The State of College Football: Week 2

An absolutely stunning weekend full of football and upsets! With Week 1 in the books we’ll recap the biggest news, what you might have missed and my thoughts on all things college football. This week I give you MY top 25 rankings (bye losers), Weekly Awards, $100 handshakes, #AskMelloAnyhting, Big 12 Expansion (again), Where I Was Right/Wrong, Final Thoughts and Games to Watch this coming weekend. Let’s go!


Top 25
1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. Cincinnati
6. Iowa State
7. Texas A&M
8. Clemson
9. Florida
10. Notre Dame
11. Iowa
12. USC
13. Texas
14. Oregon
15. UCLA
16. UCF
17. Auburn
18. NC State
19. Nevada
20. Coastal Carolina
21. Penn State
22. Virginia Tech
23. Utah
24. Michigan
25. Arizona State


Weekly Awards
Offensive Player of the Week:
Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky - 424 yards, 7 TDs
Defensive Player of the Week: Riley Moss, Iowa - 2 INTs, 2 TDs
Freshman of the Week: Duce Chestnut, Syracuse - 8 tackles, 1 INT
Coach of the Week: Bill O’Brien, OC, Alabama

$100 handshakes:

Quarterback:
Will Levis, Kentucky - 376 yards, 4 TDs
Bryce Young, Alabama - 344 yards, 4 TDs
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland - 332 yards, 3 TDs

Running Back:
Kenneth Walker, Michigan State - 264 yards, 4 TDs
Tyler Badie, Missouri - 203 yards, 1 TD
Zach Charbonnet, UCLA - 117 yards, 1 TD

Receiver:
Kayshon Boutte, LSU - 9 catches, 148 yards, 3 TDs
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama - 5 catches, 168 yards
Jaylon Robinson, UCF - 6 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD

Offensive Line:
Evan Neal, Alabama
Dawand Jones, Ohio State

Defensive Line:
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Zach Carter, DL, Florida
Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

Linebackers:
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Adam Adamson, LB, Georgia
Ellis Brooks, Penn State

Defensive Backs:
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Leon O’Neal, S, Texas A&M
Sheridan Jones, CB, Clemson


#AskMelloAnything

—Make a case for Jimbo Fisher both deserving and not deserving his contract extension.
Making a case for Jimbo Fisher is harder than I thought, but here goes. In his three seasons at Texas A&M Fisher has led the Aggies to a 26-10 record, including three bowl game wins. That alone is a great start and Fisher is coming off a 9-1 season with their only loss coming from Alabama. When you add in the fact that Fisher has won a National Championship and done a damn good job recruiting, this was a no-brainer for A&M. Fisher is still relatively young, 55 years old, for a college coach too. 

On the other hand, Jimbo originally signed a 10-year, $75 million contract in 2018 making him one of the highest paid coaches and a ridiculously long contract. Now, Jimbo is signed through the 2031 season and will make even more money. Money definitely isn’t an issue for A&M but why the rush? Jimbo has only been there for three seasons, even if they were good seasons, they weren’t great. If Jimbo’s original deal was almost up I would understand extending him. But A&M had him through 2028 and didn’t need to make this move. And just so I don’t sound like a Texas A&M hater - Jimbo could be the guy to finally build something at A&M and if he is no one will question this extension. 

Best tailgate experience so far and bucket list tailgates.
This one is harder than the Jimbo Fisher question. With Stick to Football we were able to hit some extraordinary tailgates but there are two that stand out. LSU and Wisconsin are 1A and 1B. There is really no way to choose between the two elite tailgates. I think I was made to live in Madison - the land of beer, cheese and tall blondes - but Baton Rouge brought a different experience and tailgate culture. We had gumbo, gator and chased it down with all the gatorade the next day. Two unreal experiences that should be on everyone’s tailgate stops. 

Bucket list games: Army/Navy, Virginia Tech, Florida/Georgia, Penn State white out

— Which preseason narrative do you think got exposed in week 1?
To me, the narrative that was most exposed in Week 1 was that of Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell. To answer this question let me start with a question - If Rattler and Howell weren’t five-star recruits would you know much about them? Much of their hype has come from recruiting and not on field play. While both have been solid, neither has been extraordinary in their young careers. Rattler has been carried by a great offense and Howell has made a name off the weapons around him. Neither have great tools or traits. Week 1 definitely exposed that there are more than two quarterbacks gunning for QB1. 

— Which loss is worse: Stanford to K State or LSU to UCLA?
Is this the battle for the most overrated coach? Both losses are terrible and neither program should be losing to K State or UCLA. However, one stands out more than the other. LSU won the National Championship in 2019 with one of the most dominant teams in college football history. Since then they are 5-6 and this past weekend they looked like they didn’t even belong in the Pac 12 - and just as a reminder, they play in the SEC. Coach O was funny and cute a couple years ago but now it’s time to win games. I don’t think Coach O is on the hot seat just yet, but LSU might want to update their contact information for Joe Brady. Maybe see about bringing him back or what his interest is. 

— Did Derek Stingley Jr really play as bad as some said? Is this cause for concern?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but an outstanding LSU defensive back looks timid and lazy. Sadly this is becoming a trend in Baton Rouge. From Greedy Williams to Grant Delpit to Derek Stingley Jr. I loved Stingley’s freshman tape and thought he was the best corner in the nation that year but last year didn’t look good and Saturday night didn’t either. From getting beat on man crossers to a lack of effort tackling, Stingley has a lot to work on. Thankfully I think most of it is mental and could be corrected easily. Previous LSU stars like Tyrann Mathieu and Ryan Clark were calling out their alma mater and wanting leadership. Hopefully Stingley will be that guy. 


Big 12 Expansion (again)!
Sources say the Big 12 will expand by adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF as soon as this week! The Big 12 has been a mess since Texas and Oklahoma decided to join the SEC - honestly they’ve been a mess since they became a conference and it was made worse with the last round of realignment - BUT, I like the idea of adding four teams and getting back to 12. Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will have to give the American conference a 27 month notice and $10 million fee, but it sounds like it might be sooner for the AAC trio and possibly more money than that, even as soon as 2022 or 2023,  when Texas and OU are still part of the conference - interesting! If you’re a weekly reader you know I love geographical alignment, but I like the four schools and feel they can hold their own in a Power Five conference - that is, if the Big 12 will still be considered Power Five. 

Houston was a natural fit to keep the Big 12 presence in Texas with one of the best recruiting spots in the state. They also offer a solid basketball program, if anyone cares about that. 

Cincinnati has been on the outside of the Power Five for far too long and were the best selection from an athletics point of view. The Bearcats have an amazing football team this season and have been a solid program for years - and are currently a top 10 ranked team. 

BYU was the first pick by the Big 12 and possibly the weirdest too. Currently an independent school, BYU might actually have the toughest time joining the conference due to future scheduling conflicts and also their other sports programs belonging to the West Coast conference. BYU could join as a football only school - but who knows when that will be. 

UCF has the most recent success with their 2017 National Championship claim but also allows the Big 12 to dip into Florida. Being able to offer recruits a game in their home state could be huge for the future success of the conference. UCF also has one of the most successful coaches with Gus Malzahn leading the Knights. They clearly aren’t a great fit geographically, but they check every other box. 


Where I Was Right / Where I Was Wrong
Right:

QB1 - Just a few weeks ago Matt and I put out our top 5 players by position for the 2022 NFL Draft. My top two quarterbacks were Carson Strong (Nevada) and Phil Jurkovec (Boston College) and I received a *little* hate for those two selections. And while everyone definitely has the right to disagree with me, after Week 1 it doesn’t seem so crazy. Strong and Jurkovec played very well Saturday and showed they have two of the most talented arms of all the draft eligible quarterbacks - while Howell and Rattler definitely struggled at times. It’s way too early to declare anyone QB1 in this class but Strong and Jurkovec are worth taking a look at if you haven’t already. 

Wrong:
Miami vs Alabama (-19.5). Why do we (I assume there are more people like me) ever believe in the Miami hype? I can usually see through it but this year I bought into Miami being able to keep the score relatively close against an Alabama team that was replacing damn near everyone on their offense. I NEVER expected Miami to win, or even stay in the game, but I thought just maybe they could lose by less than 20 points. Nope. 


Final Thoughts
I loved watching Ohio State and Minnesota Thursday night. I hope the Big Ten, and other conferences, will continue to schedule more in-conference games for Week 1. I was late to turn the game on (I was getting my ass kicked in a golf league) but one thing was clear from the second I started watching, if Ohio State can get any kind of decent quarterback play they are going to be scary. We knew the receivers were great but they even impressed me with their ability to make people miss and create seperation. Add in solid offensive line play and a stable of running backs and the Buckeyes should be putting up 40 on nearly every opponent. The defense looked very strong as well, with their defensive line once again silently anchoring their D. Other notes from the game - Minnesota running back Mohammed Ibrahim was absolutely amazing Thursday night before going down with a lower leg injury. Literal thoughts and prayers up for him for a speedy recovery. 

Alabama is just unfair at this point. They had to replace their quarterback, running back, two receivers and two starting lineman and STILL put up 44 points against 14th ranked Miami. And while everyone was rightfully watching for John Metchie or Jahleel Billingsley to emerge in this offense, we got Jameson Williams having a breakout game. The junior receiver put up 126 yards and a touchdown on just four catches. Watch for No. 1 on the Crimson Tide, he’s easy to find but hard to catch. 

Georgia, man! I knew their defense was going to be salty this year but I did not expect that. The Bulldogs held 3rd ranked Clemson to just three points and 180 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs have a lot to clean up on offense but they have talent on that side of the ball too. I was going over some names of the guys I like on the Georgia defense and the list is LONG! Draftable players on the defensive line are: Jordan Davis (SR), Devonte Wyatt (SR), Travon Walker (JR). Linebacker/EDGE: Adam Adamson (SR), Nolan Smith (JR) Nakobe Dean (JR), Quay Walker (SR). Secondary: Derion Kendrick (CB/SR), Chris Smith (S/SR), Lewis Cine (S/JR), Tykee Smith (S/SR) - and those are just draft eligible! 

Week 2 Games to Watch
Kansas @ Coastal Carolina, 6:30 CT, ESPN 2 (Friday)
Oregon @ Ohio State, 11:00 CT, Fox
Iowa @ Iowa State, 3:30 CT, ABC
Appalachian State @ Miami, 6:00 CT, ESPNU
Texas @ Arkansas, 6:00 CT, ESPN
Washington @ Michigan, 7:00 CT, ABC
Utah @ BYU, 9:15 CT, ESPN
Stanford @ USC, 9:30 CT, Fox


This weekend Matt, Corey, Big Country and myself will be in Kansas City tailgating for Chiefs vs Browns but also watching Texas @ Arkansas Saturday night. Come join us at Atomic Cowboy in Kansas City for BOGO drinks and delicious pizza! Flyer