There have been higher days for the SEC.
The nation’s strongest convention — uh, we predict — had a reasonably depressing Saturday, beginning with No.1 Alabama’s sweat-inducing shut shave as an enormous favourite in opposition to No. 22 Texas.
While the Crimson Tide survived, 20-19, the slim win raises some questions in regards to the workforce’s place atop the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.
At least Alabama escaped what would have been a horrible loss.
no 6 Texas A&M misplaced 17-14 to Appalachian State, sending the Aggies tumbling within the early Bowl Subdivision pecking order and reinforcing one thing each Power Five program ought to tattoo on their brow: Don’t schedule the Mountaineers — not at residence, not away, not ever
Missouri was blitzed by former border-state rival Kansas State in a 40-12 loss. The Tigers have been pushed round by the Wildcats’ terrific operating recreation, paced once more by star operating again Deuce Vaughn, and have been finally doomed by a run of 4 interceptions in as many drives within the second half.
In one other Power Five crossover matchup, Vanderbilt misplaced 45-25 to No. 21 Wake Forest and quarterback Sam Hartman, who threw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns after lacking the season opener.
It’s not all dangerous, nevertheless. It speaks to the SEC’s depth that one other member, No. 2 Georgia, might supplant the Tide atop this week’s Top 25 after a simple win in opposition to Samford. Tennessee is destined for a nationwide rating after beating No. 14 Pittsburgh 34-27 in additional time, albeit with the Panthers having beginning quarterback Kedon Slovis sidelined for the second half.
This weekend’s record of winners and losers consists of groups from the SEC, Big 12 and extra:
Sometimes a loss is not only a loss, even when the Longhorns had a number of alternatives within the second half to place Alabama away and safe a tenure-making victory for second-year coach Steve Sarkisian. While Texas got here up simply quick, the efficiency bodes nicely for the workforce’s probabilities in an unpredictable Big 12 and ought to put wind in this system’s sails after a dreadful 2021 season. One factor the Longhorns want is a wholesome quarterback after dropping starter Quinn Ewers early and watching backup Hudson Card limp his approach by way of a gutty efficiency.
SHOWING FIGHT:Texas tells Alabama, remainder of SEC it’s prepared for brand new league
After narrowly dropping to North Carolina amid an epic fourth-quarter barrage of factors, Appalachian State deserves to be picked as the favourite within the Sun Belt and one of many prime groups within the Group of Five after profitable at A&M. Down the highway, there’s an opportunity this workforce seems again on the UNC loss and wonders what might’ve been; as confirmed final yr, an unbeaten Group of Five workforce with strong non-conference wins in opposition to the Power Five might make an argument for the College Football Playoff.
Caleb Williams had 341 passing yards and 4 touchdowns as USC moved to 2-0 with a 41-28 win at Stanford. It’s fairly clear by way of two weeks that this offense goes to be nearly as good as anticipated, largely as a result of earlier connection Williams had with Lincoln Riley and his scheme. But with Oregon and Utah already holding a loss, the Trojans are already the highest-ranked workforce from the Pac-12 and perhaps a contender for the New Year’s Six even sooner than anticipated.
The Cougars are set to take an enormous leap into the playoff dialog after bouncing again from a missed area purpose in regulation and one in additional time to beat future Big 12 cohort Baylor 26-20 in double additional time. Keyed by quarterback Jaren Hall’s 261 passing yards, the win will ship BYU hovering within the Coaches Poll and create some main momentum heading into subsequent weekend’s matchup with Oregon. The Cougars additionally face Notre Dame and Arkansas in October, offering much more alternative to play an enormous position within the make-up of this yr’s New Year’s Six.
Kansas is 2-0 for the primary time since 2011 after a 55-42 additional time win in opposition to West Virginia capped by a walk-off pick-six within the first additional body. The program has made monumental features in a really quick time below second-year coach Lance Leipold, who took over the workforce final spring and has reworked the Jayhawks right into a not-so-easy out within the Big 12. Leipold’s work goes to make him a really intriguing possibility for some high-profile jobs set to open this winter and subsequent within the Midwest.
History tells us Alabama will bounce again and stay one of many groups to beat within the race for the nationwide championship. In the quick aftermath, nevertheless, search for a number of groups on this yr’s schedule to share this uncommon thought: Alabama seems beatable. One future opponent who could also be dreaming of an SEC West crown is No. 17 Arkansas, which moved to 2-0 with a 44-30 win in opposition to South Carolina. Quarterback KJ Jefferson had 229 yards of whole offense and two touchdowns whereas the protection gave up simply 44 yards on the bottom, the fewest allowed by the Razorbacks in 4 years. This efficiency comes after a win within the season opener in opposition to Cincinnati, one of many prime packages within the Group of Five. Through two weeks, Arkansas could have one of the best resume of any workforce within the Bowl Subdivision.
