Off the Grid: A wrap-up of Week 3 in college football

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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Turned out to be a pretty exciting Saturday, don't ya' think? Not a lot of high-profile matchups but a lot of high-end drama, including awesome OT battles between Notre Dame and Michigan State and Clemson and Auburn. The day was capped by a scintillating Iowa-Arizona game in Tucson, the only showdown of ranked opponents.

One question: How can anyone say that pro football is better? C'mon now.

A recap of the best and worst from Saturday.

LaMichael James runs wild on an overmatched Portland State to the tune of 226 yards on 14 carries. (AP)  
LaMichael James runs wild on an overmatched Portland State to the tune of 226 yards on 14 carries. (AP)  
The Good

1. Team of the Day: Arizona
Won vs. No. 9 Iowa 34-27.

Despite some hairy moments, U of A held back a furious Iowa rally for the most meaningful non-conference win in the Mike Stoops era. The Wildcats sacked Ricky Stanzi on three of Iowa's last four offensive plays.

2. Player of the Day: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon.
OK, OK, it was against Portland State, but James was able to sprint for 226 yards on 14 carries, including two TDs and runs of 66, 28, 35 and 52 yards, before spending the second half signing autographs in the stands.

3. The Nebraska defense
Not to get too geeked on a win over Udub, but the Blackshirts held Jake Locker to 4-of-20 passing and 71 yards while picking him off twice, returning one for six. Niiiice.

4. Mark Ingram's knee
Looks like his hinge is just fine; he ran for 151 yards and a pair of 48-yard gains, including his first carry of the day.

5. Nevada's offense
In a showdown between the nation's best offense (Nevada) and the nation's best defense (Cal), the Wolf Pack ran roughshod through the Bears D for 497 yards and 26 first downs.

The Bad

1. San Diego State and Troy
The Aztecs let Missouri score a 68-yard touchdown in the waning seconds to lose 27-24 and Troy lost 34-33 to UAB as a 44-yard Hail Mary was caught as the clock hit zeroes. Gah!

2. The Big East and ACC still scheduled to get BCS auto-bids
The Mountain West (No. 5) and the WAC (No. 6) are both in front of these two in ESPN's conference rankings (the ACC was No. 7 and Big East was No. 8). How about we quit all this crab-appling and award the six auto-bids based on performance? Just sayin'.

3. The struggling dynamos

Jake Locker, QB, Washington.
4-20, 71 yards, one TD, two INTs.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor.
16-28, 163 yards, one TD, 15 rushes, 20 yards.

Jeff Demps, RB, Florida.
26 carries, 73 yards, 2.8 avg., fumble.

Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State.
11 carries, 59 yards.

4. The nation's Jekyl & Hyde team: Oklahoma
The Sooners go from being Super Bowl-ready in a rout of Florida State to a near-escape vs. Air Force 27-24. AFA had 25 first downs and 430 yards vs. the Sooner D. OU screams "uncle!"

5. Michigan replaces Boise in the "their opponents stink" department
The Wolverines not only barely beat FBS UMass (42-37), but also got "Boise'd" by having an impressive win over UConn soiled when the Huskies lost to Temple 30-16 and Michigan State's OT win over Notre Dame.

The Ugly

Football needs a minor league system
Some guys just don't have any business going to college. As you might've heard, Urban Meyer has had 27 Florida players arrested or in trouble with the law in 30 separate cases in his six years in Gainesville. And this isn't to pick on Florida, as you've seen throughout our sport in recent years, some of the best teams in the country routinely have some of the worst social degenerates playing big roles. As Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald said, "To compete at a high level in a violent sport, you need violent people. It's that simple."

And with the hundreds of suspensions and dismissals, it appears as if he might be right.

The No-Brainers
Five obvious things we can surmise from Saturday's action.

1. If we had any doubts about Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett or Alabama's Mark Ingram, they all went away.

