College football has four weeks in the books, but there is still a long way to go. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here are five things learned from week 4.
1. Justin Herbert is a legit candidate to be a number one pick
Justin Herbert was already in consideration to be a very high draft pick, but his performance against Stanford cemented that status. At one point Herbert was 23 of 25, which set Oregon up well. Unfortunately, the Ducks were unable to finish off the Cardinal, but it wasn’t because of Herbert’s play.
He finished with 346 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception on 78.8% completion. Against lesser competition that wouldn’t mean much, but Stanford has some talented players on the defensive side of the ball including cornerback Alijah Holder. He may not end up being picked first overall, but Herbert has certainly set himself up well for the 2019 draft.
2. Kentucky is good; Benny Snell is a Heisman contender
Kentucky is ranked number 17 in the latest coaches’ poll after a dominating win over then-ranked 14th Mississippi State Saturday night. The Wildcats took it to the Bulldogs with their tough, physical style. They only allowed Mississippi State to gain 201 yards and score seven points. Conversely, Kentucky rushed for 229 yards and imposed their will on the Bulldogs.
Leading the rushing attack is Benny Snell, who finished with 165 rushing yards and four touchdowns. This game is especially impressive given that Mississippi State has two future pros along the defensive line in Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons. Snell is slowly becoming more known around the country and is now a Heisman Trophy contender. Through four games he has 87 carries for 540 yards and seven touchdowns and is the unquestioned emotional leader of the Kentucky offense.
It will be hard to catch Tua Tagovailoa and Dwayne Haskins, who are both off to great starts, but Snell has helped put himself and Kentucky football on the map.
3. UCF, Boise State and Buffalo are the leading candidates for the group of five spot in the New Year’s Six
The reserved spot for group of five teams in the New Year’s Six Bowl Games always creates great competition. This year is no different, but as of now, there are only three teams that are worthy of consideration for that spot.
UCF is the front-runner after racing open to a 3-0 start. In their toughest game to date, the Knights won a high scoring game against Florida Atlantic 56-36. They are picking up where they left off last season and if they can get through the AAC season unscathed, will be in a similar situation to last year.
Boise State lost to Oklahoma State last week, but will be a candidate for this spot if they can win the Mountain West Conference with no more than two losses (and some help). They were off this week, but will be competing with the other two teams mentioned for that spot.
Buffalo is 4-0 and started to receive votes in this week’s coaches’ poll. The Bulls beat down Rutgers this week 42-13 to add to their wins over Eastern Michigan, Temple and Delaware State. The Bulls look good, but will need to win out and possibly get some help to get to the New Year’s Six, as the other two teams will have an easier time picking up quality wins in their respective conferences.
4. Wisconsin will win the Big Ten West…again
After a week 3 loss to BYU, there were some questions surrounding the Badgers’ program. This week, Wisconsin was able to bounce back and beat Iowa in a close game. With the win, the Badgers have all but locked up the Big Ten West, even though it’s only week 3.
Iowa was their toughest competitor in the Big Ten West and the win gives the Badgers a tiebreaker if they happen to lose a game in the Big Ten. The other teams in the division have their fair share of problems. Illinois is still rebuilding. Minnesota has lost two of their best players to injury in running back Rodney Smith and cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. Northwestern is 1-2 with losses to Duke and Akron. Purdue is 1-3, while Nebraska just got whooped by Michigan this weekend.
It may not be pretty, but Wisconsin will be able to win the Big Ten West again.
5. ODU is now the wackiest team in college football
Old Dominion started the season off 0-3 with losses to Liberty, FIU and Charlotte. Things did not look good heading into their fourth game with Virginia Tech. The Hokies were ranked number 13 in the country and were expected to win by a lot.
The Monarchs inserted quarterback Blake LaRussa into the lineup after the start of the game and he did not disappoint. The junior threw for 495 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Monarchs to victory. Who would have thought that all they had to do is put the backup quarterback into the game to turn things around? The win was the biggest upset of the college football season and the biggest one in the last few years.
Can Old Dominion use this to fuel the rest of their season or was this just a fluke?
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