College Football: Week Three Review

Bryan FlynnAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 19:  Offensive guard Morgan Rosborough #70 of the Washington Huskies celebrates as time expires against the USC Trojans on September 19, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Trojans 16-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The third week of college football is over and once again there was a shakeup in the top five. And once again, there was a huge let down on the West Coast.

There were BCS dreams busted not once, but twice. Some coaches got a reprieve from the governor.

Injury strikes another quarterback and the Gators might not be the only football super power in the state of Florida.

The season is starting to take shape, but some of the best teams have yet to be tested.

Here's a look back at the third week in college football with our conference rankings and Heisman contenders.


USC Pulls a…Well, a USC

In 2006, it was Oregon State and UCLA; in 2007, it was Stanford; and in 2008, it was Oregon State again.  The Trojans of USC did it once again in 2009, and this time it was the Washington Huskies.

It seems like every year USC goes on the road in a Pac-10 game it should win and ends up losing. USC has been one of the most dominate programs of this decade.

It is still troubling that the Trojans keep losing these road games. Is it the players playing down to their opponent? Or is it a poor job by the coaching staff to prepare this team to play?

Not to worry Trojan fans, as history has shown, the rest of the Pac-10 will choke their way out of a title. USC has gone on from each of these losses to play in a BCS game.

The big question is: Did USC leave a national title shot in Seattle this past Saturday?


Two Coaches Get a much Needed Win and One Falls to 0-3

Congratulations to Charlie Weis and Dan Hawkins for getting big victories this Saturday. Weis got one over Michigan State and Hawkins and his team got their first win of the season against Wyoming.

After losing to Michigan the week because of some very bad play calling, Charlie Weis and the Irish needed a late interception to beat the Spartans for the first time at home since 1993. 

Dan Hawkins and Colorado finally got one in the win column—and a shutout—against the Broncos.

The win each for Hawkins and Weis should take some of the heat off their seats.

That cannot be said about Al Groh at Virginia.

Playing on the road against Southern Mississippi Groh and the Cavaliers were up by 17 points in the third quarter before the Golden Eagles came storming all the way back to win the game.

The loss puts Virginia at 0-3 and makes the Cavs the last team from a BCS conference without a win. Things do not get any better with a road trip to North Carolina this week.


Some BCS Dreams Busted; Others Still Alive

On the same Saturday two teams from non-BCS conferences saw their BCS dreams busted. BYU, a favorite at home, went down hard to a Florida State team that barely beat Jacksonville State.

Utah went to Oregon and saw its dream of a second straight year in a BCS game lost. The Utes had the longest winning streak in the nation until the loss.

Not all hope is lost for a non-BCS team to break in to one of the big games. Boise State and TCU are the favorites. Other teams such as Houston and Southern Mississippi could factor into the mix before the season is over.


Florida and Texas Survive, but Which Top Five Team Will Go Down Next?

With the USC loss, a top five team has lost in every week of the season so far. First it was Oklahoma going down to Utah. Next it was Oklahoma State going down to Houston.

Who will this week's top five team to lose? There are at least four good chances:

The Rebels of Ole Miss have not been tested this season and will face a tough South Carolina on the road.

Florida comes off the hard win over Tennessee and then takes a trip to face undefeated Kentucky.  Before you laugh, remember it was Kentucky that beat LSU in 2007 at home.

Texas should be fine facing UTEP at home.

Penn State gets a chance at revenge against Iowa, a team that cost the Nittany Lions a chance to play for the national championship last year.

Alabama gets Arkansas at home in its first SEC test.


Is Miami Back? And Which Team Is the Real Florida State?

The Miami Hurricanes so far have got the best of their killer four-game schedule that opens the season. Miami beat Florida State on the road and then took care of a Georgia Tech team that ran all over the 'Canes last season.

The Hurricanes still have to travel to Blacksburg to play Virginia Tech and then a home game against Oklahoma. The Hokies are always tough at home and Oklahoma thinks they will have Sam Bradford back as well.

Miami is good, but back to where they were in the old days? Well, the jury is still out.

One has to wonder which Florida State team is the real one. The Florida State team that lost to Miami and that was nearly upset by Jacksonville State, or the Seminole team that spanked BYU in Provo?

Did BYU drink too much of its own Kool-Aid, believing it could not be beat? Maybe Florida State is a great team.

Just like Miami, this will take time to figure out. The Seminoles do have to play a good South Florida team this week.


Speaking of South Florida: Matt Grothe out for the Year

South Florida was on its way to a 3-0 record when Matt Grothe suffered an ACL tear at Charleston Southern. Grothe, a fifth-year senior, is the career leader for USF in total yards with 10,875.

Grothe and his 41 straight starts will be sorely missed as the Bulls make their first trip ever to Tallahassee to play Florida State.  The senior quarterback could apply for a medical red-shirt from the NCAA in order to come back for a sixth year.


