NCAA Football Week 2 Recap
For the second time in the first two weeks of the College Football season, a top-three team in the rankings went down to defeat, and this time third-ranked Ohio State fell at home to former number 12 Oregon 35 – 28 to throw an early monkey wrench into preseason playoff predictions. Oregon jumped up to the fourth spot in the polls while the Buckeyes dropped to ninth in the AP version and 11th by the coaches. It will be interesting to see how the NCAAF picks for playoff contention adjust with an early favorite falling behind so early on in the season.
In the other big game of the week that pitted in-state rivals and top ten teams in the AP poll, Iowa continued their early-season domination, defeating a second consecutive ranked opponent Iowa State on the road by a score of 27 – 17. It continued the Hawkeyes’ domination of the Cyclones as they extended their winning streak over Iowa State to six and lifted them to fifth in the rankings.
At the top of the polls, SEC teams Alabama and Georgia maintained their positions at number one and two. The Crimson Tide beat up on FCS Mercer 48 – 14 while Georgia Dominated UAB from Conference USA by a score of 56 – 7. Still, both teams have a lot of work to do before they can even think about a potential matchup in the SEC Championship game following the regular season.
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Two other teams with postseason aspirations both survived close calls as big favorites to win by three points, as number five Texas A&M fell behind early to Colorado but finally scored late to secure a 10 – 7 victory while number eight Notre Dame had a wild fourth quarter that began with Toledo leading the Irish 16 – 14. After Toledo took a 29 – 24 lead with a minute and 35 seconds remaining, Notre Dame went 75 yards in three plays to finally secure a 32 – 29 win.
Other teams that made big moves in the polls included Virginia Tech, who had moved to 19th in the rankings following a surprising 17 – 10 win over number 10 North Carolina in their opening game. They made another jump following a workmanlike 35 – 14 win over Middle Tennessee State, ending up in the 15th spot entering their Week 3 renewal of an old rivalry at West Virginia.
A Solid Start
Arizona State has yet to record a Power Five victory in 2021, but their 37 – 10 win over UNLV from the Mountain West was enough to lift them from 23rd to 19th ahead of paying a visit to BYU. The Cougars broke a nine-game losing streak to Utah in the “Holy War, winning by a score of 26 – 17 and breaking into the rankings, replacing the Sun Devils at number 23.
In perhaps the most surprising result of the weekend, Arkansas totally dominated old Southwest Conference rival Texas 40 – 21 in front of a record 75,000 fans in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks rolled up 340 rushing yards and outplayed the Longhorns in every phase of the game to run their record to 2 – 0 and make an appearance in the AP poll at number 20 and 24th in the coaches’ rankings.
Back to the Pac-12
In the second of the Pac-12 visits to Big Ten stadiums on Saturday, Michigan was never challenged by Washington, taking a 17 – 0 lead four minutes into the third quarter and cruising to a 31 – 10 victory to squeeze into the polls at number 25. It was Washington’s second consecutive loss to start the season following an embarrassing 13 – 7 defeat by FCS Montana, so it’s difficult to know at this point if Michigan’s win over a team from another Power Five conference will have any significance at the end of the season.