Kevin’s Keen Observations from College Football Week 2

Kevin’s Keen Observations from College Football Week 2

1. We’ll start off week 2 with the barnburner in South Bend. Head coach Charlie Weis came into the 2008 season with a sense of urgency to get his Irish back to the top of the FBS. The way they looked against San Diego St. (yes, the same San Diego St. team that lost to FCS Cal Poly 29-27 at home in week 1) they may not even make the FCS playoffs. I mean what happened to this program. The once proud Irish now never have a definite win anymore. They were sloppy, and just like last year, they looked unprepared. Even good teams used to walk into Notre Dame Stadium completely intimidated by the sight, but now bad teams know they have a chance to knock off N.D. It looks like they have not improved very much, and we won’t find out anything this week with the rebuilding Wolverines coming to town.

2. And how about Ohio St.? Whether they were looking ahead to USC or not, or if they will use the no Beanie Wells excuse, they looked terrible against the Bobcats of Ohio. Keep in mind folks, this is the same Ohio team that lost to Wyoming the week before. QB Todd Boeckman is a fraud and if the Buckeyes actually want to win something other than the awful Big Ten this year, it looks like Terrelle Pryor will need to be more of a factor. Are you telling me that 272 yards of total offense versus a middle of the road MAC team excites anyone? If they lose by less than 2 touchdowns to USC on Saturday it’s a moral victory. But who really believes in moral victories3. Anyone want to guess who the best team in Indiana is? Purdue? Indiana? Notre Dame? None of the above. Those Cardinals of Ball St. will get my vote. Why you may ask? First of all they have the best quarterback (Nate Davis) and the best wide receiver (Dante Love) of any of them. Add to that a veteran offensive line, a good running back in MiQuale Lewis, and a very good tight end in Darius Hill and you have a dangerous team. The defense is only solid but do any of the other teams have a defense that scares you? Davis, Love, and Hill all could be drafted in the first 2 rounds of the NFL Draft. I like this team and they will win the MAC this season.

4. Everyone has been talking about the call made on Washington’s Jake Locker after he scored a touchdown with: 02 seconds to play against BYU.  Well it was a terrible call, but it was not what lost them the game. What no one has mentioned is, although the call shouldn’t have been made, it still was only a 35-yard try from the middle of the field. If they had tried a 35-yard field goal at the end of regulation and it had been blocked, everyone would have said how their special teams let him down, and they should be able to make that kick. The rule is an absolutely ridiculous and stupid, but the Huskies still should have forced overtime.

5. After watching the Miami-Florida game on Saturday night, I came to one conclusion. The ‘Canes have zero offense. What happened to the Miami offenses of old, even recently, that could just dominate opposing defenses? I know the team is young, especially on that side of the ball, but it’s been like this for the last few years. There just doesn’t appear to be many explosive playmakers out there on the field when they have the ball. Of course they are in the ACC so improvement may come in time, and with patience. The defense is still aggressive and fast, so the ‘Canes will stay in games, but they will need to find some way to score some points.

6. Speaking of the ACC, they really had another bad showing in Week 2. ACC teams went a combined 1-3 against fellow FBS teams, with the only win being Wake Forest taking down Ole Miss at home on a last second field goal. Considering Ole Miss is a bottom peg in the SEC, and Wake is the only currently ranked conference team, and this only makes you doubt them more. Its okay for Miami to lose at Florida, and it’s not shocking that Duke lost to Northwestern, but how can Maryland lose to Middle Tennessee St.? MTSU is a only middle of pack team in the Sun Belt and lost last week to Troy. After escaping with a win versus Delaware last week it looks like it’s going to be a long year in College Park. Good luck with Cal this week. Someone please step up and take control of this conference, and if any team loses four conference games in ’08, they are eliminated from bowl contention. You can’t be good if you lose half of your games in the slop. In descending order the ACC is followed by the Big East and then the Big Ten at this stage.

7. I know it’s early, but two teams that have been very impressive after the first 2 weeks are East Carolina and Penn St. Obviously the Pirates have been sensational beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia, but not many people have mentioned how good the Lions were dismantling Coastal Carolina and Oregon St. Other Big Ten teams have struggled with less. Penn St. looks like they are in midseason form already winning a combined score of 111-24. The way they have been able to run the ball and play defense should scare everyone else in the league including Ohio St. As they go into conference play, both teams should be very confident.

