Winners and Losers: The SEC's run of 10 ranked teams was brief

Week 2 started with a record 10 SEC teams in the AP top 25. The discussion of the conference's strength intensified when Arkansas coach Bret Bielema lauded his team's inter-conference strength of schedule and the depth of the conference that had just four teams outside the top 25.

Now, as the second weekend of college football is over, we can all agree that the SEC isn't head and shoulders above the rest of the college football. A week after we wondered if the Pac-12 was up to snuff to being considered the best conference in the country, it's now time to put the spotlight on the SEC.

Let's start with Bielema's team, which fell to Toledo at home 16-12. With the vaunted Arkansas power run game held to just over three yards a carry on 31 attempts, quarterback Brandon Allen threw the ball over 50 times. Yes, a Bielema team threw the ball over 50 times. In fact, Allen's 53 pass attempts were the most a Bielema quarterback has ever attempted.

While discussing his conference's excellence, Bielema also made sure to point out that Ohio State had just one ranked team (Michigan State) on its schedule for the rest of the season. The comment was true, though it was yet another example of getting too caught up in polls so early in the season. There's way too much movement and voters are relying too much on prediction rather than performance.

Many believed Arkansas was a threat for the SEC West in 2015 after it won two conference games and a bowl game over its final four games of 2014. Yet nothing you saw on Saturday would make you believe the Hogs have a chance in such an "unprecedented" conference.

Arkansas will surely end up outside the top 25 on Sunday. Auburn will likely still be in, though it's hard to consider the Tigers a top-10 team after the way they struggled against FCS-level Jacksonville State.

Auburn escaped with a 27-20 overtime win – wouldn't you have loved to see JSU go for the win at the end of regulation? – though a Jacksonville State win wouldn't have been a fluke. The Gamecocks hung with a team considered one of the two best in the SEC West and forced quarterback Jeremy Johnson into two more bad interceptions.

Johnson entered his first full season as a starter to much fanfare. He's a dynamic athlete who feels like a perfect fit for coach Gus Malzahn's offense. But he's thrown five interceptions over the first two games of the season. If that rate continues, Auburn will be incredibly lucky to survive September games against LSU and Mississippi State and not end the month 2-2.

Meanwhile, Missouri needed to rally back from a 17-10 halftime deficit at Arkansas State before holding on for a narrow 27-20 win. For comparison, the Red Wolves lost 55-6 at USC on opening weekend.

So, after Tennessee's home loss to Oklahoma – a game in which the Volunteers blew a 17-point lead – and Mississippi State's loss to LSU, the SEC will probably have seven teams ranked on Sunday. It's not a disappointing number; it'll still be the most teams any conference has in the top 25. But the results of Week 2 are proof that rankings aren't the end-all, especially since it's not officially fall yet.

WINNERS

Dalvin Cook, Florida State: The Seminoles put up 441 yards of total offense in a 34-14 win over South Florida and Cook accounted for 60 percent of it. The sophomore running back put up a career-high 266 yards and scored three touchdowns, giving the FSU offense a boost as it struggled to pass the ball in the first half. Cook scored on runs of 74, 34, and 27 yards to help the No. 11 Seminoles improve to 2-0 headed into ACC play.

Matt Johnson, Bowling Green: Bowling Green put up 557 yards of offense in last week's loss to Tennessee, so Maryland probably should have seen this one coming. Led by Johnson's career-high 491 passing yards, the Falcons totaled a whopping 692 yards of offense in a 48-27 beatdown at Maryland. Johnson, a senior, picked apart the Terps secondary with six touchdown passes – five in the second half – for another career high. Sophomore Roger Lewis, who had 15 catches for 200 yards, was on the receiving end of two of those touchdowns. For Bowling Green, it was the first road win over a Power Five opponent since 2008.

Luke Falk, Washington State: Falk led Washington State on a 10-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that culminated in eight-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 37-34 win against Rutgers. It was the perfect ending for Falk, who threw for 478 yards and four touchdowns. It was the second-most yards and TDs Falk has thrown for in a single game in his career.

