Week 2 of the 2022 college football season was arguably the sport at its finest.
There were close and competitive showdowns between ranked teams and/or traditional powerhouses. There were multiple upsets of Top 25 teams. Even FCS teams got in on the action, winning games while getting paid.
It is still early, but for a week, parity almost seemed like a thing. Oh, and the coaching carousel started up again as well.
It was simply a busy weekend.
Here are six takeaways from the latest in college football.
BYU has a chance to do something special
BYU’s victory over then-No. 9-ranked Baylor — the Bears are now ranked No. 17 — wasn’t pretty, but it was impressive.
The No. 12-ranked Cougars took down the reigning Big 12 champions, overcoming significant obstacles along the way, and saw perhaps the single best performance by their defense in Ilaisa Tuiaki’s tenure as defensive coordinator.
Quarterback Jaren Hall was excellent, and the Cougars have a new star receiver in Chase Roberts. Credit needs to be given to both the offensive and defensive lines, too. BYU was just as big and just as strong as a Power Five conference champion.
And now, in the wake of the win, the Cougars have a chance to do something special.
Up next is No. 25 Oregon in Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Anyone who suggests that won’t be a difficult game is fooling themselves.
But win that game, and things line up pretty well for BYU.
Notre Dame looks as vulnerable as ever. Wyoming, Utah State and Boise State are all down. No. 10 Arkansas comes to Provo, and while the Cougars must go to Stanford, the Cardinal haven’t been a real threat for a few years now.
It is way too early to suggest BYU could go undefeated or make it to a New Year’s Six bowl, but after back-to-back double-digit win seasons, this year looks like it has a chance to be the best of the Kalani Sitake era.
Utah isn’t going anywhere
What a difference a week makes.
After losing to Florida in Week 1, things weren’t exactly copacetic for the Utes, not with the high expectations Utah had entering the season.
Last Saturday’s game against Southern Utah afforded the Utes the opportunity to reset and let out some frustration, and did they ever.
There is no need to rehash a 73-7 victory. Utah was dominant and did what elite teams are capable of — handling inferior competition with ease.
There are still question marks surrounding the Utes.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham noted as much as after the win Saturday.
“We have things to correct, there’s no doubt about that,” he told the Deseret News. “A game like this is just as valuable for our (second team) as it is for our (first team), getting great evaluation. The second ‘O’ played the entire second half. The first ‘D’ played one series in the second half and it was all twos the rest of the way.”
Utah must still prove itself against the top teams in the Pac-12 and avoid any and all upsets along the way if it still hopes to contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
But the Utes look the part of a great team, and at least no worse than last year when they won the program’s first Pac-12 championship.
Utah State might be in trouble
Things are not going well in Logan right now.
After struggling with UConn in the season opener, the Aggies have been blown out in consecutive games, against Alabama and Weber State.
The Wildcats were simply better than the Aggies on Saturday in nearly every way.
“They outperformed us. It is that simple,” Utah State head coach Blake Anderson said. “They played physical man coverage and we struggled to get open. They played better in one-on-one situations than we did.”
To be so thoroughly outplayed by an FCS opponent doesn’t bode well for Utah State going forward.
The Aggies have to play an improving UNLV team next, followed by No. 12 BYU and then Air Force.
There are winnable games on the schedule — at Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii, and vs. New Mexico, UNLV and San Jose State — but in their current form, six wins and a bowl game appearance doesn’t look all that likely for the Aggies.
Not if they don’t get better in a hurry.
“We have to learn from it, be critical in the open week and find where we can get better because right now we are not a very good football team,” Anderson said.
Top 25 upsets are back in force, and we are better off for it
Nothing is better in college football than upsets, and no upsets are better than those of Top 25 teams.
There were multiple Top 25 upsets Saturday, some shocking, others less so.
- Now unranked Notre Dame lost at home to Marshall and former USU quarterback Henry Colombi. The Fighting Irish were clearly overrated entering the season, but no one expected the loss to the Thundering Herd.
- Then-No. 6 Texas A&M fell at home to Appalachian State. The Sun Belt does not get the credit it deserves — right now, there isn’t a better Group of Five conference, and that includes the AAC, which still has three future Big 12 programs — and the Mountaineers should be ranked. The Aggies, meanwhile, seem destined to remain the program with the most potential that never does anything, really.
- Tennessee topped Pitt in one of the best games of the weekend. The Volunteers are a rising program while Pitt remains one of the best in the ACC. More of these nonconference games are needed going forward.
- Mike Leach might not be in Pullman anymore, but Washington State remains a perilous opponent any given week. The Cougars went into Wisconsin and upset the then-No. 19 Badgers. Will Washington State contend in the Pac-12? Probably not, but the Cougars always seem capable of creating some chaos.
- Texas Tech eked out an overtime victory over then-No. 25 Houston. The Cougars were thought to be one of the best G5 teams entering the year, and that might still be the case. The future Big 12 is looking more and more competitive, though, after close games between BYU and Baylor and the Texas Tech and Houston.
Is the FCS trying to take over?
It wasn’t just Top 25 programs that were upset Saturday. Multiple FCS teams took down FBS opponents.
In Utah, the obvious one was Weber State over Utah State. The Wildcats earned their first win over an FBS team since 1993, claiming perhaps the signature win of the Jay Hill era in the process.
They weren’t alone though.
- Eastern Kentucky took down Bowling Green in overtime.
- Holy Cross upset Buffalo.
- The University of the Incarnate Word, a private Catholic school in San Antonio with an enrollment of just under 5,000, defeated Nevada in Reno.
Throw in pair of FCS wins over FBS teams earlier in the season — William & Mary over Charlotte and Delaware over Navy — and the pay-for-play games haven’t gone well for more than a few teams this year.
The gap between the FCS and Group of Five seems smaller than ever, and not just because of the aforementioned upsets.
James Madison made the jump from FCS to FBS this year, and right now the Dukes are 2-0 with dominant wins over Middle Tennessee and Norfolk State. Sun Belt competition hasn’t started yet, but thus far there hasn’t been any indication that James Madison cannot compete at the top of the conference in its first year at the FBS level.
Is there anything harder to get right than a coaching hire?
Scott Frost is no longer the head coach at Nebraska.
It wasn’t too long ago when Frost was one of, if not the most desired coaches in college football, a candidate for open jobs at Florida and UCLA.
He was viewed by many as a can’t-miss coaching prospect, and when he took over Nebraska, there was legitimate optimism that he could return the Cornhuskers to some semblance of glory.
Only it turns out that wasn’t accurate at all.
Similarly, Dan Mullen was viewed as a great hire at Florida the same offseason in which Frost took the Nebraska job. Mullen is now a college football television analyst.
Jim Mora Jr. was pushed out at UCLA after going 46-30 over the course of six seasons. His replacement, Chip Kelly, is 20-25 overall with the Bruins two games into his fifth season in Los Angeles.
Yes, successful coaching hires are made all the time, but more and more, it seems that it is complete and utter luck when schools hire the correct coach.
Can't think of many hires that felt more like no brainers in the moment than Scott Frost at Nebraska, Tom Herman at Texas.— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) September 11, 2022
Both failed, while Ed Orgeron won a national title and Sam Pittman has Arkansas thriving.
We know nothing. Just accept it.