1. Alabama– W vs Western Kentucky 35-0: What did you really expect out of this one? ‘Bama did what you would expect, and will travel to take on a wounded Arkansas team who better have a chip on their shoulder next week
2. USC– W vs Syracuse 42-29: The win was not as impressive as you might have thought it would be considering Lane Kiffin’s disgust at losing the number one ranking. A 13 point win over this Syracuse team is no way to prove you deserve it.
3. LSU– W 41-3 vs Washington: The Huskies scored first, and then watched LSU score the game’s remaining 41 points as the Tigers cruised to an easy victory. It was quite clear that Washington didn’t belong on the same field as the defending SEC champs, and it will only be even uglier against Idaho next week. With Auburn and Florida looking less and less imposing, and South Carolina coming to Baton Rouge, the Tigers next real test may be when they go to College Station to take on a Texas A&M team who is dying for a shot at the Bayou Bengals.
4. Oregon– W 42-25 vs Fresno State: For the first half, Oregon was Oregon, busting out to a 35-3 lead and their second half finished getting the job done. It’s not like next week with Tennessee Tech will tell us anything more.
5. Florida State– W vs Savannah State 55-0: I really don’t even want to acknowledge this game actually took place.
6. West Virginia- Bye: Why, oh, why weren’t we treated to a West Virginia/Florida State matchup on Saturday???
7. Michigan State– W 41-7 vs Central Michigan: With the rest of the Big Ten struggling this season so far, there is absolutely no reason right now not to have Michigan State as the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten title after coming up just short a year ago. They host Notre Dame next week in what should be a decent test for Sparty, but so far, they’ve looked as advertised on defense.
8. Georgia– W at Missouri 41-20: Old man football? Imagine if they played young man’s football what they would have done. It seems the old man football was better conditioned for four quarters of play than Missouri. That, and Jarvis Jones may be the best defensive player in college football. Georgia was the only top 25 team this week to go on the road, and win. Not only did they win, they did so impressively in a tough environment. Everybody should be back from suspensions by the time Tennessee comes calling in the next big game for Georgia. For Missouri, they get one more home game before having to travel to play South Carolina on the road. A win over Arizona next week is paramount, because they don’t want to be staring at 1-3 when they take on the Gamecocks.
9. Oklahoma– W vs Florida A&M 69-13: This blowout does little to ease the concerns that arose after struggling to beat UTEP in the season opener. The Sooners get Kansas State at home in two weeks, as its sandwiched by their two bye weeks. That one will be a good barometer of what to expect from Oklahoma in their final nine games.
10. Ohio State– W vs Central Florida 31-16: Central Florida is not a bad football team, so getting a double digit win over them isn’t anything to scoff at. Considering the rest of the conference’s struggles, the Buckeyes appear to be among the Big 10 elite. Too bad they can’t win it. A late first half interception that set up a touchdown turned the tide against Central Florida, who led 10-7 and had the ball around midfield. Ohio State didn’t look back from there.
11. Clemson– W vs Ball State 52-27: This Tigers team is good, but just how good? The Auburn victory a week ago doesn’t look nearly as impressive after the egg they laid against Mississippi State. We will know much more about these Tigers in two weeks when they travel south to play Florida State.
12. Arkansas– L vs Louisiana Monroe 31-34: Easily the upset of the day, and perhaps season thus far. The Razorbacks better hope Tyler Wilson can play next week, otherwise the 38-14 whipping put on them by the Tide last year might look like it was actually a competitive game. Then again, it’s not backup quarterback Brandon Allen’s fault that the defense allowed 440 plus yards passing through the air.
13. Nebraska– L at UCLA 36-30: UCLA ran 94 plays to Nebraska’s 67, and that’s a good way to outgain a foe 653-439. After playing brilliantly against Southern Miss, Taylor Martinez struggled, but not nearly as much as the Husker defense, yielding 217 yards to Johnathan Franklin. The last time UCLA scored 34 or more points in back to back games was 2007. This season, in both games they’ve surpassed their season high in points from a year ago.
