AP Top 25 Takeaways: a Texas-USC classic; Nebraska flops
Any doubts about whether Clemson can win another national title were put to rest, while Southern California and Texas played another classic.
Before the defending national champions thumped Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and No. 14 Louisville and the Trojans survived the Longhorns on Saturday night, the theme of Week 3 of the college football season was discontentment, especially in Nebraska.
The Top 25 thoughts, takeaways and takedowns:
1. In an overtime loss to No. 4 USC , Texas showed it is closer to being “back” than at any point in years.
2. And with its gutty win, it is getting easier to believe in these Trojans.
3. Not only is Nebraska not back, but the Cornhuskers reached a new low with a 21-17 loss at home to Northern Illinois. Suddenly, the Bo Pelini years don’t look so bad, and being a great guy is not going to help coach Mike Riley much with Cornhuskers fans — and at least one vocal former Huskers great .
4. Nebraska might never again be what it once was under Tom Osborne, but losing to a MAC team had never happened before — and never should be acceptable for the Cornhuskers.
5. Yes, Riley did receive a contract extension this week.
6. Another unhappy place right now is College Station, Texas, and Texas A&M beating Louisiana-Lafayette 45-21 won’t help all that much.
7. When even the victories come with bad news, it becomes hard to see how any coach keeps his job. That’s where things seem to be with Texas A&M and Kevin Sumlin after an Aggies player made an obscene gesture toward fans as he was coming off the field at halftime.
9. When talking about coaches who will face scrutiny this week, add the Vols’ Butch Jones to the list.
10. Getting beat on a last-play Hail Mary is one thing. Getting beat on the last play by a long touchdown pass when the receiver just runs by the defense will take some explaining. Also, there will be questions about going away from running back John Kelly near the goal line.
11. Jones’ usual dose of cliches and platitudes will only serve to make Volunteers fans angrier.
12. As for No. 24 Florida, there was not a whole lot to like from the Gators’ perpetually problematic offense, but avoiding the first 0-2 start for the program in 46 years will make coach Jim McElwain’s life a lot easier.
13. The question coming into the season was can the Tigers get production out of their new quarterback to at least come close to what they got from Deshaun Watson. Against Louisville, Kelly Bryant threw for 316 yards and accounted for three touchdowns . Question answered.
14. Alabama-Clemson III, anyone?
15. Here’s why it will be so hard for Jackson to repeat as Heisman winner: He had 381 total yards and three touchdown passes, but the blowout loss will probably be held against him more than it should.
16. Nick Fitzgerald is bringing that Dak Prescott vibe back to Mississippi State.
17. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in two games against Pitt : 1,037 yards passing. The competition has been meh, but through three games the ninth-ranked Cowboys’ offense has been close to unstoppable. Oklahoma State hosts No. 20 TCU next week.
18. Remember, the Big 12 has a championship game this season matching its top teams. That prompted the conference to move the Bedlam game between Oklahoma State and No. 2 Oklahoma from the season finale to Nov. 4.
19. At the other end of the Big 12, Kansas has a road losing streak that reached 42 games with a 42-30 loss at Ohio. The Jayhawks have been outscored 87-57 against two MAC teams, and are again in the running to be the worst team in the Power Five.
20. So many good quarterbacks should be available in the coming NFL draft that some team has a chance to get a mid-round steal with Riley Ferguson of Memphis. Ferguson outplayed UCLA’s Josh Rosen and the Tigers upset No. 25 UCLA 48-45 .
21. Mississippi might want to look up the road to Memphis coach Mike Norvell, 35, when it dives deep into its search for a new coach.
22. It is quickly looking as if Purdue had the best hire of last season in Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers are 2-1 after crushing Missouri , and considering the way Nebraska and Northwestern have played in the Big Ten West, Purdue fans should be thinking bowl game.
23. The schedule will ease up for BYU, especially toward the end of the season. That might be the only thing that keeps the punchless Cougars from having their first losing season since 2004.
24. Notre Dame ran for 515 yards against Boston College , with Josh Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush each going for more than 200. The reason why the Irish should be OK this season is because against teams that don’t line up the kind of athletes Georgia does on its defense, Notre Dame should have its way up front.
25. Sixteen NFL teams sent representatives to Laramie, Wyoming, to watch Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen play Oregon , the last Power Five team on the Cowboys’ schedule. The junior took a beating and threw for 64 yards. The size and talent are obvious, but the talk of him being the No. 1 overall pick or even the first quarterback taken in the next NFL draft can probably be put to rest.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP