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Week 2 Review: National Report

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Rusty Ryan looks at the rest of the country including the Big-10 and ACC and how everything interacts with the playoffs.

Steve Dykes

The Big Ten Is Broke

Ohio State took on an unranked Virginia Tech team as two-score favorites.  The Hokies have been weak the last couple years but they surged against the Buckeyes.  Ohio State went 4/16 on third down and was held to only 108 yards on the ground, with starting quarterback J.T. Barrett contributing 70 of those yards on 24 carries.  Tech stacked the box and covered up nearly every hole or crease that developed and stifling the Buckeye rushing attack.  The Buckeyes were the leaders of the clubhouse in Big-10 hopes for a playoff participant and it looks like they'll be on the outside looking in.

Michigan was absolutely dominated by Notre Dame.  Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner tossed three picks against the fighting Irish.  When Notre Dame had the ball Everett Golson looked even more impressive going 23/34 for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Golson almost looks like a completely different player after being forced to sit out last year due to academic penalties.  This game was dominated by Notre Dame and it never felt like Michigan had a shot to turn this game around.

Purdue was doubled up by Central Michigan 38-17.  Northwestern lost to Northern Illinois 23-15, thus completing one of the uglier starts to a season.  Maryland barely beat South Florida who is one of the worst teams in college football.  This league just looks poor from top to bottom.  I doubt this conference has a team in the playoff.

PAC-12 Has Enough Drama For Everyone

Oregon took on Michigan State in the game of the week.  It was a tale of two halves as Michigan State went into halftime up 24-18 after looking like they had solved the Oregon offense and defense.  Oregon was averaging one yard per carry and was 1/7 on third down.  Connor Cook was throwing the ball around the field and had scored 17 unanswered points.

In the second half the adjustments were made and Oregon scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 46-27 final score.  Marcus Mariota made many amazing plays and his state line finished 17/28 for 318 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The biggest turning point in the game occurred when Michigan State was marching but was stuffed on 4th and 1.  The game was sealed when Ifo Ekpre-Olomu made the play of the year with a diving interception of a tipped pass where he defied the laws of physics.

USC topped Stanford 13-10 after forcing a fumble when sacking Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan.  The Cardinal turned the ball over twice but outgained the Trojans 413-291.  Stanford had many possessions near the red zone that resulted in no points it seemed like they were actively trying to lose the game.

UCLA struggled for the second week against an opponent that should have been clearly outmatched.  Memphis only won three games last year but nearly shocked the Bruins before falling 42-35.  The Bruins' struggle isn't Brett Hundley's fault.  He went 33/44 for 396 yards and three touchdowns.  Myles Jack even got three carries at running back for seven yards and a touchdown.

The funniest performance of the week belongs to Washington's narrow win over Eastern Washington, 59-52.  Cyler Miles threw for a touchdown and rushed for three more in his first start of the season after serving a 1-game suspension.  Vernon Adams Jr., the Eastern Washington quarterback, had the real performance of the week throwing for almost 500 yards and 7 touchdowns.

ACC Might Be on the Way Up

Clemson cruised against South Carolina State.  Pittsburgh looks like it's improving significantly after they topped Boston College 30-20.  North Carolina might have struggled against San Diego State but Miami took care of business against Florida A&M.

Duke is still a top team in the conference and Florida State is the reigning national title, but the emergence of Virginia Tech brings multiple playoff spot contenders to the top.  One team is going to have a couple legitimate conference wins.

Players of the Week:

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Brett Hundley, UCLA

Vernon Adams JR., Eastern Washington

My playoff bracket:

1.  Oregon v. 4.  USC

2.  Georgia v.  3. Texas A&M