Ten Things - Week Two
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Ten Things, Week 2
With the added focus on marquee nonconference games in Week 1, there is a tendency to view Week 2 as a huge letdown (just look at the ridiculous number of Power 5 teams vs non-Power 5 and FCS teams). In the words of the beloved Gameday curmudgeon himself, not so fast my friend! Between the few games that had a margin of victory less than 14, the fearless leader of the NCAA showing once again how arbitrary he can be, and a College Football Playoff committee member engaging officials mid-game, we were never at a loss for water cooler ammunition. Once again, we take a look at the week that was in Ten Things.
- Penn State is Back – Regardless of how you felt regarding the necessity, severity, or relevance of the penalty imposed by NCAA president Mark Emmert, there is no disputing the fact that it was unprecedented. So naturally, the NCAA took an equally unprecedented step in the opposite direction when it was announced that, essentially, Penn State is off with time served. The Nittany Lions will have no postseason ban this year, a full 85 scholarships, and now they are Big Ten’s best hope for a team to earn the league some much-needed credibility. Ironic, isn’t it?
- Pat Haden Plays Mom Against Mean Ol’ Bullies – This is what you want in a playoff committee member, right? The head coach gets a penalty, gets into a verbal scrum with officials, then (reportedly) has a staff member call his
mommyboss to come to his defense. One would think that Haden, one of the members of the CFB Playoff Committee, would be aware of the attention such a strange move like this would cause. While true that he will (in theory) not have any direct impact on the Trojans playoff hopes, it’s things like this that are sure to bring heavy criticism – especially in the right circumstances come selection time.
- B1G, Gone But Not Yet Forgotten – Initially, this was going to be at the top of the list. The Big Ten has been a lightning rod for many a criticism, myself included. But with the Penn State news combined with a couple days of thinking, it really isn’t as big a story as initially thought….yet. Yes, Michigan State was shut down in the second half of a runaway game. Newsflash, it’s difficult to win in Autzen Stadium. Yes, Michigan was shutout for the first time since the Super Nintendo was state of the art. And yes, Ohio State was the latest victim of Bud Foster’s well-known genius. But guess what? It’s Week 2. There’s plenty of football to be played.
- Playoff Four – This week, the projected four teams are Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Georgia. So, Oregon played well enough to gain a spot. The Seminoles are the reigning champions and have not lost, so they’re still in until they stop growing in the W-column. Georgia didn’t play, and looked so good in Week 1 that they are safe. That left dropping Texas A&M or Oklahoma. With so little evidence of on-field production, the Sooners look to be a more balanced team. While the Aggies have a better offense, the discrepancy on defense was the clincher. No worries, though, as there is still plenty of time to sort everything out.
- Week 2 Blues – The second Saturday of the season saw a whopping SIX games between a ranked team and a team from a Power 5 conference (though, let’s be honest…do Iowa State and Vanderbilt count right now?), and only two games featured two ranked teams. For all the clamoring for better match-ups, the powers that be seemed to have attracted us to the opening week so much that the second week is even worse than before. I get why teams do it, but it makes for an easy Saturday to do something else for a few hours (unless my team is winning 41-0 when they call mercy rule).
- Clemson Hates Shutouts – That’s the only logical explanation for dominating a team to the tune of 73-0 only to bounce pass them a fast break for an easy layup. Pardon the basketball analogies, but 73 points? C’mon! Maybe the felt a little guilty for breaking the 70-point barrier without having the consideration to let the other team get a respectable 33 points, am I right? Clemson fans will get the Orange Bowl reference.
- Way Too Early Heisman – Since Todd Gurley didn’t defend the hill, there’s a new king this week. No surprise that it’s Oregon QB Marcus Mariotta. He did what champions do – finish strong. Two of his three touchdowns were in the third quarter that ultimately gave the Ducks a lead they would not relinquish. Three total touchdowns, no picks and over 350 yards of production against a Pat Narduzzi defense is no small feat.
- Historic End To Historic Rivalry – The last scheduled game between all-time greats Michigan and Notre Dame ended in a colossal mismatch, with the Irish triumphing 31-0. That dominance was due in no small part to QB Everett Golson who in just two games has over 500 yards passing, eight total touchdowns, and no interceptions. It may not seem like eye-popping stats, but remember prior to this season his last impression was floundering in a 42-14 loss. Meanwhile Michigan looks to be struggling to gain any kind of traction in Brady Hoke’s fourth season. Inconsistent quarterback play and porous defense seems to be as commonplace as inconsistency. If this game was a measuring stick for both programs, they are clearly on opposite trajectories. Let’s just hope this is one rivalry that’s renewed sooner rather than later.
- SEC Rundown – Nothing to see here. Really. Florida finally played a game and didn’t look inept on offense (albeit against Eastern Michigan). Only one team played a team from a Power Conference, and that was Ole Miss who beat Vandy like a drum 41-3. On the plus side, just about everyone made some great money from home game ticket sales. Except Missouri…kudos for being willing to travel to Toledo to deliver a beatdown.
- Three To See:
- Georgia at South Carolina – In the only game of the weekend that features two ranked teams, Georgia wants to keep momentum rolling while South Carolina want to gain control of the East division race. That’s a tall order, considering the Bulldogs’ considerable talent across the board on offense. The best chance the Gamecocks have is for Dylan Thompson to have a career day. Georgia wins 38-23
- Tennessee at Oklahoma – Some may look at this game and wonder how it can be on the short list of viewing. The Sooners are #4 in the country, at home, and are currently three touchdown favorites. But the Vols have played surprisingly well with such a young team. If no one tells them they should lose this game by a lot, it’s possible they put the home team on upset alert in the second half. Boomer Sooner, 31-17
- UCLA at Texas – If the Bruins want to be taken seriously, they have to show up in big games. If the Longhorns want to avoid a spiral into the abyss, they need to bounce back. Either way, this game won’t say much on the national level, but should give us an idea just how much fight both teams will have for their respective conference battles in the weeks to come. Bruins win 28-20
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