As promised, we are back for our weekly college football top ten.
Remember, these are not rankings of the top ten teams — at least this week they are not — but rather a list of some of the things we loved about the beauty that is college football from the past week.
Based purely on enough caffeine to cause serious health problems, and vibes.
Let’s get rolling.
10. Run with Ralphie
Traditions are some of the best things about college football. One of the most fascinating traditions comes from Colorado, as the Buffaloes take the field along with Ralphie, their mascot.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to run with a 1,000-pound buffalo at over 20 miles-per-hour? Thanks to this camera view from ESPN, you can at least catch a glimpse:
9. UNLV 40, Vanderbilt 37
While most of the nation was asleep — or tuned into Colorado-Colorado State, UNLV and Vanderbilt gave us perhaps the most thrilling fourth quarter of the week, if not the season so far. The fourth quarter began with the visiting Commodores trailing 30-17, but Vanderbilt ripped off 13 unanswered points to tie the game at 30.
That set the stage for a dramatic finish, as the teams combined for 17 points over the final three minutes, with the home team winning on a last-second field goal set up by this incredible completion to get them in range:
8. Florida 29, Tennessee 16
As we noted in our countdown of the five best games ahead of last weekend, the Week 3 slate was not the most impressive.
But one of the best games on the slate was the annual tussle between Florida and Tennessee, and while the Volunteers entered The Swamp with an unblemished record, and as the favorites, it was the Gators who emerged victorious.
However, the game was just part of the story. As we noted above, traditions — both new and old — play a huge role in college football. One of the new traditions takes place at Florida, and it is already becoming one of the best. Following Tom Petty’s death in 2017 the Gators played “Won’t Back Down,” one of his classics, following the third quarter to honor the Gainesville native.
That tradition has stuck, and has taken on a new feel this season thanks to new LED lights at The Swamp:
As far as CFB bucket list items go, seeing this in person is rocketing up the list.
7. QB controversy down in Tuscaloosa?
Some of us — ok it was Mark — predicted that Alabama would roll into South Florida and throttle the Bulls, coming off their loss to Texas.
Instead, it was a 3-3 game at the half.
The Crimson Tide ultimately won, 17-3, but it was not the kind of win people were expecting. Nor does Nick Saban seem satisfied with his offense. Jalen Milroe, who began the year as the starter, was benched ahead of the South Florida game in favor of transfer Tyler Buchner.
Buchner, who followed new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to Tuscaloosa from Notre Dame, fared little better, completing just 5-of-14 passes for just 34 yards before he too was asked to take a seat on the sidelined.
Alabama turned to redshirt freshman Ty Simpson, but things did not get much better. Simpson ran for a one-yard score, and hit on 5 of 9 pass attempts for 73 yards.
Consider this summary from ESPN:
Against an unranked opponent it was favored to beat by five touchdowns, against a team that had given up 41 points to Western Kentucky in the season opener, Alabama had to grind out a 17-3 win that ranked among the ugliest of coach Nick Saban’s 16-year tenure. Buchner and Simpson posted an 18.5 QBR in the game, the fourth lowest in 224 games under Saban and the lowest since 2009 against South Carolina.
But hey, he stuck the landing.
Still pretty impressive when you think about it.
5. Garrett Shrader’s play fake
Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader might be the full time starting quarterback for the Orange, but he also might have a future as a magician. In the Orange’s victory over Purdue, Shrader executed the same naked bootleg not once, but twice to completely fool the Boilermaker defense.
We don’t talk enough about how important ball handling is for QBs these days. To execute proper play fakes, you have to make everything look similar, and the rise of RPOs makes ball handling so much more important. Shrader evidently has a Ph.D in ball handling, and took the Boilermakers to school.
4. Thicker Kicker
Missouri pulled off a monumental upset for their football program, taking down then No. 15 Kansas State at home in a thriller. Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz might owe his kicker, Harrison Mevis, a big hug and a part of his salary because his poor coaching decisions were saved by this moonshot of a field goal to win the game.
In an era where college kickers are more of a meme than actually taken seriously, Mevis demands your attention. The Thicker Kicker blasted this one through the uprights, for maybe the most impressive kick I’ve ever seen.
3. The Michael Penix show
Here are some fun stats from Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. so far this year:
National completion rate on passes of 25+ air yards: 35.9%
Michael Penix’s completion rate on passes of 25+ air yards: 52.6%
And Penix has done that on 19 attempts. Only AJ Swann (22) and Brayden Schager (21) have attempted more.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) September 19, 2023
He’s the Heisman front runner so far, and has Washington looking unstoppable. Respect lefty QBs.
2. Kaleb Jackson breaking out the truck stick
Oh my GOD.
He sent that man to the upper room instantly. The Mississippi State DB thought he was at a football game until he got sent to a Pop Smoke concert in an instant. The funniest part of this is that Jackson stops to admire his work, then keeps going.
This isn’t just a truck stick. This is a Mjolnir hitting an average person in the chest.
1. Dante Moore is GOOD
Five star freshman quarterback Dante Moore had to wait maybe a half before taking the UCLA starting QB reins and putting them on lock for the next three years. Moore has thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception, and is looking like the QB everyone thought he was coming out of high school.
The accuracy and arm strength to every level is so impressive, and put that in a Chip Kelly offense, whew man you’re cooking with something here.
The Bruins play a very good Utah defense on Saturday, so make sure to tune in to Dante Moore’s first real test.