Ten Things - Week Two
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Another exciting weekend of college football has gone by. Here are ten things that caught my eye from this latest round of games...
1. USC and Texas are a Mess - Two of the most high-profile jobs in college football will be available in about two months, so all of you top coaches (and assistant coaches) out there sharpen your pencils and get that resume ready. USC is coached by the worst coach in college football. Period. Not only are the Trojans struggling with the X's and O's, but everyone knows Kiffin's character is suspect at best. Lord only knows what kind of lack of dicipline is going down in that locker room...As for Texas, they should be equally embarrassed. The Horns - like USC - could land almost any recruit they want, not only in their hot-bed states of California and Texas, but nationwide, as well! And yet, they slide. Texas gave up 679 total yards against BYU. 679!! Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin have two very different pasts and two different levels of success. But in this third week of the 2013 season they have one thing in common: a coaching seat that is a blazing inferno.
2. Big Names Back in the Mix - Above, I talked about two huge traditional names of the college football world that are struggling. Well, here are some teams that are not struggling, and sit at 2-0 each with big wins: Michigan, Miami and Florida State. Those three big names seem to be legit and ready to make a major impact on the season. The Wolverines whipped Notre Dame on national TV, The 'Canes beat Florida down in the tropics, and FSU spanked Pitt on the road with a freshman at QB, Jameis Winston. Other big names that are right there waiting to show they are in the mix, as well, are Penn State (2-0), Tennessee (2-0) and Nebraska (2-0). The Nittany Lions don't have a big game until October 12th (Michigan), but this Saturday Tennessee travels to Oregon and Nebraska hosts UCLA. We will know soon if the Vols and Huskers are for real.
3. 70-point Club - Utah dismantled Weber State, 70-7, and Baylor squeeked by Buffalo, 70-13, to be the two members of the 70-point club in week two. A few other teams came close, including Texas A&M who put 65 on the board vs Sam Houston State, Boise State who scored 63 on Tennessee-Martin, and Texas Tech who scored 61 on Stephen F. Austin. Personally, I like it when only one or two teams reach 70 each week. I don't think it would be good for the game to see the 70-point mark reached on a regular basis.
4. Shutout Club - Getting a shutout is always a good thing, regardless of opponent. This week we had four teams send their opponent home with a big, fat goose egg! Hats off to Arizona State (55-0 over Sacramento State), Central Florida (38-0 over FIU), Wisconsin (48-0 over Tennessee Tech) and Rutgers (38-0 over Norfolk State).
5. Michigan's Special Night - The largest crowd in NCAA history watched Michigan defeat Notre Dame, 41-30, from the Big House this past Saturday night. 115,109 Wolverine and Irish fans crammed into Michigan Stadium for an electric game. On this special night, QB Devin Gardner was honored to wear #98 in tribute to Michigan's 1940 Heisman winner and military veteran, Tom Harmon. Gardner responded by accounting for five touchdowns - four passing and one on the ground. He was responsible for 376 yards on the night, with 182 of those yards being passing yards to WR Jeremy Gallon (three scores). Michigan seems to be in full support of Coach Brady Hoke and what he is trying to do, and the spirit inside of that stadium - from a TV perspective - was one of the tops you will ever see.
6. Don't Count Out the Gamecocks - After a disappointing 11-point loss to Georgia on the road in Athens, the Gamecocks have had a tough time in the media the last couple of days. The talk is on Clowney's two total tackles (one sack) and the scuffle between two asssistants on the sideline during a heated third quarter moment. Yes, it was a game that will not be watched on DVR by many in Columbia, if I had to guess. But as a Clemson fan who has suffered through four-straight losses to USC, I say do not count out this team just yet. I have watched Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson throw way too many TD passes to think the Gamecocks can't put it in the end zone, and I have seen Clowney and crew wreck many an offensive line for them to be counted out already in the SEC race...Yes, UGA has the inside track in the East, but I see the Gamecocks winning most all of their games from here on out. If the Dawgs slip, anything can happen.
7. Oregon Point Machine - When Chip Kelly departed, everyone outside of Eugene was wondering if the Ducks could keep up the wild scoring. To answer that question, Oregon has scored 125 points in eight quarters. Nicholls state took 66 of those in week one and Virginia just got smacked with the other 59. Folks, let me tell you, the Ducks can score...In comes Tennessee on Saturday. I know the Vols are rebuilding, but they are still an SEC defense - techincally at least, anyway. It will be interesting to see if UT can slow Marcus Mariota and crew down at all. (I was in attendance at the first meeting of the home-and-home in 2010 - the Ducks cruised on that day, 48-13)
8. Fire in the Desert? - Both Arizona and Arizona State fans have reasons to believe this season is going to be a good one. At Arizona, Coach Rich Rodriguez' team has outscored the competition (Northern Arizona and UNLV) 93-13. At Arizona State, Coach Todd Graham's second squad is 1-0 after a 55-0 shutout against Sacramento State... The Sun Devils get the first big test between the two as Wisconsin comes in in five days. The Badgers are rolling and will be a tough win for ASU. The Wildcats, meanwhile, do not face a stiff test until they travel to Washington in week five.
9. Friday College Football? Not a Fan - Boston College and Wake Forest must think it is a great idea to bite the hand that feeds them. Same for Central Florida and Florida International...College football on Friday nights? I am not a fan at all of taking away from the high school Friday night experience. Maybe I am spoiled that I was fortunate to go to a high school that lived for its Friday night football. In Greenwood, SC we supported our Eagles on every Friday night in the fall, and cannot imagine a college game getting in the way of attending GHS vs whoever that unlucky opponent would be. So, in my view, Friday night belongs to HS football, college games are perfectly fine on Thursdays and Saturdays.
10. Three to See - Of course Alabama-Texas A&M is the big one, but here are three other games not to miss...
* #16 UCLA at #23 Nebraska - Taylor Martinez is a senior now, and for him to leave a legacy at NU, the quarterback will have to figure out how to secure the football and lead his team to a huge win in this one, springboarding them to a banner season. UCLA is a team on the up-and-up under Jim Mora, and I'm telling you right now, Martinez' task will not be an easy one. QB Brett Hundley leads the Bruins into Lincoln for what is a must-see interregional game.
* Tennessee at #2 Oregon - As mentioned above, Oregon lit up Nicholls State (who?) and ACC doormat Virginia, but can they score 45+ on a defense like Tennessee that has fast athletes? My guess is yes. I like the way Butch Jones is heading with the Vols, but he is far too new at the spot to have a big impact against a team like Oregon. My prediction will come out Thursday, but I am thinking the Ducks roll easily.
* #20 Wisconsin at Arizona State - The Badgers are a proven team over the last couple of decades, so a Sun Devil win would go a long way in legitamizing the program under Todd Graham. A rowdy crowd will be waiting for Wisconsin, and somebody is going to give up their first points of the year. The two teams have combined for a 148-0 score over their three opponents thus far.
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