Even just two weeks into the college football season, opinions are being formed and forecasts are being made for how the rest of the schedule will play out.
That’s a dangerous proposition when there are 11 more weeks and the unpredictable nature of the sport has already been on full display this season. Almost half of the preseason Top 25 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll has already lost a game. There are more to come.
So one should temper their expectations and not overreact to results. Here are five of those results from Week 2 to keep in mind when looking ahead.
Oregon is lock to make the playoff
As impressive as it was for the Ducks to go into Columbus and defeat No. 3 Ohio State, let’s hold back on crowning them the champions of the Pac-12, let alone giving them a free pass to the playoff. It’s easy to focus on a team’s offense when evaluating its ability. Oregon has the running game that is going to be a problem for most teams to handle. However, the success against the Buckeyes was also due to OSU’s struggles against the run that also were on display against Minnesota. Antony Brown played efficiently, but what still remains to be seen is how the Ducks fare against an elite unit that can slow its run game down. UCLA and Arizona State have that capability.
The other more pressing concern in the defense. Yes, starters Kayvon Thibodeux and Justin Flowe were out against Ohio State and they would have helped. Oregon still bent tremendously by allowing 612 yards to a freshman quarterback. The defense didn’t break, though they were close. It’s an issue that needs some sorting out before the Pac-12’s first berth since 2016 is confirmed.
HIGHS AND LOWS: Winners and losers from Week 2 in college football
MISEERY INDEX: Top spot goes to Southern California, Clay Helton after loss
WEEK 2 OBSERVATIONS: Iowa plays itself into postseason consideration
Michigan is ready to contend in the Big Ten
Two things can be true at the same time. The Wolverines can look improved, especially with their running game, and we can’t make any determination on how good this team is until the competition gets tougher. Washington was supposed to be an early test before the Huskies revealed themselves as one of the overrated teams from the preseason.
So when will we know if this revamped Michigan team is going to be able to compete for the division title in the East that suddenly seems wide-open with Ohio State’s loss? Surprisingly, it might be in two weeks against Rutgers. But we will know for sure when the Wolverines visit Wisconsin on Oct. 2. Until then, don’t get too high or too low on their outlook.
The season is over for Iowa State
OK, the loss to Iowa was a huge letdown for a program that returned so many seniors that were hoping to push the program to unchartered heights. Perhaps the pressure of the moment was too great and the Cyclones tried too hard against a rival it continues to be unable to solve.
This is still a talented team that can run the table in the Big 12. It must start with improved play from quarterback Brock Purdy. Turnovers have been his bugaboo during his career and it again reared its head Saturday. The silver lining is the way the defense shut down the Hawkeyes – holding them to 173 yards – and the unit should keep the team in most of its games. The margin of error is gone, but don’t be surprised if this team makes a run at the conference title and more.
Arkansas is a top-tier team in the SEC West
Yes, the win against Texas was impressive, especially with the way the Razorbacks dominated both lines of scrimmage. This shouldn’t be a surprise given Sam Pittman’s background as an offensive line coach, and the signs of recovery that showed last year when Arkansas beat three SEC teams after one league win in the previous three seasons.
The Hogs won’t manhandle teams in the SEC the way they did at home Saturday, so pushing them ahead of Texas A&M, Mississippi, LSU or Auburn. Consecutive games against the Aggies and Georgia starting later this month will give a better indication if the field-storming win against the Longhorns was proof of something bigger at hand.
Florida State can’t sink any lower
Just when you thought the Seminoles were going to rebound this season after an impressive opener against Notre Dame, they find another way to show how far this program has fallen from its former elite status.
Florida State seemed headed for a comfortable – if not impressive – win against Jacksonville State from the Football Champions Subdivision. Then, they failed to score from the 1 with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks rallied to within 17-14, setting up a final-play touchdown for the win on a 59-yard pass that saw the Seminoles inexplicably eschew a prevent defense for a man-to-man coverage.
Before 2018, Florida State hadn’t had a losing season since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first year. The Seminoles have done it twice in the last three years and it is looking like three of four after an 0-2 start. Hard times in Tallahassee.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CFB Week 2 overreactions: Michigan ready to contend in the Big Ten
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