College Football, Week 2 — 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Junk punching? Seriously, dude?
Week Two of the college football season brought us thunderous warning from the football gods. In the early games, Jacksonville State took sixth-ranked Auburn to overtime. In the early-evening games, Toledo actually beat Arkansas. And in the nightcaps, Cal Poly hung around with Arizona State until late in the fourth quarter.
The gods' haunting message to all college football fans with a rooting interest, be it school-related or contrived via wagering — nobody is safe. NOBODY.
Let's see who the winners and losers were for the second full week of the beautiful game of college football….
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4. Bob Stoops
Oklahoma fans may deny this (or if they do agree, they agree very quietly), but the whole "Big Game" Bob Stoops thing has been on life support for some time. Aside from the upset of Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, it's been tough sledding in big games for Stoops the past decade or so. Bob Stoops is called "Big Game Bob" the same way that a broken-down wrestler still goes by his name at one of those autograph shows. (If you've seen King Kong Bundy in the past ten years, you know there's very little "King Kong" about him. Same exact thing.) So "Big Game Bob" needed to win that game against Tennessee on Saturday night in Knoxville. The Big XII needed OU to win that game against Tennessee on Saturday night. And in the end, Stoops's QB, Baker Mayfield (who was bad for most of the evening, 19-39 overall passing), made enough ballsy, gutsy (any other nauseating "try hard" adjectives out there?) plays to eke out a 31-24 overtime win over the Vols in Knoxville. Tennessee is now 2-34 in its last 36 games against ranked teams, and rest assured, no one is calling Tennessee head coach Butch Jones "Big Game Butch."
3. Jerrod Heard
After a 38-3 thrashing at the hands of Notre Dame in Week 1, Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong decided to go with redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard at quarterback for his Week 2 matchup with the Rice Owls, a sneaky opponent who some actually picked to upset Texas as a two-touchdown underdog. Heard was an über-efficient 4-7, passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and ran the ball ten times for 96 yards as well. Which begs the question — you had all offseason, Charlie, and still decided Tyrone Swoopes should be your starting quarterback…why again?
2. Michigan State
In a vacuum, Michigan State got a nice revenge win at home against a top ten team on Saturday night when it knocked off Oregon 31-28 in the best early-season matchup of ranked teams thus far (although OU-Tennessee was pretty solid, too). But looking at the bigger picture, Michigan State's schedule the rest of the way is just as easy as Ohio State's, with the November 21 matchup with the Buckeyes Michigan's only major regular season test remaining. If Michigan State loses a CLOSE game to Ohio State, a win over a strong (perhaps Pac-12 champ?) Oregon could be a huge chip with the playoff committee if some of the other conferences have two-loss champions. Certainly it's bigger than any chip Ohio State would have trying to get an at-large bid if Michigan State were to win the game between the two on November 21.
1. Ole Miss
Through two games, Hugh Freeze's offense, under the steady, non-Bo Wallace hand of Chad Kelly, has put up 149 total points. That's the good news. The news, neither good nor bad, is that it came against Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State. The bad news is that the Rebs travel to Tuscaloose next week to face the Crimson Tide. I'm guessing their streak of 70+ point games comes to an end. That's the beautiful thing about college football — as good as Ole Miss has looked, eventually the truth surfaces. The schedule, especially in the SEC, does not allow for frauds. Speaking of which…
I'll be honest, I got sucked in. When Arkansas finished the 2014 season on a 4-2 run and was grinding up opposing defenses with its power run game, I figured "2015, this will be the season that Bret Bielema's brand of Big Ten football will give the SEC another style of play to think about." And then the Razorbacks go out and lose to Toledo at home yesterday. The lesson, as always, is that I suck. And Bret Bielema sucks.
3. Another player-on-ref violence incident….
….and once again, it was in San Antonio! This time, it was in a game between St. Anthony and Austin-Hyde Park. It wasn't the calculated, WWE-finisher style violence we saw from San Antonio-John Jay high school, just an impromptu shove this time. The video is below; look for number 80 about a minute or so into the footage. His name is Zeke Cardenas, and he takes issue with receiving a flag after a mini-melee between the two schools. Take a look...
I don't know what the punishment will be for Cardenas. The two Jay players basically wound up in high school juvie this week. All I ask is, "Can we please stop inflicting harm on referees?" Can't we just keep it player-on-player? Like this….
2. BYU junk punchers
Okay, maybe not like THIS. Seriously, dude….
1. Malik Zaire
First, make no mistake, Notre Dame's College Football Playoff hopes took a major hit with Zaire's broken ankle that he sustained on Saturday against Virginia. However, the weird thing about Saturday afternoon is that, in a vacuum, backup DeShone Kizer actually gave Notre Dame a little bit of juice off the bench, going 8-12 for 92 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown to the dynamic Will Fuller with 12 seconds to go in the game. Notre Dame's season still boils down to three games that should all be coin flippers at worst, even without Zaire — Georgia Tech at home, at Clemson and home for USC. All is not lost; it just got more difficult.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.
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