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Who’s Not? Week 2: Purdue, The Big Ten

Summa Cum Lousy 

Iowa As A Big Ten Contender 
In some circles, the Hawkeyes were considered a Big Ten sleeper, the product of talented lines and a cushy slate. That schedule, though, doesn’t appear so manageable right now. Yeah, Iowa is 2-0, but it’s an extremely soft 2-0 comprised of an eight-point win over FCS Northern Iowa and Saturday’s narrow escape of 17-point dog Ball State. 

The Texas QB Situation 
Not only is David Ash once again out with a concussion, but Tyrone Swoopes isn’t ready to commandeer the Longhorn offense, particularly with the team’s problems up front. Texas managed one meaningless touchdown in its 41-7 loss, while the passing game failed to produce a connection longer than 22 yards. BYU’s D is good, but it’s not that good. 

Is it December yet? Fresno State 
It’s not as if David Car played defense. Sure, the Bulldogs were expected to slip in 2014, but mainly because their star quarterback is the Oakland Raiders starter. The defense, though, has been a catastrophe so far, yielding 111 points in two games. Usually methodical Utah strafed Fresno State for six touchdowns, signaling it’ll be a long season in the Valley. 

Being Voted Off College Football Island: LSU RB Leonard Fournette 
Fournette is a tremendous talent, who’s going to enjoy a ton of high points in Baton Rouge. But someone needs to explain to the true freshman that striking a Heisman pose in a Week 2 rout of Sam Houston State is right up there with showboating after a special teams tackle when your team is getting hammered. A Heisman pose from a rookie on a first career touchdown? Could be one of the signs of the apocalypse. 

Heisman Nopeful: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
The good news is that Gordon played versus Western Illinois with a hip flexor. The bad? Looking like a shell of his usually explosive self, he could only manage 38 yards on 17 carries. The Badgers might want to tap the brakes on their back, with upcoming games against overmatched Bowling Green and South Florida. 

UCLA 
Struggling with Virginia could be chalked up to opening day jitters and a cross-country trip to Charlottesville. Beating 24-point underdog Memphis by just a touchdown is an onerous sign that the Bruins may have been overrated in the preseason. The UCLA O-line was again leaky, and what happened to the defense that was so oppressive in Week 1? The Bruins are off to a very shaky start. 

Start evacuating the bandwagon of … Washington State 
Just eight days into the new season, Wazzu’s bid to return to the postseason is already on life support. Despite being favored in both of its games, the Cougars bowed to Rutgers and Nevada. Mike Leach’s offense went in reverse in Reno Friday night, managing just one touchdown in six red-zone excursions. 

Team of the Weak: Purdue
A week after being tested by one MAC team, Western Michigan, the Boilermakers got housed by another, Central Michigan. Purdue was never in it on Saturday, a disturbing sight for the crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium. And a troubling development for beleaguered second-year head coach Darrell Hazell. 

You emit a foul and unpleasant odor: Washington’s Pass Defense 
Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams is an FCS superstar and a favorite for the Walter Payton Award. But if you’re a Pac-12 team on the lip of the Top 25, you cannot allow him to throw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. The Huskies were worried about their rebuilt secondary two weeks. They’re petrified after being garroted by Adams. 

Needing a vote of confidence: SMU coach June Jones 
The Mustangs may have reached a new low under Jones, avoiding a second-straight shutout as the clock expired in a deflating 43-6 loss to North Texas. For all the good the coach has done on the Hilltop, he’s seven games under .500 at SMU. And after being outscored 88-6 over the first eight quarters, it’s fair to wonder if Jones’ best work at the school is now in the rear view mirror. 

Needing a vote of confidence II: Michigan head coach Brady Hoke 
Hoke began the year on probation. After losing to rival Notre Dame, 31-0, the fourth-year coach will need to rebound in a huge way to make it back for Season 5. Devin Gardner was picked three times, and shutout was the Wolverines’ first in three decades, indictments of Hoke’s offseason hiring of offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. 

Stanford 
Huge win, USC. Go ahead and celebrate the turning point. But the Cardinal gift-wrapped a game it should have won. This is a good Stanford team, for sure, but right now it’s not the same Stanford team as the last few. This edition makes far too many mistakes, such as the penalties, turnovers and an inability to finish drives, which tripped up the team in Saturday’s frustrating 13-10 loss. 

The Big Ten 
It’d be hard to imagine a worse scenario for the Big Ten than what took place in Week 2. Where to begin for a league that’ll now be hard-pressed to represent in the inaugural playoff? Michigan State blew a lead to Oregon. Ohio State fell at home to Virginia Tech. Michigan was blanked by Notre Dame. Purdue and Northwestern lost to MAC teams. And Penn State, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin had varying levels of problems with an assortment of middling Group of Five and FCS opponents. 

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  • June 6, 2017
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