14. Texas– W 45-0 vs New Mexico: It was only New Mexico, but it was still a shutout. The Longhorn defense is extremely good, and figures to get better as the year goes on. They get a shot to go beat up on an SEC team in Ole Miss next week before getting a bye week and beginning their conference slate.
15. South Carolina– W vs East Carolina 48-10: Dylan Thompson got the start, and played well, throwing for over 300 scores and three touchdowns. Is there a quarterback controversy? Probably not yet, but there could be before the Gamecocks welcome in the other Columbia school (Missouri) to Williams-Brice Stadium in two weeks.
16. Kansas State– W vs Miami 52-13: The Wildcats are a major sleeper in the Big 12 this year, and Saturday proved that they are serious about proving last season was no fluke. A complete domination of Miami, their second straight win over the Canes, along with a battle with lowly North Texas next week, means their September, 22 trip to Norman to play Oklahoma will have an awful lot on the line. There were concerns about the Kansas State defense entering the year after losing three of their top four tacklers. It looked mighty solid Saturday. As for Miami, they have lost at least six games in five of their last six seasons. They may make it seven of eight this year. My how the mighty have fallen
17. Notre Dame– W vs Purdue 20-17: Notre Dame survived a late rally by Purdue to tie the game by answering with a quick drive of their own culminating in a game winning 27 yard field goal as time expired. But let’s be real, this isn’t exactly a very good Purdue football team, and getting just 52 yards on 36 carries against a team who allowed 175 yards per game a year ago is not a good sign at all. The schedule toughens up big time for the Irish in the next two months, and they could be anywhere from 3-5 to potentially 8-0. Impossible to have a good read on this team yet.
18. Virginia Tech– W 42-7 vs Austin Peay: As often is the case against an FCS team, it’s almost impossible to really learn anything about a team. Georgia Tech’s explosion against their own FCS team is probably the best thing seen from the Hokies all day. Their trip to Pittsburgh next week doesn’t look remotely close to as difficult as it seemed three weeks ago
19. Louisville– W vs Missouri State 35-7 The Cardinals will get a real test next week when North Carolina comes calling. But as it appears now, they’re a legitimate threat to the Big East title, and with South Florida, Cincinnati, and Connecticut at home, a 12-0 season might be something to think about with this team
20. Oklahoma State L at Arizona 59-38: Despite over 600 yards of offense, four turnovers doomed the Cowboys who realized this Rich Rodriguez Wildcats team is no Savannah State. Speaking of Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats, in the last 5 years, Arizona has started 2-0 three times, making a bowl all three seasons. It’s a good omen
21. North Carolina– L at Wake Forest 28-27: For as talented as North Carolina is, when your team has no real goals with which to strive for during the season, it can be a very trying year with college kids, as is the case in Chapel Hill. With a trip to Louisville coming up next week, it looks like another story of a talented North Carolina team being undermined by off-field issues. Wake Forest meanwhile was thought to be perhaps the worst team in the ACC. This may be another of Jim Grobe’s overachievers.
22. Boise State– Bye
23. Tennessee– W 53-13 vs Georgia State: The Vols won and won big, as they should have. Now they get to host Florida in a game where they will get an opportunity to cement themselves as bonafide contenders in the SEC East, and set up a potentially HUGE game in Athens two weeks after that.
24. TCU– W 56-0 vs Grambling: TCU eased through this warmup before making their Big 12 debut against Kansas next week. The Forgs have had double digit wins in each of the past four seasons, and that’s where expectations are this year, even with the switch to a superior conference.
25. Georgia Tech W 59-3 vs Presbyterian: Clearly, the Blue Hose defense is no Virginia Tech defense, as the Jackets rolled to over 700 yards of offense, and we found out they actually do have wide receivers on the field in this offense. A crucial home game with Virginia awaits.
