Sifting out what the conventional wisdom looks like after the weekend in football. Inspiration, obviously, is right here. (As with all conclusions based on a week of data, grain of salt.)
South Carolina's offense will stall without Connor Shaw: Mostly False
Account for the fact that the opponent was East Carolina, and ECU might not be very good this year. Or even competent. But backup quarterback Dylan Thompson still looked solid in his first start, going 21-of-37 for 330 yards and three touchdowns, while the Gamecocks racked up 528 yards of total offense. The running game suffered from lack of attention more than anything else -- Marcus Lattimore, the stereotypical back who gets better with more carries, got just 40 yards on only 13 carries. By the time that Steve Spurrier started calling trick plays against the overwhelmed Pirates, it looked a little bit like what he used to do against mid-majors during his Florida days. The question is whether things will look as crisp against SEC teams -- no matter who's under center.
Arkansas will be okay even without
The number of commentators who thought the Razorbacks would suffer no problems without their most infamous Harley aficionado was actually relatively small. But most people thought they would still be a Top 10 team with a shot at a BCS bowl berth and a very small chance to win the SEC West. Instead, the Hogs are now in a desperate fight just to save a bowl season after some baffling play-calling. Maybe Petrino wouldn't have called enough runs in the second half (which the Arkansas staff clearly didn't do), and the offensive line would probably still be suspect. But you have to think that a play-caller as seasoned and acclaimed could have worked around those obstacles. (Note: Yes, Jeff Long still made the right decision to fire Petrino.)
The Pac-12 South is Southern Cal's to lose: Half True
The Trojans still have to be considered the favorite to win the division and maybe the conference. But save Utah (which lost to Utah State) and Colorado (which is Colorado), the rest of the Pac-12 South is undefeated and starting to look borderline competent. Arizona pummeled Oklahoma State after the Cowboy's historic win against Savannah State, and Arizona State thrashed Illinois. UCLA edged Nebraska. An argument could be made that Southern Cal's less than inspiring win against Syracuse was the worst of the lot. The smart money still says the Trojans win the division, but they're going to have a fight on their hands.
Locking down Al Golden was a good move by Miami (FL): Half True
I'm grading on a curve here, because Golden might still be the best hope the Hurricanes have to dig out of the sanctions that are looming. But even without the NCAA taking away a single scholarship, Golden's Miami team lost to Kansas State 52-13 over the weekend. And that's only after they scored a touchdown with less than five minutes to play. The Hurricanes picked up 1.4 yards a carry on the ground and turned the ball over three times. It's only a good idea to give a coach a hefty contract if you want him to stay around.
Houston looks awful this year: Mostly True
It's only two weeks into the season, but the Cougars have now lost to Texas State, a newly minted NCAA member, and were edged by Louisiana Tech. Neither loss counts in the conference standings, but if the preseason consensus that Houston would win the C-USA West looked shaky last week, it's completely collapsed now. It looks like Houston just isn't very goo.