Texas football in the 21st century can be measured on the shoulder of quarterback Colt McCoy. Before McCoy hurt his shoulder in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama, Texas had reeled off an unbelievable 110-18 record under former coach Mack Brown. After the injury, however, Texas is 92-73 under four different coaches with only one 10-win season.
After shocking the No. 3 Tide 34-24 in the signature prize fight of Week 2, the No. 11 Longhorns hope Saturday can be the start of a new streak. Texas is the biggest winner of Week 2, but multiple programs also saw their fortunes change. Six preseason AP Top 25 teams have lost in the first two weeks of the year while teams like unranked Washington State, Miami and Iowa could soon join the field, according to CBS Sports projections.
The fortunes of first-year coaches have also taken center stage through two weeks. Colorado's Deion Sanders is leading one of the most improbable turnarounds in recent memory. For Nebraska's Matt Rhule and Wisconsin's Luke Fickell, though, the results aren't quite as sweet. The good news, however, is that it's only Week 2 and there's still plenty of time this season to right the ship.
Below is a look at some of the biggest winners and losers from the Week 2 action featuring some of the biggest upset victories of the weekend.
Winner: Texas QB Quinn Ewers
Quinn Ewers arrived to the Texas campus as one of the most decorated recruits in program history, but attention started to waver after a freshman with a famous name recently showed up on the 40 Acres. After putting together a signature performance in a 34-24 win over Alabama, Ewers is officially the big man on campus again.
Ewers was unbelievable during his start in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, completing 24 of 38 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different receivers and helped produce three different pass-catchers with at least 75 yards. The output was the best regular-season performance of Ewers' young career.
The redshirt sophomore from Southlake, Texas, put together a dominant quarter against Alabama last season and played well in a 49-0 win over 6-7 Oklahoma. Regardless, Ewers needed a signature moment for NFL evaluators to slot him as a first-round pick. After dicing up the Alabama defense, Ewers should officially join USC's Caleb Williams and UNC's Drake Maye atop every draft board.
The Crimson Tide were in for a tough matchup when upset-minded Texas came to town, but the cracks appearing across the foundation are impossible to ignore. Alabama averaged just 3.1 yards per carry against the Longhorns. Quarterback Jalen Milroe threw a pair of interceptions. Ewers diced up the Alabama defense at every level.
After a relatively disappointing two-year run, Saban opted to start over within the coaching staff with new coordinators and several new assistants on both sides of the ball. Early returns are not good. Prior to Saturday, Alabama had not lost a nonconference matchup since Nick Saban's first season in 2007. Saban was 28-2 against his former assistants. All those trends are moving the wrong direction -- and it's only Week 2.
Winner: Notre Dame
No. 10 Notre Dame's revamped offense faced its first major test of the season against a salty NC State squad in Week 2. The Wolfpack quietly stacked 23 straight nonconference wins under defensive-minded coach Dave Doeren and had not surrendered more than 30 points to any opponent since 2021. Until Saturday.
In every phase of a 45-24 win, Notre Dame's offense looked the part of a national contender. Quarterback Sam Hartman threw four touchdowns, including passes of 40 and 35 yards to Holden Staes. Running back Audric Estime dominated with 134 yards and two touchdowns, including a breakaway 80-yard score that broke the game open.
Notre Dame has been waiting for its generational quarterback for nearly 20 years since Brady Quinn earned All-America honors. Hartman has stepped into the void and quickly changed the tenor of the program. With future opponents Ohio State and Clemson on shaky ground, Hartman and the Notre Dame offense have a chance to break through in Marcus Freeman's second season.
Loser: Texas A&M
Texas A&M's offensive improvement under first-year coordinator Bobby Petrino was the talk of college football last week after the Aggies scored 52 points behind five touchdowns from quarterback Conner Weigman. After further review, the miraculous turnaround can instead be attributed to … playing New Mexico.
In Week 2, Miami absolutely obliterated No. 23 Texas A&M on both sides of the ball in a game that was never as close as the 48-33 final score. The Aggies were gifted 14 points on two whiffed punts but otherwise punted and turned it over three times. Perhaps most concerning: Texas A&M mustered just 3.3 yards per carry.
Despite going 13-12 over the past two years, Texas A&M was afforded a spot in the preseason AP Top 25 for the second straight year, largely off the strength of a No. 4 showing in the 247Sports Team Talent Composite in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Once again, the Aggies are fool's gold. Now what? Jimbo Fisher's buyout remains more than $76 million.
