A quarter of the way through the 2023 college football season, there is some clarity. Washington is a College Football Playoff contender (at least in this week's Power Rankings). Colorado can't be stopped (at least offensively). Michigan hasn't played anybody (at least to date). The Pac-12 is a best conference (at least for now with seven ranked teams). There may not be anybody great in the SEC (and it sure isn't Georgia).
Regardless, certain trends are forming. The new first down rule has made minimal impact. To this point, there are fewer than three less plays per game (including penalties, kicks, punts, 2-point conversions). Games are approximately 5 minutes shorter.
Meanwhile, scoring is up to what would be an all-time record (30.3 points per team). What's there to complain about? Enjoy these superlatives.
- With 20 straight wins, Georgia is within reach of the SEC's longest winning streak (28, Alabama, 1991-93).
- Alabama won with its third quarterback (Ty Simpson). How did it ever get that way?
- Assuming a bowl game, Notre Dame's Sam Hartman needs to average 3.2 touchdowns per game to break NCAA record (155).
- Hartman's impact has been obvious. Notre Dame leads the country in explosive plays of at least 10 yards. Last year, the Fighting Irish were 55th.
- Wake Forest's Jacob Roberts and Jasheen Davis are combining to average 3.17 sacks per game. Extrapolated, that would result in 38 sacks from the Demon Deacons' linebacker and defensive lineman over a full season. There were 112 teams last year that didn't have 38 total sacks.
- Eight of the 12 Pac-12 teams are undefeated. Half of the ACC (seven) are unbeaten.
- Oregon and Penn State are the only two teams that have not committed a turnover.
- Nebraska and Arizona State are tied with the most turnovers in Power Five (nine each).
- UNLV's Jacob DeJesus qualifies as the most "dangerous" player averaging 155 yards per game. DeJesus has gained yards rushing, receiving and on punt returns and kick returns.
|Come-from-behind win suggests the SEC as a whole is way closer than we thought. The reigning national champions finally broke loose getting three sacks of South Carolina's Spencer Rattler.||--||12-1|
|The preliminaries are over. The Jim Harbaugh-less Wolverines get through the Charmin soft nonconference slate and hit the Big Ten grind this week against ... Rutgers. Defense has given up one touchdown in three games.||--||13-0|
|We bid a fond farewell to the Longhorn Network. It took a while longer for Texas to bid farewell to stubborn Wyoming. Call it an Alabama hangover.||--||12-1|
|Just think what Michael Penix Jr. would have done if the Huskies were motivated in the second half. All four of his touchdown passes came in the first half at Michigan State. The Huskies ran up 713 yards.||1||13-0|
|Forget the late comeback by Boston College. A lot of teams struggle in the laidback atmosphere of Alumni Stadium. Also, probably a look-ahead to Clemson for good reason. The season might hinge on this week's trip to meet the Tigers.||1||13-0|
|The Fighting Irish have the QB (Sam Hartman), running game (Audric Estime, No. 2 nationally) and defense. Rolling into the Ohio State game, that combination could make the Irish a playoff contender.||1||9-3|
|The quarterbacks tried to outdo each other at Illinois. Drew Allar was a pedestrian 16 of 33 passing. Ah, but the Illini's Luke Altmeyer threw four picks.||1||10-2|
|Bye. Consider this: Four Pac-12 QB have combined for 42 TDs passing and two interceptions so far (Caleb Williams, Penix, Bo Nix, Shedeur Sanders). We'll see if Arizona State (first home shutout since 1988 to Fresno State) can score this week on the Trojans.||2||7-5|
|Nothing much to see here against Western Kentucky, though the QB situation seemed firmed up just in time for Notre Dame. First game with two defensive touchdowns since 2018.||1||11-1|
|"Do you remember them winning anything?" Dan Lanning's preseason comment about Colorado going to the Big 12 will get plenty of run this week. As for football, anyone else looking forward to Nix vs. Sanders? Oregon's QB has thrown the fourth-most TD passes (eight) without an INT this season. Sanders has played himself to the top end of the first round.||1||11-2|
|An incredibly chippy game with Colorado State (27 total penalties, 17 by CSU) turned on the arm of Shedeur Sanders. In the last three possessions Sanders completed 9 of 12 for 152 yards and 3 scores. Time to prove it again this week at Oregon.||1||4-8|
|Who's the best team in the SEC West? Tigers can make a case. Jayden Daniels had as many touchdown passes as incompletions against Mississippi State (four).||2||9-3|
|Utes are heavily bandaged going into its Pac-12 opener this week against UCLA. Both offensive tackles, a defensive end and a starting corner missed the 24-point win over Weber State. Two others were knocked out during the game and will miss this week.||--||8-4|
|DJ Uiagalelei finished with his worst game of the season (2 interceptions) but still managed 20.2 yards per completion in a rout of San Diego State. Is this a glimpse of what the new Pac-12/Mountain West/TwoPac looks like?||3||8-4|
|It's personal this week for Lane Kiffin only because it's Nick Saban and Alabama. Could Kiff join Sark in former Saban assistants beating the master twice in three weeks?||3||10-2|
|Profound QB problems. The 17 points against South Florida were the fewest against a Group of Five opponent for the Crimson Tide since 2009. Lane Kiffin is drooling this week.||1||12-1|
|The Vols definitely aren't back. Lost 10th straight to Florida in The Swamp. Looked disconnected all night against the Gators, who suddenly seem like an SEC East contender.||8||8-4|
|Mike Elko keeps building an impressive resume (cough, cough, ahem -- Texas A&M, Michigan State) with an easy win over Northwestern. Notre Dame in two weeks.||1||7-5|
|A readjustment from last week's ranking. The Bruins are a contender in the Pac-12. Wait, isn't everybody a contender in the Pac-12?||4||7-5|
|UNC is 3-0 for the first time in back-to-back seasons since 1997. Consider what the Tar Heels would look like with Tez Walker.||--||8-4|
|It was a scrimmage, a glorified practice, but a Thursday night mauling of Bethune-Cookman sets up the Hurricanes. They should be 5-0 heading to North Carolina on Oct. 14.||--||7-5|
|We'll see if the Tigers are ready for Florida State. A win over FAU revealed little. This week is for ACC supremacy and a possible CFP berth.||--||8-4|
|It's been a while for the Tigers, who were just kind of hanging around the SEC these past few years. They showed grit and rode the massive leg of Harrison Mevis (SEC-record 61-yard field goal) to beat Kansas State for the first time since 2010. Optimistic fans already looking ahead to LSU on Oct. 7. Everybody Drink(witz)!||NR||10-2|
|Still don't know what to make of the Sooners -- 73 points against Arkansas State, 28 against SMU, 66 against Tulsa. If OU is legit, mark the Texas game (Oct. 7) on your calendars. Big 12 opener this week at Cincinnati.||1||10-2|
|Sort of a sluggish performance at moribund Nevada. Devin Neal is one of the country's best-kept secrets (three rushing TDs, No. 2 rusher in Big 12). Big 12 opener this week against BYU.||1||8-4|
Out: Kansas State