If revenge is indeed a dish best served cold, a few teams are hoping to offer up some gazpacho to their opponents on Saturday.
Week three of the college football season has the potential to be a season tone-setter for many teams, with a few of them hoping the springboard to that special season begins in earnest by avenging losses from 2012 to this week’s opponents. Obviously, the main focus will be on College Station as No. 1 Alabama goes up against the team that almost derailed their hopes at a second consecutive national championship, our No. 10 Texas A&M. You wouldn’t think that Johnny Manziel could put up a similar performance than the one he unleashed in Bryant-Denny Stadium in last November’s 29-24 Aggie victory (24-31, 253 passing yards, 2 TD, 92 rushing yards), but if Johnny Football wants to put all the off-field nonsense truly behind him, an encore performance would do just that – while starting serious talk about a Heisman repeat.
In Lincoln, No. 23 Nebraska will try to turn the tables on a UCLA team that beat the then-No. 16 Cornhuskers at the Rose Bowl last season, 36-30. The nationally-televised game served as the coming-out party for Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley, who passed for four touchdowns against Big Red en route to leading the Bruins to their most wins in a season (nine) since 2005. Bo Pelini and his defense better figure out a way to stymie UCLA’s pistol attack, something it could not do in Pasadena (344 rushing yards allowed).
Ole Miss has catapulted into the Top 25 while being led by a group of precocious freshmen, but it will be the veterans on the Rebels that will sound the cry of urgency when the team travels to Austin to take on Team Titanic (Texas). The nadir of last year’s seven-win season for Ole Miss was the 66-31 beatdown in Oxford meted out by the Longhorns, the most points given up by an Ole Miss team since World War I (1917). After the Longhorns matador showing on defense last weekend in Provo (550 rushing yards allowed to BYU), the Rebels have to have in mind returning the favor, and in “Rout 66” fashion, something UCLA did in Austin in 1997, effectively ending the John Makovic era and leading to the hiring of Mack Brown from North Carolina. Could Mack’s era end in somewhat similar fashion if things don’t turn around for the Longhorns?
Revenge is not in the minds of our college football panel as we reveal our Top 25 going into the third week of the season. All comments and opinions are welcome!
The A&M game has the feel of a classic Saban revenge game. They usually end with the Tide handling their opponent and Tim Tebow crying. (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
Since Alabama was on a bye and Clemson was not, the Tigers get my No. 1 spot. (Lisa Horne)
They’re the most fun team in the country to watch…and there is a decent chance they’re the best team too. (T.J. Basalla)
While the Cardinal travel 3,000 miles to play Army on Saturday, the hope is that Arizona State defeats Wisconsin to set up a juicy Pac-12 opener next week with the Sun Devils on national television (FOX). Until the Oregon game on November 7, Stanford may not have many opportunities to prove its worth on a national stage. (Adesina Koiki)
Kenny Guiton is the Buckeye backup quarterback. He would probably start for at least half of the teams in the FBS (T.J.)
Boy, do they look impressive? If Zach Mettenberger keeps being efficient, John Chavis will have the D rolling. They get A&M at home and play at Alabama, but the road team has had the upperhand in that series. (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
Oh no, LSU may have a competent QB this season. Add that to an always scary defense and…hoo boy. (T.J.)
Took care of business vs Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky has been the surprise recruiting power house this year. I think Charlie Strong tries to make this game vs. the Wildcats a statement game. (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
After 12 days, we finally get to see more of quarterback Jameis Winston after his impressive collegiate debut at Pittsburgh. (Adesina)
Might (definitely will) regret putting them above Alabama in my poll, but they have proven more in their 1-1 start than Alabama has in their 1-0 start. I will say this every week: Gurley = Beastmode. (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
The Aggies’ offense looks very good but their defense gave up 28 points to Sam Houston State. We’ll know everything we need to know about the defense this Saturday. (Lisa)
The 12th Man will try to make their presence felt on Saturday, but will it make any difference to a team that has gone into Death Valley (Baton Rouge edition) and came away with a win last year? (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
America, meet the new “Old 98,” Devin Gardner. (T.J.)