Conference Rankings


The best conference in the land has only lost two out of conference games all year. Those were Georgia on the road to Oklahoma State and Tennessee against UCLA at home.

The SEC has three teams in the top five and five teams ranked in the top 20. The top teams will change since they all play each other, but the SEC will have two teams in the BCS.

Auburn and Kentucky put a beat-down on two Big East teams: West Virginia and Louisville.

This conference as a whole is head and shoulders better than the rest.



The Pac-10 almost took a tumble this week with USC losing; however, it was to a conference foe and on the road. California did get a win on the road against Minnesota and Oregon upset Utah at home.

UCLA beat Kansas State with a backup quarterback, while even Washington State got a win this past weekend.  Still, Iowa won at home over Arizona, and Cincinnati, the best team in the Big East, beat Oregon State.

Overall, this conference is only in second place this week because no other conference did enough to unseat it.



The Big-12 did not help itself with any big wins.

Nebraska went to Virginia Tech and lost, but only a few teams have escaped Blacksburg with a non-conference win.

Baylor and Kansas State lost out of conference games, but the top teams all won with little trouble. A big win over Virginia Tech would have vaulted this conference to second place.



If the ACC didn't have Maryland, Duke, and Virginia, this conference would be second. Those three teams are bad this year and hurt the whole conference.

Even so, the ACC came away with the biggest wins last Saturday. Florida State went to BYU and put a beat down on the seventh ranked team in the country.

Virginia Tech has bounced back from the Alabama loss and did squeak by a very good Nebraska team. North Carolina keeps on winning and Miami might be back to its old form.

This conference could make some noise in the bowls, but will not be a factor in the national championship race.


Big Ten

This conference has no signature out of conference win at home or away, and a Big Ten team has lost to at least one Mid-American Conference team each of the past three weeks.

Even Northwestern gave a win to Syracuse of the Big East. Sure, there are a lot of undefeated teams in the Big Ten, but they play a softer schedule than the SEC.

The SEC just wins the games it is supposed to win. Even with all the undefeated teams in this conference, only three are in the top 25.

There is no Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, or North Carolina. This conference missed its best chances to get a signature win with Ohio State losing to USC and Minnesota losing to Cal.


Big East

There is only one team carrying the banner for the Big East right now and that is Cincinnati. The Bearcats went across the country to get a win over Oregon State.

Pittsburgh and South Florida are both undefeated, but are the Panthers the real deal? South Florida will have to start a new quarterback with the injury to Grothe.

The Big East had a chance to make two more statements last weekend, but turnovers killed West Virginia’s chance to get a win on the road against Auburn, and Louisville lost a shootout to Kentucky.

The Big East is not a horrible conference, but it just doesn't have the wins that other conferences do.


Best of the Rest

Mountain West

Boise State is sitting with the best chance to bust the BCS so far. If the Broncos go down, this conference will take a tumble in the standings.



TCU is the highest ranked WAC team in the polls. The Horned Frogs have a chance to bust the BCS. Colorado State is also undefeated in this conference but is not ranked and will find a hard time moving up the polls enough to crack the BCS.



Houston has a big win over Oklahoma State on the road, but no team from Conference-USA has ever had a team in the BCS. Southern Mississippi will get some major publicity if they can beat Kansas on the road this week.


Mid-American Conference

While the MAC has some very good wins over BCS conference teams, these teams have no chance at the BCS since they each have at least one loss. This is not a bad conference at all. It just does not have some of the big name BCS-buster teams.


Sun Belt

The Sun Belt for the most part is fodder for the other conferences. Given some time, this conference can move up. It does have a big win over an automatic BCS team.



Heisman Contenders

1. Colt McCoy

The best quarterback playing right now. No offense to Sam Bradford, but with him hurt McCoy is the best quarterback right now.


2. Tim Tebow

Tebow had a fumble and an interception in the win over Tennessee. Still, no one in college football has as much heart and desire as Tebow does.


3. Jahvid Best

Best could be the best running back in the country. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Best is a game breaker on offense and in the kicking game.


Others To Watch

Ryan Mallett

The Arkansas quarterback is leading the nation in passing yards.


Ryan Mathews

Although it was a losing effort in a great game against Boise State, Mathews showed promise and skills.  Check out some runs by Mathews.


Derrick Morgan

Morgan could be the best pass rusher in college right now. He has to get into better shape since he fades in the second half of ball games.


Week four has some great games, and the championship picture for the college football season could start to come into focus.

One thing for sure, if someone has the ability to take away the perennial Pac-10 title from USC, this could be the year.

Alabama could be the best team in the SEC and they still have to play Ole Miss and LSU. Miami and Florida State are good teams, but are they back to form?

Let’s not judge just yet.

The biggest question is will another top-five team lose for a fourth week in a row?


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