NCAA football Week 2 preview
College Contributor Network
U.P.S.E.T. City (or nearly)
Sure, fans of Navy and Oklahoma State weren't especially pleased with last week's results, but they sure had something to cheer about as both their schools were two of several to test the BCS's "best of the best" in Week 1.
Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama, and UCLA -- all of whom entered their first game ranked in the AP Top Ten -- narrowly escaped defeat on the first Saturday of the season. Headed into the weekend, West Virginia figured to give Alabama a run for its money; ditto for Oklahoma State and the reigning-National Champion 'Noles.
But the Midshipmen? The Cavaliers of Virginia? Did someone breathe football magic into the Mid-Atlantic Region?
Is the SEC Still Top Dog?
Not to say the new network and the new analyst by the name of Tim Tebow have done the conference wrong by any means... but after last week's performances, is there a cause for concern?
As noted above, Alabama had its hands full with West Virginia last week, Ole Miss had to hang with Boise State before taking a late-game lead, and South Carolina -- those beloved Gamecocks -- lost to Texas A&M. The Johnny Manziel-less Texas A&M.
With at least three to four teams in both the East and West divisions in the midst of rebuilding years, can the SEC still be considered the best conference in college football?
Well, I mean, I guess at the very least they're not these guys....
The Big 10... I mean the Big 12... I mean the Big 14...
...but is it as "big" as it claims to be?
Certainly, the likes of Michigan and Michigan State are destined to make a splash -- but is this a given due to the strength of their conference schedule?
The Wolverines will have a test of sorts this weekend against Notre Dame, but from there it's relatively smooth sailing (they won't play a ranked opponent until the Spartans on October 25th).
MSU will have to play Nebraska, Purdue, and Indiana in the three weeks prior to that match-up at the end of October but, again, they're only playing Nebraska, Purdue, and Indiana-and two of those are conference games.
If there are any two teams to benefit from the quote-unquote "strengthening" of the Big Ten (and I do hope you sense my sarcasm on that one), it's this duo.
Not Trying to Be a Negative Nancy, But....
... One team sure was chilling in the negative earlier this week.
While You Were Away... D3 Football Returns
While their Division I counterparts took to the gridiron last weekend, NCAA Division III programs across the country will begin play this weekend.
At the top of D3football.com's Preseason Top 25 are, of course, the three juggernauts: defending champion Wisconsin-Whitewater (winner of five national titles), up-and-comer Mary Hardin-Baylor, and perennial power Mount Union (winner of 11 national titles).
Beyond that, there's still plenty of room for excitement -- the electric offense of Wesley (#5), defensive powerhouse Rowan (#15), and a slew of New York teams, including St. John Fisher (#9), Hobart (#12), and Ithaca (#23).
It's expected that at least one of those top three will be in the Stagg Bowl come December... actually it's more or less a guarantee. What would be nice is to see another team crash the party and make some noise come playoff time.
What to Watch For
It's the end of an era for the Wolverines and Fighting Irish this weekend, as the two historic programs will play their last regular season scheduled game for the foreseeable future.
Elsewhere, that other Michigan team (the Spartans) face perhaps one of the most complete teams in college football in the Oregon Ducks, while the California brothers USC and Stanford duke it out in the west.
My big "what to watch" for however, is the timetable as to how soon the Braxton Miller-less Buckeyes will falter. Was Week 1 just a slip-up -- a reality check of life without their heralded QB -- or a sign of things to come?
Coach Urban Meyer initially said he didn't like what he saw on the field last Saturday... but, after re-watching the tape, he was pleased with his team's improvement from first to second half.
He'll be even happier if the Buckeyes prove me wrong and roll over Virginia Tech this weekend.
Who to Watch For
Do I think he will play well? Maybe. Will he play poorly? Maybe.
But either way, Notre Dame QB Everett Golson has returned and suddenly the National Championship runner-ups (yes-that actually happened) from 2012-2013 just might have a pulse.
The now-senior Golson threw for two touchdowns last weekend in the Irish's win over Rice and nearly 300 yards... and yes, he hadn't thrown a varsity pass since the 2012 BCS Title Game.
So will Golson rewind to 2012 against a Wolverines defense ranked 34th overall in points against and only featuring two seniors on defense? Time will tell.
You Heard It Here First
Former Texas A&M quarterback, and Justin Beiber sidekick/current Cleveland Browns back-up, Johnny Manziel has filed to trademark the name "Johnny Cleveland." It's the 10th trademark filed by the (again) back-up quarterback's company.
Fortunately for Johnny, that one wasn't taken: unlike "Juanito Football," which has already been trademarked without his permission.
Viva La Hoyer.
The Last Laugh
Featured as this week's SportsCenter's number one Not Top Ten Play of the Week... and on USA Today's For the Win... and just about everywhere else is perhaps the biggest "fail" of an on-field entrance in quite some time.
But don't worry: the Eagles of Eastern Michigan went down swinging... literally.
Mia O'Brien is a senior at Ithaca College's Roy H. Park School of Communications, where basically everyone calls her "Mobrien." She's a fan of country music, a good debate, and French dressing -- in no particular order. For sports updates, random musings, and many a creative hashtag, follow her on Twitter: @OBSportsLive16