NCAA Week 3: Big Ten Prepares for the Apocalypse
Well, that didn't take long.
The Daily Player predicted the ADD crowd would be quick to toss dirt on Michigan State if didn't come up trumps in Week 2. In this case, trumps was the final score.
However, anyone who bothered to both watch the game and also scan the box score would realize the Spartans were right there with the speedy Quack Attack for most of the afternoon. Suffice it to say that Oregon made the better halftime adjustments. Toss in one of the most athletic interceptions you'll ever see to thwart a deep Michigan State drive, and the margin of victory became sufficient enough for the gravel-grabbers to dig in.
But Sparty's brethren didn't do much to enhance the Big Ten's reputation. Virginia Tech invaded the Horseshoe to dump on Ohio State, Michigan got skunked by Nôtre Dame, and Nebraska needed a last-play miracle to squeak by McNeese State.
Mr Announcer Dude, your boys just got saved from FCS McNeese State. How do you get all tent-pantsed about that?
This week, the Big Ten will try to start over, but with the headliner being Penn State at Rutgers, they have a long way to go.
Down south, Georgia -- and no, global readers, not that Georgia -- will try and make it two in a row over ranked teams when they travel to South Carolina. The last time the Bulldogs traveled to Columbia in 2012, they lost, 35-7, to Steve Spurrier's team, which received a reality check in Week 1 before getting its act together in Week 2.
The marquée game of the day looks to be Tennessee at Oklahoma. Yep, quiet week. The Volunteers have started with wins over Utah State and Arkansas State, but traveling to Norman is a different story. The Sooners have outscored their two opponents, 100-23.
Other than that, the schedule is light, but there are some intriguing games, including Iowa and Iowa State in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes escaped Ball State last week, while the Cyclones are 0-2 after losing a lead against Kansas State at home.
Virginia Tech will try to follow up their historic win at Ohio State with a basic win over East Carolina. The Pirates have caught the Hokies napping before and could do it again if Tech lets down after that victory over the Buckeyes.
Another interesting game could be UCLA at Texas. The Bruins are 2-0 because their defense saved them at Virginia while their offense bailed them out against Memphis. And incidentally, underdog seekers, those Tigers look like a changed team; keep an eye on them.
Meanwhile, down in Austin, the Longhorns are coming off a beatdown by BYU:
Charlie Strong's tally board to date is eight scholarship players booted for violations and four suspended. It's becoming ever more evident how much rot had set in during Mack Brown's last years running that program. Strong has quite a task in enforcing a culture change.
And here's a heads-up for the compleat football fan: Eastern Washington is at Montana State in Week 4.
Kudos to Kenny Hill and all that, but talk to anyone who saw Vernon Adams Jr carve up the Washington Huskies defense. With passes so precise that he could have a future as a drone controller, Adams should be included in any conversation of sensational talents. The Huskies will face the likes of Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, and Connor Halliday again this season, but they'll see none better -- none -- than this speedy, agile, and deadly-accurate quarterback for the Eagles.
And to think Adams never received one recruiting letter from an FBS school because he stands only 6-0. Sometimes there's more to being a player than stature. Like what you do with it. How tall is Johnny Football again? Just checking.
If the Heisman Trophy wasn't just another brand-name hypefest, Adams would be in that conversation. Truth. We can only hope the Eagles wind up matching talent wtih North Dakota State when the FCS playoffs roll around.
FBS schools: schedule these two at your peril.
Fortunately for Washington, their Week 3 opponent is Illinois. After facing Eastern Washington, a Big Ten foe will provide welcome relief.