Late Hits

Late hits: College football controversy abounds in Week 2

September 12, 2011 

Wake Forest: For the first time in three seasons, that looked like a Jim Grobe Wake Forest team of old in Saturday's 34-27 win against N.C. State. The Deacons were short on mental mistakes (and turnovers) and long on preparation and execution.

In sophomore Tanner Price, Grobe has a quarterback whom he can pencil in through 2013, giving Wake Forest a shot at reversing the losing trends of 2009 and 2010.

Pac-12 officials: A rare scoring change and test case for the new "celebration" rule marked Utah's Pac-12 debut, officially a 23-14 loss to Southern California. The chaotic on-field finish saw USC's Torin Harris return a blocked field-goal attempt for an apparent touchdown, but it was waived off when coaches and players from USC's sideline were flagged for running onto the field to celebrate too soon.

Hours later, conference officials overturned the call.

Michigan-Notre Dame: Not the actual game (an improbable 35-31 Michigan win), but the uniforms for each team. It's one thing for Oregon, and now Maryland, to mix-and-match at their affiliated sneaker company's whim, but it's entirely another for two of the winningest and most identifiable programs in college football.

You're Michigan and Notre Dame. Act like it. At the very least, allow your fans to identify your jerseys.

SEC officials: There was no love lost between Mississippi State and Auburn (see: Newton, Cam) before Saturday's controversial finish, a 41-34 Auburn win. There's even less after two disputed calls in the fourth quarter - a first-down measurement of all things, and a goal-line call.

On television replays, it appeared game officials missed both calls, both at Mississippi State's expense.

What we learned...

1. N.C. State misses Nate Irving: The linebacker covered up a lot of flaws in the Wolfpack's defense last year and made a lot of big plays on blitzes that State's current linebackers just haven't made in the first two games. When you blitz and don't get to the quarterback, it's usually six the other way. .

2. Florida State is awesome against satellite schools: FSU fans are frothing at the mouth over a 62-10 win against Charleston Southern and last week's 34-0 cakewalk against Louisiana-Monroe. Congratulations, you'd be awesome in the Sun Belt or Big South, if super-conference realignment comes to that. But No. 1 Oklahoma comes to visit this week and it's time to get out of the kiddie pool.

3. ECU is capable of playing good defense: The Pirates held Virginia Tech to 17 points in Saturday's loss in Greenville, a week after giving up 56 to South Carolina and a year after giving up 44 per game. Even at 0-2, that's reason to be optimistic that more wins than losses can be found in ECU's remaining 10 games.

Ranking the ACC

Top 3

1. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer's 200th win with the Hokies didn't come easy, but there's plenty of those left on the ACC schedule.

2. Florida State: Lots of ground to make up on the Sooners, who won 47-17 last year.

3. UNC: Dwight Jones is the best receiver in the ACC, by a mile, and has a chance to match Hakeem Nicks' All-American status.

Bottom 3

10. N.C. State: Not an unexpected loss in Winston-Salem, but one that will make the Wolfpack's pursuit of a bowl bid a challenge.

11. Boston College: Not sure Montel Harris will be enough to save that miserable offense.

12. Duke: Anthony Boone, the third-string quarterback, is responsible for more touchdowns (two) than starter Sean Renfree (zero).

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