There were lots of gains on the football field made by some of the best teams in the country last weekend. Unfortunately, it came with a lot of pain.
The narrative of the excitement of the beginning of the college football season starting anew soon gave way to the pall that was cast over some of the Top 25 teams in the country due to devastating injuries suffered to star players. No game personified that dichotomy more than the one that occurred in Lincoln, Neb., where BYU became a lead story on a college football Saturday with a Hail Mary pass that was answered on the final play of the game to hand Big Red its first opening day loss since 1985. On that play, the BYU quarterback who threw the pass was Tanner Magnum, who had to step in during the second half when star signal-caller Taysom Hill suffered a Lisfranc sprain in his foot, an injury that will once again sideline him for the season. For the past few seasons, BYU has been considered one of the teams that could crash the now-defunct Bowl Championship Series or make one of the New Year’s Six bowl games, mainly because of the dual-threat ability that Hill possessed. Now BYU will head into its game on Saturday with nationally-ranked Boise State without its best player.
But the list of star players to suffer major injuries, which is a pretty lengthy one, started a couple of days prior to the BYU-Nebraska game, as Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III, winner of the Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski Awards last season – suffered a knee injury in the Wildcats’ season opener against Texas-San Antonio. Reports are that the injury is not season-ending, but any length of time he’s out surely will hurt the Wildcats’ chances in the Pac-12 South, especially with games against UCLA and Stanford coming within the next month.
Other notable season-ending injuries included Notre Dame running back Tarean Folston (ACL tear), Pitt running back and 2014 ACC Player of the year James Conner (MCL tear), UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (ACL tear) and Stanford defensive lineman Harrison Phillips (knee). Though not currently ranked, other teams hoping for big seasons were dealt cruel blows, including Syracuse seeing quarterback Terrel Hunt suffer another season-ending injury (Achilles) and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer being knocked out for a significant amount of time with a broken collarbone suffered in the Monday night loss to Ohio State. We sadly know that injuries are part of football, as well as a given in sports, but we also hope that the spate of injuries that we saw last week is just an aberration.
As for now, the A Lot of Sports Talk 2015 College Football Poll panel seems to be having a run of good health, and we hope that continues through the rest of the season and beyond. Here are the Magnificent Seven pollsters for this week, and every week: T.J. Basalla (super fan, marketing professional based in Ohio), Evie Van Pelt (managing editor at The Rebel Walk Magazine), Basil Mitchell (former TCU and Green Bay Packers RB), Sandy Weintraub (super fan, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards at the University of Oregon), Nick Mancuso (patent attorney who attended USC as an undergrad and Oregon for law school), Adesina Koiki (Football Writers Association of America member/voter, A Lot Of Sports Talk editor-in-chief) and an anonymous football staff member at a Division II school who once coached at the FBS level.
Here is ALOST‘s 2015 College Football Top 25 for Week 2. If you have any comments and/or complaints, write them below on the Facebook window or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
What everyone expected and everyone feared occurred on Monday against Virginia Tech. (Nick Mancuso)
Unlike last season, when Blake Sims seemed to prove to doubters wrong in Week One that a new quarterback wouldn’t be too much of a concern going forward, Jake Coker’s performance on Saturday did not do too much in squelching doubts about the Tide’s questions under center. (Adesina Koiki)
Of the Top 10 teams, TCU probably looked the most shaky in their opener. But TCU was only one of two schools in our Top 25 to play a true road game against a Power Five conference team, so there’s that. Ohio State was the other school, in case you were wondering. (Adesina)
After really wanting to question the Bears’ defense for giving up 21 first-half points to a team that went winless in 2014, they went on to pitch a shutout in the second half against SMU. Offenses in the Big 12 still must be licking their chops thinking about going up against their defense. Alas, those same teams have to stop Baylor’s offense. Good luck with that. (Adesina)