One week after shocking TCU, No. 22 Colorado lived up to its lofty expectations with a massive 36-14 win over Nebraska in Boulder. The Buffaloes took a strong punch from Matt Rhule's squad and were held without a touchdown for the first 27 minutes of the game. However, Colorado showed poise and maturity, responding with a 23-0 run in the second half to shut things down behind three touchdowns from quarterback Shedeur Sanders.
The second half was a coming out party for this program, which hosted some of the greatest personalities in the history of the sport. The Wu-Tang Clan, Chauncey Billups and Michael Irvin ranked among the greats gracing the sidelines. The hype continues to build at Colorado after two weeks, and there's no end in sight.
The Badgers were picked as an early Big Ten West favorite after importing highly respected coach Luke Fickell to take over the program and revamp the offense. After one game against a major conference opponent, results are decidedly mixed as Washington State shocked No. 19 Wisconsin 31-22 to hand the Badgers their first loss of the Fickell era.
Wisconsin mustered just 90 yards rushing on 29 carries, including 20 yards rushing from star running back Braelon Allen. On the other end, Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward dominated with both his arm and legs.
The Badgers were always going to face growing pains while transitioning from being college football's gold standard of pounding it out on the ground to something resembling Air Raid concepts. However, the program is much further away than expected from contending for anything.
Winner: Ohio State QB Kyle McCord
Ohio State coach Ryan Day told reporters that he planned to play both Kyle McCord and Devin Brown in the first few games of the season. In a 35-7 victory over Youngstown State, McCord put together a strong enough performance that he should hold onto the starting quarterback job for good.
McCord completed 14 of 20 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns in his third career start. More importantly, McCord found some chemistry with superstar wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. as the pair connected for a pair of first-quarter touchdowns.
Brown got more of a look in Week 2, completing 7 of 13 passes for 101 yards in relief. However, McCord has looked good since halftime of the opener against Indiana. McCord is no C.J. Stroud yet, but settling down the position should allow Day to build the offense around McCord's skillset.
Loser: The SEC
The SEC's final record in Week 2 doesn't sound too bad; it's 10-3 at time of publication. But, underneath the surface, the performances were wildly lackluster against overmatched opponents.
Tennessee struggled to create any consistency against Austin Peay, only taking its first lead with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. Arkansas led 7-6 with two minutes remaining in the first half against Kent State. Middle Tennessee had a fourth quarter drive to win the game against Missouri, while Kentucky didn't take its first lead against Eastern Kentucky until nearly 40 minutes into the game.
Across the 13 games, the SEC underperformed the line by 116 points -- nearly nine points per matchup. The league was just 3-9-1 against the spread with two wins coming against FCS opponents. There are warning signs that the depth of the league may be concerning, especially after two-time reigning national champion Georgia had to shake another slow start before pulling away against Ball State.
Winner: Virginia RB Mike Hollins
The Cavaliers lost a brutal matchup as an underdog against James Madison, but the final 36-35 result should only be a footnote. Instead, the performance of Virginia running back Mike Hollins took center stage. Hollins survived the 2022 on-campus mass shooting at UVA but made his triumphant home return and scored two key touchdowns to keep the Cavs in the game. He ultimately led the game in yards rushing for Virginia during an inspirational performance.
Loser: Week 1 world-beaters back to Earth
Texas A&M wasn't the only Week 1 darling to see stock crash back to earth. Oregon put together an unbelievable 81-7 win against FCS Portland State in the opener. Oklahoma obliterated Arkansas State 73-0 to reach No. 18 in the AP Top 25. Ole Miss set its program-best under Lane Kiffin with a 73-7 victory over Mercer. None of the results provided much relief as the group each found themselves in tight battles as heavy favorites.
Oklahoma's offense completely stalled against SMU as the Sooners needed a 14-0 fourth quarter run to pull away in a 28-11 decision. Ole Miss trailed for most of the game against Tulane's backup quarterback before recovering a fumble for a touchdown to make the game look dominant. Oregon should find itself lucky to survive Lubbock, Texas, after needing a field goal with 1:10 remaining.
Playing well against lesser competition is better than the alternative. Ultimately, it doesn't mean much when big time matchups start.