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2012 Week 2 NCAA – Power 15

HAHA! I’m getting this out early baby! Now I’m back on schedule although I’m still a bit behind with my quick outs! When I get caught up on those then college football season will really be in the swing of things!

One thing I wanted to say going into this Power-15 is that it really does seem like a repeat of 2011 so far. The two best teams in college football by far have been Alabama & LSU to start the season. USC had a close one against Syracuse. Oregon can’t stop anyone on defense. Oklahoma had a scare against UTEP. Florida St. hasn’t played anyone. Who else is there? College football has to hope that some team out of the Big XII, ACC or Pac 12 goes undefeated because if Alabama & LSU go 13-0 & 11-1 in some fashion then I think we get a repeat! It’s NUTS!

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Somewhat of a ho-hum game beating Western Kentucky 35-0, but this is vintage Alabama football. Through 2 games, the Tide are giving up on average 7.0 points. AJ McCarron was a beast going 14 of 19 for 219 yards & 4TD. It doesn’t get more efficient than that. The Tide running game averaged 3.3ypc which wasn’t as explosive as it was against Michigan, but that’s nitpicking. Defensively Alabama was it’s usual self. Didn’t allow a point. Forced 4 turnovers. Allowed just 46 rushing yards. This was a prime example of exceptionally efficient football. This is the best team in college football until proven otherwise. With Arkansas losing to UL-Monroe, the team with the best chance at beating Alabama is LSU. The more things change the more things stay the same.
#2 It took Alabama an opening week win over Michigan to establish itself as the #1 team in the nation. It took LSU two weeks & a demonstrative win over a solid Washington team to establish itself as the #1A team in the nation. Washington scored first to take a 3-0 lead & then LSU scored 41 unanswered points to win 41-3! It was typical LSU as their defense was incredible holding the Huskies to 26 yards rushing & completely taking UW QB Keith Prince out of the game. Offensively Zach Mettenberger was his usual efficient self completing 67% of his passes while the LSU runners rushed for 242 yards & 4TD, averaging 4.7ypc. LSU ran the ball twice as much as Washington. They had 10x the rushing yards. Could we see a repeat national championship game?
#3 Syracuse gave the Trojans all they could handle for about 3 quarters when USC held onto a 21-16 lead. USC would blow it open in the final quarter en route to a 42-29 win, but this was ugly for the men of Troy. This one actually looks a bit odd. Matt Barkley throws 6TD but only for 187 yards. USC rushed for 258 yards but nary a TD. Marqise Lee catches 3TD passes but averages just 6 yards per catch? The big news here is the USC defense which allowed 455 total yards & 27 first downs to a Syracuse team that lost to Northwestern a week ago. All of a sudden a game like this makes everything interesting. Oregon, Arizona & UCLA can score. Oregon St. just beat Wisconsin. Is the Pac 12 really up for grabs? Stanford is solid & USC gets them next. USC needs a dominant win.
#4 I almost feel bad putting Florida St. this high. They beat a Savannah St. team 55-0 in a weather shortened game. That seems pretty nice, but this is the same Savannah St. team that Oklahoma St. beat 84-0 a week ago. Oklahoma St. then went into Tuscon & lost to Arizona. How good is Florida State? They beat Murray St. 69-3 last week which means they have outscored their opponents 124-3 in their first two games, but they’ve yet to play an FBS school! Next week the Seminoles get Wake Forest which shouldn’t be a problem, but then they get Clemson, South Florida & NC State over the next 3 weeks. We’ll know a lot more about Florida St. over the next 4 weeks. If they can get to 6-0 then the Noles can start being taken seriously. Murray St. & Savannah St? COME ON!
#5 West Virginia got an early bye week this season, but there is something instructive about the Oklahoma St. loss to Arizona. I think it’s safe to say that West Virginia has a better offense than Arizona. If the Cowboys gave up 50+ to Arizona then West Virginia might score at will. If we look at the Big XII like this then West Virginia is now leaped ahead of Oklahoma St., meaning only the Sooners & Longhorns remain ahead of the Mountaineers in the minds of most pundits. It’s worth nothing that West Virginia gets Oklahoma, Kansas St. & TCU in Morgantown although they do travel to Stillwater & Austin.
#6 Oregon got their second win of the season with a 42-25 win over Fresno St., but the score wasn’t nearly as close as the final. Fresno St. made a last second FG in the 2nd half to go in at halftime down 35-6! Kenjon Barner took over this game for Oregon rushing for 201 yards on 34 carries & 3TD. DeAnthony Thomas added 102 rushing yards & 2TD of his own as the Ducks ran for 366 yards as a team. Oregon got solid QB play again from Marcus Mariota. The big QB was 19 of 27 for 166 yards & a TD. It looks like the Ducks gave up quite a few yards, but Oregon held Fresno St. to 2 of 16 on 3rd down conversions & keep in mind that the Ducks were -3 in TO margin. That TO margin doesn’t matter against Fresno St., but it’s something to keep in mind when the Ducks play a team like USC.
#7 Central Florida is a lot better than you might think so a 31-16 victory by the Buckeyes is impressive. The Knights kept this one pretty close with the score being 10-10 before the Buckeyes scored a last second TD before halftime to make it 17-10. Ohio St. blew it open in the 3rd quarter. After the first couple of weeks we know the key to beating Ohio St. is stopping QB Braxton Miller. Against UCF, Miller completed 75% of his passes for 155 yards & a TD while also rushing for 141 yards & 3TD! I think you have to start wondering if Braxton is a legitimate Heisman Trophy threat. The Big 10 is wide open & if the Ohio St. defense plays up to their potential, teams are going to have a very tough time scoring on Ohio State. If Miller rushes for 1500 yards, passes for 2500, scores 30TD & leads the Buckeyes to a 12-0, does he win the Heisman? Miller with a Heisman & Meyer with a perfect season all in Year 1? Wow!
