College Football Week 3 Preview: How Bad Is the Big Ten & 4 More Questions
Look, it's early, which usually means a lack of big games. But that doesn't mean we can't still have some fun this weekend. Here are the big questions going into Week 3:
Could the SEC East Be Decided This Weekend?
In the preseason, South Carolina was the trendy pick to win the SEC East. What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The Gamecocks now find themselves behind the 8 ball after getting blown out by Texas A&M and struggling against East Carolina. Georgia, meanwhile, is the new hotness after a decisive opening win over Clemson and a bye week. On paper, Georgia should roll, right? Yeah, I think we've heard that a few times in the past with Mark Richt teams. I wouldn't put this one in the Bulldogs' win column just yet. This should be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend and, if nothing else, could give Georgia running back Todd Gurley another chance to state his case for the Heisman.
How Low Can Texas Go?
Let's be honest: we know that in recent years Texas has gotten by more on reputation and past glory than any real on-field prowess. So most expected there to be some growing pains when Charlie Strong took over the program. First came the suspensions and players getting kicked off the team. Then came the injuries. And then things really got ugly. With quarterback David Ash and a bevy of offensive linemen lost to injury, the Texas offense has been going in reverse, ranked 100th or worse in most offensive categories. And the defense hasn't been much better, giving up 41 points and 429 points in last week's blowout loss to BYU. You know it's bad when even 'Sesame Street' is making fun of you:
With matchups against No. 12 UCLA, No. 8 Baylor and No. 4 Oklahoma coming up, the Longhorns could easily be sitting at 2-4 by mid-October. But on the bright side, Texas fans will have lots of time for extra corny dogs at the Texas State Fair when they leave the Red River Rivalry at halftime.
Is This How You Bury a Lead?
As bad as the NCAA usually is at P.R., you have to give them credit this week for knowing how to keep controversial news from becoming the lead story. On Monday, just hours after the Ray Rice video became public, the NCAA announced it was ending the post-Sandusky penalties against Penn State, making the Nittany Lions eligible for a bowl game and reinstating revoked scholarships. With Penn State already touting a talented core of young players and one of the nation's best encrusting classes, this move should help make the Lions a solid competitor in the Big Ten in the coming years.
Although, based on what we've seen out of the Big Ten this season, that might not be saying much. Speaking of which ...
How Do We Describe the Big Ten's Start Without Using the Words "Dumpster Fire"?
You know it's bad when Penn State students are celebrating in the streets that they are now eligible for that coveted spot in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Michigan State gave up 28 unanswered points to blow a lead against Oregon. Michigan was shut out for the first time in 30 years. Nebraska needed an Ameer Abdullah miracle catch-and-run with 20 seconds left to get past McNeese State. McNeese State. And things don't look up this week as no one (outside of Purdue at Notre Dame) really has a chance for a statement win (Kent State? Bowling Green? Fresno State?), but there are a whole lot of opportunities for more embarrassing losses.
On the plus side, with Penn State playing Rutgers, at least someone in the conference is guaranteed to win.
Is It March Already?
I'm assuming Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps are heading to Cameron Indoor this week for a huge Big Monday matchup between Bill Self and Mike Krzyzewski. Huge implications will be on the line for a No. 1 seed.
Wait, why is Kansas at Duke not on television? And on Saturday? You mean this is ... football? And Charlie Weis is involved? Okay, moving on. Wake me when it's basketball season. Or when it’s time for a corny dog.