SEC Newcomers Mizzou and Texas A&M take center stage
College football’s second week of action features the debut of the two newest members of the SEC and a huge road trip for Nebraska.
10 Biggest Games of Week 2
Georgia (-3.5) at Missouri
Missouri’s journey into the SEC begins Saturday in Columbia, Mo., when the Tigers host Georgia, the defending champs of the East. Both teams won their respective openers with ease, though Georgia couldn’t have been thrilled about allowing 347 total yards (199 on the ground) in its 45–23 win over Buffalo. On a positive note, it doesn’t appear the Bulldogs will miss Isaiah Crowell too much; true freshman Todd Gurley, a 6-1, 218-pound North Carolina native, ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries. Missouri quarterback James Franklin, who underwent major shoulder surgery in the spring, was relatively sharp in the Tigers’ 62–10 win over Southeastern Louisiana. He completed 13-of-21 for 131 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Franklin, one of the top playmakers in the SEC when healthy, will have to be at his best on Saturday. Georgia 27, Missouri 21
Florida (+2.5) at Texas A&M
The other new SEC member, Texas A&M, also plays its first league game this weekend. It will also be the first game of the season for the Aggies, who had their opener vs. Louisiana Tech in Shreveport postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. Now, quarterback Johnny Manziel will make his first career appearance against an outstanding Florida defense that gave up fewer than 300 yards per game in 2011. Speaking of quarterbacks, Florida’s search for a competent signal-caller continues. Jeff Driskel received the majority of the snaps in the Gators’ tougher-than-expected 27–14 win over Bowling Green. His numbers weren’t bad (10-of-16 for 114 yards and one TD), but Florida only had one pass play that went for longer than 18 yards. This offense must be more balanced if the Gators plan on being a factor in the SEC East. Texas A&M 17, Florida 14
Miami (Fla.)(+7) at Kansas State
Beating Boston College, even on the road, is no reason to get overly excited, but Miami has to feel good about its offense after a 41–32 win in Chestnut Hill. Junior quarterback Stephen Morris was sharp (28-of-45 for 207 yards), but the big story for the Canes was true freshman tailback Duke Johnson, who ran for 135 yards and two scores on only seven rushes. The Miami defense, however, was not quite as impressive. Boston College, which ranked 112th in the nation in both total offense and scoring offense last season, rolled up 542 total yards — 441 through the air and 101 on the ground. Kansas State struggled early against FCS foe Missouri State before pulling away in the fourth quarter in a 51–9 win. The Wildcats are looking for quarterback Collin Klein to be more of a threat throwing the ball this season. He should have a big game, both with his arm and legs, against the suspect Miami defense. Kansas State 34, Miami (Fla.) 28
Nebraska (-5) at UCLA
It was no great surprise Nebraska beat Southern Miss with such ease — the final was 49–20. Nor that the Cornhuskers had 632 yards of offense. But what was surprising was the play of quarterback Taylor Martinez. The junior, who is known more for his running exploits, completed 26-of-34 passes for 354 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The Nebraska staff would be thrilled to get that type of production from Martinez on a consistent basis. There was some bad news in Lincoln, however. Tailback Rex Burkhead went down with a sprained MCL in his left knee in the first half and isn’t expected to play this weekend. UCLA pounded Rice in Houston in coach Jim L. Mora’s debut with the Bruins. Tailback Johnathan Franklin ran for 214 yards and three scores on 15 carries, and quarterback Brett Hundley, playing in his first career game, threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns. This is one of the most intriguing games of the weekend. Nebraska has the edge in the trenches, so go with the Huskers. Nebraska 27, UCLA 21
Washington (+23.5) at LSU
Washington is embarking on a stretch that will feature three of its next five against teams currently ranked among the top four in the nation. In addition to this trip to the Bayou, UW travels to Oregon on Oct. 13 and hosts USC on Oct. 20. The Huskies are making strides under third-year coach Steve Sarkisian, but the program isn’t yet in position to seriously threaten any of the three looming superpowers. Washington features some high-quality offensive players — most notably quarterback Keith Price — but its defense will have a tough time against quality competition. LSU will be tested for the first time after disposing of North Texas in predictable fashion (41–14) in Week 1. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, in his first start at LSU, completed 19-of-26 for 192 yards and a touchdown. If he plays well — and gives the Tigers’ offense balance — this team will very difficult to beat. LSU 30, Washington 17
Purdue (+14.5) at Notre Dame
