Winners and losers: The Big Ten was bad – really, really bad

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If you're friends with a Big Ten fan, do us a favor — give him or her a hug. They'll need it after Saturday's trainwreck.

The eyes of the country were squarely focused on Michigan State's trip to Oregon, but the Spartans the team thought to be the conference's best shot at a spot in the College Football Playoff blew a second-half lead and were overwhelmed by the Ducks in an eventual 46-27 loss

Even after MSU's loss, the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes would bail the conference out with a win over unranked Virginia Tech, right?

Wrong.

Playing without Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes fell behind 21-7 at halftime. OSU fought back, but when attempting to tie the game in the final minutes, J.T. Barrett, Miller's replacement, threw a pick-6 and Tech won 35-21.

If you thought Ohio State was bad, Michigan was worse. The Wolverines were shut out 31-0 in South Bend by Notre Dame as Devin Gardner threw three picks and lost a fumble.

It doesn't end there. Northwestern and Purdue both were handily beaten at home by two MAC opponents. After looking awful in Week 1, the Wildcats again struggled and were disposed of by Northern Illinois, 23-15 while perennial conference doormat Purdue got crushed by Central Michigan, 38-17.

Even the teams that won managed to look bad against some weak opponents. Nebraska needed last-minute heroics from Ameer Abdullah to beat FCS opponent McNeese State by a touchdown. Iowa beat Ball State in the final minute, too, and Maryland needed a fourth-quarter rally to knock off lowly South Florida. 

At least Wisconsin blew out Western Illinois, right?

Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 2:

WINNERS

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) stiff-arms Florida Atlantic linebacker Robert Relf (43) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) stiff-arms Florida Atlantic linebacker Robert Relf (43) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Amari Cooper: Cooper caught a school-record tying 13 catches for 189 yards and a 52-yard touchdown in Alabama’s dominant 41-0 win against Florida Atlantic. Cooper was most effective in yards after the catch as he beat FAU defenders with his speed and physicality. It was his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game of the season after he posted 130 yards in the season opener against West Virginia. He's had nine 100-yard games in his career. The 189 yards tops the 178 he had against Auburn in last season’s Iron Bowl. With 319 yards in two games, Cooper is starting to look like the star player he was two seasons ago as a Freshman All-American.

Georgia Southern: Caveat alert, it was against Savannah State. But Saturday night, the Eagles, the former FCS and now FBS team that beat Florida last season, scored 10 rushing touchdowns in an 83-9 win. Usually when you have an outstanding team effort like that, there's a standout performer. But eight Eagle players scored a touchdown and the team's leading rusher was Brandan Thomas, who had 117 yards and just one score. As a team, the Eagles ran 53 times for 599 yards and threw just five passes. In case you were wondering, six FBS teams scored less than 10 rushing touchdowns in all of 2013.

Baylor quarterback Seth Russell (17) prepares to pass as Shock Linwood provides protection in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern State, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell (17) prepares to pass as Shock Linwood provides protection in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern State, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Seth Russell: Baylor got a glimpse into its offensive future on Saturday and it sure looked bright. Sophomore quarterback Seth Russell started the game against Northwestern State in place of injured starter Bryce Petty and dazzled. He completed 16-of-25 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, it was against Northwestern State, an FCS opponent, but this was Russell’s first start and first extensive action. He threw just 23 passes for 124 yards, a touchdown and an interception all of last year. And Russell’s strong play means Baylor can feel comfortable continuing to rest Petty, who is healing two broken bones in his back before conference play.

Louisiana Tech: Do the Bulldogs have a claim to the second-best team in the state after LSU? Following a 4-8 season, Tech went to Louisiana-Lafayette and routed the Ragin' Cajuns, a bowl team last year, 48-20. Tech's first touchdown was a 99-yard run by Kenneth Dixon and from then on, ULL never had a chance. Cody Sokol finished with 295 yards passing and two touchdowns while Dixon had 184 yards and two scores on just 12 carries. 

Nevada: It's not easy to limit Mike Leach's Washington State offense to only 13 points, but the Nevada Wolfpack did just that in a 24-13 home win. The Wolfpack D allowed Connor Halliday and company to put up 428 yards of total offense, but stopped the Cougars when it mattered most, limiting WSU to 5 of 15 on third down and forcing two Halliday interceptions. Offensively, Nevada ran the ball for 214 yards behind a 100-yard effort from senior quarterback Cody Fajardo. The victory marked the third win for Nevada over a Pac-12 team in the past 10 years.

Oh, and Brock Hekking's mullet is amazing. 

LOSERS

Vanderbilt: Somehow the Commodores lost worse to Ole Miss than they did to Temple. The loss to Temple was aided by seven turnovers, and, on the bright side, Vandy only had one Saturday. But other than that, there wasn't any improvement. Stephen Rivers got the start at QB and was worse than he was last week. Rivers was 6 of 25 for 60 yards and an interception. The Commodore defense gave up 540 total yards. It wasn't going to be a great season in Nashville, but this is shaping up to be a much worse one than anyone anticipated.

Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell, right, tries to catch a pass in the end zone in front of Ball State cornerback Tyree Holder (33) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Iowa City, Iowa. The pass was ruled incomplete. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell, right, tries to catch a pass in the end zone in front of Ball State cornerback Tyree Holder (33) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Iowa City, Iowa. The pass was ruled incomplete. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Ball State: It’s difficult to call any non-power conference team that nearly upsets a power conference team a loser, but Ball State forced our hand. The Cardinals led Iowa the entire game, but had a mental lapse in the final three minutes of the contest and allowed Iowa to score two touchdowns, including one in the final minute, to notch a 17-13 come-from-behind win. To be fair, Ball State had lost its previous two contests against Iowa by a combined score of 101-0, so this was definitely an improvement, but the Cardinals should have walked away with the upset, not a devastating loss.

Georgia State: A week after its first FBS win, the Panthers were oh-so-close to getting a second. Georgia State led New Mexico State late in the fourth quarter after a go-ahead touchdown with 2:30 left but couldn't keep the lead. NMSU responded with a TD drive that ended with 15 seconds left when Teldrick Morgan caught an 11-yard pass from Tyler Rogers for a 34-31 win. We hate to be pessimists, but the Panthers might not get a better shot at a win all season. However, this season's already an improvement, right?

Miami-Ohio: For a minute there, it looked like Miami-Ohio was going to be better this year, but after Saturday’s 17-10 loss to FCS foe Eastern Kentucky, it appears as though the RedHawks could be on their way to yet another winless season. It’s unfortunate, too, since Miami-Ohio had shown some promise in its first contest against Marshall. Behind new quarterback Andrew Hendrix, a Notre Dame transfer, the RedHawks were within striking distance of the Thundering Herd before the game got away. Things don’t get much easier for the RedHawks, who travel to Michigan next week to face what will probably be a pretty miffed Wolverines team.

Jordan Williamson: Saturday’s 13-10 loss to USC will be one of those games Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson will want to forget. He missed two field goals that could have been the difference in the game and he forced coach David Shaw to go away from his kicking game in the fourth quarter, which created stalled drives and punts inside the USC 30. Williamson, a senior, hasn’t exactly been a model kicker during his career with the Cardinal. Even though he made 81.8 percent of his kicks last season, he was in the 60 percent range during his first two seasons. After making just one of two during the first week, Williamson might be fighting for his job.

More NCAAF coverage:

Graham Watson and Nick Bromberg contributed to this post.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!