Wednesday, September 12, 2012

College Football 2012 - Week 2 Recap

Predominant thought:  The PAC-12 had a huge week 2, with UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State pulling off big upsets to support the usual winning ways of USC, Oregon and Stanford.  Since we are still in the BCS Championship era, the computers will ultimately like what the PAC-12 did this week should a one-loss USC or Oregon need that support.  As far as the teams pulling the upsets, UCLA looks like it might have the most staying power.

3 Quick hits: 
  • Utah is in trouble with Jordan Wynn done for his career.  With the PAC-12 looking deeper this year and BYU looming this week, the usually consistent Utes are going to have to step-up their game to qualify for a bowl in 2012.
  • Colorado is just terrible.  Plain terrible.
  • The middle of the PAC-12 is going to be wild this year, and by middle I mean everyone between Oregon/USC and Colorado.  A couple of these teams are going to be left home for the holidays, so each game is of high importance.  Three teams with a potential disadvantage - I mentioned Utah staring at a 1-2 start, so is California (at Ohio State this week) and Oregon State is short one very winnable game at this point in time (Nicholls State cancellation).
PAC-12 Reset:
1.  Oregon Ducks (BCS National Title Game)
2.  USC Trojans (Rose Bowl)
3.  UCLA Bruins (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Stanford Cardinal (Holiday Bowl)
5.  Washington Huskies (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)
6.  Arizona Wildcats (Sun Bowl)
7.  Arizona State Sun Devils (Las Vegas Bowl)
8.  Utah Utes (New Mexico Bowl)
9.  Washington State Cougars
10. California Golden Bears
11. Oregon State Beavers
99. Colorado Buffaloes

Big 10
Predominant thought:  And then there was one.  Michigan State is the lone remaining BCS Title contender after two weeks.  Ohio State would be, but they can't be.  Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin...done.  And with these performances along with those of Iowa, Purdue and Illinois, the Big 10 has almost zero chance of having a one-loss team even mentioned in BCS Title conversation.

3 Quick hits:
  • My homer apology - I honestly thought Wisconsin would just plug-in offensive lineman and keep the train moving.  I am sorry I was wrong.  No holes for the running game.  Pressure on the quarterback (fyi-Danny O'Brien lacks pocket-presence).  A season of high hopes on the brink.
  • Despite the upset by UCLA, Nebraska seems to be in better shape than Wisconsin, although the Husker problems are on the defensive side of the ball.  Fortunately for Nebraska, a good majority of the Big 10 appears offensively challenged.
  • I really don't know how good Northwestern is, but kudos to the Wildcats for a 2-0 start against 2 BCS opponents.  Syracuse and Vanderbilt are not the upper-echelon, but who else is playing fellow-BCS schools this time of year?  Next up:  Boston College out of the ACC.
Big 10 Reset:
1.  Michigan State Spartans (Rose Bowl)
2.  Michigan Wolverines (Capital One Bowl)
3.  Ohio State Buckeyes (Probation Bowl)
4.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (Outback Bowl)
5.  Wisconsin Badgers (Gator Bowl)
6.  Purdue Boilermakers (Valley of the Sun Bowl)
7.  Northwestern Wildcats (Texas Bowl)
8.  Iowa Hawkeyes (TicketCity Bowl)
9.  Illinois Fighting Illini
10. Minnesota Golden Gophers
11. Penn State Nittany Lions
12. Indiana Hoosiers
(currently not filling the Little Caesars Bowl slot)

Predominant thought:  Same old, same old.  Alabama and LSU are building dynasties and the other teams in the SEC can't keep up.  Arkansas is the latest contender to turn into fool's gold.  Yes, they lost their quarterback for the 2nd half of the Louisiana-Monroe debacle, but he was getting hit hard in the first half by the ULM defense.  What is going to happen when Arkansas faces Alabama's D this weekend?  I still think Georgia is the best bet to dethrone the two powers, but as the weeks go on, smart money will be on the November 3rd winner for the National Championship.

