Three full weeks have been completed in the college football season and we are starting to see the pretenders and contenders separate themselves. We saw UCLA lose to Fresno State after many thought they could contend for the Pac-12. We also saw Oklahoma survive a close game against Nebraska. Let’s jump into some reactions!
Alabama might be beatable? – The Crimson Tide traveled to the Swamp and played one of their closest games in recent memory. Florida had the opportunity to tie the game late in the 4th quarter on a two point conversion but failed. Alabama struggled to move the ball at times finishing with only 330 total yards. Alabama has games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn left and will need to play their best games consistently or they will be in danger of potentially losing. The Crimson Tide are more talented than everyone left on their schedule but if they have an off week, we could see the Tide drop a game.
There are no good officials – Everyone complains about officiating every week but this could have been one of the worst weeks for officials, especially the SEC crews. In the Penn State game we saw numerous blown calls including missing a whole down which resulted in Penn State punting on 3rd down. In the Memphis vs Mississippi State game the SEC officials admitted to blowing the punt return as the back official stopped the play clock. Memphis also had two players wearing the same number which is also a penalty. We can complain about missed holding calls every play, but it is unacceptable for officials to miss downs and plays as big as these two. We can only hope the officiating gets better.
The Pac-12 is the worst Power 5 Conference – Remember when we all thought UCLA was going to be really good? That lasted long as they lost to Fresno State. The Pac-12 is not good this fall and it could hurt Oregon’s chances at the playoff if they lose a game. Washington sits at 1-2 with a loss to Montana. Arizona is 0-3 with losses to Northern Arizona and San Diego State. Colorado was shut out by Minnesota. Oregon is the only remaining undefeated team in the conference and we are still a full week away from October.
Sean Clifford might be good – I have dragged Sean Clifford for the past two years and it might be time for me to eat my words. Clifford played the best game of his career going 28-32 for 280 yards. He did not have an incompletion in the second half against Auburn. He improved greatly from where I thought he would be this fall. Clifford appears to be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten this fall. He will not be winning the Heisman as he only has four touchdowns but he will be a difference maker for Penn State. The Nittany Lions have a difficult schedule with trips to Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State and Maryland left. Clifford will need to continue to play at a high level to give Penn State a chance at winning the Big Ten.
Who’s the 3rd best SEC team? – The current consensus is Alabama and Georgia are the two best teams in the SEC. Once again the SEC appears to be the deepest conference in the country. Florida, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Ole Miss can each make valid arguments why they are the third best SEC team. The Gators only lost to Alabama by two and had a shot to tie the game. Texas A&M returned a large portion of their team from last year and currently ranks in the top 10. Arkansas has an impressive win over Texas and has blown out every team they have played. Ole Miss once again has a dynamic offense and has scored more than 40 points in each game. Their defense has vastly improved and has held opponents to less than 24 points in each game. So who is the third best team in the SEC?
Ohio State’s defense is horrendous – For Ohio State fans, 2019 seems like an eternity go. The days of Chase Young and Jeff Okudah are long gone as they search for a defensive identity. Through their first three contests they are allowing 471 yards per game. The Buckeyes are struggling to find players who will step up and solidify the defense. Ryan Day actually took the defensive play calling away from defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs to try and switch up the approach. The Buckeyes face Akron this week but then have potentially tricky matchups with Rutgers and Maryland. If Day does not get his defense figured out soon, it could be a long season for Ohio State.
Is there cause for concern at Clemson? – DJ Uiagalelei has only thrown for 475 yards this year with just one touchdown. Uiagalelei was considered to be one of the preseason Heisman favorites entering the year. Clemson’s offense struggled to move the ball against Georgia. We all gave them a pass because Georgia has one of the best defenses in the country. This weekend they only managed 14 points at Georgia Tech and narrowly escaped being upset. Georgia Tech was able to get the ball down to the one yard line late in the fourth quarter for a chance to tie the game. Clemson’s defense appears to be holding up but the offense has only scored 17 points against FBS opponents.