Week 2 has come & gone and college football is officially in full swing when we start wondering if certain teams deserve their rankings. Before we turn the page to Week 3 lets hand out some superlatives:
Running backs – Officially there has only been two running backs win the most coveted award in college football, the Heisman Trophy, since 1999 but that might change in 2015 with a handful of top flight tail backs who had monster performances in Week 2. Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, Baylor’s Shock Linwood & LSU’s Leonard Fournette each had 3 touchdowns and Georgia’s Nick Chubb was kept out of the end zone but did get 189 yards against Vanderbilt. Michigan’s De’Veon Smith cleared the 100-yard mark and had 3 touchdowns, Alabama’s Derrick Henry had three trips to the endzone, Wyoming’s Brian Hill had 242 yards and a touchdown, Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida had 176 yards & 4 touchdowns and finally, UL-Lafayette’s Elijah McGuire had 162 yards and 5 touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say that the stud running back is back in college football.
California Golden Bears – It’s been a long time since there has been any resemblance of a reason to be excited about Cal football but so far the Golden Bears are 2-0 with two impressive wins. I remember the days when Cal needed a late touchdown drive to beat FCS Portland State but in 2015 there has not been any doubt in either of their games. The Bears put 35 points on the board in the 1st quarter against Grambling State in Week 1 and after trailing 7-0 to San Diego State after the first quarter outscored the Aztecs 35-0. Head Coach Sonny Dykes has the best team yet in Berkeley and with a 2-0 start, a very winnable game in Austin against the Texas Longhorns this week and the two Washington schools the following week, California can start the season 5-0 for the first time since 2007.
State of Michigan – It was a pretty good week for The Great Lakes State after the Michigan Wolverines defeated Oregon State 35-7 getting new Head Coach Jim Harbaugh his first win as Michigan coach. The Michigan State Spartans got a huge 31-28 win over the 7th ranked Oregon Ducks Saturday night planting them firmly in the College Football Playoff race for a second straight season. Central Michigan defeated FCS opponent Monmouth 31-10. The most shocking and in my opinion best win for any of the Michigan schools was when Eastern Michigan beat Wyoming 48-29 and did so on the road no less. The Eagles last win away from home, where they haven’t won much either, was on November 17th, 2012 when they held on to beat Western Michigan 29-23. This time there was no doubt as Eastern Michigan came out of the tunnel and scored 38 points in the first half. The only blemish on The Mitten State’s record in Week 2 was Western Michigan’s loss to a ticked off Georgia Southern team in Statesboro.
Quarterbacks – Week 2 was a tough one for a lot of signal callers across the country. Preseason Heisman hopeful Jeremy Johnson of Auburn orchestrated a 4th quarter drive to force overtime and a win which would normally garner lots of praise but not when that opponent is Jacksonville State from the FCS ranks. Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is now out for the season after breaking his ankle against Virginia. Not one of the three quarterbacks on the Buckeyes roster were able to find the end zone against Hawaii on short week’s rest. Transfer quarterbacks Greyson Lambert & Everett Golson at Georgia and Florida State respectively left a lot to be desired after lackluster performances. Baylor’s Seth Russell threw four touchdown passes but also threw the ball to the other team, FCS Lamar, three times and finally Arkansas’ Brandon Allen did throw for over 400 yards but threw an interception against Toledo. Allen also looked absolutely lost late in the game when attempting to lead his team to a victory which he couldn’t do.
Auburn Tigers – Every week there is one team that just gets hammered for a poor performance and this week the wheel landed on Auburn. They had their home opener against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in Jordan-Hare Stadium under their brand new planet sized score board slash video screen slash intergalactic weapon of mass destruction. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson continued his non-Heisman ways tossing two interceptions in the narrow win. In his defense, he did march the Tigers down the field in the final minutes to force overtime but at this point Auburn won’t get any credit for that. Yeah, it’s a win but not the win that Auburn needed for confidence heading into conference play this week when they hit the road to play LSU in Baton Rouge.
State of Oregon – The state of Oregon got swept by the state of Michigan over the weekend. The Oregon Ducks failed their first test with new transfer quarterback Vernon Adams when they were unable to leave East Lansing with a win giving the Ducks only their second non-conference regular season loss since 2010. The Ducks allowed the Spartans to jump out to a big second half lead and the boys in the bright green couldn’t catch up. The Oregon State Beavers traveled to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines and marched down the field for a touchdown on their opening drive for a 7-0 lead. It was all Maize & Blue after that as the Wolverines closed out the game with 35 unanswered points for Jim Harbaugh’s first win as Michigan’s head coach.
Game of the Week – BYU Cougars defeated Boise State 35-24 – We all thought that there was no way that BYU and new starting quarterback Tanner Mangum could top their Hail Mary victory over Nebraska in Week 1. We all were very wrong. Saturday night’s contest in Provo was a tight ball game between two teams who knew that a loss would essentially eliminate them from any kind of College Football Playoff discussion. The fourth quarter rolled around and the Boise State Broncos had created a 10 point lead and were looking like they were about to roll to victory, ending the BYU dream season after only one week. That’s when Mangum sprinkled some fairy dust on the football and led the Cougars on back-to-back scoring drives to take the lead with under a minute to go on another last second, 4th down play. Boise State attempted a comeback but were thwarted after a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was one helluva way to finish of a fantastic Saturday night of college football.
Player of the Week – USC WR Juju Smith-Schuster – Things are always in balance when USC has a great wide receiver and Juju Smith-Schuster has a chance to be the next great one for the Trojans and Saturday night’s 10 catch, 192 yard, 2 touchdown performance might be the first step in that direction. He has become quarterback Cody Kessler’s favorite target so far this season and they will be tested this week when Stanford visits the city.
Coach of the Week – Matt Rhul – Temple – The Temple Owls finished the season 6-6 but weren’t invited to a bowl game and are taking it out on their opponents in 2015. Coach Rhul has his squad 2-0 with a big win over in-state rival Penn State who they haven’t beaten in over 70 years and an even bigger conference win over Cincinnati. The Owls now control their own destiny in a crowded AAC East Division and have a pretty good chance of being undefeated when Notre Dame pays Philly a visit on Halloween. Oh boy!
Uniform of the Week – Hawai’i Warriors – In what could be uniform of the season, Hawai’i broke out the old Rainbow Warriors look for their Week 2 match up with Ohio State. A lot of times retro looks miss the mark but these were right on the money and I wouldn’t mind them wearing these any time when given the opportunity.
Honorable Mention – Temple Owls – I’m not fond of their all white uniforms but the matching patterns on the helmet stripe and shoulders make their dark red jerseys look really good.
Dud Uniform of the Week – Syracuse Orange/Florida Gators – I have a natural disdain for the color orange when used as a main color but when a team goes full on mono orange, I almost get sick to my stomach. Florida and Syracuse both went full orange crush over the weekend and neither looked very good.
Also, in other uniform related news as far as I can tell the Under Armor schools are doing really well in 2015. In Week 1 they finished undefeated with a 13-0 mark and 8-4 in Week 2. I wonder how they’ll do in Week 3?