Week 2 Winners and Losers: Tennessee and Miami lead a group of surprising 0-2 teams

Football season is officially in full swing. Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season is here and college football is already through the first two weeks of the schedule.

And there are, unfortunately, some college football teams whose seasons may be over not long before they began. While Week 2 will be more known for the overtime escapes of No. 7 Michigan and Florida State, it also dropped some well-known programs to 0-2 and might have jeopardized their season’s fortunes already.

Let’s take a look at those winless teams.

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Tennessee Volunteers

Holy moly, Tennessee. What in the world is happening in Knoxville? The Vols were ahead for nearly the entire game against BYU until an incredible coverage bust in the final seconds of the fourth quarter led to a game-tying field goal for BYU.

From there, things got worse. The two teams traded TDs in the first overtime and Tennessee started the second OT with a field goal. BYU responded with a game-winning touchdown and a 29-26 win.

Given the dysfunction that was the Tennessee coaching search after the 2017 season it’s not crazy to wonder what losses to Georgia State and BYU do for Jeremy Pruitt’s standing as coach. And it’s also not crazy to wonder how in the world Tennessee makes a bowl game this season.

The Vols have games against No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. 11 Florida still on the schedule. If all three of those are losses, then Tennessee has to go 6-1 over the remaining seven games for a bowl game. Do you think that’s happening after seeing Tennessee over the first two weeks of the season? We certainly don’t.

Tennessee didn't trail against BYU until Ty'Son Williams' game-winning touchdown in overtime. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tennessee didn't trail against BYU until Ty'Son Williams' game-winning touchdown in overtime. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Miami Hurricanes

Here’s the early candidate for our most overrated team of the preseason. We’re already regretting having Miami at No. 15 in our Yahoo Sports preseason top 25.

Miami fell to 0-2 Saturday night after losing 28-25 at North Carolina. Yeah, Florida — the team that beat Miami in Week 0 — is a borderline top-10 team and the Tar Heels are now 2-0 after beating South Carolina in Week 1. But losing to North Carolina when you have 14 days to prepare is almost inexcusable when you’re Miami.

True freshman QB Sam Howell was 16-of-24 passing for 274 yards and two scores against Miami’s defense while running back Javonte Williams averaged 7.6 yards a carry.

Things shouldn’t be nearly as bleak for the Hurricanes as they are for the Volunteers, however. QB Jarren Williams showed promise against the Gators and was 30-of-39 passing for 309 yards and two scores Saturday night. And the ACC is much more manageable than the SEC. Miami still has a legitimate shot at eight wins in 2019. But maybe we’re just saying that to try to not be really wrong about our preseason ranking.

UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelly’s rebuild in Los Angeles is going to take some time. A week after losing at Cincinnati in Week 1, the Bruins lost 23-14 at home to San Diego State. The Aztecs beat FCS Weber State 6-0 in Week 1.

To make things worse it was the first time San Diego State had ever beaten UCLA. The teams had met 22 times before Saturday and UCLA had won every single one.

San Diego State used its typical ball-control offense to keep UCLA off the field and the Bruins turned the ball over twice while San Diego State didn’t turn it over at all.

While UCLA’s roster is young — over 60 players are listed as freshmen or redshirt freshmen — the Bruins need to be beating teams like San Diego State at home. And if UCLA can’t do that, then who can it beat? Certainly not Oklahoma. The Sooners travel to UCLA in Week 3 and then the Bruins play at Washington State and at Arizona. An 0-5 start looks very possible.

South Florida Bulls

Charlie Strong’s got to be feeling the heat in Tampa. After his team was obliterated 49-0 in Week 1 by No. 17 Wisconsin, the Bulls lost 14-10 at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Losses to Power Five teams aren’t bad by themselves. But the Georgia Tech loss is the program’s eighth straight dating back to 2018 — a season where USF started 7-0 and finished 7-6. And an offense that returned nine starters from 2018 has scored just 10 points in two games.

QB Blake Barnett was benched in favor of backup Jordan McCloud in the second half and the offense scored its first touchdown of the season with McCloud at the helm. But USF LB Patrick Macon was called for targeting after the Bulls appeared to force a Georgia Tech punt with two minutes to go and the Yellow Jackets were able to run the clock out.

Strong is in his third season at USF and went 10-2 in 2017. But things have gotten worse from there. A game against FCS South Carolina State next week should be a chance to for the offense to get on track — either with McCloud or Barnett at QB — and games against SMU and UConn after that are winnable. But USF is going to have to play considerably better.

Here are the rest of Week 2’s winners and losers.

