NCAA Football Report (Week 3)

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Football is in a strange space right now across North America with major leagues suffering some major issues. The NFL is one of the worst as the league is continuing to deal with major issues from the offseason. With Ray Rice suspended indefinitely and Adrian Peterson now under investigation for child abuse the NFL has had some major issues. The NCAA has been there and done that through a number of issues that they have had over the past few years. The NCAA has been under the microscope for a number of years with multiple problems in many programs. Recruiting violations and offseason crimes were the least of the problems for the NCAA only a few years ago when they dealt with one of the worst scandals in the history of the NCAA. In 2011 the NCAA was informed of the sexual assault of young boys by Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The scale of the crimes committed by Sandusky was shocking and the former coach received a 60-year sentence for 45 counts of sexual abuse. The fact that a number of these acts were committed in the Penn State facilities and that many in the program knew about it meant that the NCAA had to level the program with sanctions. They did just that in bringing down some of the biggest sanctions since SMU received the death penalty. The Penn State program would receive a five-year probation, a four-year postseason ban, vacating all wins from 1998-2011, a $60 million fine, and the loss of 40 scholarships. The sanctions were meant to punish an athletics program that stood by while these crimes were being committed. The penalties left Penn State in limbo for the foreseeable future as they were left trying to win football games and keep the tradition of a football power alive amidst the terrible actions of the past. Along with this they tried to win without much to hold them up in the recruiting front as the sanctions almost seemed design to put the program back as a punishment for standing by while these terrible things were happening. After three years Penn State has gone through their punishment and tried to recover from the issues of the past. Their legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, is no longer a sense of pride and “Linebacker U” is not mentioned as often. The program is moving on and according to a new report compiled by Senator George Mitchell the changes have been significant at the school. The report is essentially a full report of praise for the school in adopting the standards that were suggested in the Freeh Report that originally exposed the scandal. With the progress outlined in the Mitchell report the NCAA would reverse much of its original decisions on the punishment. In a landmark move the NCAA revoked the postseason ban on Penn State making the Nittany Lions eligible for the 2014 Big Ten Championship and for a Bowl game later in the year. The decision by the NCAA is a massive shift from their original attitude when they handed out the punishment. The shift could be for a number of factors but for the most part it was due to the overreaching punishment the NCAA handed out. As bad as the acts that occurred were everyone involved in that time was removed from the school. After the firing of almost their entire football program staff as well as their President and Athletic Director there needed to be more punishment to ensure that this would not happen again in another school. Four years without a chance to play a postseason game and the loss of 40 scholarships may have been too much. According to the NCAA it was too much as they retracted many of those punishments this week. The move is essentially telling the world that they reacted a little too quickly and too harshly when the story came out punishing a program to an extreme extent for the actions of a few. Whether that is true or not is up to public perception and for many the fact that Penn State is back after only a few years of punishment may not be enough for the actions. In the end the decision is done and Penn State returns hoping to get to the postseason this year although the debate surrounding them won’t end any time soon.

 

Heisman Watch

1. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
It was another great performance from Marcus Mariota in Week 3 and it was good enough to move him into the first spot. The Ducks continue to run through teams and Mariota is the key to this great start to the season. Aided by a poor showing from Gurley Mariota is now neck and neck with the running back from Georgia and may just edge him out if he continues his performances against Washington State next week.
Stats (3 Games):
70.4% cmp (20 att)
806 yds (156 rsh yds)
8 TD (3 rsh TD)
0 INT
203.0 rtg

2. Todd Gurley, RB (Georgia)
The best running back in the NCAA did not have his usual dominant performance against the South Carolina Gamecocks. His Week 1 performance remains very impressive and keeps him near the top of the rankings. Gurley remained a main focus of the offence earning 131 yards but only 1 touchdown and remained fairly quiet for the majority of the game. He still went over 10 yards on the day and that will keep him up near the top but he needs to remain dominant to win the Heisman against Mariota.
Stats (2 Games):
35 att
329 yds
9.4 avg
4 TD

