Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Just when you think it can't get much better in the world of college football, a week like this past one happens, and leaves you champing at the bit for another one just like it. There was plenty of drama this week, from conference powerhouses falling, to others getting up off the floor and back into the fray. Here are some of the headlines from a very entertaining week three.
STORM IS BREWING: There were hints that Randy Shannon had his Hurricanes on the right path last season, but did anyone expect that Miami would be perhaps the best team in the ACC in 2009? The offense has looked unstoppable under sophomore QB Jacory Harris' control, as the team has lit up two ACC heavyweights in Florida State and Georgia Tech to start the season. The victories pushed Miami all the way to ninth in the country in the most recent AP Poll, the first time the team has cracked the top-10 since 2005. The Hurricanes can put a stranglehold on the conference race this week as they blow into Blacksburg for a date against nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, the last of the so-called conference favorites.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Once again, the mighty USC Trojans dropped an early-season conference game. It hasn't cost the team in the past, with seven straight Pac-10 titles, but Pete Carroll's squad usually has its sights set on the bigger picture and this weekend's setback to the Washington Huskies (16-13) could have USC re-evaluating things.
Not to be lost however, is the way the Huskies are playing under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian. When healthy, UW signal-caller Jake Locker could be the best the Pac-10 has to offer and he certainly looked the part against USC, throwing for 237 yards and adding a rushing score as well. This is a team that lost to USC 56-0 a year ago and went winless in 2008 overall. Talk about re-evaluating things.
Washington has already turned things around under Steve Sarkisian.|
BACK ON TRACK: A college football season is definitely not easy to get through unscathed and two of the nation's top programs opened up with stunning losses, as Oklahoma was shocked by BYU and Florida State found out the hard way that Miami has returned to form. However, to both programs' credit, the teams have responded in a big way.
Oklahoma suffered an unthinkable 14-13 loss to the Cougars in the season-opener and lost their Heisman quarterback Sam Bradford to injury in the process. Since then, the team has been flawless on both sides of the ball, shutting out both Idaho State (64-0) and Tulsa (45-0) in consecutive weeks. It still remains to be seen just how long Bradford will be sidelined, but redshirt freshman Landry Jones is starting to feel comfortable under center and has thrown nine TDs in two career starts thus far.
Bobby Bowden's Seminoles dropped their opener to rival Miami (38-34) and didn't look like they recovered the following week in a sluggish performance against Jacksonville State (19-9 win). However, FSU went into Provo this week and completely dominated the hometown Cougars, halting BYU's 18-game win streak at home, with a 54-28 whipping. The Seminoles amassed 512 yards of offense, including 313 on the ground. The team also converted 12-of-15 third- down opportunities and that kind of efficiency resulted in long drives and a nearly 20-minute difference in time of possession.
KEY INJURIES CAUSE FOR CONCERN: The Fighting Irish came into the season with what was expected to be a prolific passing attack, thanks to QB Jimmy Clausen and a pair of outstanding receivers in Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. Well, the Irish will have to go the rest of the way without one of the three, as Floyd suffered a broken collarbone against Michigan State this past weekend and had surgery on Sunday. The prognosis isn't great as the standout receiver is probably done for the season.
USF's program took an even bigger hit this week, as standout QB Matt Grothe went down in a meaningless 59-0 spanking of Charleston Southern with a torn ACL. The senior is officially done for the season and leaves the Bulls with a huge void under center. Grothe has put up massive numbers in his career, rushing for 2,206 yards and 23 TDs, while passing for 8,669 yards and 52 touchdowns. The Bulls will now go with redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels, who has a tough task at hand this week against Florida State.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Jahvid Best was a force to be reckoned with at Minnesota this past weekend, as the talented Cal tailback rushed for 132 yards and five touchdowns.
Oklahoma's Landry Jones is starting to feel at home at the helm in Norman and set a single-game school record with six touchdown passes against Tulsa.
In a shootout between Georgia and Arkansas, both signal-callers earned their way onto this list. Georgia's Joe Cox was masterful in completing 18-of-26 passes, for 375 yards and five TDs, leading the Bulldogs to victory. Arkansas' Ryan Mallett didn't get the win, but did all he could, completing 21-of-39 passes for 408 yards and five TDs.
Finally, Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews carried 19 times for a whopping 234 yards and three TDs, all of which were 60 yards or more. Too bad it was in a losing effort against Boise State.
SNEEK PEAK: There is only one top-25 showdown on the docket for this weekend, as the ninth-ranked Miami Hurricanes travel to Blacksburg to take on the 11th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. The 'Canes are one of the real surprises in 2009, but the Hokies are dangerous at Lane Stadium and have a lot to prove following a season-opening loss to Alabama in another top-25 showdown. Another marquee matchup set for this week is a revenge game when Iowa invades Happy Valley to take on fifth-ranked Penn State. Texas Tech and 17th-ranked Houston meet up in a game that should provide plenty of fireworks, as should sixth-ranked California at Oregon. Other games of note include Arkansas at third-ranked Alabama and 15th-ranked TCU at Clemson.