Winners, losers and also-rans from an opening weekend in college football

There’s not always a lot that can be told from the first weekend of college football.  Most major programs schedule patsies as warm-ups for their season.  But some winners and losers became very clear this Labor Day weekend.

Winners

Florida State – Sure they played Samford but after beating them 59-6, including a 35-point second quarter, it looks like not allowing Bobby Bowden to coach one more year wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

Ohio State – A lot of people are looking for this to be the year Ohio State returns to the BCS title game and Terrelle Pryor wins a Heisman Trophy.  After a 45-7 drubbing of Marshall in Week One and a 17-for-25, 247 yard and three touchdown passing performance for Pryor, it looks like both are well on their way.

Arizona – It’s always good when you can beat someone 41-2 and that’s exactly what the Wildcats did to Toledo.  Nick Foles was 32-for-37.  That’s difficult to achieve when NO ONE is covering you, which is apparently what Toledo was doing.  Arizona entered the season unranked but that might change soon, particularly if they can pull off an upset when they host Iowa in two weeks.

SEC East teams – Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee all won their first weekend’s matchups handily, while the Florida Gators struggled.  All three schools look poised to kick a team while it’s down.  The Volunteers will be the first to have their chance to do so in two weeks.

Boston College – In what appeared to be an electric atmosphere in Chestnut Hill, star linebacker and cancer-survivor, Mark Herzlich returned to the sport many thought he would never play again.  That alone is victory enough.

Oklahoma State – I couldn’t tell whether the Cowboys were that good or whether their opponent Saturday, Washington State, was that bad, but it seemed like every time Oklahoma State had the ball, they were scoring.  Kendall Hunter rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns.  Oklahoma State might just make things very interesting in the Big 12 this year.

Alabama – Is it too early to just pencil ‘Bama into this year’s championship game?  Without their Heisman-winning running back, Mark Ingram, the Tide still put up 48 on hapless San Jose State.  They host Penn State next week in a game most everyone will be watching.

The fans – College football is finally back.  God Bless America!

Losers

Pitt – Pittsburgh scheduled a tough road opener at Utah and paid the price for it, losing 27-24.  The Panthers were ranked 15th to begin the season but that will obviously change when the new rankings come out.  Does anyone else see a long season for Dave Wannstedt?

Illinois – It’s a good thing that this program doesn’t have high expectations because they never seem to attain them.  The fighting Zookers were winning this game 13-3 at halftime only to get shut out in the second half and lose 23-13.  Is this the year the Illini finally realize Ron Zook can’t coach?

Ole Miss – A double overtime loss at home on opening weekend to Jacksonville State?  Really?  Masoli or no Masoli, the Rebels are in for a long season.

Losers although they won

USC – The Lane Kiffin era in Los Angeles has officially begun and although they rung up 49 points on Hawaii, with Matt Barkley throwing for five touchdowns, they also allowed 588 yards of total offense.  Lane might want to remember who his father is.

Florida – We all knew the Gators would miss Tim Tebow but maybe many were in denial about exactly how much.  On a frustrating Saturday afternoon, Florida struggled with even the simple task of snapping the football, fumbling eight times and losing three of them.  I have a feeling Coach Meyer kept his offensive line practicing snaps late into the night in preparation for their next home game against South Florida.

Penn State – The Nittany Lions got off to a sluggish start and were actually losing to Youngstown State in the second quarter.  They later realized they were Penn State and won by thirty, but not before making a lot of their fans nervous.  They’ll remain so all week as they travel to Alabama next Saturday.

Michigan – Michigan trounced UConn Saturday for a 30-10 victory.  Their quarterback, Denard Robinson, rushed for a school record 197 yards.  Too bad the school is under probation for NCAA violations.

Oklahoma – The Sooners eked out a 31-24 victory against Utah State in Norman on Saturday.  Utah State, a school that has LOST 13 straight season openers, actually had a chance to tie this game late.  As long as the Sooners keep giving the ball to DeMarco Murray, who rushed for over 200 yards, they should be fine.  That is until they play a decent team.

LSU – Leading North Carolina 30-10 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers seemingly had this one in hand.  Then the Tarheels rattled off two touchdowns with the chance for a third to win it in the final seconds, only to fall short.  In what appears to be a strong SEC West, LSU might want to tighten things up a bit before heading into conference play.

36 thoughts on “Winners, losers and also-rans from an opening weekend in college football

  1. It may have only been whipping the Florida A&M Rattlers 45-0, but the Miami Hurricanes got a good tuneup in before facing Ohio State next week. Don’t count out the Canes this year.

  2. Chris… Any Division I FBS team that schedules an FCS team is a loser… Any so called “Powerhouse” team that stays home and wipes out a second tier Division I team is not a winner… My winners would be the teams that venture out on the road against stiff competition and win… Kinda like what Boise State is attempting to do tomorrow night.

    The top Big Ten teams are the worst… Ohio State plays four out of twelve games on the road… Tough schedule…

  3. Chris

    Florida did all that was asked of them in their game . For the remainder of the season it’ll be interesting to see what transpires.

    tophatal ………. 🙂

  4. Problem is Dwin, that’s what college football has become.

    Boise State HAS to schedule a difficult out-of-conference opponent to justify their weak in-conference schedule. Major conference teams don’t have to because, for example, Florida will have to play Bama, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia this year.

  5. Al…

    If by doing what was asked, you mean winning the game, then yes, they did what was asked.

    If by doing what was asked, you mean successfully transferring the ball from center to quarterback, then they failed miserably.

  6. I think LSU came into the game with something to prove and did just that in the first half. Second half I think Miles n staff got to conservative and put the D in a bad situation but the D did respond and looks very fast. LSU will be interesting to watch this season and just might have a lil something for Bama to worry bout.