2. Just like last year, we may have been bamboozled by Michigan's good start.

3. We're still waiting for Florida to impress us.

4. The Boise State-Nevada game on Nov. 26 just got a lot more interesting.

5. Texas didn't give into the Lubbock hex, but has to wonder which Oklahoma team will show up for their showdown.

The Heroes

Aaron Bates and Charlie Gantt, special teamers, Michigan State
The Spartans punter/holder, and former high school quarterback, threw 29 yards to a wide-open Gantt to beat Notre Dame in overtime 34-31. MSU moves to 3-0.

The Goats

Arizona State could've beaten No. 10 Wisconsin, if:
  Returner Kyle Middlebrooks gives a stiff-arm on that kick return to end the first half.

  Running back James Morrison makes his block and the game-tying extra isn't swatted away.

  Defensive end James Brooks doesn't get a personal foul on a key play that would've stopped a Wisky drive and got the Devils the ball back one last time.

Best comment

Trevor Matich, ESPN, when asked if Reggie Bush's returning of his Heisman was a "do the right thing" message or not
"I think it was just a message of 'you need to hide it better than Reggie Bush did' because this is a generation of Facebook, You Tube and Twitter. So it's all about 'me' with players these days. I don't think the lesson of morality and the obligation to your teammates will sink it because of this."

Worst comment

CBS College Sports' Mike Leach, during the telecast of Saturday's Washington State-SMU game
"These are the most impressive legs of any two teams in college football playing today."

Ummmmm, huh?

Add to the Heisman list

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
21-33 for 380 yards, three TDs, no INTs., game-winning pass.

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Nine carries, 151 yards, 2 TDs, no hint of a knee injury.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
10-15, 181 yards, two TDs, 17 carries, 148 yards, three TDs in 52-31 win over Cal.

Take off the Heisman list

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Second game where his presence was really missed and the Bulldogs lost (31-24 to Arkansas).

Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
11 carries, 38 yards, one TD, one fumble in 24-0 win over Kent State. If you're an All-American candidate, you need more than 38 yards vs. the Flashes.

Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M
11-31, 194 yards, one touchdown, four INTs in 27-20 win over FIU.

Best coaching job

Will Muschamp, Texas defensive coordinator
Held Texas Tech to 165 total yards and 3 for 13 on third-down conversions.

Worst coaching job

Rocky Long, San Diego State defensive coordinator
How does a dump pass to the flats turn into a 68-yard score in the final minute?

Look who's 3-0

Some unlikely unbeatens as we head to the final Saturday of September:

North Carolina State.
Won vs. Cincinnati 30-19.
Must've been the luck of the new live mascot on the sideline.

Kansas State
Won vs. Iowa State 27-20.
For once, the 'Cats' wins aren't not all coming against Division II teams.

Missouri
Won vs. San Diego State 27-24.
Blaine Gabbert and T.J. Moe hook up on a 68-yard catch-and-run with 00:51 left.

Stanford
Won vs. Wake Forest 68-24.
The Cardinal emerge as the top contender for Oregon's Pac-10 crown.

Northwestern
Won at Rice 30-13.
QB Dan Persa goes 24-32 for 307 yards, TD, 0 ints.

The Dreaded Glitch Award

Either ESPN or the referees at the Notre Dame-Michigan State game really screwed the pooch. Am I the only one that noticed on MSU's game-winning fake field goal in overtime, the play clock actually ran out before the ball was snapped?

The most painful ending, literally

Clemson-Auburn
Good thing this game didn't go another overtime, I don't think injured CU quarterback Kyle Parker would've been able to go one more play. But missing that wide open receiver on third down in OT probably hurts more.

Worst uniform decision

Stanford
The Cardinal wear all-black uniforms? C'mon Stanford, as the pinnacle of institutions of learning, I thought you guys were smarter than that.

Biggest smokescreen

Texas A&M
The Aggies are 3-0, but don't be impressed. Saturday's 27-20 win over Florida International came after the Aggies had to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. As mentioned, QB Jarrod Johnson was mostly abysmal, showing regression from last year's hot finish.

One last FYI

Boise State manhandled Wyoming 51-6 Saturday. And yes, that's the same Cowboys team that gave No. 6 Texas all that first-half trouble last week.

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