There wasn’t a single Top 25 matchups during Week 3 of the college football season, but there were still plenty of storylines to discuss.
From Colorado proving to be a box office draw, the mighty Southeastern Conference struggling to start season and a few Louisiana stars that rose to the occasion for their teams. Here is a breakdown of the weekend’s action.
- THE BUFFS ARE BOX OFFICE: There is no denying that Deion Sanders has made the Colorado Buffaloes the biggest box office draw in college football. It goes beyond the fact that they are the fourth team in FBS history to start a season 3-0 after losing 11-plus games the previous season. Deion has made Colorado the coolest team in the country, as evidenced by Lil’ Wayne performing for the team’s running out of the tunnel and the number of stars (Offset, The Rock, etc.) on the sidelines. With an undefeated start, Sanders is proving that his success at Jackson State wasn’t a fluke and that completely overhauling the roster is working. It helps to have his son Shedeur Sanders playing quarterback. The younger Sanders has made the transition to the FBS level with ease as he has passed for 1,251 yards with 10 TDs and 1 INT while completing 78.7 percent of his passes. This doesn’t mean that Colorado is a title contender, at least not yet. Needing double overtime to beat a less-than-mediocre Colorado State team at home, when you are a double-digit betting favorite isn’t ideal. Also, the schedule will get immensely more challenging with six games against Top 25-ranked opponents, and the Buffs will have to do it the next few weeks without possibly their best player — two-way star Travis Hunter — who was injured on a cheap shot hit on Saturday. No matter what the final record ends up this season, Colorado has gone from the doldrums to being the most buzzed-about team in the country.
- THE SEC IS STRUGGLING: The conference where it “means more” has had a rough start to the season. Through the first three weeks, the SEC is 5-7 against teams from other Power 5 conferences, which includes losses to ranked opponents (Florida to Utah, LSU to Florida State, and Alabama to Texas). But it also includes Arkansas losing at home to BYU and Texas A&M losing on the road at Miami. Is there a dominant team in the SEC? Two-time defending national champion Georgia may be dominant but not right now. LSU is the second best in the league but there is a huge drop-off after that. Alabama doesn’t look very physical and doesn’t have a quarterback, which was apparent in a challenging road win at South Florida. Tennessee was a trendy preseason pick to upset Georgia but they laid an egg at Florida on Saturday. The SEC will likely still have a team in the College Football Playoff, but they do not appear to be the dominant force they have been in the past.
- NOTRE DAME HAS A QB: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have raced out to a 4-0 start. Yes, the team has the nation’s leading rusher in Audric Estime (63 carries, 521 yards, 5 TD), and plays solid defense. However, the big difference is Sam Hartman. The Wake Forest transfer has been magnificent throwing for 1,061 yards, 13 TD, 0 INT, and completing 69 percent of his passes. Hartman will get tested with games still against Ohio State, USC, and Clemson. If he continues to play well, Hartman could be a Heisman finalist and have the Irish in the CFB Playoff.
3 LOUISIANA STARS
MALIK NABERS: After a quiet start to the season, the former Comeaux-Southside High star had a breakout game in Starkville on Saturday. In a 41-14 victory over Mississippi State, Nabers hauled in 13 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns, including a 26-yard score in the first quarter and a 33-yard score in the second quarter.
ZEON CHRISS: The former Madison Prep star came off the bench for an injured Ben Wooldridge and guided the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 41-21 road win over UAB. Chriss completed 14-of-20 passes for 174 yards with 1 TD and no picks, while also rushing for 103 yards on six carries with 2 TDs, including an 80-yard score.
TREVOR ETIENNE: The former Jennings Bulldog star put the Florida Gators on his back in “The Swamp” on Saturday. In a much-needed 29-16 victory over rival and No. 11 ranked Tennessee, Etienne led all rushers with 172 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, and a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
3 NATIONAL STARS
MICHAEL PENIX JR.: The Washington Huskies quarterback is the best player that no one is talking about. Penix Jr. had a masterful game on the road in a 41-7 win at Michigan State as he completed 27-of-35 passes for 473 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. If he keeps up this pace, Penix will be a Heisman finalist.
LA’DAMIAN WEBB: Not only did South Alabama take down Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday, the Jaguars crushed them 33-7. South Alabama senior running back La’Damian Webb led all rushers with 151 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, scoring two touchdowns, including a 65-yard score in the fourth.
HARRISON MEVIS: The Missouri place kicker booted a game-winning field goal to take down No. 15 Kansas State to improve to 3-0 on the season. The field goal wasn’t a pedestrian kick as Mevis made the game-winner from 61 yards out, which created a new Southeastern Conference record.
3 GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
No. 6 Ohio State (3-0) at No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0), 6:30 p.m., NBC
No. 4 Florida State (3-0, 1-0) at Clemson (2-1, 0-1), 11 a.m., ABC
No. 19 Colorado (3-0) at No. 10 Oregon (3-0), 2:30 p.m., ABC