NCAA Football Report (Week 3)

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The NCAA regularly has behemoths in the league that come out at the beginning of the season and look unbeatable. Some of these teams will even extend this winning tradition into years of dominance. This has happened to the Alabama Crimson Tide under Nick Saban who has become the best Alabama coach since Bear Bryant. The Crimson Tide are on a tear that has rarely been seen winning three of the last four National Championships and continuing to win game after game. They have taken over college football and are clearly the best team in the country and do not seem to be slowing down. The Tide are on a war path straight to another championship and have left everyone else to wonder who can beat them. Many believed it would be this weekend when the Tide would go to College Station, Texas and take on the only team to beat them in the past two years, the Texas A&M Aggies. Led by Johnny Manziel the Aggies had the perfect storm to beat the Tide as the mobile QB and fast pace give Saban fits. They were seen to be the team that could beat the Tide and end their reign over the NCAA but Saban would not let that happen again. The Tide were not their dominant selves in the game but they would get past the Aggies leaving many to wonder what is next. The Tide will move on to some very weak opponents including Colorado State, Georgia State, Kentucky, and Chattanooga for a very weak schedule. None of these teams will give them much of a challenge although the Tide will have to avoid looking past anyone to avoid the upset. Aside from any massive ground shaking upsets the LSU Tigers may be the last chance for someone to beat the Tide as the rivalry will continue between the two best teams in the SEC will go once again. There are not many teams that seem to be able to challenge the Tide as many believe they will walk into another National Championship. There is a team that has snuck up to take the #2 spot somewhat silently among the rest of the news in the NCAA. The Oregon Ducks have run through every team they have faced and have done exactly what they need to do to get the #2 spot. The Ducks have not scored less than 59 points in three games this year and although they have not played major talent the points they put up are exactly what they need. If they are not going to play top ranked teams they need to dominate the lower teams and that is what they are doing. The Ducks have moved their way into the #2 spot in the nation and although they may be overlooked they will remain a team to watch. If the Ducks can beat their biggest tests in #17 Washington and #5 Stanford they may find themselves in the National Championship taking on the most dominant team of the era. If they do get to take on the Crimson Tide it will be a very interesting matchup that most will claim the Tide will have easily. Although that may be the thought of most the fact is that the Ducks are built to frustrate and overwhelm teams like Crimson Tide. They run an up tempo offence with a star QB that can make plays and keep the Tide on their toes. The one thing Nick Saban hates is the unpredictable and that is what the Oregon offence is built on which will be sure to give the Tide some nightmares. The Oregon Ducks may be the team that can do what only one other team has done in the last two years. Of course this will be all for not if either the Tide or the Ducks lose as they may have easy schedules but there are a few games that could change everything. Still both of these teams after three weeks seem on their way to a National Championship game and for fans it will be a fun season to watch as both look to get there.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson)
A week off has done nothing to stop Boyd from keeping his top spot as the Heisman favorite after three weeks. Boyd has been one of the most electrifying players so far this year and he will look to continue that trend. The Clemson Tigers are one of the handful of teams that is trying to challenge for a spot in the National Championship but they are a unique one. The Tigers need to avoid the letdown that has become this teams calling card. If Tajh Boyd can avoid the letdown and continue their run they may just get into the BCS and Boyd may just end up a Heisman winner. Next week Boyd will look to NC State to continue building his stats and continue to lead the Heisman Trophy voting.
Stats (2 Games):
60.4% (19 rsh)
439 yds (52 rsh yds)
3 TD 3 rsh TD)
0 INT

2. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
Tennessee was supposed to be the team to really challenge the Ducks and Mariota but that would not be the case. He would take over this game against Tennessee and would solidify his spot among the top players in the league. Mariota would throw for 456 yards and 4 TDs while running for 27 yards and one rushing TD. He is the up and comer and the game against Tennessee would show the NCAA that he is ready to be considered one of the best. Mariota will have to continue dominating this season as he does not have a big number of tough games to prove he belongs among the best by just beating them. Mariota and the Ducks will be off next week as they prepare for Cal on the 28th and another chance to impress.
Stats (3 Games):
59.8% (15 rsh)
889 yds (262 rsh yds)
7 TD (4 rsh TD)
0 INT

3. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
It was the marquee matchup for Johnny Football as he needed to play big against the Alabama Crimson Tide to get back to the top of the Heisman race. Manziel did his job but his defence would disappoint as the Aggies would lose their rematch to the Tide. It was a loss so Manziel doesn’t move up among some other impressive performances but Johnny Football did everything he could to win so he stays in the hunt. Throwing for 464 yards and 5 TDs was all that Manziel could do to pressure the Tide but his two interceptions, one off of a tip, proved to be the difference. Manziel is far from out of it this year and he looks to next week to impress. Against SMU the Aggies will have to avoid the letdown from a big game and Manziel will have to impress if he hopes to stay in the hunt.
Stats (3 Games):
70.8% (27 rsh)
984 yds (153 rsh yds)
11 TD (1 rsh TD)
3 INT

4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB (Louisville)
Stats (3 Games):
70.5%
1,002 yds
10 TD
1 INT

5. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
Stats (2 Games):
88.9% (12 rsh)
570 yds (33 rsh yds)
6 TD (2 rsh TD)
1 INT

 

AP Top 25:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (2)
3. Clemson Tigers (3)
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (4)
5. Stanford Cardinal (5)
6. LSU Tigers (8)
7. Louisville Cardinals (7)
8. Florida State Seminoles (10)
9. Georgia Bulldogs (9)
10. Texas A&M Aggies (6)
11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (12)
12. South Carolina Gamecocks (13)
13. UCLA Bruins (16)
14. Oklahoma Sooners (14)
15. Michigan Wolverines (11)
16. Miami Hurricanes (15)
17. Washington Huskies (19)
18. Northwestern Wildcats (17)
19. Florida Gators (18)
20. Baylor Bears (22)
21. Ole Miss Rebels (25)
22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21)
23. Arizona State Sun Devils (–)
24. Wisconsin Badgers (20)
25. Texas Tech Red Raiders (–)

 

Key Scores:
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 49 – 42 Texas A&M Aggies #6
– Nick Saban rarely falls for the same tricks twice but the Aggies made it look like he would, getting out to a 14-0 lead early in the game only to see their defence collapse leaving too much ground to cover with the 4th quarter comeback

#11 Michigan Wolverines 28 – 24 Akron Zips
– The Michigan Wolverines would get a break after a big win against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish but nobody told the Zips who pushed the Wolverines to the limit in what had the makings of the biggest upset of the week but was avoided by the Wolverines at the last-minute

#16 UCLA Bruins 41 – 21 Nebraska Cornhuskers #23
– On a day where the Bruins had more important things to think about with one of their players passing away in a car accident earlier in the week but they would welcome the distraction for the time being getting the emotional win against Nebraska

#21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 31 – 24 Purdue Boilermakers
– The Irish would not lead this game until the 4th quarter as the always pesky Boilermakers would overwhelm the struggling Irish defence but could not do it for long enough as the Irish would eventually get ahead and stay ahead for the tough win

 

Next Week:
#3 Clemson Tigers vs. NC State Wolfpack (Thursday September 19th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Tigers are fresh off of a bye week and now they get back to work as everyone continues to watch and see if they will falter down the stretch while Tajh Boyd and the rest of the team look to keep it going into a BCS Bowl

Michigan State Spartans vs. #22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Saturday September 21st; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Irish have not looked convincing in the last two weeks losing their first game and coming very close to losing a second and now they go back at it against a team that could give them trouble and possibly kick them out of the top 25

SMU Mustangs vs. #10 Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday September 21st; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Aggies had a strong effort against the Crimson Tide and just ran out of time to stop the comeback and now they need to avoid the letdown after a big game as this entire week of games is built for an upset somewhere

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Texas Longhorns (Saturday September 21st; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Wildcats would have a bad start to the season and are trying to get back to the top 25 while the Texas Longhorns are just trying to figure out what is going on as they continue to struggle to get anything going

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