Two weeks into the season, we’re getting a clearer picture of what the teams are. Now, this could all change, as September’s monsters can turn into November’s ghosts pretty easily. However, we now have actual results on the field against genuine competition with which to base our massive overreactions.
Overall, the SEC looks like it is in for another rough year. It’s not total garbage, but the days of SEC dominance appear to be over. The other conferences haven’t caught up so much as the SEC as fallen back to the pack. Really, no one looks like that dominant conference right now. But we still have some dominant teams…
1. Alabama. Bama finished up its annual week two tradition of failing to cover a ridiculous spread against a horribly outmatched opponent the week after they got done with stomping some pretender into dust on national TV in week one. As traditions go, it’s got a shot.
2. Georgia. Are we really sure that beating Notre Dame is a big deal? I’ll at least give them points for doing it with their backup quarterback. Georgia had an excuse to lose, and this is a program that usually takes that as an opportunity to use the excuse.
3. LSU. Nation’s strongest strength of schedule, my left foot. LSU has now blown out two bad teams and gets ready for one of its toughest games of the season this week... apparently the card says it’s against Mississippi State. That can’t be right… oh. Wow. LSU’s schedule really does suck.
4. South Carolina. They got a coach fired! High five! There’s worry all over the conference, but things are going better than the plan in Columbia.
5. Mississippi St. The beneficiary of some creative scheduling, but the Bulldogs right now boast one of the best statistical defenses in the country. That won’t last.
6. Auburn. The Tigers had 117 yards of offense. Yes, Clemson’s defense is awesome but here’s some context: Auburn’s pass offense has gained less yards per game and had a worse TD/INT ration than LSU in each of the past two seasons. We at least had the good sense to think our passing offense wasn’t good.
7. Tennessee. The Vols needed the tune up after the scare against Georgia Tech. Don’t write them off just yet.
8. Vanderbilt. Sure, it’s Alabama A&M, but that was an efficient win in which the team barely broke a sweat.
9. Florida. Stay safe, y’all. Worry about football later.
10. Ole Miss. Maybe this Team Chaos thing isn’t just an RCR pipe dream. Shea Patterson is flinging the ball all over the place and the Rebels look like they honestly could pull off some upsets like the SEC version of Texas Tech. Not good, exactly, by still dangerous.
11. Arkansas. Thoroughly dominated by TCU in all aspects of the game before the dam finally broke in the fourth quarter. TCU could be a good team though, so let’s not totally write the Hogs off.
12. Kentucky. Showing nothing that justifies their preseason hype as a possible sleeper contender.
13. Missouri. I didn’t think the defense was all that bad against South Carolina, it’s just that the Gamecocks can move the ball. But Mizzou wins the first to fire a coach sweepstakes, though the grand prize for the head boss is still out there. I have no idea how firing the DC two games into the season makes the team better.
14. Texas A&M. Sumlin finally stumbled upon the idea of playing the competent senior quarterback, but it may be too late. And Jake Hubenak is not exactly a savior. Everything about this team screams impending disaster. They’ve already hit the iceberg, the drama is finding out who gets a lifeboat.
3. Florida St.
4. Virginia Tech
The ACC doesn’t seem to have the national title contenders we thought it was going to have in the preseason. So far, only Clemson really looks like a legit contender, but the ACC is still showing off its strength with its depth. Duke blew the doors off of Northwestern, a trendy Big Ten West pick. UNC is 0-2, but they gave Louisville all they could handle. There’s still some lousy teams (Syracuse, BC, Virginia), but by and large it feels like every week will be a tough out in the ACC. However, it is still Clemson’s conference until we learn differently.
2. Penn St.
3. Ohio St
What went wrong for the Buckeyes? In the aftermath of their loss to Oklahoma, most of the fingers are pointing out JT Barrett, and that makes sense. An ATVSQBPI of 4.132 won’t get it done against good teams, and he looked helpless in the pocket. Additionally, OSU’s pass defense got destroyed for the second straight week. Yes, they’ve played two prolific passing offenses, but OSU was barely a speed bump in either game. This has allowed the receiver corps to evade any scrutiny, but they were also a big culprit in this start. There doesn’t seem to be anyone on the Buckeyes who can make a play on offense, and that will doom a team. They have come back from the brink before, but this Buckeye team does not appear capable of running the table in the Big Ten, which is what I think it will take for them to make the playoffs.
2. Kansas St.
3. Oklahoma St.
5. ummmm... West Virginia?
I’m still standing by my K-State for the Big 12 title pick, but Oklahoma has given me serious pause. Baker Mayfield has just about wrapped up the September Heisman with that performance. I know Okie St is a real threat and TCU’s defense was back to its old dominating self this weekend. That’s the positives. The bad news is the rest of the conference. Every other team already has a loss, Baylor looks like the worst team in the country, and Kansas still exists. Yeah, Iowa St played Iowa tough and probably should have won. But that’s the Big 12’s M.O. Should have. Well, should’ve doesn’t make the sun shine.
God. Damn. Oklahoma’s win was the big news of the weekend, but I have to say, USC’s total destruction of Stanford was probably the single most impressive win of the weekend. After struggling in its opener, the Trojans came out and looked like the best team in the country against a stout Stanford squad. That was a terrifying opening statement.
Even scarier is the rest of the Pac-12. Colorado has played an easy schedule, but they’ve allowed 6 points on the season. Six. Wazzu showed heart and depth by knocking off Boise St even after their starting quarterback got knocked out of the game. Oregon scored 42 first half points against Nebraska and held on for dear life. Utah looks like Utah, a miserable team to play against with a ferocious defense. UCLA is erratic, but they do have a Heisman contender at quarterback. OK, Oregon St still stinks, and the Arizona schools aren’t pulling their weight, but everywhere else, the Pac-12 looks like the best conference in the country. They have depth, several contenders, and perhaps the best team in the country.
Early on, it looks like we are headed for Bama-Clemson III. There are worse things than that, especially if Clemson wins again. OU gave themselves a margin for error, as they will now have a quality out of conference win to fall back on all year. The Sooners suddenly become big Buckeye fans. The conference leader who is on the outside looking in is Penn St thanks to a weak looking Big Ten and a lack of big wins so far. Beating your rival is cool, but the issue for the Nittany Lions is that as of right now, there are only two ranked teams on their schedule.