College Football Week 1 Recap

Well, I certainly could have fared a little better, with Northwestern shining a dim light in the cave and preventing a damn near total wipe out. After the dust settled, I was left with $9750 (a loss of $250)… not TOO terribly bad when you consider the utter meltdown of both Virginia and Tennessee. Hopefully next week will allow me to fare a little bit better, but we’ll just have to wait to see.

Gambling aside, there were a few interesting (and often obvious) things that popped up this weekend, here’s my take.

1. The duo of Thunder and Lightning that we’ve heard so much about is really little more than a spring shower. Clemson came into their game with Alabama ranked 9th in the country and with sights set not just on the ACC title, but lofty national ambitions. For all of the hooplah, for all of the salivating sports writers begging for a glimpse at the new McFadden/Jones, we were given 0 rushing yards. That’s not a typo… that’s actually a z-e-r-o. Tack on the fact that Clemson’s QB was only able to muster 188 passing yards and a 0-1 touchdown/int ratio and you’ve got cause to rename Tommy Bowden’s squad the Clemson [Paper] Tigers. Frankly, I’m amazed that they’re still ranked in either poll.

2. Louisville might be the worst team in America. Kentucky debuted the not-so-ballyhooed Mike Hartline on Sunday afternoon, with rather predictable results. Hartline looked shaky, inexperienced and largely terrified for the majority of the game. However, the Cardinals much-ballyhooed-by-Lee-Corso starting QB actually managed to look worse. Hartline couldn’t find the end zone, but in fairness neither could Cantwell… Cantwell did however manage to find the UK defense three times. In what might have been the worst college football game of the week, Kentucky’s defense looked spectacular. A fact that I will attribute only to Louisville’s total ineptitude and not to the defensive prowess of the Wildcats.

3. Michigan isn’t dead, but they’re quite unhealthy. The emergence of Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor both thrilled and delighted me as I smiled through a crushing defeat in front of 108,000 screaming fans. The fourth quarter “comeback” made the box score look a little less embarrassing, but there’s no denying that the Wolverines were thoroughly dominated for the majority of the game. Michigan, a team that has long prided itself on a smash-mouthed running game, managed a paltry 36 yards on the ground. The Rich-Rod brand of spread offense offered very little more through the air (167 yds, 2-1) and the defense allowed Utah even more opportunities to find the end-zone than they could complete. With Michigan seeming to be out of commission for another season and Ohio State looking down the barrel of serious injury issues, Penn State may be looking at another Big Ten title for Papa Joe.

4. Tyrell Sutton may be the most underrated player in college football. Now granted, it was against Syracuse, so don’t think that I’ve forgotten that aspect of this. However, the Northwestern senior looked absolutely dynamic in the season opener, piling up 185 total yards and finding the end zone for a score. Even against the anemic Orangemen, those stats still look fairly impressive… but it was his natural ability that was all the more fun to watch. Sutton ran like a scaled-back version of Brian Westbrook, finding holes and weaving through defensive schemes as if he’d seen the play beforehand. On top of that, the back has great hands and is capable of picking up large chunks of yardage through the air. I’m not suggesting that he’ll be hoisting a trophy above his head in NY at the end of the season, but I would suggest everyone put themselves on Sutton watch immediately.

5. USC deserves to be number 1, or maybe even the entire top five. There wasn’t a more dominant performance in all of college football this weekend than the 52-7 destruction of Virginia at the hands of the Trojans. Not only did the team itself look like the national champs, but shiny new QB Mark Sanchez appeared to have been secretly replaced with Tom Brady for the game. Sanchez rattled off 338 yards with three touchdowns, earing a passer rating of 177.98 (and even leveling a crucial block while he was at it). I’m not saying that Virginia is heading for a BCS Bowl this year, but they’re damn sure better than the competition with which the rest of the top five decided to open the season. Much to the dismay of many a doubter, USC is still USC this season. Stanford beware.

While those certainly weren’t the only stories from this weekend’s action, they seemed to be the ones most dominating my phone calls and the chatter in my living room. I’ll be back toward the end of this week with a few more picks that are destined to backfire and (finally) some rumblings from the NFL. There’s something about this time of year that threatens to turn my blog exclusively into a home for sports commentary (hell, I haven’t even mentioned this Sarah Palin person yet), so you might want to step out for coffee for the next week or two if you’re not interested. But never fear, this too shall pass and I’ll be back bitching at the Republican party and rambling on about records in no time.

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3 Responses to “College Football Week 1 Recap”

  1. Kevin Says:

    This might be the truest statement you’ve ever uttered: USC deserves to be number 1, or maybe even the entire top five.

    They are the football equivalent of the Jonas Brothers. I don’t really know what that means, but those damn brothers are dominating the charts, so I guess that’s something.

  2. shane Says:

    I’ve ’bout had it with USC. Seriously, enough is enough. So much so that I’ll actually be rooting for the Buckeyes when they travel to L.A. to take on the Trojans on the 13th. Everyone remember to say a prayer for Beanie!!

    Two interesting games for this Saturday: San Diego State at Notre Dame and Miami at Florida. Notre Dame, eager to redeem themselves from last season’s trainwreck, should roll against an inferior opponent. And don’t count out the ‘Canes. Well, I take that back. It’s probably safe to go ahead and count them out, but they might make this game closer than folks think. Their QB, Robert Muave (I may have mispelled that), was the REAL DEAL in high school and was recruited by everybody. From what I hear he is anxious to get on the field and show what he can do against the Gators. You can bet ole Dad will be tuning in for that one!

  3. Daylan Says:

    Gotta disagree about Hartline. I thought he played pretty solidly for his first ever start, and if a couple of those new guys could hold on to the ball it might have been an even bigger blowout. Louisville knew they could stack the box on the run with a shaky receiver corps.

    For the first time in… almost 20 years? I actually sat down and said “Whoa, this defense is looking damn good.”

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