In Second Week, Scores to Settle
Here comes the second week of the season, and look at how long the to-do list is already. Such as:
Ohio State . . . awakening, from the Big Ten's worst nightmare, not to mention its own.
Southern California, appearing Saturday night in Columbus, has beaten the Buckeyes six in a row (35-3 last year) and won its last nine against the Big Ten by an average of 23.8 points. "This is the week we've all been waiting for," Ohio State linebacker Austin Spitler said. We'll see.
Oklahoma . . . regrouping.
It's not just that the Sooners lost Sam Bradford against Brigham Young. This is a number to make any offensive coordinator nauseous; a team that averaged 51.3 percent in third-down conversions last season was 2-for-11. But a home game with Idaho State seems a nice time to break in a new quarterback.
Michigan and Notre Dame . . . validation.
The beleaguered bluebloods won by a combined 66-7. Saturday in Ann Arbor, one of them will prove that was no mirage. One won't.
Oregon . . . revival.
No Broadway flop ever had a worse opening night than coach Chip Kelly. His offense needed 37 minutes to get a first down at Boise State, and his tailback - aided and abetted by a Boise State taunter - stained the season before it was 8 hours old and got himself banished.
Does Kelly badly need an impressive win at home Saturday against Purdue? Do Ducks quack?
Jacksonville State . . . survival.
Having been briskly dismissed 37-17 at Georgia Tech last week, the Gamecocks go to Florida State this week. That makes them the only team in America to open the season with consecutive road games against ranked opponents. Hope the paychecks are large.
Stat of the week@
In Tennessee's offensive meltdown last season, quarterback Jonathan Crompton threw four touchdown passes all season. He had five Saturday against Western Kentucky. The Lane Kiffin regime is a hit. So far.
"I don't think I could beat that kid from Jamaica." - Joe Paterno, able to jog onto the field again with his Penn State team after hip replacement, but not quite ready for Usain Bolt.
"I'm going to be kicking myself over that one." - Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus, on an interception he forced into coverage in overtime that led to the Orange losing 23-20 to Minnesota. Still, Paulus - in his first football game in five years after a basketball career at Duke - was a respectable 19-for-31. One bad pass seldom got you beat at Duke in February.
Thumbs of the week@
Up to Alabama's Brandon Deaderick. Never mind the teams that won by four touchdowns last weekend, the biggest victory belonged to him. He was shot by a would-be robber Aug. 31, and was playing defensive end against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome five days later. "This is a testimony to how good God can be," he said. "I could have been in a wheelchair or a funeral home, instead of the dome right now."
Up to D.J. Monroe. Touted Texas newcomer makes a quick impression for the Longhorns. First chance with the football, he returns a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. So much for freshman orientation.
Down to New Mexico. It's not that the Lobos have lost their season opener four years in a row. It's they haven't scored a touchdown in the season opener four years in a row.