#8 It took a half for Georgia to wake up on the road in Columbia Missouri, but wake up they did. After going in at half down 10-9 to the hometown Tigers, Georgia outscored Missouri 32-10 in the 2nd half to cruise to a 41-20 victory over a pretty good Missouri squad. The Bulldogs did a pretty good job stopping the Missouri rushing attack & a pretty good job on James Franklin, but they still haven’t given us a dominant defensive performance in the first two games of the season. Through their first two games the Dogs rank 55th in the nation in scoring defense. It’s weird to see that. I also would like to see Georgia feed RB Todd Gurley the ball 20-25 times in a game. That’s going to be tricky with Keith Marshall in tow, but Gurley has bee extremely tough to stop so far this season.
#9 It really is amazing how much better Oklahoma plays in Norman. Last week the Sooners get a scare from UTEP on the road in El Paso. This week they play Florida A&M at home & beat the Rattlers 69-13! This is the Oklahoma team we are expecting. Landry Jones played a great game. The Sooners rushing attack gouged Florida A&M for 349 rushing yards & 8 rushing TD! Defensively Oklahoma played a good game stopping Florida A&M’s running attack at a good clip. Florida A&M passed for a few yards, but they had to given the score. Something to be mindful of is that Oklahoma was -1 in TO margin against Florida A&M, and they also committed 8 penalties to the tune of 80 yards. It’s a little sloppy against an inferior FCS team. They can’t play that way against Texas.
#10 I thought last week’s game against Vanderbilt was a lot more about Vanderbilt than it was against South Carolina, & I feel the Gamecocks reinforced that this past weekend after pasting East Carolina 48-10! This was somewhat of an odd game as South Carolina staring QB Connor Shaw couldn’t play after sustaining injuries in the Vandy game. The Ol’ Ball Coach turned to Dylan Thompson who rewarded Spurrier going 21 of 37 (57%) for 330 yards & 3TD without a pick. Seth Strickland & Ace Sanders also threw TD passes as SC as a team passed for 397 yards with 5TD! What’s odd is that SC only ran for 131 yards with Marcus Lattimore rushing for only 40. This actually makes South Carolina a bit more interesting. I’m sure there isn’t a QB controversy, but Spurrier is somewhat mercurial with his quarterbacks & Thompson played awfully well. It’s great to see the Gamecocks dominate a game.
#11 Texas benefits from a world of upsets this past weekend as I move Texas up to #11 in the Power Poll. Texas had a great game Saturday beating New Mexico 45-0 in dominant fashion. Texas has been interesting so far this season. Last week against Wyoming, Texas didn’t defend the pass so well. This week they absolutely shut down New Mexico’s passing game, but the Lobos did a decent job rushing the football. On the offensive side, the Longhorns have a couple of incredible rushing talents in Malcolm Brown & Johnathan Gray yet Joe Bergeron has been doing the heavy lifting for Texas when it comes to rushing the football. QB David Ash had another great game & is really establishing himself as the no question starting QB. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Longhorns when they get everything going in the right direction.
#12 I’m sort of sleeping on Clemson a bit because their rush defense has looked awful so far this season. They allowed 180 yards rushing (4.9ypc) to Auburn in Week 1 & this past week allowed 252 yards rushing (6.3ypc) to Ball State! That’s 216 rushing yards allowed on average which doesn’t even put Clemson in the top-100 rush defenses in the nation! At the same time, QB Tajh Boyd is playing well. RB Andre Ellington is playing out of his mind & getting nice backup from Roderick McDowell. Clemson is +3 in TO margin on the season & Sammy Watkins hasn’t even played yet! In his place Deandre Hopkins is playing exceptionally well so everything can’t be bad. Most importantly, Clemson is 2-0 which is a lot more than come teams can say. The Auburn win is a good one I think even if War Eagle has started out 0-2. Clemson gets Florida St. in two weeks which will say a lot about both teams.
#13  The 41-7 win over Central Michigan should have been 41-0 if CMU didn’t score a garbage TD very late in the 4th quarter. I wasn’t really sure what to do with Michigan St. after they barely beat a Boise St. team in East Lansing despite Boise essentially losing their whole team from a year ago. New QB Andrew Maxwell looked horrific against the Broncos so I thought Michigan St. might be in for a tough year against teams that actually had returning players. Beating C. Michigan doesn’t alleviate all of those fears but Maxwell was significantly better going 20 of 31 for 275 yards & 2TD. Le’Veon Bell was a beast against Boise rushing for 200+ yards & followed that up with a solid game against CMU. Larry Caper also contributed which gives Sparty a solid 1-2 punch. Michigan St. has excellent O-Line & D-Line play. If Maxwell can channel his inner Kirk Cousins, then Michigan St. can make some noise. Beating Notre Dame this week would be very significant.
#14 I probably shouldn’t have dropped the Hokies last week after they beat Georgia Tech 20-17 in OT, but something seemed odd about that game. Things looked a bit better this week against Austin Peay as the Hokies cruised to a 42-7 victory. Logan Thomas looked solid while the Virginia Tech rushing attack spread the carries around en route to 187 rushing yards & 4 TD. Virginia Tech seemed to struggle again defensively. They allowed Austin Peay to rush for 159 yards which seems like way too much although the Governors only averaged 3.9ypc. The Hokies did a much better job bottling up the passing game, but I thought heading into the season that defense would be VT’s calling card. They’ve given up 24 points in 2 games which is very good, but I think even Bud Foster would agree that the defense hasn’t played up to par.
#15 I got to watch the Kansas St./Miami-FL game this past weekend & I couldn’t believe how dominant the Wildcats looked. Maybe I was a little too zealous about Miami-FL beating Boston College in Chestnut Hill a week prior, but wow did Kansas St. put the hammer down. K-State ran the ball 60 times compared to just 11 passes on their way to beating the Hurricanes 52-13! Collin Klein & John Hubert were practically unstoppable running the football as Miami-FL had no answer. What might have been even more impressive is the way Kansas St. defended Miami-FL true freshman RB Duke Johnson. Johnson looked like a potential highlight play every time he touched the football against BC, but against Kansas St. couldn’t get anything going. If K-State can run like this all season & dominate time of possession they are going to be difficult to beat. The Big XII looks BRUTAL!

