dangerous rushing attack this season.

    Chris Thompson, James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman form a deep and talented backfield that should be able to do a lot of damage to opposing defenses in 2012.

David Shaw Is a Heck of a Coach

22 of 51

    Oregon's Chip Kelly is undoubtedly the best head coach in the Pac-12. However, Stanford's David Shaw has made a pretty strong case for why he deserves to be considered just a notch below Kelly.

    This may only be Shaw's second year as the head man in Palo Alto, but he's already compiled a 14-2 record, which includes two impressive wins over USC.

    Jim Harbaugh may have been the one who strengthened the foundation of the Stanford program, but Shaw looks like he's going to be the coach who keeps the Cardinal at a high level for years to come.

Geno Smith Is Supremely Accurate

23 of 51

    West Virginia QB Geno Smith started off the 2012 season in strong fashion, completing 32 of his 36 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns in a 69-34 win over Marshall.

    After a bye week, Smith came out and looked just as sharp in Week 3, completing 34 of his 39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-12 victory over James Madison.

    The strong-armed senior currently leads the nation with an 88 percent completion rate.

    Although the quality of his opponents hasn't been all that impressive, you have to appreciate the way that Smith is throwing the ball early in the season.

Louisville Has to Figure Out How to Close Out Games

24 of 51

    No. 20 Louisville built up a 36-7 lead over North Carolina going into halftime, only to watch it fade away in the second half before ultimately surviving to win 39-34.

    QB Teddy Bridgewater was the star of the show against the Tar Heels, completing 23 of his 28 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

    The problem is, the Cardinals are going to have to figure out how to close out a game properly if they want to win the Big East and end up in a BCS bowl game this season.

Utah Can Win Without Wynn

25 of 51

    Utah may have lost starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, who decided to quit football after experiencing the fourth shoulder surgery of his college career in a Week 2 loss to Utah State. However, the Utes managed to rally under new starter Jon Hays, who led the team to a 24-21 win over BYU in the "Holy War."

    Hays played just as well as Cougars senior quarterback Riley Nelson, as he completed 18 of his 27 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

    The veteran senior signal-caller led the team to six wins in its last eight games last year when Wynn went down. It will now be interesting to see if he can lead the Utes into contention with USC for a Pac-12 South division title in 2012.

Missouri Can Win Without James Franklin

26 of 51

    Another team that was able to pull out a close win without its starting quarterback this weekend was Missouri.

    The Tigers relied on RB Kendial Lawrence, who ran for two touchdowns, to help propel them to a 24-20 win over Arizona State at home.

    Franklin is expected to return to action for the team's big Week 4 matchup against SEC East division foe South Carolina.

Eddie Lacy Is Ready to Be a Feature Back

27 of 51

    Eddie Lacy wasn't a huge factor in Alabama's first two games of the season, only carrying the ball nine times in each game and totaling just 71 yards on the ground.

    Lacy finally had the breakout performance that Tide fans have been waiting for against Arkansas in Week 3.

    The big, powerful junior back only ran for 55 yards on 12 carries, but he scored three touchdowns and showed signs that he's ready to be a feature back.

    With Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Dee Hart combining forces, Alabama should once again have one of the most powerful rushing attacks in the country in 2012.

BYU Will Not Be in the BCS Conversation

28 of 51

    After getting off to a hot 2-0 start, it seemed as if BYU could potentially be this year's BCS party-crasher if the team could run the table and finish 12-0.

    The BCS powers don't have to worry now, though. The Cougars' loss to in-state rival Utah this past Saturday knocks them out of the conversation before they had the chance to even enter it.

Trey Burton Can Be Florida’s Offensive X-Factor

29 of 51

    RB Mike Gillislee may be Florida's best offensive player, but the Gators' offensive X-factor may just be jack-of-all-trades running back/receiver Trey Burton.

    It was expected that Burton would be running Urban Meyer's spread offense as a quarterback this year, but since Meyer left after the 2010 season, he's been forced to adapt to a different role in the offense.