3. Kenny Hill, QB (Texas A&M)
It will never be an easy thing replacing a legendary player but that task becomes even tougher when that legend was one of the most recognizable College players in recent memory. That is what Kenny Hill is faced with in replacing Johnny Manziel but so far he has done a great job. He is the only QB on this list who is above 1,000 yards, after only three games. If he can continue his pace the Aggies may be looking at their second Heisman winner in three years.
Stats (3 Games):
69.2% cmp
1,094 yds
11 TD
0 INT
178.8 rtg

4. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
Stats (2 Games):
70.1% cmp (7 att)
626 yds (11 rsh yds)
3 TD (1 rsh TD)
2 INT
157.4 rtg

5. Everett Golson, QB (Notre Dame)
Stats (3 Games):
64.6% cmp (29 att)
780 yds (83 rsh yds)
7 TD (4 rsh TD)
0 INT
156.9 rtg

 

AP Top 25:
1. Florida State Seminoles (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (2)
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (3)
4. Oklahoma Sooners (4)
5. Auburn Tigers (5)
6. Texas A&M Aggies (7)
7. Baylor Bears (8)
8. LSU Tigers (9)
9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11)
10. Ole Miss Rebels (10)
11. Michigan State Spartans (13)
12. UCLA Bruins (12)
13. Georgia Bulldogs (6)
14. South Carolina Gamecocks (24)
15. Arizona State Sun Devils (16)
16. Stanford Cardinal (15)
17. USC Trojans (9)
18. Missouri Tigers (20)
19. Wisconsin Badgers (18)
20. Kansas State Wildcats (19)
21. BYU Cougars (25)
22. Clemson Tigers (23)
23. Ohio State Buckeyes (22)
24. Nebraska Cornhuskers (21)
25. Oklahoma State Cowboys (–)

 

Key Scores:
East Carolina Pirates 28 – 21 Virginia Tech Hokies #17
– The Virginia Tech Hokies had a great Week 2 where they beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in a big upset but in Week 3 the excitement and buzz of that win may have been a distraction as the Hokies immediately lost their momentum losing to unranked East Carolina

#24 South Carolina Gamecocks 38 – 35 Georgia Bulldogs #6
– The Bulldogs had a fantastic start to their season with Todd Gurley taking over the game and impressing many while the Gamecocks were on the opposite side losing big to Texas A&M but the roles were reversed in Week 3 as the Gamecocks took out the Bulldogs in a tight one

Boston College 37 – 31 USC Trojans #9
– The Trojans had dealt with plenty of off-field issues this year with new coach Steve Sarkisian and they had come through them all looking like a legitimate contender until the Eagles surprised everyone by taking the #9 team out

#12 UCLA Bruins 20 – 17 Texas Longhorns
– The Longhorns are continuing to try to make an impression to earn a spot back in the rankings while the Bruins are trying to show that they are worthy of their ranking after two closer than expected wins that were made into three barely beating the Longhorns

Next Week:
#5 Auburn Tigers vs. #20 Kansas State Wildcats (Thursday September 18th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The tests begin for many of the teams as they begin to play stronger teams after three weeks of smaller opponents and the Tigers hope to take their first test in stride against their first ranked opponent of the season

Florida Gators vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide (Saturday September 20th; 3:30 pm ET)
–  The Gators may not be ranked but they are an SEC team and they will come to play against the dominant Crimson Tide who has yet to play a great game this year and now will step up in competition hoping to put everything together

#4 Oklahoma Sooners vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Saturday September 20th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Sooners are sitting in the last playoff spot right now and for many it is where they belong but they will also take a step up in competition with a hungry West Virginia team trying to show that they belong in the top 25

#22 Clemson Tigers vs. #1 Florida State Seminoles (Saturday September 20th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Seminoles have already beat a ranked team and will take on their second in Week 4 as they look to continue to prove that they belong at the top of the rankings while the Tigers hope to complete the biggest upset of the year

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