There wasn’t much movement atop the Associated Press’ Top 25 poll following a Week 3 that largely unfolded as expected.
Georgia and Michigan remained at No. 1 and 2. The only change in the top five came from Texas and Florida State swapping spots at third and fourth.
4. Florida State
6. Ohio State
7. Penn State
9. Notre Dame
14. Oregon State
15. Ole Miss
17. North Carolina
21. Washington State
Florida delivered the biggest upset over the weekend, earning a 29-16 victory over then-No. 11 Tennessee. Gators running back Trevor Etienne torched the Vols defense on the ground, going for 172 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
For Tennessee, the loss reinforced how the 2023 season is likely to be a roller-coaster ride with starting quarterback Joe Milton III. He went 20-of-34 for 287 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, mixing in some NFL-caliber throws with an inexplicable decision or two.
Absent more consistency under center from Milton, matching last year’s 10-2 record in the regular season could be a challenge for head coach Josh Heupel.
Speaking of quarterback situations in the SEC, Alabama may have no alternative but to reinstall Jalen Milroe as the starter.
Ty Simpson was 5-of-9 for 73 yards in Saturday’s 17-3 win over South Florida, and Tyler Buchner was even worse (5-of-14 for 34 yards)
Head coach Nick Saban remained vague about why Milroe remained glued to the bench after losing his QB1 status.
“I think that’s an internal team thing,” he told reporters. “I think that everybody has the opportunity to respond in the right way then things don’t go exactly like you want them to. We play the guys that practice the best all week long.”
Milroe has his flaws. He completed just over half of his passes in the defeat to Texas and threw two interceptions while getting sacked five times. But he seems a clearly superior alternative to Buchner or Simpson.
Regardless of what Saban decides moving forward, the state of the Crimson Tide’s quarterback room is a far cry from what fans have come to expect following a succession of first-round picks.
And while it’s too early to say Saban’s dynasty is over, the signs are increasingly troubling on that front.
More broadly, Alabama exemplified a week in which some heavy hitters were pushed unexpectedly hard but survived.
Florida State saw its lead over Boston College shrink to two points with 5:19 left in the fourth quarter before holding on. The Seminoles allowed the Eagles offense to go for 457 total yards.
Texas and Wyoming were tied at 10 points apiece after three quarters. A pair of touchdowns from Quinn Ewers—one passing and one rushing—helped to put the Cowboys away.
Georgia trailed South Carolina 14-3 at halftime. The Bulldogs defense suffocated the Gamecocks in the second half
As uneventful as Week 3 proved to be, Week 4 is bound to provide plenty of fireworks.
Notre Dame hosts Ohio State in prime time (7:30 p.m. ET) in one of the most anticipated non-conference games of the year.
A little earlier, Washington State hosts Oregon State at 7 p.m. ET, which is one of a few intriguing Pac-12 battles. Utah hosts UCLA, while Colorado faces its biggest test of the Coach Prime era on the road against Oregon.
Clemson has the opportunity to make a major statement when it welcomes Florida State to Memorial Stadium.
Elsewhere in the Southeast, fans will fix their gaze on Tuscaloosa to see whether Lane Kffin can finally get the better of Saban. A 4-0 start would undoubtedly send Ole Miss shooting up the polls for Week 5.