For some teams, there was nowhere to hide this weekend.
In the world of writing, you meet people who you respect for their insight and candidness. Jon Acker is a friend of mine and sends me his weekly assessments of the world of Division One Football. A group of us usually banter around ideas that brings up great stories that I’d like to share. As you know, I only delve into the realm of the SEC. So after talking it over with Jon, with his permission, I’m going to start sharing his weekly assessments of the major conferences in the NCAA’s big boy division.
Touchdown Alabama is a great place to share these fine ideas and if you have questions, comments, agreements or disagreements, don’t hesitate to use the comment section below to let us know.
Acker Assessment: Week 2 Thoughts
By: Jon Acker
BIG TEN = BIG FLOP
One has to start off by noting what had to be the worst week in Big Ten football history.
Illinois 42 Western Kentucky 34
Nebraska 31 McNeese State 24
Penn State 21 Akron 3
Rutgers 38 Howard 25
Wisconsin 37 Western Illinois 3
Minnesota 35 Middle Tennessee 24
Iowa 17 Ball State 13
Maryland 24 South Florida 17
Central Michigan 38 Purdue 17
Northern Illinois 23 Northwestern 15
Oregon 46 Michigan State 27
Notre Dame 31 Michigan 0
Virginia Tech 35 Ohio State 21
Even though the conference went eight and five one can argue that every win was a “bad” win and every loss was a “very bad” loss. How embarrassing is it for Jim Delaney to have the top three programs historically, to suffer playoff-ending hope losses, have two teams lose to mid-major teams, and celebrate close wins over the likes of Howard, (FCS) McNeese State and Ball State. The newly released AP poll has five SEC teams ahead of the highest ranked Big Ten team, Michigan State at 13. An embarrassing shut-out loss by Michigan (the only shut-out in the history of the series) to Notre Dame in the last game of the storied rivalry could be the start of an ever-increasing warmth to the seat of Brady Hoke.
This one weekend has almost certainly ended any chance of a Big Ten team making the playoff.
PAC 12 or PAC 1?
The PAC 12 didn’t look much better than the Big Ten. The promise of Mike Leach at Washington State seems to be evaporating by the day, especially after losing to Nevada. The promise of Rich Rodriguez at Arizona also took a hit with skin-of-his-teeth win over UT San Antonio. Colorado and Washington also had narrow escapes from seemingly much inferior competition.
Much ballyhooed UCLA looked very average for a second week in a row at home against Memphis. Oregon State tried to blow a 31-point lead but hung on to win by eight. The one shining star for the PAC 12 was Oregon in a game that, by itself, could propel the Ducks into the playoffs even if they slip-up somewhere down the road. Oregon jumped Alabama to number two in the AP poll, and if Florida State keeps winning in lackluster fashion, the Ducks could sit on top for the rest of the reason.
ACC or AC3?
As mentioned already, although I did not watch the whole game, but you didn’t have to. Going by the box score, a 37-12 victory over The Citadel by the number one team, Florida State, does not inspire confidence, especially when taken with last week’s narrow escape against Oklahoma State. Then there is also the possibility, remote though, that Winston will be expelled from school and the team given that the sexual assault case has been re-opened by the University. Losing Winston would be a fatal blow to the team’s chances of making the playoff.
Clemson put up shocking numbers, 735 yards of offense, against a nobody and now have a week off until traveling to Tallahassee. That one is a definite upset alert. The big winner for the ACC is, of course, Virginia Tech, who sent Urban Meyer to the clubhouse a loser and considering another trip to the hospital. The struggles against Navy by Ohio State in week one were a nice predictor and this loss could spell a rough year ahead for the Buckeyes.
Can the atmosphere be any worse in Austin after the second drubbing in a row by BYU, this one at home? One can only imagine Longhorn faithful wondering if they had offered Nick Saban the moon whether he would have come to be their salvation. Charlie Strong is a man of principal and suspending players for infractions is noble, but when it costs the team wins it could indicate his time in the Lone Star State may not be that long. For Longhorn fans the worst thing is they’ll still not even be the number one team in their own state.
Baylor and Oklahoma look to be the cream of the Big 12 crop. Kansas State pulled a Houdini to escape from Ames with a win over Iowa State.
Not much could be gleaned from the games in the SEC. Arguably, there has not been an easier slate of weekend games for the conference ever. Looking at the 11 inter-conference match-ups the SEC went 11-0 and won by an average score of 50-11. There are two games of note among those 11. The first is East Carolina at South Carolina. The mighty Gamecocks looked more like mighty Hens. East Carolina had more first downs and more yards, which may be a very bad sign of just how bad the South Carolina defense is.
This could be a very rough year for Steve Spurrier and if he loses three or more games don’t be surprised if he retires.
The second game of note is UAB at Mississippi State. Letting UAB hang 34 on you at home can’t be a good sign for Mullin’s boys, not matter how well UAB is playing in other games. Plus, UAB racked up 548 yards, more than the 516 for State. How does UAB put up those numbers against a SEC opponent? It could be that UAB has finally become somewhat relevant in C-USA.
Ole Miss trouncing Vanderbilt pretty much seals the deal that Vandy is back to being Vandy. The magic of James Franklin wore off fast in Nashville. The rest of the games were beat-downs with nothing noteworthy. The SEC has an amazing five teams in the latest AP top 10 and eight in the top 25.
Week three will have huge implications in the SEC East with Georgia and South Carolina squaring off as the only match-up of Top 25 teams. Of note to SEC fans is Tennessee traveling to Norman to face the Sooners. This should tell everyone how much Tennessee has truly progressed.