By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
In just a week the SEC has changed it’s outlook across the country.
Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina and Ole Miss either lost or looked shaky in their season openers. A week later and three of the top four teams in the AP Top 25 are from the SEC and five are in the top eight.
The middle to bottom of the conference is still very suspect, but the teams at the top are playing good football and there could very well be a serious division race going on in the SEC West.
Other conferences had some scares. The Big Ten nearly lost one of its playoff contenders in Ann Arbor and the Pac-12 has likely already lost two of its three playoff hopefuls.
Here’s a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 2.
The Good: LSU. I’m not sold that LSU has jumped from being a solid 9-10 win team to a playoff contender, but the Tigers do look better than they did a season ago. Joe Burrow has looked really impressive through two weeks and delivered the knockout punch against Texas when LSU needed him to. I don’t think the Tigers are ready to win the SEC yet, but I do think the matchup against Alabama is much more interesting than it was a week ago.
Honorable Mention: Texas. Yes, the Longhorns lost at home, but that primetime matchup delivered on Saturday night. Texas was down by two scores on multiple occasions, but kept fighting and made a real battle out of it. The onside kick at the end was nearly recovered and Sam Ehlinger played well enough for his team to win. The Longhorns, like LSU, may still be a step behind a legitimate playoff contender, but in a one-game situation against Oklahoma, Texas can still threaten in the Big 12.
The Bad: Washington. The Pac-12 North was going to be difficult enough contending with Oregon and Washington State, not to mention Utah in the South, but Cal was not supposed to be a problem for the Huskies. The Golden Bears quickly erased an early ten-point deficit and Washington kept settling for red zone field goals in a 20-19 loss that ultimately ended with Cal running a two-minute drill to knock through a game-winning kick.
Honorable Mention: Texas A&M. It’s not the fact that the Aggies lost to Clemson on the road, but more the fact that Texas A&M never got into the game at any point against the Tigers. The Aggies lost 24-10 and didn’t find the end zone until a fourth down pass with less than ten seconds remaining in the game.
The Ugly: Michigan. The Wolverines have no business being 2-0, but here they are. Michigan lost three fumbles and turned the ball over on downs three times in a double overtime win over Army. The Black Knights threw a red zone interception, missed a 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation and lost a fumble on their second overtime possession for Michigan to survive. Michigan’s mistakes will lose them Big Ten games when the conference schedule arrives. However, history might work out for Jim Harbaugh’s team. The last time Army took a ranked team to overtime? Oklahoma last year and the Sooners went on to the College Football Playoff.
Honorable Mention: UCLA. The Bruins had never lost to San Diego State before Saturday and the Aztecs barely beat an FCS team the week before. UCLA lost the turnover battle, the time of possession battle and were outgunned 373-261 in the Bruins’ 23-14 loss in a half-empty Rose Bowl. Chip Kelly didn’t inherit a great situation when he took the UCLA gig, but it’s hard to see things getting better after back to back two-score losses to Group of 5 teams.