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College Football Monday – Week 4
Team of the Week: Fresno St.
Players of the Week
Offense: QB Tom Savage - Pittsburgh
Defense: LB C.J. Mosley - Alabama
Photo: LB Shayne Skov - Stanford
Upcoming Game of the Week: LSU (4-0) at Georgia (2-1)
With the first month of the college football season in the books, there are still 20 clubs undefeated with the top eight teams in the rankings showing perfect records. Coming off a soft overall weekend schedule, Alabama continues to hold their #1 ranking in every poll with the top five unchanged.
Though Bama holds the top spot in the national rankings, many feel that Oregon and Clemson will rise in the point totals over the next month. Both are legitimate national threats to upset the Bama club. Within the SEC, the Tide will face a huge test from LSU in November, though little else with a soft overall schedule with no Georgia, Florida or South Carolina on their regular season agenda.
The Tide faces a rejuvenated Ole Miss (3-0) club this week that comes off a bye week. Ole Miss is a very young club that had a great recruiting class and a potential force going forward in the SEC. This week’s matchup is interesting to see how mature they are at this point of their development. Oregon faces Cal at home and Clemson hosts Wake Forest in two expected mismatches.
The Game of the Week is LSU at Georgia in a battle of two Top Ten clubs. The winner could vault themselves into the top five if any of the higher rank clubs struggle. LSU is a powerhouse, though another very young club after losing a record 11 underclassmen to the pro ranks after last season. Georgia is also a SEC power that reloads the cannon annually after sustaining huge losses to the NFL especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Both clubs have senior QBs in Georgia’s Aaron Murray and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and strong ground games built around power backs Todd Gurley and Jeremy Hill. The two young defenses will be fully tested in this contest that can carry huge national impact through the year. The two clubs have not met in the regular season since 2009 in a SEC quirk in the schedule. The Tigers did pound the Bulldogs 42-10 in the SEC Championship after the 2011 season.
2013 Season Insight:
Pittsburgh senior QB Tom Savage had an impressive performance that earned him Offensive Player of the Week honors. Savage threw for a Pitt record 6 TDs for 424 yards on 23 of 33 passes with no interceptions. The TD passes tied an ACC record and the yardage was the 4th best in Pitt history. That is very impressive considering HOF QB Dan Marino played for the Panthers. Savage is a much travelled senior who began his career at Rutgers. He has NFL talent that may finally be maturing entering his critical final season. Ohio St. has not missed QB Braxton Miller much with backup QB Kenny Gulton setting a new Buckeye record with 6 TD passes vs Florida A&M.
Maryland is undefeated and off to their best start (4-0) since 2001. They were impressive Saturday when their shutout West Virginia 37-0. HC Randy Edsall was 4-8 last season and 6-18 over his short two year tenure. The Terps were highly criticized last season after going only 2-6 in the ACC and no postseason. They are winning with only a handful of seniors starting. Edsall’s first recruiting class are only true juniors this season and it looks like blue skies ahead in the tough Atlantic division that features Florida St and Clemson.
UCLA is a hot club going into their bye weekend. They begin their Pac 12 schedule Oct 3rd at Utah. They face key midseason road games at Stanford and Oregon that could move them into the top ten rankings. They are a young club is gaining confidence under HC Jim Mora and emerging star QB Brett Hundley that made fast progress over his second starting season.
Rutgers won a big game at a home sellout vs Arkansas, coming back with 21 second half points for a 28-24 victory. Rutger’s QB Gary Nova threw for 346 yards and 3 TDs. They go on the road to SMU and Louisville that will fully test a young club especially on defense. Their defense will be fully tested by QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Garrett Gilbert. If they survive those games they will be home for 4 of their final 6 contests with a strong chance for the postseason.
One of the remarkable coaching jobs over the past two seasons is by HC Bill O’Brien. After losing the first two games on the 2012 season, the Nittany Lions went 8-2 the rest of the season prior to their fast 3-1 start this fall. That is amazing considering the pressure the PSU program was under after the Jerry Sandusky tragedy/ scandal. Hopefully the institution continues to heal and rectify their mistakes within the community. They begin their Big Ten schedule at Indiana after a bye week this Saturday with tough conference opponents Michigan and Ohio St. to follow.
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.