Thanks to my Gamecocks playing Vanderbilt in Nashville I was able to take in quite a few of the games from this weekend. There were quite a few surprises, a top matchup that went into overtime, and some continued dominance from a team in Tuscaloosa. With that on the table, let’s review Week 4 of the College Football Season.
Teams that Disappointed
Virginia Tech- Honestly how could we start anywhere else? A few weeks ago after South Carolina cancelled their game some fans discussed the possible teams we would play on December 1st. Virginia Tech was thrown out there and originally I heavily opposed the idea, but after this weekend I say bring it on. Tech gave up 495(!) passing yards to the Monarchs while giving up a modest 137 on the ground. Old Dominion has only been in the FBS for 4 years and quite frankly this loss is inexcusable from VT. They only turned the ball over once, leading me to believe they were soundly defeated by ODU. Hey, at least the rest of the ACC is good right?
Nebraska- If you follow our Twitter (if not you should @NosebleedCFB) you would see that I’ve been heavily critical of Scott Frost so far this year. I still think that he’s a good coach but whatever he’s doing in Lincoln sure isn’t working. Sitting now at 0-3 the Cornhuskers are looking at a large probability of them not making a bowl game this year. Give Frost some time, but the team appeared to give up during the second half against Michigan.
Mississippi State- I’m not sure if this was a combination of overhype and a team that’s better than what many think, but Mississippi State was thoroughly dominated by Kentucky on Saturday. Nick Fitzgerald was unable to get much of anything going as he passed for a mere 145 yards. More importantly MSU looked completely inept in the running game as it produced a dismal 56 yards. With this loss, MSU effectively eliminated itself as a darkhorse in the West and Fitzgerald ended any shot he had at the Heisman.
Teams that Impressed
Texas- Ouch, this one really hurts. After being proved wrong two weeks ago, Texas again made me look foolish as they were able to top TCU at home. Texas isn’t fully back, but they sure appear to be on their way. Texas was able to capitalize on 4 TCU turnovers though the were outgained 372-367. Texas gets Kansas State this week, but the true measuring stick will be two weeks from now when they take on Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.
Texas Tech- Might as well keep it in the Lone Star State while we’re at it. Texas Tech came out firing on all cylinders and put an absolute beat down on Oklahoma State. Yet, they did it while only giving up 17 points. The Red Raiders defense was decent and held the Pokes to 386 yards of total offense (that’s good for the Big 12). On the other side the offense is playing out of its’ mind right now, as they put up 621 total yards, with 224 coming on the ground. If Tech keeps it up they may be playing spoiler to the big boys of the conference as the season continues.
Kentucky- Kentucky fans should currently be more excited about their football team than their basketball team. Now, that’s not saying that there is any chance that’s the case, but they at least should be. The Wildcats turned an upset into a blowout against Heisman dark horse Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs on Saturday night. The defense stifled State’s offense and RB Benny Snell is on another level right now. The Cats are currently 4-0 and have vaulted up to #17 in the latest AP poll. Sure would be a shame if someone were to play spoiler to that this weekend.
Nosebleed Offensive Player of the Week
I honestly couldn’t go another week without giving the award to Tua Tagovailoa. This kid may end up being one of the top 3 quarterbacks to ever play in college football. Even if you hate Alabama, watching this kid will absolutely wow you. This weekend against Texas A&M he was 22/30 for 387 yards and 4 touchdowns; he also added one touchdown on the ground. Tua may not have any defense that remotely bothers him until November 3rd when LSU comes to visit.
Nosebleed Defensive Player of the Week
I may catch some flak for this, but this week I’m keeping the Defensive Player of the Week at my home school. Javon Kinlaw is an absolute freak of nature and on Saturday he showed it. The defensive tackle from South Carolina put up an absurd statline with 5 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 quarterback hurry. Also after the game during the middle of his interview he started eating a fruit roll-up. This guy is truly a national treasure.
Record through Week 4:
Both of us had a tough week this week with predictions, but Aaron and I are both looking forward to responding well in Week 5.
Games we’re looking forward to in Week 5:
#25 Texas Tech v. #12 West Virginia
Can Will Grier continue to carry West Virginia as the Big 12 schedule ramps up?
#23 Mississippi State v. Florida
How will Mullen’s Gators fare in his return to Starkville?
#8 Notre Dame v. #7 Stanford
Is Notre Dame worthy of their #8 ranking?