Notre Dame returns to the mainland after an impressive 50–10 win over Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson was solid in his first career start, but the Irish got it done with their rushing attack. With starter Cierre Wood back in South Bend while serving a two-game suspension, Notre Dame turned to Theo Riddick (19 carries, 107 yards) and George Atkinson III (nine for 99) to power a ground game that averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. Purdue had no trouble with Eastern Kentucky, the alma mater of Boilermakers coach Danny Hope. Starting quarterback Caleb TerBush was suspended for the opener, leaving Robert Marve and Rob Henry, who have played significantly at Pudue, to handle the snaps. On Monday, Hope announced that TerBush will get the start for Notre Dame. Notre Dame 28, Purdue 17
Vanderbilt (-3.5) at Northwestern
Vanderbilt struggled to move the ball with consistency in a 17¬–13 loss to South Carolina last Thursday. The Dores picked up 276 total yards, but 28.7 percent of the yards came on one play, a 78-yard touchdown from Jordan Rodgers to Jordan Matthews. This week, they will face a Northwestern defense that gave up 596 yards to Syracuse in a thrilling 42¬–41 win at the Carrier Dome. Rodgers and Matthews figure to test the Wildcats’ shaky secondary with frequency. Northwestern, too, will present some problems on offense for Vanderbilt. The Wildcats are likely to play two quarterback; Kain Colter, the starter (if healthy), is a runner who is developing as a passer, while Trevor Siemian is a polished passer who came off the bench to lead NU’s game-winning drive at Syracuse. This is an important game for two programs who are hoping to find six wins to reach bowl-eligibility. Vanderbilt 34, Northwestern 24
Iowa State (+4) at Iowa
Iowa State scored a total of 15 points en route to losing three straight to Iowa from 2008-10. Last year, however, the Cyclones erupted for 44 points in a three-point win in Ames. The ’12 season got off to good start offensively for Paul Rhoads’ club. The Clones, a surprising home underdog to Tulsa, rolled up 441 yards in a 38–23 win over the Golden Hurricane. Yards will be tougher to come by in Iowa City this weekend. Iowa gave up only 201 total yards (73 on one play) in an 18–17 win over Northern Illinois in Chicago. Take out that one big play — a run by NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch — and the Iowa defense gave up an average of 2.4 yards per play. Offensively, Iowa had to be thrilled to get a big game from tailback Damon Bullock. A sophomore who rushed for a total of 20 yards last season, Bullock carried the ball 30 times for 150 yards. Now, Iowa just needs to keep him healthy. This rivalry game often doesn’t go as expected. This is just a hunch, but I like the Clones on the road. Iowa State 21, Iowa 20
Auburn (-3) at Mississippi State
This a huge early season showdown between two teams that will be jockeying for position in the middle of the SEC West. Auburn remains a work in progress on defense under first-year coordinator Brian VanGorder. The Tigers, who gave up an average of 421.1 yards in 10 games vs. AQ conference opponents in 2011, struggled to stop Clemson despite giving up only 26 points. Mississippi State, however, doesn’t have offensive weapons like Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington at Clemson. Mississippi State barely broke a sweat in a win over in-state “rival” Jackson State. The Bulldogs’ offense showed nice balance, with 202 yards rushing and 193 yards passing. They have some playmakers at the wide receiver position; it will be up to quarterback Tyler Russell to get them the ball. Auburn 24, Mississippi State 21
Pittsburgh (+4) at Cincinnati (Thu)
Paul Chryst appears to be the ideal fit at Pittsburgh, but his tenure as the Panthers’ head coach got off to a miserable start — a 31–17 loss to FCS foe Youngstown State. The most alarming part of the loss? It wasn’t a fluke. The Penguins were the better team. Youngstown State outgained Pitt (381 to 369), converted 11-of-16 on third down and did not commit a turnover. Tino Sunseri, who struggled in Todd Graham’s system, completed 19-of-30 for 239 yards but missed on some key throws. He will need to play better to give this team a chance to be successful. Despite their poor showing, the Panthers are only a four-point underdog on the road to a Cincinnati team that has won or shared three of the past four Big East titles. The Bearcats, however, must replace several significant contributors on both sides of the ball, most notably tailback Isaiah Pead, quarterback Zach Collaros and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe. We’ll find out early this season if the 2012 Bearcats are rebuilding or if they have reloaded for another Big East title run. Cincinnati 24, Pittsburgh 17
It's a big week in the SEC, as Missouri and Texas A&M open conference play with huge matchups. The Tigers begin their debut season in the SEC with a key showdown against Georgia, while the Aggies host Florida. Washington travels to LSU for an interesting non-conference matchup, while Auburn and Mississippi State square off in an important SEC West showdown.
