Week 3 of college football was once again action-packed, even if it largely lacked the blockbuster matchups we had become accustomed to during a ridiculously stacked opening two weeks. Mississippi State upset LSU behind a strong offensive performance lead by sleeper quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, and Clemson’s defense managed to just about contain Lamar Jackson, allowing Kelly Bryant and the rest of the offsense rip a weaker Louisville defensive unit to pieces in a Saturday Night ACC battle. Once again I will run down some of the draft eligible winners and losers and leave you with another scorching#HotTakeOfTheWeek. College Football Week 3 Winners and Losers:
LOSER: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I have had it with the Josh Allen hype. This is an inaccurate quarterback who struggles to throw within structure, makes poor decisions and plays in the Mountain West, struggles against any slight improvement in level of competition and still has a year of eligibility remaining. This is the man many draft analysts are anointing as the best quarterback in the draft? This is the ‘best quarterback prospect since Cam Newton?’
Allen has played 3 games against teams from the ‘Power 5’ Conferences:
52-17 loss to Nebraska (9-10-16): 16-of-32, 189 yards, 1 TD, 5 INT
24-3 loss to Iowa (9-2-17): 23-of-40, 174 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
49-13 loss to Oregon (Saturday): 9-of-24, 64 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Allen was 9/24 for 64 yards, was intercepted AND lost a fumble against an average at best Oregon defense. Yes he lost a lot of talent in the offseason, yes his offensive line is not optimal but can we calm the hype. Allen should not come out this year: he has a long way to go as a passer before I would even consider starting him in the NFL. He can’t succeed against even the weakest of Power 5 defenses or the better Mountain West teams: this is not a first-round quarterback. But because he is tall, relatively mobile and (no racial agendas are being pushed here, but sadly it is true) white, he has been pushed up hugely. It is unfair on a young man with a lot of potential, who has been vaulted to lofted aspirations when he simply isn’t ready.
Go back to Wyoming next year and enjoy your senior year of college, Mr.Allen. Then go to the NFL as a 23 year old rookie with a more developed skill set and passing game. You have a ridiculous arm with tools to succeed and I would hate to see it wasted by forcing yourself into the NFL when you are not ready. Draft media, stop discussing Allen as a first round quarterback.
WINNERS: QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller, Memphis
With that rant out of the way, we move on to one of the most entertaining games of the weekend: Memphis’ somewhat surprising upset of UCLA. Most watching this game came for Josh Rosen, and the UCLA star showed exactly what he is: an extremely talented quarterback who makes a lot of bad decisions.
But it was a pair of Tigers who truly excelled in the encounter. Ferguson was someone I had an eye on prior to the season, but the senior quarterback opened the season with an awful performance against Louisiana Monroe and I figured he would be an East-West Shrine guy and eventual undrafted free agent. Against the Bruins, however, he was exceptional and utilised the extremely talented Miller to explode for a 6 touchdown, 398-yard game.
Tall and with a live arm, Ferguson grew into the contest, gaining much of his early yardage on screens and shorter throws before showing off his impressive arm-strength and deep accuracy later in the game with some outstanding tosses. Miller (9 catches, 185 yards, 2TDs) projects as a slot receiver to the NFL, with outstanding hands and route-running abilities, and shiftiness after the catch to make defenders miss. Both improved their stock and if they continue at this level for the remainder of the season should be oft-discussed come peak draft season. I expect both to end up at the Senior Bowl in Mobile where they will further showcase their abilities.
LOSER: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
This is my first opportunity to discuss my pre-season top edge rusher for the 2017 Draft, and it is unfortunate that Landry had a disappointing outing against Notre Dame’s excellent offensive line. Landry is explosive, bendy and flashes good technique, but needs to develop more counters as a pass-rusher and improve as a run defender if he is to go right at the very top of the first round, where many are projecting the Eagle.
Against Notre Dame, I hoped Landry would show up in a big way: Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchley are two excellent offensive lineman on the left side of the line but the Fighting Irish started a freshman across from Landry in his left end role for much of the afternoon and the senior pass rusher had minimal success. Part of that came from Notre Dame’s run based offensive strategy with Brandon Wimbush being more of a run-first quarterback: Landry could not pin his ears back as he would have liked for fear of being gashed as they were for much of the afternoon (both Wimbush and running back Josh Adams amassed 200 yard performances on the ground) . He failed to limit the run and he is not strong in this facet, showing weakness at the point of attack on a goal line touchdown in which Nelson and McGlinchley buried him into the dirt. I still really like Landry, but I fear he may be too small and deficient against the run to be considered as a base 4-3 end, with his NFL future likely lying as a 3-4 outside linebacker or rotational pass rusher in a Multiple scheme. I have more of a mid-to-late first round feel about Harold Landry after this game.
WINNER: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
Texas-USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl is widely considered the greatest college football game ever played, and the double overtime showdown the teams contested on Saturday stirred memories for many a fan in an extremely competitive and exciting encounter. Two potential first-rounders in quarterback Sam Darnold and halfback Ronald Jones eventually helped the Trojans best the Longhorns, but it was Texas’ own Malik Jefferson who most impressed.
A former five-star recruit, Jefferson is an outstanding athlete and instinctive linebacker but has endured an up-and-down college career in which his effort has been repeatedly questions. Certain analysts perceive Jefferson’s uninspiring performances against smaller schools as the player not trying unless the national spotlight falls upon him, and there may be weight to these claims with his strong showing against USC in a high-profile game easily his best performance of the season so far. With 11 tackles including 2 for a loss, Jefferson lead an impressive defensive showing against a talented Trojan team for a unit that had been torched by Maryland in Week One. Many see Jefferson’s traits as elite; if he continues to play at the level he did in this game, he will be a surefire first round pick come draft weekend.
WR/Returner Dante Pettis, Washington
Superback Jaylen Samuels, NC State
OT Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
LB Micah Kiser, Virginia
Nickelback Duke Dawson, Florida
QB Tanner Lee, Nebraska
WR Jaylen Smith, Louisville
OT Connor Williams, Texas (requires knee surgery)
HOT TAKE OF THE WEEK:
The hot takes began to swirl after Josh Rosen lost to Memphis, with lots of Eli Manning takes and Kyle Crabbs of FanRag Sports and NDT Scouting publishing an article which compared Rosen’s path to the NFL to that of Dan Marino, one of the all-time greats at the position.
The hottest take came from Marc Ryan, a radio host and analyst for Houston-based SportsRadio 610:
Go ahead. Draft Josh Rosen #1. I'll take the guy who didn't lose to Memphis.
— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) September 16, 2017
This is another name to add to the #QBWins crowd, the school of thinking for which suggests that quarterbacks should not be evaluated unless they win games. I think the ability to win is something to evaluate in a quarterback, but to dismiss a very good quarterback on account of a loss to a very talented Memphis team on the road with a weakened UCLA defense and lack of talented offensive playmakers is silly. If he had pointed out the two bad interceptions and other bad decisions Rosen made, then there is more validity to this take. Alas, he did not, and this comes across as arrogant and unintelligent. Josh Rosen is still my number one quarterback, and the loss itself didn’t do anything to change that.
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College Football Week 3 Winners and Losers.