#4 Ohio State v. #9 Penn State
Do Penn State and McSorley have enough fire-power to keep up with Ohio State?
#11 Washington v. #20 BYU
Will BYU stay hot or will Washington end the Cougars run?
Week 3 of the college football season featured a last second game winning field goal, a complete implosion from a few Horned Frogs, and a national power getting absolutely dominated by Syracuse (I never thought I would type that sentence). We saw a few games get cancelled due to Hurricane Florence and all of us at Nosebleed continue to send our thoughts and prayers to all that have been affected by the storm. What Week 4 may lack in top 25 matchups it makes up for with storylines and solid matchups across the country. Lastly, if you’re on Twitter make sure to follow us @NosebleedCFB. Without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s slate of games.
#1 Alabama v. #22 Texas A&M
Ben: Alabama completely dismantled Ole Miss in Week 3, shutting down an offense that many thought would at least put up a few scores against Bama. I’ve been impressed with how Texas A&M has played so far but through 3 weeks I can confidently say this is the best Alabama team I’ve ever seen. Texas A&M will hang around until halftime and then the crowd and Alabama defense will smother the Aggies offense. All aboard the Tua hype train.
Texas A&M: 20
Aaron: Tua is too good to be true, but Jimbo has Kellen Mond playing at an extremely high level. Nonetheless A&M’s defense is too weak to withstand Bama for a full game.
Texas v. #17 TCU
Ben: I’m not entirely sold on Texas though they did have an impressive win against Southern Cal last week. On the other side if TCU doesn’t have a 3 minute implosion the Horned Frogs were in prime position to knock off Ohio State. I expect the Frogs to come out with a chip on their shoulder after coughing away the game last weekend.
Aaron: TCU has its best offensive team in years. The looked stout last week against Ohio State who is looking to be a true title contender. Although Texas was able to play well for the first time this season, TCU is a whole different animal compared to USC.
Kentucky v. #14 Mississippi State
Ben: Kentucky appears to have a decent squad up in Lexington this year. Mark Stoops has still has Benny Snell and now has a fairly efficient mobile quarterback. While that’s a step forward, Kentucky certainly doesn’t have the talent to keep up with Mississippi State. I think we will see Nick Fitzgerald have a monster game, springing himself further into the Heisman discussion.
Mississippi State: 31
Aaron: Mississippi State is a Dark Horse to content with top SEC teams like Alabama and Georgia. Look for them to flex some muscle against a strong but inferior Kentucky team.
Mississippi St: 35
#15 Oklahoma State v. Texas Tech
Ben: This game is going to be a fun one to watch. If I was betting on any game this week I’m going to take the over for this one. Look for both teams to put up video games like numbers through the air while both defenses will struggle to keep up. In the end I think that the Cowboys will be able to rely on their home field advantage and a key takeaway from the defense to seal this one.
Oklahoma State: 51
Texas Tech 42
Aaron: In a battle of two high powered offenses itt may come down to which offense has the ball in their hands last. But if all goes right, the Cowboys should keep rolling right along.
Ok State: 56
Texas Tech: 42
#20 Oregon v. #7 Stanford
Ben: I’m confident that this will be one of the first times in a few years that we will have the privilege of seeing Autzen Stadium out in full force. The atmosphere will be absolutely electric as the Ducks will take the field in what are sure to be surreal uniforms under the lights. I’m a huge fan of Bryce Love but am a little skeptical about him returning to 100% following his “undisclosed injury”. I think we’ll see a classic between these two teams similar to those from 5-6 years ago. I think the Ducks will find some magic in Autzen and pull off the upset.
Aaron: Bryce Love has been quiet so far this year and has a lot to prove if he wants to be in the national conversation for the Heisman. I think he’ll do that here against a strong Oregon team.
Vanderbilt v. South Carolina
Ben: It feels like it has been 10 year since South Carolina played a football game. The Georgia loss has left a bad taste in the mouths of Gamecock fans and players alike. On the other side Vanderbilt is coming off of a close loss on the road to Notre Dame who I believe is vastly overrated. I don’t see Vanderbilt being able to matchup with any of the South Carolina receivers. Look for Jake Bentley to push the pace and for the Gamecock offense to put up big numbers.
South Carolina: 42
Aaron: The Gamecocks still have a lot to prove this year if they want their program to continue on the path it’s “supposedly” going on. Winning against Vandy is a must and shouldn’t be too tough.