As the reports of “Sex, Lies and Videotape: Stillwater” continue to roll out from a Sports Illustrated investigation, Mike Gundy seems to have finally laid to rest the uncertainty at the quarterback spot, with J.W. Walsh playing well his first two games. If only the program’s immediate and long-term future was as certain. (Adesina)
This looks like a dysfunctional team right now; coaches fighting on the sidelines, Jadeveon Clowney questioning his coaches in the media, Steve Spurrier throwing his defense under the bus. I think we either see USC unite and rally or remain dysfunctional and waste a great opportunity to make it to Atlanta. (Anonymous D-1 FBS staffer)
Beating a Top-10 Florida suggests “The U” may be back. Being outgained by 201 yards and recording only 10 first downs in that same game means they still have a long way to go. But they don’t have a long way to go to travel this season, as Miami will only have to play one game outside of the Sunshine State between the season opener and November 9 – at North Carolina on October 17. (Adesina)
The two Big 12 media members who voted Baylor to finish first in the conference look like geniuses right now. Sure, Baylor has not played anyone. It has also scored at least 69 points in its last two games. (Lisa)
Our heartfelt condolences to the UCLA football team, the university and the family and friends of Nick Pasquale, a redshirt freshman wide receiver who passed away on Sunday after being struck by a car in his hometown of San Clemente, CA.
The Badgers are loading up on cupcakes but they are also about to get their first big test at Arizona State this Saturday. Win, and Wisconsin is a top 10 team. (Lisa)
West Virginia struggled to beat William & Mary in week one but its defense held the vaunted Sooners’ offense to 16 points? I’m not very impressed with Oklahoma thus far. (Lisa)
This Oklahoma team will have to rely on its running game, since they have really struggled throwing the ball. I don’t see them walking out of South Bend with a win two weeks from now. (Anonymous FBS D-1 staffer)
Pat Fitzgerald is one of the best college football coaches in the country. The Wildcats are 2-0 against BCS teams. That deserves a top 15 ranking. (Lisa)
The last time U-Dub won a regular season non-conference away game was in 2007 (at Syracuse). The only other occurrence of such a win since the turn of the last century was in 2000 (at Colorado). YIKES!! Despite being ranked, you would have to consider a win on Saturday vs. Illinois at Soldier Field a mild upset. (Adesina)
It was almost comical to watch the team come inside the 25-yard line and wait for a turn over to happen. On the bright side, Dominique Easley may be a first round pick if he keeps up his play all season as he looked unblockable vs. Miami. If the Gators want to salvage their season, they will need to improve offensively. (Matty J.)
The Michigan offensive line handled All-American defensive end Stephon Tuitt. He finished the game with zero tackles, and he was lined up on the complete opposite side of the formation from Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan when he did make a play – that idiotic interception in the end zone. (Anonymous FBS D-1 staffer)
Trevone Boykin is the unquestioned leader of this team now that Casey Pachall is injured. I was worried that Gary Patterson’s defense gave up a ton of rushing yards to the quarterback of Southeastern Louisiana, until I realized that the quarterback was Bryan Bennett, who barely lost the Oregon job to Marcus Mariota last summer. (Anonymous FBS D-1 staffer)
In four games against ranked opponents last season, the Huskers went 1-3, allowed 38.25 points per game and 482 yards per game in those contents. And those numbers DO NOT include the 70 points and 640 yards allowed to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. What do I see next to “UCLA” as they come into Lincoln? A ranking!! Time for the Blackshirts to step up…or lie down once again. (Adesina)
The Rebs get the Texas tire fire this weekend. (T.J.)
Others receiving votes:
Fresno State (13 points), Arizona State (7), Brigham Young (5), Washington State (3), Arizona (2), Penn State (2), Boise State (1), Texas Tech (1), Northern Illinois (1)
* – To break ties, we used a three-step criteria; 1) higher number of first-place votes, 2) higher number of ballots (out of six) the teams appeared in, 3) highest single ranking by an individual pollster (e.g. if Team A and Team B are tied cumulatively and appeared in all six polls, but Team A’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 7 and Team B’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 9, Team A wins tiebreaker)