College Football: Winners & Losers Week 3

This weekend we had a bunch of games between pairs of ranked teams, as well as thrills, spills and let downs from other teams at the top (we’re looking at you, Clemson). There will be a fair amount of movement in our top 25 rankings this week, some fallers and some new entries too perhaps, so one to keep your eyes peeled for. However, less of that for now, this is where we celebrate the winners and show our concern for this week’s losers! 

Andy is away this weekend, so our new boy, Jake joins me and picks up the losers section of the article today

Let us know what you make of the column @Full10YardsCFB…

Winners – Lee (@Wakefield90)

Iowa State’s Big Name Skill Position Players

After an appearance in the losers section of this column last week, Iowa State has bounced back to flip the script and appear atop of the winners section!

It was only UNLV, who even gave a handful of snaps to Tate Martell (remember him!?), but the Cyclones did what top 15 ranked teams are supposed to do and turned over a lesser opponent, and by a good margin too.

I did the losers section last week and I mentioned Brock Purdy in particular but also threw in Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar and Xavier Hutcherson. This week all of those guys showed up and had themselves a day. As mentioned, it was only UNLV so we have to keep that in mind but it was all pretty much spotless for the stars of the Iowa State offense.

Brock Purdy was super efficient, completing 21 or 24 for 288 yards and three TDs, the recipients of those three touchdown passes were Hutcherson (twice) and Kolar and Hall ran for 100 yards and two scores. Hutcherson also had 133 yards from 10 catches and Kolar had 69 yards off of four grabs. 

That must be absolute music to the ears of Iowa State fans because that is exactly what you want from your playmakers. That’s exactly what fans and coaches were expecting from Iowa State before the season and these are exactly the kind of performances that are needed if Iowa State is going to make noise in the Big XII.

Their Big XII schedule gets going next week at Baylor, so more of the same, chaps! 

Brock Purdy Photo Credit: Des Moines Register

Jameis Winston, Jared Goff and Teddy Bridgewater

Yes, this is still the college football section of the website and I am writing, momentarily, about NFL QBs, but it’s with good reason.

This year’s draft class is bad.

Perhaps that’s unkind, I think some of this year’s QB class is bad, others have their problems and deficiencies, or have things to prove for the remainder of the season. I’m talking about pretty much 

So why does that benefit these three bad NFL QBs? 

Because at this point (and that could change the rest of the way) it feels less likely that they have their jobs taken by rookies next year and they could get contract extensions and/or continue in their starting role in 2022.

Coming into the season, pretty much everyone had Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell as their top two QBs, with the likes of Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis and Carson Strong in some order behind them.

Through three weeks of the season, I am not sure I am trusting any of those guys with my NFL Franchise week 1 of the 2022 NFL season and long time listeners and followers will name just how anti-Jameis Winston I am, and may have seen my glee at Teddy Bridgewater being named Broncos starter and Jared Goff, is well, Jared Goff. I don’t want any of these guys as my QB1 either… But I’d trust a veteran over this batch of rookies, and that says so much.

Rattler’s decision making has been terrible thus far, Howell looks fine but hampered by Phil Longo’s offense and not like a top 10 draft pick, Corral has been fantastic this season but Ole Miss has played nobody and in his previous seasons, decision making has been abysmal. Ridder looked horrible on Saturday versus Indiana and really hurt his draft and Heisman stock, and whilst Willis and Strong have both looked good so far this year, they’re not NFL-ready, and again, not week 1 starter material.

NFL Head Coaches and front office staff are generally risk-averse and with less preseason games nowadays, there are less chances for rookies to prove themselves, which means veterans are in a strong position to get snaps and starts.

We might see a modern-day rarity come the 2022 NFL Draft, and not have a QB go number 1 overall and that kind of illustrates and epitomises my thoughts on this QB class at this point.  

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are 3-0!

Yes, they have only played Old Dominion and Norfolk State before Saturday night’s victory over Florida State but after a season in 2020 where Wake Forest only won four games all season, 3-0 is to be celebrated.

There are some really nice positives for this team which has thrust them into the winners section this week.

Firstly, they are one of two unbeaten ACC teams after three weeks and the other team isn’t Clemson! Florida State aside, the Atlantic division of the ACC is having a good start to the season with Wake Forest and Boston College on 3-0, with the rest of the division on 2-1.

So with that in mind it’s important to keep the pace up and keep winning considering Clemson has already lost this season. Wake Forest’s penultimate game of the season is against Clemson on November 20th, then they play Boston College a week later in their final regular season game, Boston College being the other unbeaten at present, but remember BC’s star QB is currently injured. Obviously there are plenty of games for these three teams between now and then but we could be in for an exciting end to the ACC season this year.

