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Ask Farrell: Which team's start to 2018 has been most disappointing?

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There were many high-profile jobs filled in college football prior to this season as programs mired in mediocrity for years hoped that new coaching staffs would come in and immediately make the team a winner again.

At some places, those first-year coaches are on the right track. But especially at Florida State, Nebraska and UCLA it has been a disappointing and frustrating start to the season.

Florida State opened with a 24-3 clunker against Virginia Tech where the Seminoles had only 94 rushing yards (which included an 85-yard run!). Then the ACC powerhouse needed to come from behind to beat Samford. This past weekend, Florida State lost to Syracuse for the first time since 1966. And it wasn’t close. The Orange won, 30-7, with FSU’s lone score coming late in the fourth quarter.

Five-star running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick do not have a rushing touchdown through three games. Quarterback Deondre Francois has thrown three touchdowns and four interceptions. It’s a mess in Tallahassee.

Then there is Nebraska. So much hope - maybe an irrational level of excitement from a rabid fan base - was poured on first-year coach Scott Frost, who led UCF to an undefeated season a year ago and was thought to have the power to turn the Huskers around immediately.

Instead, thunderstorms cancelled Nebraska’s season opener against Akron. The Huskers lost to Colorado two weekends ago and lost to Troy on Saturday in Lincoln. Nebraska visits Michigan this weekend, so an 0-3 start is very much a possibility. Plus, starting quarterback Adrian Martinez missed the Troy game with a knee injury. Frost’s tenure has been a struggle so far.

UCLA is dealing with a similar fate. Chip Kelly was hired in Westwood to huge acclaim, talk about him competing for Los Angeles’ top recruits started almost immediately and his huge success at Oregon and then his coaching chops in the NFL seemed to be a huge draw for the Bruins.

Instead, it’s been bad so far. UCLA dropped the season-opener to Cincinnati at the Rose Bowl, went to Oklahoma and hung around for a while before getting blown out and lost 38-14 at home to Fresno State this weekend where the Bruins gave up 420 total yards.

It’s only three games but Kelly, who’s known as an offensive genius, is leading a team that’s averaging just 17 points per game and was held to 14 points and only 270 yards against Fresno State.

We ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell to weigh in on which team’s start has been most disappointing so far this season.


“To me it’s Florida State, because the Seminoles were expected to bounce back and actually be a thorn in the side of Clemson and compete in the ACC. Everyone expected Nebraska to struggle, although not at this level, and for UCLA to be a two- or three-year rebuild but most expected Florida State with so much talent to be much better than they are now.

"With a talented quarterback in Francois, two great running backs and a good wide receiving corps, the Seminoles' offense was expected to be dangerous but the offensive line has been horrible. On defense, the defensive line was supposed to be stout and the defensive backfield was loaded with former four- and five-stars.

"Nebraska has been disappointing for sure and UCLA looks horrible, but Florida State has clearly been the biggest disappointment so far and it’s reached embarrassing levels.”