Week three of college football presents a can't lose opportunity for Kansas football. Mercifully, for the Jayhawks, it's a bye week. For the rest of the college world, the beat goes on.
With the 'Hawks off, and my Chiefs playing a huge game against the Broncos, I find myself a little less interested than usual. But, it's still football, and there are actually some intriguing match ups worth giving a look this week.
So Round three of college football, here we go:
Friday Night Lights Action
#9 Florida State Seminoles (2-0) at Boston College Eagles (2-0)
7:00 p.m. (CT) on ESPN
Steve Addazio has returned winning football to Boston College. He's led the Eagles to back to back bowl games. Against Florida State the last two seasons, Addazio's Eagles have given the Noles fits. In his first season at B.C., the Eagles were the only ACC school to give the eventual national champions a game. Last season B.C. went down to Tallahassee, and with the whole nation rooting for them, almost took the 'Noles down 20-17. A loss that surely would have ended FSU's dream of making the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Eagles' offense has been clicking so far this season, albeit against weak as wet tissue paper competition.
Meanwhile down in Tallahassee, in year one After Jameis, the 'Noles have pinned their quarterback hopes on another troubled star in Everett Golson. Golson has had one of the strangest careers in recent college football history. After leading the Irish to a national runner-up finish as a redshirt freshman. He was then dismissed by Notre Dame as a sophomore for cheating in his school work only to be brought back and made the team's starter as a junior. At the end of that junior season, Golson found himself splitting time with talented sophomore Malik Zaire, who played brilliantly in a Music City Bowl victory over LSU in which Zaire was named MVP. Not wanting to compete for his job in South Bend, Golson transferred to Florida State for his senior season. So far Golson has looked very strong in that scarlet and gold.
Sadly, the Irish lost Zaire for the season last Saturday. We'll see if that news, coupled with a loss to Boston College makes Golson regret his decision, or whether or not Boston College will play just close enough to show they still aren't quite ready for the big time.
Saturday, September 19th
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-0) at #16 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0)
11:00 a.m. (CT) on Fox Sports 1
This battle of Okie schools may be better than the 30 point line would suggest. Tulsa (a sluT backwards) has put up 1,218 yards of total offense in their first two games, wins over Florida Atlantic and New Mexico. Neither one of those schools, obviously, are on the level of Oklahoma, but with Oklahoma running the Air Raid offense it actually brings them back a bit to Tulsa's level. The Sooners did stage a thrilling comeback against Tennessee on the road. Might they be looking beyond the Golden Hurricane in this one as they are still riding that residual high? Probably not, especially in Norman, but don't sleep on Phil Montgomery's Tulsa squad. The former Baylor offensive coordinator has brought the Bears' high flying offense to northern Oklahoma where it has produced great early returns.
#23 Northwestern Wildcats (2-0) at Duke Blue Devils (2-0)
11:30 a.m. (CT) on ESPN 3
It's the 2015 Big Brain Bowl!
Two of the nation's most respected academic institutions, which also have decent football programs, square off in this one.
From 2008 - 12, Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald had his Alma Mater rolling along to a school record five straight bowl games highlighted by a 10 win season and just the second bowl victory in Wildcat football history. In 2013 and '14 though, Northwestern's record dipped back under .500. This season Northwestern vaulted into the top 25 with a win over then ranked #21 Stanford in the opener.
Since taking over the Duke football program in 2008, David Cutcliffe has done a great job of making people in and around Durham realize the Devils also play football. Coming into this season, Cutcliffe had already set a Duke record by leading the Devils to three straight bowl games. The last two years the Devils have won 9+ games. Duke is hovering just outside of the top 25 right now, and is looking to steal Northwestern's place in the polls.
#14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0) at #8 Notre Dame Fightin' Irish (2-0)
2:30 p.m. (CT) on NBC
This one should be a fantastic top 15 matchup. Georgia Tech has beaten their first two opponents of the season by a combined total of 134-19 while piling up 1,124 yards of total offense. All of this while the Yellow Jackets' starting quarterback, Justin Thomas, has thrown a total of 13 passes for just 151 yards. In this pass happy era of football, Paul Johnson is showing that running the flexbone option attack at a major D-1 school can still prove just as potent. Following up on their 11-3 top 10 finish from last season, the Jackets are a trendy pick, much like their opponent Notre Dame, to crash the College Football Playoffs.
The Irish's hopes to reach the CFP may be in trouble now that they lost quarterback Malik Zaire to a brutal ankle injury. Anybody who watched the preview of Showtime's second episode of their season long documentary about Notre Dame football, and saw Zaire overcome with emotion, can't help but feel heartbroken for the kid, who had been playing so well before he got hurt. As over blown as sports coverage has become, it's easy to forget the human side of sports sometimes, and always sobering when reminded of it in such a cruel way.
In Zaire's absence, Irish Sophomore DeShone Kizer came on like an absolute hero in throwing two touchdowns in a come from behind victory on the road against Virginia.
The Irish will have the benefit of their strong home crowd, but emotionally and offensively hampered by Zaire's absence, will they be able to hang with a Georgia Tech Ramblin' Wreck team that is rolling along right now?
Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1) at Miami Hurricanes (2-0)
2:30 p.m. on ABC
Hey, look everyone! It's an Orange Bowl from the 1980s!
Only Howard Schnellenberger and Tom Osborne won't be on the sidelines. Instead, it's Mike Riley trying to weather the storm of unreasonable ‘Husker fan expectations, and Hurricane fans waiting and waiting and waiting to see if Al Golden can get Miami to take the next step and compete for an ACC title.
Riley's ‘Husker quarterback, Tommy Armstrong Jr, has actually put together two very good games to start the season. He seems to be taking to Riley's west coast offense pretty well. The ‘Huskers good very easily be 2-0 were it not for BYU's desperation heave in the opener.
A win here will most likely move one of these two teams into the top 25 polls by next week.
#18 Auburn Tigers (2-0) at #13 LSU Tigers (1-0 & 1-0 - SEC)
2:30 p.m. (CT) on CBS
With a win here the LSU Tigers can snag a two game lead on all their competition in the race for the vaunted SEC Western division, having already beaten the Mississippi State Bulldogs last week. LSU sophomore Leonard Fournette - who has about the most Louisiana sounding name outside of Frenchy La' Cajun Voodoo Breath - looked absolutely sick against the Bulldogs last Saturday night. Kid ran for a 159 yards and 3 TDs at 5.7 yards a click. He looked ripe with early season Heisman stank out there. It was a good thing too, because Les Miles' LSU program continues its strange trend of throwing a cadaver out onto the field to play quarterback and calling it good.
The Auburn Tigers on the other hand - SEC, the land of duplicate generic mascots - nearly found themselves humiliated by FCS Jacksonville State on their home field. I mean, what pathetic loser of an FBS program would go out and lose to a God dang second tier program like that on their own field? *Jayhawk fans stare down at their feet*. As such, even with a win, Auburn took the expected tumble deep down the polls as voters sought to punish them for their sins of allowing competitive ball to be played by other young men also on athletic scholarship. I Shouldn't be too harsh on the voters. Auburn looked shaky in successive home games against lesser opponents. Now they have to go into Death Valley to face LSU...
I predict a team called the Tigers will win this game.
Stanford Cardinal (1-1) at #6 USC Trojans (2-0)
7:00 p.m. (CT) on ABC
Stanford coach David Shaw faced the unenviable task of replacing Jim Harbaugh as Cardinal coach. He then proceeded to outshine the accomplishments of the old dad-panted one. He posted three straight top 10 finishes and earned himself two Pac-12 Coach of the year awards. Last season the win total dipped for the Cardinal, but they still finished second in the Pac-12 North Division to Oregon. The Cardinal were given a #21 preseason ranking before a first game hiccup against Northwestern on the road knocked them down a peg.
Still, the Cardinal will present the first true test for a USC Trojans team that looked so loaded up for a College Football Playoff run that Trojan coach Steve Sarkisian couldn't contain his excitement during a drunken, profanity laced, public boast fest before the season. The Trojans have looked very much like a championship caliber squad in their first two games.
This will be the first big time head to head of the season in a loaded Pac-12 conference.
#15 Ole Miss Rebels (2-0) at #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0)
8:15 p.m. (CT) on ESPN
The lone touchdown line for this game is an indication of just how far Hugh Freeze has pulled Ole Miss up from being the basement dwellers of the SEC West Division to the contenders. Armed with one of the best offenses in the nation and a defense - that calls themselves the rather inexplicable and yet badass sounding "landsharks" - Ole Miss has won their first two games of the season by a combined score of 149-24. Last season, Freeze had the folks in Oxford reminiscing about the old segregated 1960s (last time the Rebels were nationally relevant) with a win over Alabama, a 7-0 start and a #3 ranking. Then Ole Miss went 2-4 to finish the season.
After that loss to the Rebels last season, Alabama really found itself and charged down the stretch toward another shot at a national title. Their unreal fourth shot at a title in the last six years. With the Rebels in Tuscaloosa this season, the Tide will be looking to bury them in revenge. Ole Miss will be looking to keep moving up the SEC West ladder.
#19 BYU Cougars (2-0) at #10 UCLA Bruins (2-0)
9:30 p.m. (CT) on Fox Sports 1
Another fantastic far west night capper.
BYU is living a dangerous life right now. After needing a miracle throw from Tanner Mangum to take down Nebraska in game one, the Cougars found themselves down 24-14 going into the fourth quarter on their home field before Mangum again threw up a prayer with 35 seconds left to finally pull ahead of Boise State for the win.
Meanwhile, out in Vegas, Jim Mora's UCLA Bruins were posting another solid win to improve to 2-0. Mora seems to have really found himself in the college game and at UCLA. His Bruins have posted at least nine wins every season since he took over in Westwood, and they are coming off of back to back 10 win seasons and a top 10 finish last season. Bruin football has not seen that kind of success since the Terry Donahue days of the late 1980s. With a brutal slate of Pac-12 conference games starting after this contest with BYU, if UCLA wants to make a legit push for the College Football Playoffs, they will need to win this game.
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