Stanford: bested. Michigan State: handled. Ohio State: surprised (they miss Braxton). What a week of college football! In a bye week that had immediate Heisman favorite Todd Gurley of Georgia watching from his couch, I, along with many, thought this might be a boring week of college football. Well, now, don’t I feel stupid? Besides the Oregon and MSU game, the next best games to watch this past week were a likely Stanford victory and, if you’re into that kind of thing, Baylor putting up a basketball-esque score against FCS Northwestern State. Which, by the way, they did. That’s what college football will do to you. Turn your back for just a second and you could miss the best play, or game, of the year. For example, here are my seven best moments of an overall (surprisingly) excellent Week 2.
Top seven highlights/headliners of Week 2:
1. The Ducks scoring 28 unanswered points to upend a formidable Spartan team, subsequently ending Michigan State’s 11-game winning streak in the process.
2. Cody Kessler, or should I say Andre Heidari, and the Trojans marching on out of Stanford with a nail-biting victory.
3. Ohio State showing just how much Braxton Miller meant to the team in a weak performance against Virginia Tech that all but sealed its playoff, or lack thereof, fate already.
4. Super-stud Connor Halliday throwing two picks and only one touchdown while helping Washington State take a brutal loss against Nevada. The College Fantasy world wasn’t pleased with that one.
5. Ameer Abdullah doing this while bailing Nebraska out along with being spectacular — as always.
6. Johnny who? Kenny Hill’s base stat line through his first two games as A&M’s starter: 794 yards passing, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
7. This could just be me noticing this, but UCLA once again escaped with a single-digit victory. This week it was against Memphis; last week it was Virginia. An early favorite to make it to the first ever College Football Playoff, these Bruins are going to need more to beat the likes of FSU, Oregon and Alabama. A lot more.
With all these twists and turns, you can imagine that my fantasy team was equally unpredictable. On one hand, last week’s picks of James Conner, Marcus Mariota and Jay Ajayi (280 total yards and three TDs) dominated, but Devin Funchess, along with Michigan as a whole, failed to find the endzone and Halliday looked like a ghost of his Week 1 self.
When all was said and done though, I discovered I’d accumulated 352 points through the first two weeks of the season. That’s good enough to place me fifth in the 2,276-member Fans of Oregon Ducks group. Also, I’m ranked 317th overall out of all players worldwide, so I must be doing something right. With that being said, another week is on the horizon and you know what that means for me! Another lineup to pick in the ESPN College Football Challenge. Without further ado, here are my starters:
Quarterback 1: Kenny Hill, Texas A&M Aggies — Hill opened up the post-Manziel era at A&M by upsetting favored and SEC East powerhouse South Carolina, throwing for more than 500 yards and four touchdowns. In Week 2, a week against FCS school Lamar and a week where Hill could’ve easily regressed, he only continued his dominance. He only missed nine throws on his way to nearly 300 yards through the air and another three touchdowns in what was really only one half of action. His completion percentage is hovering around 70%, and he has yet to throw a pick. Hopefully I didn’t jinx myself by saying that, and Hill continues his path of destruction against Rice.
Quarterback 2: Taysom Hill, BYU Cougars – I like this kid. I like him a lot. Most importantly, I like the idea of having both my fantasy quarterbacks named Hill. Seriously though, Hill is an excellent fantasy prospect. Although Hill didn’t throw a touchdown on Saturday, he still managed to place himself as one of the week’s top players due to his three rushing scores. Through two weeks, Hill has 196 yards rushing and a ridiculous five scores on the ground. That, along with his three scores through the air, make Hill someone I just can’t pass up. Heck, I don’t care if he ever throws a touchdown again as long as he keeps running for ’em. Rushing touchdowns are worth more points, anyway.
