What a fantastic day of college football. We had plenty of Power 5 matchups, great games, and just enough drama to make the day intriguing. Some fan bases leave the weekend on incredible highs, while others search for answers. I think we are in for another 2007-type season. Nobody really seems like they are significantly better than the rest of the country, and there are about 10 teams that look like legit playoff contenders. Let’s get into the biggest stories from yesterday.
Texas is back.
Look, I hate it more than just about anyone alive. I grew up loathing the University of Texas. My dad is an A&M grad, and I spent plenty of Saturdays in College Station as a kid. However, my goal while writing here at Frogs O’War is to provide objective analysis. I want to be right, not biased. Before the season started I picked the Horns to win the Big 12 and go to the College Football Playoff. I picked the Horns to beat Alabama on Saturday, but I was a little surprised with how dominant Texas looked.
The Longhorns earned their way to a 34-24 victory in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, making them the first team since 2019 LSU (and Joe Burrow) to win at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was Alabama’s first double-digit regular season loss since 2017 against Auburn. Alabama is not the same team that they’ve been over the last 15 years, but they are still one of the top programs in the country. Quinn Ewers played a great game, throwing for 349 yards with 3 touchdowns (and it should’ve been 4). But most importantly, the Longhorns dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They forced 5 sacks and did not give up any. I can’t remember the last time I saw that happen to Alabama.
Finally, Steve Sarkisian deserves a lot of credit. Sark called a flawless game. He stayed aggressive while also not losing commitment to the run game, and it paid off. I’m very well aware that “Texas is back” is the running joke of college football, and everyone thinks they’ll lose to a team they shouldn’t. I think this Texas team is different. The Horns are the real deal, and I’ll be shocked if they aren’t in the playoffs.
Notre Dame is for real.
Most people were withholding their judgment of the Irish until this week. After winning their first 2 games by a combined score of 98-6, Notre Dame went into Raleigh and whooped up on an NC State team that typically fields one of the best defenses in the ACC. Despite the weather and lightning delays, the Irish pulled away to win 45-24. The offense put up 456 yards, featuring a nearly perfect performance from quarterback Sam Hartman who threw for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 15 completions. Audric Estime rushed for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 80-yarder immediately out of the lightning delay. Notre Dame has been a quarterback short of being a great team for a while now, and Sam Hartman is changing that.
The defense played well too, allowing just 84 yards on the ground for 2.8 yards per carry. The Irish also forced 3 turnovers on the day. If Notre Dame wants to be serious about a playoff run they’ll need to fix some discipline issues. They finished the afternoon with 10 penalties for 82 yards, and it’s hard to win the biggest games with that kind of number.
Texas A&M is not a contender.
A lot of people had A&M as a dark horse College Football Playoff contender, but I think it’s safe to say that dream is over after Saturday. The Aggies were spotted 17 points by Miami mistakes in the first 17 minutes of play and then didn’t really do anything afterward. The scoreline of 48-33 makes it look like this game was competitive, but it was not. The Aggies were dominated on both sides of the ball. They couldn’t get the run game going, and 2 interceptions from Connor Weigman proved to be costly. Aggie fans have spent the last few years clamoring about the offense and how Jimbo needed to give up playcalling duties, but when your defense gives up 48 points it doesn’t really matter what your offense is doing. The Aggies continue to underachieve given the talent that is on campus.
I don’t think it matters if USC is any good on defense.
The Trojans boat raced Stanford 56-10. This game was 49-3 at halftime. Caleb Williams was 19-21 with 281 yards and 3 touchdowns on the night. USC gave up 349 yards, with 209 of those coming on the ground, but most of their starters did not play after the first series of the second half. I think Washington is the only PAC-12 team that will be able to keep up with USC, and they don’t play until November. The Trojans do host Notre Dame in October, and the winner of that game could find themselves headed to the playoff by January.
Texas Tech and Baylor were both really unlucky on Saturday.
