What You Need To Know
What was important in Week 2?
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It didn’t look like a great slate of games, with way too many battles against cupcakes, but the week turned out to be fantastic. There were huge upsets, a couple of big steps forward by some brand name teams, and great fourth quarter after great fourth quarter. In case you missed any and all the fun, here’s all you really need to know from the second weekend of the 2012 college football season.
The clear delineation.
It’s only Week Two and there’s plenty of time for crazy and wild things to happen -- and injuries will inevitably play a key role -- but Alabama and LSU separated themselves from the rest of the pack. USC was fine against Syracuse, but the defense was a bit suspect at times, while Oregon took its foot off the gas against Fresno State and didn’t put together a full 60 minutes for the second week in a row. Neither Pac-12 team was in any trouble, but they weren’t nearly as dominant as Alabama in its shutout of Western Kentucky or LSU in its obliteration of Washington. At the moment, it’s the two SEC West stars, and then the two kings of the Pac-12, and there’s everyone else.
With Arkansas, Wisconsin and Nebraska losing, three of the top 14 teams in the Coaches’ Poll are effectively out of the national title chase –- although the Hogs would be right back in it if they could magically run the table with wins over Alabama and LSU. However, the two best teams of last season aren’t showing any signs of weakness.
The old Pac-10’s big day.
The Pac-12 had a few rocky moments with Utah opening up the weekend with an overtime loss to Utah State, and Colorado embarrassed itself in a home loss to Sacramento State of the FCS, but the Pac-10 in its old form -- even with LSU’s blasting of Washington -- had one of its greatest Saturdays ever.
Not only did USC and Oregon take care of business, but Oregon State pulled off a shocker by stuffing Wisconsin in a 10-7 victory. UCLA showed that there might be a quick turnaround under Jim Mora Jr. with an impressive win over Nebraska, while Cal and Washington State took care of FCS teams.
Lost in the late starts were three phenomenal blowouts that would've been headline news had they happened earlier in the day. Rich Rodriguez got his Arizona offense moving and all the parts working in a 59-38 obliteration of Oklahoma State. Arizona State’s offense destroyed Illinois 45-14, and Stanford shook off a rusty start to the season by jumping all over Duke.
In all, the Pac-12 ended up going 6-1 against teams from other BCS conferences and 2-1 in games against teams that played in BCS games last season.
This was a common sight for Montee Ball and the Badgers on Saturday.
The Big Ten’s lost weekend.
While the Pac-12 had its breakthrough weekend, on the flip side, the Big Ten had a disastrous Saturday that it might not be able to recover from this season. With Ohio State ineligible to go bowling, Michigan State is the last hope to make any noise in the BCS championship chase.
From the six points mustered by Iowa in its loss to Iowa State, to Wisconsin forgetting about its running game in the puzzling loss to Oregon State, to Nebraska’s problems in the loss to UCLA, to Purdue’s inability to stop Notre Dame in the final seconds, to Penn State’s kicking woes, to Illinois without quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and with a defense that decided that tackling was optional against Arizona State, this was an ugly, ugly weekend for the Leaders and Legends. Even some of the positives weren’t that impressive, with Michigan struggling to put away Air Force and Indiana losing starting quarterback Tre Roberson in the blowout over UMass.
On the plus side, Minnesota and Northwestern are 2-0 with the Wildcats beating BCS conference teams -- Syracuse and Vanderbilt -- in back-to-back weeks.
Welcome to the big leagues, Missouri and Texas A&M.
The two former Big 12 schools each had a few moments when it looked like their offenses were going to bring something new and dangerous to the SEC. They still might, but after a hot start Texas A&M fizzled against a Florida defense that put the clamps down in the 20-17 win. The Aggies should be better with more time, and quarterback Johnny Manziel looks like a keeper, but the O failed to get on the board at home in the second half of the 20-17 loss.
The Gators gave Texas A&M a rude welcome to the SEC.
Later on Saturday, James Franklin and the Missouri attack bombed away to take a lead on Georgia only to end up dealing with All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones and a terrific Dawg front seven. The Georgia offense scored 17 points in the fourth quarter in a 41-20 win that was far closer than the final score.
Worse yet for the Aggies and Tigers, they each lost winnable home games when emotions were sky-high and the home field advantage should have been a big plus. But now they’re in the SEC. Georgia and Florida are used to games in hostile environments.
The frightening injuries.
For all the fun and excitement of a great weekend, the wild finishes, the big upsets and the great games took a back seat to one of the scariest scenes to ever happen on a college football field. Tulane defensive back Devon Walker suffered a broken neck and required CPR after colliding with a teammate in the Green Wave’s loss to Tulsa. He’s reportedly in stable condition and will undergo spinal surgery at some point in the next week.
With concerns over Walker’s health looming over the rest of the day, another horrible scene happened in the Arkansas loss to ULM when Hog defensive back Tevin Mitchel had to be carted off after a helmet-to-helmet collision. Also injured in the loss was Arkansas starting fullback Kody Walker and All-America quarterback Tyler Wilson, who was knocked out of the game and didn’t return.
Wyoming star quarterback Brett Smith was carted off the field in the loss to Toledo, but is expected to be fine, while Wisconsin lost a key part of the offense in the upset against Oregon State when No. 1 receiver and All-America punt returner Jared Abbrederis was carted off with a chest injury.