Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? Food, food, more food, and maybe some drinks? If nothing else your body usually feels like doing very little the day after Turkey Day. What looked like an amazing three-game slate on Friday in August, now seems like a snooze-fest.
The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors last won a football game on the road in Fort Collins way back when head coach Nick Rolovich was just a boy (it was actually 30 years ago). But on Saturday night, the Warriors’ revamped Run and Shoot offense was explosive, leading to a 43-34 win.
Redshirt sophomore Cole McDonald was impressive, completing 26 passes for 418 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 96 yards and two more scores. Not bad for this lightly recruited, two star prospect out Sonora High in La Habra, Calif.
The final score looked a bit closer than it actually was as Hawai’i (1-0, 1-0 MW) led 37-7 with less than 4 minutes to play in the third.
So what does this mean for Hawai’i? Well, it means that they are a legitimate contender to compete for the Mountain West’s West Division. It also means a bowl game is most likely. Next week, the Warriors host Navy in O’ahu followed by another home game against Rice and a trip to West Point to take on Army. The team’s next two are against Duquense (a FCS team that got rolled Saturday by UMASS) and then a trip to the Bay Area to take San Jose State.
It’s reasonable to think Hawai’i will be 6-0 when they host Wyoming on the islands Oct. 6.
Speaking of Wyoming …
The Cowboys’ defense was impressive (or New Mexico State’s offense is just awful) as the Pokes ran over the Aggies 29-7 in Las Cruces. Wyoming’s defense only allowed seven first downs and 135 total yards. Wow! We should learn a bit more about the Cowboys as they host Washington State next week in Laramie.
Photo: Cole McDonald runs past a Colorado State defender Saturday night in Fort Collins. Photo courtesy of UH athletics.
There was a bit of a shake-up in the rankings this week as San Diego State was clobbered at home by Boise State, a team that looked like it may be headed for a losing season. With the SDSU loss, that opens a big-time opportunity for teams in the American Athletic Conference as South Florida and Central Florida both remain undefeated.
Here is this week’s rankings:
- UCF (5-0) — Sure they are ranked lower than USF, but schedule thus far is slightly better. Golden Knights take on Navy this weekend.
- USF (6-0) — A road trip to Tulane doesn’t seem like much of a challenge.
- Boise State (4-2) — A tough schedule so far (ranked No. 54) and a win over No. 19 San Diego State was huge.
- San Diego State (6-1) — There is still a lot to play for this year for the Aztecs as they may have the last laugh in the Mountain West title game against Boise.
- Memphis (5-1) — The Tigers are legit, or are they. We’ll find out Thursday night against Houston.
- Toledo (5-1) — The Rockets are flying under the radar for now.
- Navy (5-1) — The AAC is deep, but that may be a problem for many of these teams.
- Colorado State (5-2) — The Rams nearly lost at home to a not-so-good Nevada team. Their defense may be the downfall.
- Houston (4-2) — Thursday night against Memphis will be a big one for the Cougars as well.
- Western Michigan (4-3) — The Broncos will play cross-state rival Eastern Michigan this weekend. The winner will be the third best team in the state.
- SMU (4-2) — A win this weekend at Cincinnati gets them closer to a bowl game.
The Mid-American Conference has always been able to hold its own with the big boys of college football, and on Saturday it showed that strength again. Of course the MAC is awesome and we love the late-night MACtion, but regardless of how awful Nebraska is right now, a win in Lincoln is just down right super. That’s what Northern Illinois was able to do — walk into a hostile Big Ten stadium and walk away with a win.
So which Group of 5 team has the biggest win of Week 3? There is plenty to choose from, let’s take a look.
- Northern Illinois (2-1) – NIU gets the top spot this week because it went into a Big Ten stadium and came away with a win. This is not an easy task, despite how poor a team Nebraska might be.
- San Diego State (3-0) – A win at home against Stanford is a great program win for Rocky Long and Co. The Aztecs are legit and will get to prove that in the coming week as, you guessed it, Northern Illinois comes to SoCal.
- Memphis (2-0) – The Tigers had a shoot-out with UCLA at the Liberty Bowl, ending with a 48-45 win over the Bruins. Memphis has a easy game this week against Southern Illinois.
- Ohio (2-1) – The Bobcats took care of Kansas at home. Any time you get a Big XII team on your own turf, it’s special, even if it is a team that is as bad as Kansas.
