It's taken 6 weeks but it looks as though the storyline of the year is going to be whether the offensively minded Big 12 or the defensively minded SEC is the true power conference. Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Missouri, Texas, and Texas Tech are putting up numbers that the arena league would envy. LSU, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia and Auburn boast the kind of fast, hard hitting defenses that teams hate the face. Something has to give, right?
Well, as far as the Big 12 is concerned, they just started their conference schedule last week, and some of those numbers should start coming back down to earth once they start playing one another. The SEC, on the other hand, has a number of teams with serious offensive problems. Part of this can be contributed to the aforementioned defenses, but some of it is just bad football. Auburn is attempting to run a scheme they don't have the athletes run. Alabama has a dominating run offense, but until John Parker Wilson and his receivers can consistently get on the same page they can be contained. Florida finally found a run game this week, but how much of that can be attributed to what can only be described as a putrid Arkansas team? LSU has tons of talent, but Jarrett Lee still hasn't proven he can play a complete game. Then there's Vanderbilt.
It's hard to say what to make of Vanderbilt this year, They lead the SEC East with a 3-0 conference record, having already beaten South Carolina, Mississippi, and Auburn. They don't have much talent, but they don't beat themselves, either. The remaining schedule only contains 3 games that they probably won't be favored in, at Georgia, Florida, and at Wake Forest. If they can somehow avoid a trap game this weekend against Mississippi St, win one of the games against Florida or Georgia(this is, admittedly, extremely unlikely), and have the Gators and Bulldogs fall victim to the normal amount of SEC attrition(2 conference losses), there's a real, albeit small, chance that the Commodores could sneak into the SEC Championship game. Do I expect this to happen? No, I expect Vanderbilt to lose 3-4 games this year and make a minor bowl, but in a league full of great coaches Bobby Johnson in quickly proving himself one of the best, and I'm learning not to underestimate him.
The Wilder Power Poll, Week 2:
- Penn St: This team is quietly turning in impressive performances week in and week out, I don't know if they can run the table, but people should start paying attention.
- Alabama: Kentucky's defense is legit, so it might be a bit harsh to drop the Tide two spots, but if they hope to beat LSU or Auburn they're going to have to find more balance on offense. One offensive touchdown won't cut it against either of those teams(well, maybe Auburn).
- USC: The Trojans came out and made a strong statement against Oregon last week. I can't rank them any higher after losing to Oregon St, but they're the only one loss team that I feel could not only beat all of the teams ranked 6th or higher, but might do so by double digits if they're clicking on all cylinders.
- Brigham Young
Games of the Week:
Texas vs Oklahoma at The Cotton Bowl
Both of these teams boast extremely prolific offenses lead by extremely prolific quarterbacks, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. Both teams have dominant offensive and defensive lines, however, neither team has proven they can consistently defend against he pass. The key to this game will be two fold, which team gets pressure on the opposing quarterback, and which team gets better production out of their receivers, because I don't think either team will be able to run the ball with much consistency. Unfortunately for Texas, both of those things tip slightly in the favor of Oklahoma. Oklahoma will force a few more punts, and a few more turnovers.
Oklahoma 31 Texas 27
Oklahoma St at Missouri
You could probably take the entire capsule for the Red River Rivalry, change a few names and transpose it here. It's pretty much the exact same match up with defenses that are slightly worse. Oklahoma St will be looking to prove that Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant are as good as Chase Daniels and Jeremy Maclin. We shall see.
Missouri 42 Oklahoma St 33
LSU at Florida
I'm not sold on this Florida team. They finally found a running game last week but it was against an Arkansas team that looks like it might be the worst team in the SEC. LSU should be able to push around Florida at the line of scrimmage, and Charles Scott should be able to pound away between the tackles against the Gators.
LSU 22 Florida 13
Penn St at Wisconsin
Penn St is a very, very good team. True, they only beat Purdue 20-6 last week, but that score doesn't express just how soundly the Nittany Lions beat the Boilermakers. They marched up and down the field at will, methodically, 5-6 yards at a time, thanks to a run-based spread attack spearheaded by quarterback Daryll Clark, punishing running back Evan Royster, and receiver Derrick Williams. Couple that kind of offense with a good defense and you have a team that, should they manage to finish the season with less than two losses, will have to be in the discussion regarding the national championship game. The two games following this one are against Michigan and Ohio St, so the answers will be forthcoming shortly.
Penn St. 26 Wisconsin 15
Arizona St. at USC
With a resounding thumping of Oregon last week the Trojans let the rest of the Pac 10 know that they're still the best team in the conference. Arizona St. hasn't been able to get on track yet this season, and they'll need to be completely on their game if they hope to pull off the upset, whether Sanchez plays or not.
USC 38 Arizona St 17