Big Board: Week 3

deion sanders

After two full weeks of college football, who so far are the standouts? 

What are the biggest storylines in college football? The answer, it seems, remains with the quarterbacks. 

No. 1 Georgia, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 10 Alabama each have new starting quarterbacks this season, and the trio have gone so far this season without a hitch. Carson Beck, Kyle McCord and Jalen Milroe have combined to throw for 1,523 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

However, it hasn’t been a smooth start to the year for several preseason Associated Press Top 25 teams. The Crimson Tide, ranked No. 3 at the time of the game, fell to then-No. 11 Texas in Week 2 while then-No. 5 LSU lost to then-No. 8 Florida State. 

Here are several players and notes to keep a tab on in this week’s Big Board. 

Colorado strengthens its belief 

How many people are believers in Colorado? 

Deion Sanders’ quest to transform the Buffaloes program is off to a roaring start. He’s gotten ahead to a 2-0 start, already better than Colorado’s 1-11 record from last season. 

Last week, the Buffaloes emerged victorious rather handily against Nebraska by a score of 36-14. Sanders’ son Shedeur Sanders threw for 393 yards and two touchdowns, following up on his record-breaking performance in the season-opener during which he threw for 510 yards against then-No. 17 TCU. 

Colorado’s defense stood out last week against Nebraska. The Buffaloes allowd 341 yards, less than the 545 given up to the Horned Frogs. 

While the offense struggled to get going despite a 13-0 halftime lead, the defense shut out Nebraska and helped kept Colorado under control. 

Cornerback and wide receiver Travis Hunter continued his two-way play and made four tackles alongside another pass break-up. 

FOX Big Noon and ESPN College GameDay, which will be in attendance for the first time since 1996, will be in Boulder this Saturday when the Buffaloes host Colorado State. After two strong weeks of play, the Sanders’ and Colorado are doing something special this season. 

Quinn Ewers, Texas   

Quinn Ewers may be hitting his stride. 

After an offseason in which he focused himself on conditioning his body and readying himself physically, Ewers stood the test of Alabama early into his third season of college football. 

Ewers was named the Maxwell Player of the Week and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week after Texas toppled the Crimson Tide. He threw for 349 yards, the second-most of his career, and three touchdowns, guiding the Longhorns to a top-10 upset victory on the road. 

Texas is back to the AP top-5 for the first time since 2010, and it is doing so with Ewers under center. He’s long been heralded as a generational quarterback prospect, becoming a consensus five-star recruit and achieving a perfect 100 score according to the 247 Composite. 

Since his arrival at Texas, Ewers’ career has taken the next step. He’s earned the Longhorns’ starting quarterback job the past two seasons and figures to continue his impressive start to 2023. 

He passed one of his first major tests this season in Texas’ win over Alabama. Now, Ewers must sustain his success. 

Pac-12 Conference is off to an historic start  

For the first time in conference history, the Pac-12 has eight teams ranked inside the AP Top 25. 

A big reason for the Pac-12’s ranking success is the start the conference had to the season. Every team in the conference won its season opener, marking the first time since 1932 that it had done so according to ESPN Stats & Info

USC and Washington rank inside the top 10 at Nos. 6 and 8 respectively. Quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Michael Penix Jr. are making early cases for the Heisman Trophy among other playmakers for the two respective teams, which meet in Week 9. 

The Pac-12 began 17-0 also, marking a dominant start to the season for the conference. 

This season marks a historic final season of the full Pac-12. Beginning in 2024, 10 teams will depart for the Big 12, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference as part of the latest round of conference realignment. The start to this season is, in fact, eye-popping. 

Michael Penix Jr., Washington   

Penix returns to the Big Board this week after another big performance for the Huskies. 

Penix has had back-to-back 400-plus yard performances to start the season. He threw for 409 yards last week against Tulsa and added three touchdowns to boot. 

Penix’s Washington career has taken a positive rise since his transfer from Indiana prior to last season. He’s commanded a Huskies offense that has taken on his ability to perform. 

He went 28-for-38 with one interception against the Golden Hurricane. Penix tossed a touchdown in each of the first three quarters as Washington pulled away 43-10. 

Penix is fourth in the country in passing yards and eighth with a 196.9 passing efficiency rating. 

His Heisman odds are currently +850 according to Caesars Sportsbook. With upcoming challenges against teams like Oregon, USC, Utah and Oregon State, Penix can continue his solid start to the 2023 campaign and boost his Heisman potential at the same time.