Things are starting to (slowly) take shape as we are through 2 weeks of football. Some cupcake opponents have us wondering whether performances are to good to be true and have us wondering who some of these teams really are. Sound off in the comments below!
#1 Florida State Seminoles (2-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. Charleston Southern (52-8)
We went into this week knowing that we weren't going to learn much more about the Noles than we had previously known going up against a Charleston Southern squad missing 8 starters due to suspension. What we did learn is that Florida State did what you were supposed to do in situations such as this, as they took a big lead early and never looked back. Before you could blink, Florida State sprinted to a 28-0 first quarter lead including an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jesus Wilson. Deondre Francois did receive extended time, allowing himself to familiarize himself with the offense, and was again impressive, completing 25-of-32 passes for 262 yards and added three touchdowns. Again, not much to take from this contest, but good teams make these types of games no-doubters and Florida State holds onto the #1 spot in our rankings by doing just that.
#2 Louisville Cardinals (2-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Syracuse (62-28)
Yikes. The Syracuse defense may not be the best, but the Louisville offense lead by Lamar Jackson looks scary explosive. Say what you will about the strength of their competition, but Jackson is responsible for 13 touchdowns in 2 games and is the nation's third leading rusher...as a quarterback. I don't consider them quite on the level of Florida State yet because of the quality of those opponents and the fact that Syracuse did hang around in this game into the second half (kind of) but the showdown with Florida State will give Louisville another chance to prove themselves. While people may feel that the Cardinals still need to prove themselves, that just isn't the case in my opinion. Louisville has done PLENTY to earn their #2 ranking in this week's rankings, and rightfully have their eye on the top spot.
#3 Clemson Tigers (2-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. Troy (30-24)
Clemson is falling in our rankings, and falling fast. I couldn't agree more with QuackingTiger's earlier article that Clemson is in a bad place. There was a lot to take away from this game, again focusing on the offense. Watson was again forcing throws, the wide receivers dropped anything that came in their direction, and the offensive line put up one of its worst performances that I've seen from this team in about a decade. Once again, the only thing that was worse than all of that was the offensive play calling as the Tigers were extremely pass heavy with Wayne Gallman receiving only 9 touches. The defense created 3 turnovers, but gave up 386 yards and 21 first downs showing holes in the secondary. To add injury to insult, the Tigers lost Ben Boulware and Hunter Renfrow to injuries. This game was yet another wake-up call that the Tiger's need to focus on the field rather than the "Watson for Heisman" and "Wide Receiver U" hype. Clemson needs to fix itself, and fast.
#4 Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. Pen State (42-39)
I had to be SERIOUSLY talked out of having the Panther's at #3 in this week's rankings, and the only reason that they moved up only 2 slots this week was they let Penn State back into a game that they had total control of. Don't underestimate the importance of this win for the Panthers as they renewed their 19-year vacant rivalry with in-state foe Penn State, and managed to take bragging rights of the state back. Pittsburgh had control early in the game jumping out to a 28-7 lead before Penn State woke up. An interception in the end-zone sealed the deal for the Panthers to hang on for the victory. Pitt racked up 359 rushing yards while Nathan Peterman had very little to do, only attempting 15 passes, completing 11 of them for 91 yards and 3 TD's. I am concerned with the potential lack of killer instinct for the Panthers, and they will need to prove that they can close if they want to remain high in our rankings.
#5 Miami Hurricanes (2-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. Florida Atlantic (38-10)
Miami managed to get the job done this week when their star players weren't at their best. Brad Kaaya was below average this week completing 17-of-31 passes and was picked off twice against a pretty average defense. The Hurricanes are another team that hasn't played anybody, but boy does it look like they can run the ball. Running Back Mark Walton racked up 155 yards and 4 Touchdowns. Miami's defense looks like they are shaping up well in their new formation forcing FAU to punt on its first seven possessions. Miami has a lot to fix as they were sloppy on offense in the first half and showed that special teams may be their Achilles heel. Again, we really don't know much about this Canes team just yet, and they will have to sit at #5 in our rankings until we find out.
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1, 0-0) Last Week - W, @ Illinois (48-23)
The Tar Heels managed to pick themselves off the mat following an opening week loss to Georgia by traveling to Champagne to defeat the Fighting Illini. This was an impressive road win for UNC since there is a lot of promise in the future for Illinois (judging by the fact that this is the first time Illinois has sold out a non-conference game in this decade) but I'm still not impressed by the Tar Heels. The main reason is I'm still not seeing enough from Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky's numbers were better this week tossing 2 touchdown passes and scrambling for 2 more, but his numbers were a bit misleading with many check-downs and a large chunk play to put the game away where he decided to throw it off of an Illini defender's back. Elijah Hood had his worst game as a collegiate athlete with 26 yards on 14 carries. I don't see North Carolina doing much if they don't get Hood going, and quickly.
