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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 08, 2019 5:00 pm

Sinn's AP Poll: Week 2

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Week 2 of the college football season might be the longest slate of college football that fans can enjoy all year. The action began with the kickoff the noon schedule and didn't end until the conclusion of Cal's win over Washington at close to 4:30 a.m. on the east coast (the game was delayed in the first quarter because of severe weather, leading to a terrific video of the power going out at the stadium). 

In the midst of all that action, there was at least one eye-opening marquee matchup – LSU-Texas, which showed us that the Tigers appear to have found an offense and the rest of the SEC should be on notice – as well as several upsets and near-upsets that led to a much bigger shakeup in the AP Poll than there was after Week 1. My top three remained unchanged, but there was plenty of movement below that. 

This is my poll heading into Week 3:

1. Alabama (2-0)

2. Clemson (2-0)

3. Georgia (2-0)

4. LSU (2-0)

5. Oklahoma (2-0)

6. Ohio State (2-0)

7. Notre Dame (1-0)

8. Penn State (2-0)

9. Florida (2-0)

10. Wisconsin (2-0)

11. Utah (2-0)

12. Auburn (2-0)

13. Oregon (1-1)

14. Texas A&M (1-1)

15. Texas (1-1)

16. Iowa (2-0)

17. Washington State (2-0)

18. Central Florida (2-0)

19. Michigan (2-0)

20. Boise State (2-0)

21. Michigan State (2-0)

22. Iowa State (1-0)

23. Maryland (2-0)

24. USC (2-0)

25. California (2-0)

My biggest changes between this week and last week occurred in the Big Ten, one in a positive direction, the other in a negative. The good news for the conference is that Maryland appears to be well ahead of schedule in its development under new coach Mike Locksley. Locksley, who inherited a program in disarray following the abrupt firing of D.J. Durkin in October 2018, hadn't been a full-time head coach since 2011, when he left New Mexico after racking up an abysmal 2-26 record in parts of three seasons (he was the Terps' interim coach for six games in 2015). He's now returned to Maryland and has matched his win total from the New Mexico years two games into his tenure. The Terps beat up on then-No. 21 Syracuse on Saturday, winning 63-20 and racking up 650 yards along the way. This is the biggest win the program has had in years and I moved Maryland into my rankings this week at No. 23 (they check in at No. 21 in the overall poll). Running back Anthony McFarland Jr. is one of the most explosive players in the Big Ten. This team seems to be for real, but we'll find out for sure soon enough: the Terps host Penn State in three weeks.

The other big mover in my poll, going the opposite direction, was Michigan. The Wolverines struggled against Middle Tennessee State in Week 1 before pulling away at the end. Then they took two overtimes to beat Army on Saturday in a game the Black Knights led for most of the afternoon and had a chance to win with a field goal at the end of regulation. I know, Army and its triple-option offense make life miserable for everyone it plays, but that doesn't account for Michigan's defensive line failing to get much push (until the last play of the game) against o-linemen it outweighed by an average of probably 30 pounds. That doesn't account for why Michigan lost three fumbles and its supposedly updated offense gave the ball to running back Zach Charbonnet 33 times for 100 yards. Michigan was supposed to be different this year, but all I'm seeing is the same old Wolverines. Talented, sure. Athletic, sure. Capable of winning games, sure. But not anywhere close to a top 10 team.

Bold Pick of the Week: BYU 23, USC 19

USC moved into the rankings this week with a big 45-20 win over Stanford. The Trojans seemed to be heading for a rebuilding year before the season began, but they've started 2-0 with solid wins over Fresno State and the Cardinal. Still, BYU is a good team (it just beat Tennessee, though the Volunteers appear to be terrible) and the Trojans will have to travel to Provo with a freshman quarterback in Kedon Slovis making his second career start. He looked very good against Stanford, but a road test is different.

Last Week: Colorado 34, Nebraska 27

I got this one almost exactly right as Colorado stormed back with the help of a 96-yard flea flicker for a touchdown to win 34-31 in overtime. As I said last week about Nebraska, a 4-8 team from a year ago shouldn't have been ranked in the preseason, no matter who its coach is. Scott Frost needs more time with this group. The 'Huskers aren't back yet. Also, you should always listen to me.

dsinn@jg.net