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Thirteen things Week 2 taught us about the college football season

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.

- 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.

Michigan State has a new custom addition to their unis that may be the newest uniform trend

On Saturday, the official Michigan State football equipment Twitter account tweeted an interesting picture of a new custom addition to their uniforms.

The custom thigh pads are from a company named treDCALS out of Lexington, Kentucky that has a patent pending on the 3-D foam images that attach easily to athletic pads.

I'm not sure if they've been worn during a game yet, but I really like the concept, especially on the white pants.

Could these be the newest custom uniform trend that are about to take off? 

Tour Auburn's weight room and hear why Auburn freshmen don't bench their first summer

The good folks over at ASAP Athletic Strength and Power went to Auburn recently to talk weight room philosophy and tour the weight room with Ryan Russell, the head strength coach for the football program and came away with some good stuff.

When Russell was asked what advice he would give high school coaches starting a weight program he shared an interesting nugget of information specific to the Auburn program that would interest a lot of our audience.

"I would tell them to be super simple; push-ups, chin-ups, all body weight exercises. That's the first thing, when guys come into our program they're implemented into the Stage 0 program and we're going to hammer the basics."

"We always tell our guys right when they get here that 'You're going to be brilliant at the basics'. We want guys that can move their body weight through a full range of motion."

"We don't care if a guy can bench 450 when he gets here, he better be able to do 20 strict push-ups because they're not going to be benching that whole first summer that they're here. They'll learn to be good with their own body weight and then once they get those things right, the other things fall in place." Russell explained.

Plenty of more quality stuff from coach Russell, including his unconventional first thought after the famous Iron Bowl field goal return, in the interview below.

Video of the Day: NC State's week 2 hit tape

The best and worst box scores of Week 2

It's hard to say exactly how good Washington is after wins over Hawaii and Eastern Washington by eight combined points, but it's easy to rank Chris Petersen's Huskies as one of the most entertaining squads in college football. (That is, alas, if they played on a channel anyone could watch.) 

Cyler Miles returned to the starting lineup for the Huskies, and immediately went bonkers. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown, and added 12 carries for 58 yards and three touchdowns. He led a Husky ground game that churned up 356 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 rushes. 

Good as Miles was, though, he wasn't even close to the best player on the field. That was Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams, who assaulted the home crowd with 475 passing yards - on 10.6 yards per attempt - and seven touchdowns. Receivers Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne were his main targets, combining for 16 grabs with 259 yards and four touchdowns. Greedy as those guys were, Adams still had 216 yards and three touchdowns - a solid game's worth of offense - seven other Eastern Washington receivers. 

This game was 24-14 after one, 37-31 at the half, 45-44 through three before a light 22-point fourth quarter created a 59-52 final. These clubs combined for 1,106 yards of total offense and 61 first downs. You know, kid stuff.

Check out the drive chart below, although defensive coordinators may want to avert their eyes.. Washington touched the ball 11 times before running out the game's final 197 seconds, and scored on nine of those possessions. And after sputtering out the gate with a fumble and a three-and-out, Eastern Washington scored on all but one of its non-end of half drives. This was football ping pong.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 9.29.08 PM

Finally, we get to the worst box score of the week. Before we discuss Saturday, let's add some context by dipping back to the first day of the week:

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 9.31.33 PM

And then, six days later. Keep in mind that SMU is the red team.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 9.32.18 PM

In one calendar week, SMU got outscore 88-6. It has run two plays inside its opponent's 30 yard line. After an 11-yard completion and 15-yard penalty set the Ponies up with a first-and-10 at the North Texas 17 in the waning seconds on Saturday, Cassel was immediately sacked for a loss of 11 yards. Cassel threw incomplete on second down, and then recorded a delay of game penalty. Casel hit Nate Halverson with a 33-yard scoring strike as the buzzer sounded. Because that brief trip into scoring territory represents SMU's only significant penetration this season, the SMU kicking team has yet to see the field this season; the extra point was not necessary on Saturday, and SMU has still not even attempted a field goal.

The Mustangs currently rank 127th nationally - out of 127 - in scoring offense, rushing offense, yards per carry (minus-0.41 per attempt), and ranks second to last in third down conversions. SMU's 4.2 yards per pass attempt places them 122nd nationally. You get the point.

Luckily, SMU gets Saturday off to regroup. And then it hosts Texas A&M on Sept. 20. 

 

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