College Football: Week Two Review
Week two in college football was full of upsets and near upsets. Nearly every team in the Top 25 was in danger at some point Saturday.
While there was not a ton of upsets in week two, there were plenty teams that could not put away a weaker team until very late in the game.
One thing everyone can take away from the first two weeks is that there is no more fear. Lower classified FCS teams and FBS teams from non BCS qualifiers do not fear the big boys anymore.
The second week of the season kept a streak alive and one streak ended.
Now that week two is over we will unveil our conference power rankings and Heisman front runners.
Conference that took it on the chin
There were two to three conferences that could have been listed here. The ACC did not get any help with a big time win but did hold on to win most of their games.
So this became a two horse race.
First runner up: Big-12
The Big-12 went from a conference that wanted to challenge the SEC for the best conference to perhaps a bit overrated.
After Oklahoma went down to BYU in week one the Sooners and the conference got a semi pass. The thinking was that BYU was a very good team and if Sam Bradford had not been hurt Oklahoma would have found away to win.
Week two saw Texas struggle for a half on the road against Wyoming and Colorado fall to Toledo. Iowa State looked lifeless against an Iowa team that escaped in week one and Kansas State went down to Louisiana-Lafayette. And then there's Missouri, who battled to get past Bowling Green.
The biggest slip by the Big-12 was in Stillwater. The Cowboys won a big showdown in week one against Georgia. Oklahoma State looked to be in good shape to challenge Oklahoma and Texas in the Big-12 South.
But there was just one problem. The Cowboys got off to a slow start and faded late to the Houston Cougars of C-USA. Oklahoma State committed four turnovers and had nine penalties for 81 yards.
The Cowboys will now have to regroup after the home loss. The schedule helps out with a weak Rice team and Grambling State the next two weeks.
Winner: Big Ten
In a weekend that could have been a statement for the whole conference, the Big Ten fell flat on its face. The conference missed out on a chance to change national perceptions.
I know everyone will say, "But the Big Ten did get a big win. Michigan beat Notre Dame."
Really, after the last few years Notre Dame is not the win it once was. Plus Charlie Weis gave the Wolverines a win (this will be discussed later).
The rest of the conference teams had trouble getting wins or were upset, with the exceptions of Iowa and Penn State, who took care of their opponents early.
The other Big Ten games saw Wisconsin play two overtimes to get by Fresno State. Minnesota had to rally to beat Air Force. Northwestern need a field goal at the end of the game to beat Eastern Michigan, and Indiana held on to beat Western Michigan.
Then the bad part of the weekend for the Big Ten started early. Michigan State went down at home against Central Michigan. Purdue went to Eugene and fell to an Oregon team that needed a win badly.
The game of the weekend for the Big Ten saw the Buckeyes fall to the Trojans of USC. Ohio State controlled this game until the end of the first half and the last half of the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes rallied after an early interception gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead. USC looked beatable as Ohio State led 10-7 late in the first half.
Bad play calling (discussed later) helped USC tie the game at the half. In the second half of the game USC made a special teams mistake for a safety and the Buckeyes added a field goal to build to five point lead in the fourth quarter.
Ohio State had a chance to make a huge statement and stop USC in the fourth quarter for a win, but the defense could not get off the field. The Trojans ate up the clock and not only scored but added a two point conversion as well.
All the pub is going to Matt Barkley. The freshman did go 3-for-5 for 58 yards on the drive. But the biggest playmaker could have been Joe McKnight who rushed for 33 yards and added 21 yards on a pass reception.
Ohio State did not get blown out in a big national game, but the Buckeyes needed a win. While Ohio State played well they could not beat USC at home with a freshman starting at quarterback.
The Big Ten as a whole needed to dominate its competition and make a national statement. The Big Ten did not make that statement.
PAC-10 makes a statement twice
The PAC-10 had its struggles in week two. Stanford lost a lead to a Wake Forest team it had on the ropes.
