NCAA Football Report (Week 2)

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Week 2 is officially over in the NCAA and for many it could not have come soon enough as the second week in the season marked a scary time for more than one team.

The NCAA is a strange league in the fact that every team can schedule their own games outside of their conference.

That can lead to some terrible games especially at the start of the season where most teams are simply trying to find a groove against a FCS team.

The FCS is the section of Division-I that is just below the main schools as they are nowhere near as big as the massive schools.

They don’t have the operating budget that can match and often that leads to them recruiting players that the bigger teams didn’t want.

It generally means that the teams don’t have the skill required to compete with the big teams and so the Division-I FBS schools try to get an easy win early in the season.

It is almost a warm up for some of the schools that have tough conference schedules as they can ensure that they get a win before they face much better teams.

The problem with that strategy is that these FCS teams know exactly why they go into massive stadiums with big schools.

They are sacrificial lambs and are never supposed to win games with blowouts expected and no real damage to their FCS hopes.

That situation leads a lot of these smaller teams to play like they have nothing to lose and to get motivated and show the schools that rejected them that they have what it takes.

It gives FCS and smaller unranked schools plenty of motivation when they play these teams and every year it seems like there is another team that jumps up out of nowhere to put up the big upset of the year.

Week 2 in the NCAA is fraught with these games and the teams that are just looking for something to prove.

Even teams in the FBS can get that extra motivation against the big schools to show that they belong in the rankings among the best in the league.football-sidebar

The Virginia Cavaliers took that to heart when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to Virginia.

The Irish came in as a top 10 team in the NCAA while the Cavaliers were unranked giving them plenty to gain if they could beat the Irish while the Irish could lose their hopes of a playoff spot with a loss.

The game was much closer than anyone thought as the Cavaliers pushed the Irish right to the edge.

The Irish won the game but only after losing their starting quarterback and after their back-up threw a 39-yard touchdown pass in the last minute of the game to take the win.

It was a close call for a top ten team but because it was against another FBS school the Irish still moved up one spot in the AP Top 25 this week.

A lot of that move also has to do with the other shocker of the week when the Auburn Tigers took on Jacksonville state of the FCS.

It was the #6 team in the NCAA against a team one division below and was meant to be an easy Auburn win and a tune-up before they start their SEC schedule.

Nobody told that to Jacksonville State though as the Gamecocks put a real scare into the Tigers and put them into a very tough spot in trying to find their way to the playoff.

The game ended in overtime with the Tigers taking the win but in a game that they were supposed to easily win the damage was done.

Mistakes plagued the Tigers the entire game and for that close call they dropped far away from the playoff.

It was a perfect example of the new NCAA where on any Saturday there truly can be any winner.

Although the majority of the FCS matchups this week ended the way most though nobody ever knows where the next upset will come and although these were just close calls there is still plenty of time for a big upset in the season.

There are no longer weeks where a team can lose focus and still win as every team needs to play well all the time and with the playoff in place there is a lot less time to schedule these “easy” games as the tough part for many teams is just about to begin.

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Key Scores:
#6 Auburn Tigers 27 – 20 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (OT)
– It was supposed to be an easy win but the Gamecocks made sure they were remembered as the Tigers made multiple mistakes giving the ball away and giving Jacksonville state plenty of opportunities before squeezing out a win in overtime

#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 34 – 27 Virginia Cavaliers
– The Irish got the win but barely as the Cavaliers continued to stay in the game and led the Irish in the fourth quarter but what is worse for the Irish is the loss of starting QB Malik Zaire who broke his ankle during the game and will miss the rest of the season

#19 Oklahoma Sooners 31 – 24 Tennessee Volunteers #23 (2OT)
– One of the biggest matchups of the year this season pitted two teams looking to move up the rankings with a signature win and the Volunteers seemed to have it until the Sooners scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and the only TD in the second overtime to take the win

#5 Michigan State Spartans 31 – 28 Oregon Ducks #7
– The Spartans were looking for revenge on Saturday night after a year ago saw them blow a big lead in a ducks win but this time around they made sure they didn’t let up as the Ducks’ offence struggled to keep their usual pace in a tough loss that makes the Spartans true contenders

Next Week:
#14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Sat. Sept. 19th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Irish go into their third week without their starting quarterback as DeShone Kizer takes over with the playoff hopes still alive as they take on their toughest ACC test in the Jackets who go to Notre Dame with plenty to play for

#18 Auburn Tigers vs. #13 LSU Tigers (Saturday September 19th; 3:30 pm ET)
– Auburn is coming off of a scary week and one that sent them from #6 to #18 as they begin their SEC schedule against LSU trying to find their way back to the top ten while LSU tries to do the same

Stanford Cardinal vs. #6 USC Trojans (Saturday September 19th; 8:00 pm ET)
– With most teams beginning their conference play in Week 3 the Cardinal and Trojans face-off in a Pac-12 matchup as the Trojans look to move closer to the playoff and the Cardinal try to earn the upset against their conference rivals

#15 Ole Miss Rebels vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (Saturday September 19th; 9:15 pm ET)
– The Rebels have given the Tide fits over the last few years in their matchups and they hope to do the same this year while the Tide try to continue their dominant start to the season with a great power run game

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