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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

College Football Takeaways-Week Two

Arizona+cornerback+DaVonte+Neal+%2819%29+gestures+to+his+teammates+in+Arizona+Stadium+before+the+Wildcats+game+against+UTSA+on+Sept.+3.
Tyler Baker

Arizona cornerback DaVonte’ Neal (19) gestures to his teammates in Arizona Stadium before the Wildcats’ game against UTSA on Sept. 3.

Week one of the college football season gave us a glimpse of which teams were ready for the 2015-2016 season and which teams will be competing for a national title. A much clearer playoff picture was established this week. Here are some key takeaways:

The Pac gets back on track … sort of

After a horrible first week in which it seemed the whole conference crumbled under the spotlight, the Pac-12 Conference rebounded this weekend with 10 of the 12 teams winning.

UCLA and USC continued their dominating ways with blow out victories, while ASU, Stanford, Washington and Washington State all got back on track with wins of their own.

The conference still took a major step back in its search for a playoff bid when Oregon lost to Michigan State in a matchup of top-10 teams in what felt like a championship atmosphere.

Oregon State also fell apart in the second half in a loss against a Michigan team that still has more questions than answers.

The Ducks were within reach the entire game, but the lack of big-game experience from quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. may have been what cost Oregon the game.

Sparty and the Irish taking big leaps

Michigan State and Notre Dame came into the season ranked higher than expected and needed to show not only their doubters, but also the playoff committee that they deserve to be in this year’s playoff conversation.

Through two weeks, both teams have no doubt put themselves in the conversation of competing for a national title.

Let’s start with Notre Dame, which pulled out a last second road victory against Virginia at the arm of back-up quarterback DeShone Kizer, after starter Malik Zaire went down with an ankle injury.

It was a bittersweet win, as Zaire is now out for the season with a broken ankle. This would be a big blow for any team, but fortunately for the Irish, Notre Dame has plenty of depth.

Meanwhile, Michigan State came into the season playing second fiddle to Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference and many thought the Spartans would be out of contention for a playoff bid after their matchup against Oregon.

Instead, Michigan State controlled the game right from the beginning as quarterback Connor Cook played lights-out football and the defense held off a late Oregon rally to give even more evidence that they deserve to be in the playoff talks.

This is a team that returned many starters on both sides of the ball and improved significantly on the offensive side of the ball compared to last year.

SEC contenders and pretenders brought to light

The SEC had 10 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 last week, including every school in the SEC West. But can that many teams, let alone a whole division, be contenders in the best conference in college football?

We know Alabama, LSU and Georgia will contend for the conference title, but the rest of the conference doesn’t look too convincing.

Auburn needed overtime to beat FCS opponent Jacksonville State. This is the second straight week in which Auburn has won by only seven points.

Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi State fell in close games that all three should have won, making them more pretenders than contenders. Not to mention, Missouri needed the entire 60 minutes to beat Arkansas State.

The conference will take shape in the coming weeks as SEC play begins. That will provide the ultimate impression of the teams playing for a conference title and those who are just along for the ride.


Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.


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