3 Quick hits:
  • Mississippi State finally solved the Auburn hex, but what to make of these two teams now?  Auburn is in a bit of trouble as they are losing the physical battle and don't have some of the usual game-breaking talent to make up for it.  Mississippi State is probably exactly what we thought and will beat the teams they are supposed to and lose to the teams they are not.
  • Florida is going to need to continue to have the close game magic because this offense is going nowhere in 2012.  20 points on Texas A&M is like 10 against most SEC teams.
  • 2012 appeared to be a year that Vanderbilt took a step forward as a program and built on a solid 2011.  Two games in and two close losses have the Commodores stuck in neutral and dangerously close to reverse.  A quick glance at the schedule shows that this team has their most winnable games on the road and better find a way to come out on the plus side of close games or it will be a long 2012 in Nashville.
SEC Reset:
1.  Georgia Bulldogs (BCS National Title Game)
2.  LSU Tigers (Sugar Bowl)
3.  Alabama Crimson Tide (Cotton Bowl)
4.  South Carolina Gamecocks (Capital One Bowl)
5.  Arkansas Razorbacks (Outback Bowl)
6.  Tennessee Volunteers (Gator Bowl)
7.  Florida Gators (Chick Fil-A Bowl)
8.  Mississippi State Bulldogs (BBVA Compass Bowl)
9.  Texas A&M Aggies (Music City Bowl)
10. Missouri Tigers (Liberty Bowl)
11. Vanderbilt Commodores (Independence Bowl)
12. Auburn Tigers
13. Ole Miss Rebels
14. Kentucky Wildcats

Big 12
Predominant thought:  Kansas State is a contender and Oklahoma State, well, we will wait and see.  The Wildcats impressive win over Miami proved last season was no fluke and with Oklahoma seeming fairly mortal at this point, K-State has to be considered as part of the Big 12 race.  The Cowboys learned that life with a freshman quarterback can be dicey.  They also lost the turnover battle, which was a key to their success a year ago.  If these trends continue, Oklahoma State will be in for a long year.

3 Quick hits:
  • Iowa State is 2-0 and with wins over Tulsa and Iowa it is one of the better 2-0 records in the country.  Despite their start, the offense will need to be better against the high fliers in the Big 12.  It looks like 3-6 will be all that is needed for bowl eligibility, but right now I am still not sure how they get there.
  • Texas remains a bit of a mystery as the Longhorns have been good, not great, through two weeks.  Is this team ready when the competition takes a step-up? 
  • Kansas is bad, just not Colorado bad.  Losing to Rice at home is something you never tell your family about.
Big 12 Reset:
1.  West Virginia Mountaineers (Sugar Bowl)
2.  Oklahoma Sooners (Fiesta Bowl)
3.  Kansas State Wildcats (Alamo Bowl)
4.  Texas Longhorns (Cotton Bowl)
5.  TCU Horned Frogs (Holiday Bowl)
6.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (Valley of the Sun Bowl)
7.  Baylor Bears (Texas Bowl)
8.  Texas Tech Red Raiders
9.  Iowa State Cyclones
10. Kansas Jayhawks
(currently not filling the Pinstripe Bowl slot)

Predominant thought:  Clemson's offense looks unstoppable and they get Sammy Watkins back this week.  Stop if you thought I was writing about 2011.  The Tigers are starting out fast, much like a year ago.  The defense is not dominant, but the offense ranks among the most feared in the nation.  They have one week to work Watkins in the mix before traveling to Florida State for one of the best games of the year.  Clemson hopes the repeat trend of last season continues with another victory over the 'Noles, but hopes to reverse the repeat trend and finish stronger in 2012.

3 Quick hits:
  • Giovanni Bernard is an important piece to any success North Carolina has in their probation season.  His undisclosed absence from Saturday's game does not bode well as the Heels head to Louisville this week.
  • On the flip side, Wake Forest is case in point of a Week 1 over-reaction.  The Demon Deacons struggled to beat Liberty, but rebounded nicely with the win over North Carolina.  The recent history of Wake Forest is that their record always ends up better than we thought.
  • Kudos to Maryland for exacting revenge on Temple and moving to 2-0 despite injuries and player defections.  The schedule will be much more difficult from here on out, but a little confidence can go a long way in a College Football season.
ACC Reset
1.  Florida State Seminoles (Orange Bowl)
2.  Clemson Tigers (Fiesta Bowl)
3.  Virginia Tech Hokies (Chick Fil-a Bowl)
4.  North Carolina State Wolfpack (Russell Athletic Bowl)
5.  Virginia Cavaliers (Sun Bowl)
6.  Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (Belk Bowl)
7.  Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Music City Bowl)
8.  North Carolina Tar Heels (Probation Bowl)
9.  Miami Hurricanes
10. Maryland Terrapins
11. Duke Blue Devils
12. Boston College Eagles
(currently not filling Independence Bowl or Military Bowl slots)

