The Two Biggest Winners and Losers of Week Two …

Biggest Winners: 1. Houston Cougars. They took down then No. 5 ranked Oklahoma State on the road and set themselves up for a run at the BCS. QB Case Keenum is the real deal now that he finally has a signature win over a quality opponent. 2. Tate Forcier and the Michigan Wolverines. In a year where freshman QBs are all the rage in college football, Forcier showed more talent, poise and maturity than many accomplished senior signal callers. RichRod needed the win and so did the Big M. It silenced the critics and called into question stories of internal dissent in Ann Arbor. I spoke with a former player who is still well-connected with the program and he claims it’s a small handful of troublemakers making a lot of noise about nothing. At 2-0, with wins over two solid opponents, the Wolverines are suddenly relevant again in the Big Ten title hunt.

Biggest Losers: 1. Charlie Weis and Notre Dame. Loaded with senior talent and experience, and facing their easiest schedule in years, including USC coming to South Bend with a freshman QB, Weis’ questionable play calling and the Golden Domers’ inability to finish off Michigan when they had them on the ropes has to be a huge disappointment to Beano Cook and the Irish fan base. 2. Dan Hawkins and the Colorado program. Not to take anything away from the Toledo Rockets and head coach Tim Beckman for an overwhelming offensive performance against the Buffs, but you really have to wonder how the Colorado football program could sink any lower than it has. The Buffs are 0-2 and they have four sure losses coming up on the road against West Virginia, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State. Don’t count on Colorado making it to a bowl game this year.

Still wondering what action Boise State took against instigator Byron Hout? So are we. Head coach Chris Petersen said he would discipline his defensive end “internally” for his behavior that provoked Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount following the Broncos’ 19-8 victory over Oregon two weeks ago. Oregon took swift and decisive action in suspending Blount for the rest of the season after he decked Hout, but videotape clearly showed that Hout had initiated the interaction, verbally taunting Blount and rapping him on the shoulder pad. Petersen’s decision to shield Hout from any public discipline clearly demonstrates that he is more concerned about winning than he is about holding his players accountable for their actions and that winning games is more important to the university than the conduct of its athletes.

Best new sports show on the tube? Hands down, it’s ESPN2’s SportsNation featuring co-hosts Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd. Somehow the chemistry works between these two goofs. Beadle is a sport lover’s fantasy with her perky, girl-next-door looks and ease in conversing about any sport or pop culture topic under the sun. She drives the show but Cowherd colors in all the blanks, and remarkably, isn’t as annoying as he is on the radio. Aside from covering all of the day’s relevant sports storylines, the show is cram-packed with quirky trivia, fan polls and imaginative graphics. The production crew’s off-screen antics add a nice twist.

Heisman Hope Meter: Florida’s Tim Tebow has his hope chest filled to the brim despite facing two pathetically weak opponents to kick off the season. Texas’ Colt McCoy overcame a lackluster first half in Laramie last week to remain hopeful. Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford is hopeless following his opening week injury against BYU. Being sidelined throughout the month of September kills any chances he had of a Heisman repeat.

Conference Pre-Season Power Meter: 1. Big XII. 2. SEC. 3. Pac-10. 4. Big Ten 5. ACC 6. MWC. 7. Big East. 8. C-USA. 9. WAC. 10. Sun Belt.

The most intriguing games this weekend and why:
No. 14 Georgia Tech at No. 20 Miami (Thursday night). Miami has a lot of weapons and a suspect defense. Still, I expect them to surprise a lot of people and pull this one out against the Ramblin’ Wreck.
No. 10 Boise State at Fresno State. This is the toughest game the Blue Turf Broncos have remaining on their schedule this season. That ought to tell you what a limp schedule it is. The only advantae the mediocre Bulldogs have in this contest comes from playing on a green surface at home.
No. 8 California at Minnesota. I’m a sucker for regular season non-conference battles between Big Ten and Pac-10 teams, like last weekend’s USC-Ohio State clash. This game is way farther down the dial of intensity, although both teams are 2-0 and it’s just the second game played in the Golden Gophers’ gorgeous, spankin’ new TCF Bank Stadium. Cal appears dominant, but I wouldn’t rule out an upset.
No. 3 USC at Washington. Intrigue abounds with Troy’s former OC Steve Sarkisian now coaching against the program that launched him into the ranks of mega-million dollar head coaches. The Trojans were beat up pretty badly last weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and the Huskies are vastly improved over last season, so the final score should be rather respectable for the home team.
No. 19 Nebraska at No. 13 Virginia Tech. Props to the Cornhuskers for scheduling this contest. (Florida, take a hint). We’ll learn a lot about both teams after they’ve settled the score. Slight advantage goes to the home team Hokies.
No. 17 Cincinnati at Oregon State. This will be one of the best games of the weekend. Cincy has a Porsche-powered offense and the Beavers are tough to beat at home. Both squads are 2-0 and looking for a win to catapult them forward in the rankings.
Florida State at No. 7 BYU. The stakes in this contest are incredibly high for both the Cougars and the Seminoles. Florida State does not want to start 1-2, in what could very well be Bobby Bowden’s final season. Brigham Young’s dream season hopes to reach the promised land of BCS paydirt will be dashed if they lose.
Texas Tech at No. 2 Texas. Revenge can be a powerful motivator and the Longhorns have plenty to burn. The Red Raiders have nothing to lose, unlike last year’s contest. They need to play a full game against Texas like Wyoming did for one half last week.