New guest writer Andy Normile reacts to week 2 of the college football season.
Another enthralling, enlightening and as always hugely entertaining weekend of College football.
With relatively few conference games, it was a weekend to savour some interesting inter-conference matchups, the type you normally only see during bowl season, and to gauge the conference’s relative strengths and weaknesses.
From the games between power 5 conferences, there were no huge winners:
- Big 12 : 3-1;
- SEC : 3-2;
No huge losers :
- Big 10: 1-3
- Pac 12 1-2
- ACC 2-2
However, the big winner was the Sun Belt Conference, which produced the major shocks of the day, beating some high-ranking and traditional powerhouses.
Appalachian State beat Texas A&M (6),
Marshall beat Notre Dame (8) and
Georgia Southern beat Nebraska (another close loss for the Cornhuskers and the beleaguered Scott Frost)
As we move towards a potential era of super conferences, it is assumed that the Group of 5 would become devalued and lost in the new landscape, but yesterday the Sun Belt proved that still deserve a seat at college football’s table. With the new proposed 12-team playoffs, at least one Group of 5 champion will gain entry, and judging by last night’s results capable of making an impact at those playoffs.
The Sun Belt East division which includes all of the 3 giant killers above, as well as Coastal Carolina is now looking like the strongest Group of 5 division. It would take a lot of freaky results but maybe this is the division to produce the surprise playoff team or at least the representation in the New Years’ 6 Bowl, especially given Houston’s loss to Texas Tech, although BYU will have something to say, after their win against Baylor.
Last night’s results also show the potential folly of early season rankings. Both Texas A&M and Notre Dame will fall significantly, no wonder the selection committee doesn’t meet till much later in the season.
Game of the Week:
The biggest single game of week 2 was Alabama’s one-point victory over Texas. Remember the Longhorns had been significant underdogs coming into the game, and put up an amazing fight, indeed with a debatable safety which wasn’t given they would have won the game. They also had to manage most of the game without QB Quinn Ewers, who left injured, reminiscent of the Colt McCoy injury in the 2010 National Championship game.
In the end, it came down to a final drive masterminded by Bryce Young, which is why he is the Heisman trophy holder, and one of the best-coached placekickers in college football, which is why Alabama is Alabama and Nick Saban is Nick Saban. It all adds to football folklore and will intensify the rivalry when these two eventually meet in regular SEC play.
It also makes you wonder if the power in the SEC is shifting from West to East, there were good wins for Kentucky and Tennessee and Georgia looked like national champions.
There is bound to be a big movement in the rankings, with maybe the biggest gainers being USC who had a very impressive win over Stanford with Caleb Williams looking very productive.
Elsewhere, traditional powerhouses Ohio St, Michigan, Oklahoma and Clemson all looked impressive, albeit beating lower-ranked opposition (avoiding the Irish and Aggies mishaps). Duke and Kansas both remain unbeaten, while Iowa continued their offensive woes, again only scoring 7 points, unfortunately, this week their opponents Iowa State scored a massive 10, obviously something wrong with offences in the state of Iowa.
Thanks to Andy for producing the College Football Week 2 winners and losers. You can see more of his work here in the future!
Feature Image: Burnt Orange Nation