Story Lines From Around the Country, Week 2

Wisconsin falling to Oregon State was one of several games in which the Big Ten disappointed.

It's always important to avoid taking too many lessons from Week 1, lest you find yourself sounding dumb. "Stanford really struggled with San Jose State! They could lose to Duke!" (Stanford 50, Duke 13) "Oklahoma State's system is totally plug-and-play! They're not going to be that far off from last year!" (Arizona 59, OSU 38) And so on.

But while lasting lessons take time, hastily prepared story lines need no such time to properly ferment. Here is what was going on around the country outside the SEC.

The apparently weekly segment where we get to laugh at the Big Ten.

It wasn't a great week for the Big Ten's ranked teams. No. 13 Wisconsin lost 10-7 at Oregon State, No. 16 Nebraska lost 36-30 at UCLA, and No. 19 Michigan needed a heroic effort from Denard Robinson to beat Air Force 31-25. Only No. 14 Ohio State had a mostly heartburn-free win, but it needed a late interception in the end zone against UCF to keep it that way. (Edited to add: No. 11 Michigan State too, 41-7 over CMU). Illinois, Iowa, Penn State, and Purdue also lost in the non-conference to teams of varying qualities, with only Northwestern's come-from-behind win over Vandy at home to try to counterbalance.

When only half your conference wins its games and they were victories over New Hampshire, UCF, UMass, Air Force, Central Michigan and Vanderbilt, it wasn't a banner weekend.

The Pac-10 is pretty good; the Pac-12 is not so much.

That line comes from Pat Forde, who is mostly right on. LSU laid waste to Washington, but it was LSU at home at night. Oregon State knocked off Wisconsin, UCLA outgunned Nebraska, Arizona State blew out Illinois, and Stanford and Arizona ran out to big wins. The two favorites USC and Oregon took care of business, and Cal had quarters of 20 points and 30 points in its win over a I-AA team. Washington State, still digging out of a deep hole, won as well over Eastern Washington.

On the other hand, Utah lost in overtime to Utah State on Friday, and Colorado lost to Sacramento State. The monster TV contract was worth it anyway, I guess.

The Big 12 split in three.

The conference could be divided into three segments. The first group I'll call the bakery raiders: four teams beat their overmatched tune-up opponents by at least 45 points. The second group was the big winners, with Kansas State routing Miami by 39 and Iowa State beat Iowa on the road for the first time in 10 years by a delicious score of 9-6. Then you had the big losers, with Oklahoma State getting throttled by Arizona and Kansas losing at home to Rice. Maybe it's time to get moving on that invitation for the Owls, huh?

The ACC had a very ACC weekend.

It was a mostly positive weekend for the conference, but it was positive in an uninspiring way. That's the ACC for you.

Maryland got a solid win over Temple, but it almost blew a big lead in doing so. NC State got a road win at UConn, but it was an unwatchable 10-7 affair. Virginia held on to beat Penn State by a point, but it needed the poor PSU kicker to miss four field goals and a PAT. The favorites at least had no trouble with their cupcake feasts, and Wake and UNC played a 28-27 thriller. The only big blemish was Miami laying a monumental egg, losing 52-13. You might want to go ahead and announce a voluntary postseason ban now, fellas, before the schedule takes care of that for you.

BCS Buster Watch

The following are the only non-AQ teams left without a loss: BYU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Ohio, Utah State, and UTSA. ULM has the best win of the bunch with its victory over Arkansas, but BYU (Washington State), Utah State (Utah) and Ohio (Penn State) also have wins over BCS AQ competition. BYU has the toughest schedule remaining of anyone thanks to being an independent, but that also means that it has the toughest road to going undefeated.

Next week BYU takes on Utah, Utah State faces Wisconsin, ULL has Oklahoma State, and ULM has Auburn. Yeah... Monroe might beat two SEC teams in a row. That'd be a tough one to live down.

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