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College Football Week Three Review: What A Great Day!

Posted on September 20, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense struggled until the last minute, then pulled out a dramatic victory.

Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense struggled until the last minute, then pulled out a dramatic victory.

It will be pretty hard for the rest of the college football season to have an afternoon like we saw this Saturday. If you were lucky enough to be sitting in front of the TV or at a sports bar for the games that started at 3:30 p.m. EDT, you really got a treat.

Just picking which game to focus on was quite a challenge. Though the Virginia Tech/Nebraska game was the only one pitting top 25 teams, there were several other intriguing games during the time period on national television including Oregon/Utah, Notre Dame/Michigan State, USC/Washington and Florida/Tennessee.

As it turned out, all five games went down to the wire with big plays deciding the outcomes.

For 58 minutes it appeared that Nebraska would get its first road win in more than a decade against a ranked opponent. They led 15-10 and had an anemic Virginia Tech offense pinned deep in their own territory.

After shutting down Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies all day, the Cornhuskers couldn’t get it done when they needed it as Tech burned them for a long pass play to get into scoring position. Taylor then did a great job avoiding pressure and found a receiver in the end zone for the game-winning score.

Notre Dame and Oregon each withstood late comebacks to pull out victories. The win for Oregon over Utah ended the longest winning streak in the nation and, coupled with a BYU loss to Florida State, helped BCS conference leaders breath a bit easier.

The 33-30 win by Notre Dame over a Michigan State squad that had lost the previous week to Central Michigan ensures that Charlie Weis will keep his job for at least another week.

Florida was supposed to teach Lane Kiffin and Tennessee a lesson in The Swamp. Well, I guess paybacks aren’t what they used to be, as Florida could not shake the pesky Volunteers.  Florida won the game 23-13, but Tennessee made it very clear that the days of UF stomping all over UT have come to a close.

Then there was the USC game at Washington. Of the five contests, this one seemed like it would be the least compelling.

Though former USC assistant Steve Sarkisian has the Huskies playing better than a year ago when they went winless, there was little expectation that they could challenge a USC squad that won at Ohio State a week ago.

As it turns out, with starting quarterback Matt Barkley out with an injury, the Trojans were unable to display the kind of offense that scored 56 points against Washington a year ago.

USC opened a 10-0 advantage, but was never able to build on their lead. Washington responded to take a 13-10 lead before the Trojans tied the game.

That led to the final scoring drive by Washington that ended with a game-winning field goal.

Now, for the third year in a row the Trojans have lost an early season conference game and will spend the rest of the season trying to claw their way back into the BCS Championship discussion.

However, unlike previous years, USC isn’t necessarily heavy favorites for every game the rest of the season. They still have to play at California, Notre Dame, Oregon and Arizona State.

Considering that the Trojans have scored just 31 points in their last two games, there is no guarantee that they will be able regain the high-flying ways that has become their trademark under Pete Carroll.

Quite A Recovery For The ACC
While the bottom of the ACC still appears to be weak, at least the top teams in the conference have started showing some signs of life.

The victory by Virginia Tech over Nebraska may not have come exactly how Frank Beamer drew it up, but it  does provide some much-needed power ranking assistance for the league since Nebraska appears to be good enough to remain near the top 25 all season.

Similarly, the pounding by Florida State over BYU will help the conference immensely. Having moved to 7th in the nation after their win over Oklahoma, BYU seemed poised to remain a thorn in the side of the BCS conferences.

Miami showed some of their old swagger in a dominating victory over Georgia Tech.

Miami showed some of their old swagger in a dominating victory over Georgia Tech.

Considering that Florida State lost their opener to Miami and then needed two touchdowns in the final minute last week to edge I-AA Jacksonville State, it seemed unlikely they would come out of Provo with a victory.

However, it was the host Cougars that never had a chance as FSU roared out to a 30-14 halftime lead and won 54-28.

The ACC could really solidify their resurgence over the next couple weeks. The University of Miami looked like the Miami of old against Georgia Tech. With their next two games being at Virginia Tech and then at home against Oklahoma, if Miami is able to win both, or at least defeat Oklahoma, it would go a long way toward returning some luster to the conference.

Texas Tech Keeps It Close Against Texas

Considering the notorious history that Texas Tech has when playing on the road against the top teams in the Big 12, I didn’t have much hope for their game against Texas.

Colt McCoy and the Texas Longhorns could still be the best team in college football.

Colt McCoy and the Texas Longhorns could still be the best team in college football.

I figured with Texas playing at home and looking to avenge the last-minute loss they suffered to the Red Raiders a year ago, this game wouldn’t be close.

Surprisingly, it was a 10-3 score at halftime and Texas Tech stayed within shouting distance the entire second half before falling 34-24.

It wasn’t until some late miscues by the Red Raiders that the Longhorns sealed their third victory of the season.

Barring a major surprise against UTEP or Colorado, Texas will be undefeated entering their annual matchup with Oklahoma on October 17.

I’m not convinced that any of the top five teams in the country are as good as they were a year ago, but Texas could end up being the one team that is of elite status in 2009.

Colt McCoy has not yet reached his stride this season, but if he does, expect the Longhorns to get back to their high-scoring ways.

The key for Texas is going to be whether their defense can hold their opponents down. They bent a few times against Texas Tech, but made the defensive plays they needed to pull out the victory.

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