Observations, thoughts and takeaways from the second weekend of the college football season, which lacked big games, but still provided some drama and controversy.
1. Going back to fix officiating mistakes after games are over, even when it seems easy and obvious to do so, is a bad idea. Sorry, No. 22 Oklahoma State. Maybe don’t get an intentional grounding when trying to kill the clock.
2. Can we call it Sleepy Saturday? Several of the highly ranked teams expecting easy wins against overmatched opponents seemed disinterested. No. 9 Georgia was the worst offender against Nicholls . Careful not to read too much into listless efforts, but the Bulldogs should be able to run for more than 4.3 per carry against an FCS team that won three games last season.
3. More than 156,000 people, a college football record, watched No. 17 Tennessee get better at Bristol Motor Speedway, beating Virginia Tech 45-24 . The Vols still have to tighten up their offensive line, but they looked a lot like the top-10 team they were expected to be. Better intensity and effort.
4. Deshaun Watson has not played much like the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite and potential first overall NFL draft pick so far. Same goes for the entire Clemson offense that seemed to have all the weapons to be one of the best in the country.
5. Every coach in the country should show his team Ray-Ray McCloud’s gaffe in the Clemson game and make clear that a similar transgression will come with a one-game benching.
6. Lamar Jackson and No. 13 Louisville are doing things offensively that we thought Watson and No. 2 Clemson would do. Though to be fair, the Cardinals competition has been a far cry from Auburn.
7. That changes next week. Who would have guessed that with No. 1 Alabama at No. 19 Mississippi, No. 14 Oklahoma hosting No. 4 Ohio State, No. 12 Michigan State at No. 18 Notre Dame and USC facing No. 7 Stanford, the most interesting game would be No. 3 Florida State at Louisville.
8. That “tough” start for the Southeastern Conference now includes four nonconference victories against Top 25 teams after Arkansas beat No. 15 TCU in overtime.
9. Too early to bury any conference in the College Football Playoff race, but the two favorites in the Big 12 (Oklahoma and TCU) each have a loss. Unless you want to call Texas the favorite, but that seems a bit much.
10. Do Kalen Ballage’s FBS record-tying eight touchdowns for Arizona State need an asterisk because they came against Texas Tech’s woeful defense? Ballage touched the ball 15 times in a 68-55 victory . Aaron Dickens of RedRaiderSports.com noted on Twitter that coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team has three losses in the last 12 games in which it has scored at least 50 points.
11. Pitt might be the best team in the ACC Coastal. Running through Penn State was impressive. But after the game coach Pat Narduzzi said defensive end Dewayne Hendrix and linebacker Elijah Zeise would miss the season with injuries.
12. The Nittany Lions’ rallied from down 28-7 to make it a game. A small consolation for coach James Franklin. Taking a blowout loss into a week of talking about whether Penn State should be commemorating the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game as coach next Saturday would have been miserable.
13. Freshman Jalen Hurts seems to have ended the quarterback competition at Alabama.
14. And if Hurts is the guy, is there any chance redshirt freshman Blake Barnett, a former five-star, will stay at Alabama after this season?
15. Looks as if Notre Dame’s quarterback competition is over, too.
16. Southern California’s rout of Utah State would be easy to blow off as no big deal, but after that awful effort last week against Alabama, and with Stanford and Utah next, the Trojans really needed a blowout.
17. Though it would be nice if the Trojans stopped having players getting tossed from games. This week it was offensive tackle Chuma Edoga.
18. Utah won its sixth straight Holy War against BYU , despite six turnovers.
19. The best running back that gets lost in the year of the running back is San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey, who ran for a career-best 281 yards against Cal and broke Marshall’s Faulk’s career school record. The Aztecs have won 12 straight.
20. Early season chatter has been about Houston going unbeaten out of the Group of Five conferences, but Boise State and San Diego State both look capable of getting to the Mountain West title game without a loss.
21. Army, Navy and Air Force are all 2-0 for the first time since 1996.
22. East Carolina wanted to join the Big 12, but it owns the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Pirates have now won six straight vs. the ACC.
23. Good win for Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson at Duke . By far his best since taking over two seasons ago.
25. Florida has now won 30 straight games against Kentucky, which set back passing offense decades against the Gators .