Week two belonged to the Pac 12, from coast to coast
The USC Trojans got things off on the right foot by traveling to the east coast to play a feisty Syracuse team and even though they were far from dominant, the Trojans found a way to put away the Orange in MetLife Stadium with New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on the sideline. Matt Barkley put up six touchdown passes in what was an otherwise ordinary performance, but Robert Woods and Marqise Lee gave the USC offense the sparks they needed and the defense was able to get away with a bend but don’t break performance.
USC will still be the most likely team to get out of the Pac 12 South to play for the Pac 12 championship, but did their division competition just get a little tougher? Aside from Utah (lost at Utah State) and Colorado (lost at home to FCS Sacramento State), the rest of the division opened some eyes Saturday night. UCLA’s offensive output against Nebraska was incredible (more on that in a bit), and Arizona smacked Oklahoma State every which way in Tucson. Over in Tempe, Arizona State was busy putting away Illinois in smashing fashion as well.
Then, up north, the Oregon Beavers showed their season debut was well worth the wait as they completely shut down Big Ten favorite Wisconsin, 10-7. When all was said and done, the Pac 12 scored multiple victories over the Big Ten (three), as well as wins against the Big 12, Big East and ACC. The Pac 12 took advantage of home field advantage in week two but the week three schedule includes games at Ohio State (Cal) and Missouri (Arizona State). Wins in those games would certainly help make the case that the Pac 12 could be the top conference in college football not plying in the southeast.
But is the SEC slipping?
Arkansas losing at home to Louisiana Monroe gave all anti-SEC fans a chance to poke some fun at the conference at least for a little bit on Saturday. The conference still looks to have some stiff competition playing in the league with top-ranked Alabama, LSU and South Carolina all having little trouble in their match-ups. Georgia looked strong late to spoil Missouri’s SEC debut and Florida had the last laugh in Texas A&M’s SEC debut. Even Kentucky had a laugher in a victory over Kent State.
No, the SEC is still on top folks. That still has a good ways to go before changing.
B1G Disappointments, Version 2012.2
Last week the Big Ten had a decent opening week but was marred by a public humiliation of Michigan and a home upset loss for Penn State. Michigan battled for a redemption win of sorts at home against Air Force but the rest of the conference did little to back them up.
Penn State’s second game of the season saw better play on offense and defense but was thwarted by special teams woes at Virginia. Sophomore kicker Sam Ficken missed four field goals and an extra point as Penn State lost on the road, 17-16. We already mentioned the Big Ten’s losses out west for Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois, but Purdue also came up short at Notre Dame and Iowa lost a defensive battle at home to Iowa State. It was the first time Kirk Ferentz had lost a game when holding his opponents to under ten points.
Ohio State looks good but they are ineligible for postseason play. After two weeks it appears as though Michigan State is going to have to carry the banner for the conference this season.
Player of the Week: Kolton Browning, Louisiana Monroe quarterback
It is extremely difficult to overlook the quarterback of a team that scored the biggest upset of the weekend. Louisiana Monroe’s Kolton Browning completed 42 of 67 pass attempts for 412 yards and three touchdowns to help the Warhawks stun Arkansas in overtime. He added 69 rushing yards as well, with his 16-yard scramble to the right side of an open field in overtime serving as the game-winning play.
Best Win of the Week: UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
After many shrugged off UCLA’s week one victory over Rice as just something nice, the Bruins made a bit of a louder statement Saturday night in he Rose Bowl with a win against Nebraska. The Huskers were playing without Rex Burkhead but UCLA torched Nebraska’s defense for 653 yards, including 344 on the ground, and controlled the football for nearly 38 minutes. UCLA may still have a bit of work to do before competing with the likes of USC and Oregon, but they should be fun to watch this season regardless.
Worst Loss of the Week: No. 8 Arkansas 31, Louisiana Monroe 34
While plenty of credit should be given to Louisiana Monroe for the best win in school history, this was a terrible loss for Arkansas. The Razorbacks were shredded on defense for 550 yards, 412 through the air. Arkansas also led 28-7 in the second half. All of that and a possible injury to starting quarterback Tyler Wilson and things certainly could not have turned any worse the week before No. 1 Alabama comes to town.
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