College football is unpredictable by nature, but Week 3 was particularly so, even for the top teams in the country. Top-ranked Alabama survived a massive scare from Florida, while Oklahoma looked vulnerable against Nebraska in a rekindled rivalry. In the primetime battle between No. 10 Penn State and No. 22 Auburn, no one knew for sure which team was going to walk away victorious until the clock hit zero. The Nittany Lions, aided by the 12th man in a White Out game, edged the Tigers.
Several upstart teams joined the national title race this weekend as well, including Ole Miss, with quarterback Matt Corral scoring seven touchdowns in a 61-21 rout over Tulane. Iowa State also had a big bounce-back win over UNLV, while Michigan continued to impress by running Northern Illinois out of the Big House to the tune of 63 points and 606 yards.
That means it's time to judge where these teams stand as we enter the final weekend in September. Let's hand out some grades to the frontrunners to win the College Football Playoff based on futures odds provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
College football grades: Week 3 report card
|7/4||B-||A win is a win, but the Crimson Tide left a lot to be desired in the 31-29 triumph over the Gators, particularly in the second half. The defense got lit up and the offense couldn't run the ball. Had it not been for a missed extra point from Florida, the game very well could have gone to overtime. Still, there's no wrong way to outlast an undefeated team in a hostile environment.|
|7/2||A-||Georgia didn't cover the 31.5-point spread but only because South Carolina slipped in the back door in the fourth quarter. Quarterback JT Daniels threw for 303 yards and three touchdown in the 40-13 win in his first action since Week 1 against Clemson .|
|9-1||F||Clemson needed style points after its opening night loss, and it didn't get a single one in the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech. The Tigers' offense has looked awful against its two Power Five foes, scoring just two touchdowns in eight such quarters.|
|10-1||C+||Yeah, it was a rivalry game, but Oklahoma underwhelmed in its 23-16 win over Nebraska. The Cornhuskers defense was a pain in the rear for Sooners QB Spencer Rattler , who was erratic. This team looked like anything but a title contender.|
|10-1||C||Don't let the 41-20 score fool you. The Buckeyes got a big-time scare from winless Tulsa in Columbus. The offense struggled to get going and the hangover from the Oregon loss was real.|
|20-1||B||The Ducks rebounded from a lethargic first half to blow out Stony Brook, 48-7. However, the offense only went 3 of 10 on third downs against a cupcake. Not great ... but not bad.|
|30-1||A+||QB Sean Clifford was poised and the defense played great. Penn State looked like a complete football team in its win over Auburn. The Nittany Lions already have two quality victories on their résumé, and frankly, they've been the best team in the Big Ten East.|
|40-1||A||QB Zach Calzada threw touchdowns on two of his first three passes in the 34-0 shutout over New Mexico. He looked more in control of the offense than he did coming off of the bench in Week 2 vs. Colorado. The defense obviously did its part, too, by keeping the Lobos out of the end zone. Texas A&M needed this rebound heading into its showdown next week vs. Arkansas.|
|60-1||B+||Losing leaves a small margin for error for the rest of the season, but the Gators gained a ton of street cred by pushing the Crimson Tide. The defense showed up in a big way after falling behind early, while the offense found an identity with QB Emory Jones. It's a loss, but we learned a lot of good things about Dan Mullen's team. Florida is the only team to come within 15 points of Alabama in one-plus years, and it's done so twice.|
|60-1||B||Notre Dame was sloppy for the third straight week but pulled away from Purdue in the fourth quarter to win, 27-13. The Fighting Irish are developing, but they have some work to do to convince the selection committee they're a true national title contender.|
|60-1||B||Iowa did what it was supposed to do against Kent State in a 30-7 win. The defense was suffocating and the offense played smart. The Hawkeyes controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. It was a very "Iowa" win.|
|60-1||A||The Wolverines are 3-0 after shellacking Northern Illinois, 63-10, putting up 606 yards in the process. Embattled coach Jim Harbaugh might have something brewing in Ann Arbor after all.|
|75-1||C+||The Bearcats are going to need a ton of style points in order to make the CFP, and it didn't really get them against Indiana. Sure, the 38-24 win looks solid on paper, but that game was extremely sloppy and lethargic for a majority of the afternoon. |
|100-1||A||Corral practically did everything himself, rushing for four touchdowns and passing for another three in the win over Tulane. The Rebels were two-touchdown favorites against the same team that nearly upset Oklahoma, so this was the epitome of a beatdown.|
|100-1||C||I'm not sure how LSU has odds to begin with, but oddsmakers set those numbers for a reason. The Tigers topped Central Michigan 49-21, which isn't the defensive performance that they needed in order to get style points.|
|100-1||A||The Cyclones were prime candidates for a hangover after losing to rival Iowa last week, but Matt Campbell's team rebounded with a road win over UNLV 48-3. Sure, it's UNLV, but Iowa State need to handle its business and did just that. |