Week 2 of the college football season produced quite a few results that will cause seismic shifts across the national landscape. No shift was bigger than No. 11 Texas' 34-24 upset of No. 3 Alabama. The Longhorns have been waiting to break through for more than a decade now, and they took a huge step Saturday with an impressive performance to beat the Crimson Tide at home.
Steve Sarkisian's squad became the first nonconference opponent to defeat Nick Saban and Alabama since 2007., a spot that it hasn't held since 2009. There's more from around the country to react to outside the Longhorns' monumental win, however.
Deion Sanders' scrappy Colorado squad kept rolling in the first year of the Coach Prime era by dismantling Nebraska. Notre Dame got one of its biggest wins of the Marcus Freeman era, dominating on both sides of the ball to beat NC State 45-21 on the road. Texas A&M fell on the road against Miami, halting any momentum the Aggies hope to build before conference play begins later in September.
We learned a lot from the Week 2 slate, which we knew coming in would be one of the more exciting days throughout the entire 2023 season. Here are the biggest overreactions we could pull from the loaded weekend of action.
Texas is a College Football Playoff team
This writer will not pick at low-hanging fruit by proclaiming "Texas is back!" but … yeah, the sentiment is there. Not only did the Longhorns go into Alabama's house and come away with a win, but they did so in dominant fashion. Texas scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and led by two scores for a majority of the final frame before walking out of Bryant-Denny Stadium victorious. It is exactly what the Longhorns needed to take that next step and enter the College Football Playoff conversation.
Star quarterback Quinn Ewers looks legit. He has the supporting cast to compete on a national stage and an offensive line that can push most teams around. The defense did well enough and freshman linebacker Anthony Hill is a bonafide star. All the pieces are there. Even the schedule sets up nicely as the Big 12 looks a bit down this year. Texas is, without question, the most talented team in the league. There's still a long way to go, but the Longhorns have a wide-open path to the playoff after clearing this hurdle.
Notre Dame belongs in the CFP conversation, too
What a difference a competent quarterback makes. Sam Hartman is everything Notre Dame could have ever hoped for, and then some, as the former Wake Forest star has thrown for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns while helping the Fighting Irish to a 3-0 start. The biggest difference between Hartman and Notre Dame's quarterback options over the past few years is the fact that Hartman improves the talent around him.
That was apparent in Saturday's win against NC State. The Irish's leading receiver in their biggest game thus far this year was tight end Holden Staes, who had four catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He had two catches for his entire career entering Saturday's game. Guys aren't breaking out like that with the likes of Tyler Buchner running the offense.
With Hartman at quarterback, Notre Dame is a College Football Playoff contender. It stamped its position in that race by marching right past NC State, exploding after a lightning delay that lasted almost two hours. Ohio State has to watch out when it visits South Bend, Indiana, in a couple weeks.
Ohio State has its quarterback
Kyle McCord is Ohio State's starting quarterback moving forward, and it may not be particularly close. He just looks more comfortable running the Buckeyes offense, which makes sense considering he had a pretty considerable leg up in experience on sophomore Devin Brown and even started a game for Ohio State before Brown stepped foot on campus.
McCord put his stamp on the position against Youngstown State, completing 14 of 20 pass attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Brown was 2-for-6 in the first half and did not enter the game again until Ohio State started to empty its bench late in the third quarter. Ohio State might still draw packages up to use Brown's legs for the rest of the year, but don't be surprised if Ryan Day names McCord the starting quarterback by the time the Buckeyes travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.
Pump the brakes on Colorado
It seems weird to tell people not to overreact in a piece dedicated to overreactions, but at this point avoiding the Colorado hype train feels like an overreaction itself. What Sanders is doing so far is impressive, for sure; there's no reason to downplay that fact. He has already doubled Colorado's win total from a year ago and did so in two games against Power Five competition. The Buffaloes will likely rank in the top 15 of Sunday's AP Top 25 poll, and they deserve it.
But there are some ready to argue that Colorado will factor into the Pac-12 title race, and that's hard to envision. This team still has issues. Beating Nebraska by 22 points is nothing to sneeze at, but the Cornhuskers gave Colorado a lot of help. Quarterback Jeff Sims fumbled the ball three times -- twice on a snap and once on a handoff -- and Colorado recovered each time. Two of those gave the Buffaloes possession in Nebraska territory.
Without Nebraska's help, Colorado's offense looked relatively lackluster in comparison to the standard it set against TCU. The offensive line is going to be a serious issue moving forward -- Shedeur Sanders was sacked a whopping seven times -- and better teams than Nebraska will take advantage of that in the future. Colorado should handle Colorado State next week, but games against USC and Oregon after that will truly reveal where Sanders' squad lies on the national scale.
Texas A&M defense is nation's most disappointing unit
The primary focus all offseason was on Texas A&M's offense and whether it would improve under veteran0 coordinator Bobby Petrino. While the Aggies are actually looking good on that front, it's their defense that let them down against Miami. Big time.
No need to mince words: The Aggies have way too much talent on the defensive side of the ball to lay the kind of egg they did Saturday afternoon. To put things in perspective, Miami (OH) held Miami (FL) to 38 points in Week 1. The Hurricanes scored 48 to beat the Aggies by 15.
Texas A&M's vaunted defensive front, stacked with more blue-chip talent than most programs could ever hope for, did really well against the run. When Miami decided to pass, though, it wilted against an offensive line that looked like a revolving door at times last season. As a result, and thanks to some poor defensive back play, Texas A&M got torched through the air. Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke put on a masterclass with 374 yards and five passing touchdowns. He had 201 yards and even threw an interception -- against the other Miami.
Texas A&M had way too many mental slips from busted coverages to missed tackles. Luckily, it's only the second game of the season, but defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin's group didn't provide much reason for optimism moving forward and certainly didn't meet the expectations generated by its level of talent.
Tennessee's inconsistency will cost it some games
Quite frankly, Tennessee's passing offense looked awful against Austin Peay on Saturday. The wide receivers were a non-factor with more drops than actual meaningful plays. It didn't help that quarterback Joe Milton was off, throwing above and behind wide receivers quite often early in the game.
It got so bad that Tennessee completely abandoned the downfield pass after the first quarter, favoring screens amid other throws behind or near the line of scrimmage to move the ball through the air. Despite all that, Tennessee still won by 17 and generated a few explosive plays.
While Tennessee can survive sloppy play and long stretches without much production against FCS programs and Virginia, playing like that once the SEC slate begins will bite them -- likely more than once. The Vols don't have long to figure things out. They travel to Florida next week to take on the Gators in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, a place Tennessee has not won since 2003.