#7 Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, 0-0) Last Week - L, vs. #17 Tennessee (45-24)
I was really excited about the direction that Justin Fuente is taking this Hokie team, but they aren't going to go ANYWHERE if they don't take better care of the football. In one of the best atmospheres I have seen a college game in, the Hokies turned the ball over 5 times to squander away a really impressive first quarter. That first quarter may be what Virginia Tech is capable of, 9 turnovers in 2 games is a recipe for a sub .500 season. Jerod Evans was good, completing 20-of-28 pass attempts and a TD, but Virginia Tech won't budge any higher in our rankings until they can show us that they can hang onto the ball.
#8 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Duke (24-14)
Wake Forest is 2-0 and I LOVE it! I have to be honest, I wasn't sure that Wake would score 24 points in a game this season, but Kendall Hinton has officially taken over as the Wake Forest Quarterback and adds a wrinkle into the Demon Deacon's running game. Hinton has A LOT of work to do on his pass game so opponents will more than likely load the box and force Wake to pass, but I think Wake has the ability to back itself into bowl eligibility. Freshman Cade Carney rushed for 108 yards and 3 TD's which has Wake off to a 2-0 start in 2016.
#9 - Syracuse Orange (1-1, 0-1) Last Week - L, vs. #10 Louisville (62-28)
Although they were outclassed by the talent of Louisville, Syracuse did manage to hang around for a half with the Cardinals. Unfortunately for them, Louisville set up the blue print for how to put way the Orange for the rest of the year. If you get a lead, all the Orange will do is throw the ball. Eric Dungey threw the ball 51 times, and only completed 25 of them. The up-tempo system in Syracuse can wrack up some yards (they gained 426) but puts them off the field in a HURRY. If Syracuse keeps playing from behind this season, they won't be winning many games in the ACC.
#10 - Boston College (1-1, 0-1) - Last Week - W, @ Massachusetts (26-7)
A road win is a road win, but UMASS is UMASS. In fact, Boston College was trailing 7-0 late in the second quarter before they showed some big play ability as they scored touchdowns on back-to-back one pay drives to take control of the game. I don't see the big play ability as a possibility against superior opponents and the Boston College still looks like it won't be putting up many points this season.
#11 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Mercer (35-10)
After a lackluster performance that got the job done in Ireland in week #1, Georgia Tech was extremely unimpressive yet again as they struggled to beat FBS opponent Mercer. In fact, it took a fake punt call from Paul Johnson to put the game away. The Yellow Jackets didn't have a rusher with more than 70 yards rushing against a team with the talent of Mercer, it leads me to believe that the Jackets won't have much luck running against ANYBODY this season.
#12 - Duke Blue Devils (1-1, 0-1) Last Week - L, vs. Wake Forest (24-14)
A Duke offense that is trying to replace Sirk has a serious case of the butter fingers. Duke fumbled way the ball three times against a very good defense, and couldn't put anything together in an ugly performance and a home loss. Duke has 8 turnovers on the season which is something that they cannot afford as they try to replace their leading passer and rusher from last season. If they cut down the mistakes (including two missed field goals) Daniel Jones can put some drives together to win a couple of games, but for now, Duke looks to be back to the bottom.
#13 - North Carolina State (1-1, 0-0) Last Week - L, @ East Carolina (33-30)
The Wolfpack offense looked pretty good totaling 497 yards, but the defense just isn't up to the task. East Carolina took the lead with just under 5 minutes left and NC State couldn't come back. Matthew Dayes totaled 103 yards rushing while Ryan Finely was impressive completing 20-of-31 passes for 254 yards throwing for 1 touchdown and rushing for another, but the defense gave up 445 yards and let up 23 first downs. East Carolina has a pretty potent offense, but that isn't an acceptable performance if this team is going to get to .500.
#14 - Virginia Cavaliers (0-2, 0-0) Last Week - L, @ #24 Oregon (44-26)
Virginia looked better than I expected them to this week, putting up 26 points against the Brady Hoke led Oregon Duck defense. Bronco Mendenhall told us last week that his rebuilding process is going to take some time, and a pair of crucial interceptions that put the Cavaliers away for good seem to be a sign of future things to come for the Cavs.