John Rowe’s 10 College Football Questions for Week 4
Here are John Rowe’s 10 burning questions in college football:
1. Have Notre Dame and Florida State played their way out of playoff contention? Almost certainly. Notre Dame has lost two games, and Stanford is probably the only playoff contender it has left. Teams have rebounded from early-season losses to make the playoffs, but Florida State, which still plays Clemson, lost by 43 points! That’s way too much for the selectors.
2. What teams have established themselves as playoff-caliber programs? If the playoffs started today, the field probably would be Alabama, Ohio State, Louisville and Michigan. Waiting in the wings for somebody to slip up are Stanford, Clemson, Michigan State and Houston. No Notre Dame, Florida State, Oklahoma or Mississippi. At least not for his observer.
3. Does Rutgers QB Chris Laviano need to play well against Iowa to keep his job? It wouldn’t hurt. First-year coach Chris Ash used three other quarterbacks in spot appearances the last two games. While giving Laviano the dreaded vote of confidence earlier this week, Ash, who inherited Laviano when he took over, also said Laviano needs to play better.
4. What are the recruiting aspects connected to the Iowa-Rutgers matchup? Michigan and Ohio State are Rutgers’ chief Big Ten challengers for the best players in New Jersey, but Iowa, ever since former Hawkeyes coach Hayden Fry recruited future Hall of Famer Andre Tippett out of Newark Barringer, has more than held its own in recruiting the Garden State.
5. What became of QB Philip Nelson, who never threw a pass for Rutgers? He’s thrown for seven touchdowns as East Carolina has started 2-1. After starting 16 games in two seasons at Minnesota, Nelson transferred to Rutgers in 2014, but was dismissed from the program after a bar fight in Minnesota. He avoided jail time even though the man he kicked suffered a severe brain injury.
6. What’s the story regarding Ohio State WR Noah Brown? Brown, who had the highlight-film TD reception in his four-touchdown effort against Oklahoma, was supposed to be Ohio State’s big-play receiver last season before he broke his leg in training camp. He then had to shed 20 pounds this camp. The former Pope John of Sparta standout had five career catches before last week.
7. How did Louisville QB Lamar Jackson frustrate Florida State’s fans? Long before he directed last week’s domination of the Seminoles, Florida State fans thought Jackson was coming to FSU. He even showed up at the news conference to announce his choice carrying a Florida State book bag. Instead, he followed Teddy Bridgewater, another Floridian, to Louisville.
8. What makes Central Florida LB Shaquem Griffin an extra special player? Not only is the redshirt junior one of UCF’s top tacklers, he’s doing so with one hand. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome, a congenital birth defect, and at age 4 his left hand had to be amputated. One of Griffin’s teammates is his twin brother, Shaquill, a defensive back.
9. How badly does Tennessee need a win over Florida in today’s game? The Volunteers are overdue to beat Florida, which has rolled up 11 consecutive victories over its SEC rival. Plus Tennessee, which hosts Alabama in three weeks, has lost 24 consecutive games to Top 10 opponents. Tennessee needs to snap both streaks to be taken seriously.
10. Why were Dabo Swinney’s peers cheering the Clemson coach this week? Because Swinney showed some sportsmanship in Clemson’s 59-0 rout of South Carolina. By going along with the plan to reduce the third and fourth quarters to 12 minutes each, instead of 15, Swinney (Clemson led 45-0 at the half) didn’t run up the score like other high-profile programs often do.