Big Ten soaring in Top 25 — a bit too much love from pollsters?
Maybe next year, Northwestern. Way to crush it, Illinois … for almost a whole quarter. Takeaways from Week 2 of the college football season:
1. Did you get a look at the new AP Top 25 poll? Five Big Ten teams — five, baby — are ranked in the top 13.
None of the individual rankings — Ohio State third, Michigan fourth, Wisconsin ninth, Michigan State 12th, Iowa 13th — looks at all unreasonable on its face, but we have to be realistic about this. The Big Ten doesn’t have five of the best 13 teams in the country unless it’s far and away the best league in the country.
Which it probably isn’t.
2. Joining the Big Ten with three teams in the top 10 is the ACC, which has Florida State at No. 2, Clemson at No. 5 and Louisville at No. 10. Two leagues so strongly recognized — and neither is the SEC?
Bubba’s on Line 1, and he doesn’t sound happy at all.
3. Clemson 30, Troy 24. Georgia 26, Nicholls State 24. Central Michigan 30, Oklahoma State 27 — wait, what?
We knew Week 2 didn’t have many — maybe not any — marquee matchups. But this is college football, where a schedule filled with mismatches all but guarantees that a handful of highly talented, well-coached teams will come out flat as pancakes emotionally.
These players are still so young, and it’s not as if they’re being paid like pros to work themselves into frenzies. It’s hype that they respond to most. When there is no hype, you get what you get.
4. By now, everyone should’ve seen the gut-wrenching way Oklahoma State lost and the mind-boggling manner in which game officials cost the Cowboys a victory. What everyone missed is the way coach Mike Gundy cried bloody murder in blaming the refs.
That’s because the latter thing didn’t happen. Gundy handled an impossibly tough situation with grace and dignity. Tip of the cowboy hat to him.
5. On the other hand … did you see Alabama coach Nick Saban’s sideline mega-blowup on offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin? A lot of college football fans dislike Kiffin, so there was predictable celebration of the spectacle on social media. Yet Saban was way over the line. Imagine how poorly a young Nicktator would’ve handled it had someone done that to him so publicly. Talk about ego.
6. Army is 2-0 for the first time in 20 years, with a pair of quality-ish wins over Temple and Rice. Look out for the Black Knights, who’ve had only one bowl appearance since 1996.
7. One week after accounting for eight offensive touchdowns in the first half of Louisville’s opening game, quarterback Lamar Jackson piled up an ACC-record 610 yards and five more TDs in a victory at Syracuse. Next up for Jackson and the Cardinals: a home date with Florida State. Holy Heisman potential.
8. The best thing about the FBS record-tying eight touchdowns Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage scored Saturday? Because of their age-old rivalry with Arizona, the Sun Devils don’t dare use the term “wildcat” to describe the package of runs Ballage gets out of the, well, wildcat formation. No, they call it “Sparky.” Gotta love it.
9. Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud is the latest guy to lose a touchdown for dropping the ball in premature celebration inches before crossing the goal line. Don’t know if this club of geniuses has a name, but it isn’t Mensa.
10. Notre Dame’s Shaun Crawford tore his ACL in training camp last year, costing him the key role he was set to play as a true freshman. Sadly, Year 2 for the Irish cornerback ended Saturday in similar fashion; Crawford tore his left Achilles. Football can be so brutal.
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