September 14, 2008

Mike Huguenin's weekend winners and losers

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.
We're sure most of you saw the USC-Ohio State game and know the outcome.

The Trojans were big winners, and have the very early inside track on playing for the national championship.

There were dozens of other college football games this week, and there were plenty of winners and losers.

We'll point out a few of them here, as well as some things you may have missed.

WINNERS

USC. The Trojans started a bit sluggishly, then dominated Ohio State. Admit it: If you're not a Trojans fan, this team scares you.

South Florida: The Bulls rallied from 17 down to beat Kansas on Friday night. In the process, they saved a little face for the Big East which has been pitiful. Jim Leavitt may have found a running back in sophomore Jamar Taylor, who played in the same high school backfield as Florida's Chris Rainey at Lakeland (Fla.) High.

BYU: The Cougars had their way with a UCLA team that had rallied to beat Tennessee in Week One. Max Hall looked tremendous in carving up a good Bruins defense. The dominating performance came one week after BYU eked out a one-point win over a mediocre Washington team.

Oklahoma: Another week, another 50-point performance, this one against Washington. The Sooners had no trouble with the Huskies and look like the second-best team in the nation.

Big 12 quarterbacks: Going into the season, the league was thought to have the best group of quarterbacks in the nation. That notion certainly was strengthened this weekend, with Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Kansas' Todd Reesing and Missouri's Chase Daniel having monster games.

Ralph Friedgen and Chris Turner: Maryland's coach and quarterback, respectively, surely had fun Saturday when the Terps shocked California. Friedgen held off on making lineup changes in the wake of last week's loss to Middle Tennessee, and his players certainly responded to his faith in them. Turner, meanwhile, threw two TD passes, ran the offense with aplomb, avoided mistakes and likely ended any talk about a quarterback controversy.

Charlie Weis: Last week's weak performance against San Diego State now is forgotten after Saturday's victory over Michigan. His offensive line seems to actually know how to block this season, his sophomore quarterback is starting to show why everyone thought he was so good and his running game showed some signs of life behind Robert Hughes.

LOSERS

Ohio State: Another big non-conference game, another big loss. The Buckeyes looked good on their second offensive possession, but who knew that would be their lone highlight? They have an excuse in that Chris Wells didn't play. But they still would've lost had he played; it just wouldn't have been by 32 points.

Arizona State: Well, that matchup next week against Georgia sure has lost some luster. The Sun Devils' OT loss to UNLV is the culprit. Arizona State looked mighty uninterested and it cost the Sun Devils.

California: During the first two weeks of the season, the Golden Bears looked as if they were for real. Alas, they lost at Maryland which was coming off a loss to Middle Tennessee State.

UCLA: Yikes. All that goodwill emanating from that Labor Day victory over Tennessee is gone in the wake of a 59-point loss to BYU. It was UCLA's worst loss since 1929.

Auburn: Yes, we know the Tigers won, beating Mississippi State 3-2 behind a dominating defensive performance. But Auburn's offense looked miserable. Can Auburn muster enough offense next week to beat LSU? Not if it plays as it did Saturday.

Arizona: A 2-0 start, and an offense that scored more than 40 points in each of those games, had folks believing that perhaps the Wildcats were a Pac-10 sleeper. Uh, no. Losing at New Mexico which had been 0-2 curbs a lot of enthusiasm about the Wildcats.

Charlie Weis: As big as that win was over Michigan, blowing out your knee on a hit by your own player and facing surgery isn't good.

Rutgers: No, we didn't forget about the Scarlet Knights' Thursday night loss. Is anyone else starting to wonder if that magical 2006 season was an aberration?

Jim Heacock: Ohio State's defensive coordinator generally gets high marks for his work. But for the third time in three seasons, his unit was eviscerated in a huge non-conference game. Perhaps it's time to question Bollman and his schemes. Florida in 2006, LSU in 2007 and USC in 2008 had their way with the Buckeyes' defense (there's also Michigan in 2006).

The Pac-10: USC did its part. The rest of the league? Ehh. Oregon needed overtime to beat a Purdue team that hopes hopes to finish in the top half of the Big Ten. Arizona State was shocked by UNLV. Arizona, Cal and UCLA suffered embarrassing losses. Stanford and Washington got spanked. Washington State got clobbered by Baylor. The bottom line: Expect to hear a lot of "USC and the Nine Dwarfs" when people talk about the Pac-10 in the next few weeks.

DID YOU SEE THAT?

UAB's Joe Webb was called for two personal foul penalties in the Blazers' loss at Tennessee. A player getting two personal fouls in one game isn't that uncommon. But Webb is a quarterback. When's the last time a quarterback was called for two personal fouls in one game?

Boise State wore all blue on its home game against Bowling Green. All-blue uniforms on that blue field? It made for tough viewing for those of watching at home.

UCLA's Alterraun Verner is one of the better cornerbacks on the West Coast, but Verner was burnt toast in the Bruins' loss to BYU. Cougars quarterback Max Hall seemed to go out of his way to pick on Verner, especially in the first half.

South Carolina was on national TV for the third week in a row. The Gamecocks were on ESPN the first two weeks, then were on CBS on Saturday against Georgia. Our condolences if you've watched the Gamecocks try to play offense each of the past three weeks.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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