As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
A-C-C! A-C-C! A-C-C!
Well would you look at what basketball conference has done a little bit of football growing up the first two weeks of the season. And what football program grabbed a signature win by the throat after years of NCAA turmoil. It was far from pretty offensively -- most games involving the team from Gainesville are -- but unranked (for now) Miami was able to punch its way to a 21-16 win over No. 12 Florida, the biggest win for The U since, what, Ohio State in 2011? Florida State or Oklahoma in 2009? Regardless, it was Al Golden‘s biggest win in his two-plus years with the Hurricanes, and a clear signal that, while they might not be there yet, The U is certainly pointed in the direction of the national stage. It’s also a sign that, after Clemson’s win over then-No. 5 Georgia opening weekend, the ACC will no longer be a pushover at the top. Or that the SEC East is vastly overrated. One of the two.
Big OBC monkey, be gone!
For both No. 11 Georgia in general and Aaron Murray specifically, there has been a mountain-sized monkey on their respective backs, a South Carolina one for the former and a big-game one for the latter. In one fell swoop, the simian has left the building thanks to the Bulldogs’ highly-entertaining 41-30 win over the No. 6 Gamecocks. For UGA it snapped a three-game losing streak against the ‘Cocks, made even sweeter coming off the tough three-point loss to Clemson. For Murray, it was just his second win -- versus four losses -- against a team ranked in the Top Ten. With the Bulldogs defense (again) struggling, Murray turned in a career-like performance, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Here’s to guessing Murray’s home won’t get TP’d and/or egged this year.
Tabbed as the gambling Heisman Trophy frontrunner earlier this week, Teddy Bridgewater did little to break that momentum this weekend. In No. 8 Louisville’s thumping of FCS-level Eastern Kentucky, the quarterback completed 23-of-32 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns. On the season, Bridgewater has completed 77 percent of his passes for 752 yards, nine touchdowns and an interception. Granted, the competition has been a MAC school and one from the FCS -- and the schedule doesn’t get much tougher moving forward -- but the junior is doing what he has to do: putting up big numbers when he’s supposed to, all the while hoping that some teams from the AAC step up their level of play.
Over the past two seasons, No. 23 Baylor has been forced to replace Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence, who passed for 4,300 yards and 33 touchdowns in his lone season as the Bears’ starting quarterback. Some thought that the BU offensive machine may have to throttle down with a first-year starter in control. Um, yeah, not even close. Coming off a season-opening win in which they rolled up 69 points and 692 yards of offense, Baylor stuffed 56 points and 501 yards of offense in the stat sheet... in the first half alone. For the game, the Bears totaled a school-record 781 yards of offense in the 70-13 walk over Buffalo. The first-year starter, Bryce Petty, has completed 84 percent of his 38 passes for 650 yards and four touchdowns in what’s essentially a total of five quarters worth of playing time. The takeaway from BU’s start? Never, ever underestimate the genius that is Art Briles when it comes to the quarterback position.
The 100-plus trio, x2
Last week, for just the third time in school history, No. 21 Wisconsin saw three different players rush for over one hundred yards in a single game. Seven days later, it’s lather, rinse, repeat for the Badgers’ ground game. This week against Tennessee Tech, it was true freshman Corey Clement with 149 yards; Melvin Gordon with 140; and James White with 109. Last week it was Gordon with 144; White with 143; and Clement with 101. Thus far this season, the Badgers have rushed for 780 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging an obscene 8.2 yards per carry. Those gaudy numbers all came against UMass and an FCS school, though; next week will be a better gauge of where UW stands in its first year under Gary Andersen as the Badgers travel to Arizona State.
It was thought that, given the number of losses the defense had incurred throughout the offseason, No. 9 LSU’s offense might have to carry the other side of the ball, at least for the early portion of the season. In Game 2, mission accomplished. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, somewhat maligned throughout the 2012 season, passed for 282 yards and, more impressively, a school-record five touchdown passes in a 56-17 romp over UAB. Not only that, the Tigers rushed for 152 yards and added two touchdowns on the ground. While the Bayou Bengals will certainly face stiffer tests defensively on down the road, Les Miles and his offensive coaching staff -- including new coordinator Cam Cameron -- have to be privately hopeful that Mettenberger has turned the corner as a quarterback.
