Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with Saturday Shine and Saturday Shame from the weekend. Also, is Notre Dame already proving him wrong?
So what is Saturday Shine and Saturday Shame? Essentially it’s a look at the teams - and sometimes players - who should be proud or ashamed of their performances from the weekend. This includes Thursday and Friday games, of course. So let’s take a look at those that shined first.
Penn State – I was going to say Joe Moorhead here because of his awesome game plan, but the entire team played off the charts against Michigan. The defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves, the offense is so versatile and dangerous and the confidence the team is playing with is Alabama level.
Saquon Barkley – OK, he gets his own section because he could have just won the Heisman in week 8.
Alabama defense – Speaking of Alabama, no defense hits harder and tackles more aggressively than Alabama, and it’s been that way for a decade. Even against a team that never threatened them and came out playing physically as well, it just thumped Tennessee at every turn. I don’t know who is No. 2 as a hitting defense, but it’s clear who No. 1 is.
Notre Dame’s physicality – I thought USC would beat Notre Dame at home. I thought it would be too quick and too talented despite the fact that they have played uneven football all season. But Notre Dame punched them in the mouth on defense and in the trenches on offense, and the game was never close. This Notre Dame team plays with anger, much different than last year’s version.
Josh Adams – This guy is finally getting some of the attention he deserves and should be a legit Heisman candidate.
Brandon Wimbush – The passing numbers don’t look great (9-for-19 for 120 yards), but he rushed for 100 yards and trust me, he’s starting to develop as a pocket passer.
Iowa State – Best start in forever, 3-1 in the Big 12 and this is a team no one wants to play right now. Who would have thought I’d be saying that?
Matt Campbell – Start putting his name in some coaching rumors immediately.
Alex Hornibrook – I’m not a fan of Wisconsin quarterback's his arm strength, but he’s starting to show improvement and you have to give him props for his game this weekend. He manages the game well, for the most part, and this weekend he made a difference with his arm.
Baker Mayfield – He threw for two and ran for two, and he’s become one of my favorite players to watch in college football this season, by far. He just never backs down.
Oklahoma State defense – What? The weak point of the team did a great job against Texas and kept their Big 12 and national title hopes alive while the offense was awful.
Will Grier – His motion is funky, his arm is average but he keeps putting up monster numbers.
David Sills – Not in a million years could you have told me he’d be a leading wide receiver in the nation after scouting him as a quarterback for six years or more.
Boston College offense – It has scored 40 points in back-to-back games. What?
Rutgers – A 3-4 record, 2-2 in the Big Ten and they would be even better in the West. They need to petition the Big Ten to get out of the East.
Alex Delton – We liked this kid a bit out of high school and he’s showing that dual-threat ability that has to have Kansas State fans excited for the future.
Arizona State defense, Arizona offense – What has happened here? Arizona State is playing real defense and Arizona found a difference-maker at quarterback. Remember when football was awful in the state? It’s still not great, but it’s not awful.
Michigan defense – This was supposed to be a close, defensive game and it wasn’t that way from the start. Don Brown’s team didn’t cover well, they didn’t tackle well and they didn’t bring an aggressive and nasty demeanor to this game at all. The offense stunk as well, but we expected that. The defense not playing well was a surprise.
Sam Darnold – He is a turnover machine and it’s killing his team. He can’t hang on to the ball, he throws at least one bad pick a game and the confidence we saw in the Rose Bowl is gone. This looks like a different player - and not in a good way.
Mason Rudolph – Your coach showed zero confidence in you down the stretch and you’re supposed to be a Heisman candidate. Bottom line: You looked awful and Oklahoma State was lucky to win.
Oklahoma defense – This is a problem. Facing a backup quarterback again and giving up 35 points. When the Sooners face an elite quarterback down the line, it could hurt.
Tennessee offense – It’s hideous to watch. There is talent, but the coaching staff has no clue how to get into any kind of offensive rhythm - and it’s one of the main reasons Butch Jones is a dead man walking. A flea flicker is called and no wide receivers go out for a pass? That sums it up.
Rashaan Gaulden – You’re better than this Rashaan, and you know it. Flipping off the 'Bama faithful after your team scored its lone touchdown in a rout was not classy or necessary, especially for one of the best players on an underachieving team.
Sam Ehlinger – I don’t care if he’s a freshman - no quarterback can ever make the mistake he made in overtime, no matter what level of football you play. That was awful.
North Carolina – You might lose to Kansas in a game if you played them. You are that bad these days.
LJ Scott – I am a huge fan of his talent, but he should not have been playing, right? Seven different arrests for driving without a license and he scores the key touchdown in a win over Indiana anyhow? How about a suspension? Nah, let’s make him miss the opening series. I know it’s not a DWI or anything serious like that, but still.
FSU defense – The offense didn’t help with some key turnovers and it did score a defensive touchdown, but this defense keeps missing key tackles and can’t seem to close out games.
Jimbo Fisher – A piece of advice: Don’t argue with fans. Everyone wants every coach fired after every loss, so get used to it. And when the chant is “new coaches, new coaches” it’s more about some key assistants than it is about you.
Oregon – After a great start, it has become clear after injuries that there wasn’t a ton of depth and talent on this roster.
Kentucky – I thought the Wildcats were emerging as one of the sleeper teams in the SEC, and then they go out and get pummeled by a team that was throttled by Georgia and Auburn. Mississippi State is not bad, but 45-7 over Kentucky? That’s an awful loss for the Wildcats.
San Diego State – What the heck happened to the team that was supposed to go to a New Year’s Six Bowl.
IRISH GUYS ARE SMILING
Friday I wrote that there was no way Notre Dame was going to run the table and make the college football playoff, and I’ll admit the timing of the article was in anticipation of a loss to USC. But Notre Dame stepped on USC’s throat, slapped the Trojans around a bit and showed me a toughness I didn’t know would be there as they faced a talented opponent.
After all, Notre Dame's only impressive win so far this season prior to USC was against Michigan State. But now that I’ve seen the same team that gave Georgia trouble rout USC, maybe it can run the table and beat N.C. State, Wake Forest, Miami, Navy and Stanford. I still think there is at least one loss in that group, but I’m not as sure of that now. This Notre Dame team is nasty.