College Football Week 1 and 2 Recap

Two weeks of the college football season are in the books, and the landscape appears about the same as it did a fortnight ago as we head into a big weekend of games. In case you missed it, here were the important developments:

– The ACC is not very strong this season. In the first week, both of the two teams from that conference ranked in the Top 20 lost their openers. The most shocking of these was certainly the thrashing that Clemson took at the hands of a rebuilding Alabama team, which managed to limit the production of that (allegedly) strong running attack. If that wasn’t bad enough, always tough Virginia Tech was upset by East Carolina, which of course looked a bit more understandable after the Pirates dominated a top ten team in West Virginia the following week. Still, that leaves Wake Forest, and Ole Miss, one of the SEC’s bottom-dwellers, gave them all that they could handle in a narrow Deamon Decon victory. This past weekend, Florida kept a young Miami offense out of the end zone in a 26-3 win. That leaves Florida State I suppose, and although I still expect Clemson to finish the season strongly, the ACC appears to have taken a step backwards.

– The hyped showdown between USC and Ohio State this coming weekend nearly lost a lot of luster as Ohio State needed all of four quarters to put away cross-state rival Ohio. I’m still giving the Buckeyes the benefit of the doubt and keeping them in my top spot, as the offense truly appeared to be out of sync without star tailback Chris Wells, who sustained a foot injury in the opener. On the other side of the coin, the Trojans were quite impressive in a 52-7 domination at Virginia.

– The most exciting game of the first two weeks had to be the offensive showdown between Illinois and Missouri. Both teams will have to get sturdier on defense to achieve the goals they’re hoping for this season, but in the end Missouri’s offense was too powerful as the Tigers won 52-42.

– The UCLA program took a huge step in the right direction, as they capitalized on Tennessee’s mistakes and took advantage of opportunities on special teams to win 27-24 in overtime. I have to be honest, I was pretty certain that not only would the Vols win the game, but that they would cover the 7.5 point spread easily against a pretty depleted Bruins squad. This was a huge surprise, but whether the UCLA team can sustain this kind of energy remains to be seen. They’ll get a big test this weekend as they travel to BYU.

-Speaking of BYU, their contraversial win at Washington may have been last weekend’s most entertaining game. For those that missed it, Washington scored in the final seconds to draw within 28-27 with an extra point looming to put the game into overtime. Quarterback Jake Locker scrambled into the end zone for the score and in a fit of excitement, tossed the football over his shoulder and began celebrating with his teammates. The officials deemed this to be excessive celebration, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that turned a usually automatic extra point into a 35 yard field goal, which of course was blocked. You can tell me a million times that a rule is a rule and I will tell you right back that I don’t care. This was horrible judgement by the officials to make such a game-changing call in such an emotional moment. Really, really bad stuff. And how about Washington? As a reward for playing Oregon to open the season, and then suffering the BYU loss at the hands of overzealous officials, they get to go to Norman and play the Oklahoma Sooners. Nice.

– To me, even only two weeks in, there appears to be a clear separation between the Top 6 teams on my list and the rest of the nation. That is to say, my #6 is closer to  #1 than my #7 is to #6. We will see if that changes, but for now those 6 are the main teams I’m looking at as having a real shot to play in the National Championship game.

TOP 25 of the MATTY

  1. Ohio State (2-0)
  2. Georgia (2-0)
  3. USC (1-0)
  4. Florida (2-0)
  5. Missouri (2-0)
  6. Oklahoma (2-0)
  7. Texas Tech (2-0)
  8. Wisconsin (2-0)
  9. LSU (1-0)
  10. Auburn (2-0)
  11. Alabama (2-0)
  12. Kansas (2-0)
  13. Texas (2-0)
  14. Wake Forest (2-0)
  15. Clemson (1-1)
  16. Illinois (1-1)
  17. Arizona State (2-0)
  18. Penn State (2-0)
  19. Fresno State (1-0)
  20. Oregon (2-0)
  21. East Carolina (2-0)
  22. West Virginia (1-1)
  23. BYU (2-0)
  24. Utah (2-0)
  25. UCLA (1-0)

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:

#12 Kansas at South Florida, 7:00 PM CST Friday, ESPN- I’m still not sure how I feel about Friday night college games, but this one is certainly worth tuning in for, as two of last year’s surprise teams battle it out to see who stays undefeated.

#2 Georgia at South Carolina, 2:30 PM CST, CBS- The Gamecocks lost a tough one at Vanderbilt last week, but I’m sure they will bring their A-game for this one. Georgia has a target on its back in the SEC, where no road game is an easy one. This will be the first of many challenges as the Bulldogs try to earn a chance to play for the title.

Michigan at Notre Dame, 2:30 PM CST, NBC- At least this game is a step up from last season, when both teams were 0-2 for the first time ever when they met. Both teams have a victory this time around, but I can’t say with any confidence that either team is better than they were last season. This is still, obviously, a very important game for both programs, and the loser will have an uphill battle this season.

#25 UCLA at #23 BYU, 2:30 PM CST, VS- This will be the third game between these foes in the last year, an oddity for sure. They split the two meetings last year, with UCLA winning earlier in the season and BYU pulling out a close bowl victory.

#1 Ohio State at #3 USC, 7:00 PM, CST, ABC- Probably the game of the year, with this year’s installment of “The World’s Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party” being the only close competition. Look for the winner to have a spot in the National Championship game if they can take care of business.

#8 Wisconsin at #19 Fresno State, 9:30 PM CST, ESPN 2- This may be the day’s most intiguing game if anyone is still up for it. (I know I will be!) I have a feeling that Fresno State is going to be a handfull in this one, and they have a big chance to put themselves on the national map with an upset here.

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