College Football Week 3 Winners, Losers, Overreactions: Worst Case For Bryan Harsin, Washington is a Contender

When Auburn faced No. 22 Penn State last season, it was an opportunity for an exciting win early in Bryan Harsin’s tenure. A year later, Saturday’s matchup at Jordan-Hare Stadium was a chance to salvage tenure. That’s how quickly the narrative can change in the SEC.

Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario was on display as the Tigers were dominated in every way in a 41-12 loss to the Nittany Lions. Auburn averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and let Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford move the ball at will. The Freshman Lions, running back Nicholas Singleton, outplayed his opponent Tank Bigsby by a mile while both TJ Finley and Robby Ashford threw interceptions.

The seat was already hot for Harsin after a brutal offseason and poor performance a week ago against San Jose State. With poor Missouri and LSU teams on the horizon, the embarrassing, ineffective loss to Penn State in front of 87,000 might be remembered as the moment Harsin ran out of ropes.

Here are more winners, losers, and overreactions from around the college football world in Week 3.


Washington: The Huskies had a combined 97 points against Kent State and Portland State, but a battle with No. 11 Michigan State proved the banging offensive numbers were no fluke. Transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was in his pocket, throwing for 397 yards – hitting nine different receivers – and four touchdowns against a top-flight Big Ten opponent. Washington was one of college football’s worst offenses a year ago, scoring just 21.5 points per game in a 4-8 season. Trainer Kalon DeBoer quickly turned things around and has the Huskies as serious competitors in the Pac-12 after tonight. Washington should be the largest pollster on Sunday.

basketball schools: The biggest and best in college basketball dominate on the gridiron. North Carolina and Kentucky were forecast as competitors. Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, and Indiana should all be basement dwellers. Well, surprise! The basketball forces are 18-0 together three weeks into the season, including a perfect 6-0 against the Power Five competition. Ironically, the schools with basketball titles since 2000 that are said to have the best football — Baylor, Florida, and Michigan State — have all lost.

Oklahoma: The No. 6 Sooners handed Nebraska one of the darkest losses in program history in a 49-14 decision that wasn’t as close as the final score. Oklahoma emptied the clip offensively and caused major problems defensively. With losses at Baylor, Texas and Kansas State, the Sooners are once again the new Big 12 leader.


BYU: A week ago, after a top 10 win over Baylor, we were poised to throw the Cougars into the playoff mix. Instead, BYU had the hangover of all (sober) hangovers in a disappointing 41-20 loss to No. 25 Oregon at Autzen Stadium. Oregon physically destroyed BYU’s impressive front and rushed 212 yards. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall played well, but the Cougars couldn’t create any more opportunities outside of the short passing game. The Cougars had a real shot at leading the table and fighting for a place in the college football playoffs, but those dreams are now over.

Colorado: Kansas is 3-0. Duke is 3-0. Vanderbilt is 3-1. Arizona is 1-1 and looked promising. And then there’s Colorado, who are quickly making their claim as the worst power-five team in college football after a 7-49 loss to Minnesota. The Buffaloes were outscored 128-30 in three games and just produced one 100-yard passer.

“I feel good about our attitude to playing the game,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell told reporters after the game. “We’re just not very good at playing it really effectively and competently.”

Unless Colorado digs up an arcane rule that grants four touchdowns in exchange for a positive attitude, Dorrell’s side might not win a game this season.


Georgia is better than last year: Perhaps it’s sacrilegious to think the Bulldogs could be better after losing 15 players in the NFL draft, but No. 1 Georgia’s start to the season has been incredible. The ‘Dawgs started the year with a 49-3 dismantling of Oregon and on Saturday they completed a 48-7 evisceration of South Carolina. The only result for the Gamecocks came with 53 seconds left in the game.

But while Georgia held their first three opponents to seven or fewer points for the first time since 1954, the offense was actually more impressive. Quarterback Stetson Bennett has 952 passing yards and five unpicked touchdowns in three games, along with three rushing scores. Georgia has 95 combined points against FBS opponents.

If defense hasn’t dropped — and early return is good — that impressive offensive efficiency could give Georgia an even higher ceiling. After winning everything last year, that’s a scary thought.

The middle class of the Big Ten is a mess: In week 3, most of the Big Ten played winnable games. The results varied. Southern Illinois gave Northwestern their first FCS over Power Five win of the season. Purdue allowed Syracuse to march the field in 40 seconds for the win. Nebraska conceded 49 straight points against Oklahoma in a rivalry game.

The terse calls could have been worse. Indiana needed overtime and a 51-yard field goal to defeat a Western Kentucky team that started a Division II quarterback transfer. Rutgers needed a late stop to earn a 16-14 win over a terrible Temple team. Add those results to Wisconsin losing at home to Washington State, Iowa scoring seven goals against South Dakota State and Michigan State being chased out of the building by Washington.

Ohio State and Michigan are looking great. Penn State looks solid. Maybe Minnesota can push for eight wins. After that, it’s difficult to find serious teams in this conference. College Football Week 3 Winners, Losers, Overreactions: Worst Case For Bryan Harsin, Washington is a Contender

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