Week two of college football featured the typical snoozefest of powerhouse programs beating up on little schools trying to get their 10 minutes on national television for the year — and one game that mattered, the number three Oregon Ducks against the number seven Michigan State Spartans.
The first half was one heck of a football game. The Ducks drew first blood, but often struggled against one of the best defenses in the country. At one point, the Michigan State Spartans led 24 to 18. Then came half time.
The Oregon Ducks came into the second half like they were on a mission. After allowing a quick field goal, they made adjustments, and out ran, out played, and just plain showed more heart than the Spartans. It almost seemed like the Ducks caught more of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook’s passes than the Spartans did. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu’s fourth quarter interception that iced the game when the Spartans were driving and threatening to claw their way back into the game should be on every highlight reel for the rest of the season. Mark it down now. That was the defensive play of the year. In week two.
Both programs are to be commended for scheduling legitimate opponents at a time of the season when most of the better football teams are playing patsies and running their freshmen onto the field but he middle of the second quarter, but in the end, it was all Oregon Ducks today.
They say offense wins games, but defense wins championships. There’s no doubt that offense won the game today, as Oregon put up the kind of numbers against the highly rated Spartan defense that even the better teams usually only put up against their division II opponents. Oregon put up 491 total yards of offense, including 318 of it in the air. They scored with the passing game. They scored with the running game. They came close to scoring with their defense, more than once.
So, what does the Ducks victory in the week two Michigan State vs. Oregon game mean for the ratings? That’s up to the AP and USA Today polls to decide, but this writer thinks the Ducks’ domination of a top ten opponent in week two deserves a long hard look when the voters are picking out the number one spot. While it likely won’t happen, as the AP is hopelessly enamored with teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, Oregon deserves to be number one. They’re the only top ranked team other than LSU with the guts to schedule a legitimate opponent this early in the year.
Florida State came into the week ranked number one, and they dominated in their game, but they were playing Citadel — not exactly a powerhouse football program. What’s more, they only beat them 37-12. What’s more, the Seminole’s offensive output was only marginally better than Oregon’s (and remember, the Ducks were playing a real game) at 494 yards. Number two ‘Bama slaughtered their opponents 41-0, but c’mon. They were playing Florida Atlantic. In other words, even if they had beaten them 100-0, it wouldn’t prove much. Most of the other top ten teams rolled over their opponents easily, but then, with the opponents scheduled, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
This writer’s going to call it. Bama will be number one when the AP votes because, you know, SEC… but the Oregon Ducks should be.
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