Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

2022 Post-Week Two CFB Roundup

Khalan Laborn, Marshall
Reactions & Thoughts

It's Time For Jimbo To Hand Over Play-calling Duties: Throughout his time as head coach at Florida State and Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher has maintained significant control over each team's offense, operating as the chief play-caller. Following A&M's embarrassing loss to Appalachian State over the weekend, it feels like it's time for him to relinquish control and hire a true offensive coordinator. For so long, Fisher's offense has been viewed as "complex" but it goes beyond that; it simply is not a reliable offense in modern college football. With the lone exception of Jameis Winston's Heisman season back in 2013, Fisher's units have regularly been mediocre, lacking an explosiveness that has defined truly elite, National Championship-caliber teams. While I don't think Fisher is on a hot seat following the frustrating loss, you get the sense that there will be internal pressure for him to bring in someone as offensive coordinator, and there will be plenty of candidates available this offseason. It's always difficult for a veteran head coach, especially one that has won a National Title, to give up some control, but it's clearly time in College Station.

Saturday Was More About Texas Than Alabama: One of the more surprising results of the weekend wasn't an upset, but Texas taking it down to the wire against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. I give the Longhorns plenty of credit; I thought this game was going to be an absolute domination, and over halfway through the third quarter. On the contrary, Texas looked like the better team for the majority of the game, even with quarterback Quinn Ewers going down early in the game. It was the Longhorn defense that surprised the most. For so long, this has been the Achilles Heel of the program, but they looked well-coached, disciplined, and filled their gaps incredibly well. That doesn't mean Alabama's offense isn't without faults, they've been too vanilla since Bill O'Brien took over as OC and desperately miss a deep threat like Tyler Harrell, who has been out the first two weeks of the year. It also doesn't mean we have to overvalue Texas after a close loss to the nation's top team. This team looks improved through the first several weeks, but Ewers will miss over a month due to injury, and they remain far from perfect. Contending for a Big 12 Title would mark significant improvement for Steve Sarkisian in Year Two and now appear like a real possibility instead of a fantasy at this point.

Long Live The "Fun Belt": Was there any conference, whether it be Power Five or Group of Five, that had a better weekend than the Sun Belt? It began with Marshall's shocking upset of No. 8 Notre Dame in South Bend, a statement win for the program in their debut season in the league. Appalachian State quickly followed it up, as a 29-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the game proved to be the deciding factor over sixth-ranked Texas A&M. As if that wasn't enough, the Sun Belt had an epic conclusion, with Georgia Southern finishing off the Scott Frost era in Lincoln. It was quite the impressive trio for a conference that continues to rise in prominence. Just a decade ago, the Sun Belt looked like it may be dying but now, it has a real chance to challenge the American Athletic for Group of Five supremacy.

It Was Fun, Scott Frost: For the rest of the Big Ten West, that is. In fact, the entire Scott Frost tenure was a reminder of just how difficult it is to predict these types of things. He looked the ideal coaching candidate after his run at UCF, and was the prodigal son coming home to restore glory to his alma mater. Four-plus years later, he wraps up his time in Lincoln with a total record of 16-31 and a dismal 10-26 mark inside the Big Ten. It just didn't work out, but this certainly is not the end for Frost. He had a quick rise up the coaching ranks and was considered quite the innovative offensive mind before the Nebraska disaster. He is also just 47 years old, essentially a baby in the world of college football coaching, so it would not shock me if he is a hot name on the market over this offseason, especially for a Group of Five program that saw how quickly he turned things around with UCF.

Can Minnesota Take Advantage In The Big Ten West?: I'll admit there may have been some bias in my selection of Minnesota for the Big Ten West Title, but after two weeks, it's looking more and more realistic. Of course, there is an important caveat here; we don't know much about the Gophers as their first two games featured easy victories over New Mexico State and Western Illinois and we won't learn too much this weekend against an atrocious Colorado team. However, simply look at the rest of the division. Wisconsin and Iowa featured two of the worst offensive performances of the weekend in brutal losses, Nebraska now has an interim coach and are far from contention, Northwestern lost to Duke, and both Purdue and Illinois have lost league games already. This feels like a golden opportunity for the Golden Gophers, but is this the year P.J. Fleck and company can actually take advantage?

