By: BRIEN STRAW - SportsRadio 610By Leslie T Travis


The 2015 college football season has not been the unpredictable mess that those “in-the-know” bloggers and columnist have described. Following week three action, the “traditional powers” – and their fan bases – are having as much difficulty accepting change as those covering the sport. For perspective:

  • LSU has more players in the NFL – particularly at running back, right Texans – than any other college football team (40) so why the shock that Les has the Tigers loaded again? (More on those Auburn Tigers in a moment.)
  • Southern Cal has lost to Stanford in four of their last five meetings at the Coliseum. The Cardinal was Ranked 4th in the Trojans only win (’13). USC was the heavy favorite in the four losses. By the way, underperforming at least once or twice a year is common in the Southland, so the only surprise in UCLA’s close win over BYU is that they actually won.
  • The National Champ always gets everyone’s best shot, so it’s not that surprising that Northern Illinois gave Ohio State a nail-bitter. First, the Huskies have the fifth-best record in D-1 this decade. Second, STOP with all the Urban Meyer comparisons to 2009! That over-talented, underperforming Gators team followed up Meyer’s first title in Gainesville undefeated until it lost to an undefeated Alabama team in the SEC Championship (the same Crimson Tide that came into the ’08 title game undefeated), and “rebounded” in ’10 to win a second BSC title. Third, the Buckeyes did lose OC Tom Herman to currently undefeated UofH. Yes, Urban lost his Florida OC Dan Mullen to Mississippi State so perhaps that comparison is fair.
  • And Alabama giving up big plays backed by mediocre quarterback play started last year, and the Tide has given up more plays of 20 yards than any other team starting with last year’s Iron Bowl, so Quincy Adeboyejo’s 66-yard TD reception off the hands of fellow Rebel Laquon Treadwell’s hands and Bama DB Brandon Turner’s helmet shouldn’t have been that surprising – though of course it was lucky. 

So let’s dig into the weekend right there (says the Ole Miss alum!).

Picking up wins eight and nine the now 59 game series is more than enough for any Rebel fan – especially when it is the first time wins have come in consecutive years and Saturday was just the second ever in Bryant-Denny Stadium – but a little credit to the victors would be accurate and defined as sportsmanship, something apparently lost in the bulging trophy cases in Tuscaloosa.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the final minutes of their 43-37 loss to the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the final minutes of their 43-37 loss to the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

How is it that Nick Saban can say, “If you want something you have to take it.” one moment, and, “I don’t know if there’s anybody we[Bama] can beat if we’re going to give away [24] points, I really don’t.” the next? Perhaps Ole Miss created the turnovers it needed to “take” the last two games?

And the refs are out to get you Bama fans?!! Seriously?!!! There are now 13 other teams in the SEC that would disagree with your, “The refs are out to get us!” crap. Did the refs miss Ole Miss center Robert Conyers being downfield – much like they missed QB Chad Kelly being behind the line of scrimmage on Cody Core’s 73-yard touchdown reception? Yes. But, the refs overlooked the obvious tipping the ball forward penalty on the Tide’s on-sides kick, so we’ll call it even okay.

Alabama is not out of anything and the Rebels have a LONG way to go as last season proved. But I really don’t think I’m 100% biased when I say the better team won.

The comparisons to Herschel Walker or Adrian Peterson are fair about LSU running back Leonard Fournette. The big question for LSU is will Brandon Harris’ quarterback play cost them at some point, my guess is yes in still the best conference. 

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball for 71 yards against the Auburn Tigers in the first quarter at Tiger Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, LA – SEPTEMBER 19: Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball for 71 yards against the Auburn Tigers in the first quarter at Tiger Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As for Auburn, I was as wrong as everybody else about Tiger QB Jeremy Johnson. I took Gus Malzahn’s hype as gospel instead of the snake oil it’s turned out to be. Auburn won’t be able to overcome a porous defense without a complete 180 from Johnson, which will shock everyone not voting in the Coaches Poll (which voted the Tigers in the Top 25 despite Saturday’s embarrassing loss and near-misses against 0-3 Louisville and FBS Jacksonville State).

Texas A&M has looked just like the playoff dark horse many people were calling the Aggies before the season kicked off. Though holding ASU to 17 doesn’t seem as dominating three weeks in and allowing Nevada 27 and Ball State 23 at Kyle Field raises questions – that most likely won’t be answered in Arlington next Saturday when they play the most disappointing team in the SEC – Arkansas. The Hogs defense looks like it lost nine starters, but the offensive ineptitude is surprising even without Jonathan Williams 1,190 yards and 12 TD’s.

Congratulations Longhorn fans. Charlie Strong looks like he’s found a quarterback after Jerrod Heard’s school record 527-yards of total offense. Now if Strong could just find where he lost his defense. After swapping OC’s and AD’s, perhaps Texas will switch DC’s this week. The previous two moves seem like hits in Austin.

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns drops back to pass against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter on September 19, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 19: Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns drops back to pass against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter on September 19, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

(I know, UT fans don’t deserve this after a missed extra point ruined things Saturday night. Please accept my apologies Horn Nation, I’ll be first aboard your bandwagon once I’m sure it’s moving forward – I promise.)

Finally, IT WAS SURPRISING that Notre Dame continued to look like a playoff team despite the mounting injuries. 

(Sound familiar TCU? The Horned Frogs lost another defensive starter in a closer than expected win over SMU – yes Chad Morris is that good a hire! – and now TCU has a date with a tougher than expected Texas Tech on deck. What’s that smell? Ahh, upset alert.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returns a fumble against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

SOUTH BEND, IN – SEPTEMBER 19: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returns a fumble against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Or was it? Brian Kelly has assembled the best Irish football team since Lou Holtz left South Bend, and with Navy on the schedule every year perhaps no team is more prepared for Paul Johnson’s triple option offense. Still, I had Georgia Tech as a playoff sleeper. Oops. 

Oh’BRIEN’s Top 10:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Michigan State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Ole Miss
  6. LSU
  7. UCLA
  8. Baylor
  9. Georgia
  10. FSU

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Brien Straw co-hosts the Bstraw & PaulyG Show weeknights on SportsRadio 610. (FALL HOURS: Tue. 9:00pm – 11:00pm, Wed. & Fri. 8:00pm – 11:00pm.)

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