South Carolina: 48
By Ben Jenkins:
Typically, I try to refrain from writing about the South Carolina Gamecocks as it is difficult to reign in my bias. Therefore you could imagine my excitement when I got a request to do a post-Georgia SEC preview for the Gamecocks. Before diving into the remaining SEC games I’ll cover a little bit on the Georgia game and then move forward from there.
Georgia: If you looked at the message boards and Twitter of Gamecock Nation you would think the sky is falling. There were even some people that called for Muschamp to be fired, which is borderline insane. Was it an embarrassing loss? Absolutely. Yet, it wasn’t the kind of demoralizing similar to that of the Clemson game from last year. Going into halftime South Carolina was down 10 to a team that it gifted a touchdown and set up for a field goal at the end of the first half. They were in the game, they just came out flat in the second half to start and that’s not something you can do against a team like Georgia. Despite what many people think, the Gamecocks will be okay. Georgia is clearly the second best team in the country and probably the only one that has a chance to unseat Alabama at this point in the season. It’s tough to watch your two rivals do so well, but it’s something Gamecock fans need to become accustomed to.
Remaining SEC Games
Vanderbilt: Unfortunately, South Carolina was unable to use the Marshall game as a rebound due to Hurricane Florence. Now, that could be either a positive or a negative for Will Muschamp’s squad. We don’t really know that much about the Gamecocks, as they beat a team they should’ve beat and lost to a team that they should’ve lost to. The next two games will be crucial to the season as they come against teams that they must beat to prove they are making progress as a program. While I won’t release any direct score predictions on this article, I expect the Gamecocks to come out with a chip on their shoulder and take care of the Commodores without too much fuss.
Kentucky: I still have no idea to this day how Kentucky has beaten South Carolina four years in a row. It’s dumbfounding to me that this is a legitimate losing streak. Outside of 2015, South Carolina had absolutely no business losing to Kentucky in the past 4 years. I believe we will see that change this year. Kentucky definitely has a decent squad up in Lexington, but I think we will see the Gamecocks come out with a personal vendetta against the Wildcats this year. I’m most likely the only person on the planet saying this, but I expect the Gamecocks to go into Lexington and win by a minimum of two touchdowns.
Missouri: Missouri will do what Missouri does best, absolutely torch teams with bad defenses and fold once it plays any real competition. Drew Lock is an absolute stud, but I don’t expect his defense/running game to provide him the help he will need to beat the Gamecocks. Here’s to hoping that Lock picks up another bottle filled with “water” from the student section and chugs it. That would be the stuff of legends. In conclusion, I think we’ll see the Gamecocks offense have a field day and take care of the Tigers from the other Columbia.
Texas A&M: At the beginning of the year, I had this as a swing game. I still hold the idea that it is a swing game and could go either way depending on the day. I think Williams-Brice will be rocking, but I think that Texas A&M will have a very good team by this point in the season. The talent has always been there for A&M and that was fully on display during their Week 2 clash with Clemson. I think South Carolina falls here based on my knee jerk reaction from Texas A&M in Week 2. I do think that no matter who wins it won’t be by more than a touchdown.
Tennessee: Watching the Tennessee program turn into a dumpster fire over the off-season was quite enjoyable for myself. I think they made a good hire with Pruitt for now, but that could easily change. I see Pruitt being an in between coach, as in he will better the program but will not put them in a place to compete for the SEC East Title. The last time Tennessee came to town, a quarterback who should’ve been a senior in high school named Jake Bentley guided his Gamecocks to an upset of the Volunteers. This year we’ll see a game that is close up until halftime. After that the Gamecocks will pull away to win by a couple scores.
Florida: Playing in Gainesville is never easy nor will Gamecocks ever take a win in the Swamp for granted. This year the Gamecocks will have a rare opportunity against a re-building Gator program to steal one on the road. I think Muschamp will get his second consecutive win over the Gators and his first as the Carolina coach in Gainesville. Parker White will prove to be a big factor in this game.
Ole Miss: I honestly don’t know what to think of the Rebels (excuse me, Landsharks) up to this point in time. They seem to have the ability to light it up on offense against teams with subpar defenses but also have the Missouri syndrome and fold against better than average defenses. At the beginning of the year I called for this to be the SEC game that the Gamecocks should win but would lose. I’m going to go back on that and say the Gamecocks will bend but not break just enough to hold off Ole Miss. The crowd in Oxford will be thick with Garnet and Black providing a more friendly road environment.
