2018 College Football Roundtable: This is the Week the Fun Begins

As we approach Week 4, the roundtable is joined by Bryce Hodge to review last week’s games, look at Urban Meyer and predict a few games.

Which loss was most embarrassing: Florida State 30-7 at Syracuse? Rutgers 55-14 at Kansas? Nebraska 24-19 to Troy? Wisconsin 24-21 to BYU? Ole Miss 62-7 to Alabama? USC 37-14 at Texas? UCLA 38-14 to Fresno State?

Kristen: I’d say Rutgers at Kansas. The football program at Kansas has been a national joke for years now, so a loss that large to a program that almost no one respects is plain old embarrassing. And I also chose the Rutgers loss because of my assessments of the rest of those losses. Florida State’s loss was embarrassing, but not surprising after how the Seminoles have started this season. Nebraska may have lost to Troy, but Troy has been known to upset some larger programs in recent years. Wisconsin lost to BYU, but BYU may not be all that bad (having beaten Arizona as well). Alabama is Alabama, and the Tide’s offense looks even scarier than its defense this year—which is rare. No loss to this Alabama team is going to be considered embarrassing in my book, including that of Ole Miss. USC isn’t as good as the brand name of the school would have you thinking. And Texas isn’t too bad (but no, Texas is not “back” either). And Fresno State was favored over UCLA, so while that loss may have been painful I wouldn’t call it particularly embarrassing.

Damien: Most embarrassing loss must be Wisconsin’s to BYU. I think it’s become painfully obvious outside of Ohio State, the Big Ten isn’t very good at football right now. Wisconsin was slated before the season to be the shining star of the West but losing to BYU is inexcusable. The other losses mentioned are a combination of newer coaches or a team facing Alabama, which looks unstoppable so far this season.

Bryce: The most embarrassing loss to me was Wisconsin’s home loss to BYU. This year’s Wisconsin team was the most hyped Badger group in quite some time, with returning Heisman favorite Jonathan Taylor, and another 12-year veteran at quarterback in Alex Hornibrook. I thought this Badger team may be the first Big Ten West team to represent the Big Ten in the playoff, (still can, just a longshot now). So, losing at home to a BYU team that was beaten by Cal in Week 2 was the most embarrassing loss of the week, in my opinion.

Seth: This is going to be pick-on-Nebraska-Week for me. Nebraska losing to Troy was the most embarrassing loss. This season was coined as Frost Warning from the moment the True Son(?) was hired. How quickly people, including Frost, treated him as a high school kid spurning the home state team for Stanford. Now he’s paid millions – above the table – TO NOT LOSE TO TROY. The frost is thawing.

Mike: I would have to say it’s Florida State losing to Syracuse. Taggart is struggling to replace a legend in Jimbo Fisher.

Who is in the worst shape: Willie Taggart at Florida State? Kevin Sumlin at Arizona? Scott Frost at Nebraska? Brian Kelly at UCLA?

Kristen: None of them are in great shape. But I’d say Taggart is in the worst shape. The last four recruiting classes at Florida State were top ten classes. He was left with talent when Jimbo Fisher departed for Texas A&M. Not to mention that former coach Jimbo Fisher is doing well at A&M thus far. Additionally, Florida State’s offense is last in scoring in FBS play—YIKES! And let us not forget how Florida State didn’t lead Samford (not to be confused with Stanford) in week two until over halfway through the fourth quarter. Florida State’s football program is quickly becoming a joke, and many Florida State fans are already calling for Taggart’s head. He better take a page from his own book and…”do something.”

Damien: Such an open-ended question. I’d say Scott Frost is at the biggest disadvantage and not because of Nebraska’s past, but because of its current situation. While Cornhusker fans have high expectations, I think at this point they’ve realized it’s very difficult for them to recruit the best recruits because of their location. The old school Nebraska fans will always want to live in the 1990’s, but I think the younger fans know this process will take some time. Nebraska has two advantages over the other coaches and programs mentioned: Scott Frost is a good coach with the potential to be a very good coach and Nebraska plays in the Big Ten. Being in the Big Ten works to frost because he might be able to get solid three- and four-star recruits that don’t want to leave the Midwest and aren’t good enough to play at Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc. Frost can always say, you’ll play in the biggest stadiums and have a great opportunity at not only a solid education but a great chance to get to the National Football League.

Bryce: I believe they all have some time to get things going in the right direction. At this point, it feels like Willie Taggart is in the worst shape. Kevin Sumlin and Chip Kelly are in the Pac-12, which tends to be the weakest Power 5 conference. So, I think they will get things turned around sooner than later. Scott Frost feels like he has enough support back home to take his time on this turnaround. If his freshman stud quarterback didn’t get hurt Week 2 against Colorado, they probably beat Troy last week. Florida State has simply looked overmatched all season. Va. Tech took it to them in primetime, Week 1. They limped to a 10-point win over Samford in Week 2…yes, Samford. And then they get smacked by Syracuse. With NIU, Louisville, Miami, Wake Forest, Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Florida remaining on the schedule, I think wins will be hard to come by for Taggart.

Seth: As a continuation of my first answer, Frost is in worse shape. It’s all about expectations at Nebraska. It’s no longer the 1990s, but don’t tell the Husker fans that. Frost is in over his head in Lincoln, just as I said from the day he was hired. He may be a good coach, but he doesn’t know the full ambush the fans will hit him with. That kid who went to Stanford only received a taste of what’s on the horizon.

