The Gridiron Review: Week Two in College Football
Once again, the Georgia Bulldogs were at the center of action in Week 2, but, this time, they had a much different result as the took the lead in the SEC East with a win over South Carolina. Beyond the Dawgs, Florida suffered a defeat from Miami and once proud programs Texas and USC had surprise losses. Here is a rundown from an eventful Week 2:
Player(s) of the Week: The BYU rushing attack- The Cougars put up 550 rushing yards in their upset over Texas. Quarterback Taysom Hill was exceptional with 259 yards, and running backs Jamaal Williams Williams and Paul Lasike added 182 and 87 yards respectively.
Runner Up: QB Devin Gardner (Michigan)- Still recovering from the Rich Rodriguez era, Gardner led the Wolverines to a key signature win over Notre Dame, likely ending the hopes of the Fighting Irish and making a statement of their own.
What we learned…
1. Brown and Kiffin have to go- Not all that long ago, Texas and USC were at the top of the football world. Now, the Horns are led by an elder statesman who has lost control, and the Trojans are coached by a man who could generously be described as a clown. Both programs suffered inexcusable losses in Week 2.
2. The Dawgs are the team to beat in the East- Florida stumbled against the Hurricanes, while Georgia bounced back beating the other of the “Big 3” in South Carolina. Despite the loss in the opener, Georgia is likely the class of the SEC East.
3. Oregon has not lost a beat- Chip Kelly may be gone, but Oregon turned in a dominant performance against Virginia showing that new coach Mark Helfrich has kept the offensive firepower going in Eugene.
HC Gus Malzahn (Auburn)- The Tigers’ coach has Auburn within one win of tying last year’s mark while also beating the team he coached in 2012, Arkansas State.
HC Al Golden (Miami)- Beating the in-state Gators is a great signature win for a program that has struggled to reclaim its footing following the Butch Davis/early Larry Coker years as well as NCAA sanctions.
QB Jameis Winston (Florida State)- He debuted after the Week 1 edition was published, but he was sensational in his opening game against Pittsburgh.
RB Todd Gurley (Georgia)- The sophomore sensation has been stellar in two games, and his team rebounded well as they defeated South Carolina in Week 2.
The Washington State Defense- A Mike Leach team making a statement… with defense??? That’s exactly what the Cougars did, holding USC to 7 points, scoring a touchdown, and defeating a Top 25 team.
DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)- Teams continue to run away from the Gamecocks defender who has been a statistical non-factor in the first two games. The freak athlete has made his frustrations clear.
QB David Fales (San Jose State)- Nobody expected the Spartans to defeat Stanford, but, in his chance to shine, Fales failed to impress.
The SEC- Although I think it would be more than difficult for anyone to make a strong case that the SEC is not the best conference in college football, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, and Kentucky have all lost early games to non-conference foes. Particularly in the case of Florida and Kentucky, those were games the conference was expected to win.
Looking ahead- Key games in Week 3…
UCLA at Nebraska- Brett Hundley looks to take his Heisman campaign to the next level, and the Huskers’ Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez could become serious candidates themselves with a strong outing. Both teams hope to be in the national conversation, and this will be a significant step in that direction.
Alabama at Texas A&M- Arguably the most anticipated game of the year. The surprise win for the Aggies last season certainly gives the Tide something to prove. There is a lot riding on this game.
Washington at Illinois- The Huskies look like a team poised for a strong run in the PAC 12. Illinois has looked better than expected in their first two games.
UCF at Penn State- Both teams are worthy of top 25 consideration, and a win in this one would be a nice early season boost. This will also be a big early test for true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenburg.
Mississippi State at Auburn- The SEC West is loaded, and this game will go a long way toward establishing the pecking order outside of the top three (Alabama, TAMU, and LSU).
Ole Miss at Texas- Hugh Freeze has the Rebels poised for a run at the top 25, and they draw Texas right after the Horns were pummeled by a mediocre BYU team. Mack Brown will have a new defensive coordinator as his talented team seeks to bounce back.
Wisconsin at Arizona State- Wisconsin made an entry into my top 25 this week, but the Sun Devils have a chance to make that only a one week stint. The offense for Arizona State is among the best in the country.