Both Tech and Baylor hosted PAC-12 programs on Saturday and came away with a 1-score loss. Let’s also say a quick prayer for those who bet Texas Tech +7.5 and watched their bet go up in flames with 30 seconds left in the game. The Raiders were plagued by turnovers as Tyler Shough threw 3 picks. For some reason, Tech ran their quarterback 23 times on the night, which is not a recipe for long-term success. Not many people thought Tech would start the year 0-2.
I knew Baylor was going to have a shot in this game with quarterback Cam Rising still out for Utah. The Utes and Bears put on their best Iowa/Iowa State impression and played a hideous 20-13 game. Both teams looked like they were trying not to lose instead of trying to win in this game.
The Colorado hype train keeps rolling.
Deion Sanders and company took care of business, handing Nebraska a 36-14 loss. It took the Buffaloes a while to get the offense going. They struggled with the zone defenses that the Huskers were throwing at them, and Shedeur Sanders was sacked 8 times on the afternoon. Colorado went into halftime up 13-0, and they made some adjustments that finally got the offense going.
The era of SEC dominance is over.
A lot of people thought NIL and the transfer portal meant that we would see the “rich get richer.” To our (pleasant) surprise, that has not happened. The talent level across the country seems to be leveling out. As I mentioned earlier, there really aren’t any teams that seem significantly better than everyone else this year. Personally, I love this, and it’s great for the sport of college football moving forward. Right now, I think it’s safe to say that the SEC is not the best conference in football, and I don’t think the Big 10 is either. From top to bottom, the PAC-12 looks to be the best conference. The PAC-12 is 20-3 in nonconference games so far. Arizona took Mississippi State to overtime in Starkville. Cal almost beat Auburn at home. Washington State looked great in their win over Wisconsin. Utah and Oregon both beat Big 12 teams, Colorado smacked Nebraska, and Arizona State was beating Oklahoma State until their right tackle got hurt. I think the playoff is more wide open than it has been in its history, and we are in for a special year of college football.
#1 Georgia took a while to get rolling, but they handled Ball State 45-3.
#2 Michigan handled UNLV 35-7.
#4 Florida State dominated Southern Miss in a 66-13 win.
#5 Ohio State looked sluggish again in a 35-7 win that has their message boards calling for Ryan Day’s head.
#7 Penn State destroyed Deleware 63-7.
#8 Washington handled business against Tulsa 43-10.
#9 Tennessee struggled with Austin Peary, winning 30-13. They’re not a top-10 team.
#14 LSU bounced back from their week 1 loss with a 72-10 win over Grambling.
#15 Kansas State handled business with a 42-13 win over Troy.
#16 Oregon State looked really good again in a 55-7 win over UC Davis.
#17 North Carolina needed 2 overtime periods to beat Appalachian State 40-34.
#18 Oklahoma beat SMU 28-11 and the Jackson Arnold calls keep getting louder.
#19 Wisconsin lost to Washington State 22-31, showing the world Tanner Mordecai is exactly who TCU fans knew he was.
#20 Ole Miss pulled away from #24 Tulane in the 4th quarter to win 37-20. Tulane was without their starting quarterback.
#21 Duke handled business against Lafayette 42-7.
#25 Clemson took a while to get going, but eventually rolled to a 66-17 win over Charleston Southern.
Coach Perry’s Power Rankings: Week 2
Note - I want everyone to understand that my power rankings are completely based on performances from this year and that is it. I’m not going to rank Georgia #1 just because they won the last 2 national championships.
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Penn State
- Ohio State
Week 3 Games to Watch
After a fantastic slate of games in week 2, we’re getting a pretty boring week 3. No top-25 matchups (as of right now, could change when rankings come out).
Friday, September 15
Virginia at Maryland 6:00 PM
Saturday, September 16
#7 Penn State at Illinois
#14 LSU at Mississippi State
#15 Kansas State at Missouri
South Carolina at #1 Georgia
Minnesota at #17 North Carolina
#8 Washington at Michigan State
#9 Tennessee at Florida
Georgia Tech at #20 Ole Miss
BYU at Arkansas
Syracuse at Purdue
Pitt at West Virginia
TCU at Houston