Will beating Florida give Kentucky somewhat nationwide respect? (Probably not.) One week after upsetting Utah, the Gators have been shoved round by a reasonably classic Kentucky effort. The Wildcats held UF to 279 yards of offense and intercepted quarterback Anthony Richardson twice in a 26-16 win that ought to settle a number of issues within the SEC East. While Georgia’s the overwhelming favourite, second place appears more likely to come all the way down to the Wildcats and Tennessee, with that assembly set in Knoxville on Oct. 29
The Wildcats acquired little or no by way of the air from switch quarterback Adrian Martinez, who threw for under 101 yards, however bullied Missouri on protection and with a bodily operating recreation that went for 235 yards and 4 scores. Going for 145 yards and two touchdowns will give Vaughn’s missed Heisman marketing campaign some juice with an enormous matchup with No. 7 Oklahoma approaching Sept. 24. It’s clear that Kansas State is a legit risk to win the Big 12 and attain a significant bowl.
The Sun Belt
It was an excellent Saturday for a wildly underrated convention — though the Sun Belt’s secret could also be getting out. In addition to Appalachian State’s win at A&M, Marshall shocked No. 9 Notre Dame, Georgia Southern beat Nebraska, FBS neophyte James Madison remained unbeaten, South Alabama beat MAC frontrunner Central Michigan 38-24 and Georgia State pushed UNC to the sting with an 18-point third quarter earlier than dropping 35-28. With the American set to lose three key members to the Big 12, the Sun Belt stands poised to take over as the highest convention within the Group of Five.
The warmth is on first-year coach Marcus Freeman, who’s the primary coach in program historical past to lose his first three video games. Last week’s 21-10 setback to Ohio State is one factor; falling 26-21 to Marshall is one other. What’s ailing the Fighting Irish? Most of all, this offense shall be scrambling for solutions after one other subpar displaying. Notre Dame averaged 3.5 yards per carry and completed with simply 351 whole yards, with quarterback Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne combining for five.8 yards per try and three interceptions. We could also be a protracted season for the Irish.
Any rating of the worst losses in program historical past has a brand new entry. The Aggies have been outgained by 128 yards and managed simply eight first downs to the Mountaineers’ 22. It’s not that Appalachian State is a pushover, since we all know the Mountaineers are among the many prime groups within the Group of Five. But this yr was imagined to be totally different: A&M was picked as a near-lock for the New Year’s Six and at the same time as the highest workforce within the SEC West. Instead, coach Jimbo Fisher’s workforce has hit all-time low heading right into a brutal run of video games: No. 16 Miami (Fla.), Arkansas, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina and No. 23 Mississippi.
The Scott Frost period is unofficially over after Nebraska misplaced 45-42 to Georgia Southern behind one of many worst defensive performances in class historical past. The Eagles put up 642 yards of offense, 409 coming by way of the air, and scored the game-winning landing with 36 seconds remaining to place a nail within the coffin for what was as soon as one of the vital promising teaching tenures within the Power Five. While it is unlikely that Nebraska makes any teaching transfer earlier than October — and given Frost’s connections to the varsity, perhaps not till after the common season — he’s very a lot teaching out the string as his alma mater.
One week after storming again from a 21-7 gap and getting previous Texas-San Antonio in additional time, Houston noticed the script flipped in a 33-30 loss to Texas Tech. Ahead by three factors because of a area purpose with 37 seconds left, the Cougars allowed the Red Raiders to drive 49 yards to tie the sport with three seconds left. After a miraculous fourth-down conversion by the Red Raiders compelled a second additional time, Tech quarterback Donovan Smith ran it in from 9 yards out for the win. This one hurts: Houston was near beginning 2-0 in opposition to a pair of high quality non-conference opponents earlier than heading into what’s a really pleasant remainder of the schedule.
There are a number of query marks popping out of the shut win, none larger than the state of an offensive line that was projected to enhance after a down 2021 season however was principally unimpressive in opposition to Texas. Is this offensive entrance able to profitable alongside the road of scrimmage in opposition to Arkansas, Georgia and one of the best the SEC has to supply? One factor we all know: Bryce Young is an unimaginable expertise with a aptitude for the dramatic. He took a step in direction of recapturing the Heisman Trophy along with his fantastic fourth quarter.
Any thought that No. 18 Wisconsin might rise out of the Big Ten West and make a run on the convention championship and a playoff berth evaporated fully with a 17-14 loss to Washington State. This is changing into such a predictable a part of the Badgers’ existence that it begs the query of why they’re persistently ranked so excessive within the preseason. Will this system break by way of below Paul Chryst?
At least the Hawkeyes scored seven factors the straightforward approach: with a landing. Unfortunately, after scoring seven with a area purpose and two safeties final week, the landing was all Iowa would muster in a 10-7 loss to rival Iowa State. Where does this go away the Big Ten West? Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois have already suffered a loss. The solely workforce standing unbeaten is Minnesota.