Florida– W 20-17 at Texas A&M: Fortunately for the Gators, their defense took over in the second half and 17-7 deficit became a 20-17 victory. It’s a good thing though, because the Gators offense struggled again. Florida has to play at a very confident Tennessee next week, a much better Vols team than the one Florida beat a year ago.
Michigan– W 31-25 vs Air Force: I guess it’s simply a college football tradition as grand as “The Victors” or the helmets Michigan wears, to overrate the Wolverines. At this point in the season, it certainly seems like it has happened again. In two weeks they travel to South Bend, in a game they MUST win.
Utah– L at Utah State 27-20: Who was it that said little brother might have a chance to win this game, especially if Chuckie Keeton played well for Utah State? *Ahem*
Auburn – L at Mississippi State 28-10: Don’t think for a second people on The Plains aren’t starting to call into question the hiring of Gene Chizik. Yes, he won them a national championship, but for his career, without Cam Newton as a quarterback, his overall record is 21-31. In case you didn’t realize, that’s bad. His SEC record without Cam Newton is 7-10. That seat is getting warmer, and even if they beat ULM next week (no sure thing), a likely loss to LSU would mean a 1-3 start.
South Florida– W at Nevada 32-31: In a game involving two of the better under the radar teams in the nation, South Florida rallied with a late touchdown to get off to a 2-0 start before playing Rutgers this upcoming Thursday night. The Bulls are the favorite in the Big East, while Nevada is expected to be Boise State’s fiercest competition in the Mountain West. Nevada has looked plenty the part, and should be 10-1 when they host Boise State on the first day of December.
Mississippi State– W vs Auburn 28-10: Dan Mullen is doing some really, really good things in Starkville. The Bulldogs completely dominated Auburn, and with the schedule setting up like it does, they very easily could be 5-0 when Tennessee pays a visit in October
Man, how bad is Pittsburgh this year? 0-2 after being drubbed by Cincinnati, and neither loss was close. And one of those losses came to Youngstown State. This offense returned 9 starters from a year ago, but has scored only 27 points in two games.
Connecticut is going to be a factor in the Big East, their defense is more than good enough to ensure that they are. Meanwhile, Mike Glennon’s struggles continue for the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who despite getting the win, looked awfully unimpressive in a 10-7 victory over a team many pegged in the bottom half of the Big East.
Virginia may be 2-0 after a 17-16 win over Penn State, but it’s not exactly a 2-0 that inspires a lot of confidence that they didn’t overachieve a year ago. For Penn State, getting to .500 this year may be an ambitious goal, as Saturday was a clear example of how the Jerry Sanduski saga has an on-field affect. Anthony Fera, who made 14 of 17 field goals a year ago transferred. His replacement, Sam Ficken, missed four in the loss, including a game winner as time expired.
Man, how important was Art Briles and Case Keenum to Houston? This was a team who was one win away from a BCS bowl a year ago, and now is 0-2 with losses to Louisiana Tech and Texas State. Ouch.
Northwestern has taken on two BCS conference teams in their early non conference slate in Syracuse and Vanderbilt, and beaten them both. They take on a third in Boston College next week. The 2-0 start for the Wildcats has been one of the very few bright spots in the Big 10 this season.
To wrap it up, I’ll pick up where I left off with Northwestern. Just how bad is the Big Ten this year? Conference favorite Wisconsin squeaks by Northern Iowa and loses to Oregon State. Illinois gets blasted 45-14 by an Arizona State team expected to finish near the bottom of the Pac 12, while Penn State can’t beat Ohio and is 0-2. Not only that, Michigan embarrassed the conference against Alabama and did nothing to get rid of that sour taste with an uninspiring win over Air Force. Nebraska lost to UCLA because their defense forgot entirely how to tackle, and Iowa lost a second straight time to Iowa State. Things do not look good in Big 10 country.
New Top 25
5. Florida State
6. West Virginia
7. Michigan State
10. Ohio State
13. Kansas State
14. South Carolina
15. Virginia Tech
16. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
21. Mississippi State
23. Georgia Tech
25. South Florida