What happened to Oregon?
The Ducks’ Pac-12 dynasty might be nearing its end. Oregon is 2-2 after an almost unfathomable 62-20 home loss to Utah. But the problems don’t end there. The Ducks have questions at quarterback, where the Vernon Adams experiment has gotten off to a particularly poor start, due in some part to Adams’ injured finger. Backup QB Jeff Lockie has not proven an adequate replacement, either. Oregon’s defense has been awful. And now there’s a report that receiver Byron Marshall could miss the rest of the season. This weekend’s trip to Colorado suddenly looms large.
The beginning of conference play (for the most part) means a lot more interesting matchups across the nation, including five games this week between teams ranked in the AP Top 25, with three of those games in the SEC: No. 23 West Virginia visits No. 15 Oklahoma; No. 13 Alabama plays at No. 8 Georgia; No. 3 Mississippi visits No. 25 Florida; No. 21 Mississippi State is at No. 14 Texas A&M; and No. 12 Clemson hosts No. 6 Notre Dame.
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The Fournette show
LSU does not have an interesting matchup this week — the Tigers host Eastern Michigan — but you should tune in to ESPNU at
4 p.m. Saturday anyway to watch LSU tailback Leonard Fournette, who looks very much like the best player in the country … as a sophomore. In just three games, Fournette has rushed for 631 yards and eight TDs, averaging 8.64 yards per carry along the way. At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, he’s a thrill to watch, so long as you’re not trying to tackle him.
Appeals court rules on NCAA
The Wednesday ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the Ed O’Bannon case was a mixed bag. The court upheld a previous ruling that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by limiting compensation for athletes, which will be viewed as a positive for the pay-the-players crowd. But the court also ruled against U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken’s suggestion that schools be allowed to pay athletes up to $5,000 annually as compensation for use of their likeness. In other words: the NCAA is required to allow schools to pay full cost of attendance, but nothing more than that.
Is that bad?
Which college football team has the worst defense through the first four games of the season? Well, Idaho is allowing 11.1 yards per pass attempt, 7.35 yards per rush attempt and 8.6 yards per play — all of which rank dead last among 128 FBS teams. On the bright side, the Vandals did beat Wofford, so they won’t go winless in Paul Petrino’s third year as coach.