Week 2 panic meter: How worried should struggling programs be?
- College football reporter.
- Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
- Graduate of Northwestern University.
Two weeks in is too soon to panic, right?
Not in college football, where slow or shaky starts to seasons send fans into a frenzy. Ohio State on Saturday lost its first regular-season game under third-year coach Ryan Day, and first at home since 2017. After Steve Sarkisian’s promising debut against Louisiana, Texas got steamrollered by former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas. Sarkisian’s old team, USC, made too many familiar mistakes in a 42-28 loss to Stanford, which had nearly been shut out the week before against Kansas State. Sarkisian’s other former team, Washington, continued to look mostly punchless on offense in falling to 0-2.
Iowa State still can’t beat Iowa, and three-year starting quarterback Brock Purdy was benched in the fourth quarter. Florida State lost to an FCS opponent for the first time since the FBS/FCS split in 1978, stumbling to 0-2, while Miami needed a late field goal to outlast Appalachian State and avoid the same start. Texas A&M needed its backup quarterback to rally past Colorado, and produced only 10 points. Notre Dame, meanwhile, had everyone frantically buying Peacock subscriptions as it needed a late touchdown to outlast Toledo.
Teams have ample time to turn things around, but some of the problems surfacing, especially after Week 2, are causing genuine panic. USC’s loss to Stanford, for example, cost Clay Helton his job. Helton was fired Monday.
After talking to coaches over the weekend, here’s a look at the issues plaguing some of college football’s most prominent programs and what it will take to foster improvement. I’ve also assigned a panic level (1 is no big deal, 5 is full panic mode) for each team.
Ohio State’s defense seeking a spark
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