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Is it me, or did the East Carolina bandwagon just get really crowded?

If you'll recall, during the week leading up to the season I named five teams whose bandwagons I was firmly aboard for 2008, teams whom I thought were going to have much

2-0 (1-0)
at Michigan - W - 25-23
vs UNLV - W - 42-21

Next: at Utah State

1-1 (0-0)
at California - L - 31-38
vs EMU - W - 42-10

Next: vs Florida Atlantic

2-0 (0-0)
vs Hofstra - W - 35-3
at Temple - W - 12-9

Nest: vs Virginia

2-0 (0-0)
vs Virginia Tech - W - 27-22
vs West Virginia - W - 24-3

Next: at Tulane

2-0 (0-0)
at Baylor - W - 41-13
vs Ole Miss - W - 30-28

Next: at Florida State
improved seasons and possibly make some big noise in their conferences or, as far as the mid-majors go, against BCS opponents. So far I must admit with all smugness that I'm looking pretty darn smart for jumping on the ECU train before the season started, and also in thinking Wake, not Clemson, is the team to beat in the ACC (not that that's saying much). So each week I'm going to keep a running tally of each team's progress throughout the season and thoughts on how they are doing.

Utah Utes: As generally expected by just about everyone, the Utes were able to go into Ann Arbor and pull off a win against a team undergoing a regime change without the personnel to run the new staff's system. I know that doesn't really sound like a glowing review, but the simple fact they were able to ignore their preseason hype and get the win despite a noble comeback attempt by the Wolverines speaks well of them. They didn't do a whole lot in week two to continue justifying that hype, at least not in the first half, against UNLV, but reeling off 35 straight points and dominating the second half had them looking sharp again and like they had finally shaken off the success hangover that a big win on opening weekend can cause, unlike some other teams I could name (*cough* Tide *cough*). This weekend they'll visit in state (though not conference) rival Utah State, an 0-2 team that the Utes should handle easily.

Michigan State Spartans: An opening weekend loss on the road by the Spartans is the only fly in the bandwagon ointment so far, but a one score decision against another good team on the opposite side of the country doesn't look too terribly bad. Sparty piled up 402 yards of offense in the game, with QB Hoyer hitting 20-48 for 321 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, though super stud RB Javon Ringer had only 81 yards on 27 carries (a meager 3.0 ypc). Their performance improved greatly against Eastern Michigan, as most teams' probably should, pounding the Eagles 42-10 with solid power running from Ringer (he carried 34 times for 135 yds, a pretty high number of carries in this day of multiple backs) and little to no reliance on the passing game (Hoyer attempted only 12 passes, hitting 8 for 148 yds). The Spartans are still a little bit of an enigma to me considering their performances against different levels of talent (hung with Cal, which is kinda good, and whipped EMU, which says nothing). FAU comes to East Lansing this weekend, and even though they are a 1-1 Sun Belt team that the Spartans should handle with ease, they are at least respectable mid-major bowl team from last season that returns a good bit of talent, so hopefully they can get a convincing win and show some style in doing it.

UConn: An opening weekend win against D1AA Hofstra didn't say much about the Huskies, but an OT takedown of Temple this past weekend certainly did. As I said when selecting them, I was concerned about the offenses ability to hit the big plays and score when necessary, and at least on the former I was justified in my concerns. QB Tyler Lorenzen was only 10 of 22 for 86 yards and an INT, and lost a fumble just shy of the goal line that killed a score (it was recovered in the end zone) for the Huskies. What they were able to do was ride RB Donald Brown to the tune of 214 yards on 36 carries, and put together two drives in the 4th quarter that resulted in FGs to force OT. Their MO last season was to pound the ball, avoid turnovers, and play defense, and that looks like the same game plan this year which is why the TOs were so devastating for them. Hopefully for the Huskies the rainy conditions that were to blame and nothing more, but we'll have to see how well they do this Saturday against Virginia, who are now 1-1 after a lackluster 16-0 win over D1AA's Richmond Spiders.

East Carolina Pirates: I must confess that even I wasn't expecting the heartless beatdown of West Virginia that we saw on Saturday. When selecting the Pirates for bandwagon allegiance, I thought they had a good chance at Va. Tech, NC State, and Virginia, plus their conference slate, but besting two ranked BCS teams in a row (one of them a top ten team) has me thinking they have a chance at fighting Utah in the polls for the obligatory mid-major inclusion in the BCS Bowls. We'll get a chance to see if they can handle success this weekend at Tulane, a team that we know isn't afraid of taking it to a team coming off an impressive upset win.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: I wasn't particularly surprised to see the Demon Deacons take it to a Baylor program that hasn't been particularly competitive since the early 90s or that they struggled with an Ole Miss team that I also expect to be pretty good this year with a chance to ruin a few seasons. The last minute drive to reach FG range and the win against the Rebels was perfectly executed by a team with enviable experience and poise, and Skinner went 32-43 (74.4%) for 267 yds and 2 TDs. The biggest problem facing Wake is finding some kind of running game. They managed only 81 yds on the ground against an Ole Miss front seven missing two of their biggest playmakers (Jerry and Hardy) and 156 yds against a weak Baylor defense with no single rusher topping 30 yds in the game. Skinner is a veteran QB with loads of talent, and he has plenty of pass catching options to throw to, though, so maybe a ground game isn't really necessary in the ACC, and they'll get to test that theory this weekend at Florida State.