Another reason to be cheerful this morning is the play of QB, Sam Hartman!

Through three weeks, Hartman’s completion percentage has jumped 10.5% from 58.2% to 68.7%, he’s thrown six touchdowns to a solitary interception and he’s posting career highs in yards per pass attempt and QB rating.

Hartman is looking really comfortable, he’s got a strong arm and he’s also got a group of receivers who are playing really well and the connection seems strong – Case in point on the arm strength and connection in the tweet above, this one was to A.T Perry but the star of the show is Jaquarii Roberson, although he did have a quiet outing against FSU.

Is Wake Forest the second best team in the ACC this year? Too early to tell but they are certainly looking like they’ll keep things more interesting at the top of the ACC this year.

This is a golden opportunity for there to be a different ACC champion this season. Will it happen? Probably not because the rest of Clemson’s schedule is easy but we can dream! And Wake should be the one dreaming.

Losers – Jake (@AccukAnalysis1)

UCLA

After their 2-0 start to the 2021 season, UCLA were expected to make it 3-0 against unranked Fresno State. However, this was not to be as Fresno made all the big plays, in particular quarterback Jake Haener, who had 455 yards. 

Starting the weekend ranked #13 in the AP Poll, UCLA’s defeat saw them drop to #24, largely in part due to their defensive frailties that were evident from the beginning. When your quarterback throws for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst your best receiver has 7 receptions for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns, there was never going to be a question on the offensive side of things.

Defensively there will be plenty for them to work on before a trip to Stanford next. Two pre-snap penalties in punt coverage on fourth down allowed Fresno to keep the ball for longer, whilst their inability to stop the passing of Jake Haener cost them dearly. They allowed 569 overall yards, which is just 80 less than their first two games together. This combined with allowing 32 first downs, had the Bruins struggling from the get-go. 

This loss would have been damaging for the Top 25-returning Bruins, so a big win is needed next week to keep them in there, especially after spending the last 4 years outside of it.

Virginia Tech’s awful first half

The Hokies went on the road for the first time in 2021, and it was not going to be an easy one despite their 2-0 start to the season. After getting themselves to #15 in the AP Poll, the Hokies had plenty of optimism heading into their biggest game of the season.

However, they were blown apart in the first half and looked to be heading for a big loss on the road. Allowing 24 points, and 371 yards, they headed into the break 24-7 down. Although there was a big response from the offense and the defense in the second half, it was too little too late for the Hokies.

Burmeister tried his best to rally a response from Virginia Tech, throwing for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the defensive frailties in the first half cost them. Allowing 188 yards on the ground, in particular an 80-yard TD from Leddie Brown in the first quarter, the Hokies looked to be in for a long day at the office before forcing 2 turnovers and allowing a sole field goal in the second half.

Yes, the Virginia Tech defense would have taken plenty of the blame, but the offense was just as poor. Bad play calling, a lack of execution in the red zone, and an O-Line that allowed 6 sacks was always going to cause problems and stifle the offense. Their first 2 plays of the game both led to punts and just 21 yards. From a team that had scored 52 points, and allowed just 24, much more was needed in such a heavyweight clash in Virginia.

Braxton Burmeister Photo Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh’s Defense

Defense seems to be the order of the day for the Losers of the Week. The Pittsburgh defense was just as poor and it let them down badly. A team that scores 41 points and has 489 yards should be getting a win, but it was not to be in Pittsburgh.

Kenny Pickett was impressive for the Panthers at quarterback, throwing for 380 yards and 6 touchdowns, whilst picking up another 49 yards on the ground, but he was let down by a defense that was steamrolled by the Broncos.

The first half looked to be a battle of who was going to hold their nerve in offense as there was little in terms of defensive plays from either team. Although this settled slightly in the second half, a combined 52 first downs and just 8 punts in the game showed how dominant the offenses were in this game.

Pittsburgh was touted to win the game, especially after an impressive 2-0 start to the season. They were scoring points for fun, and Pickett was a big part of that. On the other side of the ball though the defense was starting to show cracks. Tennessee had 378 yards and 34 points in their last game, and then West Michigan came to town and put them to the sword, especially in the air. 

Another home game next week against New Hampshire should see them getting back to winning ways but there are clearly issues in the defense that need rectifying beforehand. There is a lot of emphasis on the offense to produce, but the Panthers need to start making defensive plays and allowing less points to help them out as this weekend was clear evidence that the offense can’t always bail them out.


By Lee Wakefield & Jake Tweedie

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