Mike: I think Taggart is already on the hot seat in my opinion. Sumlin isn’t going anywhere. Kevin Sumlin has a ton of youth and depth problems. Chip Kelly has similar problems to Sumlin at UCLA. There isn’t going to be as much patience with Willie Taggart. That fan base won’t put up with the struggles as easily as some of these other programs.

Who in the Big 12 is going to beat Oklahoma?

Kristen: The only team in the Big 12 that can beat Oklahoma is… Oklahoma. The Sooners can only lose to a Big 12 team if they let said team win. If they give another team the game on a silver platter, then maybe the Sooners will lose to a Big 12 team. They still might not lose that way. But without the Sooners beating themselves, I just don’t see another Big 12 team beating them.

Damien: Tough to pinpoint one team, but if there’s a gun to my head, I’ll take TCU (October 20). The Horned Frogs face the Sooners in Fort Worth and frankly, TCU played very well minus the third quarter against Ohio State. It’s anyone’s guess if Oklahoma is as good as Ohio State, but the experience of Saturday’s loss could help TCU against a similarly-equipped Oklahoma. Having that game being at home should also favor TCU.

Bryce: My money is on West Virginia. Their DC, Tony Gibson, has done a phenomenal job in turning that defense around and getting them to stop opponents, as opposed to just outscoring everyone. The old adage is defense wins championships, so if they keep improving on that side of the ball, the sky is the limit. With Will Grier leading the Dana Holgerson/Jake Spavital offense, I think West Virginia could realistically win the Big 12 over Oklahoma.

Seth: Nobody is beating OU for that title.

Mike: I think TCU or West Virginia could beat the Sooners. The TCU and the West Virginia games are on the road. The Horned Frogs and the Mountaineers have enough talent to beat the Sooners.

Is Joe Burrow a good quarterback?  Is LSU as good as it’s shown so far?

Kristen: I wouldn’t say Joe Burrow is a good quarterback. I think he’s good enough to not lose games for the LSU defense, though. With LSU’s defense playing at the level it has been and Burrow not making mistakes, LSU is a good team. But I still don’t know that it’s any match for the likes of Alabama or Georgia. I guess we’ll see about that…

Damien: The barometer of which quarterback is good and bad is so hard in college football because of the many different types of offenses teams run. Burrow is serviceable and at the end of the day, that’s all that means anything for LSU. LSU luckily gets Georgia (October 13) and Alabama (November 3) at home and probably at night. Those two games will be the test of how good Burrow really is. His experience at Ohio State will certainly help him this season, but the defenses of the Georgia and Alabama is something he does not have experience with.

Bryce: Joe Burrow is a good quarterback. He has a solid arm and is mobile enough to move in the pocket and extend plays. I believe with LSU having its typical solid defense, and a good quarterback running the offense, that it can compete with Bama for the SEC West title. They’re already battle tested after games against ranked opponents, Miami and Auburn. That should bode well as they get deeper into conference play.

Seth: Burrow is good enough and that’s all LSU needs with a solid defense and potent rushing attack. And “good enough” was severely lacking the past few seasons. He may not beat Alabama – who will? – but LSU and Burrow did just beat Alabama’s step brother, Auburn.

Mike: Joe Burrow is a good quarterback, but we need to remember he is only a freshman. A true freshman at that. There will be peaks and valleys with a young quarterback, so it’s hard to forecast out the rest of the season for him. However, so far, so good for the young gunslinger.

How does Ohio State change now that Urban Meyer is back?

Kristen: I doubt Ohio State changes very much with Urban Meyer back. I don’t think his symbolic suspension for the past two games has really affected the team, and because of that, I don’t think his return will affect the Buckeyes much either.

Damien: There are only two questions that mean anything now that Urban Meyer is back daily at Ohio State: 1. Can he find a way to get the media to move on from Zach and Courtney Smith? 2. Will he run the offense and revert to his very conservative approach, or will he allow the offense to continue as it has the first three weeks of the season?

Any other questions about Ohio State and Urban Meyer are irrelevant.

Bryce: As a Buckeye fan, I hope they don’t change much offensively. It has been refreshing to see us hand the ball off to our two running backs instead of 15 quarterback runs a game. I absolutely love the vertical passing game we have established with Dwayne Haskins and our veteran receivers. This week, Urban stated he was going to be more of a game manager and let Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson continue to call the plays since things have been rolling so well, and I hope that is true. Defensively, I would like to see improved play from our linebackers. Since Urban is more of an offensive/special teams guy, I’m not sure if he will have any impact on that. I expect the Buckeyes to be an angry team and play with a chip on their shoulder for the rest of the year.

Seth: Ohio State won’t change one bit with Meyer back. He may not have been “with the program” but the program was still his. Any of us could have been the acting head coach and come out unblemished.

Mike: Nothing changes at Ohio State. Business as usual for the Buckeyes.

It’s a big weekend out west. Rapid fire picks, who you got: Washington State at USC? TCU at Texas? Stanford at Oregon?  Wisconsin at Iowa? Arizona State at Washington?

Kristen: Washington State, TCU, Stanford, Iowa, and Washington

Damien: USC, Texas, Stanford, Wisconsin, and Washington

Bryce: USC, TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Washington

Seth: USC, TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Washington

Mike: Wazzu, TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Washington