Terps making progress
Welcome to the college football overreaction index, where we examine the most important storylines from the last weekend of games to determine what’s worth paying attention to and what’s getting a little too much attention.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Week 3.
Same old Maryland. Verdict:
The No. 21 Terps’ 20-17 loss to Temple will sting for awhile, especially considering how many chances Maryland had to salvage a sloppy performance. There’s the missed 42-yard field-goal attempt; a failed fake field goal; coming up short two separate times on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line; and failing to turn a 7-yard punt by the Owls and a 55-yard punt return inside the 5 into points late in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps even more deflating is how quickly the momentum from the hot start under firstyear coach Mike Locksley was brought to a sudden halt. The Associated Press Top 25 ranking, the program’s first since 2013 and the reward for a feel-good 2-0 run, was short-lived. Instead of heading into a Friday night Big Ten home opener against No. 13 Penn State next week with a chance to plant their flag as a force to be reckoned with, the Terps will have to prove their fast start wasn’t a fluke.
Becoming a program on par with Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten East was always going to take time. But the arrival of quarterback Josh Jackson and fellow transfers Shaq Smith, Keandre Jones and Tyler Mabry added depth and talent at positions that sorely needed it, and, combined with Locksley’s coaching and two straight top-30 recruiting classes in 2017 and 2018, there was hope for a season that defied modest expectations.
The ACC is the worst Power 5 conference. Verdict:
Not an overreaction. It was not a banner weekend for the ACC. Boston College fell to Kansas, which earned its first road win over a Power 5 team in nearly 11 years, ending a 48-game skid. Georgia Tech lost to FCS level The Citadel in OT. Virginia Tech needed a second-half comeback to beat FCS Furman. NC State was routed by a rebuilding West Virginia.
Four years ago, Virginia was 4-8 and Wake Forest was 3-9. Now, those two programs are perhaps all alone in the conference’s second tier behind No. 1 Clemson, each standing at 3-0 after quality wins last weekend.
What does all this mean for the ACC? It’s unclear. How Florida State and Virginia Tech finish the season and what they decide to do with their coaches will tip the balance of power.
This is the year Central Florida gets its playoff shot. Verdict:
Give credit to UCF. The Knights knew nothing less than a rout of Stanford would earn them any respect, and they responded with a 45-27 win.
It marked UCF’s 28th win in its last 29 games, and the Knights scored at least 30 points for the 29th straight game — the longest streak in the FBS since 1936.
They also might have found their long-term answer at quarterback. Freshman Dillon Gabriel threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns in his second start.
The problem is, UCF won’t get many more opportunities to make a statement to the playoff committee. Entering Saturday, ESPN ranked the Knights’ remaining schedule the 76th toughest in the nation.