    The athletic junior was a key factor in Florida's 37-20 win over Tennessee, as he rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns and also caught two passes for 38 yards.

    Coordinator Brent Pease is going to have to figure out how to utilize Burton's unique skill set much more often during the rest of the season.

South Carolina Has to Keep Connor Shaw Protected

30 of 51

    South Carolina's offensive line has allowed nine sacks in just the first three games of the season, which is one of the highest totals in the country.

    QB Connor Shaw has been banged up in both of the games he's played in, which isn't an encouraging sign.

    If the Gamecocks' front five don't step up their play in the trenches against the strong and athletic defensive lines they'll face in SEC play, Shaw probably won't survive the season.

Pittsburgh Is Better Than We Thought

31 of 51

    Pittsburgh was disparaged for looking pitiful in its first two games against Youngstown State and Cincinnati. However, the Panthers came out and looked like a completely new and rejuvenated team against Virginia Tech.

    Paul Chryst's squad dominated the Hokies from start to finish, winning easily, 35-17.

    QB Tino Sunseri, running backs Ray Graham and Rushel Shell and receivers Devin Street and Mike Shanahan all played well, as did the defense, which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Wisconsin’s Offense Is Severely Flawed

32 of 51

    While Paul Chryst's new offense at Pittsburgh was hitting on all cylinders in Week 3, his old offense at Wisconsin continued to look lost without him there to guide it.

    The Badgers totaled just 234 yards of offense in a lousy-looking 16-14 win over Utah State.

    QB Danny O'Brien threw for just 63 yards, while RB Montee Ball averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.

    It's safe to say that if Wisconsin wants to make it back to its third straight Rose Bowl this season, this offense needs to fix some major holes quickly.

Rutgers Can Contend in the Big East

33 of 51

    Rutgers looked like a Big East contender in a big road win at South Florida last Thursday night. The Scarlet Knights started off league play on a good foot with a hard-fought 23-13 victory over the Bulls.

    Even though QB Gary Nova may not be a true difference-maker, first-year coach Kyle Flood has all of the other pieces to build a championship contender in 2012.

    Jawan Jamison is one of the most underrated backs in the country, and the defense, led by potential All-American linebacker Khaseem Greene, is one of the strongest units in the Big East.

    If Nova can step up and play consistently week in and week out, Rutgers can definitely make a big move up in the conference this season.

B.J. Daniels Is Still an Enigma

34 of 51

    South Florida QB B.J. Daniels has always been the type of quarterback who can look great one game and then look terrible the following week. That was the case once again in Week 3.

    After leading the Bulls to a big comeback victory on the road at Nevada in Week 2—a game in which he totaled 416 yards of offense and threw three touchdowns—Daniels looked flat in a loss to Rutgers.

    The senior signal-caller completed just 15 of his 33 passes and threw three crucial interceptions against the Scarlet Knights.

    Daniels simply can't play that badly anymore if the Bulls want to have any shot of winning the Big East in 2012.

Georgia Tech’s Rushing Attack Is Powerful

35 of 51

    Georgia Tech has had one of the most powerful rushing attacks in college football every season since Paul Johnson took over in 2008. This might just be the most potent rushing attack the Yellow Jackets have ever had under Johnson's watch.

    The team's triple-option offense carved up Virginia's ill-prepared defense last Saturday. Johnson's squad compiled 461 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns in the 52-20 victory.

    QB Tevin Washington seems like he's grown into a sound decision-maker and offensive leader. Plus, the backfield, led by Orwin Smith and Zach Laskey, is deep and talented.

    Georgia Tech currently ranks third in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 374 yards on the ground per game.

Seth Doege Is the Best Quarterback Nobody Is Talking About

36 of 51

    Even though Texas Tech QB Seth Doege threw for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2011, he received almost no national publicity since the Red Raiders won just five games.

    Doege hasn't received much attention this year either, but he's still continued to produce at a high level. This past weekend, the senior signal-caller threw for 340 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-14 win over New Mexico.

    Currently, Doege ranks first in the nation with 12 touchdown passes, seventh in the nation with a 74.3 percent completion rate and 12th with 858 passing yards.

