If the results of week 3 taught us anything about the 2016 college football season, is that we have a better picture of the real contenders and favorites for the playoffs and national title, like Alabama and Ohio State after their impressive road wins against ranked opponents, and who doesn’t belong there: Florida State after being crushed by Louisville, Notre Dame following another home loss, and Oklahoma themselves, with two losses against ranked teams to show their big game problem hasn’t disappeared.
For almost one half, it looked like Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss were going to do the thing they do every year to Alabama: Beat ’em. But a 24-3 lead started to disappear and the Alabama defense took over. More than anything, this possibly clears the way for the tide to relax until their real difficult stretch comes. Kent State and Kentucky next, before playing at Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU in a one-month stretch. Any way, they’ll remain number one after the win, although with less number one votes.
Florida State will probably crash in the rankings, way out of the top 10. Going down early against teams like Louisville isn’t new, but the Cardinals wouldn’t get their feet off the Seminoles throat. Lamar Jackson ran for the end zone four times and added another throw to put himself over everyone in the Heisman category. The Cardinals suddenly look like the best team in the ACC, while Florida State and its coaching staff looked like they gave up in the middle of the game. Or maybe Derwin James not playing was that big of a factor, resulting in a 43-point loss.
The Buckeyes had the biggest road win of the weekend, along with another Big Ten rival. They came to Norman against a Oklahoma team with only 8 home losses under Bob Stoops. But the Sooners aren’t that good this season, losing their second big game of the year. J.T. Barrett did whatever he wanted, connecting with Noah Brown four times for the touchdown. Baker Mayfield looked helpless at times, with the Buckeyes likely to move up to number 2, while Oklahoma will fall out the top 25, maybe further down the line.
A top 10 team that could fall in the rankings will be Wisconsin. They didn’t play an FCS team, but Georgia State aren’t supposed to make things that difficult for them, especially in Madison. Yet the Badgers struggled to come away with the 23-17 win, which should drop them from number 9, as Louisville, Michigan State and maybe Texas A&M rise in the rankings. The Spartans ended the hopes of Notre Dame to play for the national title, beating the Fighting Irish 36-28 in South Bend, leading 36-7 before letting them get back in the game.
Overall, six ranked teams lost this weekend. Iowa, #13 before this week, were the only ones playing an FCS team, but North Dakota State, even with the quarterback change, are always comfortable playing against Midwest teams on the road. They waited until the final second of the game to stun the fans at Kinnick stadium with a game winning field goal. This should knock the Hawkeyes to the 20-25 spots at best, while the Bison could end up being ranked.
Texas lost their first game of the season, giving up 50 points in California to the Golden Bears, losing the game late. Tennessee didn’t impress and neither did Georgia, but the losses to the Fighting Irish, Iowa and Texas should help them move up in the world, even if the SEC East once again looks quite inferior to its conference partner, especially if Florida have something to worry about with the injury to quarterback Luke Del Rio.
Oregon lost their first game of the season, falling behind Stanford and Washington in overall record. They came to Lincoln to play Nebraska and former Beavers head coach Mike Riley, someone who has lost 7 in a row to the Ducks. But Riley had the last laugh. While he tried to make it about the team and not himself following the win, he was crying as he was walking off the field, as Nebraska should end up in the top 25 for the first time since 2014. Tommy Armstrong ran for a 34-yard touchdown with less than 2:30 in the game to put the Huskers 35-32 up, never losing the lead.
Last but not least when it comes to being worth a mention are Miami, for cruising in Boone against Appalachian State. In what many call a trap game, Mark Richt and his team looked prepared and dominant, winning by 35 points on the road against a difficult team to play against. This doesn’t mean Miami “are back”, but it does suggest that in a changing ACC, this could be an opportunity for them to return a little bit of credibility.