NEW YORK -- (TheStreet) Among the lessons learned in week 2 of this 2010 college football season:
Denard Robinson could lay claim to thetitle of the NCAA's top quarterback, possibly college football's bestplaymaker, and certainly bonafide, early-season Heisman contenderafter sealing a win for the Big Blue under the gaze of South Bend'sever present Touchdown Jesus. Even if none of those monikers is aperfect fit for the fleet-footed one, this one is: Coach RichRodriguez's answered prayer.
(2) The natural rhythms of the football season, as is its wont,also laid claim to another row of pretenders. Among them,
wereexposed at the hands of
(yes, that James Madison of Football ChampionshipSubdivision fame). While commentators were quick to talk of theresurgence of the latter football programs following the final scores,the results may have been more indicative of the formers' struggles.
is No. 1. Keeping
from scoring a touchdown for the first time in nearly three seasons isproof of that. Good thing, too, since they're getting their HeismanTrophy-winning rusher back from injury this week.
(4) And the big loser was a team that didn't even hit the fieldon Saturday. Talk of
Week 1 win over VirginiaTech and subsequent red carpet ride to BCS busting status took a bighit last week when the FCS shattered whatever was left of the Hokies'dubious top-15 veneer.
Week 3 offers only a smattering of truly compelling games. But ifthere's any additional lingering effect from James Madison's triumph,it's the realization that any week could sink a top-25 team, even ifmost of this weekend's matchups are of the cream puff variety.
This week's picks follow on the succeeding pages.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi
No. 9 Iowa (2-0) at No. 24 Arizona (2-0), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
: This Big 10-Pac 10 clash features two of the nation's stingiest defenses. Arizona is allowing only four points a game, while Iowa is giving up just seven points a contest. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, a 23-year-old senior, is 29 of 41 on the season for 433 yards and three TDs. Perhaps most importantly, he hasn't thrown an interception, something that plagued him the past two seasons when he threw a total of 31.
Arizona QB Nick Foles is having an even better season statistically, completing 49 of 59 passes for 574 yards. Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz is impressed with Foles' passing.
"He's getting rid of it
the ball," Ferentz said at his weekly press conference. "Hegets it out and spreads it around nicely. They've got a lot of guys that can do something with the ball once they get it. They've got a good scheme. Looks like he's really comfortable and confident in the scheme."
The Hawkeyes prevailed, 27-17, last season, holding the Wildcats' leading rusher, Nic Grigsby, to 75 yards in that contest.
Corner's choice: Iowa 21, Arizona 17
-- William Hennelly
Martavious Odoms, Michigan receiver
Massachusetts (2-0) at Michigan (2-0), noon (Big Ten Network)
: Is Michigan really back? Judging by the way Denard Robinson sliced and diced the Notre Dame defense for more than 500 yards, it's safe to say that Rich Rodriguez may have found the quarterback he needed to run the spread offense that worked so well for him at West Virginia. Maybe even the Big Game with Ohio State will mean something this year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Robinson is sporting Heisman-like stats after two games. He is 43 of 62 passing for 430 yards and has run for 455 yards on 57 carries and three TDs -- all of this in two games. When he throws, he favors Martavious Odoms, who has caught nine passes for 114 yards. The Minutemen of UMass moved to 2-0, handily beating Holy Cross, 31-7, last week.
The visitors from the Colonial Athletic Association face a tough chore; their New England neighbor UConn found that out two weeks ago in the Big House. Quarterback Kyle Havens, a 6-4 senior from Concord, Calif., has thrown for more than 500 yards in two games for UMass, which is making its first trip to Ann Arbor; the Minutemen are 0-4 against Top 25 teams. Can UMass be Appalachian State this week? Probably not.
Corner's choice: Michigan 38, UMass 14
-- William Hennelly
Maryland's Torrey Smith, left, and Adrian Cannon celebrate Smith's TD against Morgan State.
Maryland (2-0) at No. 24 West Virginia (2-0), noon EDT
: The Mountaineers put together a frantic fourth-quarter comeback to overcome home state rival Marshall in OT last week, but showed some vulnerability. The stars for West Virginia are quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for 316 yards, and running back Noel Devine, who has run for 223 yards in two games. Coach Bill Stewart likely would have caught some grief in Morgantown had his team not prevailed, and a win against the Terps could quiet any discord.
Stewart, in his weekly press conference, was proud of his team's rebound vs. Marshall.
"The first thing you ask is, 'Do you hang together?' Stewart said. "We've been through some bumps in the road and have had some trials and tribulations. How do you get through them? You persevere. You buck up a little bit tighter, put your belt on a bit tighter and you find a way to get things done.
"That's what we did at Marshall. That being said, you don't want to get in that predicament as we did."
Maryland offers two looks at quarterback, Jamarr Robinson, who excels at running and passing, and redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien, who threw three TDs in a 62-3 victory over Morgan State last week. WR Torrey Smith caught two of those scoring passes. The feeling here is that Maryland can pull off a minor upset.
Corner's choice: Maryland 24, West Virginia 21
-- William Hennelly
Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert
Texas (2-0) at Texas Tech (2-0), 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
The last time Texas traveled to Lubbock for a starry nightmatch-up against Texas Tech, the Red Raiders came away with new-foundnational respect. Tech all-world receiver Michael Crabtree ripped apass out of the air and barreled his way into the end zone (and Lubbocklore) with mere seconds left on the clock, as students stormed thefield in celebration of the greatest win in their school's history.
But that was then, and this is now, and much has changed sincethat night. Out went Tech's most winningest coach Mike Leach, whoserebellious pirate act finally wore out its welcome in West Texas. Inhis place is former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, who's trying torebuild a fractured program following unsavory allegations of Leach'streatment of players. But Tuberville hasn't completely chucked thephilosophy of his pass-happy predecessor. Quarterback Taylor Potts hasalready thrown for 652 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions in hisfirst two starts of 2010.
And though much has changed on the other sideline, too, much hasalso stayed the same. Cornerback Curtis Brown gave up that last-secondtouchdown two years ago. Now, he's a potential first-round draftchoice and a leader of one of the country's best defensive backcorps. Though the Red Raiders derailed the 'Horns' national title hopestwo years ago, look for lessons learned and decent blitz pickups tokeep Texas from allowing history to repeat itself.
Corner's choice: Texas 35, Texas Tech 17
-- Sung Moss
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton
Baylor (2-0) at TCU (2-0), 4:30 p.m. ET, (Versus)
Baylor's Robert Griffin was poised for a breakout sophomorecampaign after a dynamic freshman year conjured thoughts of the game'sbest dual-threat signal callers. That is, before an ACL tear cut shorthis season to three games.
So Griffin is beginning 2010 where expectations left off, alreadyamassing 539 yards through the air and four touchdowns. And lest anyonedoubt his surgically repaired knee and resulting speed -- the samespeed that garnered Griffin a Big 12 title in the 400 meters duringhis freshman year -- the Bears' QB has also racked up 86 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
While most expect Griffin to do his very best Michael Vickimpression Saturday, and despite TCU quarterback Andy Daltonplaying off of his BCS-busting pace of a year ago, this match-up offormer Southwest Conference foes will likely end with TCU notching its16th straight home win. If nothing else, the game will probablyshowcase why the Frogs remain an unexpectedly consistentnational power and why Baylor is still taking steps to creep above.500 by season's end.
The calling card of any Frogs team in the Gary Patterson era hasbeen a clamp-down defensive unit, and this year is no different. TCUis surrendering only 203 yards a game thus far in 2010.
Corner's choice: TCU 45, Baylor 14
-- Sung Moss