- South Florida (3-0) – The Bulls beat the snot out of Illinois, perhaps the worst Power 5 team in the nation.
The San Diego State Aztecs finished the 2016 season as a ranked team. Welcome back to the Top 25, Aztecs!
SDSU (3-0 overall) topped then-No. 19 Stanford on Saturday night, 20-17. They Aztecs are also ranked in the Coaches’ Poll at No. 25, which is a bit low considering their back-to-back wins against Pac12 teams.
The only other Group of 5 in the poll is South Florida. It is ranked No. 21 after dismantling Illinois on Friday night.
The Bulls have another ESPN prime time game Thursday at they host Temple. San Diego State will travel to Air Force, a game that can be seen on CBS Sports Network (7 p.m. ET)
Memphis, which beat UCLA at home, and Houston, which spanked Rice, are receiving votes as well.
Here is the AP poll:
Week 4 – September 17, 2017
1. Alabama (3-0) (45 first-place votes) – 1,504
2. Clemson (3-0) (15) – 1,446
3. Oklahoma (3-0) (1) – 1,432
4. Penn State (3-0) – 1,306
5. USC (3-0) – 1,241
6. Oklahoma State (3-0) – 1,154
7. Washington (3-0) – 1,141
8. Michigan (3-0) – 1,081
9. Wisconsin (3-0) – 1,031
10. Ohio State (2-1) – 1,015
11. Georgia (3-0) – 940
12. Florida State (0-1) – 922
13. Virginia Tech (3-0) – 730
14. Miami (FL) (1-0) – 606
15. Auburn (2-1) – 596
16. TCU (3-0) – 553
17. Mississippi State (3-0) – 532
18. Washington State (3-0) – 419
19. Louisville (2-1) – 356
20. Florida (1-1) – 308
21. South Florida (3-0) – 272
22. San Diego State (3-0) – 201
23. Utah (3-0) – 194
24. Oregon (3-0) – 158
25. LSU (2-1) – 153
Others receiving votes: West Virginia 114, Colorado 93, Maryland 84, Vanderbilt 83, Notre Dame 57, Memphis 21, California 19, Stanford 16, Kentucky 11, Kansas St. 10, Duke 10, Tennessee 6, Texas Tech 4, Iowa 2, Wake Forest 2, Michigan St. 1, Houston 1
Photo: Courtesy of SDSU athletics.
Week three is already upon us, but before we head into the weekend, it’s time to unveil our Top 10 Plus 1. One team probably could have moved up to No. 1, but it let go of a 21-point lead to a Top 25 team. Yeah, we’re talking about you, Boise State! But another Mountain West team, San Diego State, topped a Pac12 team on the road, defeating Arizona State in Tempe.
- San Diego State (2-0) Good win on the road earns the Aztecs the top spot this week.
- USF (2-0) Two wins against no-names, but the Bulls are in the Top 25 AP poll.
- Houston (1-0) The Cougars notched a win on the road at Arizona.
- Boise State (2-1) The Broncos topped New Mexico, 28-14 Thursday night
- Central Michigan (2-0) The Chips have another winnable game against Syracuse
- Eastern Michigan (2-0) Because the Eagles beat a Big Ten team
- Toledo (2-0) Maybe the best team in the MAC
- Army (2-0) The Black Knights are 2-0. Freedom!
- Navy (2-0) Lower the Army ’cause it lost last year to Black Knights
- Air Force (1-0) The Falcons won’t be on this list next week after a trip to Ann Arbor
- Old Dominion (2-0) Why not, the Monarchs are off and running this year
As predicted earlier this week, there was a decent chance that the Mountain West would be able to notch a win against the PAC12 late Saturday night. For those who stayed up, they were treated to a memorable game — win or lose — between Boise State and No. 20 Washington State.
The Broncos appeared to have sealed the game, leading by 21 with 8 minutes to play. However, with some luck and keep missteps, the Cougars were able to tie the game, ultimately winning in 3 OTs. Click here for a recap.
As for the Aztecs, they took care of business in Tempe as they beat the Sun Devils 30-20.
Of course Boise State and San Diego State will play next month, a battle that could be for a NY6 game.
Boise State next plays Thursday against New Mexico on ESPN, while San Diego State hosts Stanford on FOX.