Richard’s Rewind Week #2 – I love defense and great defensive games are rare in college football these days, so the slug fest between USC and Stanford yesterday was a thing of beauty, although I’m sure Cardinal fans would disagree. Stanford had multiple red zone opportunities but continually came up empty. Stanford fans can at least take solace in the knowledge that the PAC 12 race is expected to be so tight that one conference loss may not keep them out of the race because it’s unlikely anyone will be able to navigate that conference schedule without a loss….or two. Oregon is #1 across the board this week in all three of my reports. I’m not surprised. The Ducks played the toughest opponent of any team in the Top 25 and beat the Spartans convincingly after exploding offensively in the 3rd quarter. Once the Duck defense gained momentum in the second half, Michigan State didn’t stand a chance, only scoring 3 second half points. The strength of schedule between Florida State (#60) and Oregon (#33) is not even close. How could Oregon not be #1?
Second Week shockers – Ok, I’ll take my lumps…..I had no idea Virginia Tech was THAT good. I’m a huge Beamer fan and I’ve always thought Bud Foster was one of the best defensive coordinators in college Football, but geez, this team is so young! I just couldn’t comprehend the Hokies going into the Horseshoe and pulling off that kind of upset. Just proves what happens when talent and great coaching come together. Almost as big a shock was the way BYU just ripped Texas in Austin. It was worse than last season’s shellacking in Provo. In the first half the Texas defense certainly held their own and kept the Longhorns in the game. But in the second half Taysom Hill just took over. What a great athlete and a great leader. You can see how the entire Cougar team responds to his leadership. I came away from this game with two major questions: Can Texas keep their composure and come back quick against UCLA in Arlington, or will this create a collapse before Charlie Strong ever develops any momentum? Also, wow, just how good is this BYU team anyway? In my game by game preseason projections in July I predicted BYU to go 9-3 with losses at Texas, at Central Florida, and at Boise State, but let me tell you, this morning, I don’t see a team on that schedule that can beat this Cougar team. Should an undefeated BYU team be considered for selection to the four team playoff….absolutely. I wonder if Mike Slive would consider them worthy of scheduling then? I think the SEC is just afraid to play BYU…..and with good reason. Think Notre Dame was making a statement against Michigan? Hmmm…….31-0 screams “I’ll bet you’re glad you don’t have to do this again anytime soon.” Shockers are not limited to Power Five Teams. Did you catch what Louisiana Tech did to Sun Belt favorite La. Lafayette? One week after getting drubbed 48-16 in Norman by the high flying Sooners, the Bulldogs promptly rolled into Cajun Field and upset their cross state rival 48-20.
The Big 10 is not dead – Contrary to popular reports of their early demise, the Big 10 conference is not dead, they still have breath, this is only week two. Yes, the losses were severe, but for Pete’s sake look at the competition…..Oregon, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and yes, I’ll even count Northern Illinois in that same breath. The opposition was, as former Ohio State President Gordon Gee so rightly put it, “not the little sisters of the poor” ! The only reason it looked so bad was because all those losses fell on the same weekend. Big will rebound.
Florida State may have some competition after all – After that stunning upset of Ohio State Virginia Tech is all of a sudden looking like a potential ACC Championship quality team, and there are a few others within the conference showing signs of promise. In addition to Clemson, Louisville, Duke, and Pittsburgh have started out the season quite impressive.
PAC 12 One Two Punch– Not only is Oregon #1 this week, but Southern California takes the # 2 spot after their road win over then # 14 Stanford. Quality of opposition speaks volumes in Billingsley’s program. The SEC fell in standings because of their poor quality of opposition including San Houston State, Lamar, Florida Atlantic, San Jose State, and Eastern Michigan. As the season progresses some of that ground will be made up, but this week it sure reared it’s ugly head in the rankings.
Projections holding their own – The Billingsley + projections were more solid this past week at 36-9 (80.0%), but that was only good enough for a tie at #19 in the nation as recorded by The Prediction Tracker. The Billingsley Report was 34-11. The Dunkel Index, the nation’s oldest continuous ranking system (since 1929) is hot so far this year coming in second last week and #1 this week. Can you imagine the same system that pioneered math rankings 85 years ago still being among the best in 2014? Simply put, that is AMAZING. Congratulations Bob and Richard Dunkel on a job well done!