College Football Nation: Tennessee skulks back to Rocky Top — and “Johnny Who?”

How a college football fan views a map.

This week we had a few exciting matches that will really let us know who is a contender and who is a pretender.  We have fans in Eugene and Tuscaloosa feeling pretty good right now, while fans out in Lincoln wish they only had to play one half of football.  I also think we can change a few names on the Heisman ballot after some performances today.  Let’s get into some of the scores, news, and thoughts from this past week of action.

1. Roll Tide!  The “Game of the Century II or III or whatever you are calling it these days,” definitely lived up to the hype.  As the game started, Alabama fans probably thought, “Here we go again,” as Texas A&M took a 14-0 lead, but things were different this year.  After Alabama gave up a few early touchdowns, they found their groove and went on to win 49-42.  I think the real question is . . . when will AJ McCarron get some Heisman recognition?  I know Johnny F. stole the spotlight with some amazing plays, but AJ just wins and is an ultimate game manager for the No. 1 team in the nation.  He plays smart football and makes good decisions when his team needs him the most.  Look for him to shoot up the Heisman ballot as the season goes on.

Another team looking for a little recognition and national title talk is LSU.  The Tigers finally have their offense clicking and put up over 40 points on a very good Kent State team.  Look for LSU and Alabama to be another “Game of the Century” when they meet later in the year.

Auburn outlasted Mississippi State 24-20.  Auburn scored with about 10 seconds to go and broke every Bulldog fan’s heart along with mine . . . I picked Mississippi State to win.  Arkansas took care of business vs. a very optimistic Southern Miss team, 24-3.  I still do not understand why Bret Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas . . . baffles me.  South Carolina got a much needed rebound win against Vanderbilt 35-25.  At least during this game we did not have any of the South Carolina coaches fighting over the defensive calls being made.

2. Oregon beat the tar out of Tennessee 59-14 today.  Oregon even humored Tennessee today and spotted them a 7-0 lead before lighting up the scoreboard.  I think Mariota is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and he is humble about it.  He makes plays all over the place and quietly goes about it, unlike some other quarterback down in College Station.  All you SEC HOMERS, take note, because Oregon will probably be able to do that vs. Alabama, if they ever meet up.  Alabama struggled but outlasted Texas A&M’s offense today.  The guess here is that the Tide would probably not be able to play catch-up, if they were ever on the field with Oregon.

UCLA looked horrible in the 1st half vs. Nebraska.  Good thing there are two halfs in football.  UCLA rallies from 18 down and then just hammered the “famous” Blackshirt defense 41-21.  It is going to be a long year for Nebraska, if they cannot learn to protect a lead.  UCLA, on the other hand, can use this rally for the win as a jump-start to win the PAC-12 South, and possibly the whole PAC-12.

Stanford went on to beat Army 34-20.  Army is usually known to be a bad football team these days, so for Stanford to only beat them 34-20 . . . should make Cardinal fans worried about all the “expectations” put on this year’s team.

Washington will also want to make some noise in the PAC-12 this year, after getting a significant road win over Illinois, 34-24.  Everyone thinks Washington has their MOJO going . . . let’s wait until they get a little further into conference play before we “expect” them to do anything.

3. Florida State did not look like a national title contender today . . . during the first half.  FSU scored 45 second-half points to make the final 62-7 to make some think there were no struggles today.  Jameis Winston still looks like he will do great things for the Seminoles but needs to get it going early . . . he will not be able to struggle on the road and expect to win when they travel to Clemson this season.  FSU and Clemson are about the only highlights coming out of the ACC this season, as Virginia Tech struggled to win against East Carolina 15-10, Boston College got run over by what is at this point an average USC Trojan team 35-7 and Wake Forest lost 21-19 to LA-Monroe.  I will still be pulling for Clemson to go undefeated and redeem the ACC conference.

Clemson looks to move up in the polls and reach the #1 spot

Jeff Hostetler

Clemson looks to move up in the polls and reach the No. 1 spot.

4.  Michigan needed a goal line stand to beat Akron 28-24. They did not deserve to win that game and have a long season ahead of them, if they can’t fix what went wrong today.  Ohio State beat California, 52-34, even without Braxton Miller.  The Buckeyes are dangerous no matter who is at quarterback.  Penn State was upset today by UCF, 34-31.  This gave UCF their first win vs. a B1G team . . . nice going.  I am still looking at Northwestern as my dark horse to win the conference.  If the Wildcats do win the B1G, look for NFL teams or a major BCS program to come calling coach Pat Fitzgerald up to the big leagues.

