College Football Stock Market Week 2: the Sun Belt reigns over the Big 12
What a week! Upsets, missed kicks and much more filled our screens this weekend, and we can't complain. College Football provided us with some chaos, which is one of the best things about the sport. The Sun Belt had quite the week, notching some big wins, a few potential playoff teams got off to a strong start, and college kickers ruined things once again. Some stock rose, others fell. Where should you invest your college football currency? Check out the answers below.
Sun Belt: What an incredible week for the Sun Belt. The excitement in the conference trickled into Week 2, and started with a couple of upsets. Louisiana (Iowa State) and Arkansas State (Kansas State) notched wins on the road, and did so with some flare.
Jonathan Adams caught eight passes for 98 yards and three scores, including the insane catch above. The Red Wolves threw in a couple trick plays that led to scores as well to stun the Wildcats. Louisiana used a kick and punt return for touchdowns to take it to Iowa State in Ames.
Appalachian State started the Shawn Clark era at home with a thrilling 35-20 win over a tough Charlotte team to add another win to the conference's resume. Georgia Southern overcame the absence of 33 players (for various reasons) to come back and beat Campbell 27-26. UL-Monroe was the only disappointment of the weekend, losing 37-7 to Army. Texas State and South Alabama lost, but both were by single digits. Oh and Coastal Carolina had a strong showing against Kansas.
Sam Ehlinger: All he needed was one half. Ehlinger threw for 426 yards (nearly all of it in the first half) and five touchdowns to get the Longhorns season started on a great note. Texas dominated from start to finish in the win over UTEP, and Ehlinger's Heisman campaign got off to a terrific start.
Spencer Rattler: Whether you were on the Spencer Rattler hype train or not, it's here and it looks like it's not going away. Rattler needed just 17 passes (completing 14) to finish his night, and the Sooners rolled over Missouri State, 48-0. Rattler passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns, which has fans excited. With the talent he was following, the biggest question remained if he could follow in their footsteps. He's off to a great start so far.
Nail biters: We saw a few games go down to the wire, but one stood out. UTSA and Texas State combined to finish 7-17 last year, and neither sparked much excitement. In just two weeks, they've already changed that. The Roadrunners began the Jeff Traylor era with arguably the most exciting game of the season so far, winning 51-48 over the Bobcats. It was a game filled with exciting plays and some back and forth scoring, and UTSA came out with the win. Texas State might be 0-2, but those losses came by a combined 10 points, so there's no reason to panic in San Marcos.
Iowa State the favorite: I talked in my podcast about Iowa State figuring out how to be the favorite instead of the underdog. Clearly they don't know how to play that way. The Cyclones got smacked by Louisiana at home, and limped away with a 31-14 loss. Quarterback Brock Purdy's draft stock took a hit as well. The Cyclones signal caller finished 16-for-35 with 145 yards and a pick, a start that not many expected. Winning the Big 12 remains a possibility for Iowa State, and Purdy can still save his draft stock, but this team needs to find a way to improve quickly.
Florida State: Maybe just stay away from the Seminoles for a little while. Maybe even until next year. Mike Norvell's debut in Tallahassee ended in disappointment, a 16-13 loss to Georgia Tech. The Noles were up 10-0 for a long time, but the offense couldn't ever get anything going. James Blackman wasn't at his best to say the least, and a couple drops by the wide receivers didn't help. There was plenty of drama surrounding the Seminoles program this offseason, and we most likely can expect more after this game.
Blue Chip Stock
Clemson: The 2019 runner-up Tigers got right back to business, beating Wake Forest 37-13 on Saturday. Trevor Lawrence was phenomenal once again, throwing for 351 yards and rushing for two touchdowns. The Tigers swarmed Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman on defense, and eventually knocked him out of the game. The Tigers answered questions about who would replace Justyn Ross by doing it by committee. Clemson saw 13 players catch a pass this weekend, led by Amari Rodgers (90 yards) and tight end Braden Galloway (60). With the struggles elsewhere in the conference (or at least a lack of firepower), it appears that there isn't anyone close to challenging the Tigers just yet.
Oklahoma: New quarterback? No problem. Spencer Rattler, as stated above, got right to work with his team, and the Sooners looked as lethal as ever. But they did it a little different this time. Last year, it seemed like they focused more on the run, but this year they started off dominating through the air. Granted, it didn't help that Kennedy Brooks opted out for the season and Rhammondre Stevenson wasn't available, but that didn't affect the gameplan. Rattler and his arm took over, and Missouri State never stood a chance.
Mike Norvell Special Teams: Despite losing 16-13, the Noles' kick block team thrived. Two fields goals and an extra point were blocked by Florida State, proving that Norvell's magic on special tames continues. At Memphis, he had some of the best special team units in the country, and it appears that's carried over to Tallahassee.
Army: Death, taxes, and Army running the football. The Black Knights have two wins thanks to their 388 yards per game on the ground, and appear to be the best service academy at this point.
Travis Etienne helmet changes: Whether it's the helmet or the facemask, Travis Etienne likes to switch things up on his head. Seriously, this guy changes his helmet more than anyone I've ever known.
Some teams don't even change their jerseys as much as he changes his headgear. But it's hard to complain when you're getting the results he provides.
Texas State kicking: Missed kicks will affect the outcome of a game, especially when the kick could have ended the game. Alan Orona missed an extra point with 1:16 left in the game that could have given the Bobcats a win, and it ultimately ended in a 51-48 loss to UTSA. College kickers, man.
Betting certainty: With COVID around, there's little certainty that key players will participate on a weekly basis. Georgia Southern had a number of players miss their game against Campbell and Memphis and Houston had to postpone their game in two weeks. Oklahoma State and Tulsa were supposed to play this week too, but that got pushed back to next week. This is the new normal unfortunately, and betting on games can be even more difficult if key players aren't participating, so bet wisely.