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I’m Eric Single, filling in for Jayna.
As Week 2’s final games reached halftime on Saturday night, an off-field story surfaced that leaves the future of one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches in flux.
In the wake of reports from USA Today and ESPN that Tucker is the subject of a university investigation into sexual harassment allegations, MSU announced Sunday that he has been suspended without pay.
Which 0-2 teams should be sweating?
Four Power 5 teams are still searching for their first win, but their situations are not equal. Let’s take a closer look.
Texas Tech (8-5 in 2022): The Red Raiders lost in double-overtime at Wyoming, but they bounced back and pushed Oregon to the limit. As long as quarterback Tyler Shough can stay healthy, Texas Tech is dangerous. Rating: 2 out of 5 buckets of sweat.
Baylor (6-7 in 2022): The Texas State upset didn’t even look like a fluke, and starting quarterback Blake Shapen is expected out for at least another week. But the Bears had a good Utah team on the ropes for three and a half quarters. Texas goes to Waco in two weeks. Rating: 3 out of 5 buckets.
Virginia (3-7 in 2022): Expectations were pretty low in Charlottesville, and the Hoos were six-point underdogs against James Madison at home. But that wild 36-35 loss featured one reason for optimism: quarterback Anthony Colandrea, who started the season as the No. 2 but should be the guy moving forward after a thrilling 20-of-26, 377-yard performance. Rating: 1 out of 5 buckets.
Nebraska (4-8 in 2022): I’ve seen all I need to see from quarterback Jeff Sims, who has committed six turnovers in two games and left the Colorado loss late with an injury. Nebraska once again will need weekly heroics from its defense to help Matt Rhule find his footing. Rating: 4 out of 5 buckets.
Does It Still Mean More?
Emerson: The SEC’s shaky start
The SEC is 3-6 against Power 5 opponents to start the year — quite the fall from grace for a league whose fans are used to chanting its name at every opportunity. We caught up with The Athletic’s Georgia writer Seth Emerson, fresh off ranking the vibes of all 14 SEC programs through two weeks, to unpack what it all means.
How much do these early losses narrow the margin of error for the SEC’s CFP hopefuls?
Emerson: It already seems like Georgia or bust, doesn’t it? Tennessee and — yes, we’re typing this — Ole Miss could have a say in it. But this could be overreacting to early results: LSU and Alabama haven’t started SEC play, and if either runs the table and wins the SEC championship, the early losses become a distant memory. The SEC’s chances of being a two-bid league absolutely took a hit. Let’s guess those chances went from about 33 percent to 10 percent.
At what point should SEC fans panic about the league’s strength this year?
Emerson: If it’s just one year, it’s not a big deal. The passion and resources in the SEC are going to keep the conference at a perpetually high level. But if what we saw the past two weeks is the impact of NIL and the transfer portal allowing other conferences to catch up, it could be a big deal. Florida State and Texas were two national championship-caliber programs that had been dormant but now feature elite transfer receivers. Again, no conclusions can be absolutely drawn from a couple of weekends early in one season. But it is possible we saw an indication of a meaningful change in the landscape.
Scariest game left on Georgia’s schedule: Ole Miss at home (Nov. 11) or Tennessee on the road (Nov. 18)?
Emerson: It’s still Tennessee because of where the game will be. Even then, you definitely want to see the Volunteers look more like they did against Virginia than Austin Peay. Ole Miss had a good win at Tulane, but it was against the Green Wave’s backup quarterback. Ask me again after we see Lane Kiffin’s team go to Tuscaloosa in two weeks.
The Athletic 133 is out. Where are the big brands after some big wins?
Jesse Temple went to Pullman for Washington State’s 31-22 upset of No. 19 Wisconsin and talked to Wazzu diehards about how it feels to be left behind in the Pac-12 by the rest of the Power 5. A Cougars fan sums up realignment perfectly: “Nobody wants to be the last kid picked in gym class.”
Texas is in the AP poll’s top five after beating Alabama, and the “overrated” chorus has fallen silent. Matt Brown breaks down the Longhorns’ rankings rise.
Deion Sanders is a master of turning disrespect into motivation, David Ubben writes, and Coach Prime’s team is following his lead.
How did the nation’s top high school QBs fare this weekend? Grace Raynor rounded up the highlights, including a bonkers throw from Alabama commit Julian Sayin.
(Top photo: Mike Mulholland / Getty Images)