No Goff-ing off for true frosh
To say that Jared Goff has taken well to the game of college football would be a massive understatement. A four-star member of Cal’s 2013 recruiting class, the true freshman has started the first two games of the Sonny Dykes era and passed for 930 yards. That number is the most passing yards in a team’s first two games of a season since Colt Brennan in 2007 (964). 485 of Dykes’ yards came in the win over Portland State Saturday. Even more impressive? 415 of them came against a very good Northwestern defense in Week 1. It may take some time to turn Cal around, but it appears the Berkeley bunch will be set at the quarterback position for at least the next two-plus years.
Eminem on a college football broadcast talking NFL point spreads with Brent Musburger. I can now, finally, die a happy man.
Austin, we have a prob... [/gets run over by large Mormons]
After placing Texas No. 23 in my preseason Top 25 and writing that I’m not buying into a Longhorn resurgence, I received quite a few, shall I say, not-so-nice emails blasting both my intelligence and manhood. Burnt Orange Nation, here’s your sign. In Saturday night’s loss , BYU racked up 348 yards rushing... and then the two teams came out and played the second half. In the end, the carnage was about as bad as you’d expect as the Cougars rolled over, through, around and back over the No. 15 (chuckle) ‘Horns for good measure to the tune of 550 yards on the ground in UT’s 40-21 loss. That number was, obviously, a school record for both teams. Following the game, I received the following text from a long-time, diehard UT buddy, which has been cleaned up somewhat because this is kind of a family-friendly website: "[Bad word} that [mother-related bad word] Mack Brown. [Bad word] his coaching staff, [bad word] DeLoss, [bad word] the whole lot of ‘em. Never been more [bad word] embarrassed to be a ‘Horn. [Bad word] my life.” At bare minimum, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz had better pray long and hard tonight that he has a job come Sunday afternoon. Long-term, the UT athletic department had better think long and hard about Mack Brown and how much he’s humiliating and embarrassing a proud and iconic football program. Is Brown the 2013 version of Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno? For the future of the program, the administration had better figure it out and figure it out quick.
This was the scene at the Coliseum midway through the fourth quarter, with No. 25 USC and Washington State tied at 7-all:
And that was before the Trojans went on to an embarrassing 10-7 loss to Wazzu. And before the “FIRE KIFFIN” chants from the smattering of fans who remained washed over the historic stadium.
Pat Haden, you’ve been put on notice. With a sea of empty seats in a close game, the customers are voicing their opinions of Lane Kiffin loud and clear.
In an attempt to shakeup an offense that’s been in a year-plus lull, Mark Dantonio benched starter Andrew Maxwell in favor of Connor Cook for the game against USF. The result? The Spartans could muster just 264 yards of total offense -- just 94 passing -- and one touchdown in the 21-6 win. On the season, MSU’s offense has scored two touchdowns; the defense has scored four. Yes, the Spartans are 2-0 for the fourth straight season, but the offense is light years away from even being average let alone competitive in the Big Ten.
When you’re a “mid-major” football program facing an SEC school on the road, the last thing you can afford to do is turn the ball over. So, of course, that’s exactly what Western Kentucky did Saturday. Boy, did they ever do it. In a span of six plays in the first quarter of the loss to Tennessee, the Hilltoppers turned the ball over five times. Quarterback Brandon Doughty tossed three interceptions, while WKU backs coughed up a pair of fumbles. Two of Doughty’s picks were returned for touchdowns, while the Vols converted the other three turnovers into 17 points. After that the Hilltoppers settled down on the turnover front -- just two more the rest of the game, all in the first half -- but it was too little, too late as the Vols cruised to a 52-20 win, its second consecutive win in the first season under Butch Jones.
Blow that Bridgford up
Coming to Southern Miss from Cal, Allan Bridgford was expected to provide veteran leadership at the quarterback position for a team coming off a winless 2012 campaign. While that may ultimately end up being the case, it’s not in the here and now. In Bridgford’s first two starts -- both losses -- he’s thrown five interceptions. Included in that turnover tally were three picks Saturday, with two of those returned for touchdowns by Nebraska in the Cornhuskers’ 56-13 blowout.
Fashion faux pas on The Plains
Following the opening kickoff of the Arkansas State-Auburn, the Red Wolves were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. While such a penalty is not unusual, even in the opening seconds of a game, the reason for the unsportsmanlike call is: failure to wear contrasting colors. That’s right, ASU was penalized because AU wore blue jerseys while they came out with grey tops. Technically speaking, the Red Wolves would’ve needed to wear white in order to avoid a flag. For those curious, via Jon Solomon of al.com, here’s what the egregious act looked like:
In fairness to ASU, you’re really not supposed to wear white after Labor Day anyway...
TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-FOR-COMFORT
How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents
-- No. 16 Oklahoma 16, West Virginia 7: Not only did the Sooners narrowly escape with a nine-point win over a mediocre Mountaineers squad, but OU could have a quarterback controversy on its hands as Blake Bell replaced an ineffective Trevor Knight (119 yards, two third-quarter interceptions) in the fourth quarter. In an ominous sign, head coach Bob Stoops said afterwards that he and his staff would evaluate the position further.
-- No. 24 TCU 38, Southeastern Louisiana 17: While the final spread was three touchdowns, the Horned Frogs led the FCS school by just three points at halftime. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Casey Pachall has been lost for the foreseeable future to injury.
CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Monday if I, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly and meaningless preseason poll.
1. Alabama -- The bye weekend came at a fortuitous time for the Tide as it gave the coaching staff a chance to tinker with the offense in general and the offensive line specifically ahead of the mammoth rematch in College Station. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: at Texas A&M
2. Clemson -- The Tigers’ Week 1 win over Georgia was even more impressive in light of the Bulldogs’ win over No. 6 South Carolina in Week 2. The 52-13 win over FCS-level South Carolina State merely served as an early-season scrimmage as the Tigers prepare for the ACC opener a week from this coming Thursday against North Carolina State.
Next up: bye weekend
3. Ohio State -- The Buckeyes made San Diego State pay for its uneven performance in the opener against Buffalo, totaling 445 yards of offense (263 rushing, 182 passing) en route to an easy 42-7 win over the Aztecs. Making it even more impressive is that they did it in large part without star quarterback Braxton Miller, who suffered a knee injury but should return for the road trip to Berkeley next week. OSU still owns the nation’s longest winning streak, now at 14 straight. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: at Cal
4. Oregon -- In two games thus far this season against Nicholls State and Virginia, the Ducks have possessed the ball for a total of 41:11... and scored 125 points, an average of over three points per minute. Damn, that makes me tired typing it let alone defending it. (Last week No. 4)
Up next: Tennessee
5. Louisville -- Get used to variations of this if the Cardinals keep winning: thanks to a cupcake slate, the U of L cruised to an easy 44-7 win over overmatched Eastern Kentucky. The Cardinals can only control how they look against an underwhelming schedule, and they’ve done that thus far by winning their first two games by an average of nearly 35 points per game. One slip though -- even a close win against a vastly inferior opponent -- and Louisville will go tumbling out of this poll and, more importantly, down the polls that actually count. (Last week: No. 5)
Up next: at Kentucky
HE SAID IT
“We’ve been through so much. It was almost cathartic, to be honest with you. It was 26 months just unleashed there in the last four or five seconds.” -- Al Golden, following Miami’s win over in-state rival Florida.
HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“I take pride in the fact the offense almost does not skip a beat when I come into the game. I just do my best to be a leader in that way. I let the team know everything is going to be okay.” -- Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, who led a seamless transition from an injured Braxton Miller in the Buckeyes’ win.
HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“The team that loses this game is waiting for the other’s bus to break down. We’ve been chasing them the last thee years. South Carolina has a very good team, and this year, we get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat. ... We haven’t been 1-0 in the league in awhile because South Carolina’s been getting us. Today, we got them, and I’m so thankful.” -- Mark Richt following Georgia’s huge win over the albatross that had become South Carolina.
HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“Our job as a team was to try to destroy this team early.” -- Art Briles, following Baylor’s 57-point evisceration of Buffalo.
GAMEDAY SIGN OF THE DAY
This sign, from the Notre Dame-Michigan pregame festivities, needs no explanation whatsoever:
Well-played, UM fans. Well-played.
No. 3 Ohio State scored 42 points in its 35-point win over San Diego State Saturday afternoon. That pushes the Buckeyes’ all-time record when scoring at least 35 points in a game to an astounding 277-0-1.
Once three weeks of the 2013 season are officially in the books next Saturday night, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and either Alabama or Texas A&M will have at least one loss apiece. Chew on that for a minute.
FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY
-- In the first two games of the season, in his first two games back since a significant knee injury last year, Colorado’s Paul Richardson has caught 21 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Included in that total was an 11-catch, 209-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over Central Arkansas.
