Week 2 Wrap Up:
Most Impressive Team Performance: The teams who won the biggest games of the past week were clearly LSU and Clemson. Both defeated top 12 opponents and bolstered their chances of making the playoffs or at least playing highly meaningful games in late November. However, the team that stood out to me as the most impressive was the Maryland Terrapins. I picked Maryland as the team I saw most capable of an upset last week but even I could not have predicted what would occur Saturday afternoon. Not only did Maryland beat Syracuse, they blew the doors off of them. When the 63-20 score became final, Syracuse had suffered the worst loss by a ranked team to an unranked team in 20 years. Maryland has scored 142 points in their first two games and sees themselves ranked 21st in the AP poll for the first time since 2006. If the Terrapins can survive a possible trap game this Saturday when they visit Temple, they will set up a Friday night home game against Penn State that will be the biggest game in Maryland football in over a decade.
Most Disappointing Team Performance: As tempted as I am to give this distinction to Michigan for them needing to play into double overtime to defeat Army 24-21 while entering the game as 23 point favorites, I feel like I need to give it to someone who actually lost. I am also tempted to give it to Tennessee for the second consecutive week after they somehow managed to lose a game to BYU that at one point they had a 99.6% chance to win while leading 16-13 with less than 30 seconds left. However, the team who gets the award this week are the Kansas Jayhawks. They went out and hired former national championship winning coach Les Miles and people thought there were good times ahead for Kansas for the first time in over 10 years. However after squeaking by a lower division opponent in Indiana State by only a touchdown in their opening game, Kansas lost to Coastal Carolina at home 12-7. There was even speculation that Kansas would become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. Those hopes are all but gone now after that horrific loss. Kansas is now a 21.5 point underdog this Friday night at Boston College.
Best Game: There were many fantastic games this past weekend with one following another. The primetime game between LSU and Texas with LSU winning 45-38 was thrilling until the final seconds and will be remembered for both the on and off-field storylines coming out of Austin. Yet the best game of the day was played in Boulder, Colorado. What was once one of the greatest rivalries, not just in college football but all of sports, was renewed on Saturday when Colorado played host to Nebraska. Nebraska was looking to avenge last season’s final seconds loss to the Buffaloes and led the game 17-0 at halftime. Colorado finally started to cut into the lead late in the third quarter when they only had a 4% chance to win and were finally able to tie the game at 24 midway through the fourth quarter. The teams then exchanged late touchdowns with Colorado’s coming with only 58 seconds left to force the game into overtime. On the first possession of overtime Colorado was able to kick a field goal and then force Nebraska to attempt one during their possession. Nebraska’s kicker would miss a 48 yard field goal and Colorado won 34-31, giving them their first win at home over a ranked opponent under head coach Mel Tucker.
Best Individual Performance: For this award I am not going to go through all the stats and find who technically had the best game. I am going to use my eyes and evaluate who played the biggest role in their team having an important win. That last sentence fits LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow to a tee. Burrow threw for 471 yards and four touchdowns to help his Tigers to a 45-38 win on the road against ninth ranked Texas. He also threw the game clinching 61 yard touchdown on a 3rd and 17. Playing on the road in front of over 98,000 fans is nothing new for Burrow who is used to such crowds in the SEC, but winning the game by scoring so many points is. LSU for years has been hampered by poor quarterback play. They have wasted incredible talents on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball for years due to ineptitude at quarterback. They finally have a stud who will really give them the ability to contend for the SEC and National Championships and will be able to put up points against the best of the best defenses in the country.
Week 3 Preview:
Team Who MUST Win: The team facing the biggest obstacle this week is the Florida Gators. They go on the road to play Kentucky at 7:00 on ESPN. The matchup of 2-0 teams will lead to an electric environment in Lexington and one the Gators will need to survive if they hope to play for SEC and National Championships. Last season Kentucky went on the road and defeated Florida for the first time in 31 tries. A loss this time will not only be hard to swallow for Gator fans, it will be hard to recover from in the rankings. They will have opportunities to climb back into the top 10 if they lose, however will they really be able to beat the likes of Georgia, LSU, and Auburn if they can’t even beat Kentucky? It doesn’t matter how many points they win by, it doesn’t matter how good they look in doing it, Florida just needs to find a way to win this weekend.
Best Chance for an Upset: This week is another tough weekend to really predict an upset. Many schools are still playing teams from a lower division as part of their non-conference schedule. However, there is one that caught my eye, and I know it is a long shot. Hawaii goes on the road to play 23rd ranked Washington. Washington was ranked 14th last week before a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to Cal. The game was strange from the start and featured more than two hours worth of a lightning delay. If Washington is feeling like their PAC 12 and National Title hopes took an irreparable blow last week they might not come out sharp again this week. A sluggish performance could doom them against Hawaii who has already played above their level of competition twice this year, posting a 2-0 record against Arizona and Oregon State. Hawaii can score a lot of points in a hurry, and if Washington is slow to get into the game don’t be surprised if the 21.5 point underdogs make this game very interesting.
Biggest Game: In a week without any matchups featuring two teams in the top 25, I need to reach a little to find a really big one, however there is one that will be looked back upon late in the season. Stanford travels to play UCF in Orlando on Saturday afternoon at 3:30. UCF has completed back to back undefeated regular seasons and only has lost to LSU in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. This is the biggest non-conference challenge of the season for UCF and their chance to really prove they should finally be in the conversation for the playoffs. A win in this game would keep their name relevant and in the conversation. A win for Stanford would finally give those fans out there who have had enough of UCF and their annoying fans clambering to be in the playoffs despite playing the far weaker schedule. Stanford Quarterback K.J. Costello will be the key to this game. If he is able to return from his concussion and play on Saturday, Stanford has a real chance to finally put UCF in its place. If not and UCF wins again, brace yourself for another claimed “National Championship.”