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Three-Point Stance: Saturday Shine and Shame, Penn State

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

BY THE NUMBERS: How many Rivals250 prospects are on AP Top 25 rosters? National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with Saturday Shine and Saturday Shame from the weekend, as well as a look at James Franklin's post-game rant.

MORE: Woody's weekly things | Fantasy week in review


Travis Etienne
Travis Etienne (USA Today Sports Images)

Here's a look at the teams, units and players that should feel good following their performance in Week 5.

Ohio State – The Buckeyes' huge comeback win on the road is further evidence that Urban Meyer's team is a step above everyone else in the Big Ten.

Binjimen Victor, Ohio State – His huge touchdown catch helped turn the game around and was a thing of beauty.

Notre Dame – The Irish logged a convincing win over Stanford, a tough team, at home. Notre Dame dominated in all aspects of the game.

Ian Book, Notre Dame – Why hasn’t he been the starter all along? He looks great and makes some amazing plays on the run.

Clemson – The Tigers always seem to find a way to win games they struggle in, or at least they did on Saturday against Syracuse. This is what great programs do.

Chase Brice, Clemson – Brice played tough, made some key plays and has never hinted at a transfer. He’s a true team player.

Travis Etienne, Clemson – Ettienne rushed for 203 yards and three scores, with a ton of his production coming in the fourth quarter as he led the way for the victory over Syracuse.

Oregon – The Ducks had a heartbreaking loss to Stanford but rebounded in a big way with a win over Cal.

Michigan – A gutty win after falling behind 17 points, Michigan is showing the heart needed to compete with Ohio State and others.

Karan Higdon, Michigan – He’s the offensive MVP of this team and sets the tone for everything they want to do. He was key again in this comeback.

Washington State – A big win over Utah despite zero rushing yards. Only Mike Leach could get away with that.

MiamiNorth Carolina isn’t a very good team, but the Hurricanes dominated and did all that was asked of them to help re-establish themselves as the second best team in the ACC

Florida State – The Seminoles are showing much-needed signs of life after a big comeback win against Louisville.

Washington – The Huskies got a big win over a tough opponent and a very efficient game from Jake Browning.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma – He only accounted for seven touchdowns in the win over Baylor. No big deal. Murray is playing football like it’s a video game.

West Virginia – A huge win on the road against a quality team, the offense clicked early and the defense stepped up late.

Jalen Hurts, Alabama – Hurts burned his redshirt year to be there for his teammates. If Tua Tagovailoa goes down with an injury, Hurts' loyalty will be huge for ‘Bama.

LSU – A big, convincing win over Ole Miss and a great start after many expected a losing record at this stage of the season.

NC State – The Wolfpack are still undefeated and beat a pretty good Virginia team that has surprised a few.

Georgia – The Bulldogs didn’t beat Tennessee by as much as expected, but even when they aren’t firing on all cylinders, the game isn’t close.

Justice Hill, Oklahoma State – The junior running back has scored a touchdown in 11-straight games, a Big 12 record.

Texas Kansas State is a thorn in their side always, so a win on the road is a big deal even if the Wildcats aren’t very good.

Virginia Tech – Bouncing back from a horrible loss to Old Dominion, the Hokies showed a lot of heart against Duke.

Ryan Willis, Virginia TechJosh Jackson goes down against ODU and the team doesn’t miss a beat with Willis running the offense.

Kentucky – Undefeated and 3-0 in conference for the first time since 1977, the Wildcats are clearly the second-best team in the SEC East.

Florida – A big win for Dan Mullen against his old team. It wasn’t pretty, but all that matters is the result.

Colorado – Undefeated after four games? Not many expected this. The Buffaloes dominated UCLA. Yes, the Bruins stink, but another win is a win.


Baylor coach Matt Rhule
Baylor coach Matt Rhule (USA Today Sports Images)

Here's a look at the teams, units and players that should be feeling some heat following their performance in Week 5.

Penn State – Blowing a double-digit lead like that in the fourth quarter to Ohio State is sinful in so many ways. The NIttany Lions will look back at this one and wince for quite some time.

Stanford – Stanford came out strong but then went flat and couldn’t run the ball or stop the run against Notre Dame.

Kelly Bryant, Clemson (formerly) – The Tigers could have used him on Saturday, right? It would have been nice if he showed some loyalty to his teammates and stuck with the team despite the demotion.

Northwestern – Michigan isn’t a team built to come back from large deficits, but Northwestern jumped out early and then let the Wolverines slide back into the game.

Baylor's defense – Did they even put up a fight against Oklahoma? This was an embarrassing effort overall.

Ole Miss' defense – It’s just plain ugly right now.

Tennessee – I’m not sure which area of the game they are struggling more with, offense or defense, but they are a bad football team.

Duke – Ranked and battling a team coming off a horrible loss, the Blue Devils laid an egg against Virginia Tech.

Cal – Undefeated and primed for a big win over Oregon, the Bears got croaked and their defense looked awful.

Auburn – A squeaker win over Southern Miss. I’m waiting for Auburn’s passing game to step it up.

Louisville – Blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter with some questionable decisions, Louisville beat themselves in many ways.

Pitt – The Panthers simply look like an awful football team and UCF just proved it again.

TCU – The Horned Frogs won but they aren’t playing like the Big 12 contender everyone expected are they?

Nebraska – The Huskers are playing like one of the worst teams in college football and this level was not expected. Scott Frost pointed out the lack of discipline and it’s obvious.

UCLA – Did we think it would be this bad to start off the Chip Kelly era?


James Franklin
James Franklin (USA Today Sports Images)

I like James Franklin, a lot. He’s a great coach and a great motivator of young men. So I was a little confused when I heard his post-game rant about how tired he is of his team being "great" and not "elite." Penn State, at least to me, is not a great team. A great team makes the College Football Playoff and certainly doesn’t blow a lead like the Nittany Lions did against Ohio State at home. However, if "elite" is the bar, than I completely understand what he’s saying.

Penn State needs to take the next step and it is one of the top programs in the country. The problem? The Nittany Lions are in arguably the toughest division in college football. So what do you do when you already have an elite program in your own division? You have to beat them, especially at home. I understand Franklin's frustration as his team outplayed Ohio State for the most part and should have won the game, but I’m not sure what it’s going to take to reach that elite level with Ohio State in the way. Franklin is smart enough to figure it out, but it’s hard to listen to after such a tough loss when Penn State could have taken that very step Saturday night.

Franklin said Penn State will no longer be "great" and that "great" is done. Well, that won’t happen until the Nittany Lions win games like the one they played Saturday night. I guess we’ll just have to settle for a great Penn State program for the time being and see when and if it can take that next step. In the meantime, elite Ohio State will cruise to the Big Ten title game and likely make another run at the national title.