-- In BYU’s embarrassment of Texas, Cougars starting quarterback -- quarterback!!! -- Taysom Hill rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Hill had 334 yards and four rushing in six games last season.
-- J.W. Walsh completed 24-of-27 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns in No. 13 Oklahoma State’s win over UT-San Antonio. His 88.9 completion percentage broke the school record set by Brandon Weeden in 2011 (85.7%).
-- Cole Stoudt, playing in place of Tajh Boyd during Clemson’s blowout win over South Carolina State, set a school record by completing 95 percent (19-20) of his passes. The previous record was 94.1 percent when Woodrow Dantzler went 16-for-17 against Citadel in 2000.
-- In less than three quarters of work, Johnny Manziel threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in No. 7 Texas A&M’s 65-28 win over Sam Houston State.
-- In just a little over a half of work, Boise State’s Joe Southwick threw five touchdowns in the Broncos’ 63-14 win over Tennessee-Martin.
-- In the loss to Georgia, South Carolina’s Mike Davis rushed for 149 yards on just 16 carries.
-- Chuckie Keaton totaled 433 yards of offense (360 passing, 77 rushing) as Utah State bounced back from the loss to Utah in Week 1 by dropping Air Force 52-20.
-- Thanks to an injury to Casey Pachall late in the second quarter, Trevone Boykin led No. 24 TCU in passing yards (133) and tied for the team lead in receptions (three). He added 35 yards rushing, which was third best on the team on the day.
-- Christian Hackenberg set a Penn State record for most passing yards by a freshman with 311 in the Nittany Lions’ rout of Eastern Michigan. The five-star 2013 recruit broke the record of 280 set by Zach Mills, who hit that number twice in 2001.
-- In his school’s season opener Thursday night, Taylor Kelly (no relation) passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns -- to five different receivers -- in Arizona State’s 55-0 romp over Sacramento State.
-- In two games this season, Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase has thrown for 728 yard, six touchdowns and one interception. In 10 games last season, he had four touchdowns and eight interceptions.
-- On the first carry of his collegiate career, five-star 2013 Oregon recruit Thomas Tyner scored on a three-yard in the third quarter of the Ducks win over Virginia.
-- Speaking of former five-star recruits, Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs had six receptions for a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown in the Terps’ win over Old Dominion. His previous high-water yardage mark was 152 against Boston College last October.
-- Coming off a one-game suspension, Arizona Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher in 2012, rushed for 171 yards on 16 carries in a win over UNLV.
-- USC totaled just 193 yards in its loss to Washington State. Their longest pass play? Eight yards. Their longest run? 19 yards.
-- Kentucky rolled up 675 yards of total offense in the 41-7 win over Miami (OH), the third-most in program history and the most since 1998. The Wildcats had 410 in the first half; they topped that mark in an entire game just twice in 2012.
-- In a 38-0 win Friday night, UCF allowed FIU just 31 yards on 29 carries (1.1 yards per carry). Of course, a team rush for minus-29 yards in the third quarter didn’t help the Panthers’ rushing efforts.
-- On the opposite end of the running-game spectrum, Navy rushed for 444 yards in a six-point win over Indiana.
-- A crowd of 115,109 people packed the stands of the Big House in Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame-Michigan game. That’s the largest crowd to ever witness a college football game. The previous record was 114,804 for the 2011 ND-UM game.
-- Speaking of attendance records, and known mainly for no-shows over the past handful of years, Miami’s home game against Florida drew a crowd of 76,869 Saturday afternoon. That’s the most fans to ever take in a Hurricanes game at Sun Life Stadium.
-- With the easy skate past Virginia, No. 2 Oregon has now won 16 straight road games. That’s the longest such current streak in the nation.
-- Wisconsin has recorded back-to-back shutouts to open the season for the first time since 1958.
-- Texas A&M tied a school record, first set in 1986, with 38 first downs.
-- Duke is now 2-0 on the young season after its win over Memphis. It marks the first time in 15 years since the Blue Devils started a season with two straight wins.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Munchie Legaux, who suffered a gruesome lower-leg injury in Cincinnati’s loss to Illinois. Not only does the UC quarterback possess one of the greatest names in college football history, he’s also by all accounts one of the nicest, classiest kids in the game today. A statement from the school said that Legaux will remain hospitalized overnight as doctors continue to evaluate his medical situation. Here’s to hoping Legaux comes back from this devastating injury sooner rather than later.