Washington State was not even as close as the final score showed in a loss to Hawaii. Oregon State needed to a last second field goal to survive on the road against UNLV.
The PAC-10 did go into hostile territory twice and came away with wins. USC went in to the Horse Shoe and beat Ohio State.
The Trojans' cross town rivals UCLA went into Knoxville and beat the Volunteers on Rocky Top. The Bruins have beaten the Vols two years in a row.
The Bruins used four Tennessee turnovers and an accurate field goal kicker to get the upset.
In college football you make statements on the road, and the PAC-10 made two on one Saturday.
Safeties everywhere Saturday
Saturday saw safeties getting scored all over the place. A holding penalty in the end zone cost Connecticut a chance to beat a ranked North Carolina team at home.
Nearly at the same time both USC and Georgia make bad snaps to punters for safeties. UCLA’s Kevin Prince gave Tennessee a little life late when he was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Bad play calling costs two teams
Sure there is bad play calling every game. Sometimes it is just so bad it has to be talked about. Two teams took a run at the title.
First runner up: Ohio State Buckeyes
Late in the first half up 10-7 over USC and with the ball the Buckeyes made their case for the bad play calling title. The Trojans did not have any timeouts and instead of running out the clock Ohio State throws two passes.
Ohio State should have run the ball three times and left little or no time on the clock for USC. Instead the Buckeyes threw the ball on first down and third down and did not complete either attempt.
USC drove the ball down the field, got some more help from the Buckeyes with a timeout, and kicked a field goal to tie the game at the half.
Instead of going in to the half up 10-7 the Buckeyes let USC get back into the game, and if you do the math USC would have only tied the game after scoring late.
Buckeye fans, if you want to blame anything for your loss it was the play calling at the end of the first half.
Winner: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish fought their way back against Michigan all day long. Notre Dame played well enough to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
The Irish got the ball with 3:07 left in the game. Michigan had all three timeouts.
Instead of running the ball three times to force the Wolverines to use their time outs, the Irish elect to run the ball on first down, then pass the ball on second down for an incompletion, and follow it up with another pass on third down for an incompletion.
Michigan only had to use one timeout, and forced the Irish to punt the ball.
The Wolverines and freshman quarterback Tate Forcier used the two timeouts to drive down the field and beat the Irish in the final seconds. The Irish fans should look to the Irish play calling as to why they lost to the Wolverines.
Coaches who are fired and just do not know it yet
Some coaches might have a job today, but could be on their way out the door.
1. Dan Hawkins, Colorado: The Buffaloes are 0-2 and have lost to Mountain West team Colorado State and Mid-American team Toledo. Hawkins will get a chance to turn it around. The next three games are at home against Wyoming, at home against West Virginia, and on the road against Texas. This team could soon be 0-5 or 1-4.
2. Al Groh, Virginia: The Cavaliers have lost to FCS team William and Mary and Mountain West team TCU, both at home. The Cavaliers next go to Southern Miss and North Carolina. Virginia will be 0-4 after four games.
3. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame: Weis is the offensive coordinator for the Irish and it was his call to pass twice at the end of the game. He needs 10 wins to save his job and he is not going to get them with bad play calling like that.
No matter what defense Michigan was in, you run the ball three times and punt to them with no time outs.
Could Bobby Bowden be forced out after this season
After losing to Miami in the first game of the season the Seminoles looked lifeless against Jacksonville State. Florida State needed a late touchdown drive to win.
The Seminoles travel to play a BYU team that beat Oklahoma, and have big games against North Carolina and Georgia Tech in conference.
The Seminoles used to blow FCS teams out and dominate the ACC. Florida State could be in big trouble, and while they would never fire Bowden, the calls could get louder for him to step down.
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State’s head coach in waiting, gets $5 million dollars if he is not the coach by January 2011. One has to wonder if FSU will not try to force Bowden’s hand privately to step down after this season.
The NCAA ruling on 14 wins that could be taken away, and an average season in the ACC could make up Bowden’s mind for him. The grumblings will get louder the longer this team struggles.