  7. Gambo…

    I’m starting to wonder about your boy, Les Miles.

    There was that one game late last year where he screwed up and then Saturday, against UNC, there’s no reason they should have taken their foot off the gas. He knows better.

    You guys should definitely have lost that game.

  8. I agree Chris we should have lost without a doubt. My frustration isn’t so much on Miles though as it is on offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.Who put handcuffs on Jordan Jefferson last season and did the same in the second half of this game. Shephard and Ruban Randle are both extremely talented and possibly could have done further damage to UNC. Also as good as Patrick Peterson was on special teams (setting school records for returns yds) it gassed him in the second half and UNC took advantage of that. Peterson is probably the best CB in college football and rotating him as a return man would be very wise for Miles. I read an article in the B.R. Advocate that said Miles knows his job is on the line this season and that he wouldn’t hesitate to fire coaches during the season and even bench his starters. That remains to be seen though.

  9. Good to see some analysis from the first college football saturday. I didn’t really see much since I was camping, so I’m glad you could break it down for me!

  10. The problem Chris…

    Boise can’t get anyone to play them on their home smurf turf while the big boys stay home and beat up on terrible teams… Boise has to go out on the road to get big name teams to play… This isn’t right. The fact that there is an elitism built into college football is undeniable. Reminds me of these politicians running our country. They believe they’re entitled…

    The whole college football system is nothing short of a beauty contest. When the so-called top teams play lowly opponents prior to conference play the pollsters have no way of truly gauging how good they are. That’s why we get such great matchups as the BCS National Championship game in 2005 (USC 55, Oklahoma 19), in 2006 (Florida 41, Ohio State 14) and in 2008 (LSU 38, Ohio State 24).

    So long as college football continues to be poll driven, I’d like to see the non-conference scheduling taken from the individual schools and placed in the hands of the NCAA. Limit matchups to Division I schools and put together an easy, a mediocre, and a tough opponent, in that order leading up to conference play. That way this antiquated system might work a little better.

    The way it stands now, Division I NCAA football is a sham as the only major college team sport that doesn’t hold a playoff tournament to determine its champion.

  11. I don’t necessarily think he’s on the hot seat just yet but let’s just say four losses wouldn’t be a good thing, Shane.

    I didn’t get a chance to watch most of the game as I was working, but it was on in the background. Our deejay is a Tar Heel and was crying in his Ketel until they started their comeback.

  12. Camping, Chap?

    Bet you’re not camping for NFL opening weekend.

    My contributing superstar, ACo, has his NFL preview pending so stay tuned.

    That’ll keep you out of the tent.

  13. Pingback: Labor Day Ramblings « Doin Work

  14. Dwin…

    There’s no doubt that no major conference program, at least nowadays, whether it’s Bama, Florida, or whomever will schedule a home and away with a hot, smaller conference school with something to prove. There’s too much for them to lose. In that sense, it’s nearly impossible for a school like Boise State to gain the respect they deserve.

    Tonight’s game against Virginia Tech, however, will go a long way in shaking things up a bit. And this year more than ever, Boise has a shot to play in the title game.

    While I agree with you on those points, I do NOT agree with letting the NCAA handle this. They can barely handle what’s on their plate now. I think most agree on the need for a playoff system but I hardly feel the NCAA is the most qualified to do so.

    College football has it’s flaws, Dwin, but it’s still the only sport where EVERY game means something and where just one slip-up could cost a team their season.

  15. Oh he is most definately on the hot seat dude, Tiger fans aren’t forgiving and/or patient. He makes to many bone head mistakes, one of which you sort of refered to already. Three or four losses is not out of the realm of possibilty when talking about Miles and the way he coaches/manages games.

    None of what I say though in no way means I don’t think the team has improved,however it remains to be seen (once conference play begins) just how much and did Miles learn from all his mistakes over the past few seasons. Which is why I say LSU will be an interesting to to watch this season. If they can take the vast talent they have and make it work then Bama just might have some stiff competition over here in the West.

  16. Boise State had an opportunity to join a major BCS conference and passed… they only have themselves to blame for getting no love.

  17. Thank God that Saint Robert (Bowden) is gone. He got more unwarranted love and free passes from the media that anyone this side of Obama!

    I’ve heard him twice on the radio recently, hawking his new book. What a douche! He throws FSU under the bus every other sentence. He must be suffering from dementia or late term Alzheimers.

    GO CANES!

  18. Gambit…

    As of right now, you play five ranked teams and that doesn’t include Tennessee.

    We’ll see what happens.

    At least the Bama game is at home and at night.

  19. Han showing Bobby B some love! Nice, man!

    Do you treat all the elderly you meet that way or just him?

    You’re probably the kind of guy who likes to push people in wheelchairs down stairs.

    Shame on you, sir. Remind me to send you a copy of that book, which I too, won’t be reading.

  20. Strange thing about Bowden’s new book, it’s titled “Born to Coach’. The winningest football coach of all time, John McKissick (way over 400) from right here in Summerville SC, wrote a book in 1994. The registered title? “Born to Coach”. The coach who wrote the back cover blurb for McKissick’s book? Bobby Bowden.

  21. I wonder if we can get the other Pouncey back, they do sort of look alike. At least he could give his brother some tips on how not to trash a game.
    Go Gators!

  22. Woot! Bear Down Arizona…I might actually start watching my beloved Wildcats again if we can get back to winning. I have still lost all hope for our hoops team though.

  23. KL…

    I agree. It’s a shame what’s happened to that basketball program. You were perennial powerhouses.

    But I definitely look for Arizona to shake things up in the Pac-10 this football season.

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