Week 2 of the 2012 college football season doesn’t feature many marquee matchups and with a handful of BCS teams heavily favored, there are few opportunities for upset picks. Athlon’s editors hit on Ohio’s win over Penn State last week but missed on Western Michigan beating Illinois and Indiana State knocking off Indiana.
Athlon runs down the bowl projections following the Week 1 action.
College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only one week of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams. A team like Houston was expected to win Conference USA's West Division in the preseason but stumbled in the opener against Texas State. For now, the Cougars remain in our projections but that could change after Week 2.
Kentucky's Joker Phillips tops our hot seat watch after Week 1.
Week 1 of the college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches are feeling the pressure to win. Kentucky showed some progress in the season opener against Louisville, but Joker Phillips passes Boston College's Frank Spaziani as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat. Some new names have joined the top 20, including Houston's Tony Levine and Colorado's Jon Embree.
Washington has a huge test ahead this Saturday, as it travels to LSU for a night game in Baton Rouge. Winning at LSU hasn't been easy for opposing teams in recent years, so it's no surprise the Huskies are preparing with some unusual tactics.
To help prepare for Saturday night's hostile atmosphere, Washington had a live tiger at practice on Tuesday. Yes, that's right - a live tiger.
The 2012 college football season kicked off with South Carolina beating Vanderbilt on Thursday night. The Gamecocks weren't particularly impressive but did just enough to knock off the Commodores. Derek Dooley's seat got a little cooler in Knoxville after beating NC State on Friday night. Alabama was the most impressive team in Week 1, thrashing Michigan 41-14.
Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
Clemson's Andre Ellington was one of the stars of football's first weekend
The names and faces change, but sometimes the results don’t.
At least that’s what people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Eugene, Ore., learned after the first weekend of college football. Alabama looked near-invincible in defending its national championship. Dee Milliner, Trey DePriest and T.J. Yeldon stepped into starring roles in the Crimson Tide’s rout of Michigan.
A late arrival to the offseason video competition, Oregon's mascot and cheerleader parody of a K-pop hit by Psy may be the best. And the dance moves are pretty spot on.
Missouri SEC Bound Music Video
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A group of Missouri students tries its hand at the Southeastern game with this country ballad recounting M-I-Z, Z-O-U victories over SEC teams, both past and (they hope) present.
Big Ten Mascots perform "Call Me Maybe"
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Seemingly everyone got into the "Call Me Maybe" parody craze this summer. The Big Ten mascots prove you don't need the ability to speak or sing to lip-synch to Carly Rae Jepsen.
TCU's Big 12 Trailer
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Great production values and a dramatic soundtrack turned a press conference into a trailer for a great fall action movie.
We the Seminoles
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The Florida State alum Mike Bane, who performs under the name "Bane" (not to be confused with the villain in The Dark Knight Returns), hit the big-time when Florida State sanctioned his rap to be used during football games.
I Love You Denard
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Another football-themed ballad, though this one veers into singer-songwriter, love lost and love gained territory.
Lawrence Knox - Aggie Swag
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Texas A&M were pace-setters this offseason for viral videos producing, um, mixed results.
Vanderbilt assistant Herb Hand does the worm
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Vanderbilt took us inside the football meeting room for a lighter moment when offensive line coach Herb Hand joined in the Dance Off with his version of the Worm.
Texas A&M - Welcome to the SEC
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Texas A&M is pumped to be in the SEC. We know it. We understand it. Still, no need to force Yell Leaders to awkwardly cheer for their new conference rivals.
Viral video kept us busy during the offseason, from the creative, to the intentionally quirky to the unintentionally hilarious. Conference realignment and "Call Me Maybe" parodies entertained us since the end of the football season. Here are our picks of the highlights.