From Hail Mary’s to gut-wrenching losses, week 3 of the college football season provided many tantalizing moments.
- Florida. The Gators tried, unsuccessfuly, to put Tennessee for most of the afternoon on Saturday in Gainesville. It appeared that overtime was imminent after the Vols drove for a game-tying field goal. That is until embattled Gators QB Feleipe Franks unleashed a 60-yard strike to Tyrie Cleveland as time expired. As you would imagine, bedlam ensued inside the Swamp.
- Anyone who watched Texas/USC. It may not have quite lived up to the 2006 Rose Bowl affair but all eyes were on this game as the marquee contest of the evening Saturday night. Texas managed to stay close all night before scoring a go-ahead TD with under a minute to go. USC’s Sam Darnold then re-affirmed his status as the best QB in college football with a game-tying drive of his own before the Trojans held on to win in overtime. Silver lining for Texas: they seem very much like a program on the rise.
- Vanderbilt. After Big 12 pundits spent the week making fun of the size of Vanderbilt’s stadium and demeaning the SEC, Derek Mason’s Commodores turned in an outstanding defensive performance Saturday night in route to the program’s first win over a ranked non-conference ranked opponent since the end of World War II.
- Mississippi State. Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is one of the more easy-to-root-for guys in the business and his team made a big-time statement Saturday night pummeling LSU from start to finish in Starkville. Mississippi State could be positioning themselves as Alabama’s biggest threat in the SEC West.
- Clemson. Don’t look now but Clemson has, apparently, re-loaded and looks every bit as good as they did a year ago. The Tigers boat-raced Louisville on the road and it appears they may skip effortlessly to the ACC championship game once again this year.
- Nebraska. Things appeared to be looking up for the Huskers a year ago after a 9-3 campaign. Recruiting was picking up and Mike Riley was creating a positive buzz in Lincoln. Then 2017 happened…Nebraska started the year by holding on for dear life to fend of Arkansas State before losing 42-35 to Oregon a week ago. Saturday, Big Red was upended at home by Northern illinois 21-17 in a game where quarterback Tanner Lee threw TWO pick-six’s.
- Barry Odom. In just three weeks, the Missouri Tigers went from a possible intriguing upstart to a complete disaster. The Purdue Boilermakers came to Columbia and just beat the Tigers senseless 35-3 in every phase of the game. Those that said it was impossible that Odom would not survive year two could be changing their tune after that performance and the embarrassing crowd that showed up at Faurot Field.
Second half kickoff. This is as big a problem as the scoreboard pic.twitter.com/1O6BKAN6x8
— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) September 16, 2017
- Bo Pelini. Against the advice of administration, peers and basically humanity, Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini decided to provide playing time to convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond in a game that was well decided (YSU lead 52-6 at the time Richmond was inserted).
- South Carolina. Not only did the supposedly upstart Gamecocks no-show a key conference home game against Kentucky, they lost their best player Deebo Samuel for the year to a broken leg. Any chance South Carolina had of competing the SEC East went down the drain in a 3-hour span Saturday night in Columbia.
- Butch Jones and the Tennessee defense. And back we go to the “Swamp Sensation.” It’s important to emphasize Tennessee’s role in this happening and dump more coal on coach Butch Jones and the Vols who allowed UF receiver Tyrie Cleveland to run a route and catch a Hail Mary pass IN STRIDE against what should have been a heavy prevent defense. Jones will likely not survive much longer to tell the tale if things don’t improve drastically in Knoxville.