I'm having trouble determining whether Louisiana Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth is my hero or the biggest a**hole alive. Maybe both. It sure takes some major stones to fire your defensive coordinator after one game as Hudspeth did to Melvin Smith following ULL's 45-10 loss to Boise State. The Broncos put up 584 yards offense on the Ragin' Cajuns and scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions. But come on! The Ragin' Cajuns finished tied for fifth in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense last season. Linebackers coach Mike Lucas will take over as ULL's defensive coordinator. The Ragin' Cajuns host McNeese State on Saturday. And that will be the last time I talk about Louisiana Lafayette this year.
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I hope you enjoyed the opening week of college football, because Week 2 is easily the worst of the season. Seriously, take a look at the schedule. Find me an intriguing matchup. Penn State-Pittsburgh? Meh. Maybe Kentucky ends the longest active losing streak in the nation against an opponent when it visits Florida? Yawn. I could see letdown efforts following big wins for teams like No. 1 Alabama (vs. Western Kentucky), No. 15 Houston (vs. Lamar) and Wisconsin (vs. Akron).
There's no question that one family had the worst opening week of all: the Stoops clan. Bob's Oklahoma Sooners, a team I thought would reach the College Football Playoff again, was beaten soundly by Houston. The star of Cougars coach Tom Herman continues to rise. The only way that school will be able to keep him after this year is if the Big 12 accepts Houston if it expands. Meanwhile, brother Mark Stoops' Kentucky team lost 44-35 at home against Southern Miss, allowing the Golden Eagles to score 34 unanswered points. USM's offensive coordinator is Shannon Dawson, who was fired by UK after last season. Mark Stoops will not be in Lexington next year. Just like Les Miles won't be at LSU (the Tigers will pursue Herman in a big way) unless that school wins out. No excuse for how terrible that offense looked in the loss to Wisconsin. But I might be bitter as I had an LSU-Florida State national title game. Really not a great week for the SEC outside of the Tide.
Here are a few Week 2 opening lines that caught my eye. Rankings from AP poll (Week 1 rankings as new poll won't be out until Tuesday with Ole Miss-FSU on Monday night). Games Saturday unless noted.
No. 19 Louisville at Syracuse (+14.5), Friday: No player was more impressive in Week 1 than Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Granted, it was against perhaps the worst FBS program in the nation in Charlotte, but Jackson had eight touchdowns in the 70-14 blowout win -- all in the first half. Jackson passed for 286 yards and six touchdowns in his half of action and rushed for 119 yards and two scores. There was no need for Coach Bobby Petrino to play him in the second half with a 56-0 lead. The eight TDs responsible for tied an ACC record set by former Clemson QB Tajh Boyd in 2012. Jackson was just the second player nationally in the past 20 years with six passing TDs and at least two rushing TDs in a game. He's now +2500 to win the Heisman Trophy. This might be the most entertaining game of the weekend if you like offense as Syracuse plays ultra-fast (like U of L) under new head coach Dino Babers. The Orange opened with a 33-7 rout of Colgate. QB Eric Dungey set career highs in completions (34), attempts (40), yards (355) and tied his personal high with two TD passes against no interceptions. The Orange completed 17 passes in the first half of the game. They had less than 17 completions in nine games in 2015. SU lost 41-17 at Louisville last year. The pick: Louisville.
Nevada at No. 10 Notre Dame (-26): The Irish now have no wiggle room to make the College Football Playoff after their 50-47 double overtime loss at Texas on Sunday night in the most entertaining game of Week 1. It's not clear if Notre Dame will have top receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (yes, the son of the former All-Star baseball player) for this game. He left against the Longhorns after taking a hard shot to the head in the end zone from defensive back DeShon Elliott late in the third quarter. Hunter has a concussion. He had four catches for 37 yards and a TD in the loss. Coach Brian Kelly also hasn't announced his starting QB for this game, but it's pretty clearly going to be DeShone Kizer over Malik Zaire. Kizer threw for 215 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards against UT, while Zaire was 2-for-5 for 23 yards and rushed for 0 yards on three carries. Nevada opened with a 30-27 win over Cal Poly in overtime. The pick: Notre Dame.
Utah State at No. 20 USC (-16.5): Do you think that USC is already regretting making Clay Helton the team's full-time coach? He was named on interim basis last year following Steve Sarkisian's firing. The Trojans played pretty well under Helton for a few games and he got the full-time gig, but USC faltered at the end of the season, losing three of its final four. And then on Saturday, USC didn't belong on the same field as top-ranked Alabama in a 52-6 loss -- some sweet revenge for Tide coach Lane Kiffin, who was fired by USC a few years back. Keep in mind that Helton was hired by former Athletic Direction Pat Haden (the guy who fired Kiffin at 3:14 a.m. at the Los Angeles airport), not current AD Lynn Swann. I could absolutely see that job coming open this offseason, and it will still be coveted. This could be a bit of a trap game for the Trojans with a trip to Stanford up next. Utah State opened with a 45-6 blowout of Weber State. USU's last win against a Pac-12 team was a 27-20 home victory in overtime against Utah in 2012. The last time these two teams played was on Sept. 21, 2013, in Los Angeles and USC won 17-14. The pick: Utah State.
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