8. I know many people out there are rooting against Bobby Petrino this fall. After he quit on the Falcons after 13 games and bolted to Fayetteville, he has left a bad feeling with a lot of fans out there. It looks like these fans are going to be real happy, at least for the rest of this year. They have started 2-0, but have beaten Western Illinois and UL-Monroe by a combined 4 points. If you look at their schedule it is a strong possibility the Razorbacks will not win another game this season. It all starts this weekend with a trip to Austin to face the Longhorns. There only other non-SEC game is Tulsa, but the Hurricane appears better than Arkansas. Of course everyone will just blame Houston Nutt for anything that happens this year anyway, but this is not a good start to The Petrino Era.

9. After a 1-11 embarrassment in 2007 nobody gave Minnesota a chance heading into ’08, and rightfully so. But did anyone notice how the Golden Gophers took apart a Bowling Green team that beat Pittsburgh last week? After beating an average Northern Illinois team in Week 1, Tim Brewster took his team on the road and beat the Falcons 42-17. There’s a lot of buzz about Jake Locker and what he has done at Washington, but more people should start to pay attention to Minnesota’s Adam Weber. They are very similar players as both are mobile with strong arms, but Weber is the better passer at this point. With a very weak conference, it is not out the question for the Gophers to get to 6 wins, and possibly a bowl.

10. Finally, I mentioned earlier the big win for East Carolina over West Virginia. It was a great win for the Pirates, but it was also a very bad loss for the Mountaineers, in particular new coach Bill Stewart. Many questioned the hire of Stewart after he posted a terrible 8-25 record in his only 3 seasons as a head coach. It seemed the athletic department made an emotional hire after West Virginia had beaten Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and Rich Rodriguez had just walked away from them. On first glance it appears as if the critics were right. After beating Villanova in their first game (a game in which the FCS Wildcats outgained the Mountaineers) West Virginia came out flat against East Carolina, and showed no life throughout the game. They came into the season with national title aspirations, but now it looks like a Big East championship would be their ceiling.

 

 Three Who Caught My Eye 

1.      Jevan Snead- QB (Ole Miss) – What a day the transfer from Texas had against a solid Wake Forest defense. Snead completed 20 of 31 passes for 253 yards with 4 touchdowns and a pick. He showed poise and confidence in the pocket the entire game and looks like a future star. He also showed mobility and he may the reason why the Rebels surprise some people once they get into SEC play.

2.    Dominique Harris SS (Temple) – Harris has good size (6’3″ 218) and good instincts from the safety position. On a traditionally bad team, Harris has stood out for a couple years now, but appears as if he has taken the next step. He has been all over the field for the Owls in their first 2 games, and always seems to come up with a big play. He has registered 8 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery in the first 2 weeks. Looks like a solid mid round pick, but I have to see how he times when he runs before I get too excited.

3.   Shawn Nelson TE (Southern Miss) – I have been waiting for Nelson to have a game like the one he did on Saturday. Against one of the best defenses in the country, Nelson recorded 12 catches for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns versus Auburn. Those touchdowns are the only ones the Tigers have given up so far this year. I have questioned his fire before because his immense physical ability has not matched his numbers, so, just like Harris, I want to see what he does in the upcoming games. However, he has great hands and athleticism and can still wind up being a first day pick.

Bonus Follow-up:  I mentioned last week about the big game from Bowling Green DE Diyral Briggs when he killed Pitt for 6 tackles and 2 sacks in the Falcons win. Well although the outcome wasn’t as good for the team in their loss to Minnesota, Briggs had another stellar game. He finished with 8 tackles and 3 more sacks and is starting to remind me of DeMarcus Ware coming off the edge. In 2 games he already has matched his sack output from all of last year. At 6’4″ 230 he appears too small for an every down end in the NFL, but has the athleticism to be an outside linebacker, or at a minimum, a situational pass rusher. Briggs has impressed me more than anyone at this early stage of the season.

 

Kevin Hornung is the College Football Editor for Taking It to the House and a chief scout for Great Blue North Draft Report

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