Week 2 Winners and Losers: Pac-12 comes out roses with three upset wins
On any given Saturday, only half of the teams playing will come out winners, the others are losers and the players and coaches that make up the games are usually a mixture of both.
That's where we come in. Beyond the box score, we'll give our take on who won, who lost and who flat out embarrassed himself on college football Saturday (that we didn't already write about).
Pac-12: A conference known more for its shortcomings than anything since its inception (see "Colorado" in the Losers' section), the Pac-12 delivered in a big way on Saturday. Three schools mired in mediocrity for most of the past decade — Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona — came through with wins over Top-25 opponents, and looked good doing it.
OK, maybe Oregon State's offense didn't look that good, but its defense shut down a highly touted Wisconsin offense that featured a Heisman contender in Montee Ball (maybe not so much anymore).
UCLA's redshirt freshman QB Brett Hundley gave coach Jim Mora Jr. and the Bruin faithful hope for the future as he shredded No. 16 Nebraska for 357 yards and four TDs. Arizona delivered the final surprise of the day, running away from No. 18 Oklahoma State for a 59-38 win.
Its perennial football powers, No. 2 USC and No. 4 Oregon, looked less impressive in a pair of gritty wins over Syracuse and Fresno State, respectively, but the conference still comes away from Week 2 as unequivocal winners.
Matt Barkley: Now to specifics. It was a happy birthday for the 22-year-old USC quarterback, who threw for six touchdowns against Syracuse, but he might not have put himself back in the forefront of the Heisman conversation. That's because his game was relatively quiet for tossing so many scores. He was 23 of 30 for just 187 yards. He does, however, continue to make his receivers look like Heisman contenders as well. Robert Woods had 200 all-purpose yards and two scores and Marqise Lee finished with 11 catches for 66 yards and three scores.
[Also: Southern Utah completes extraordinary Hail Mary to end half]
Tommy Rees: Rees has been through some things. And it can't be a good sign when the home fans boo you as you trot on the field with the game tied and time running out. But give Rees credit: He delivered in a big way.
Rees, who used to be Notre Dame's starting quarterback but lost the job as he was suspended and left home from a road trip to Ireland last week, replaced starter Everett Golson after Purdue tied the game with 2:12 left. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Golson was hurt, which is why Rees went in. Rees simply marched Notre Dame down the field for a game-winning field goal.
Kansas State: The Wildcats appear to have picked up where they left off last season after a 52-13 win against Miami. Could the Wildcats once again be the Big 12's best-kept secret and challenge for the conference title? Well, we probably won't know that until they play at Oklahoma in two weeks. Next week's game against North Texas shouldn't give the Wildcats much trouble.
Dylan Thompson: Thompson didn't win the starting quarterback position at South Carolina during the Gamecocks' 48-10 win over East Carolina, but he did assuage any fears about what might happen if starter Connor Shaw was ever seriously injured. Shaw, who suffered a shoulder injury against Vanderbilt last weekend, was held out of Saturday's game against the Pirates as a precautionary measure. Thompson took advantage of the opportunity and threw for 330 yards and three scores in the win.
[Also: Kansas State trick play leaves fans scratching heads]
Braxton Miller: Miller, Ohio State's sophomore quarterback, looks like he might be developing into one of the best players in college football. He has improved his all-around game since last year and looks like he fits Urban Meyer's offense perfectly. He became the first Buckeyes quarterback in 34 years to rush for three touchdowns in a game, and threw a touchdown too in a win against Central Florida. He rushed for 141 yards and threw for 155 while completing 75 percent of his passes.
Tommy Rees: Ah yes, you remember Rees, our hero from the Notre Dame win over Purdue. Well, it appears his head coach wasn't quite as impressed as others may have been. When he was asked in his NBC postgame interview about a quarterback controversy, Kelly couldn't have made it more clear he had no intention of giving Rees a promotion.
"Everett Golson's our starter, I'll get that out of the way right now," Kelly said without trying to hide his contempt at the question.
[Also: Penn State kicker misses five kicks in 17-16 loss to Virginia]
Colorado: Not sure anyone thought the days could get darker than when Dan Hawkins was the Buffs coach, but second-year coach Jon Embree is trying to blow that theory out of the water. After a disappointing loss to rival Colorado State in the season opener, the Buffs lost to Sacramento State 30-28 on a field goal as time expired. Not sure what is more embarrassing: Colorado State losing to an FCS team or the fact that the Buffs paid Sacramento State $460,000 for the defeat.
Us: Unfortunately, we are big losers this weekend for having to watch Savannah State get its rear end handed to it by yet another Top-25 team. Florida State trounced the FCS doormat 55-0 and this after the game was called in the third quarter because of lightning. Thanks to the Seminoles and Oklahoma State, Savannah State has been outscored 139-0 in its first two games. Don't worry, it's not long until strength of schedule will actually mean something in the nonconference season.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin: The Badgers' dream of being a national championship contender faded quickly with Saturday's 10-7 loss to Oregon State. What was the biggest nonconference win for the Beavers was soul-crushing for the Badgers, who managed just 206 total yards of offense. Heisman hopeful running back Montee Ball had 15 carries for 58 yards and saw his 21-game streak of games with a touchdown snapped. This was an Oregon State team that hadn't had a winning season since 2009 and is fighting for coach Mike Riley's job.
[Also: Tulane safety stops breathing after hard hit, has to be revived by CPR]
Media policies: Kelly was being ripped on Twitter for only making two players — neither of whom play quarterback — available after the game. At least he made someone available. Over at Michigan Stadium, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun reacted to his team's superb effort in a close 31-25 loss to Michigan but not making anyone available for interviews. Including himself. This doesn't seem a knee jerk reaction to an emotional game from Calhoun, who has been getting more restrictive with the media and made only three players available after the Falcons' Week 1 win — and Air Force officials had to hunt him down to ask he go meet with the media for his own press conference. That approach seems rather strange for a service academy.
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