5 Best, Worst Surprises through two weeks

miami-hurricanesColorado is an utter embarrassment to college football, but did anyone really expect much from the Buffaloes? Despite two dismal losses to Colorado State and Sacramento State, Colorado is not one of the biggest surprises of the first two weeks of the season.

When it comes to early surprises, there are both good and bad ones. For example, Oregon State’s victory over Wisconsin is a huge shocker but is one victory enough?

Let’s find out.


5. Mississippi State

If you look at the SEC West standings you might be floored to see Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs are on top. It’s still early and it’s not likely Mississippi State will remain in this spot — but enjoy it while you can.

The Bulldogs opened with an easy 56-9 victory over Jackson State, and we got a glimpse of quarterback Tyler Russell. But then we realized he was the real deal as Mississippi State handed Auburn its second loss of the season.

Now Mullen’s program has earned some serious respect for adapting its game plan to fit the personnel.

Mississippi State should be 5-0 when it hosts No. 23 Tennessee on Oct. 13 and it’s also very possible that the Bulldogs are 7-0 when they travel to top-ranked Alabama on Oct. 27.

MSU is looking at a nine- or 10-win season.

4. Clemson

Considering how Clemson’s 2011 season closed, you have to like how the Tigers have produced to the tune of a 2-0 start.

Last week’s win over Ball State was expected, but the Tigers’ offense was executing at near perfection. Quarterback Tajh Boyd, receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Andre Ellington are all playing at an All-ACC level.

But Clemson’s season-opening 26-19 victory over Auburn to open the season is what really opened some eyes. Auburn is now 0-2 and it might not look as impressive, but don’t discount the win over an SEC team.

The Tigers should improve to 3-0 this weekend with a home game against Furman before traveling to No. 5 Florida State in their biggest game of the season.

3. Florida

It would be just as easy to pick the Gators’ opponent this weekend — Tennessee — but what Florida did at Texas A&M showed that Will Muschamp’s program has made some progress over last year.

Is Florida ready to win the SEC East? The SEC?

Not likely, but the defense is as good as any and since the Gators are playing well the game with the Volunteers is actually relevant again.

Florida still has issues on offense, especially with a passing game that ranks 114th in the nation.


It was a big day for the Pac-12 last weekend, and no team had a better day than UCLA.

Rick Neuheisel is probably wondering where this execution and passion was when he was in charge.

The Bruins need to avoid a letdown against 0-2 Hawaii this week after an emotional 36-30 win over Nebraska. There is also a realistic expectation that UCLA could open 7-0.

If quarterback Brett Hundley keeps playing this well — six touchdowns and 507 passing yards — Jim Mora could be a national coach of the year contender.

1. Arizona

Historically, Rich Rodriguez has struggled during his first season with a new team. So far with Arizona, RichRod has pushed all of the right buttons en route to a 2-0 start.

The Wildcats struggled a bit in the opener and needed overtime to take down mighty Toledo, but last week’s 59-38 win over Oklahoma State was the type of victory that usually takes a RichRod team three to four years to earn.

If you look at the remainder of Arizona’s schedule there’s a real likelihood the Wildcats could get to eight victories. That would mean the transition to RichRod’s system is well ahead of schedule.


5. Oklahoma State

It’s easy to say Oklahoma State was overrated coming into the season, especially with a true-freshman quarterback. But the loss at Arizona exposed the Cowboys defense.

If Arizona can put up 59 points then imagine what some of the more potent offenses in the Big 12 — Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma — will do to that unit.

The Cowboys should get back on the winning track this week with a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette, but then it will get interesting with Texas on Sept. 29. That’s when we’ll learn if OSU is going to fight.

4. Wisconsin

Going with a transfer quarterback for a second-consecutive year hasn’t worked out as well for the Badgers this time around.

Russell Wilson led Wisconsin to a Big Ten championship, but it doesn’t look like former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien has the same magic.

After sputtering to a 26-21 win over Northern Iowa, the Badgers responded by scoring just seven points at Oregon State.

Now the Badgers will host 2-0 Utah State and there’s no guarantee Bret Bielema’s team will win that one.

3. Auburn

In fairness to Auburn, the Tigers had the toughest two-game stretch to start the season.

But as long as the offense is going to be inept, Gene Chizik’s unit won’t win many games. They should get that elusive first win against Louisiana-Monroe, but then it’s a home game with No. 3 LSU.

Hopefully by then Auburn will have its quarterback situation figured out, because right now Kiehl Frazier doesn’t look like the answer.

2. Pittsburgh

It’s not like Pitt had huge expectations in the Paul Chryst’s first season, but no one expected them to lost to Youngstown State and then gets whipped by Cincinnati.

The move to the ACC can’t come soon enough for the Panthers, but you have to wonder if the ACC still wants Pitt.

Here’s a bit of advice for Coach Chryst: Bench Tino Sunseri. He’s killing you.

1. Miami

Much like Notre Dame, it seems like it has been a lifetime since the Hurricanes were relevant in the college football world.

Seriously, Kansas State just embarrassed this former powerhouse program. The Hurricanes still walk around with a swagger, but they don’t have a single player who backs it up.

Give me Alonzo Highsmith, Melvin Bratton and Jerome Brown. That’s the Miami we all want to see again.

Instead we have average players wearing the U.