Winners and losers of college football's Week 3 headlined by Big Ten failuresSeptember 16, 2018
Published 9:10 PM EDT Sep 15, 2018
Somewhat lost among Saturday’s early starts was this score: Temple 35, Maryland 14.
Temple had opened with a loss to Villanova. The Owls then doubled down with a loss to Buffalo. On the other hand, Maryland opened with a win against Texas and then topped Bowling Green. That Maryland had done so without its head coach, the suspended D.J. Durkin, made the Terrapins one of the early success stories of the 2018 season.
Maryland’s stumble was just the first blow in a rough afternoon for the Big Ten. Starting with the Terrapins’ loss, a range of scores on Saturday put an official end to the idea that the Big Ten is the strongest league in the country.
Just as Maryland was flailing, Nebraska lost at home to Troy to mark its worst start since 1957. Two games don’t indicate anything about Scott Frost’s tenure at his alma mater, though the Cornhuskers’ number of errors must be fixed before his debut season runs off the rails. Illinois led South Florida 19-7 in the third quarter but allowed the game’s final 18 points in a 25-19 loss.
Wisconsin might have painted itself into a corner with a 24-21 loss at home to Brigham Young, a team the Badgers handled with ease a year ago. The Badgers are still a factor in the Big Ten hunt, especially it what seems like a very weak West Division, but the loss tot BYU feeds into the theory that Wisconsin was overrated heading into the regular season as a result of last year’s 13-1 finish, which was in turn built on the back of a soft schedule. It’s a pretty complicated theory.
STUNNER: BYU knocks off No. 6 Wisconsin after missed field goal
And lastly, the most damning score of all: Kansas 55, Rutgers 14. Rutgers is the punchline of the Big Ten, but the Scarlet Knights are college football royalty in comparison to the Jayhawks. Or so we thought. The worst team in the Big Ten is 41 points worse than the worst team in the Big 12 Conference, and in the world of college football that’s some important math.
It’s been that kind of day for the Big Ten. Here are the rest of Saturday’s winners and losers:
It’s fair to call Orgeron the day’s big winner after a 22-21 win at Auburn gave LSU two impactful victories during the season’s first three weeks, joining a dominant performance against Miami (Fla.) in the opener. After a summer spent under the radar in the Southeastern Conference, the Tigers are destined for the top 10 in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.
TIGERS STUNNER: No. 13 LSU knocks off No. 7 Auburn with final-play field goal
Another team that passed the offseason far out of the spotlight: Oklahoma State was viewed as a borderline Big 12 contender, far behind rival Oklahoma, and as not likely to make much noise outside of conference play. Saturday’s 44-21 win against previously unbeaten Boise State showcased a defense that might be good enough to make the Cowboys a factor for a New Year’s Six bowl. Few coaches in the country do a better job milking the most of their roster than Mike Gundy.
The Blue Devils continue to impress. Through three weeks, Duke owns wins against Army, Northwestern and now Baylor, the last on the road. And the 40-20 doubling of the Bears came without starting quarterback Daniel Jones, injured in last week’s win against the Wildcats. In a pretty unsettled Atlantic Coast Conference, could Duke make a case for being the best team in the Coastal Division?
This was a win coach Kalani Sitake needed after a dreadful 2017, and a win the Cougars needed as they continue to work through a very tough September schedule. But now 2-1 with wins against Arizona and Wisconsin, BYU gets McNeese State next Saturday, Washington on Sept. 29 and then a pretty smooth October and November. That Saturday’s win came a year after losing 40-6 at home to the Badgers shows the Cougars’ offseason growth.
These wins are becoming fairly commonplace for the Trojans, who can add a win at Nebraska to last year’s win at LSU. Coach Neal Brown and the Trojans have righted the ship after opening the year with a lopsided loss to Boise State.
You wouldn’t think it could get worse for Florida State’s first-year coach than his rain-soaked opening loss to Virginia Tech. But Samford was worse. And Syracuse was the worst yet. The Seminoles’ 30-7 loss was marked by sluggishness and a handful of shaky coaching decisions, leaving Taggart under a strange amount of pressure for a coach just three games into his tenure.
Because it bears repeating: Rutgers lost to Kansas by 41 points, or about six touchdowns.
JAYHAWKS ROCK: Kansas gets consecutive FBS wins for first time this decade
First, let’s throw some credit toward Pat Narduzzi and Pittsburgh, which pulled off a nice win against the Yellow Jackets one week after being blasted at home by rival Penn State. But the bigger story is the play of Paul Johnson team which is now 1-2 with games still to come against Clemson, Duke, Virginia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia.
The Mid-American Conference
What could’ve been an eventful day for the MAC turned out to be a dud, full of swings and misses in games pitting the league’s plucky upstarts against big-name competition from the Power Five. Toledo thought it was in line for an upset at home against Miami (Fla.) but come up well short in a 49-24 loss. Ball State never sniffed Indiana in losing 38-10. The 63-10 loss Kent State took at Penn State was very, very expected, so no harm there. But Miami (Ohio) didn’t put up much of a fight against Minnesota and Ohio’s defense was trounced by Virginia.