College football week 3 is in the books. After every week fans can take away things from what happened on the field. Here are 5 things learned from college football week 4.
1. There are no “Bad Weekends” of College Football
Heading into week 4, many were unimpressed with the schedule. There were a couple of good games, but that doesn’t always impress. Not only were people wrong to think that there would ever be a bad weekend of college football, but it was one of the crazier weekends so far this season.
To start things out, Notre Dame beat Wisconsin in a game that was close heading into the fourth quarter. NC State then upset Clemson to give them two losses in the very young season. Arkansas upset Texas A&M and proved they were for real in the process. SMU upset TCU, Bowling Green upset Minnesota (as 30 point underdogs), Baylor upset Iowa State and UTSA upset Memphis. That was just by the time the 3:30 pm EST games were over. Georgia Tech then upset UNC and Oregon State beat USC on the road for the first time since the 1960s. There is never a bad weekend of college football and the reason people love the sport is because it gets ridiculously weird sometimes.
2. Notre Dame’s Defense is for Real
Notre Dame and Wisconsin were locked in a defensive battle for much of the game. Wisconsin was leading 13-10 early in the fourth quarter. The Fighting Irish ended up winning 41-13. What really impressed wasn’t the Notre Dame offense though, it was the special teams and the defense that really stepped up and caused the blowout in the fourth quarter.
Chris Tyree had a kickoff return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Fighting Irish defense then forced a fumble and picked off Graham Mertz three times. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns. While the defense received a lot of criticism early, defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman deserves a lot of credit for how his team performed in the last quarter against Wisconsin. Now they will be up against Freeman’s former team Cincinnati, where they could be tested again.
3. Arkansas is for Real
This game and takeaway were mentioned earlier. Texas A&M has a very talented roster on the defensive side of the ball and at the skill positions on offense. They just need to figure out their offensive line play and quarterback situation to be successful. Arkansas took advantage of Texas A&M’s weaknesses and defeated the Aggies, 20-10. While Texas A&M doesn’t look like a great team right now, Arkansas defeating them (while dealing with injuries to their quarterback K.J. Jefferson and wide receiver Treylon Burks), proves they are for real.
So far this season, Arkansas is 4-0 with wins over Texas and Texas A&M. This is an incredible turn of events from where the program was just two seasons ago. They finished the 2019 season 2-10. Sam Pittman was then hired and the Razorbacks went 3-7 last season. Pittman has made it known that he was the right man for the job with the results and improvement so far. It is unlikely that they beat Alabama out for the SEC West title, but Arkansas’ turnaround is impressive, especially given that it is happening in such a tough conference.
4. ACC MIGHT be out of the College Football Playoff
It has been noted that the Pac-12’s best hope for the College Football Playoff is Oregon running the table. Another Power Five conference will have to hope for chaos now. Clemson lost their second game of the season, to NC State, on Saturday. This follows their loss to Georgia earlier in the season. There has never been a two-loss team in the College Football Playoff, so Clemson’s run of making the tournament may be over.
On top of Clemson losing, the other top contenders in the ACC have faltered. North Carolina has now lost to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Miami lost to Alabama and Michigan State. Virginia Tech had some juice after defeating North Carolina, but then lost to West Virginia. Even if one of these teams runs the table the rest of the year, how many quality wins are remaining on their schedule with the ACC having so many struggles? It will take a lot of help to get an ACC team in the playoff, but crazier things have happened in college football.
5. Oklahoma Needs to Run the Ball
Oklahoma is one of a few undefeated teams that have not looked good despite them winning. The Sooners are 4-0, but have had close games with every FBS team they have played. Those teams include Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia. There were a lot of expectations for this team coming into the season, but they really need to improve if they wish to return to the College Football Playoff.
The Sooners have looked inconsistent on both sides of the ball this year. Against West Virginia in week 4, the defense showed up. Their offense didn’t play to their normal standards. Quarterback Spencer Rattler has specifically struggled, as he continually puts the ball in harm’s way. He was only picked off one time, but it could’ve been a few more times. While Rattler has been underwhelming, to say the least, the Sooners need to run the ball better. They had just 57 rushing yards against West Virginia, which broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit alluded to often in the game. The offensive line needs to improve, but look for the Sooners to try to establish the run over the next few weeks. It will open up their entire offense.
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