Coach Mike Leach had nothing but praise for his signal caller.

”He had some great plays and tough plays,” Leach said. “He did a good job of taking care of the football. He left some meat on the bones at times, but that’ s one thing he’s really good at, being calm under pressure, leading the unit and keeping his eye on things when it’s tough. He’s one of the calmer guys I’ve dealt with.”

Joe Hubener, Kansas State

: Kansas State junior Joe Hubener started his first game as a quarterback at any level Saturday at UTSA and he performed well in a 30-3 Wildcats win. Hubener, a former walk-on, completed 12-of-23 passes for 243 yards while adding 58 yards and a score on the ground. The Wildcats started off slow, but Hubener’s 1-yard rushing score in the second quarter gave K-State a lead it would not relinquish. With Jesse Ertz out for the year, Hubener will be the guy for KSU moving forward. Saturday’s game has to give him some confidence.

Eastern Michigan: Eastern Michigan won its first non-conference road game in 27 years — yes, 27 years — by beating Wyoming 48-29 in Laramie, Wyo.

The Eagles, who were inspired by the thought of making history, jumped out to a 38-7 first-half lead and never looked back. After punting on its first possession, EMU scored on six consecutive drives.

"This morning, I was just excited," EMU coach Craig Creighton said. "We've got a chance to do something for the first time, in this century, right? I mean, that's a big word."

Eastern Michigan, which is 1-1, has not won more than two games in any season since 2011 and hasn’t had a winning record since 1989.

LOSERS

Wyoming: The Cowboys opened the season with a 24-13 loss to North Dakota and then followed it up with a stunning 48-29 beating at the hands of Eastern Michigan.

During the two losses, Wyoming has had a slew of starting players injured, including starting quarterback Cameron Coffman, who suffered an MCL strain against North Dakota, and backup Josh Allen, who suffered a shoulder injury against the Eagles.

“It’s a loss,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “It’s another one. But we’ve got to move forward, lick our wounds and see who we’ve got healthy to play this next week.”

Ului Lapuaho, BYUAfter BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum was stripped in the second quarter against Boise State, Cougars lineman Ului Lapuaho dove to the ground to recover the fumble. It looked like Lapuaho had clear possession of the ball until Boise’s Chanceller James came crashing in. Lapuaho did not take kindly to this and gave James a forceful punch to the groin as the two fought for the ball.

Lapuaho was rightfully flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s gotta be an honor code violation, too.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks weren't considered to be favorites for the SEC East in 2015. But Saturday's 26-22 home loss to Kentucky was the second-straight time South Carolina has lost to the Wildcats. It was also the first time South Carolina has lost at home to Kentucky since 1999 and the first time since 2009 that Kentucky has won an SEC road game. Oh, and South Carolina QB Connor Mitch could be out for a lengthy period of time with a separated shoulder. Coach Steve Spurrier was frustrated in 2014. 2015 could be more of the same.

Gunner Kiel:

The Cincinnati QB will be wondering how different his team's game against Temple would've been if it wasn't for his second-half turnovers. Temple outscored Cincy 21-6 in the third quarter thanks to two Kiel interceptions. He threw two more in the fourth quarter as Cincinnati's comeback bid fell short 34-26. Entering Saturday night, Kiel's career-high for interceptions was three. And now his Bearcats have surrendered AAC East favorite status to the Owls.

UTEP's Defense: UTEP has faced two Power 5 opponents – Arkansas and Texas Tech – in its first two games, and its defense has come up small on both occasions. The Miners were torched for 490 yards and 48 points in a Week 1 loss at Arkansas and then were pummeled by the Red Raiders 69-20 on Saturday. In the loss to TTU, UTEP gave up 674 yards of total offense – 445 through the air. That’s 1,164 yards and 117 points allowed so far in the season. Ouch.

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