Outside of USC vs. Nebraska, there were not a lot of big time matchups in week 3. However, there were some great performances, shocking upsets, and dazzling finishes. Boston College, West Virginia, Florida, and Ohio State all had statement wins, while Louisville, Oklahoma State, Auburn, UCLA, and Arkansas all had disappointing losses. Texas was lucky for the third week in a row to escape with a victory, this time against UCF. USC handled an overmatched Nebraska team that just did not have the athletes to hang with the Trojans. And in the battle of the winless, Michigan rolled over a dreadful Notre Dame team that might not win any of their first 8 games.
Alabama over Arkansas
Alabama started fast, scoring 21 points to start the 1st quarter. Then Arkansas and Darren McFadden woke up. At one point in the 2nd half, Arkansas scored 28 unanswered points. Down 38-34 with under 3 minutes left, QB John Parker Wilson drove Alabama 74 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Wilson threw up a prayer/fade to Matt Caddell for a touchdown and the win.
Runner-Up: Kentucky over Louisville
Kentucky over Louisville
Kentucky’s high powered offense was nearly able to score at will against Louisville’s weak defense. QB Andrew Woodson threw 4 touchdowns, none as big as last one he threw. Woodson tossed a 57 yard touchdown pass to Steve Johnson with less than 40 seconds to go. Louisville completed a hail mary to Harry Douglas, but he was tackled at the 10. After Louisville gave up 42 points to Middle Tennessee State, it was just a matter of time before they were knocked out of the top 10.
Runner-Up: Utah over UCLA
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
Florida’s offense is unbelievably explosive. Tebow and the athletes that line up at RB and WR are hard to stop. I would argue that they have the best offense in the nation. Florida ran for 255 yards, even without a 100-yard rusher. The defense was surprisingly dominant, holding Tennessee under 300 yards, and shutting down the Vols' running attack.
Runner-Up: West Virginia
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM PERFORMANCE
Winless Utah came into the game hoping to stay close with the highly ranked Bruins. Many thought UCLA would blow Utah out. To everyone’s surprise, it was the other way around. Utah outscored UCLA 30-0 in the 2nd half. UCLA was not mentally prepared for this game. They turned the ball over 5 times and committed 10 penalties.
AWARD OF THE WEEK - MOST DISSAPOINTING BIG 10 TEAM
Minnesota now has losses to Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic, and should have lost to Miami (OH). Tim Brewster’s first year is going horribly. Minnesota was down 35-14 at halftime, and gave up a total of 580 yards at the end of the game.
Runner-Up: Iowa, Northwestern
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Rusty Smith - QB - Florida Atlantic
Smith threw for 5 touchdowns and 463 yards in Florida Atlantic’s upset win over Minnesota.
James Laurinaitis - LB - Ohio State
Laurinaitis had two interceptions, including a shovel pass he tipped to himself in the redzone. He also had a sack and led the team in tackles.
Keegan Herring - RB - Arizona State
Coach Dennis Erickson has Arizona State looking very good. Having a RB like Herring does not hurt. Herring ran for 161 yards on just 19 carries for two touchdowns.
Kellen Lewis - QB - Indiana
Lewis completed 19 of 24 passes for 137 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most impressively, he ran for 200 yards and 2 scores. He is maturing into a star.
Paul Smith - QB - Tulsa
Tulsa and BYU combined for 102 points. Tulsa QB Paul Smith threw for 5 touchdowns and 454 yards. Look for Tulsa to stay with Oklahoma for a half this week.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
#1. There is a solid top 5.
USC, LSU, OU, Florida, and WVU. I am not locking these teams to go undefeated, or even make the national championship game. However, they are the clear-cut best teams in college football. LSU and Florida play each other, USC has a tough PAC-10 schedule, and WVU plays Rutgers, USF, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Oklahoma has the easiest road, as long as Texas keeps stumbling.
#2. Texas does not deserve a top 10 ranking.
Texas's opening 3 games have been against mid-major opponents. At one point in all 3 of those games, a win for Texas was in doubt. I do not think Texas will be able to keep it close with Oklahoma in 3 weeks.
#3. Kentucky has a shot to win the SEC East.
The way to beat Florida is to kinda-sorta-maybe slow down their potent offense. Keep them in the 30-40 point area. If anyone can score more than 40 points against Florida, it is Kentucky. Rich Brooks has a special team in Lexington this year. Kentucky will see Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU, and Florida all before October ends. They could upset 2 or 3 of those teams.