On paper, Week 3 looked like the weakest slate of games on the college football schedule thus far. Never doubt this sport's capacity for chaos, though. By the time the dust settled Saturday, two top-15 teams lost to unranked opponents and plenty of other results from around the nation caused eyebrows to raise.
No. 10 Alabama put on a poor showing in a 17-3 victory during a rare road game against a non-power conference opponent in South Florida. No. 3 Florida State couldn't put away what should have been a haplessly overmatched Boston College squad, scraping by with a 31-29 victory to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive. Even top-ranked Georgia lost some of its shine with a pedestrian 24-14 win against South Carolina.
For all the letdowns, though, there were plenty of teams that impressed. No. 4 Texas knocked off any hangover it may have had from Week 2's gargantuan win against Alabama and the Pac-12 had a really good weekend overall. Florida and Missouri both made huge statements by knocking off ranked squads as underdogs.
We learned a lot in Week 3, even though most wrote it off as one of the worst weekends of the year. Here are the biggest overreactions we could pull from the loaded weekend of action.
Alabama is in trouble
It takes time for a dynasty to fall, but Nick Saban's run at Alabama certainly feels like it's in its twilight. Maybe folks don't want to accept it yet, but Saturday was another step in the wrong direction for his program.
The Crimson Tide left Tampa with a 17-3 win against USF, but it sure felt like a loss. The two teams were tied at 3-3 for a majority of the first half. Alabama starting quarterback Tyler Buchner, who replaced Jalen Milroe, looked awful. His replacement, Ty Simpson, showed flashes but struggled with consistency.
The biggest concern was Alabama's offensive line. The Crimson Tide can't afford a quarterback controversy with how bad they were at the line of scrimmage. USF had five sacks -- its highest total in a single game since 2019 -- and eight tackles for loss. What was meant to be a strength for Alabama is a glaring weakness, and it won't matter who plays quarterback until Saban and Co. can get their front five figured out.
The only thing standing in Texas' way is Texas
Last week, this overreactions column proclaimed that Texas is a College Football Playoff team. Then Texas almost went and did the most Texas thing possible Saturday, sleepwalking through three quarters against Wyoming before finally pulling away in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 31-10 win.
It was a good hurdle to clear for the Longhorns. They didn't let a sloppy start, a week after arguably their biggest win in a decade, affect them too much and pulled away from a good Wyoming teams. Texas squads of the past may have straight up lost in that situation, dooming any playoff hopes right after they really took off.
Reality is, the only thing standing between Texas and the playoff from this point forward is itself. The Big 12 so far this year is bad. Really bad. Oklahoma may be a huge test, but the Sooners need to play some good competition before we can really determine where they're at after a disappointing 2022. Texas is built to run the table for the rest of the year. Now it's time to actually do that.
Georgia's championship streak ends this year
Make no mistake: Georgia will make it back to the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs are simply too talented to miss out with the regular season schedule they're playing. In fact, what most people identified as Georgia's only real challenge -- a Nov. 18 road trip to Tennessee -- lost a lot of its luster when the Vols were dismantled by Florida Saturday.
Talent is the main reason why Georgia was able to outlast South Carolina in Week 3. The Gamecocks didn't have the depth to stretch the game out, and their 14-3 halftime lead evaporated almost immediately in the third quarter as a result. Talent will only take Georgia so far, though, and there are some serious concerns about this team.
The Bulldogs miss Stetson Bennett and, more importantly, Todd Monken. Mike Bobo was a bad offensive coordinator hire. He's failing to impress thus far; even in the games that Georgia put up 40-plus points. The defense is solid, if less spectacular than we're used to, but high-profile teams like Ohio State and Michigan will be able to sustain an attack longer than South Carolina. At some point, the Bulldogs will run into a team that they can't out-talent and that's when their reign will end.
The Pac-12 is college football's best conference…
… and it still probably won't produce a College Football Playoff team. In fact, the Pac-12 is going to be a victim of its own success. The level of play around almost the entire league is so good that it is bound to cannibalize itself.
But there's plenty of evidence to support the fact that, during this young season, the Pac-12 is the nation's all-around best conference. It has its share of bad teams, like Stanford and Arizona State, but Pac-12 teams were undefeated in their first 18 games against non-conference opponents -- the best start to a season for an individual conference since 1978.
The Pac-12 added to its win total in emphatic fashion Saturday. Washington dismantled Michigan State on the road. Oregon State cruised to a win against Mountain West power San Diego State. The Pac-12 was 7-0 on Saturday before Stanford lost to Sacramento State. If this truly is the Pac-12's last season, then its member schools are making it one for the books.
Tyler Van Dyke is back, and so is Miami
There was a time when Tyler Van Dyke was considered a Heisman Trophy contender. That talk fell apart quickly in 2022 as he, and Miami's entire offense, devolved into one of the worst units at the power conference level. And then Van Dyke suffered a shoulder injury that cost him the final three games of the year, and people started to question if he would ever return to form.
So it's fair to say that Van Dyke is blowing all expectations out of the water through his first three games in 2023. He put on a masterclass in Week 2's upset win against Texas A&M, throwing for 374 yards and five touchdowns. He followed that up with a workman-like statline against Bethune-Cookman: 19-of-23 for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
Van Dyke has regained his redshirt freshman form, and Miami looks like a serious contender in the ACC as a result. That Nov. 11 road trip to Florida State could be a cornerstone moment for Mario Cristobal's young tenure.