Sunday, September 9

college football - week 2 in review

From my week 1 rankings:

1. LSU
At the end of the first half, LSU had built at 24-0 lead and a 327-40 edge in yards offense. Going into the 4th quarter, both of VT's quarterbacks had thrown for 36 yards combined while Ryan Perrilloux had thrown one pass for 34 yards and a TD. In the end, the score was 48-7 with the lone poins allowed coming right after VT burned Taylor's redshirt to get an option QB in the game which LSU got caught unprepared for... to the tune of one scoring drive. Final yardage 600-149. It was just ugly. Right now they are deserving that #1 spot.

2. USC

3. Louisville
The defense frankly didn't even show up against Middle Northern Tennessee State Tech. However, Brian Brohm had a career performance with 400 yards and 5 TDs, and Allen rushed for 275 yards. This offense is actually averaging 700 ypg and 65 ppg thus far this season. Defense wins championships but an out of this world offense can get you into the BCS.

4. Florida
59-31 says shootout, but this game was over at halftime 49-7. Florida probably got "caught" losing focus with the Tennessee game looming large next week. Tebow and Moore continue to be the dynamic duo in what is looking like the SEC's best offense, with Ingram and Murphy providing nice targets for Tebow's now fully accredited arm.

5. Oklahoma
Um... lol? Miami just gave up their second-highest point total since the inception of the BCS, and the Sooners had questions about their quarterback? All Bradford did was take the Sooners to a TD on their first possession and wind up with 5 TDs on 205 yards passing (19-25-0). The Sooners dominated both sides of the ball and you might want to add them to your list of title contenders... memories of Jason White notwithstanding.

6. Texas
No matter what the score says, this was an ugly, ugly win. McCoy and the offense actually get a negative score for the first half, putting 0 points on the board while giving up two interceptions for a TD return and to set up a short FG. The offense roared to life in the second half and were helped by a TCU kickoff fumble with the score just being tied at 10. After last week, I thought that we'd see the Real McCoy but that the defense would be problematic; I was wrong on both counts as the defense basically saved the day. In all, it wasn't a strong enough performance to even think of moving them up in the rankings but with the way the teams below them played against even lesser opposition, I wouldn't move them down either.

7. West Virginia
When you run a gimmick offense, it's going to happen. "It" being some team figuring you out or things just not clicking, even if only for a half, and the defense having to keep you in the game. Fortunately for West Virginia, Marshall chose to stall out on three drives in the end zone or they could be looking at 1-1. I still can't picture this team finishing the year "-0," but give credit to White & Co for figuring something out in the second half.

8. Ohio State
The offense was absolutely horrible against Akron, managing 20 points but 17 in the second half. Boeckman reminded us why he was third-string just a season ago. The defense, however, did about all it could in pitching a shutout, as the only points the Zips scored were on a safety.

9. Wisconsin
Somehow got taken to the wire by UNLV. I didn't really follow this game until the 4th quarter so I can't say a lot about it, but the box score shows a game that was competitive throughout the game and in all regards... Wisconsin even won the turnover battle. This just doesn't sound like a team ready to contend for the Big Ten.

10. California
The 34-28 score over Colorado State is deceptively close as it was 34-14 late in the 4th quarter. Call it a hangover game after a thrilling victory over Tennessee; Cal's schedule is in a bit of a lull until they travel to Oregon at the end of the month and they may have lost focus. Check back on them in two weeks.

11. Arkansas

12. Nebraska
Sam Keller looked like the QB who lost his starting role at Arizona State, and that worked out pretty well for a Wake Forest team who plays stout defense. The Husker D rose to the occasion and they'll hang on to their mid-rankings spot for another week.

13. Virginia Tech
Awful, just awful. Yes, LSU is playing like they're the best team in the country right now. But while their offense has been pretty bad, VT is a proud defensive team. They ranked #1 in scoring last season, so giving up 48 points and 600 yards to anybody is unacceptable. The game was so bad, they had to burn a redshirt at QB because Glennon was so ineffective. At least Taylor gives them some offense, which was looking like they'd be stuck at 50 yards until he came in.

14. Penn State
The offense came back down to earth, failing to top 300 yards total and giving up an interception return for a TD, one of three turnovers. But they scored a PR TD and the defense completely shut down the Irish under Jimmy Clausen.

15. Rutgers
Navy runs a creative, intelligent offense that's tough to handle, so I don't fault the defense too much for the Midshipmen keeping the game interesting through three quarters. Tell had a solid performance at QB, Rice was a workhorse at RB, and the defense came up with turnovers when they needed stops.

16. Michigan
What are they going to tell their children they did in college? Clamor for a rematch with Ohio State, only to have both teams get embarassed in their bowl games? Become the first ranked team to lose to a I-AA opponent? Suffered your school's worse loss since 1968? Become the first Michigan team since 1959 to start off 0-2 at home? Their wife ran away with the drummer and she's not coming back. (Thank you, Lou Holtz.)

17. Georgia
For one week, Matt Stafford threw the ball to players on his own team, who in turn caught his passes for what are known as "receptions." In week 2, it was business as usual in Georgia as Stafford went 19-44-1, leading the team to an impressive four field goals.

18. UCLA
When they were up 20-0 un BYU, it was looking like they'd be moving up in the rankings. Next thing you know it's 20-17. They scored the decisive score on a ground-heavy possession that nearly ran out the clock, but BYU controlled the game (almost twice as much yardage) and only blew it with three turnovers, one of which was returned for a TD. This game doesn't really say much... or rather, it says a lot of conflicting things about UCLA.

