Overall it was a pretty ugly week for the Big 10 Conference. After going 11-0 in week one of the college season, the Big 10 struggled to a 7-4 record in week two. The seven wins included the two big Michigan schools picking on a couple of the “directional” Michigan schools with Michigan beating up on Central Michigan and Michigan State throttling Eastern Michigan. I guess the Iowa and Indiana results count in the win column even though both struggled with a couple bad teams. Iowa needed overtime to beat a real bad Syracuse team, and Indiana managed to hold on for a 1-point victory over Ball State. Cal rebounded after getting thumped by Tennessee, and just abused Minnesota. Rutgers improved to 2-0 on the season by shutting out Illinois. I think there should be a rule that getting shut out by Rutgers should get you put on probation. Not to pile on a program that's going through a real tough time, but can a Big 10 team really get beat by 17 at home against New Hampshire? Sorry Northwestern. I think Notre Dame just scored another TD against Penn State.
The top of the AP poll was represented quite well on Saturday as the #1, both #4’s, the 6th, 7th and 8th ranked teams in the country won by an average score of 40-5. Highlighting the performances of the top teams were QB’s Troy Smith of Ohio State and Chris Leak of Florida. Leak had a career best day of 352 yards and 4 touchdowns against Central Florida. Brady Quinn made up for his poor opening week by lighting up Penn State for 287 yards and three scores. Auburn’s defense took care of a totally overmatched offense from Mississippi State, which has now played two games, and has not scored in either of them. Arizona offered up very little of a challenge when they visited LSU and West Virginia did not play a very kind host when they welcomed Eastern Washington to town with a beating to wrap up the action with the top eight teams in the nation.
The first eye opener of the week showed up when Troy fell just short of upsetting #9 Florida State. FSU had to score two touchdowns in the last six minutes of the game to get the victory. Tennessee apparently spent too much time celebrating their week one win, and they had to stop an Air Force 2-point conversion attempt with just over one minute left to persevere this week.
With only 2 games on the schedule matching up 2 teams both in the Top 25, it wasn’t a very good week for upsets. The only team to lose to a team outside of the Top 25 was Clemson who lost a close battle on the road to Boston College, 34-33.
The top contenders for the Heisman Trophy all did nothing to hurt their chances. Troy Smith put himself atop my ballot by leading the Buckeyes to that big win in Austin. Brady Quinn would follow him. Third would be held by Adrian Peterson, who ran for 165 yards and 2 TD’s for Oklahoma. Quietly, Steve Slaton continues to build his case, as he ran for 105 yards on only eight carries including 1st quarter touchdown runs of 49 and 17 yards before taking most of the rest of the day off.
Week 3 of the college football season offers some more high profile match-ups, as the SEC has two huge games scheduled. The first marquee game will have #8 LSU traveling to #4 Auburn to face Kenny Irons and the Tigers. In the nightcap, Chris Leak and Urban Meyer will lead the 7th ranked Florida Gators up to Neyland Stadium to face the 11th ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
On top of those, there are five more games matching up Top 25 teams, including #10 Michigan traveling to South Bend to take on the Golden Domers and their #2 ranking. Other Top 25 match-ups include Miami, Florida (17) at Louisville (13), Oklahoma (15) at Oregon (20), Texas Tech (24) at TCU (23), and in what I think could be a very interesting game, #21 Nebraska travels to Pasadena to face #3 USC. I think Nebraska will play pretty well and keep this one close.
“Non-Top 25 Player of the Week” – Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State. Johnson lit up Oregon State to the tune of 240 yards rushing on 22, and 5 touchdowns. Johnson scored on runs of 59, 4, 3, 19 and 50 yards. Oregon State had an early 14-0 nothing lead, but Johnson’s first touchdown turned the tide of the game and Boise never looked back.
“MAC Team of the Week” – Akron. Dennis Kennedy scored on 3, 1-yard runs to lead Akron to an upset of NC State. The two teams combined to score 10 points in the first three quarters before NC State took their first lead of the game at the 11-minute mark of the 4th quarter. Akron’s next possession ended with a blocked punt and NC State taking over at the 23, but the Akron defense held strong and held NC State short on 4th and 1 to get the ball back to their offense. Each team scored on more time with NC State taking the lead with a touchdown with 34 seconds left. On the sixth play of the ensuing drive, with no time left on the clock, Kennedy scored his third touchdown to give the Zips a big road upset.