College Football, Week 3 — 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Drue Tranquill, a lesson in celebrating too soon...
Drue Tranquill, a lesson in celebrating too soon...

It took a little while, three weeks to be exact, but we finally got some of those rankings-shuffling, intrigue-generating upsets that make this new college football world we live in (four team playoff, yo!) so much better than the old one. Stanford over USC, Ole Miss over Alabama, both on the road. Hell, we almost had BYU keep their magic alive against UCLA. It was a fun Week 3!

The season is now fully underway, so let's get to this weekend's "4 Winners, 4 Losers" with four head coaches who were big winners yesterday….

WINNERS

4. Hugh Freeze
So Hugh Freeze has now beaten Nick Saban in Oxford and in Tuscaloosa in back to back seasons. Good for him! The SEC West has certainly divided itself into the haves and have nots these first few weeks of the 2015 season — very clearly, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas A&M, and Alabama are really good football teams, and Arkansas, Auburn, and Mississippi State, not so much. The bigger wrinkle with Freeze, for me at least, is over the next couple years, when true "blue blood" programs come looking for head coaches, will Freeze be on their list, and would he stay at Ole Miss? Is Ole Miss still the job Tommy Tuberville left after one season, or is it now awash in SEC TV money and able to keep its foundational head coach. Maybe I'm way ahead of myself, but this smells like a future storyline.

3. David Shaw
Two weeks ago, after Stanford lost to Northwestern, I did an extensive comparison of David Shaw to former Miami head coach (and noted talent inheritor) Larry Coker. Their career arcs were (and still are, one game doesn't change it) strikingly similar. But after a 41-31 upset of the Trojans in Los Angeles, maybe I should focus more time on my Steve Sarkisian-to-Lane Kiffin comparison.

2. Kliff Kingsbury
I'll leave the explanation for this one to ESPN.com:

Irked by comments Bret Bielema made during a summer convention in front of Texas high school coaches, Kingsbury sounded off on the Razorbacks' coach, saying his counterpart "just got his ass kicked."

"[Bielema] stood up and said if you don't throw to the fullback, we'll kick your ass, and if you throw it 70 times a game, we'll kick your ass,'' Kingsbury said following Texas Tech's 35-24 win, referring to Bielema's comments at the convention. "[Bielema] just got his ass kicked twice in a row and probably next week by [Texas] A&M as well.

"That did feel good.''

Boom. Roasted, Bielema.

1. Brian Kelly
On College Gameday, all four of the talking heads at the desk picked Georgia Tech to beat Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend. The Yellow Jackets closed as a two point favorite over the Irish, so it wasn't a massive reach, but these are typically the spots where Notre Dame performs fairly well in — home underdog with lots of doubters. Saturday, they did just that, building a 30-7 lead before giving up a couple late touchdowns in what ended up a 30-22 Notre Dame win. DeShone Kizer, in for the injured Malik Zaire, completed 21-30 for 242 yards. C.J. Prosise, in for the injured Tarean Folston, ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Will Fuller, not in for anyone injured (miraculously), had six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Brian Kelly and the Irish are down to basically a two game season — October 3 at Clemson and October 17 vs USC.

LOSERS

4. Drue Tranquill
Jarron Jones, Tarean Folston, Malik Zaire, Durham Smythe…. and now, safety Drue Tranquill. Those are the Notre Dame starters who have suffered season ending injuries since the beginning of training camp. And the way Tranquill suffered his makes you really question karma, faith, and the will of the football gods….

I mean, come on! Notre Dame has the MOTHER OF JESUS on top of their admin building!! Rapture is near….

3. Cal bettors
Last week, I gloated over Rice's ability to methodically drive down the field at the end of their game against the Longhorns and go get that cover for those of us you who backed the Owls at +14.5. So by rule, if Texas comes back the following week with a furious comeback — 20 points in the fourth quarter — to cover +5 against the Cal Bears, then I will give the Longhorns their due. Stepping outside the gambling realm and into the world of just "normal wins and losses" for a moment, how did that UT kicker sleep Saturday night? Missing a PAT to cap a 21 point comeback at home? I'd transfer the next day. 

2. Ohio State's luster
20-13 wins over Northern Illinois at home are no way to hold onto a number one ranking, which Ohio State has held in both polls, practically unanimously, since the beginning of the season. This is why I'm glad the College Football Playoff people a) use their own rankings and b) wait until the season has marinated a bit before publishing them. Because Ohio State, a perceived generationally dominant team at the outset of the season, may just be your run of the mill good Big Ten team. Also, pick a quarterback, Urban. For God's sakes, the malpractice you've inflicted on Cardale Jones by convincing him to return for another season. Horrible. 

1. NIck Saban
Bad weekend for the Crimson Sith Lord of the South. First, there was the loss to Ole Miss, 43-37 in Tuscaloosa, in what was supposed to be a revenge game and instead wound up being a sea of "#SadFanCam" pictures, as the Crimson Tide found themselves down 30-10 and 43-24 at junctures in the second half of that game. Then comes the ESPN Outside The Lines  report that Alabama was fully aware of former Tide and Georgia Bulldog defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor's criminal history at Georgia, which included a brutal domestic assault, before accepting him as a transfer. The report shows that Georgia was very forthright and thorough in informing both Saban and Alabama AD Bill Battle in what they were getting into by accepting Taylor, and they took him anyway. And he allegedly assaulted another woman at Alabama. And now he's at an FCS school in Louisiana, where he will probably assault someone else. The trend tells us that. 

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.


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