After Michigan managed to get beaten by Division 1-AA Appalachian State 34-32 last week in its home opener as 110,000 fans watched in the Big House at Ann Arbor, the Oregon Ducks traveled to the Big House and handed the once mighty Wolverines their worst loss since 1968, a 39-7 drubbing.
The 32-point margin of loss was Michigan’s worst since losing 50-14 at Ohio State in 1968, 39 years ago. Last year the Wolverines were riding high with an 11-0 start before losing to Ohio State for the 3rd straight year, and then losing the Rose Bowl for the 3rd time in 4 years.
The porous Michigan secondary let Oregon’s Dennis Dixon roll up 292 yards passing and a career-high 4 touchdowns. The Ducks did even better on the ground, gaining 331 yards rushing on 51 carries for a 6.49 yard average. In essence, Michigan had no defense, only excuses for a sorry performance.
The 0-2 start gave notice that Michigan has some serious problems as a national powerhouse this year. Perhaps petitioning to play on another planet would help. The Wolverines could scrimmage against their 3rd string lineup and maybe notch their first victory of the season.
Fortunately for Michigan, neither of the two losses were Big 10 Conference games. Take heart, Michigan lovers, the Wolverines started 0-2 in 1998 and ended up becoming the Big 10 Champion. They also started 0-2 in 1988 and ended up beating USC 22-14 in the Rose Bowl.
The woes at Notre Dame continued this week as No. 14-ranked Penn State had little problem dispatching the Irish, 31-10.
To understand how good the Nittany Lions defense is at the moment, you only need to know that they have not allowed an offensive touchdown in two games. Notre Dame has failed to score an offensive touchdown in its second straight game. Another powerhouse that failed to get it done this week was No. 11 Georgia which was upset at home by South Carolina 16-12. Georgia could not even score a touchdown on the South Carolina defense.
The SEC does not need to be reminded that Steve Spurrier is now coaching the Gamecocks. Spurrier’s best move as a college football coach is to win. By the end of Saturday, No. 17-ranked Auburn was upset by South Florida 26-23 in overtime. That had to be a real comedown for Auburn which not only lost, but lost at home.
South Florida is not exactly a household name in college football. The Bulls have only been playing football for 10 years and only became a Division I-A school in 2001.
Many fans do not know that Coach Jim Leavitt turned down the opportunity to coach at Alabama in 2003 to stay at South Florida. The Bulls have won their last 4 games, including an upset of No. 7 West Virginia and a bowl win in its final 2 games last season.
South Florida is now 4-0 in its last 4 games.
Auburn should not be ashamed by its loss, but it most certainly should be shocked.
Here are 8 stinkers that surfaced during the second week of play:
No. 5 Wisconsin was behind 10-9 going into the 4th quarter before winning its away game at UNLV, 20-13. Just how tough is Wisconsin as the No. 5 team in the country? You decide.
No. 8 Louisville’s defense was not impressive in giving up 42 points to Middle Tennessee before pulling out a 58-42 victory.
No. 10 California gave up 4 touchdowns to winless Colorado State before winning 34-28.
No. 12 Ohio State used a 17-point second half to slide by Akron 20-2. It was hardly a show of offensive power by the Buckeyes as Akron led 3-2 at the half in what could have been a soccer game.
No. 13 UCLA had its hands full with Brigham Young (BYU) but finally scored a 4th quarter touchdown to win by 10, 27-17.
No. 16 Nebraska was lucky to pick up its second victory over winless Wake Forest, 20-17. Neither team scored in the 4th quarter.
No. 20 Hawaii just nipped Louisiana Tech in an away game, 45-44. Hawaii is not exactly the best road team in the NCAA and they proved it once again. All this talk about Hawaii being really good appears to be more talk than defense.
No. 23 Texas A&M gave up 45 points to Fresno State before barely winning in overtime 47-45 (Fresno State scored 16 points in triple overtime before the Aggies won).
