Now that’s what I call a weekend of college football. Colossal upsets, last-second miracles, and rivalry showdowns stamped the third week of the season. There is quite a lot to talk about this week, but I will do my best to get to everything that matters most.
For all of America who wishes to just take a stab at the their boss-award: Steve Sarkisian, Washington head coach
It’s hard to find anyone who can say they saw this coming, but in hindsight, the Washington Huskies’ upset of USC could have been easily predicted. It was set up perfectly.
First, the golden child of Los Angeles, Matt Barkley, would miss the game due to injury, leaving the Trojans with the untested Aaron Corp at quarterback. Second, Washington had Jake Locker, who missed most of last season at quarterback due to injury. Had Locker played the entire season, the Huskies would not have gone winless. Steve Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator for USC, was the Huskies head coach. When he came to Seattle, he brought the old Trojan defensive coordinator Nick Holt with him.
Between Sarkisian and Holt, the Trojans were not going to fool the Huskies at any point on Saturday. Washington took advantage of its knowledge of the Trojans schemes, and made Corp look like a walk-on benchwarmer. This will be the game to spring Washington towards a bowl in 2009, as well as recruiting blue-chip athletes to Sarkisian’s program.
Class of the non-BCS conference teams: Boise State
Go ahead; plug the Broncos into the Fiesta Bowl. Besides a trip to Tulsa, which was smacked by Oklahoma on Saturday, Boise State will be smooth sailing through the regular season, which it should finish 13-0. Kellen Moore is one of the best quarterbacks nobody has heard of. Through three games this season, Moore has 685 yards passing, eight touchdowns and just one interception. Granted, the WAC is notorious for wide-open offenses and porous defenses. That does not apply to Boise State, which could score in bunches on anyone in the country. Chris Peterson is the next Urban Meyer: an innovative offensive mind and a damn good football coach. He’ll get his chance to lead an upper-echelon program soon.
The Dennis Green Award-not as good as we thought they were: Florida
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all over the Gators as the best team in the country and the favorite to win the national title. However, I can’t help but think that the Gators miss Percy Harvin more than we figured they would. Jeffery Demps had flu-like symptoms, so it was understandable that his impact was diminished against Tennessee on Saturday. Still, Tim Tebow made some ill-advised passes throughout the game, and the Gators failed to live up to its billing as a 29-point favorite. They will still be the better team each time they hit the field this year, but they don’t look to be as dominant as the hype built them up to be.
Player of the Week: Jahvid Best, running back from Cal
Ladies and Gentlemen, here is your early Heisman Trophy favorite. Best torched Minnesota’s defense for all five of his team’s touchdowns. Best is averaging 133 yards rushing per game, and has already found the end zone eight times. He is on pace for 1,596 yards and 32 touchdowns this season. If he keeps destroying defenses like he has in the first few weeks, it’s hard to imagine anyone having a better season than he in 2009.
One-year wonder award: Georgia Tech and the triple option
The honeymoon is over in Atlanta, and it’s back to reality for Paul Johnson. After a 2008 season that saw the Yellow Jackets tear apart the ACC with the most dominant running game in the country, it looks like defensive coordinators have figured out how to stop the triple option. For instance, when LSU had a month to prepare for it in last year’s Chick-fil-A bowl, they smothered it. After an entire off-season for teams to devise schemes to shut down the Jackets, it looks like they have found the blueprint. Against Clemson, Tech broke open one long run early in the game, but failed to produce the rest of the way, and allowed Clemson to make a monumental comeback in the second half. The following week against Miami, it looked like Johnson’s bunch had never practiced the offense. The Hurricanes blew up many of Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer’s runs in the backfield. Georgia Tech received a lot of attention in the pre-season as a favorite in the ACC. Now, it just looks like Nesbitt’s lack of a consistent arm and Dwyer’s moderate impact on the season so far has Tech in the middle of the pack.
Game of the Week: Nebraska-Virginia Tech
With one 81-yard Danny Coale catch and run, Virginia Tech saved their season. Nebraska’s defense dominated the Hokies’ offense for 58 minutes. Tyrod Taylor left the field more than a few times after a three-and-out, showered by boos from the Lane Stadium crowd. It was never pretty for Hokie fans, but their defense was able to hold the Huskers out of the end zone all night; Bo Pelini’s squad had to settle for five field goals in the loss.
After Coale’s miraculous catch that took the ball to the three-yard line, Taylor scrambled on third-and-goal to find Dyrell Roberts in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Thanks to Roberts, the Hokies avoided their first 1-2 start in 14 years. Nebraska narrowly missed a golden opportunity for a marquee nonconference road win, while Tech salvaged their slim hopes of a national championship.