We are only two weeks into the college football season and there have already been some monumental upsets.
Seven AP top-25 teams lost in Week 2, including No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 Notre Dame, and No. 9 Baylor. There were plenty of ranked teams who struggled against unranked opponents this weekend. Some were fortunate enough to escape with a win. Others were not.
There were also a handful of top-25 matchups and they all lived up to the hype. This weekend proves that college football is incredibly unpredictable and you can never assume anything.
Alabama Escapes Austin
In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the day, No. 1 Alabama escaped at Texas, 20-19. A late field goal was ultimately the difference as head coach Nick Saban avoided his first non-conference loss in the regular season since 2007 — his first year in Tuscaloosa.
The biggest takeaway was how undisciplined Alabama was — a rarity for a Saban-coached team. The Crimson Tide had 15 penalties, which was the most of Saban’s tenure. Alabama just didn’t look like the Alabama we’ve seen the past decade, but quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young stepped up when it mattered most and engineered a game-winning drive.
Even though Alabama didn’t play its best, it’s hard not to be very impressed with Texas. Quarterback Quinn Ewers was great to start the game. Unfortunately, Ewers was injured in the second quarter and never returned.
Texas also left a lot of points on the board, including a missed 20-yard field goal right before halftime. Even without their starting quarterback and some missed opportunities, the Longhorns still had a chance to win the game. Texas might not be all the way back, but there is reason to believe it is on the right track.
Sun Belt is the Stun Belt
The Sun Belt put the country on notice this weekend by pulling off three huge upsets. Appalachian State went to College Station and stunned No. 6 Texas A&M, 17-14. Keeping it close seemed realistic for Appalachian State, but the Mountaineers dominated defensively. Given the preseason hype, this is an embarrassing loss for the Aggies.
Marshall also went on the road and knocked off a top-10 team, topping No. 8 Notre Dame, 26-21. Notre Dame had three turnovers, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Notre Dame was coming off a solid performance in a loss at Ohio State. With the loss to the Thundering Herd, Marcus Freeman is now 0-3 as head coach of the Fighting Irish.
Perhaps the least shocking of the three big upsets from the Sun Belt involved Nebraska losing yet another close game. This time, the Cornhuskers lost at home to Clay Helton and Georgia Southern, 45-42. With a chance to tie on the final snap, Nebraska missed a 51-yard field goal, ending the Cornhuskers’ hopes and head coach Scott Frost’s tenure in Lincoln.
Top-25 Showdowns Meet Expectations
This week’s top-25 matchups did not disappoint. Starting with the Johnny Majors Classic, No. 24 Tennessee outlasted No. 17 Pittsburgh in overtime, 34-27. This was a huge win for the Volunteers and a heartbreaker for the Panthers.
Pitt scored the game’s first 10 points, but Tennessee stormed back to take a lead into the locker room. It was a very tight game throughout in the second half. Pitt tied it up with less than three minutes to go, but in overtime, the Volunteers used a touchdown pass from Hendon Hooker to Cedric Tillman and a fourth-down stop to escape with a 34-27 victory.
Tennessee didn’t play its best, but still beat a top-20 team on the road. The Volunteers remain an SEC sleeper.
Kentucky is another road team that pulled out a win in enemy territory. After going more than 30 years without a win against Florida, the Wildcats have now won the last two and three of the last five in the series, following a 26-16 win in Gainesville.
A road underdog, No. 20 Kentucky’s defense was outstanding; a pair of huge takeaways won the Wildcats the game. Kentucky’s offense wasn’t the best but it was good enough to win against the 12th-ranked Gators.
For those who didn’t stay up to watch the late-night thriller in Provo, you missed out. In a contest that played out similar to the one in Pittsburgh, No. 21 BYU outlasted No. 9 Baylor in double-overtime, 26-20. Baylor was clearly the tougher team in last year’s matchup in Waco — a 38-24 victory for the Bears.
BYU was much more physical this year. Lopini Katoa’s touchdown put the Cougars ahead for good before a stop on 4th-and-goal sealed the win.
Two More Ranked Teams Go Down
Two more top-25 teams fell to unranked opponents this week. No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 25 Houston each suffered three-point losses.
Wisconsin again proved to be stout defensively, but the offense left much to be desired. The Badgers fell despite outgaining Wazzu by 148 yards and possessing the ball for more than 38 minutes. Nevertheless, it was a huge win for head coach Jake Dickert and the Washington State program.
Texas was unable to knock off No. 1 Alabama, but there was an unranked team from the Lone Star State that did manage to defeat a ranked team. Despite being without its starting quarterback, Texas Tech outlasted No. 25 Houston 33-30 in double-overtime. On a night where he passed for 351 yards, quarterback Donovan Smith ended the contest with a 9-yard touchdown run.
Houston had rallied from a 17-3 deficit to take a late lead before Trey Wolff’s 47-yard field goal forced overtime. It was a tough loss for Houston and a big win for first-year head coach Joey McGuire and his Texas Tech program. This game was one of the best games of the weekend, even if it didn’t get the attention it deserved.
The USC offense looked very good as the 10th-ranked Trojans picked up a nice 41-28 road win at Stanford in a contest that was not as close as the final score.
No. 16 Arkansas pulled away for a 44-30 win over South Carolina in the SEC opener for both teams. The Razorbacks have looked good through two games while South Carolina has much to figure out.
Oklahoma State also pulled away late for a 34-17 win over Arizona State in Stillwater. Oklahoma State’s defense looked a lot better this week after allowing 44 points to Central Michigan. The Cowboys once again have the look of a Big 12 contender.
Week 2 did not disappoint and college football fans around the country loved it. Given the crazy week that was, college football may have more parity than it has in a long time.
Just two weeks into the season, there have already been some big-name programs eliminated from the College Football Playoff running. If the first couple weeks are any indication of how the season is going to be, we’re in for one to remember.
Featured image courtesy of Texas athletics