Final SEC Record: 6-2
By: Ben Thompson
Let’s take a quick look at some of the Big 12 action this week and what thoughts I have about things heading into week 4 of the season.
#4 Ohio State vs. #15 TCU (Arlington, TX)
This game was so much fun to watch. It lived up to the hype behind it. It went about how I expected it to. The Buckeyes won a hard-fought game 40-28. Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs held a 14-13 lead at halftime. They extended their lead to 21-13 after punching in a touchdown with just over 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Ohio State stormed back, scoring 3 touchdowns in 4 minutes to take a 33-21 lead. TCU QB Shawn Robinson (24-40, 340 yds, 1 TD, 2 Int) connected with WR TreVontae Hights for a 51-yd touchdown to cut the deficit to 5 just before the end of the 3rd. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins added the lone 4th quarter score with a 5-yd touchdown scamper to ensure a 40-28 victory.
#5 Oklahoma at Iowa State
Oklahoma star QB Kyler Murray showed exactly why his name is being thrown around in the Heisman talk. He went 21 for 29 for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added 77 yards on the ground. That being said, the Sooners still had their hands full. The Cyclones just would not go away, due in part to QB Zeb Noland’s connection with WR Hakeem Butler. Noland threw for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both touchdowns were caught by Butler who finished 174 yards receiving. Oklahoma’s fast start and a late interception by CB Parnell Motley were enough to hold off the feisty Clones 37-27.
#17 Boise State at #24 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State looked really good. QB Taylor Cornelius has been about as good as you could ask for after losing a guy like Mason Rudolph to the NFL. RB Justice Hill has been great this year. He’s averaging over 8 yards per carry thus far in 2018. The story for Oklahoma State’s success wasn’t all the offense though, it was actually the defense that really impressed. The Cowboys only gave up 34 rushing yards. Boise State tried to get the run game going, but just couldn’t. Credit due to the Oklahoma State defense. The entire game it just felt like Boise State was doing their best not to get blown out. Cowboys got the win 44-21.
#22 USC (Southern California) at Texas
Tom Herman in his 2nd year at the helm in Austin and Clay Helton in his 4th season at USC. Expectations were high for each program. The loser of this game is looking at a 1-2 record in the face. The Longhorns won by a score of 37-14. Look, USC Freshman QB JT Daniels has so much pressure on his shoulders. He threw the ball 48 times on Saturday! USC will be good, just not yet. Texas, on the other hand, looked pretty good. Sophomore QB Sam Ehlinger looked better. I think? He didn’t throw any picks, threw 2 touchdowns, and ran for another. The story of this game was more about how bad the USC offensive line is (which only adds to the pressure on JT Daniels). The Trojans couldn’t even manage positive rushing yardage as they finish with -5 yards on the ground. You won’t win many games like that. I’m still not sure Texas is that good; this was more about how dismal the USC offensive line is.
As I look at things, I think the Big 12 just got a whole lot more interesting after these week 3 games. Oklahoma, the clear favorite to win the conference all off season, has looked good through the first 3 weeks, but it’s also clear that teams should be able to score points on them as we just saw with Iowa State. Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs looked like a really well-rounded football team against title-contender Ohio State. They looked fast, athletic, and disciplined. I was very impressed, and I think they have a good shot to challenge the Sooners. QB Shawn Robinson has been very good so far in 2018. He has tons of talent and play makers around him. I think we could be looking at the best TCU offense that Gary Patterson has ever had. Mike Gundy and the Cowboys just showed everyone how good they can be. They blew out what is thought to be the best Group of 5 team, Boise State. The offense looks to be in great hands with Taylor Cornelius at quarterback. RB Justice Hill might just be the best healthy running back in the conference. This defense actually looks stout…something we don’t say too often about Oklahoma State. Texas looked solid, but can they build on a good showing against USC? If they can continue to take steps forward, they could be a team to keep an eye on throughout the remainder of the season. If it wasn’t for late turnovers in the week 1 matchup with Maryland, the Longhorns would be 3-0 and a lot of people would be really high on this team. Lastly, we have yet to mention what might be the most potent offense in the Big 12: West Virginia. The Mountaineers were scheduled to play QB Ryan Finley and the NC State Wolfpack this past week, but the game was cancelled due to hurricane Florence. West Virginia QB Will Grier is one of the nation’s best and throws the ball up to one of the nation’s top wideouts, David Sills. The Mountaineers and Sooners meet up on November 23rd(last week of the regular season) in a game that could have huge implications on the Big 12 championship game.
