Welcome to Week 2 of the College Football Report Card. The first weeks of the season have seen more than enough bad plays and outstanding efforts to fill a semester’s worth of blue books.
The same thing goes as far as grading from last season. High marks will be only for the spectacular, and failing grades have no chance of being reversed. Also, mean tweeters will be blocked and emails to the inbox to complain will directly enter the trash folder.
Last week’s low marks went to bad acting at Tennessee, a South Carolina State punter’s forgetful day, and the putrid Iowa offense. High grades went to Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and his play leading to an upset win over Utah.
HIGHS AND LOWs: Winners and losers from Week 2 in college football
REPORT CARD: Sun Belt gets top marks for taking down elite on road
UNDER RADAR: USC’s domination, Michigan QB race lead things you missed
MISERY INDEX: Jimbo Fisher continues to rob Texas A&M in broad daylight
With that being said, here is the Week 2 analysis of how fans, teams, players and coaches fared:
Once upon a time, athletic departments of Power Five programs were willing to hand out millions to teams of lesser status because they thought their fans and alumni would fill stadiums and would enjoy three hours of uninterrupted and stress-free entertainment. These days, schools are still throwing away money – but the football that comes along with these games is hardly stress-free. Those who continue to schedule this way in the future are doing so at their own peril.
Three schools found this out the hard way on Saturday.
Marshall took its $1.25 million paycheck from Notre Dame, went to South Bend, promptly ran the ball down the Irish’s throat and gladly took three turnovers from them for good measure in a 26-21 victory. And it really wasn’t that close.
Roughly 1,100 miles south of Notre Dame Stadium, recruiting champion and self-proclaimed threat to Alabama, Texas A&M found itself in the same position with another Sun Belt conference member, Appalachian State.
App State has done this type of thing before (hi, Michigan), and has been a good program since rising from the FCS level. You think A&M cared about that? Nope. Not when they are giving out $1.5 million checks, just because. Another prize for the Mountaineers for their upset: they are hosting College GameDay next Saturday.
After the 17-14 upset win, App State head coach Shawn Clark also pocketed a $20,000 bonus for a clause in his contract called the “Competitive Scheduling” bonus, which he would have gotten whether the team won or lost.
I’ve got 2 years of eligibility left, right?
And finally, Nebraska – with $1.423 million burning a hole in the blueblood’s pocket – continued down the abyss of mediocrity. This time, the Huskers gave up 642 yards and 34 first downs to three-touchdown underdog Georgia Southern in losing at home 45-42.
𝗔𝗪𝗪𝗪, 𝗦𝗛𝗨𝗖𝗞𝗦.#HailSouthern | #GATA pic.twitter.com/e8cURuKszD
Fun belt, indeed.
Took the money and won: A+
The referees in college football have gotten plenty of face time so far this season, making games that are sometimes approaching four hours even longer with their whistles and stoppages for a replay every other down.
While these striped-uniformed warriors are armed and ready to throw their oversized handkerchiefs at a moment’s notice, fans in the stands and viewers alike are moaning and groaning about the laundry on the field, whether the infraction is warranted or not.
Syracuse was flagged 18 times in its opening week win against Louisville. Virginia Tech saw 15 flags against Old Dominion (the Hokies lost) and Alabama was also penalized 15 times in its narrow victory Saturday over Texas, much to the chagrin of Nick Saban.
Smartly, the Tide players waited until after the game to throw the “horns down” gesture, but Saban was still having none of it. He promptly yelled at his players “don’t do that (expletive).”
“DON’T DO THAT S–T!” 😳
Nick Saban was HEATED after Bama players did the Horns Down gesture vs. Texas pic.twitter.com/VxIH049NUD
Good luck in practice this week, Alabama.
And it was all yellow: F
As someone who has lived and survived in hot climates such as Arizona, Oklahoma and Iraq – and have bared the heat waiting on a New York subway platform in the summer – it is not clear what Southern Mississippi head coach Will Hall was thinking when he showed up to a game in Miami Gardens, Florida, wearing a white dress shirt and some slacks to coach a football game outdoors in 1,000-degree humidity.
Humid in Miami pic.twitter.com/SFPoEAnSfy
Sweating so much in the South Florida heat that it would put Sean Miller and Patrick Ewing to shame, Hall probably needed a new collection of shirts considering the way his team played on Saturday against the Hurricanes. Time to go back to wearing some school-issued shirts and khakis.
Sweatin’ to the oldies: D-
The year is off to an interesting start with some of these plays.
— Holy Cross shocked Buffalo when Matthew Sluka hit Jalen Coker for a 46-yard touchdown as time expired for the 37-31 win.
HOLY CROSS HAIL MARY FTW! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/zjQpIvRxJ9
— Pittsburgh tight end Gavin Bartholomew hurdles over a Tennessee defender on his way to a 57-yard touchdown catch.
THE CATCH. THE HURDLE. THE SCORE. @Pitt_FB | #ACCFootball
📺: @ABCNetwork pic.twitter.com/ztRIWBeHjs
— Memphis defensive back Quindell Johnson living his best OBJ life with this one-handed interception. But Ole Miss receiver Jonathan Mingo got in on the action with a wonderful one-handed catch of his own.
.@quindell6 with the one handed pick!😱#AmericanFB x @MemphisFB pic.twitter.com/mfN0fXKcng
One-handed snag for No. 1 🤯 #SCtop10 @OleMissFB | @ogmingo1k pic.twitter.com/OXmnHMc9To
— Welcome to the big time, Cameron Ward.
Washington State QB Cameron Ward played in front of a little more than 68,000 fans in 13 games for FCS Incarnate Word in 2021.
Today, he’s playing in over 80,000 fans 😯 pic.twitter.com/xgudEDMrIX
— A fan … just kind of walked onto the field at LSU?
Dude just casually walked onto the field 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/8fd10efY5r
— Who throws a shoe? Honestly!
Somebody threw a shoe in Morgantown pic.twitter.com/i1qoqUpTw9
Stats for you:
— New Mexico special teams aren’t that special. The Lobos haven’t blocked a punt in 13 years. That’s the longest streak in college football.
— Temple wide receiver De’Von Fox is a special teams unit on his own. He blocked three punts by himself in the Owls’ 30-14 victory over Lafayette.
— Notre Dame had its 42-game winning streak snapped against teams that were unranked in the media poll.
Check out these beauties, courtesy of North Carolina State.
You know it’s about to get hype when these two show up. Welcome back, Tuffy & Ripken! #1Pack1Goal pic.twitter.com/A5V8ao4SqW
These pups probably weren’t watching our Dog of the Week, but if they were they had to look away for this matchup, which was the only game on the schedule featuring two 0-2 teams. Before they squared off on Saturday, both teams had scored a grand total of 38 points combined their first four contests. Woof, indeed.
But for fans of these schools, the Report Card appreciates you anyway. Oh, UTEP beat New Mexico State 20-13.
Follow Scooby Axson on Twitter @scoobaxson.