After the first weekend of college football, we have a better idea of where each team stands and what to expect from everyone going forward.
But when we look towards the next couple of weeks, there are some teams that definitely have their work cut out for them.
There are some teams who escaped upset scares in Week 1 who will soon realize that the road doesn't get any easier from here on in, and there are other teams who dropped their first game of 2011 and are looking the prospect of a losing streak square in the face.
Which teams are facing such brutal starts to 2011?
Let's face it: The Duke Blue Devils aren't anywhere close to a top team, nor is their program anywhere near the stature of other ACC schools.
But Duke is still expected to maintain a modicum of respectability.
Unfortunately, it seems like any chance of a respectable season is already on its way out of Durham.
The Blue Devils began the 2011 season like so many FBS programs: by hosting an FCS team in a “warm-up” game. What Duke didn't count on was the fact that Richmond wouldn't be a pushover FCS program and would be playing to win.
Richmond led at halftime and scored the only fourth-quarter points to top the Blue Devils, 23-21.
It's hard to envision an easier matchup than one against an FCS opponent, but Duke's next game is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum. Duke faces No. 6 Stanford in Week 2. It now seems that 0-2 is a foregone conclusion.
While it's difficult to expect much from a team enduring the sanctions that USC currently is, it's important to note that Lane Kiffin is doing a fine job keeping the program from becoming a laughingstock.
In fact, Kiffin's Trojans are ranked in most Top 25 polls—and the only reason they're not ranked in the Coaches Poll is that USC is ineligible to be ranked according to the poll's eligibility rules.
Even though USC won its Week 1 meeting with Minnesota, the win wasn't convincing; the game was far closer than many expected. Minnesota is expected to finish at or near the bottom of the Big Ten this season, yet USC was able to squeak out just a two-point win against the Golden Gophers.
USC gets the Pac-12 season under way next week with a visit from Utah. Both teams are 1-0, but Utah will have the added motivation of setting the tone for its first season in its new conference home. Will USC be able to avoid a letdown against the Utes?
If they can't, the Trojans might be in for another season of futility.
When your season begins against a team from the MAC, you're expected to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Granted, Northern Illinois is one of the better teams in the MAC, but if Army is expected to take the next step toward rebuilding a football program once cloaked in glory, this is a game that needs to be won.
Instead, West Point found itself on the short end of a 49-26 drubbing by the Huskies.
If the Black Knights found Northern Illinois difficult to handle, they're going to be absolutely shocked when San Diego State comes to visit next week.
The Aztecs are an improving program from the Mountain West. A win over Army will start SDSU out 2-0—and in perfect position to enter a difficult MWC schedule with some great experience under its belt.
Speaking of teams from the MAC, Miami University had an opening week game against a team from the Top 25, and although Miami lost, the game was far closer than anyone imagined.
The No. 20 Missouri Tigers hosted the RedHawks but struggled mightily on offense, scoring just 17 points—good enough for 90th in the nation in terms of points for.
Luckily for the Tigers, the defense was stellar and allowed just six points for Miami U.
Missouri fans better hope the Tigers have all the information they need to work out the kinks. Next week, Missouri travels to the desert to take on No. 22 Arizona State—a game which will give us a ton of information about both teams.
So much for a fast start to the first year in the Pac-12.
The Colorado Buffaloes traveled to paradise to take on the Hawaii Warriors in the first game of 2011 and returned to Colorado a bruised and beaten team.
The Buffaloes managed just 17 points against Hawaii, and the rushing attack managed just 17 yards!
On the other side of the ball, Colorado seemed unable to stop a relentless Warriors attack and allowed 34 points against the Hawaiians.
The 0-1 Buffaloes will welcome the Cal Bears in Week 2 in an odd non-conference meeting (the game was scheduled before Colorado joined the Pac-12 and so does not count as a conference game). While there are plenty of opponents that instill more fear than Cal, Colorado didn't show any signs of hope in its meeting with Hawaii, and a loss to Cal will signal Colorado's arrival to the basement of the Pac-12.
Any Auburn fan who tells you they feel good about the Tigers after their opening week win against Utah State is either lying or didn't watch the game.
