Sunday, September 10

College Football - week 2 in review

Another great Saturday of watching football and more football. I'll let these games soak in some before posting my own rankings tomorrow, but here were my initial impressions of the AP top 25:

#1 Ohio State - A very solid performance. The kicking game and the run defense need a lot of work. On the other hand, the offense looked fantastic and the secondary unit was good. Troy Smith passed for 269 yds, 2 TDs, and 10 yards per attempt! Trepasso is a weapon at punter.

#2 Texas - Vintage Mack Brown... and to think, I was starting to like him. The defense played well and will be a lot better when Tarell Brown and Drew Kelson return. Both runningbacks looked great, and I was particularly impressed by Selvin Young (135 yds total offense, 8.5 ypc). Jamaal Charles showed not only the speed and agility he's known for, but also great power. McCoy looked terrible and the playcalling was baffling. I don't know if it's McCoy's inexperience or Brown's Brownness, but one way or another this team isn't going to be winning the big games this season unless something changes.

#3 USC - Best team ever! Shutout, 0 yds allowed, in bye week.

#4 Notre Dame - I'm an Irish hater. But I'll admit this team looked good. The defense looks like they've patched up their holes from last season, and Brady Quinn (288 yds, 3 TD) regained his form from last season.

#5 Auburn - Granted Mississippi State is not the best team in the SEC, but winning a conference game 34-0 is a statement. Vaughn was 2-2 on FG including a 55 yarder, so his confidence has to be high heading into a rematch with LSU. (recall that he missed 5 last year against them) Irons was held in check so Cox simply had a monster game.

#6 West Virginia - OK, this offense is frightening. 579 yards, 392 on the ground. Pat White completed all of his passes (all four, yes). Slaton tore them up on the ground. It was a massacre.

#7 Florida - This looked more like the #7 team than what we saw last week. I don't know which is more impressive - 431 yds passing or only 22 yds rushing allowed? Leak looked every bit as good as some of the more hyped QBs.

#8 LSU - I don't think people are watching the Tigers. That's the only reason I can think of why they'd be rated this low. Admittedly, I watched very little of this game once UT-OSU kicked off... but it was over by then anyway (24-0 I think). Their last three games have been 40-3 over Miami, 45-3 over UL-Lafayette, and 45-3 over Arizona. Jamarcus Russell is playing the best I've ever seen him play, and their defense is back at its 2003 form if not better.

#9 Florida State - Relaxed after a big win? Tired after playing just 5 days earlier? Jeff Bowden at offensive coordinator? All three of these played a factor as this team had to come back to beat Troy.

#10 Michigan - Another strong performance by Hart and weak performance by Henne on offense. If I'm a Michigan fan, I'm very concerned about Henne's performances in the opening two weeks against sub-par defenses. On the other hand, the Wolverine defense looked great - particularly against the run - and from the looks of the game in Austin, having a strong running game will be critical to having a shot at stealing the Big Ten crown.

#11 Tennessee - Now this is more like what I'm used to from the Vols. Air Force gave them all they could handle, jumping out to a 10-3 lead and having enough for the late-game comeback, just falling short going for the win on a final two-point attempt. Aside from the passing game, this game was a disaster for the Vols.

#12 Georgia - The Bulldogs rushing attack materialized this week in a big way against an SEC foe. Stafford had a very poor outing at QB, though Tereshinski looked good... but he will be out for a month or longer with a sprained ankle. The defense gave Spurrier his first shutout since 1987, what else needs to be said? Special teams continue to be a strength of this Georgia squad.

#13 Louisville - 62-0 annihilation... but of Temple. It's hard to say what this means, though it is obviously impressive to be averaging over 60 ppg in the first season of shorter games. Five Cardinals scored on the ground and three ran for over 70 yards, as the team appears to be making a statement that they are still a great rushing offense without Bush.

#14 Iowa - One thing was impressive about their 20-13 OT victory over Syracuse. On their final drive, the Orange had a 1st and goal from the Iowa 2. Three plays later, they still weren't in but a penalty gave them a 1st and goal from the two all over again. FOur runs, one yard, zero points! This is a defense that won't quit and won't simply let you have a single yard. The offense was lackluster, but some of that can be blamed on Tate's last-minute unavailability.

#15 Olahoma - Very much a tale of two halves for the Sooners. The team somehow allowed Washington to be tied 13-13 at halftime, before scoring 24 straight points in the second half. AD was impressive, but Thompson was very streaky at QB. They'll need more good streaks than bad to crack the top ten. For the second straight week, DJ Wolfe got burned at corner and had to be taken out.

#16 Va Tech - The margin of victory was what you'd expect for VT vs UNC. But looking colser, Tech's offense struggled all game long. They coughed up 2 fumbles and barely topped 100 yards through the air. However, the defense forced four interceptions - scoring on one of them - and the special teams blocked a punt.

#17 Miami - 337 yards rushing this week is better than the single-digit total from last week. Then again, Florida A&M is hardly Florida State. If nothing else, this game is good for Kyle Wright's confidence.

#18 Clemson - Losing a close game hurts. Losing a close game because of a missed kick hurts even more. Losing a close game because of a missed extra point hurts the most. A missed FG, a missed PAT, a fumble, and 65 yards of untimely penalties negated their offense's edge in yardage in a very hard-fought game.

#19 Penn State - Simply dominated by Notre Dame. Don't let the 17 points fool you either, this game was 41-3 before Penn State added two meaningless scores. Three turnovers and a 33-yard punt average swung the field position battle, and the game was downhill from there. Both sides of the ball need to improve for them to battle Michigan and Ohio State.

#20 Oregon - I'm watching the game in progress as I write this, Oregon just won 31-24. I know Fresno is good for a non-BCS team, but I'm still not impressed. Fresno State was pounding the ball at will, which has to worry Duck fans as AD comes to town next week.

#21 Nebraska - Nebraska can sure blow out a non-div IA team. Old Huskers faithful must have thought Nicholls State was cute, trying their best to run the option. Meanwhile, Nebraska's offense is showing shades of the old juggernauts.

#22 California - I think this is what people were expecting in week 1. Trading scores early, the Bears pulled away from Minnesota before halftime and pitched a shutout in the second half. More impressive was holding Minnesota to just 109 yards rushing. Lynch looked significantly better than last week, but did lose a fumble.

#23 TCU - An early 3-0 deficit proved to be a false omen, as TCU blew out Cal-Davis. Jeff Ballard is back in good health after being knocked out of last week's game.

#24 Texas Tech - Jordan Palmer simply TORCHED the Red Raider defense. Fortunately for TT, Graham Harrell had an even better night. There was not a lot of defense played in this shootout. Trileca struggled, missing two FGs, but did hit a 49 yard game-winner.

#25 Arizona State - Rudy Carpenter played a great game. He did throw a pick, but five TDs more than make up for that. They gave up two turnovers but forced four. Perhaps most importantly, Nevada averaged just 3.8 yards per play. For a team whose weakness is defense, that's a great stat.