SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ college football reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the impressive performances of Oklahoma, Clemson and USC over the weekend.
USA TODAY Sports
All those preseason hopes and dreams can go up in smoke in four quarters. By the end of Week 2, meanwhile, it’s possible to start making grand statements about more than a handful of teams across the Football Bowl Subdivision.
I’m talking about the catastrophes, the letdowns, the early lemons and washouts. You know, the teams that even through just two full weeks reek of disappointment.
This week’s top 10 list focuses on the duds: Which teams at this early juncture stand as the biggest disappointments in the FBS?
1. Texas A&M
It’s like the majority of Kevin Sumlin’s tenure in reverse: Instead of steamrolling early and fading late, A&M has stubbed their toe right out of the gate. After coughing up a 34-point lead in the opener to UCLA, the Aggies struggled to put away Nicholls State of the Football Championship Subdivision to even their record at 1-1.
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2. Georgia Southern
So much for bouncing back from 2016. After suffering through a losing season last fall, Tyson Summers and the Eagles sit at 0-2 with losses to Auburn — understandable and explainable — and New Hampshire. The program is not in good shape.
3. Brigham Young
The Cougars’ offense is a disgrace. BYU has gained 695 yards across three games; Louisville had 705 yards in Saturday’s win against North Carolina alone. The team’s lone win came in 20-6 snoozer against Portland State, which was followed by a 27-0 loss to LSU and a 19-13 loss to rival Utah.
4. East Carolina
Expectations weren’t high at ECU heading into the year, though that was entirely the byproduct of last year’s disaster rather than the program’s own aspirations in the American Athletic Conference. But this is an utter disaster. One week after getting blown out by James Madison, the Pirates were steamrolled by West Virginia 56-20. Through two games, Scottie Montgomery’s group has been outscored 90-34.
5. North Carolina
Losing to California in the opener was an eye-opener. Now 0-2 following a loss to Louisville, the Tar Heels resemble a team that has little hope of reaching bowl eligibility. What’s been striking is the sour play of the defense. Thought to be the strong link as the offense broke in a new quarterback, UNC has given up 1,174 yards on 8.53 yards per play through two games.
While Baylor struggles under former Temple coach Matt Rhule — an ugly first year was coming for Rhule, so the Bears don’t make this list — the Owls clearly have taken a step back under his successor, Geoff Collins. After getting bombed by Notre Dame in its opener, Temple narrowly beat Villanova 16-13. Not the expected start for a team off consecutive 10-win seasons.
Missouri has already “reassigned” its defensive coordinator, which should tell you something. After giving up 43 points in its opener against Missouri State, the Tigers kicked off SEC play with a 31-13 loss to divisional rival South Carolina.
The locals are getting restless — or more restless, I guess — after Arkansas didn’t get close against TCU in a 28-7 loss Saturday. Optimists might say recall that the Razorbacks lost in Week 2 back in 2015 (and in Week 3 and Week 4) but won six of their last seven to finish 8-5. Realists would offer that stinking up your home field in Bret Bielema’s fifth season isn’t a good look.
9. New Mexico
There are new standards at UNM. Now that the Lobos have tasted consistent success, and the loss Saturday to rival New Mexico State is a bucket of cold water on the expectations. Being 1-1 at this point is worrisome for another reason: New Mexico faces Boise State, Tulsa, Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming before the end of October.
10. Bowling Green
It was only in 2015 that the Falcons won 10 games under Dino Babers, who parlayed that success into the gig at Syracuse. Two years later, Bowling Green again looks to be in woeful shape under Babers’ successor, Mike Jinks. Losing to Michigan State in the opener is fine, but to drop a 35-27 decision at home to South Dakota is an embarrassment.
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