DROPPING OUT

#11 UTAH – The loss to Utah St. stinks because it really calls into question how competitive Utah can be in the Pac 12 South, but Utah St. HC Gary Andersen is probably the best HC you’ve never heard of & losing to the Aggies isn’t a cause for shame for a long shot. I think by the end of the season Utah St. can get to 10-2 if not better. That wasn’t a horrible loss, but it was bad enough to drop Utah out of the top-15 teams. It also probably ends Utah’s chances for a double digit win regular season.

#12 NEBRASKA: Bad Taylor Martinez showed up against UCLA out in Los Angeles and Nebraska lost. Martinez completed just 57% of his passes and threw a pick as the Cornhuskers lost to UCLA 36-30. There is no doubt that if Martinez plays against UCLA the way he did against Southern Miss, Nebraska probably wins this game in a walk. You have to think the seat is getting warm for Bo Pelini.

#13 MICHIGAN: Air Force was a bad matchup for Michigan so the Wolverines coming out with a 31-25 victory isn’t as bad as you might think. The reason I dropped Michigan from the Power-15 is that they gave up too many yards on the ground. Air Force is one of those triple-option running teams, but Michigan got hammered last week against Alabama’s running game which means it could be a legitimate problem. We’ll see how it goes, but until Michigan stops a running back, it’s going to be a concern.

#14 OKLAHOMA ST.: The 59-38 loss to Arizona is a tough one, but something to keep in mind is that Oklahoma St. dominated this game statistically, but a couple of things really stand out. The first is that Oklahoma St. was -4 in TO margin. Kudos to Arizona for not committing a single turnover while turning the Cowboys over 4 times. The other thing that stands out is that Oklahoma St. committed 15 penalties for 167 yards while Arizona committed 4 for just 27 yards. Games like this matter in the end. It doesn’t necessarily matter for Oklahoma St. when it comes to winning the Big XII, but from a national perspective, this game means something & unfortunately for Oklahoma St. it’s a loss.

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September 9, 2012 - Posted by | Alabama, Clemson, Florida St., Georgia, Kansas St., LSU, Michigan, Michigan St., Nebraska, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Power 15, South Carolina, Texas, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Week 2, West Virginia

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