    It should be interesting to see how he fares against Big 12 opponents like Oklahoma, West Virginia and TCU in the coming weeks.

Duke Johnson Is a Renaissance Man

37 of 51

    Many Miami fans were wondering how the Hurricanes would replace highly productive running back Lamar Miller, who made the decision to leave school early for the NFL.

    It looks like they've found Miller's long-term replacement in Duke Johnson.

    Johnson proved his outstanding versatility and playmaking ability in a 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman this past weekend.

    The 5'9", 183-pound true freshman ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 57 yards and a touchdown and took a kickoff return 95 yards back to the house for a score.

Auburn’s Defense Is Still Soft

38 of 51

    Auburn was able to pick up its first win of the season against Louisiana-Monroe in Week 3. However, the Tigers defense definitely didn't look all that impressive.

    The team gave up 410 yards and 27 first downs in the 31-28 overtime victory.

    Right now, Auburn ranks 12th in the SEC in scoring defense and 13th in total defense.

    The Tigers are giving up an average of 27 points and 442 yards per game.

    So far, new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder hasn't come close to justifying being Auburn's highest-paid assistant coach.

Johnny Manziel Is a Budding Star

39 of 51

    Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel gave the Florida defense all it could handle in the Aggies' season opener, and he looked even better in the second start of his career against SMU.

    Manziel threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 124 yards and another two scores in the 48-3 win.

    The redshirt freshman has the chance to develop into one of the most exciting and entertaining players to watch in 2012.

Ole Miss Isn’t Ready to Play with the Big Boys

40 of 51

    Who's the goofball who actually thought that Ole Miss could pull off an upset against Texas?

    Oh wait, that was me. Whoops.

    As it turned out, the Longhorns certainly weren't in letdown mode when they made the trip to Oxford.

    Mack Brown's squad rocked the Rebels 66-31, piling up 676 yards of total offense for good measure.

    QB Bo Wallace and the rest of the team were just simply overwhelmed by the drastic step up in competition, and they had no answer for Texas' superior talent on both sides of the ball.

    This could be the beginning of the downward spiral for Ole Miss.

    Hugh Freeze's team may be able to pick up another win against Tulane this week, but after that the brutal SEC slate includes daunting matchups with Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State.

Braxton Miller Is a Heisman Contender

41 of 51

    Ohio State's Braxton Miller has the chance to be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks that we've seen in college football in years.

    Miller started off the season with two huge performances against Miami (Ohio) and Central Florida, but his best game of the season came this past weekend when he led the Buckeyes to a 35-28 win over Cal.

    The supremely athletic sophomore totaled 324 yards of offense and accounted for all five of his team's touchdowns.

    If Miller keeps up this pace against Big Ten opponents, he has a real shot to make it to New York City for the Heisman ceremonies in December.

Stefphon Jefferson Is a Workhorse

42 of 51

    Nevada is a team that no one seems to really be talking about since the Wolf Pack play in the Mountain West Conference.

    Still, this is a very dangerous squad that could challenge Boise State for a league title this season.

    QB Cody Fajardo is the face of the offense, but RB Stefphon Jefferson has played just as big of a role in the team's success in 2012.

    Jefferson rushed for 247 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-34 win over Northwestern State in Week 3.

    Following his big outing, the 5'11", 210-pound junior now ranks second in the country with 527 rushing yards.

Chad Bumphis Is Ready to Have a Breakout Season

43 of 51

    After an encouraging sophomore campaign in which he caught 44 passes for 634 yards and five touchdowns, it looked like WR Chad Bumphis would have a huge breakout season in 2011.

    Instead, Bumphis regressed, catching just 25 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns.

    Now, though, it looks like the senior receiver is ready to finally make the most of his full potential in 2012. This past week, Bumphis caught six passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-24 win over Troy.

    Bumphis is gaining the trust of both the coaches and QB Tyler Russell, and he should see a lot more passes thrown his way in the weeks to come.

