Posted 09/19/2012 at 05:52 PM
In a week that saw Notre Dame align with the ACC, the Big Ten had another miserable week, with Michigan State getting crushed at home by the Irish and Ohio State also looking rather vulnerable. The Buckeyes escaped to move to 3-0, the only team left in the Leaders division without a loss. Big Ten play has not started but Northwestern and Minnesota sit on top of the Legends division with 3-0 starts and the conference does not have a team in the top 15 of the rankings. Three weeks into the season the conference has already completely played its way out of the national championship picture.
The question remains whether a team from the Big XII, ACC, or Pac-12 can get through the season undefeated to break-up the SEC stronghold on the championship game. There will be attrition in the SEC as Alabama or LSU will have to lose once and the SEC championship game would knock another team out if both the East and West divisions produce undefeated teams. One major player is down in the Pac-12 with USC being bounced last week, though the Trojans could make a strong case as a one-loss team should they get there. Oregon certainly looks the part but more attention will come on the Texas/Oklahoma victor as well as this week’s Florida State/Clemson winner.
After two weeks of the NFL season there are just six undefeated teams and at least two more will go down next week with two showdowns of 2-0 squads. The NFC has just one winless team through two weeks, the New Orleans Saints, a team that has been one of the top teams in the conference in recent years. The Saints face an ‘avoid 0-3’ match-up this week with the Chiefs for the title of most disappointing early season team. Houston has the best point differential in the NFL so far and it is hard to see the Texans not producing a great record this season given how weak the rest of the AFC South looks. Look for the teams the NFC North and the AFC East to produce slightly stronger than deserved records by virtue of getting to play four games against that division.
A few years ago the NFC West was the lowly division in the league with the Seahawks going 7-9 to win the division and the right to host a playoff game. Just two years later that division looks like it could be one of the best in the league as San Francisco has been the clear top team in the league through two weeks and Arizona, Seattle, and St. Louis have all looked like greatly improved teams. The NFC West is 5-1 in non-division games, the best mark in the league. So far the NFC is 6-1 vs. AFC teams heading into Monday’s game between Denver and Atlanta, certainly something to monitor and take note of. The lone victory for the AFC of course came by the Colts, a team that went 2-14 last year.
The rookie quarterbacks came back with a strong week this week with Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, and Russell Wilson all leading their teams to victories as underdogs. In losses Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin also played well and this crop of rookies looks like they will stick around. Coaching changes still matter as teams playing with a head coach that was not the head coach that started last season are a combined 4-12 with four of the league’s six 0-2 teams featuring some form of a coaching transition.
While the officials were mainly invisible in the first week there was more to complain about in week 2 which could motivate a deal. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…