Thirteen things Week 2 taught us about the college football season
- Published: Monday, 08 September 2014 11:36
- by Zach Barnett
Week 2 in the college football season has come and gone. The Big Ten tripped and fell into a pit of cow manure, but you already knew that by now. We still don't know near enough to paint anything resembling a clear picture about this historic 2014 college football season, but we know twice as much as we knew last week. Here are 13 things I took away from a full Saturday of action:
- I don't know what the answer is at Michigan, but I'm not sure anyone else does, either. Brady Hoke certainly wasn't offering any answers after Saturday night's 31-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Wolverines have now dropped seven of their last 10 games, and that's not an anomaly, at least not anymore. They had a 1-7 stretch in 2009, a 2-6 finish in 2010, and had that awful 3-9 season in 2008. Michigan has lost five or more games in five of the past six seasons, and a sixth five-loss season looked like a distinct possibility on Saturday night.
- By that same token, I think Brian Kelly has accomplished the seemingly impossible. He's a Notre Dame coach that has somehow become underrated. Notre Dame spent nearly two decades spinning its wheels in the same rut Michigan is currently trapped in, but a Kelly team quarterbacked by Everett Golson appears to be ready to play with anybody.
- The opposite of Brady Hoke's evasiveness on Saturday was David Shaw after Stanford's 13-10 loss to USC. "The problem in the red zone is me," said Shaw. Still shocking to see a team with such a clear vision of what it wants to be struggle so much inside the red zone.
So Stanford is No. 125 in red zone scoring efficiency so far. In another cruel twist, Derek Mason's Vanderbilt checks in dead last (No. 127) — David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) September 8, 2014
- We wrote about this last night, but SMU has absolutely zero momentum as a program. The offense has been nonexistent, which is hard to do considering the scheme and accomplishments of June Jones and the sheer amount of talent living on the Mustangs' doorstep. Right now, back-to-back games against Tulsa and South Florida are looking like SMU's best, and perhaps only, shots at winning this season.
- Despite the ugly final score, I'm not sure a 41-7 loss to BYU really taught us much about Texas other than that Charlie Strong is not a magic elixir capable of reversing four years of bad recruiting, bad development and bad habits in one off-season.
- Saturday's events pointed us toward an Oregon vs. USC Pac-12 title game in December. There's a long, long way to go between now and then but, man, wouldn't that be fun?
- I'll admit I overlooked Virginia Tech last week (but Doug did pick them as his upset of the week). Didn't even consider the possibility that the Hokies would win in Columbus. Shame on me. Bud Foster made life miserable for the Ohio State offensive line, because that's what Bud Foster does.
- We may know enough by now to say Florida State will not be the machine it was last season. The Seminoles' mere presence was enough to send opponents scurrying like cockroaches. Florida State wasn't held below 40 points until the regular season finale against Florida. They've already been held below 40 in both games this season. That's not to say anything is necessarily wrong with Florida State, they just look like a number of championship teams that waits until it feels threatened to fully open the spigot.
- Many teams win without balance in college football, but rarely do we see it to such an extreme that Washington State has shown through two games. The Cougars lead the nation with 921 passing yards, and rank second to last with 44 rushing yards. Leach has called 3.5 passes for every run. Washington State won't match last year's six win total with a ratio that far out of whack. Even last year's team, which ranked fourth in passing and dead last in rushing, threw less than two passes for every run.
- After a summer in which I was certain Texas Tech would put a hurting on Arkansas, I'm now leaning toward taking Arkansas. The Hogs' offense appears to have progressed enough to keep the Red Raiders' offense off the field and make the Texas Tech defense bake in Lubbock's afternoon sun. I'm just not sure Matt Wallerstedt's defense has enough bodies to withstand that. The Red Raiders will need to run a high volume of plays on Saturday because that offense isn't clicking well enough to hit the requisite 35 points it will take to win the game with a limited number of possessions.
- Every UTSA game needs to be appointment viewing for coaches. No team in college football plays harder than Larry Coker's Roadrunners.
- The most shocking result of the entire weekend? Louisiana Tech 48, Louisiana-Lafayette 20. Nothing about the recent history of either program suggested that was coming.
- A salute to Justin Fuente for building Memphis into a devil of a program without the large budget many of his opponents have at their disposal. Many people thought Memphis could go into the Rose Bowl and give UCLA trouble, but it's another thing to go out there and actually do it. The Tigers have a great shot to make a bowl game, and I hope it happens.