Week 3 of the college football season is in the books, and several teams around the country had surprising tests in a weekend that didn't include a single game between ranked teams. No. 1 Georgia was down 11 points to South Carolina at halftime, No. 3 Florida State had to fend off a late charge by Boston College and No. 10 Alabama didn't have a two-score lead in the win over South Florida until there were 33 seconds left in the game.
Several other contenders fared just fine. No. 8 Washington looked like one of the best teams in the sport in the win at Michigan State, No. 6 Ohio State took care of business vs. Western Kentucky and No. 14 LSU took care of Mississippi State from the moment the two teams came out of the tunnel.
It was wild, it was unpredictable and, most importantly, it showed the true colors of the teams we have been focused on at or near the top of the sport.
How did the College Football Playoff National Championship contenders grade out throughout Week 3? It's time to check out the report card for every national title contender with odds of +4000 better according to the SportsLine consensus heading into Saturday's action.
College football grades: Week 3 report card
|21/10||C+||The Bulldogs were very sluggish early on, as they carried an 11-point deficit into the locker room at halftime. The running game got going in the second half and they pulled away for a 24-14 win over South Carolina, but it was far from crisp. Coach Kirby Smart's crew has come out slow in all three games this season.|
|5-1||B-||The 31-6 win over Bowling Green looks pretty solid on paper, but the No. 2 Wolverines were only up 14-6 at the break and needed a second half surge to make the scoreboard look more respectable. Their 312 total yards didn't help matters either.|
|17/2||C-||The No. 4 Longhorns scored 21 points in the fourth quarter in the 31-10 win over Wyoming. That's right, the Longhorns were in a dog fight with Wyoming one week after beating Alabama. Great teams don't suffer letdowns, and that's the best way to describe this one.|
|9-1||A+||Kyle McCord was money in his third start of the season, going 19-for-23 for 318 yards with three touchdowns in the 63-10 win over Western Kentucky. What's more, star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr had five catches for 126 yards and a TD. This was a complete performance all around for the Buckeyes.|
|10-1||C||The best way to describe this one is that it was a roller coaster. The Seminoles fell into a 10-3 hole early in the second quarter before going on a 28-0 run to build a 31-10 lead. The Eagles scored the next 19 points to make it a game until the final possession. Great teams close out games against lesser competition, and the Seminoles didn't do it in the 31-29 win.|
|14-1||n/a||The Trojans had a bye this week|
|16-1||B-||No. 7 Penn State struggled to consistently move the ball against an Illinois defense that has struggled mightily in 2023. Quarterback Drew Allar only completed 48% of his passes, and the rushing attack couldn't get going until the second half. The Nittany Lions got the job done in the 30-13 win, but it wasn't the prettiest game of all time by any stretch of the imagination.|
|20-1||B+||The No. 7 Fighting Irish were only up seven on Central Michigan at the half, but outscored the Chippewas 20-3 in the second half to earn the 41-17 win. The offense was very balanced as Sam Hartman threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Audric Estime had 176 yards and a touchdown run in the win.|
|22-1||F||Alabama's quarterback situation is even more of a mess now as Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson struggled in place of Jalen Milroe. The offensive line struggled as the Bulls notched eight tackles for loss, and the No. 10 Crimson Tide were in a one-score game all the way until the final minute in the 17-3 win.|
|30-1||A+||Jayden Daniels threw for 361 yards, accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) and Malik Nabers had 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a dominating 41-14 win over Mississippi State. No. 14 LSU is the best team in the SEC West, and there isn't a close second.|
|40-1||F||The Volunteer defense got blown off the ball by what, we thought, was a sub-par Gator offensive line. No. 11 Tennessee gave up 172 rushing yards to Trevor Etienne and forced only five incompletions from Gator quarterback Graham Mertz. The 29-16 loss, which included a scuffle after time experienced, was embarrassing on multiple levels.|
|40-1||A||The No. 19 Sooners scored the 28 points of the game on the road against the Golden Hurricane, and never looked back in the 66-17 road win. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel was 28-for-31 for 421 yards and five touchdowns in a near-flawless effort.|
|40-1||A+||Michigan State is a mess right now, but that shouldn't take away from the utter domination No. 8 Washington bestowed on the Spartans in the 41-7 beatdown. The Huskies put up the first 41 points of the game, Michael Penix Jr threw for 473 yards and four touchdowns, and the defense allowed just 164 yards through three quarters in the blowout.|
|40-1||A||The Oregon scoring machine didn't let up in the No. 13 Ducks' 55-10 win over Hawaii. Quarterback Bo Nix tossed three touchdowns, four Ducks had 60 or more receiving yards and the defense held the Rainbow Warriors to 3.2 yards per play.|