The Big-12 is Upset-prone Again, per Usual
In my week two preview, I warned against betting on Iowa State to win a tough contest vs. Louisiana State, who I think is the real deal this season. I was right. Louisiana-Lafayette beat Iowa State in all aspects of the game. Brock Purdy played awful, but that’s a conversation for another day. What I did not say, however, was to steer clear of all Big-12 teams (except Oklahoma, of course).
The Big-12 was upset in three of their six games this weekend. And, Houston Baptist came within two points of Texas Tech, so the number was almost higher than 50 percent. Louisiana-Lafayette is a good team, but Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina really should not be beating Power-5 opponents. Year in and year out, we watch all Big-12 teams other than Oklahoma throw away their seasons with embarrassing losses. This year already looks to be no different.
Pitt, Louisville, UNC, Miami All Look Legit in Season-Opening Wins
Unlike the Big-12, the ACC got off to a great start in week two. Pittsburgh steamrolled Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent Austin Peay 55-0, showcasing some of their defensive playmakers all game. Louisville came out swinging against Western Kentucky and covered the spread, winning by 14. And, the Tar Heels overcame a slow start and an off day from Sam Howell to defeat Syracuse 31-6. I will also mention the Miami Hurricanes here. Even though I do not think they played the best game, the Canes got the job done, in part due to great games on the ground from Cam’Ron Harris and D’Eriq King.
It is encouraging to see these ACC teams start strong, as the league seems to be on the rise this season. Even with some noteworthy players opting out, the ACC teams other than Clemson look like promising competitors after Week Two. If you’ve read some of my articles, you know Louisville is the team that I think will surpass all expectations. Still, Pitt looked great in Week Two, and UNC and Miami each played well later in their respective games. It is still early, but the ACC looks very competitive to start the season.
Florida State still has no Offense
The one ACC team that did not look good in Week Two was the Florida State Seminoles. An upset loss to Georgia Tech looked even worse in the box score. Florida State accumulated 131 fewer yards than the Yellow Jackets and could not get anything going. Starting running back, La’Damian Webb only rushed for 39 yards, and number one receiver Tamorrion Terry only logged six receptions for 52 yards. To make matters worse, Terry was injured in the second quarter, although he did return to action. James Blackman struggled throughout the game, only completing 23 of 43 passes and throwing an interception. The Seminoles defense played a great game, which is promising but does not take away from the serious issues that Florida State has on the offensive side of the ball.
Clemson Keeps on Pounding Conference Rivals
The Tigers started their 2020 campaign on the road against Wake Forest. After the first few minutes of the game, it became apparent that the Demon Deacons were no match for Dabo Swinney’s number one ranked team. The Tigers were up 27-0 at halftime. Trevor Lawrence excelled, as usual, completing 22 of 28 pass attempts for 351 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing touchdowns. Etienne surpassed 100 yards on 17 rush attempts, and the Tigers dominant front seven held the Wake Forest rushing attack to just 37 yards. Unsurprisingly, Clemson dominated another game against a conference rival and will look to continue that trend throughout the season.
Weekly Top Performers
Sam Ehlinger: As much as I do not want to admit it, Ehlinger proved me wrong in Week Two. I’m not high on him, but he dominated in Texas’ blowout victory over UTEP. Ehlinger completed 25 of 33 pass attempts for 426 yards and five touchdowns. If Ehlinger continues to play like this, he can take Texas atop of the BIG-12 standings.
Trevor Lawrence: His stats are listed above, so there is not much else to say for the future number one overall pick. Just get used to seeing his name on this list.
Bailey Zappe & Alan Bowman: Quarterbacks Bailey Zappe (Houston Baptist) and Alan Bowman (Texas Tech) each dominated in their Saturday contest, combining for 997 passing yards and six touchdowns. Indeed, they both were up against awful defenses and always had receivers open. A great game is a great game, and these quarterbacks most definitely had one.
Jonathan Adams Jr: Arkansas State’s new number one receiver caught my attention this week. He hauled in eight receptions for 98 yards and three touchdowns, making multiple incredible catches throughout the game. If his foot landed in bounds, his one-handed sideline catch in the end zone would have been deemed catch of the year without question. The senior was the Sun Belt offensive player of the week and made a name for himself in his team’s upset win over Kansas State.
Cameron Sample & Patrick Johnson: The two Tulane defensive ends had monster games against Alabama State, totaling ten tackles and each logging two sacks. Johnson is a name I have been monitoring for the 2021 NFL Draft, but Sample is someone I hadn’t taken note of until Saturday.
Chazz Surratt: Surratt was everywhere in UNC’s victory over Syracuse, totaling nine tackles and two sacks. He made a name for himself last season when he made the switch from quarterback to linebacker. Surratt is now on the verge of becoming one of college football’s best defensive stars. He started the season as my sixth-ranked linebacker but could be moving up with more weeks like this one.
Asante Samuel Jr: Trey already talked about Samuel Jr in his 2021 NFL Draft Stock Report, but Samuel Jr was dominant in Week Two. He snagged two interceptions and was virtually impossible to shake in coverage. Georgia Tech eventually stopped throwing the ball his way, as they couldn’t complete anything around him. Samuel Jr is my fifth-ranked cornerback for the class of 2021 and is a player to monitor in the coming weeks.