5. Other Top-25 action: Oklahoma seems to have fixed their quarterback problem, going with Bell to start as he led them to a 51-20 win over Tulsa.  Texas Tech’s head coach Kliff Kingsbury got his first BIG-12 win over TCU, 20-10.  Oklahoma State has also settled their quarterback situation, walking all over Lamar, 59-3.  Louisville beat in-state rival Kentucky, 27-13.  The Cardinals struggled in this win, as Teddy Bridgewater may have hurt his Heisman campaign with a poor showing vs. a weak Kentucky team.  Texas did not rebound vs. Ole Miss this week, losing 44-23.  Now Texas is paying Mack Brown $5 million a year to let his team get run all over — it appears that  Mack’s seat just got a little warmer.  Look for a change at the top if the Longhorns finish 7-5 or even 8-4.

We might only be in Week 3 of the season, but you can start to see who will be the last teams standing to play January 6th.  Alabama showed a lot of heart to get a big road win.  Oregon crushed an SEC opponent to let the nation know they will take on any conference and still score almost 60 points.  Ohio State is going to keep on winning no matter who is starting at quarterback.  In my opinion, the SEC is going to knock itself out of the title game this year.  And I think we are going to have a PAC-12 vs BIG 10 match-up for all the marbles.  One thing you can bet on, Marcus Mariota and AJ McCarron will be your top two HEISMAN candidates, if they keep playing the way they have.  We still have a lot of games ahead of us, so we will just have to wait and see.

NATIONAL NEWS:

1. Minnesota Coach hospitalized….again

2.  College football mailbag

3. NCAA rules in effect.

4. Big day at Rutgers

5. Oklahoma State in a mess

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Jeff Hostetler

Jeff Hostetler

Jeff Hostetler may not have won a Super Bowl with the Giants ( though his uncle of the same name did). He has been an obsessed college football fan living in Florida ever since the Gators beat FSU in the Sugar Bowl to earn the UF's first national championship. Ever since Jeff has immersed himself in everything possible related to college football. He enjoys watching, writing, playing, and otherwise obsessing over all things football. A graduate of the University of Florida, he brings a perspective to FishDuck free of our extreme green & yellow homerism glasses to look at the current landscape of collegiate athletics.

  • Mitch

    Fish, this guy is a goon. Please get him off your site. Why is it necessary to slam essentially every other program out there? “Tennessee Skulks back…” I used to love your fishduck reports, but now I don’t come to the site anymore because of the amateur writing with articles such as this that give the rest of us Ducks a bad reputation as bad and arrogant sports fans.

    Please get this guy off your site and get back to the basics that originally brought you a lot of respect and a good following.

    • FishDuck

      Hey Mitch,

      We stay positive on Oregon, but offer no such promise to other teams, their coaches, and fans. It is part of the fun of college football, and Jeff offers us a national perspective to college football that few offer on any Oregon site. Jeff has done a great job fulfilling his mission for us at FishDuck.com and while you may call names….you have to admit that is pretty amateur on your part.

      We are running more analysis than anyone and now we are keeping track of what Chip does in Philly to see how it will affect us. Our visit numbers have never been this high at this time and we are delighted.

      BTW…Jeff is not a Duck slamming others; he is a GATOR who also enjoys Oregon football. You gotta lighten up.

      • gamedaytribe

        While I agree with your point about how to phrase things, I agree with the original comment about disliking the Title of the piece. I didn’t like it either. No wonder people are constantly complaining about Oregon fans. I thought it was needlessly childish and less than what this site should be – objective reporting and analysis. You’ve beaten an inferior team by 45 points and you’re rubbing it in? Not classy. Your prerogative, of course. But your site is special, don’t have it end up looking like the comment threads of OLive or ESPN…

  • Maples

    You lost me at “A very good Kent State team”….

  • Dom Pishak

    What’s with the picture of the fat Clemson hill billy dude with the kid?

  • Action Jackson

    Oh my goodness people…quit whining and stop coming to the site if you are so offended by the writing! How many of you read Canzano and his biased writings? How many times does Jeff compliment Oregon and point out how they’d fare in the other conferences in this article?

    Oregon is 3-0, #2 in the country and led by a stud of a QB. Life is good. Lighten up.