The Woodshed Week 2: Plenty to learn as teams (mostly) move on from cupcake openers

From left: Clemson, Ohio State, Wisconsin and LSU.

The most growth of a team happens from week one to week two. The problem with opening up with a cupcake is you really can’t measure how good your team is.

FLORIDA STREAKING

Sep 8, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen reacts during the second quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators looked pretty good in week one vs Charleston Southern. Florida had a chance to take a step closer to the King Bear Throne, the perch where it’s easiest to catch salmon.

But it’s almost like they saw how bad Florida State was, and said … “hold my beer.” Dan Mullen’s Gators lost to Kentucky on Saturday, ending it’s 31-game win streak against the Wildcats.

Streaks are meant to be broken, it’s the nature of sports. But losing 27-16 raises concern over the Gators line play, the quarterback play, and their ability to contain a mobile quarterback. Next up for the Gators is Colorado State, who beat Arkansas 34-27 on the last drive of the game.

SEBASTIAN THE IBIS

Miami got to unveil it’s new turnover chain this week, and it made four appearances in Miami’s slaughter of Savannah State 77-0.

The ‘Canes took care of business. It was their first shutout in three years. The 77-point victory is the largest margin of victory in school history, although it should have an asterisk next to it because of the level of competition. Do you really feel good about the turnover chain party when it’s against Savannah State? I mean, what if you’re losing by 30 to LSU and you get a turnover? Same Party?

It’s a long season. Miami has to head to Toledo on Saturday, and you can’t sleep on the Rockets, especially when you will be playing in a downpour thanks to Hurricane Florence.

WIN ONE FOR BURT

Did you know that Florida State is 24-0 against FCS teams since 1978? Thanks to Samford coming to town and giving Seminoles fans the Appalachian State treatment. Seriously, Samford led the ‘Noles for 55 minutes until Deondre Francois led an 11-play, 82-yard drive to put them ahead for the first time in the Willie Taggart era. FSU won the game 36-26 but took it’s time taking control of the game.

FSU did honor Burt Reynolds by wearing a decal on the helmet “Ban One,” which was the license plate from Smokey and the Bandit.

And the FSU marching band also played a tribute to the famous alumni.

THE REST OF THE SUNSHINE STATE

Sep 8, 2018; Boca Raton, FL, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls quarterback Chris Robison (2) throws a pass against Air Force Falcons during the first half at FAU Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps Lane Kiffin’s Owls may test the King Bear as top program in the state. FAU rebounded in Boca Raton over the Air Force Academy thanks to a record performance by QB Chris Robison. The redshirt freshman was 33 of 40 for 471 yards and 3 TDs in the 33-27 victory.

USF took down the Georgia Yellow Jackets 49-38 in Tampa and the Bulls are 2-0 and now are receiving AP votes for the top 20.

UCF is still rolling, and they haven’t lost a game since Dec. 17, 2016. The Knights beat up South Carolina State 38-0.

And hats off to FIU for beating Old Dominion 28-20. An emotional win for the Panthers: Two of its players — Mershawn Miller and Anthony Joneswere shot at a home in Opa-locka earlier in the week. Both are reportedly recovering and doing well.

I think college football fans need to prepare themselves for the possibility that we could have five to six legitimate teams vying for the playoffs.

Here me out a second: if Alabama or Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and either Stanford or Notre Dame runs the table, what happens?

What we know by now is upsets happen, so the Playoff Committee is praying that some of these teams fall. I’m not lying when I say one network (closely related to the SEC) had Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, and Clemson as the best 4 teams in the nation. Now that’s comedy!

Here’s the WOODSHED TOP TEN:

No. 1 CLEMSON

In what was a closer game than I thought it would be, a 28-26 victory over Texas A&M is a great win for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers. Clemson’s Kelly Bryant took control of the offense late in the third quarter and scored two touchdowns that would be enough in the end.

Clemson’s defense had their hands full with mobile Aggies QB Kellen Mond, who threw for 430 yards. This was Clemson’s last test until November, so don’t go looking for any losses soon.

No. 2 ALABAMA

Sep 8, 2018; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22) carries for yardage against the Arkansas State Red Wolves during the third quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

I honestly don’t understand why Alabama schedules a game like Arkansas State. I know they are in the Sun Belt like Appalachian State, but come on.

Nick Saban was busy challenging his fans to stay 60 minutes for each game. I’ve got news for you Saban: Nobody wants to watch that level of competition. How about scheduling a Big 12 or Pac-12 team? I get everybody needs one cupcake, but having three is pure comedy, in my opinion. Though it may be good for Arkansas State, it’s terrible for college football fans.

‘Bama won 57-7, and would you believe it’s the first time they’ve scored over 50 points in each of their first two games since 1925? While most say ‘Bama is the best team in the nation, I still think that defense has holes in it and will be tested eventually.

And no, next week vs Mississippi won’t be that test.

