David Shaw is keeping his Cardinal team firing on all cylinders. Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

David Shaw is keeping his Cardinal team firing on all cylinders. Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

The Good
Stanford: The Cardinal had a rather uneventful first 2 games of the season, but got back to their brand of football this week. In their first true test of the season against Arizona State, they build up a 29-0 lead halftime and a 39-7 at the start of the fourth before settling in and cruising to a 42-28 victory. Their signature ground game was on display in gaining nearly 250 yards and the stout defense held heralded Sun Devil RB Marion Grice to just 50 yards. It’s still weeks away from the monumental showdown with Oregon, but Stanford appears to be on a steady trajectory.

Fresno State:  Not only was their victory over Boise State a big conference win, but it keeps the Bulldogs alive as a potential BCS buster. It wasn’t easy as the lead changed hands several time but Fresno State got the game winning score with just over 2 minutes left and were able to hang on. This was also a breakout game for QB Derek Carr as putting up big numbers on a good team might garner him some stealth Heisman talk.

The Bad
Notre Dame: The result will show that the Irish beat Michigan State 17-13 (another of its ‘more traditional’ rivals). However, they did try their hardest to lose. Trying to run out the clock with like 9 minutes left in the 4th when you’re only up by 4 is not exactly a strategy that usually results in victory. Of course it also helped that the Spartans had pass interference calls to keep ND drives going. This result doesn’t bode well heading into next week’s game against Oklahoma.

Michigan: You figured after getting embarrassed and nearly losing to Akron last week that the Wolverines would be motivated again. Not only did they narrowly avoid another upset, but needed a rally to overcome a 21-7 deficit in the 3rd quarter. Even more cause for concern was the play of QB Devin Gardner. Yes he ran for a TD, but wasn’t able to pass for one and threw for 2 INTs. Their upcoming bye week couldn’t have come at a better time as they need it to sort out whatever is going on before the games get even tougher in the B1G.

The Ugly
West Virginia: Well this is as clear an indication as any that the Mountaineers are in full blown rebuild mode. Not only did they get shutout, but consider these offensive stats: 175 total yards, 62 passing yards, 6 first downs and 2 for 12 in 3rd down conversions. That kind of punchless offense won’t cut it with games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor coming in the next few weeks.

Cupcakes: Last week had several high profile games, but it sure isn’t the case this week. The only matchup of ranked teams was #23 Arizona State at #5 Stanford. The other ranked squads took on such heavyweights as Florida International, Florida A&M, New Mexico St, Idaho St, Maine and Bethune-Cookman. Yeah this week had its moments, but on the whole it was a collection of big teams beating up on the little guys. College football fans can take solace in the fact that they’ll have clashes such as LSU-Georgia, Wisconsin-Ohio St, Oklahoma-Notre Dame and Ole Miss-Alabama for next week.

Awards
The ‘Charlie Weis Ate My Cheeseburger’ Award for Defense: Texas. Sure allowing 390 total yards might not land a team here usually, but Texas gets the nod. Against Kansas State 115 of those 390 given up were on the ground, which is a vast improvement after the Longhorns got torched in that department the past two weeks by BYU and Ole Miss. 

The ‘Shirley, You Must Be Joking?’ Offensive Performance Of The Week: Buckeye QB Kenny Guiton had 6 first half passing TDs…but that was against Florida A&M. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 4 of his own against…Florida International. Georgia’s Aaron Murray threw for over 400 against…North Texas. What about Baylor’s near 800 total yards? Well that came against Louisian-Monroe. So these performances aren’t nearly as impressive when you consider who they were playing. So let’s just give it to Derek Carr and his 460 yard, 4 TD effort against Boise State.

The ‘These Are Not The Droids You’re Looking For’ Mystery Of The Week: Seriously what’s wrong with Michigan? They should’ve blown out Akron and sorta blown out UConn. They had superior talent but just can’t seem to harness it. It would probably help if Devin Gardner wasn’t throwing so many passes to opposing players. The defense was much better this week, so that’s an encouraging sign. Given the way things are going for the Wolverines that B1G opener against Minnesota is looking alot tougher. Though the team is off to a 4-0 start, it sure isn’t an impressive one.