The Utah State Aggies absolutely took it to the Tigers for much of the game. Auburn seemed hapless against the run, allowing 227 yards on the ground. In contrast, the Tigers' run game was horrible, putting up just 78 yards.
In reality, the defending BCS champions were a few lucky breaks away from losing an embarrassing game against a team that has never been very good. In the end, it was the fact that Utah State wasn't very talented or experienced that led Auburn to a very narrow victory.
Auburn struggled mightily against Utah State, so it will be very interesting to see how the Tigers will handle the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs next weekend in Auburn.
At the start of the season, many people predicted perhaps eight wins for Auburn. Now, it looks as if six wins and a bowl berth might be a tall order for the Tigers in 2011.
Is Georgia really that bad? Is it time to panic in Athens?
"Probably not" is the best answer to both questions.
The Bulldogs did, however, lose to Boise State, but the Broncos aren't the No. 4 team in the nation for no reason. Of course Boise State beat Georgia.
Unfortunately for the 0-1 Bulldogs, the schedule doesn't get a whole lot easier.
Week 2 sees the start of the SEC schedule for Georgia, and an important meeting between South Carolina and Georgia is on tap.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt is on the hot seat, and an 0-2 start after last season's 1-4 start and 6-7 finish probably won't do a whole lot for his job security.
Wow. That's pretty much all there is to say about TCU's epic loss to Baylor.
We knew there was going to be some talent and experience loss from last season to 2011, but to drop a regular season game for the first time in over two years? And to drop it to Baylor?
Let's not take anything away from Baylor, but if we face facts here, the Bears aren't exactly the best the Big 12 has to offer.
The Horned Frogs are left spinning from this loss, which has undoubtedly dropped them from their lofty preseason position to barely hanging on to a Top 25 ranking (and they're out in some polls, including the B/R Top 25).
TCU next faces Air Force, an up-and-coming program in the Mountain West. In fact, with TCU's falloff, Air Force is now expected to be the team with the best chance to knock off Boise State in the MWC this season.
An 0-2 start for the Horned Frogs will signal an end to their conference championship outlook—and no chance we'll see them in the BCS for a third straight season.
With everything that's gone on thus far, an opening week loss to Maryland is enough to consider Miami's 2011 brutal.
But Miami now has the prospect of hosting No. 16 Ohio State this weekend; things aren't looking good for the Hurricanes.
Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien picked apart the Hurricanes secondary, as the Terps put up 348 yards through the air. And while Miami's offense wasn't horrible, it definitely wasn't anything to write home about. The Hurricanes managed just 364 yards of total offense, failing to break the 200-yard mark in either the passing game or the running game. The 24 Miami points on the night was good enough for 74th in the FBS.
Ohio State will be a tough opponent for any team this year, and with a loss to Maryland already on their record, the Hurricanes could be in a world of hurt during this weekend's “Impending Major Sanctions Bowl.”
There wasn't much good to say about Notre Dame's first outing in 2011.
Okay, that might be stretching it a bit. Still, a loss to South Florida wasn't exactly the way Brian Kelly envisioned the start to the season—a season in which there were BCS hopes for the Irish.
Surprisingly, as terrible as things seemed for the Irish, the passing game wasn't all bad. Tommy Rees was actually pretty good, and by the end of the day the Irish had 391 passing yards. In fact, there were only four teams all weekend that had more passing yards than the Irish. It seems that Dayne Crist is out as the signal caller and Kelly will go with Rees in Week 2.
If Rees and the Irish have any chance at the BCS this season, the hard work starts right now. The Irish will be heading to Ann Arbor for the first-ever night game at the Big House, and the improving Michigan Wolverines will be a tough test for Rees and the Irish.
There's the additional specter of the game being nationally televised (on a network, versus cable). ESPN's GameDay will be in Ann Arbor for this traditional rivalry clash between two teams desperate to make a statement.
The only question is, what statement will be made? “We're back” or “Don't bet on us this year”?
A brutal 0-2 start for the Irish instantly ends any talk of the BCS this season.