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The Verdict: Week 2 (Or Why I Like Forcier Over Barkley and Pryor)

Aaron FondaContributor ISeptember 16, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans looks to hand off the ball during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Week 2 Rant

Not again. I'm convinced the pollsters will never, ever, ever get the whole rankings thing correct.

I would like someone to give me a solid, concrete argument as to why Oklahoma State (1-1) should be ranked ahead of Houston (2-0). I don't care what conference Houston plays in or what their schedule is. I don't care that on paper Oklahoma State looks better.

The fact is, Houston went into Oklahoma State's backyard and won. With only two games played so far, an argument in support of a higher ranking for the Cowboys simply does not exist. If OSU finishes 10-2 and Houston finishes 8-4 then let's give the Cowboys the ranking they deserve. But for now the head-to-head results speak for themselves.

The win by the Cougars was not a fluke by any stretch of the imagination. Led by QB Case Keenum, that Houston offense can flat out score. The Cougars are a good team that has the potential to be great on any given week. Oklahoma State found that out. The rankings need to reflect that.

...End Rant

That freshman quarterback performed magnificently in a huge win for his program. Say what you want but the kid can flat out play. 

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No, I'm not talking about the overrated, give the ball (either by handing it or dumping it off) to Joe McKnight, and then heap all the praise Trojan QB. 

I'm talking about Michigan QB Tate Forcier. His performance was the single most astonishing, electrifying, awe-inspiring performance by any player this weekend. His stat line:

     23-33, 240 yards, two touchdowns; 13 carries, 70 yards, one touchdown

Plus, he booted a 50-yard punt to pin the Irish inside their own 20. He did everything that, probably a little unfairly, was asked of him in order for the Wolverines to win. He was simply fantastic. Michigan fans, you have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years.

But I'm Not Done Speaking

Is it just me or is that Lane Kiffin sweating out there in Knoxville? QB Jonathan Crompton looked terrible and the Vols' rushing game was anemic (RBs averaged 3.3 yards per carry) as Tennessee only had 208 yards of total offense against a young UCLA defense. 

Look, UCLA isn't a terrible team but they're no Florida. You can bet that the Gators are licking their chops at the prospect of next Saturday when Tennessee comes to Gainesville. Kiffin needs to come up with ways to produce some offense and q,uickly. If he can't at least keep his team close then the head hunters will come out.

Now I'm Just Listing

Again, I don't even have a top 10 made up. The season is too early. But I can tell you that Florida and Texas, with all their returning starters, look really good.

The Apéritif BCS Predictions

National Championship: Florida vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. BYU
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Cincinnati
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl: USC vs. Penn State

For Argument's Sake

What if Cincinnati, BYU, and Boise State finish as the only undefeated teams in the country? Other conditions: One loss Alabama gives Florida its only loss in the SEC championship game. Texas, at 12-1, wins the Big 12 but has a loss against 10-2 Oklahoma, which has a loss to 10-2 Oklahoma State. Cal beats USC but both finish 11-1 thanks to OSU beating Cal. Ohio State beats Penn State as both finish 11-1. Will this scenario happen? Probably not. Could it? Absolutely. If it does, who plays for the championship?

The Verdict

Matt Barkley and Terrelle Pryor are not elite quarterbacks, not yet anyway.

Matt Barkley was not good at all for the first 55 minutes of the game. Why he is receiving so much praise and credit for USC's comeback completely baffles me. He looked rattled all game and just couldn't hit his receivers. Zero touchdowns, an interception, and a completion rate of less than 50 percent in a big game leaves a lot to be desired. This isn't to say he can't be a great quarterback eventually, but he still needs to develop quite a bit.

Terrelle Pryor could be elite if Jim Tressel would take off his training wheels. He's cut in the Vince Young mold. That's no exaggeration. He's big, fast, and has a good arm. Unfortunately, his style of play just doesn't mesh well with Tressel's style. Pryor is not a drop-back passer. He needs to be rolled out or at least be able to run the option. If Tressel keeps insisting on using him conservatively then Pryor will never be a great player. In fact, he might have the most potential that a coach will have wasted in recent memory.

Signing Off

In case you missed it, the ACC had another phenomenal non Saturday game in primetime. If you watched Clemson-Georgia Tech then good for you. If not then it's time to start paying attention to games between the top ACC schools (Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, UNC). 

If the ACC wants its reputation to be saved then it's going to need guys like CJ Spiller and Jonathan Dwyer (or Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder last week) to step up when the cameras are on. It needs close, entertaining games between the top schools to maintain at least a little credibility.

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