North Carolina’s Offense Isn’t the Same Without Giovani Bernard

44 of 51

    North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard did not play for the second straight week due to a lingering knee issue. His absence clearly affected the Tar Heels offense in a big way against Louisville.

    Without Bernard in the lineup, the offense could only score seven points in a lackluster first half before taking advantage of some turnovers in the second half to make the score close.

    Bernard is clearly the team's offensive MVP, and North Carolina can't afford to be without him for much longer.

A.J. Johnson and Datone Jones Are Versatile

45 of 51

    Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson and UCLA DE Datone Jones are among the best defenders in their respective conferences.

    This week, though, both Johnson and Jones showed that they can handle offensive roles as well.

    Johnson lined up in the backfield in a goal-line package for the Vols and actually took a direct snap into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run.

    Jones lined up at tight end in a goal-line package for the UCLA offense and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from QB Brett Hundley.

Mike Glennon Is Getting on Track

46 of 51

    N.C. State QB Mike Glennon struggled and looked less than stellar in the team's first two games of the season against Tennessee and Connecticut. However, he began to finally put things together against a weak South Alabama defense in Week 3.

    Glennon completed 24 of his 34 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-7 win.

    It remains to be seen how the 6'6", 232-pound senior will actually fare against tough ACC competition, but at the very least he's now starting to get back his confidence after a rough start.

Colorado Could Go 0-12 This Year

47 of 51

    Colorado hasn't even played a BCS team yet, but the Buffaloes have already gone 0-3 to start the 2012 season with losses to Colorado State, Sacramento State and Fresno State.

    The team's loss to Sacramento State, an FCS school, was surely embarrassing, but Jon Embree's squad managed to actually look worse in a pitiful blowout 69-14 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs.

    The Buffaloes will begin Pac-12 play against Washington State this weekend, and it's questionable whether the inexperienced and talent-deprived team will be able to beat any league opponents in 2012.

Phillip Sims Is Virginia’s Best Option at Quarterback

48 of 51

    Virginia's offense is averaging less than 20 points in the past two games, and a big reason for the team's struggles is QB Michael Rocco's ineffective play.

    Rocco threw for just 143 yards and tossed two interceptions in a 56-20 loss to Georgia Tech in Week 3.

    His backup, Phillip Sims, looked better, as he completed six of his eight passes and threw two touchdowns.

    It may be time for coach Mike London to seriously consider handing over the starting job to Sims to see if he can get the offense out of the rut it's currently stuck in.

Brendan Bigelow Is a Running Back to Watch

49 of 51

    Cal RB Brendan Bigelow only carried the ball four times against Ohio State this past Saturday, but he certainly made the most of his limited opportunities.

    Bigelow reeled off two huge touchdown runs and finished the day with 160 yards on the ground.

    The speedy 5'10", 190-pound sophomore may have to play second fiddle to senior Isi Sofele this season, but Bigelow has definitely established himself as a running back to watch out for in the Pac-12.

Brett Hundley Is the Real Deal

50 of 51

    RB Johnathan Franklin's breakout performance was the big story surrounding UCLA for the first two weeks of the season. But Franklin isn't the only player that's helping the Bruins rise to prominence this season.

    First-year starting quarterback Brett Hundley has also played a critical role in the team's success, especially in a Week 3 win over Houston.

    Hundley looked like a seasoned pro as he picked apart the Cougars defense, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-6 victory.

    The 6'3", 223-pound redshirt freshman possesses star potential, and it should be interesting to see how far he and Franklin can carry UCLA in 2012.

The Collin Klein Train Is Gathering Steam

51 of 51

    Before the season started, Kansas State wasn't being mentioned with the likes of Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas as a favorite to win the Big 12 conference this year.

    Given the tremendous performance of quarterback Collin Klein in the first three weeks of the season, it seems the Wildcats could rise up and contend for a league title in 2012.

    Klein has been a standout performer so far. The dual-threat quarterback has compiled 819 yards of total offense and accounted for 10 touchdowns already.

    The 6'5", 226-pound senior appears to be just warming up, and he could be ready to take the Big 12 by storm in the coming weeks.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices