Week 3: SEC games, BYU-UCLA, Notre Dame-GaTech top lineup
The Associated Press
Sep. 19, 2015
A few more teams from the Southeastern Conference could tumble in the next AP college football poll with three games featuring five of the league's seven that are among the Top 25.
Up first Saturday is No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU (CBS, 3:30 p.m.) — a tussle of Tigers coming off close calls last week. LSU held off Mississippi State; Auburn avoided an upset by Jacksonville State with an overtime win.
Next is South Carolina at No. 7 Georgia (ESPN, 6 p.m.), which could be easier than expected for the Bulldogs with Gamecocks quarterback Connor Mitch out and walk-on Perry Orth in. At least the 'Dawgs have a strong supporting cast for their hopefully improving QB Greyson Lambert.
When those SEC warmups are out of the way, it's on to point-crazy Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama (ESPN, 9:15 p.m.) in the league's Saturday night special. The 15th-ranked Rebels, led by QB Chad Kelly, are averaging 74.5 points per game after blowouts of UT-Martin and Fresno State. The Crimson Tide average less than half at 36 ppg. High scoring? Or will the usually reliable Tide D rise to the challenge? Ole Miss won at home last year, and coach Hugh Freeze says he's confident his team can do it again — at Tuscaloosa.
"Hopefully," he says, "we'll have a chance to win it in the fourth quarter."
In case it isn't close, check out No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA (FoxS1, 10:15 p.m.), featuring unbeatens with star freshmen quarterbacks, 22-year-old Tanner Magnum for the Cougars and 18-year-old Josh Rosen for the Bruins.
Of course, there's No. 8 Notre Dame with its slew of backups-turned-starters playing host to No. 14 Georgia Tech (3:30 p.m., NBC), which is scoring at a 67 points-per-game clip. The Irish come into the game already down five starters, including RB Tarean Folston, QB Malik Zaire and TE tight end Durham Smythe.
Auburn's defense has allowed 843 yards, but the Tigers still have a pair of seven-point wins. LSU's Leonard Fournette (159 yards, three TDs against Mississippi State) could be a big problem, and Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson looked a little shaky last week.
No love lost between South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Georgia's Mark Richt. The 'Dawgs could be in the title hunt, but Lambert needs to step up. He completed all of 11 passes for 116 yards a week ago in a win over Vanderbilt, but Nick Chubb ran for 189 yards, Isaiah McKenzie scored on a 77-yard punt return and Dominick Sanders had an 88-yard interception return for a score. Points could be a problem for the Gamecocks.
ESPN College GameDay is in Tuscaloosa for this one, and Ole Miss is looking to beat 'Bama two years in a row. No way the Rebels keep up their torrid scoring pace, right? Pay attention to the start to see whether the Tide defense rises to the challenge.
Who knew this game could have playoff implications? Mangum's game-winning heaves has BYU at 2-0 and with a win over the Bruins, the Cougars' game next week against Michigan might be the toughest test they'll face the rest of the season. UCLA has a rugged Pac-12 schedule ahead, and you can add BYU to the list of tough games.
GEORGIA TECH-NOTRE DAME
After what turned into scrimmages — routs of Alcorn State and Tulane — Tech takes on the resilient Fighting Irish. "Certainly, it's a huge step up in competition," coach Tech coach Paul Johnson said. The Yellow Jackets rely on QB Justin Thomas to run the spread option, while the Irish have another new look on offense. Last week's hero DeShone Kizer starts at QB for the injured Zaire and one of several tight ends looking for his first college catch takes over for the injured Durham Smythe. In the season opener two weeks ago, tailback C.J. Prosise replaced the injured Tarean Folston.
Oh, and be ready for a TV salute to Rudy — it's the 40th anniversary of the game where Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger got in a game against Georgia Tech, inspiring the 1993 film "Rudy."
— Can Kentucky end a 28-game losing streak against Florida? (SEC Network, 7:30 p.m.) It's the longest current win streak by one team over another in an uninterrupted series. The Gators are 3-point favorites in the game at Lexington.
— Anyone remember the last time an athletic director was dismissed at one school (Texas) and a coach suspended at another (Rutgers) during a season? In the same week? For those interested, Cal is at Texas (Fox, 7:30 p.m.) and Rutgers is at Penn State (BTN, 8 p.m.).
— Northern Illinois at No. 1 Ohio State (ABC, 3:30 p.m.): The MAC rose up last week with a few surprises — Bowling Green over Maryland, Toledo over Arkansas — but this might be asking too much.
— Nebraska at Miami (ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.): The teams may be unranked, but the game will not go unnoticed. And even if it doesn't live up to expectations, it's worth sticking around for highlights of the national championship-deciding games these teams played in the Orange Bowl. The first one — in 1984 — is considered one of the greatest games in history. Miami's Ken Calhoun broke up a 2-point conversion try by heavily-favored Nebraska with 48 seconds left to preserve a 31-30 win that lifted the Hurricanes to their first national title.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org