Running Back 1: Todd Gurley, Georgia Bulldogs I mean, come on, could it get any more obvious? Georgia heads into a tough Week 3 matchup against South Carolina who is looking for SEC redemption after an embarrassing loss to Texas A&M in Week 1. I expect this game to be a lot closer than either of these two teams’ first games, which means Gurley could see a lot of playing time. Scary thought, right?
In Week 1, Gurley ran for 198 yards and three scores on only 15 touches! Oh, this was, by the way, against an ACC, hard-hitting, Clemson defense led by maybe the best DE in the country, Vic Beasley. For good measure, Gurley added a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD and basically looked untouchable all night. It could get easier than this pick, but I’m not sure how.
Running Back 2: Tevin Coleman, Indiana Hoosiers – I’d never heard of Coleman until after Week 1, but after doing a little research I can’t believe it took me this long. Coleman, a junior at Indiana, has averaged just over seven yards per carry in his tenure at Indiana in a B1G conference that features three of the toughest run defenses in all of college football (Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State). Although Indiana isn’t a great football team, its run game is right up there with the likes of Alabama and Auburn, and it’s mostly thanks to Coleman. He and his backup D’Angelo Roberts rushed a total of 47 times for a combined 376 yards in Week 1, but Coleman stole the show rushing for 247 of those yards to go along with two touchdowns on only 23 carries. Indiana plays Bowling Green in Week 3, and I expect Coleman and Indiana to quite literally run right over them.
Wide Receiver/Tight End 1: Amari Cooper, Alabama Crimson Tide – Silly, silly me. I was one of the many who took Cooper in Week 1. In terms of pure performance, he was excellent. He caught 12 passes and amassed 130 yards through the air. But, sadly, this is fantasy, and when Cooper didn’t catch a touchdown I was deterred from him. It looked like the Alabama backs would be shouldering most of the scoring load.
Then Week 2 came, and Cooper showed why so many consider him to be the best receiver in the college world. Thirteen catches, 189 yards receiving, 20 yards rushing and a touchdown. That’s a pretty good line for two games, but Cooper did it in just one. Alabama has only completed a pass 51 times through two games, but a whopping 50% of those completions have been to Cooper. Talk about a favorite target. So, here he is in my Week 3 lineup. Why fix what ain’t broken, right?
Wide Receiver/Tight End 2: Keevan Lucas, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes – Just to get this stat out of the way now, Tulsa has thrown the ball 103 times over the first two games of the season. That’s good for third out of all FBS teams, so why not take a receiver from the team that passes that much? Lucas has 23 receptions on the season, which places him with the second most in all of college football. He’s also second in receiving yards, and he’s grabbed four touchdowns through two games.
I was nervous about taking Lucas last week, even after his 233-yard, three touchdown performance in Week 1. Tulsa played Oklahoma, and I was afraid that the Sooners would shut Lucas – and Tulsa – down. I was only partially right. Tulsa did only score seven points, but they all came on a touchdown reception by Lucas that was only one of his 10 receptions against Oklahoma. He has 317 yards so far this season, and last year he finished with 442 yards. I guess you could call this a career year.
Place Kicker: Oregon Ducks – I promised I’d take a member of the Ducks every week, and I’ve taken Mariota and Byron Marshall already. I’m still waiting for a breakout Duck receiver, and Notre Dame’s defense was too tantalizing. Maybe next week I’ll find a receiver, or maybe try going with running back Thomas Tyner. For now, all I can do this week is go with the kickers. Fingers crossed the Ducks move the ball like they normally do, and kick lots of field goals and extra points.
Defense: Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Yikes. Maybe Michigan isn’t that good, or maybe the Irish are just that good. Either way, holding a Wolverines offense led by Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess to a stunning, startling zero is a feat. Notre Dame plays Purdue this week, and although the ‘Makers have always been able to score in bunches, it is no Michigan. Notre Dame looks hungry for a playoff birth, and I don’t think the Irish are going to let Purdue take that away from them.
If you’re interested in seeing last week’s picks, click here. Come check in next week for a whole new list of picks, and leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Top Photo by Kevin Cline