No. 3 OHIO STATE

Ohio State collected its 900th victory program history when it spanked Rutgers 52-3 in the leftover deluge of Tropical Storm Gordon.

OSU’s QBs Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell combined for 30 of 33 passing with 354 yards and five touchdowns. Though there’s no doubt Haskins is the man for the Buckeyes, OSU has a star in the making with Martell, who added 95 rushing yards and a touchdown.

It was interesting; going into this game, Rutgers offensive tackle Tariq Cole was asked to assess the greatness of OSU defensive end Nick Bosa. He gave praise but then added that “he has never given up a sack to Bosa, and it was his job to keep it that way.”

That’s what we call locker room material and poking the Bear. Bosa nearly broke Rutgers freshman QB Artur Sitkowski in half on the last play of the half. Sitkowski left the game with an upper body injury.

Tariq was a little humbled during post game.

The Buckeyes head to Jerryland and play TCU on Saturday. This will be the last game without Urban Meyer, who is serving a three-game suspension. I’m guessing close to 80 points will scored in this game.

No. 4 GEORGIA

OK, let me be the first to say I don’t believe two teams from the same conference should go to the playoff if there are other teams who are worthy. Georgia just kicked the living crap out of South Carolina in their house 41-17. But after further review, did they? I mean, if you start the game out with a pick six, that’s hard to come back from, right?

Georgia’s Deandre Baker rolls 55 yards on the tipped ball and leaves the egg at the one yard line. How many times have we seen this in football.

COACHES, listen up: If you are not teaching your guys to run thru the back of end zones with the ball, you are failing your team. I can’t believe this still happens in the game.

Also, if I’m the offense or defense coordinator training a guy running to the end zone, how are you not teaching them to watch for the idiot leaving the ball at the goal line?

I’m having some fun at Baker’s expense. He’s learned his lesson for sure; it’s not every day the defense scores. It’s not ever really practiced. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he had some practice carrying it across the goal line this week in practice.

Georgia looked really good, but South Carolina did move the ball on them in the first half. Georgia is beatable, I’m just not sure there is anybody in the SEC East that can give them a game.

No. 5 OKLAHOMA

Sep 8, 2018; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins during the fourth quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners looked pretty good in the Troy Aikman bowl against UCLA. The Sooners won 49-21 and Kyler Murray passed for three touchdowns and ran for two as he starts to make his push for the Heisman. He’s that good.

However, Oklahoma’s lost star tailback Rodney Anderson for the rest of the year because of a knee injury. Anderson was a game-breaker. He was the guy who got you the inches you need when you want to move the sticks.

Losing Anderson just made Oklahoma beatable. Iowa State beat them last year and faces Oklahoma this week. It’s a game you need to keep your eye on.

No. 6 MISSISSIPPI STATE

I just don’t know why I’m buying this stock so early.

In my opinion, to win a championship you need a veteran quarterback and great defensive line, and the Bulldogs possess both. MSU went to Manhattan, Kansas, and shut down Kansas State 31-10.

It also was the coming out party of sophomore tailback Kylin Hill, the Mississippi State rusher who had 211 yards and three touchdowns. He’s being tabbed the next Saquon Barkley.

No. 7 WISCONSIN

The Badgers are ranked this high because their offensive line and tailback are really, really good. They will punish you.

New Mexico State put nine guys in the box and still gave up 253 yards rushing to Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin won 45-14. Nothing exciting about this team other than you better buckle up your chin strap; they will hit you.

BYU will be the next victim before Big Ten play starts on the Sept. 22.

No. 8 AUBURN

The Tigers had a great win over Washington in week one and followed it up with a cupcake in beating Alabama State 63-9.

There is nothing to write about when you play teams like this. Yawn!

No wait, they play LSU this week in what will be the most exciting game of the week.

No. 9 PENN STATE

Sep 8, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) celebrates his second touchdown of the game with wide receiver Juwan Johnson (84) against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

PSU rebounded over Pittsburgh 51-6 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in soggy conditions. Those who thought this was an upset waiting to happen were sadly mistaken.

Trace McSorley had three touchdowns in the quagmire, in a game that was pretty close in the first half because of the rainy conditions.

I’m not 100 percent sold on Penn State yet, but I feel like they are better than Notre Dame and Stanford due to the athletes they have.

The Lions are ending the series with the hopes of bolstering it’s non-conference strength of schedule. Local fans and media like the in-state rivalry game.

PSU hosts Kent State on Saturday, a team that gave Illinois a game in week one.

No. 10 LSU

We will find out if the Tigers are for real this week.

I just think Miami was that bad compared with LSU being that good in week one. Joe Burrow wasn’t exactly perfect in a 31-0 romp of Southeastern Louisiana. He did account for three touchdowns, but one of them was a bit of a Hail Mary.

LSU has some special athletes, and I feel they are pretty evenly matched with Auburn, so we’ll see which one takes a step forward.