BY MICHAEL LEESE
BIG 1O COMMISSIONER DEFENDS THE CONFERENCE AFTER POOR SHOWING THIS WEEKEND. Jim Delany fielded questions Sunday after the conference was humiliated with three big losses on the national stage on Saturday. Michigan State fell to Oregon in Eugene 46-27, despite holding a 27-18 third quarter lead. Michigan traveled to Notre Dame and were whitewashed 31-0. The Wolverines were held scoreless for the first time since 1984. The biggest shock, occurred in Columbus, Ohio where Virginia Tech dominated the trenches in a 35-21 win over Ohio State. These three losses combined with last weekends loss by Wisconsin have put Jim Delany in damage control.
” I would just say with 50 percent of the non-conference games and 100 percent of conference games remaining, it’s premature to make any judgments”. Said Delany, responding to questions concerning whether the conference could still send a team to the playoff. “It’s September 7, not December 7. I would hate to think after two weeks we’d pick any teams for anything. Anyone who writes the story of the 2014 football season after two weeks, that’s premature.”
I guess I’m a bit premature, as I see very little hope for a scenario to develop where a Big 10 team could manage to pull it off. The conference has struggled out of the gate thus far. This past weekend, Nebraska needed a 58 yard run in the final 20 seconds by Ameer Abdullah to beat McNeese state 31-24. Iowa scored 14 points in the final three minutes to get by Ball State 17-14! Maryland turned the ball over six times, yet still managed to beat South Florida 24-17. Purdue was beaten at home 38-17 by Central Michigan! I would be surprised at this point if any Big 10 team could manage to reach 11 wins, which it would surely take to get a playoff invitation.
NOTRE DAME AND BYU MAKING NOISE AS INDEPENDENTS……The Fighting Irish are 2-0 and looking like a national contender after two weeks. Quarterback Everett Golson has been the difference for the Irish. He has been nearly flawless under center, while his leadership has been exceptional. An October 18 road game at Florida State could be one of the bigger games of the season.
BYU has also gotten off to a strong start behind quarterback Taysom Hill and a physical defense. Hill was again outstanding leading the Cougars to another big win over Texas 41-7. The Cougars have allowed just 17 points in two road games thus far. The schedule sets up well for the Cougars as their remaining tough games will be played at home. An October road game at Boise State could well become a huge game.
* Florida State defeated Citadel 37-11. The win was the 18th straight for the Seminoles a school record.
* The Virginia Tech win was the first in school history against a team ranked in the top 8 on the road. During a 14 play sequence in the fourth quarter, the Hokie defense sacked quarterback J.T.Barrett six times and forced two turnovers!
* Pittsburgh moved to 2-0 with a conference win over Boston College. James Connor continued his dominance with 214 yards rushing on 36 carries.
* Virginia’s defense continued to impress with a 45-13 win over Richmond. The Cavaliers forced seven turnovers.
* North Carolina needed an end zone interception with 14 seconds left to defeat San Diego State.
* congratulations to Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson on his first ACC win. The Demon Deacons defeated Gardner-Webb 23-7.
BIG 12 NOTES
* Seth Russell filling in for the injured Bryce petty, threw for 438 yards and five touchdowns. Freshman receiver K.D. Cannon caught three touchdown passes good for 223 yards. The Bears hope to get Petty back in a couple of weeks after it was determined he had a couple of broken bones in his back.
* Kansas State needed a Jake Waters touchdown run with 1:30 left to defeat Iowa State 32-28.
* The loss by Texas to BYU was their worst home loss on 17 years!
* Oklahoma State lost quarterback J.W. Walsh to a foot injury in their win over Missouri State. Walsh was replaced by Daxx Garman who filled in well throwing for 244 yards and two scores. Walsh could be lost for several weeks.
* Texas Tech struggled for a second consecutive week. The Red Raiders narrowly defeated UTEP 30-26.
* The Pac 12 went 11-1 this weekend in non-conference battles.
* The Stanford-USC battle lived up to It’s hype. Each team traded punches for sixty minutes, but in the end it was the Trojan defense that landed the knockout blow forcing a fumble late in the game. Stanford actually held a large advantage in terms of yardage 413-291.
* Utah moved to 2-0 with another big win, this time over Fresno State 59-27. The Utes have now scored 115 points in two games! They now have a bye week before traveling to Michigan.
* Oregon’s impressive come from behind win over Michigan State helped them vault over Alabama to #2 in the polls. Marcus Mariota had a solid game throwing for 318 yards and three scores. Mariota is a front-runner for the Heisman trophy.
* #11 UCLA moved to 2-0 on the season, slipping by Memphis at home. The Bruins gave up 469 total yards!
* Cyler Miles returned from suspension to help guide the Huskies past Eastern Washington 59-52. The Huskies defense surrendered 573 yards to the Eagles and FCS school.
* Washington State moved to 0-2 with a road loss at Nevada. The Cougars will now have to hope for a dramatic turnaround to get bowl eligible.
* It was a rather lackluster weekend in SEC play, as six teams routed their opponents by 40 points or more.
* Jeff Driskell returned for Florida and looked sharp throwing for 248 yards and one score.
* South Carolina rebounded from the loss to Texas A & M with a 33-23 win over East Carolina.
* Blake Sims looks like he has taken firm control of his quarterback battle with Jake Coker. Alabama head coach likes the mobility that Sims brings to the offense.
* Bo Wallace played what might have been his best game as a Rebel, in the win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Wallace threw for 320 yards and one touchdown in the victory.
* Georgia enjoyed a bye week in preparation for their battle at South Carolina this coming weekend.
TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK
Wes Lunt of Illinois……35 of 50 good for 456 yards and three touchdowns
David Cobb of Minnesota……29 carries good for 220 yards and two scores. 7.6 yards per carry
K.D. Cannon of Baylor……6 catches good for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“It is an embarrassment to this program and an embarrassment to the university.” — Coach Charlie Strong after Texas lost to BYU 41-7, the program’s worst home loss in 17 years.
“Things started to snowball and we couldn’t stop it from snowballing,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after his team fell to Oregon.
“I think it says a lot that we can come in against this team, in this environment, and the game not really going our way and not really in our favor, just for whatever reason, and find a way to win,” Sarkisian said after the Trojans held on to beat the Cardinal.