Big East
Predominant thought:  I like the top 4 teams in the Big East, but they might be the only 4 to go bowling this year.  It should be a wild race for the Big East Championship in the last year as currently constructed, but 0-2 starts from Pitt and Syracuse (the exiting members) and a suspect offense in Connecticut have me wondering if the Big East will get more than 4 teams bowl-eligible.  Right now my money says no.

3 Quick hits:
  • I think it is ironic that I forgot to type what I was watching in the Big East Week 2 preview.  There wasn't much to see here.
  • You don't hear much about Cincinnati, but do not overlook the Bearcats in the Big East race.  Cincinnati has recruited good depth and if the quarterback play is there, we will hear from this team before the season is out.
  • "Syracuse is the best 0-2 team in the country".  Really?  Are you taking the 'Cuse over Auburn or Vanderbilt?  Didn't think so.
Big East Reset:
1.  Rutgers Scarlett Knights (Orange Bowl)
2.  Louisville Cardinals (Pinstripe Bowl)
3.  Cincinnati Bearcats (BBVA Compass Bowl)
4.  South Florida Bulls (Russell Athletic Bowl)
5.  Connecticut Huskies
6.  Syracuse Orange
7.  Pittsburgh Panthers
8.  Temple Owls
(currently not filling Beef O'Brady's Bowl slot)

Other Conferences/Independents
Predominant thought:  It is now time to find out who the real Notre Dame and BYU are in 2012.  The Fighting Irish have the Michigan State/Michigan double dip the next two weeks while the Cougars have a Utah/Boise State back-to-back over the course of five days.  If either one comes out 4-0 we will have a BCS caliber team on our hands.

3 Quick hits:
  • Kudos to the Warhawks.  While I picked Louisiana-Monroe to win the Sun Belt and cover last week against Arkansas, I did not see that upset coming.  This is a really solid team that should give Auburn everything they can handle this week. 
  • Raise your hand if you have any clue who is going to win Conference-USA this year.  After all the quarterback losses to graduation, this conference appears as unpredictable as ever this season.  The conference is also off to a 6-16 start, which does not bode well for bowl-eligibility slots either, especially with one team (UCF) already out of the mix.
  • Name the three conferences where every team has at least one win...The ACC and the Big 12 are the first two answers.  The 3rd is the Sun Belt Conference, often maligned as the worst of the FBS conferences.
Other Conferences/Independents Reset:
1.  BYU Cougars (Poinsettia Bowl)
2.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Belk Bowl)
3.  Ohio Bobcats (Little Caesars Bowl)
4.  Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (New Orleans Bowl)
5.  Boise State Broncos (Las Vegas Bowl)
6.  Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
7.  Utah State Aggies (Little Caesars Bowl**)
8.  Nevada Wolfpack (Poinsettia Bowl)
9.  Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns ( Bowl)
10. Northern Illinois Huskies ( Bowl)

Other Projected Bowl Eligible Teams:
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Liberty Bowl)
SMU Mustangs (TicketCity Bowl)
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (New Orleans Bowl)
Marshall Thundering Herd (Hawaii Bowl)
East Carolina Pirates (Beef O'Brady's Bowl)
Houston Cougars (Armed Forces Bowl)
Western Michigan Broncos (Pinstripe Bowl**)
Toledo Rockets (Military Bowl**)
Bowling Green Falcons (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
Fresno State Bulldogs (Hawaii Bowl)
San Diego State Aztecs (Military Bowl**)
Air Force Falcons (Armed Forces Bowl)
Wyoming Cowboys (New Mexico Bowl)
Florida International Panthers (Beef O'Brady's Bowl**)
Arkansas State Redhawks (Independence Bowl**)
Navy Midshipmen (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)

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