Week 2 brought us plenty of excitement as there were a few upsets of note. UCLA knocked off Nebraska (previously 16), punting them from the top 25. Wisconsin (previously 13) suffered a similar fate thanks to a defeat to Oregon State. One of last week’s top 10 (Arkansas) was beaten by 30-point underdog University of Louisiana-Monroe and deservedly tumbled down to the section of this week’s AP Poll labeled “Others receiving votes” as well. Here are a few quick observations on the weekend that was for the new top 10.
1. Alabama (2-0) – Quarterback AJ McCarron threw 4 touchdowns. He only needed to throw one. The Tide D pitched a shutout against Western Kentucky which is somewhat significant. It had been 10 years and 120 games since the Hilltoppers were held scoreless. With Alabama disposing of Michigan last week and facing an Arkansas team we thought would be in the top 10 next week it was good to see the Tide take care of business against an opponent they should have handled rather easily, since apparently that’s difficult for some.
2. USC (2-0) – Matt Barkley tied his own school record with 6 touchdown passes. But he only had 187 yards. Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib threw for more yards (322) but no one cared afterward because his team lost. Barkley had 23 completions. 22 of them went to Robert Woods (10) and Marqise Lee (11). Woods and Lee also caught 5 of Barkley’s 6 TD’s. The Trojans were good, but not dominant in their trip across the country to MetLife Stadium and were only up by five heading into the fourth quarter. They left with a 42-29 win though.
3. LSU (2-0) – Tyrann Mathieu was in the Death Valley crowd to see the Tigers wrap up a tidy 41-3 win over the Washington Huskies. He should’ve been on the field helping them but..well..yeah. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger had a pretty easy day. All he had to do was turn around and hand the ball off to Alfred Blue, Michael Ford, Kenny Hilliard, and Spencer Ware. The quartet combined for 233 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Washington quarterback Keith Price finished last season a hair above Matt Barkley in quarterback rating (161.9 to 161.2). LSU’s defense made sure he didn’t get close to that on Saturday.
4. Oregon (2-0) – Running back Kenjon Barner ran for a career-high 201 yards and had 3 touchdowns. De’Anthony Thomas rushed for 102 with 2 scores. Like last week the Ducks had a comfortable halftime lead (35-6) and coasted to another victory. This time 42-25. Oregon lost wide receiver Josh Huff to a knee injury in the first half and he was on the sideline with crutches in the second half. If Huff’s injury causes him to miss any games his loss shouldn’t be underestimated. For the second straight game the Ducks’ defense looked vulnerable after halftime. But for the second straight game they won.
5. Oklahoma (2-0) – Junior running back Damien Williams had 156 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground for the Sooners, who racked up 662 yards of offense on the Florida A&M Rattlers. Wide receiver Kenny Stills caught 10 of Landry Jones’ 19 completions and reeled in 120 of the quarterback’s 252 yards. Jones also recorded his 31st victory, moving into second place in OU history. The Sooners paid Florida A&M $650,000 to ensure they’d start the 2012 campaign 2-0. And they did via a 69-13 victory.
5. Florida State (2-0) – The Seminoles continued their Charmin soft schedule to start the season with a 55-0 win over Savannah State. Yes, that Savannah State. The one who lost 84-0 to Oklahoma State last weekend. Thankfully for the Tigers the game was called with 8:59 left in the third quarter due to bad weather. That’s the only reason Florida State didn’t cover the 70.5 spread. Evidently the man upstairs felt bad for Savannah State. At this point we don’t know much about this year’s Noles team other than they’ve scored 124 points in two games. And they’re 2-0. Voters are impressed though. The Noles went from 1,135 points in last week’s AP Poll to 1,160 this week to move into a tie with Oklahoma.
7. Georgia (2-0) – For a while it looked like the Dawgs would be the answer to the trivia question “Who did Missouri’s football team defeat for its first SEC victory?”. Georgia was down by eight at one point in the third quarter. But they left Columbia with a 41-20 win thanks to scoring the game’s final 24 points. Maybe they were distracted by Mizzou’s uniforms. If you didn’t see them, here they are. Once Georgia woke up they looked like a pretty good team. Although if you watched the game you would be forgiven for thinking they don’t belong in the top 10. The same could’ve been said after last week’s performance. But they’re still there.
8. South Carolina (2-0) – Steve Spurrier squashed any notion of a quarterback controversy after the game by saying that injured Connor Shaw is his guy when 100%. Why would there be a controversy? Sophomore Dylan Thompson stepped in to complete 21 of 37 passes for 330 yards with 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That might do it. The Gamecocks had a relatively easy time of it with East Carolina, cruising to a 48-10 win. Marcus Lattimore rushed for his 33rd career touchdown, tying him for the most in school history.
9. West Virginia (1-0) – The Moutaineers were off this week. It’s probably a good thing because the offense had to be tired after putting up 69 points and 655 yards of offense against Marshall last week. And the defense probably could’ve used the extra rest after being on the field for 32:57 and the extra practice time for allowing 545 yards of offense to Marshall last week.
10. Michigan State (2-0) – Quarterback Andrew Maxwell bounced back from a disappointing zero touchdown, three interception game against Boise State to toss two touchdowns without a pick in a 41-7 win over Central Michigan. He shouldn’t have had any INT’s. It was Central Michigan. Running back Le’Veon Bell had a normal 18 carries after toting the rock 44 times last week. He still managed to find the end zone twice. A lighter workload is just what the doctor ordered with a matchup against #20 Notre Dame next weekend. Bell with get the ball early and often against the Irish. Through two games the Spartans defense still hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown.