Week 3 is in the books and as we head into week 4, we have seen a good enough sample size to start looking toward the future, plus enough of a sample size to make large overreactions.
Here are the Post-Week 3 Overreactions, Tier List, Heisman Favorites and more!
ALABAMA’S RUN GAME IS AWFUL! – Let’s not freak out because Alabama didn’t put up 100 yards of rushing. There are a few things to remember…
First, Alabama has arguably the best quarterback and wide receiver quartet ever assembled in college football. Alabama still put up 47 points and had almost 500 yards through the air and 5 passing touchdowns.
Second, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson looked great, despite their low rushing totals. They averaged 4.6 ypc combined so they still ran the ball fairly well, they just didn’t have many carries. However, they also combined to haul in 7 catches for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air including a nasty touchdown catch from Najee Harris that saw him throw a guy to the ground, hurdle another, and then bulldoze his way into the end zone.
Third, while you may want to blame Steve Sarkisian for his play calling to not get the running game going, you have to think about the run-pass option that is now so prevalent in college football. More times than not, Tua was pulling the ball and throwing it instead of handing it off. It’s what led to DeVonta Smith having 8 catches for 136 yards and two scores. Henry Rugs had an 81 yard touchdown catch that was a short pass. It was Tua making decisions to not hand the ball off, and it ultimately paid off. Alabama fans should trust the process and trust what is going through Tua’s mind when he played a near perfect game.
AUBURN’S RUN GAME IS SOLVED! – On the opposite end of the spectrum, Auburn rushed for 467 yards…but it was against Kent State.
Whitlow looked decent, but Kam Martin actually looked the best to me. Martin had 7 carries for 71 yards, averaging 10.1 and almost all of them were really solid carries, whereas Whitlow would have a couple of carries for nothing then break one for a big gain.
Three rushers had over 100 yards, but one of them was backup QB Joey Gatewood. It was also nice to see Harold Joiner and Malik Miller finally join the conversation. Hell, even Cord Sandberg had a carry. But doing that against Kent State doesn’t say much. The rush game against Oregon seems good on paper, but wasn’t really as much when Whitlow was run into the ground to the point of getting hurt.
Let’s see what happens with Texas A&M before we rush to judgment. If Auburn gets 200+ yards against A&M, then we’ll talk.
THE PAC-12 AND ACC ARE GARBAGE! – I’ll agree with this one. The ACC and Pac-12 have not had great seasons so far. What once were proud programs like UCLA and Florida State are now at the bottom of the barrel not only in the Power 5 conferences, but in all of FBS. You could argue the ACC is the weakest Power 5 conference and is actually worse than the AAC or Mountain West and you may be right. Same goes for the Pac-12.
Clemson is good, but even they are struggling to look dominant right now with Trevor Lawrence throwing five interceptions so far this year. The Pac-12 has six teams ranked, but outside of Utah, they are all at the bottom of the rankings outside of Oregon who has already lost to Auburn.
Bottom line – the gap is closing between Power 5 and Group of 5. Teams like Boise, UCF, Temple and more are starting to have legitimate cases to work their way up into bigger roles within the college football landscape, whether that be in expansion talks or even playoff talks.
I wanted to give it a few weeks before I started putting together my tier lists. I feel like the competition has already separated itself this early in the season but some surprise teams have made their way into the fold. After the first three weeks, most teams have already played a good team. Rarely will a team get three stinkers back-to-back-to-back.
I don’t rank every team, only the teams that I would put in the S or A Tier. What is an S Tier? S basically means “super” as in – these are the absolute cream of the crop and definitely playoff caliber teams. They have separated themselves from everyone and no one is on their level. In video games, S Tier characters as usually the ones that are banned because they are so overpowered.
If a team is a B Tier team or below, I don’t rank them. I could continue to rank tiers until I listed every FBS team, but I am not going to do that. If a team made the cut for S or A (which is broken into A+, A and A-) then that means they are a “good” team. Imagine these tiers as my top 25 – there won’t necessarily be 25, it’s however many I feel belong on the list. I’ve always disliked top 25 lists because nothing has really been done to say that Alabama or Clemson or Georgia is better. They are all good teams now that are all capable of beating one another and belong on the same level for now.
Note – the teams are listed in alphabetical order, not a ranking, under any given tier.
1. QB Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
Jalen is lighting it up right now. Granted, it’s not the best competition, but they did smoke UCLA and Houston. We’ll see what Big 12 play looks like, but Jalen looks like the best QB in the country right now. A year and a half ago, no one would have believed that.
He is currently 12th in total passing with 880 yards. He is 49/61 (80.3%) with the largest yards per attempt of any quarterback at 14.4, Joe Burrow is next with 12.5. He also has 9 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Jalen is known for his legs as well where he is currently ranked #6 in total rushing for all players with 373 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 9.8 yards per carry. If he even comes close to this pace in Big 12 play, he is the shoo-in for the Heisman.
2. QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Tua is doing Tua things so far this season and is tied for the most touchdowns in FBS with 12, but he has no interceptions (Anthony Gordon from Washington State has 12, but 2 picks). He is aided by the fact that he has the best wide receivers in the country. He is averaging 11.1 yards per attempt which is the third highest behind Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts.
3. QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
Joe Burrow is putting LSU on his back. He is the second leading passer in the country with 1,122 yards through three games and he has the highest completion percentage of any starting quarterback at 83.3% (75/90). He has 11 touchdowns with only two picks and has one of the best wins on the year so far after going into Austin and taking down Texas while going 31/39 for four touchdowns and an intereception.
4. QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Herbert might have slipped from the conversation after the loss to Auburn, but he is still one of the best QB’s playing right now. He is 77/105 on the season (73.3%) but he has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s played clean, and in the loss to Auburn still played well throwing 28/37 (75.7%) for a touchdown. Since then, he’s played lesser competition but has thrown five touchdowns in each of his next two games.
5. RB Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State)
Maybe a bit of a wildcard, but Hubbard has been phenomenal through three games and leads the nation in rushing with 521 yards (second place is Charles Williams from UNLV with 455). He averages 7.9 yards per carry and has seven touchdowns, the most of any rusher.
He did all this despite being limited in week two against McNeese State. Outside of that game, he rushed for 221 yards at Oregon State and 256 yards at Tulsa, scoring three times both places and averaging about 8.3 yards per carry. Oklahoma State has a legit offense and are one of only three 3-0 teams right now in the Big 12.
Honorable Mentions: Sam Ehlinger, Jonathan Taylor, Anthony Gordon