College football Week 3 reaction: Is there really this much parity?

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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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In the College Football Playoff era, you have always been able to pretty much pencil in Alabama and Clemson into the field of 4. Ohio State is generally a good bet, as well. Oklahoma and — for various reasons — Notre Dame are also usual suspects.

Is this the year things finally change? It’s early, but signs are starting to point in that direction.

Alabama struggles along with Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State

Alabama, as usual, is still the No. 1 team in the nation and will almost certainly remain as such next week. But the Crimson Tide were hardly dominant on Saturday as -14 favorites over Florida. The Gators were right in it from start to finish before falling 31-29. Nothing more than a missed extra point in the second quarter proved to be the difference, as UF was forced to attempt a 2-point conversion in the final minutes and failed. Freshman quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Young (+200) looked great again for Bama, but the running game didn’t do much and the defense was underwhelming.

Fellow top 10 teams Oklahoma, Clemson, and Ohio State also found the win column this weekend but not without scares. The Sooners (-22) scraped past Nebraska 23-16. In a lightning-delayed contest, the Tigers’ offense struggled (what’s new?) en route to an ugly 14-8 defeat of +28 underdog Georgia Tech. The Buckeyes (-26.5) had a 7-point game on their hands with 4 minutes remaining before they finally pulled away from Tulsa 41-20.

Oh yeah; it’s worth noting (mainly just for an excuse to post this) that OU needed some defensive heroics from DJ Graham to hold off the Cornhuskers.

Alabama is still a considerable -160 favorite to win the National Championship and OU, Clemson, and Ohio State are among the top 5 (Georgia is second at +340). But when other teams look at the scores — and the video, for that matter — they have to be more encouraged than they have been in previous years.

Who can make things interesting?

It takes two to tango, so to speak. Those aforementioned top teams can afford to lose (Clemson already has) if there isn’t anyone waiting in the wings to take advantage. In order for the college football landscape to change, the rest of the contenders must capitalize on any opportunities.

Right now it looks like there are a handful of programs that are primed candidates to do just that.

Georgia is the obvious one and really isn’t an outsider as the No. 2 team in the land. But the Bulldogs have played in the College Football Playoff only once. They may be in line for a second appearance, thanks mainly to an incredible defense. The Dawgs finally allowed a touchdown on Saturday, but they still humiliated South Carolina 40-13.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Ole Miss continues to roll. Matt Corral threw all over Tulane and appears to be Young’s stiffest Heisman competition (+300 second favorite).

Oregon, Iowa, Texas A&M, and Penn State also looked good this week. The atmosphere in Happy Valley was insane for the Nittany Lions’ 28-20 win over Auburn on Saturday night, but their three toughest Big Ten tests all come on the road this year. PSU has already won one of them (at Wisconsin), with dates at Iowa (Oct. 9) and Ohio State (Oct. 30) still looming. Get your popcorn ready for those.

And if Week 3 was any indication, get your popcorn ready for the entire rest of the season. Things could get crazy!

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