Weekly Awards

Offensive Helmet Sticker: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

After a quiet first weekend for Ohio State against Notre Dame, they seemed to take out some frustration in Week Two. They went for 538 yards in a 45-12 drubbing of Arkansas State, even after resting their starters most of the second half. C.J. Stroud took full advantage, throwing for six touchdowns, but I found the most impressive player on the field to be wide out Marvin Harrison Jr. The son of the former NFL legend was absolutely unstoppable, catching seven passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns. It was a true coming out party for a receiver that many have long thought could assert himself as a household name in 2022. With Jaxon Smith-Njigba likely out for another week or two, it presents an opportunity for Harrison continue racking up the statistics and set himself up as an early Biletnikoff favorite.

Defensive Helmet Sticker: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

Drew Sanders had flashed plenty of upside during his time at Alabama, but through two games at Arkansas, he's been the best player on the field. He was particularly dominant during Saturday's victory over South Carolina, notching 11 tackles, two sacks, and three tackles for loss. It seemed that everywhere a Gamecock turned, Sanders was in position, helping hold South Carolina to just 40 yards rushing on 29 attempts. He has injected a new energy into this Arkansas defense, helping Barry Odom's crew transform from a good unit to a potentially elite one, pushing them into the forefront of SEC West contention.

Team of the Week: Marshall Thundering Herd

The reality of 2022 is that Notre Dame is a very flawed football team, one likely to hover around 7-8 wins in Marcus Freeman's first season, if even that. Even so, that doesn't take away from Marshall's major victory over the weekend. Not once did the Thundering Herd appear scared of the moment, but instead went into Notre Dame Stadium and outplayed one of the sport's most recognizable brands. A pair of former transfers, Henry Colombi and Khalan Laborn, fueled the offense, but it was the defense that sealed the deal for Charles Huff's team. A pair of interceptions, including one brought back to the house by Steven Gilmore, sealed the victory, one of the greatest in program history. This was no fluke either; this has long been one of the Group of Five's most consistent programs and they should be in the thick of things in the Sun Belt Title race.

"Small-School" Team of the Week: Georgia Southern Eagles

This wasn't the first time Georgia Southern pulled off a win over a blue blood down on their luck (ahem, 2013 Florida), but Saturday's upset of Nebraska deserves all the credit. It wasn't just that the Eagles went into Lincoln and ended the Scott Frost era, but how throughly they did so. Led by Buffalo transfer Kyle Vantrease at quarterback, Georgia Southern torched the Blackshirt defense to the tune of 642 yards, even with two turnovers. They also battled adversity along the way; after a go-ahead score from Casey Thompson looked like it may doom their upset hopes, the Eagles drove right down the field and scored with less than a minute remaining. There's still plenty of work to be down for first-year head coach Clay Helton, but this win certainly got the fans on his side to begin his tenure.

My Top 25

Current Rank                    Last Week

1. Ohio State Buckeyes        (1)

2. Georgia Bulldogs            (3)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide    (2)

4. Clemson Tigers                (4)

5. NC State Wolfpack           (5)

6. Arkansas Razorbacks        (8)

7. Oklahoma Sooners            (9)

8. Michigan Wolverines        (10)

9. USC Trojans                    (12)

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons    (11)

11. Miami Hurricanes        (13)

12. BYU Cougars                (17)

13. Utah Utes                    (16)

14. Tennessee Volunteers    (18)

15. Michigan State Spartans    (19)

16. Cincinnati Bearcats        (20)

17. Minnesota Golden Gophers    (21)

18. Texas A&M Aggies        (6)

19. Oklahoma State Cowboys    (24)

20. Oregon Ducks                (25)

21. Coastal Carolina            (NR)

22. Kentucky Wildcats           (NR)

23. Baylor Bears                (15)

24. Ole Miss Rebels            (NR)

25. Oregon State Beavers    (NR)

Receiving Votes: Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Marshall Thundering Herd, Penn State Nittany Lions, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Kansas State Wildcats

Dropped Out: Notre Dame (#7), Florida (#14), UCF (#22), Wisconsin (#23)

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.