All 8 stinkers are ranked higher than they should be, and the next few weeks will tell the real story.
Here are 3 fanny kickers that kept on rolling up big wins:
No. 4 Florida led 49-7 before beating Troy 59-31. Apparently a lot of backups played for Florida.
No. 6 Oklahoma had no problem with Miami (FL) 51-13, scoring 20 points in the last quarter to seal the deal.
No. 21 Georgia Tech led 62-7 before finishing off AA Samford, 69-14.
Here are 8 teams on the rise:
No. 15 Rutgers picked up its second win by downing Navy 41-24.
No. 25 Clemson scored 6 touchdowns in 3 quarters to beat Louisiana-Monroe 49-26. Last week Clemson upset Florida State 24-18 to move into the Top 25.
Unranked Washington used defense to upset No. 22 Boise State and its 14-game winning streak, the longest in major college football, by shutting out the Broncos in the second half of the Huskies’ 24-10 victory. Last week the Huskies beat Syracuse 42-12 in an away opener. Kansas picked up its second win by shutting out AA Southeastern Louisiana 62-0. Last week the Jayhawks ripped Central Michigan 52-7. Total points for Kansas in two games: 114. Total opponent points in two games: 7.
Three first-year coaches-Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio and Dennis Erickson-won their second straight game.
The Crimson Tide defeated Vanderbilt 24-10, giving Saban another win. So far, Saban is undefeated at Alabama. Next up: Arkansas comes to town. Can Saban go 3-0? We will wait and see. The Spartans moved past Bowling Green 28-17 in a not-so-impressive home victory, giving Dantonio another win. So far, Dantonio is undefeated at Michigan State. Next up: Pittsburgh comes to town. Can Dantonio go 3-0? They have a good chance.
The Sun Devils took apart Colorado 33-14, giving Erickson another win. So far, Erickson is undefeated at Arizona State. Next up: San Diego State comes to town. Can Erickson go 3-0? Absolutely. The last team on the rise is Cincinnati, yes Cincinnati. The Bearcats romped over Oregon State 34-3 for their second straight win after beating AA Southeast Missouri State 59-3 last week. Cincinnati has outscored its first two opponents 93-6.
In-state rivalries can be close and this week was no exception as a field goal decided two games: East Carolina beat North Carolina 34-31, and AA Southern Illinois nipped Northern Illinois by the same score.
In other state rivalries, New Mexico held off New Mexico State 44-34 with a fourth quarter touchdown, Arizona ripped AA Northern Arizona 45-24, Texas Tech pounded UTEP 45-31 (UTEP led at the half 28-17), No. 3 West Virginia took down Marshall 48-23, Illinois blanked AA Western Illinois 21-0, AA Northern Iowa upset Iowa State 24-13, Baylor doubled up on Rice 42-17, No. 7 Texas launched a comeback to beat No. 19 TCU 34-13 (TCU led 10-0 at the half), and Southern Methodist whipped North Texas 45-31.
In an obscure battle that almost no one noticed among 2 of 7 worst A teams in the country, Buffalo (rated 145 by Sagarin) made a statement by leveling Temple 42-7 (rated 143 by Sagarin and already going lower). Buffalo scored no less than 6 touchdowns; it had to have been a glorious day in upper New York. In another obscure contest, Wyoming won at home against Utah State, 32-18. Whether you like it or not, more often than not, the Cowboys win at home, and they do not ask what’s for dinner, they just expect beef.
So after the first two weeks of the college football season, who has had the most impressive start? The No. 2-ranked LSU Tigers who put the hurt on Virginia Tech 48-7. Try 6 touchdowns against the No. 9-ranked team in the nation. LSU beat Mississippi State 45-0 last week. Coach Les Miles’ Tigers have outscored their first two opponents 93-7.
Middle Tennessee which was rated No. 141 by Sagarin after the first week comes to Baton Rouge this week. The Blue Raiders, losers in their first two games, could be in for a very long afternoon at LSU.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
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