Winners

Arkansas State and Blake Anderson: The head coach surprised his team ahead of Saturday night’s game. Anderson has been on a leave of absence because of the death of his wife Wendy from cancer and missed the team’s first game of the season. What a cool moment to see the team welcome him back.

SMU: The Mustangs avenged a 2018 loss to North Texas with a 49-27 win over the Mean Green on Saturday night. SMU scored 21 unanswered first half points to put UNT away early. Texas transfer Shane Buechele was 21-of-31 passing for 292 yards and three interceptions while running back Xavier Jones had 16 carries for 127 yards and three scores.

Oh, the helmets were awesome too.

Wisconsin: No one has scored against Wisconsin this season. After beating South Florida 49-0 in Week 1, the No. 17 Badgers followed that game up with a 61-0 win at home over Central Michigan. That’s 110-0 if you don’t want to do the quick math.

RB Jonathan Taylor had a pedestrian day by his lofty standards with 19 carries for 102 yards and three scores. But he added another receiving TD after scoring the first of his career against the Bulls.

South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski threw two TDs in his first start. (AP Photo/John Amis)
South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski threw two TDs in his first start. (AP Photo/John Amis)

South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski: The freshman made his first start in place of the injured Jake Bentley and it went really well. Hilinski, the brother of the late Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski, was 24-of-30 passing for 282 yards and two touchdowns and an interception in South Carolina’s 72-10 rout of FCS Charleston Southern.

Iowa State: GameDay is heading to Ames for the first time. ESPN announced Saturday that the pregame show was heading to Iowa State for the Iowa game in Week 3. It’s a nice reward for an Iowa State team that was off in Week 2 after sneaking out a win in Week 1 against FCS Northern Iowa.

Rice QB Wiley Green: We’re thankful that Green’s injury Friday night wasn’t more serious. Green was released from the hospital on Friday night after he was carted off the field on a backboard following a vicious hit against Wake Forest. Green was on the ground for nearly 10 minutes following a hit to the head while he was trying to score a touchdown. Rice said in a statement Saturday morning that “all post-injury testing came back negative” and that Green would be continue to be treated symptomatically by the school’s medical staff.

Losers

Kansas: Oh no, Jayhawks. A week after Kansas celebrated a win over FCS Indiana State like crazy in Les Miles’ debut, things came crashing back to Earth in Week 2 with a 12-7 loss to Coastal Carolina. Yes, Coastal Carolina, a team that spent part of the week practicing at Clemson because it was evacuated for Hurricane Dorian. Wasn’t Miles’ arrival in Lawrence supposed to get rid of the status quo?

FAU: Things aren’t going so great in Boca Raton. Losses to Ohio State and UCF are understandable. But they’ve both been blowouts. After losing 45-21 to the Buckeyes in Week 1, FAU lost 48-14 on Saturday to UCF. And this happened when FAU tried to pooch punt in the first half.

Rutgers: The offensive explosion that Rutgers had in its Week 1 win over UMass did not carry over at all to Week 2. Heck, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t even score against Iowa. The Hawkeyes beat Rutgers 30-0 and the box score may be even uglier than that. Rutgers QBs McLane Carter and Artur Sitkowski threw for a combined 41 yards and two interceptions while the team rushed for 84 yards. Brutal.

Nebraska: It’s not going to be an instant turnaround for Scott Frost at Nebraska. But man, blowing a 17-0 halftime lead is brutal. The Huskers got outscored 34-14 after the half in a 34-31 overtime loss at Colorado.

The Big Ten West is looking tougher than we thought before the season too. Wisconsin looks fantastic so far and Iowa hasn’t been a slouch. Nebraska can still contend for the division title, but maybe the 2019 expectations need to be tweaked a bit.

West Virginia: The rebuilding job that Neal Brown has on his hands in Morgantown looks quite large. The Mountaineers were thoroughly outplayed in every facet in a 38-7 loss at Missouri. Oklahoma transfer QB Austin Kendall threw two picks and Jack Allison threw another while Missouri — a team that lost to Wyoming in Week 1 — rolled up 232 yards rushing.

Vanderbilt: A bowl is already looking like a distant possibility for the Commodores. After being uncompetitive in a Week 1 loss at home to Georgia, Vanderbilt went on the road to Purdue and lost 42-24 as Purdue star WR Rondale Moore had 13 catches for 220 yards.

Vanderbilt’s next opponent? No. 6 LSU. An 0-3 start is staring the Commodores in the face. The good news — if there is any — is that the schedule includes just one ranked team over the final nine games.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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