Will Muschamp’s second go-round with War Eagle as defensive coordinator started off as well as it could have, shutting out Bobby Petrino’s offense in the first half. Twenty-four points allowed in the second half means there’s still a long way to go in the reclamation project. (Adesina)
Revenge must be the order of the day when Oregon comes into East Lansing on Saturday night. (Adesina)
Beating Texas 38-3 ain’t what it used to be, but with the Irish and USC’s schedule seemingly becoming easier after Week One, prepare yourselves now for the hype of the 5-0 Trojans heading into South Bend to face the 6-0 Irish. Oh lord, the HYPE! (Nick)
We’ll really find out if the Ducks can truly reload with quarterback Vernon Adams and a shaky secondary when they visit East Lansing. (Nick)
See Notre Dame above. (Nick)
At this time of year in the past two seasons, we’d be talking in this space about how the Bulldogs were either ready for prime time or still have work to do after season-opening games against Clemson. Now, we’re asking how bad they’re going to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday. (Adesina)
The Chosen One, true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, led the Bruins out of the desert (the team had fall camp in San Bernardino) and into the promised land (Rose Bowl) last week. (Nick)
Given the opening to this article, all we can hope for, again, is for Deshaun Watson to stay healthy all season long. (Adesina)
In 2009, an upstart South Florida team upset a nationally-ranked Florida State team at Doak Campbell, a game that somewhat signaled a shift in power amongst the Florida schools. Six years later, as Florida State and USF get set to square off again in Tallahassee, all is back to normal: FSU is a national title contender, while USF is a long way away from catching up. (Adesina)
Wait a minute. I think the Rebels have scored on Tennessee-Martin once again. (Adesina)
Wait a minute. I think the Yellow Jackets have scored on Alcorn State once again. (Adesina)
So the Bayou Bengals thought they were going to have a warm-up contest against McNeese State before their SEC opener the following week. But, after the game’s cancellation due to weather, their “season opener” is now in Starkville with the cacophony of ringing cowbells raining down on their helmets. (Adesina)
Did the other voters see Myles Garrett play? He might be the most twitched up defensive end I have ever seen. (Anonymous college football coach)
Either the Sooners or the Tennessee Volunteers are going to come away with a statement win when the teams square off at Neyland Stadium on Saturday evening. (Adesina)
A win is a win is a win, but defeating former coach Chris Petersen in his homecoming to Boise must have been extra special, as well as extra emotional. (Adesina)
I know it’s only UTEP, but it doesn’t look as if Arkansas’s run game will be affected too much by the loss of Jonathan Williams. But, again, it was only UTEP. (Adesina)
No need to overreact, but a so-so outing overall against Texas-San Antonio, plus the injury to Scooby Wright III definitely is a cause for a little concern in Tucson, even in these early stages. (Adesina)
Don’t you get the sense that, like many of recent seasons past, Missouri is flying under the radar and waiting to surprise a few teams to get us to notice them once again? (Adesina)
A tricky first half in Hattiesburg quickly turned into a rout last Saturday night. Last season, college football took serious notice of the Bulldogs when they won a mid-September game in Baton Rouge. This time around, the game is in Starkville, but State can once again get the attention of the college football world with another September win against LSU on Saturday. (Adesina)
Was the Stanford offense that bad, or was the Northwestern defense that good last Saturday? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but there’s no taking away from the great effort Pat Fitzgerald’s charges put together in upsetting the Cardinal. Go ‘Cats! (Adesina)
Though it officially goes down as a neutral-site contest, opening up against Texas A&M in nearby Houston was as tough of an opening assignment as any for a Top 25 team last week. Sparky didn’t pass the test, but they shouldn’t be penalized too much for coming up short against the Aggies. (Adesina)
Others receiving votes:
Utah (10 points), Wisconsin (10), Oklahoma State (7), BYU (5), Tennessee (5), West Virginia (3), Florida (3), Minnesota (2)
* – To break ties, we used a three-step criteria; 1) higher number of first-place votes, 2) higher number of ballots (out of six) the teams appeared in, 3) highest single ranking by an individual pollster (e.g. if Team A and Team B are tied cumulatively and appeared in all six polls, but Team A’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 7 and Team B’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 9, Team A wins tiebreaker)
[Cover photo (Taysom Hill) courtesy of Eric Francis/Getty Images]