Week 2 in college football was full of surprises and a lot of games that turned out to be a lot closer than anyone imagined. Here are the winners and losers from Week 2:
Oregon Ducks: The game in Eugene against Michigan State on Saturday was billed as ‘Power versus Speed’ with the Ducks being the latter of the two. The Ducks trailed at halftime by five points with the Spartans looking fully in control but the second half belonged to the team in the highlighter yellow uniforms as Oregon exploded for 28 unanswered points to win the game 49-27 behind two touchdown passes from quarterback Marcus Mariota and two rushing touchdowns from freshman Royce Freeman. And as for the offensive lines remaining on the Ducks’ schedule, good luck with that nasty Oregon defensive front.
BYU Cougars: A chain of events that culminated in the current situation at Texas was started by the Cougars on Saturday, September 7th, 2013, when BYU rushed for 550 yards on their way to a 40-21 drubbing of the Longhorns in Provo. Texas fired their defensive coordinator the following week and eventually forced Mack Brown into early retirement. Needless to say, ‘revenge’ was a pretty common word that surrounded this past Saturday’s game between the Cougars and Longhorns. Well it didn’t matter as BYU rushed for 248 yards, held Texas to 258 totals yards while forcing 4 turnovers and beat the Longhorns 41-7….in Austin.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Now that the Fighting Irish must play five ACC opponents a season, they will no longer play rival Michigan every season, making this the final regular season game between the two for a very long time. Normally there would be some pressure on the players for both teams in a scenario like that but only the boys in maize and blue showed any of that Saturday night under the Notre Dame Stadium lights. Everett Golson was dynamic (once he settled down), throwing for 226 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-0 win. And yes, that would be the first time in the history of the series that Notre Dame has kept Michigan out of the endzone.
Penn State University: In late breaking news, the Nittany Lions became a late addition to the ‘Winners’ category not because of their performance on the field (a 21-3 win over Akron would never garner that sort of honor) but because of the NCAA dropping much of the punishment levied in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky situation. Penn State is eligible for postseason play immediately, will have all 85 scholarships restored beginning with the 2015 recruiting class and the state of Pennsylvania will be allowed to keep the $60 million fine. In case you haven’t noticed the Nittany Lions are 2-0 in a wide open conference, already have a top ten recruiting class lined up for 2015 and have one of the most progressive and energetic head coaches in America in James Franklin.
Big Ten Conference: What didn’t go wrong for the Big Ten Conference the past weekend? Michigan State gave up 28 second half points to Oregon in their 49-27 loss in Eugene, Ohio State lost 35-21 to an unranked Virginia Tech team AT HOME, Northwestern fell to MAC opponent Northern Illinois, Michigan was shut out by Notre Dame 31-0, Purdue lost to one of the directional Michigan schools by double digits, Iowa had to score in the final minutes to beat Ball State 17-14, Illinois needed 21 4th quarter points to defeat Western Kentucky, Maryland had to overcome 6 turnovers to beat USF 24-17 and Nebraska needed a ‘Miracle In The Corn’ screen play in the final seconds to beat FCS team McNeese State. Enough said.
Pat Haden: The former Southern California star quarterback turned Athletic Director Pat Haden came down from the press box on Saturday to dispute a call on the field in USC’s 13-10 win over rival Stanford on Saturday in Palo Alto. Haden has had a history of letting his emotions get the better of him but whether he was texted or not from the sideline, he should have acted like the the boss of the Athletic Department, which he is, and stayed out of the way. Instead, he made himself look bad, has made the University of Southern California look bad, has brought skepticism to the legitimacy of having athletic directors on the college football playoff selection committee into the fray, has completely taken the attention of one of the biggest wins of the season for anyone in college football away from the team and onto himself as well as received a $25,000 fine from the Pac-12 conference.
College Football Fans, especially this former Vanderbilt fan: This past Saturday did have some great matchups (Oregon/Michigan State & USC/Stanford) but let’s face facts, 90% of the games in Week 2 were duds. Thank goodness for the Big Ten stinking up the joint, otherwise we wouldn’t have had much to talk about this week. There were only two games between two ranked opponents and over half of the teams in the ‘Power Five’ conferences played FCS opponents or bottom feeder FBS teams from some of the other conferences. The fans are the ones who suffer from these ‘money games’ and they really bring the excitement of the sport down. Then there is this guy from the 41-3 Vanderbilt loss on Saturday. This poor guy was so fed up with the Commodore’s performance against Ole Miss that he ditched his Vanderbilt t-shirt and Vanderbilt hat and opted to walk out shirtless, hatless and happiness-less. Poor fella.
Vanderbilt Commodores: I can’t say that I blame that dude. When the Commodores hired Derek Mason, I’m sure they felt that they had the perfect coach to take over for the Penn State-bound James Franklin. The former defensive coordinator at Stanford had fielded top five defenses at an academic institution and had the kind of hard-nosed, no nonsense approach that felt right in the mighty Southeastern Conference. Well here we are, headed into Week 3 and the Commodores have yet to score an offensive touchdown or to be competitive at all this season. Vanderbilt has been held to 161 total rushing yards, 22 first downs and has committed 8 turnovers so far this season. The good news is that Vanderbilt dodges Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M this season but that’s the only good news.
Tune into the Southern Football Report every Saturday morning from 10am-Noon for high school scores from Friday night as well as a preview of all the college football games on Saturday! We’ll be on Live 101.9, Rockin 106.3 and WMGR-AM/WSEM-FM 99.3 this Saturday!