College Football Week Two: What We Learned

David CohenSenior Analyst ISeptember 7, 2008

According to the experts, this was supposed to be a ho-hum week. Well so much for that. Here’s the insight that came out of this week’s batch of games.

Buckeyes will get bucked next week

It’s not the fact that Ohio was leading at the half and was up 14-6 in the third. It’s not the fact that Ohio State overlooked the Bobcats for their showdown with USC. It’s what Ohio was able to do.

They were able to bully the Buckeyes in the trenches on more than a handful of plays. A backup quarterback with quick feet and little experience gave them trouble. If he could hit the side of a barn, the Buckeyes may have fallen.

Mark Sanchez can throw the ball and move around. The USC defense is a well oiled machine. Their front lines are overpowering. And they have two weeks to prepare.

The Buckeyes better find a healthy Beanie Wells and some receivers who want to catch the ball in traffic next week if they want to have any chance.

ECU is legit

The Pirates and Skip Holtz are a sleeper BCS threat. They manhandled West Virginia from start to finish and played smart, disciplined football. They will finish 3-0 against the ACC after beating N.C. State and Virginia. If they play on the road anything close to how they play at home, they could run the table.

They have all the ingredients of a good team and could be the best non-BCS conference team since Alex Smith led Utah to a BCS bowl win. Based on their two victories, there’s no excuse for this team not being in the top 20 in the next rankings.

Florida offensive line the weak link


The score was 26-3 but the game was much closer. The main reason was that the Hurricanes caused a storm with their front four against the UF offensive line. If Florida can’t block Miami, they won’t fair well against the likes of Georgia.

When Tebow is pressured his timing and rhythm are greatly disturbed. That’s the secret to stopping the machine.

Karma catching up to Spurrier


When the “old ball coach” made his foray into the NFL, he said that with the Redskins, “there are no Vanderbilt’s on the schedule”. He’s now fallen to them in back to back years. Any team giving up 21 in a row to the Commodores has significant problems.

Spurrier is finding out the same lesson with the Gamecocks as he did with the Redskins. His system is rubbish without a quarterback. Right now his quarterback play is really Smelley.

The U might win the ACC

They have the defense and have some offensive pieces. Clearly they can hang with the big boys. The only thing they lack right now is a passer who can get it down the field consistently with his arm.

The ACC title contenders all have that problem outside of Wake Forest. If Miami can beat the Demon Deacons they might make it back to a BCS bowl. They might see ECU. Then they could be in trouble.

Two new coaches making an immediate impact

Georgia Tech squeaked by with an impressive road win against Boston College. Paul Johnson has taken his ball control, run aggressive system from Navy and implemented it very well so far this year. The Yellow Jackets are executing as if Johnson has been there for years. QB Josh Nesbit looks like a natural playmaker in the system and should help Georgia Tech make a competitive game against Georgia this time around.

Meanwhile, Houston Nutt and the Running Rebels came within a minute and a sack of beating Wake Forest on the road. They finally have a dynamic QB in Jevan Snead. If they can get some better weapons around him so he doesn’t have to take so many risks, Ole Miss might sneak up on some SEC powerhouses this year.

Petrino the escape artist

Petrino arguably has gotten off to the worst 2-0 start ever. They have beaten Western Illinois and Louisiana Monroe by a combined five points. At this rate they won’t win any SEC games. Then the Toronto Argonauts will call and they’ll be a conspicuous letter on the desk of Arkansas’s athletic director.

Wisconsin is being overlooked


This isn’t really news, since this happens every year. But this year, Wisconsin may finally win the conference. They sometimes take a little while to start up but once they get going, they are hard to stop. They have enough star power and experience to score an upset over Ohio State and take the conference title in their two team race for the BCS birth.

Reports of the Irish resurrection are greatly exaggerated

Again this isn’t really news, since this happens every year. The Irish looked pathetic at times today against the San Diego State Aztecs. They barely beat a team that lost at home to the Cal Poly Mustangs last week. The Aztecs were six inches away from winning the game in the fourth quarter by taking an insurmountable 20-7 lead.

Jimmy Clausen is the most overrated quarterback in college football. I was at College Gameday in Gainesville and couldn’t believe my ears when Kirk Herbstreit said that Clausen would be his “game changing performer”. Whoops.

The Irish deserve this for what they did. They ran off Ty Willingham because he wasn’t “one of them”. Then Charlie Weis came in and led Ty’s recruits to a BCS bowl where they get clobbered by LSU. But he was “one of them” and received an absurd contract extension.

Too bad he’s just a semi-offensive coordinator (Belichick was running a good part of that show in New England as we have seen), can’t motivate a team, and can’t recruit anyone worth Norte Dame’s time. But he’s “one of them” so the Irish won’t be looking for a replacement anytime soon.


Huskies Hosed

I know that despite the penalty, the Washington line has to actually do its job and prevent a block. But what Jake Locker did was not an excessive celebration. It was barely a celebration. It was natural. I thought that kind of emotion is what makes college football so compelling to watch.

This ruined what I think could have been a two-point conversion attempt for the win. It also meant the Pac-10 actually screwed one of its own teams for once.

This rule wouldn’t be a problem if the referees actually had a spine and ruled with common sense. In certain situations the rule should be excused. It is meant as a means for preventing taunting and in reality is the Georgia rule. But it is getting out of hand already. Quasi-celebrations shouldn’t be determining outcomes.

If college football wants to be the NFL so badly, they should just schedule the games on Sundays. Then see how fast their sport goes down the tubes.


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