College Football Picks Week 2: Ranked Squads Sure to Improve on Shaky Openings

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2012

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners warms up before the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Sooners defeated the Hawkeyes 31-14.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What did we learn from Week 1 action across the college football landscape?

Some of the teams ranked in the AP Top 25 cemented their place among the nation's elite programs with strong showings, while others did little to silence the critics that don't believe they are deserving of their placement in the poll—or if they deserve to be ranked at all.

For those squads who failed to impress in their season openers, Week 2 brings with it a chance for redemption.

These squads are sure to perform at a much higher level when this week's slate of games gets underway.


No. 5 Oklahoma

Oklahoma looked less than impressive in their 24-7 victory over UTEP in a game that was much closer than that score would indicate. Oklahoma held a slim 10-7 lead entering the fourth quarter before finally pulling away.

Landry Jones' timing with a new group of receivers looked to be off and he never looked totally comfortable, limiting their ability to stretch the field. Aside from a late 65-yard touchdown run by Damien Williams, the Sooners were unable to mount much of a rushing attack, though they did average nearly five yards per carry.

Against the FCS Florida A&M Rattlers, the Sooners won't have to worry about a close game entering the fourth quarter.

A strong week of practice will find Jones and his receivers more in tune with each other, and attention to detail will limit the fundamental mistakes that plagued their opening-week victory.

No. 12 Wisconsin

If not for Badgers' defensive tackle Ethan Hemer, a redshirt junior, getting his hands above his head in time to tip a pass from Northern Iowa's Sawyer Kollmorgen on fourth-and-one in Wisconsin territory late in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin may have started their Big Ten title defense with a loss.

Instead, Hemer assured the Badgers of a 26-21 victory, but a win that left much to be desired.

Traveling to Corvallis, Wisconsin should have no problems against an Oregon State team that they routed 35-0 in Madison last season.

Wisconsin has won 33 consecutive non-conference games and have only lost to squads from the Pac-12 twice since 1993, with both losses coming against Oregon.

The Badgers' defense will be up for this one, and Heisman hopeful Monte Ball is sure to improve on his 32 carries for 120 yards last week, only mustering 3.8 yards per carry.


No. 25 Stanford

Stanford was dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball by a San Jose State squad that wasn't supposed to be able to do that, needing a fourth quarter field goal to escape their opener with a 20-17 victory.

Duke may have put up 46 points and more than 500 yards of total offense on Florida International, but Stanford is getting linebacker Shayne Skov on the field for the first time since the third game of the 2011 season when he suffered a season-ending knee injury, and he's sure to boost the Cardinals' defense.

Quarterback John Nunes will improve over a shaky first game under center that saw him complete 16-of-26 passes for only 125 yards and a touchdown as he takes on a Duke defense that allowed Florida International's Jake Medlock to throw for 348 yards and two scores through the air.