On paper, Week 3 didn’t really have much going for it besides an SEC clash. However, the day would not turn out to be so kind.
Four ranked teams fell–three to unranked opponents. The Big Ten’s misery continued as all five teams that played an opponent from a power conference lost (and Indiana also fell to Bowling Green).
The Pac-12’s reputation suffered as well. Thought by many to be the toughest conference in the nation this year, Week 3 did little to back those beliefs up. One of the league’s contenders suffered a shocking upset while two others lost their quarterbacks to injury in unimpressive wins.
It was not all gloom, though. Vanderbilt won, finally!
Looking ahead to Week 4, there are plenty of intriguing matchups to be had. Oklahoma has looked rather imposing thus far, but now the Sooners have to travel east to Morgantown to take on a much-improved West Virginia squad.
Florida and Alabama lock horns in a big SEC showdown while the ACC’s top two teams in recent years square off. LSU faces Mississippi State in a game that will answer a lot of questions about both teams while BYU’s rugged rushing attack matches up with Virginia’s stout defense.
Recapping Week 3: Ambush!
It happens every year. There is always one week on the schedule where the slate of games looks entirely unappetizing. There are few, if any, marquee matchups, and nothing is going to happen.
Then, half the top ten is in danger of losing, and quite a few teams see their dreams go down in flames. It happens every year, yet we never see it coming.
A pair of top-ten teams fell on the road this week. Georgia lost a thriller to South Carolina and nemesis Steve Spurrier, 38-35. It’s the fourth loss in five years for the Bulldogs against the Gamecocks, and it was all the more surprising considering how dominant Georgia had looked in its opener against Clemson and how lackluster South Carolina had look in its first two games.
South Carolina’s defense had a goal line stand late in the fourth quarter that was the difference. Facing first-and-goal from the 4, the Gamecocks kept Georgia out of the end zone, and the Bulldogs subsequently missed the ensuing field goal, the second such miss of the game.
The big shocker of the weekend, though, was #9 USC getting run over by Boston College. The Trojans gave up 452 yards rushing, including 191 to quarterback Tyler Murphy. USC managed only 20 yards rushing itself on 29 carries, and quarterback Cody Kessler was sacked five times.
Virginia Tech wasn’t a top-ten team, but the Hokies’ jubilation following their big upset of Ohio State was short-lived. They were down 21-0 to East Carolina in the first quarter and ultimately fell short 28-21 at home.
Future Jeopardy! Answer of the Week
If you’ve ever watched a Clemson game, you’ve undoubtedly heard the commentators mention Howard’s Rock, but you might not know what it is.
Well, first off, it’s a rock. Glad we got that out of the way.
Howard’s Rock is a rock from Death Valley, California. Death Valley is also a popular nickname for the Tigers’ stadium, officially called Memorial Stadium. The rock sits atop a pedestal on The Hill, located behind the east end zone, and Clemson players rub it before every game for good luck.
The legendary rock was given to coach Frank Howard in the early 1960s by a friend. Howard used it as a doorstop for a few years until it was installed in its current location.
According to Clemson lore, Howard told his team before a game against Wake Forest in 1967 that if they gave 110 percent, they would be allowed to touch the rock. The Tigers went out and won the game, and the tradition stuck.
Rubbing the rock is part of another pregame tradition at Clemson, too. Before every home game, Clemson runs down The Hill. The story behind this tradition isn’t as interesting as Howard’s Rock; the team used to dress at nearby Fike Field House and then run downhill to the field.
In its current form, the players dress for the game then are bussed to the other side of the stadium under police escort where they disembark and gather around Howard’s Rock.
Once they are assembled, a cannon fires, the band begins to play, and the team runs down the hill and onto the field. It has been called “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.”
Week 4 Game of the Week
Clemson at Florida State
This game just got a whole lot more interesting. Last year, both teams were ranked in the top five when Florida State humiliated Clemson 51-14 on its home turf. One has to figure the Tigers have been itching for payback, although coming into the season, that didn’t seem likely considering how loaded the Seminoles are and how many offensive playmakers the Tigers had to replace. Throw in Clemson’s Week 1 loss to Georgia, and this game seemed like it’d be another easy Florida State victory.
That changed this week when it was announced that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, will be suspended and forced to sit out for the first half. How will that affect the Seminoles? If their offense bogs down, and they get in a hole against Clemson, will Winston be able to dig them out of it?
Clemson doesn’t have the talent that Florida State does, but the Tigers do boast an experienced defense. If Clemson can take advantage of Winston’s absence, build up a lead, and gain some confidence, things could get really interesting in Tallahassee.
Prediction: Florida State