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Which college team is the biggest surprise?

College FootballFootballWisconsin BadgersLouisiana-Monroe WarhawksVirginia Tech HokiesStanford Cardinal

Virginia Tech's a wreck

Desmond Conner

Hartford Courant

Virginia Tech was a 101/2-point favorite against Pittsburgh, an 0-2 team that embarrassingly lost its season opener to Youngstown State and, subsequently, looked awful in its loss to Cincinnati.

We aren't so surprised about Pitt losing to Youngstown State or starting out 0-2 as much as we are about a Virginia Tech team that has some serious weapons but fell behind Pitt 21-0 and lost 35-17.

The Hokies looked at a bad Pitt team and took the game lightly. The real surprise is that a Frank Beamer-coached team took an opponent lightly. That almost never happens, and as a result the Hokies fell from grace, No. 13 in the AP poll, and landed outside of it altogether.

dconner@tribune.com

Wisconsin is a mess

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

It's tough to pick against Wisconsin, even though it's now easy to pick against Wisconsin. The Badgers would be 1-2 if Utah State's John Thompson had not missed from 37 yards Saturday. Sports Illustrated ranked the Badgers 6th in the preseason, and everyone outside West Lafayette and Champaign penciled them into the Big Ten title game.

And yet Wisconsin's offense has fallen from 14th (469.9 yards per game) in the nation to 119th (276.0).

Wisconsin won't dig out of this mess without better quarterback play. But coach Bret Bielema hasn't said which QB will get the first shot Saturday against UTEP — the turnover-prone Danny O'Brien or former walk-on Joel Stave.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Stanford impresses

Iliana Limón Romero

Orlando Sentinel

After Andrew Luck departed to the NFL, Stanford should have taken a significant step back. While the Cardinal will surely hit some bumps along the way, the team is off to an impressive 3-0 start.

The season-opening, 20-17 win over San Jose State was a little too close for comfort, but a decisive 50-3 win over improving Duke was a step in the right direction. And nothing shook up the college football landscape more than Saturday's 21-14 win over then-No. 2 USC.

Stanford illustrated exactly how to frustrate and contain star quarterback Matt Barkley, potentially shattering his Heisman Trophy hopes and a bit of his confidence along the way.

iromero@tribune.com

Hello Louisiana-Monroe

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

I'm hooked on the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, who have split two overtime games with the mighty Southeastern Conference.

Louisiana-Monroe, a Sun Belt team which has never had a winning record at the major college level, shocked No. 8 Arkansas in Little Rock and then, a week later, took Auburn to overtime. ULM won outright as 30-point underdogs, covered the spread last week, yet is still a seven-point underdog Friday night at home against Baylor.

Can the mighty Warhawks continue to surprise? Those programming geniuses at ESPN somehow saw this coming and put this game in its Friday night slot. There goes my Bingo night.

cdufresne@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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