Welcome back everyone to the newest slate of HOT TAKES. Conference play kicked in big time this past weekend, and we had some very interesting results. I will let age go before beauty, so here’s our man Logan Crosland with his scorching hot takes:
-Louisville Blows Out Florida St.: The Cardinals were host to College Gameday for the first time in school history and the Cardinal fans did not disappoint. The Cardinals were in for huge test on Saturday, as they hosted the No. 2 Seminoles in a Top 10 matchup. Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals quickly proved any doubters wrong outscoring 35-10 going into halftime. They would go on to blow out the Seminoles 63-20, proving that they should be taken seriously as a national title contender. Jackson also proved that he is without a doubt the favorite for the Heisman three weeks in.
-Cal Upends the Longhorns: Texas, through two weeks, has looked incredibly impressive and looked to be headed for a breakthrough season under Charlie Strong. I’m not going to jump the gun and say that the Longhorns aren’t going to go on and have a great season, but this loss to Cal is a definite set back. Davis Webb, the Cal QB, was able to dominate and pull his team through in shout-out and get the Golden Bears a very impressive win. This loss by Texas definitely hurts not only their playoff chances, but the chances of the Big 12 in general.
-North Dakota St. Beats One of the Big Boys….Again: North Dakota State has scored an upset over an FBS team in all but one of its five consecutive National Championship seasons. Unlike all their other victories over higher division teams, the Bison were able to do it against a ranked team in Iowa. The Hawkeyes came into the season with a lot hype, as they returned most of their team from last year that came incredibly close to making the playoffs. This will all but dash the Hawkeyes hopes of repeating those results this year, along with the fact that the Big 10 is much improved. I will also go on record as saying that this should officially be North Dakota State’s last year in the FCS, in my opinion.
-LSU Escapes Late Rally: LSU looked to be cruising to a dominating 23-6 victory over the Mississippi St. Bulldogs Saturday, only for the Bulldogs to storm back in the closing minutes to come within a field goal of tying it. The Tigers, though, were able to respond the rally by shutting down the Bulldogs on what could’ve been a game tying or game winning drive. The defense for the Tigers were able to dominate the Bulldogs and really make QB Nick Fitzgerald uncomfortable, which never allowed him to settle in and get the offense going. Backup QB Damian Williams was a sparkplug off the bench, providing the Bulldogs with those two scores to bring the game close. The return of Leonard Fournette and the emergence of QB Danny Etling make these Tigers a team to watch out for as the season goes on.
-Texas A&M Dominates on the Plains: Texas A&M came into Saturday with a lot of doubters, doubting whether they could go on the road and win against a scrappy Auburn team. They proved those doubters wrong by going into the Plains and overpowering the Tigers on their own turf. This was a game where both coaches came into the season on the hotseat, making this an early must win game. The Aggies were able to get the win and prove the doubters that maybe this team could contend with Alabama in the SEC West.
Thanks Logan. Ok, I’m stalling long enough on talking about my hot mess so let’s dive in.
-Where’s…the defense?: Something needs to break in South Bend. The offense was solid (well DeShone Kizer was, the running game was non-existent), but not solid enough and the ND defense, a defense loaded with 4 and (apparently) 5 star recruits over the past few years, is putrid. A 36-28 loss to Michigan State pretty much ends any chances of a playoff spot, but if this defense continues to be pretty awful, perhaps no bowl game and (maybe) there’s some instability in Brian Kelly’s job security. Specifics? The defense gave up almost 300 yards rushing to the Spartans and Tyler O’Connor was 19-26 with 2 TD’s.
-Is this 1944?: ARMY IS 3-0???? The Black Knights of the Hudson dropped 66 points on UTEP. In fact the three Service Academies are a combined 8-0. Navy at 3-0 and Air Force at 2-0 isn’t a total shock, but West Point’s quarterback quit before the season and now they have a better record than both Notre Dame and USC. I’m sure the good tidings won’t last, but they could beat Buffalo on the road this week and go to…COUGH…4-0.
-Speaking of the Trojans: USC is in just as bad shape as Notre Dame is. A 17 point loss to Stanford puts USC at 1-2 and it could get worse this coming Friday night against Utah in Salt Lake. Max Browne has been benched in favor of freshman Sam Darnold. We’re not sure if this will help things but the offense could use a boost (111th rushing, 88th passing) through three games.
-Back in the saddle: After a less than inspiring performance against Western Kentucky, a team Nick Saban would usually steamroll over, Alabama trailed Ole Miss at halftime for the second year in a row. This year things would be different for Alabama, as they came from behind for a 48-43 win over the Rebels in The Grove. Jalen Hurt is getting better by the week with 146 yards rushing and no mistakes throwing the ball. They have two cupcakes the next two weeks (Kent State and Kentucky) before a trip to Fayetteville against #17 Arkansas.
-Bad news in Norman: I mentioned the Service Academies are 8-0, well three perennial powerhouses are a combined 3-6. I already talked about ND and USC, but the Sooners of Oklahoma are also 1-2 after a 45-24 loss to Ohio State. Sure both losses were to solid top 10 teams, but that still means after last year’s miracle run to the playoff, OU isn’t in the elite this year. Bob Stoops has been dodging bullets since his National Championship 16 years ago, but now the bullets seem to be grazing him. This week a trip to Fort Worth to face the Horned Frogs, then the Red River Shootout.
Here’s the updated AP Top 10:
Now a look at the best games of the weekend for your viewing pleasure:
USC at #24 Utah, Friday at 9pm: Could the Trojans be 1-3? Yes, they can
#12 Georgia at #23 Mississippi, Saturday at Noon: A huge game for both teams, Ole Miss especially
#11 Wisconsin at #8 Michigan State, Saturday at Noon: An early indicator of both teams’ for the rest of the year
#19 Florida at #14 Tennessee, Saturday at 3:30pm: Butch Jones can’t afford another sluggish performance
Penn State at #4 Michigan, Saturday at 3:30pm: A big boy game for James Franklin and the Nittany Lions
#7 Stanford at UCLA, Saturday at 8pm: After beating USC, a huge road game for the Cardinal