Here are some random thoughts on last week and next week and everything else I can think of:
— I’ve gotten a lot of grief from Oregon fans for not putting LaMichael James on my latest HP Heisman Watch. The reason? I just think his Heisman hopes were shattered by what happened to the Ducks against LSU. Heading into the fourth quarter, James had 36 yards and Oregon was down by 20. Everyone came in expecting to see that incredible Duck offense zipping by the SEC defense. Just like they thought would happen against Auburn. But it didn’t. And while James is now putting up big yardage against the likes of SE Mizzou and Arizona (114th in rush defense), the voters are yawning. Telltale sign, James is leading the nation in rushing but didn’t pick up a single point in the latest Heismanpundit.com Heisman Poll.
— In case you doubt the effect Oregon’s losses to Auburn and LSU has had on that program’s perception, consider that if Oregon and LSU played again on Saturday, the line would look a whole lot different (and in LSU’s favor) than it did back in week one.
— Everyone is talking about the LSU defense and there’s no doubt that it’s a dominant unit, but I think Alabama’s might actually be better. The Tide have allowed just four plays over 20 yards on the year (all passes) and no rush longer than 20 yards. That’s impressive. What has made LSU so damn successful is the timeliness, craziness and degree of difficulty of its turnovers. Take away, say, four or five of the 11 turnovers LSU has gotten on the year and the Tigers may not be undefeated.
— Speaking of plays allowed from scrimmage, Kansas State’s defense has allowed the fewest gains of 10 yards or more nationally, just 24 in three games. The Wildcats play Baylor and Robert Griffin III this week so we’ll see if that’s legit or not, won’t we?
— Most underrated receiver in the country through three games has to be Marquess Wilson of Washington State. The true sophomore leads the nation in receiving yardage per game at 143 and is averaging an amazing 28.6 yards per catch.
— Crazy running back stat of the year so far: Henry Josey of Missouri is sixth nationally in rushing at 133 yards per game, but his most impressive stat is his 12.4 yards per rush. But that’s not the crazy stat I’m talking about. Consider that Josey does not lead the country in yards per carry (min. 4 rushes per game required). That honor goes to Orwin Smith of Georgia Tech, who has 349 yards on 19 carries, an average of 18.4 yards per carry!
— Can we talk about Georgia Tech now? The Yellowjackets weren’t supposed to be as good as last year, what with the loss of Josh Nesbitt and all. But it’s hard to ignore a team that leads the nation in scoring (53.3 ppg), rushing (411 ypg) and total offense (630 ypg). The Jackets even average 231 passing yards per game. What gives? I think the play of junior QB Tevin Washington is a bit reason for it, as he has 821 passing yards, with just 8 TDs and 1 pick … on just 42 attempts! His pass efficiency rating is an astronomical 286.5. RG3 eat your heart out, right? Who will stop this attack? The very talented defense of North Carolina couldn’t as GTU ran for 312 yards and passed for 184 while averaging 7 yards per play. The Jackets could be 8-0 when they host Clemson and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks. So much for that probation hangover…
My favorite teams to watch so far this year: Clemson, Baylor, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Stanford
— Games I’m looking forward to the most this weekend:
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas — what was once a great Southwestern Conference rivalry is soon to become an SEC one.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech — Is Clemson for real? I think so. This game should help prove it.
Baylor at Kansas State — Is Robert Griffin for real? I think so. This game should help prove it.
Alabama at Florida — Clash of the Titans. The Tide should suffocate the Gator offense.
Nebraska at Wisconsin — Red on Red. Power Offense vs. Power Defense. Wilson vs. Martinez.
UCLA at Stanford — Here’s where we start to see if Andrew Luck can withstand the pressure of being the Heisman front runner.
Favorite player to watch: Tyrann Mathieu of LSU. How can you not? You watch LSU play and he is seemingly everywhere. His nickname is the “Honey Badger”, which reminds me of this very humorous video.