Action Jackson here, and week 3 of college football is in the books; lots of great games, big plays, and upsets gave us another great weekend. New Heisman contenders emerged, top 25 front-runners showed they mean business, and #1 Alabama proved that they are for real and out for blood. Welcome to week 4 of college football.
Lamar Jackson announces his presence to the world
Well. That certainly is one way to introduce yourself to the world. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson had been setting the world on fire the past couple weeks against the lesser respected defenses of Charlotte and Syracuse, but suddenly, a juggernaut was looming. "He won't beat FSU though," said the doubters. "He's in for a rude awakening," boasted the Seminole faithful. "Hopefully someone can stop him," whispered the rest of the college football world. Although he wasn't on my original list of Heisman contenders, he has impressed just about everybody these past few weeks.
Lamar Jackson took the field Saturday after the Louisville Cardinals honored the legacy of Muhammad Ali, a Louisville native, and proceeded to shred the vaunted Florida St. Seminoles defense for over 200 yards passing, almost 150 rushing, and 5 total touchdowns. Florida St. is no slouch. Their defense is full of 4 and 5 star recruits who regularly go and star in the NFL. This kid is the real deal, and he's only a sophomore. As I stated last week, Louisville would be able to win if the game got out of hand for the FSU defense. This game was Jackson's breakout to the national level, and now he's got everyone's attention, including Heisman voters and defensive coordinators. Louisville's victory over FSU is a major statement to the power of their team and program, and with a current #3 ranking by the AP Poll, are well on their way to making some noise come bowl season. If Jackson keeps up this level of play, he'll be striking the famous pose in December.
Christian McCaffrey wants his Heisman. Sorry, everybody else.
On the West Coast, the player who I felt should've won the Heisman last year is out to prove that the trophy is coming back to Palo Alto this year. The Stanford Cardinal hosted the USC Trojans this Saturday, with Stanford's star running back Christian McCaffrey rushing for over 170 yards, over 60 receiving yards, and scoring twice against a star-laden USC defense. The NCAA's current record holder for all-purpose yardage in a single season is getting back on track, and if he can duplicate his productivity from last season, it's going to be hard for Heisman voters to keep ignoring him.
The West Coast athletes in general are often ignored, either due to the time delay from the East Coast or the overall perceived weakness of the Pac-12 conference. McCaffrey is one of the best athletes in the nation regardless of conference, and he has been playing like it in his first few games. Playing against the suddenly competitive Pac-12 North division and a taking a trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame late in the season will be great stepping stones on his trip to claim the trophy that eluded him last season.
College Football Top 25: Week 3 Recap
Based on the preview provided last week, I want to review those games highlighted and provide a quick recap.
The Florida St. Seminoles got trounced by the Louisville Cardinals and their human video game of a quarterback, final score 63-20.
The Alabama Crimson Tide survived their trip to Oxford, beating their newfound rivals the Ole Miss Rebels, final score 48-43.
The Michigan St. Spartans went into South Bend and beat up the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, final score 36-28, and it really wasn't that close.
The Ohio St. Buckeyes traveled to Norman and ensured that the Oklahoma Sooners wouldn't get to the playoffs this season, making Bob Stoopes' eventual firing inevitable. Final score, 45-24.
Looking ahead: Most intriguing Week 4 Match-ups
Time for a week 4 preview of some of the best games that we at Native Baydestrian will be watching this weekend:
#11 Wisconsin at #8 Michigan St.
The Wisconsin Badgers are traveling to East Lansing hoping to spoil the Michigan St. Spartans playoff dreams, and it's going to be a very, VERY, physical match-up. The Big Ten conference is known for smash-mouth football, tough defense, and generally beating the crap out of one another. This is going to be a good one.
#19 Florida at #14 Tennessee
SEC rivalry? Check. A chance to watch Butch Jones choke on national tv? Check-o-rino. Good football ahead with this game, as the Florida Gators travel to Rocky Top to take on the biggest threat to them winning the SEC East and a spot in the SEC championship game. Basically, these two powerhouses are playing for the right to lose to Alabama in the big game. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has actually never beaten the Gators, so this game is a must-win for his Volunteers.
Penn St. at #4 Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines are such a Jim Harbaugh team, aren't they? They've bullied Hawaii, they stepped on UCF, but they overlooked Colorado and had to mount a comeback just to get a victory. Basically, the team is Harbaugh and they get their cues from his behavior. That won't slide when an angry Penn St. Nittany Lions team comes to Ann Arbor. These Big Ten rivals can't stand each other, and it's time for Harbaugh to prove that he and his Wolverines belong in the conversation for playoff contenders.
Continue the conversation on Twitter: @mrjackson__
Everything you need to know about the yay.