Week 2 of the 2023 college football season is in the books and we got a good glimpse of the contenders and pretenders in what was a wild week that featured several key nonconference games headlining. The biggest, of course, was the showdown between No. 11 Texas and No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Longhorns star quarterback Quinn Ewers had the game of his life, throwing for 349 yards and three touchdowns in what was Texas' fifth win over an AP top five team since 2000. The win propels the 'Horns into College Football Playoff contention and leaves Alabama on the ropes with no margin for error the rest of the way.
Speaking of teams that made statements: Miami's offense went over, around and through the Texas A&M offense in a resounding 48-33 win at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke threw for 374 yards and tossed five touchdowns in a game that coach Mario Cristobal needed in order to appease a fan base and administration that has been desperate for a winner.
How did the College Football Playoff National Championship contenders grade out throughout Week 2? It's time to check out the report card for every national title contender according to odds via SportsLine consensus prior to Saturday's action.
College football grades: Week 2 report card
|12/5||B||The Bulldogs got off to a slow start against a lesser opponent for the second time in as many weeks. Sure, they pulled away from Ball State for an easy 45-3 win, but Kirby Smart's crew can't start out slow against SEC competition. Otherwise, they could get into sticky situations like they did at Missouri last year.|
|6-1||C||There is no such thing as a "good loss" at Alabama -- especially one within the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium. However, the 34-24 loss to Texas is not a deal-breaker in the race for the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Jalen Milroe had some really good moments, though several were immediately followed by bad moments. The margin of error is gone, but Texas is a really good football team.|
|13/2||A+||Michigan played "Michigan football" in the 35-7 win over UNLV. Running back Blake Corum rushed for three touchdowns and the defense didn't allow a score until garbage time in the 35-7 win in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It wasn't pretty to outsiders, but it was perfect for the Michigan fan base.|
|17/2||A-||What did Ohio State fans want to see after Week 1? Solid quarterback play. Kyle McCord provided just that in the 35-7 win over Youngstown State. The first-year starter threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns while calming the fears of Buckeye fans who were concerned with the state of the position.|
|10-1||A||USC scored 21 points in the first quarter and never looked back in the 56-10 win over Stanford. Caleb Williams threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns in a game that was over from the moment the two teams emerged from the tunnel. The fact that the Trojans defense played lights out can't be ignored. Is this a complete team? It looked like it on Saturday.|
|10-1||A+||Florida State didn't show any signs of a hangover in the 66-13 win over Southern Miss. Quarterback Jordan Travis controlled the game from the outset and the Seminoles defense was lights out for a full four quarters.|
|20-1||B+||The Nittany Lions annihilated Delaware 63-7 in a game that featured a 103-yard performance from running back Kaytron Allen. But, as per my completely made-up rules for this story, Penn State gets a 'B' because teams can't get an 'A' when they play FCS opponents.|
|22-1||A+||What is there to say? The 10-point win over Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium broke Alabama's 43-game home winning-streak in nonconference games. It was only Texas' fifth win over an AP top five opponent since 2000. Is Texas "back?" It looked like it on Saturday night.|
|28-1||A-||Notre Dame had to fight Mother Nature and a slow start on Saturday afternoon but pulled away for a 45-24 win over home-standing NC State. Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns amid less-than-ideal conditions in Raleigh, North Carolina.|
|30-1||C-||Tennessee entered the locker room at halftime up seven over Austin Peay out of the FCS. Sure, the Volunteers won 30-13, but it was sloppy, ugly and downright scary at times.|
|30-1||B||Oklahoma's 28-11 win over SMU doesn't exactly jump off the page, but the defense looked great against an extremely underrated Mustangs offense. The fact that it was a defensively driven game was actually a feature, not a bug.|
|30-1||B+||LSU's offense went over, around and through Grambling in a 72-10 win, its first of the season. However, per my made-up rules for this story, teams can't get an 'A' against FCS opponents.|
|35-1||D+||Texas A&M's loss to Miami doesn't eliminate the Aggies from the College Football Playoff race. If they'd like to avoid that fate, however, the defense needs to improve as it had no answer for Hurricanes signal-caller Tyler Van Dyke and the offense also needs to keep up its end of the bargain.|
|35-1||A-||Washington's 43-10 win over Tulsa was a thing of beauty. No, it wasn't because of the Huskies offense, which was great. Rather, it was the defense that came out firing. The combination of a dynamic offense and stellar defense is a scary thought for the rest of the country.|
|35-1||C||Oregon had to reel off 20 points to take the 38-30 win over Texas Tech. It was nice to see the Ducks come up clutch when it mattered most, but this should have been way less stressful for Oregon fans.|