ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The college football world barely noticed MichiganHis blowout win over a weak Hawaii team on Saturday, but considering what happened around the sport, the Wolverines are happy to keep going unnoticed.
Week 2 proved to be total chaos across college football, as several playoff contenders suffered fatal hits or lost every spot for future mistakes.
Meanwhile, teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson were thrilled to remain under the radar.
Michigan’s second win — like its first — was never in doubt. The Wolverines scored touchdowns on six of their eight first-half drives and surpassed 50 points for the second straight week.
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Wins over Colorado State and Hawaii barely move the needle, even when the average margin of victory is 45 points. But the situation could be much, much worse.
The Fall of Notre Dame
Notre Dame is a prime example of the worst-case scenario for two weeks. Coming off of what many saw as an underwhelming performance at Ohio State in Week 1, the Fighting Irish lost to Marshall as a 20.5-point favorite.
Coming into the season, Notre Dame was ranked fifth in the nation. Now, on September 10, all hopes of making the playoffs are already gone.
The Fighting Irish are eliminated, so does anyone care if their early schedule is more “respectable”? I’ll tell you one thing: they’d happily trade places with any other 2-0 team right now.
Competitors on life support
Notre Dame set the tone for a wild Saturday. Shortly after Marshall’s win, fellow Sun Belt member Appalachian State knocked off Texas A&M in College Station.
Everyone wanted to see what Texas A&M would do this season after millions of dollars worth of NIL money went to the no. 1 recruit in 2022. The Aggies landed eight five-stars and a 20-star — never really seen anything like it.
But the Aggies averaged more than $1 million per point Saturday, scoring just 14 against Appalachian State and losing as an 18-point favorite at home.
Texas A&M finished with just 186 yards against a team that gave up 63 points and 567 yards to North Carolina in Week 1. Since no team has reached the College Football Playoff with multiple losses, Texas A&M would theoretically have to win 10 straight games against a schedule that includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss and Miami — five top-20 teams.
Florida and Baylor also burned their mulligans over the weekend — Florida at home against Kentucky and Baylor on the road at BYU. There’s no shame in losing to quality opposition, but September losses make the margin of error much smaller and put more pressure on the next 10 weeks.
Wisconsin lost at home to Washington State as a 17.5-point favorite. Pittsburgh lost an overtime battle at Tennessee. Iowa didn’t do itself any favors either with another offensive failure against rival Iowa State.
Dozens of fan bases woke up Sunday morning worrying about what might have been. That’s why teams that have yet to face tough trials shouldn’t care less about their early strength of schedule.
Take care of business
Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State could spend the entire fall beating each other up. As long as they take care of business in September, those games will tell the playoff committee members everything they need to know.
This is exactly what happened this weekend:
Michigan defeated Hawaii 56-10.
Michigan State beat Akron 52-0.
Ohio State defeated Arkansas State 45-12.
Penn State defeated Ohio 46-10.
Alabama, Georgia, BYU and a select few others have a stronger resume because they tested themselves early against tough opponents. But all that really matters now is avoiding losses.
Every win is a win, even if it’s only against formidable opponents like Colorado State, Hawaii and Connecticut. Michigan’s chance to prove itself will come. Until then, it’s all about making sure those later games really count.
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