19. Hawaii
On the one hand, Brennan threw for 546 yards and accounted for 5 TDs. On the other, had had three turnovers. The defense got toasted by Louisiana Tech and the offensive line did a really poor job in pass protection. A win's a win, but this was not a strong showing.

20. Miami FL
Nothing to do after a game like this but to move on. Oklahoma is great on both sides of the ball and right now it could be argued (not that I really would) that they're playing like the #1 team in the country. It wasn't a game the Canes could win. Actually, there is one thing to do. Freeman is NOT your starting QB. Wright could be it, if he's not throwing off his back. But if you need a mobile QB because the line can't hold, then either find another guy to do it or get Freeman to run option, because he isn't a good passer.

21. Tennessee
It was a struggle for a half, but in the end they won by 20. The Vols have got to like the fact that both the ground and air game looked good and they gave up just 105 yards rushing.

22. Texas A&M
When Fresno State scored a TD to open the second overtime, I'd already decided that A&M was falling from the top 25. The fact that they eventually won on a failed 2-pt attempt is of little consequence as far as the early rankings go. Every time Fresno needed to score, they were able to. McGee averaged a shade over 3 yards per attempt passing. Luckily the Bulldog defense is a little undersized to stop Javorskie Lane.

23. Missouri
I don't like the fact that Missouri has played two BCS conference cellar-dwellers and has gotten into two shootouts. However, I do like the play of Chase Daniel in both games so far. Once again, the defense gave up most of its points after the Tigers had built a lead of over 20 points, so it may be an issue of staying focused.

24. Auburn
Not only did they lose at home to an unranked team, but they did so despite said team missing 4 field goal attempts. Simply pathetic on offense as Cox threw more int than TD and completed under 50% of his passes against a team not known for its defense. Both runningbacks were held to 60 yards. The defense repeatedly stiffened in the red zone but was porous on the rest of the field.

25. Boise State
Welcome back to the life of a midmajor. When you lose as much talent at Boise State as the Broncoes did in 2007, you don't just reload. Give them credit for fighting and staying in the game, but against a Washington defense that doesn't stand out as anything special, they were simply shut down on offense. Having the schedule of a midmajor could mean a return to the top 25 as long as they don't lose more than 1 or 2 more games, but even a 1-loss season looks very unlikely at this point.

Others worth noting:

Boston College
It was an off week for Matt Ryan, but the ground game had his back. Though they gave up over 400 yards, the defense forced SEVEN turnovers for a +6 net. Out of seven punts, five got NC State started inside their own 20, so the special teams are clearly a plus.

I've thought of Cincinnati being a sleeper team for the Big East title, if you look at their 8-5 record from last season it includes road losses to Ohio State, Va Tech, Louisville, and West Virginia. The nonconference schedule doesn't get much tougher than Oregon State this year, and Thursday nights' game was a blowout that was only close for about a half. If they can win at Rutgers, they face both Louisville and West Virginia in home games this season so watch out for an upset.

The defense gave up a lot of yards but not too many points, and the offense just rolled all game. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Florida State looks like a good enough opponent from week 1 to justify a top 25 ranking just yet, but in not then they're certainly on the short list.

Florida State
Over 500 yards offense... but they nearly lost to UAB.

Georgia Tech
OK, scoring 69 against Samford isn't THAT impressive. But that does make two straight high-output weeks, and coupled with GT's defense that may warrant a top 25 spot. Tarshard Choice has officially crashed the early season Heisman party, and he's looking to stay on in December. The defense gave up 14 garbage-time points after the game got to 62-0, which means they've given up 3 meaningful points in two gams.

Notre Dame
Clausen's final stats:
17-32-1, 145 yards, 5 sacks for -46 yards, lead team to 3 points offense on a drive that started on the PSU 7.

I know, it's September and they're Oregon. Wait till the four-week midseason stretch that includes Cal, Washington, and USC. Right now, though, Dennis Dixon is a completely different QB than has was last year and that means trouble for opposing defenses. Oregon's defense is a bit of a question mark, but not enough to keep them unranked with the kind of firepower they're showing on the other side of the ball.

Oregon State
For those who thought a great halfback and a strong defense would be enough to contend for #2 in the Pac 10 - first of all, let me ask you where that defense was Thursday night? And secondly, their QB situation is so awful that teams can stack 8 or 9 to stop the run and they're still not able to pass out of it. The Beavers are in trouble.

South Carolina
They finally beat Georgia. Not a pretty game, but winning in Athens by even 1 is impressive. That'll move them back up into the top 25.

South Florida
Were it not for terrible kicking, they would have won comfortably on the road at Auburn. The offense moved the ball very well against a solid defense, and their own defense calmed down after the first quarter to keep them in the game which the special teams continually misfired. OK, here's what you do. Post fliers around campus asking for anyone to try out for placekicker. Hold tryouts next weekend, when there's a bye. Take a good look at the top one or two and try to get some kicks in against North Carolina. By the time WVA comes to town on Sept 28, they should have found their man. Assuming that they can in fact pull this off, the Bulls are a top 25 team.

No offense! Overrated! Attention AP, please remove whatever number you had beside their name and replace it with a nice blank. Thanks.

The offense stalled out in the second half and they got outgained, but Washington beat Boise State 24-10. The defense forced 4 TOs, held Ian Johnson to 81 yards rushing, and Locker's mobility was able to control the first half which wound up being enough. Keep in mind that, as a program, Boise State had lost just 6 games in their last 4 seasons, so this is impressive.