I think it’s safe to say that Oklahoma is still the clear top dog in the Big 12, but through 3 weeks I have been pleasantly surprised by a few teams in the league. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year that someone dethrones the boys from Norman.
By Ben Jenkins:
Week 3 College Football Recap
Due to Hurricane Florence, I was unable to watch my Gamecocks take on Marshall Saturday night. On the bright side, I was able to take in a little bit of nearly every major game played Saturday. With that being said, let’s take a look at how this weekend played out.
Teams that disappointed:
Florida State- Did you think that I was going anywhere else with this? Florida State looked absolutely horrible on Saturday. They were out-coached, out-played, and out-worked by an inferior opponent. I don’t care if they’re having a bad year or not, Florida State has the talent to beat Syracuse with their backups. Yet, they got beat by Syracuse’s backup quarterback. The entire program down in Tallahassee is currently one giant dumpster fire and I’m looking forward to the chaos that will ensue.
Arkansas- Arkansas must’ve watch Florida State, then said “Hold my beer” because if anyone put in a performance that was worse than the Noles it was Arkansas. They got beat by 27(!) by North Texas. Yes, North Texas is a respectable program, but they should never beat Arkansas by 27. Also, how in the world do you give up a touchdown on a fake fair catch? If I’m Chad Morris the entire special teams will practice punts for the week just to make sure they understand what they’re doing. Lastly, shame on you Arkansas fans for booing your quarterback coming out of halftime. Was he bad? Absolutely, but that’s one of those lines you just don’t cross.
The Big Ten- Outside of Ohio State’s victory, the Big Ten had quite the rough weekend. They set a record that no conference would ever desire, when they lost 7 out of conference games to non-ranked opponents. That’s the first time that has happened EVER in the history of the AP poll. Shoutout to all the writers that thought the Big Ten had surpassed the SEC in terms of being the best conference.
Teams that impressed:
LSU- Was Miami overhyped? Eh, possibly. That’s quite fine though because LSU came out Saturday and silenced all of the doubters. Beat a top 10 ranked rival on the road in the SEC? That’s how you make a statement. It was an excellent game to watch with an awesome atmosphere and multiple swings in momentum, but in the end LSU was able to squeak out a win on the Plains. Look for the Tigers to make a jump in the polls this week. Lastly, where are all the Ed O haters at?
Oklahoma State- No Mason Rudolph? No problem for the Pokes. Oklahoma State came out firing on all cylinders Friday and handled Boise State. The Pokes defense held Boise State to a mere 34 rushing yards on 31 attempts and that proved to be the difference. We may never know how good Boise State actually is, but Oklahoma State is shaping up to be a challenger in the Big 12.
Texas- “Texas is back folks” maybe. I’m still not sipping the Kool Aid in Austin, but after Saturday’s win it seems like Tom Herman may have the ship finally pointed in the right direction. This was definitely not the team that lost to Maryland in Week 1 and scraped by Tulsa in Week 2. Kudos to the ‘Horns for appearing to right the ship faster than many expected. We’ll see how good they really are this weekend when the Horned Frogs come to town.
Nosebleed Offensive Player of the Week-
Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Alan Bowman. If you aren’t a Texas Tech fan then you’re probably lying. Texas Tech is known for putting up some yardage, but what Bowman did against Houston and eventual first round pick Ed Oliver was outstanding. Bowman threw for 605(!) yards and 5 touchdowns while going 43/59. Those numbers would even be impressive in a game of NCAA 14. Oh, I forgot to mention, Bowman is a freshman.
Nosebleed Defensive Player of the Week-
You probably missed his stellar performance, but Wyatt Ray had a career night on Thursday against Wake Forest. Ray had 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 4 sacks. An average defensive end in the country may have 4 sacks in one year. All-in-all it was an excellent outing from Wyatt in a game that his team needed to win.
Record through Week 3:
Games we’re looking forward to in Week 4:
#1 Alabama v. #22 Texas A&M
-How will Jimbo fare in his first outing against college football’s king?
Texas v. #17 TCU
-How will TCU respond against a hot Longhorns team?
Kentucky v. #14 Mississippi State
-How will Nick Fitzgerald perform in his first true test of the season?
#15 Oklahoma State v. Texas Tech
-Whoever gets to 100 first wins, right?
#20 Oregon v. #7 Stanford
-Will Oregon rise back to national prominence?