The bad news: Week 2 of the college football season was largely punchless, and highlighted by a gaffe that should've never happened in the first place. The good news: it's over. The even better news: Week 3 should be great.
1. A rare clash of titans in Norman. These two programs have spent more time bumping up each against each other in the polls than on the actual field of play -- 206 combined weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll, two all-time meetings. This is one of those something's-gotta-give games: Bob Stoops loses a home non-conference game about once a decade (two losses in 17 seasons and counting), while Ohio State has never lost in 18 games inside opponents' stadiums under Urban Meyer. Of course, caveats apply. Rarely has either team faced an opponent as good as this one. (That's kind of the point of playing these games, isn't it?)
Tom Herman has been giving his old staff hints on how to attack Oklahoma, and if they listen they'll go bombs away on the Sooners' green secondary. Greg Ward, Jr., averaged 14 yards a completion in Houston's Week 1 win, which is right around what J.T. Barrett averaged in wins over Bowling Green and Tulsa. Oklahoma's goal should be the opposite. For starters, the Buckeyes have intercepted seven passes and allowed zero touchdowns in 76 passes defended through two games and, more importantly, all three of OU's losses with Lincoln Riley at the helm of the offense came with the same root cause -- an inability to run the ball. The Sooners ran for 67 yards against Texas and Clemson last season, and 70 against Houston.
2. In a game of undefeated teams hailing from the same division, Louisville needs to beat Florida State more than Florida State needs to beat Louisville. A new system is in place, yes, but this is still college football, where poll position and brand name still matter. Florida State has the tougher non-conference schedule, the tougher in-conference schedule (in the age of 14-team leagues and 8-game schedules, there's enough discrepancy for that to matter now) and the opportunity to build momentum if and when Derwin James returns to action.
Louisville has more than a puncher's chance here. While there is surely a book on how to defend Lamar Jackson out there somewhere, the first page is still unwritten. The kid has straight dominated since beating Kentucky and Texas A&M to close last season. The Cardinals shouldn't be intimidated by the opponent or the moment. This is the same team that built leads of 21-0 and 24-7 against a defending national champion FSU team in 2014 before surrendering to a 42-31 defeat. And that team didn't have Jackson.
3. There's no getting around it, an Ole Miss win over Alabama would be a historic upset. The Rebels have never beaten Alabama three years in a row. (And, hey, before last season they'd never beaten the Tide in two straight meetings, either.) Nick Saban has lost to the same quarterback twice only one -- Drew Brees, back when Saban was in the Big Ten. And for the Rebels to pull off the feat, they'd most likely have to beat Alabama in the same way three times in a row: turnovers. The Rebels turned a 2-1 edge into a 23-17 victory in 2014 -- Senquez Golson's soaring end zone pick of Blake Sims to seal the win is no doubt mural-ized in dining establishments from Tunica to Biloxi -- and needed a 5-0 turnover avalanche to hold on for a 43-37 win after building a 30-10 second half lead.
Nick Saban likes his team. You can tell by how he's finding ways to rip them after winning their first two games by a combined 90-16. This feels like one of those ultra-focused efforts reminiscent of the 2009 SEC championship game rematch with Florida.
4. Both Kevin Sumlin and Gus Malzahn should bring a rabbit's foot with them to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. In the four A&M-Auburn meetings since the Aggies joined the SEC, the road team has won every won of them, and the lower-ranked team has won the last three. Auburn is home, but A&M owns the higher rank, so something's got to give here. And whoever does the giving will be the team that gets the least out of its unstable quarterback play. Auburn is still looking for a long-term answer at the position -- Sean White's 244-yard, 3-touchdown performance last week vs. Arkansas State seems like the Tigers are on the right track here -- and A&M ranks second in the SEC in passing yards but 11th in efficiency.
5. Will the script remain flipped in California? From 1958 through 2006, USC was 39-9-1 against Stanford. Then Jim Harbaugh arrived on The Farm.
Since then, Stanford owns the Trojans, winning seven of the last 10.
The Cardinal has the more established coaching staff. They have the advantage on both lines. They have the best player on the field.
So, yes, we've reached the point now where USC beating Stanford would qualify as a major upset.
6. Notre Dame is a known quantity at this point, but we still know next to nothing about Michigan State. The Spartans took last week off, meaning only an uneven defeat of Furman exists on film to this point. We know what Notre Dame is, though, and what they'll have to do to beat the Spartans: outgun them. The Irish have a franchise quarterback in DeShone Kizer and a defense that ranks in the mid-80's or below in every major statistical category through two games. Shootouts have never been a strength for Mark Dantonio -- in fact, the last two Michigan State-Notre Dame games have seen only 53 points scored combined -- so an interesting meshing of styles should be on display in South Bend.
And if Sparty finds itself in a tight spot Saturday, we know Dantonio has a great fake field goal up his sleeve.