A streak continues
USC’s dominance of the Big Ten continued this week. The Trojans have not lost to a Big Ten team since Penn State beat them in 1996. After the loss, USC bounced back the next week to beat Illinois.
Current head coach Pete Carroll has never lost to a Big Ten Team and is 6-0. Overall USC is 9-0 since that loss to Penn State.
A streak ends
Congratulations, to the Washington Huskies. Since their 2007 win over California the Huskies had lost 15 straight games. Washington went winless in 2008 and dropped their opening game to LSU.
A 42-23 win over Idaho breaks the losing streak in Seattle. Steve Sarkisian gets his first win as well as a head coach.
Conference Power Rankings
The best conference in the land has four teams in the Top 10 this week. Georgia bounced back to avoid an 0-2 start and is the fifth team ranked in the Top-25 overall for the SEC.
Florida, Alabama, and LSU all went to 2-0. Ole Miss had the weekend off to prepare for Southeastern Louisiana.
One Top 5 team in USC and another in the Top 10 in California. Two big road wins give the PAC-10 a bump into the second spot.
UCLA and other teams in this conference should be getting more respect.
The Big 12 went from having three teams in the Top 10 in the preseason to just one in the Top 5 two weeks into the season. After Oklahoma State's home loss to Houston this conference has taken a few hits so far this season.
The Big 12 still has Texas at number two in the country. The conference has four (five depending on the poll) other teams in the Top 25 overall.
The ACC is still looking for a big win this season and struggling against FCS teams. The conference still has four teams in the Top 25 and a chance to make some statements this week.
Virginia Tech and Florida State have a chance to win big out of conference games. Georgia Tech could play its way in to the top 10 with a big conference win this week.
This conference could play its way up or down the next few weeks.
5. Big Ten
The Big Ten has no signature this season as well. Penn State is in the Top 5 but only has wins against Akron and Syracuse.
Ohio State is in the Top 15 but missed its chance to make a statement at home against USC. Depending on the poll the Big Ten has three teams in the Top 25.
This conference needs some out of conference wins over some big names. The Big Ten could play its way up with some big wins.
6. Big East
The only ranked team in this automatic BCS qualifier is Cincinnati. This conference as a whole needs some big wins out of conference to move up the rankings.
The Big East could make some noise in week three with some big non-conference games.
Non-Automatic BCS Conference rankings
1. Mountain West
Three teams in the Top 25 led by BYU. The Cougars cannot slip up with TCU and Utah close behind them.
The Mountain West should be an automatic qualifier for the BCS. It has as many ranked teams as the Big Ten and more than the Big East.
2. Western Athletic Conference
Boise State is the class of this conference now but Hawaii and Fresno State will have a lot to say before the end of the season.
Depending on what poll you look at C-USA has one team in the Top 25—Houston. This conference features a very good Tulsa team and an offensively loaded Southern Miss team.
This could be the season C-USA tries to bust the BCS.
4. Mid-American Conference
The MAC is a very good conference that always gets some wins during the season over the big six automatic BSC conferences. The problem is they have no undefeated teams two weeks into the season.
No BCS busters but a solid conference from top to bottom.
5. Sun Belt
Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State are good teams. This conference is trying to build itself up.
With Sam Bradford hurt the Heisman has become a two player race. After two weeks here is how Tebow and McCoy stack up.
Tim Tebow: 425 passing yards, five touchdowns, 72 rushing yards, two touchdowns
Colt McCoy: 654 passing yards, five touchdowns, 35 rushing yards, one touchdown
The season is just getting started. There are only two teams that have solidified their spots in the polls. Texas and Florida look like the best teams in the country.
USC is a good team but looked very beatable against a nice Ohio State team. Penn State has not played any team tough enough to determine how good they are.
The SEC is the best conference but it cannot slip. The Big-12 and the PAC-10 are in a close battle for the second spot in the conference order.
Two weeks are in the books and the season looks get better each and every week.
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