The thrill of Week 1 of the college football season is behind us. The slow burn of Week 2 is in the past. Time for some more kindling on the fire in Week 3.
#5 Oklahoma’s first real test (or not)
12:00pm ET, ABC
Oklahoma’s perfect regular season in 2017 was undone at home by the Iowa St. Cyclones last year in an unbelievable 38-31 win over then #3 OU (they would repeat the ridiculousness less than a month later beating #4 TCU, 14-7). This year, the Sooners head to Ames, Iowa, looking to avoid a repeat.
It’s the same level of talent disparity. Last year, OU was a 26-point favorite. This year, it’s at 18.5. So yeah. Huge favorites.
It’s easy to see why.
The Sooners have replaced 2018 NFL Draft #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield with 17-sport athlete (slight exaggeration) QB Kyler Murray who will be protected by LT Bobby Evans with WR Marquise Brown and WR CeeDee Lamb working downfield. Sadly (again), we’ve lost RB Rodney Anderson to injury. But there’s plenty of youth on defense to begin placing in the NFL ranks like OLB Caleb Kelly.
And don’t look completely past ISU for NFL talent. RB David Montgomery will be one of the first running backs taken while WR Hakeem Butler could be a very attractive red zone target.
Every NFL team will scout #12 LSU Tigers at #7 Auburn Tigers
3:30pm ET, CBS
8:00pm ET, ABC
While NFL fans might be looking at the talent on the field, this one is ultimately about someone conspicuously missing from the sidelines: OSU HC Urban Meyer. He’s serving out the last of his three-game suspension in what will be a bit of a win-win catapult game for the Buckeyes. If they win, they look forward to getting their head coach back having passed the biggest test during his absence; lose, and they have a pretty obvious excuse to fall back on. Either way, a trip to Happy Valley in two weeks offers no such buffer...
As for the prospects, there are tons. OSU’s draft headliner will be DE Nick Bosa who could be the #1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, but it could be a fun one for LB Baron Browning and RB J.K. Dobbins. Both, as true sophomores who are both from the Metroplex, look like legit 2020 prospects. Both are playing in AT&T Stadium, the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys. Both are going to want to show out big time.
And keep an eye on TCU LB Ty Summers, Los Angeles Rams fans. Might not be a combine killer, but could make sense next spring.
#22 USC Trojans at Texas Longhorns is program desperation mode
8:00pm ET, FOX
We talked about this on the last episode (58:40 mark or so) of Turf Show Radio, but this one is really about falling off of a cliff. One of these two teams has to lose this...and that’s BAD. All caps bad.
In the three years under former Head Coach Charlie Strong, the Longhorns were not ranked once. They finished 6-7, 5-7 and 5-7. In his first year as head coach, Tom Herman took over a Texas team that was ranked #23 in the country. They went 6-6 in the season winning the bowl game in which their punter was named MVP (he’s very good) to take them to 7-6. The team ranked #23 in the final rankings, North Carolina St., was 9-4. Texas was #23 to start the year again this year. They played Maryland to open the season again this year. They lost to Maryland to open the season again this year. Texas (probably) isn’t going to fire Tom Herman if things go badly this year. They’ve been the richest program for a decade and are just now being overtaken by Texas A&M after eight straight seasons of losing. Oh, and they still have to play TCU. And OU. And Oklahoma St. And West Virginia. And they lost to Maryland and beat Tulsa by a touchdown so just toss in every game as a possible loss at this point.
As for USC, they’ve avoided anything near that kind of collapse. The Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian years flirted with the precipice of something similar, but never crossed that threshold. And with QB Sam Darnold at the helm the last two years, the Trojans had 21 wins combined the last two years. But now Darnold is gone. And USC is coming off of a game in which they scored three points, the lowest they’ve scored in a game since 1941. That’s hardly going to stave off concerns of a post-Darnold meltdown. The schedule should help a ton this year. And that’s the problem for USC. A loss here and a misstep anywhere else in the next month would be a bad, bad, bad way to head into the meat of the schedule.
One of these two teams has to lose this.
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