Sep 21

Super Saturday

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Photo: Bob Donnan - USPresswire.com

With the double TVs going, I consumed as much college football as I could possibly take in yesterday. From noon until midnight, there was nothing that could tear me away from all of these great games.

It started early, with the radio on, as I listened to Clemson pound South Carolina State. On the tube, simultaneously, Georgia Tech and NC State were doing their repective parts to pick the ACC up off of the floor. The Jackets steam-rolled Mississippi State 38-7, while NC State went into overtime to knock off Skip Holtz' surprising East Carolina team.

It looks as if Georgia Tech will be a factor sooner rather than later under Paul Johhnson. I know MSU is one of the weaker teams in the SEC, but Tech made this one look easy. And the Wolfpack deserve some credit, as well. After road defeats to South Carolina and Clemson, the Pack defended their home turf against an East Carolina team many thought would win easily. Despite the losing record, 65,000 rowdy fans packed Carter-Finley Stadium to capacity giving a spark to Tom O'Brien's team.

Later in the day, Florida and Tennessee got after it on one TV while UNC and VT occupied screen 2. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that Florida is going to be a major factor in the national picture this season. Tennessee has some issues, no doubt, but this game is always heated and (usually) close, and Florida put on a clinic. Tim Tebow had one of his signature run for a second then jump up and throw a touchdown pass type plays, and Brandon James struck with an incredible punt return. You can bet that Phillip Fulmer is feeling the heat in Knoxville. This is the second consecutive year that UT has been blown off of the field by Florida, and the Vols sit at 1-2. It doesn't help that the UCLA team that Tennessee lost to in week 2 has now lost two straight, including a 59-0 smearing from BYU. Tennessee is bad.

I feel like very few stadiums in America are as picturesque as Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC. A modest 60,000 or so, the size is not overwhelming. But the stadium is proportionally pleasing, with good lines, and is framed by tall pine trees. The field house end was left open for views and to help the breeze circulate through the stadium. A state-of-the art scoreboard towers high in that same end.

Virginia Tech went into Chapel Hill yesterday and got the win, coming back from down 17-3 midway through the 3rd quarter. VT, a team that just a few weeks ago seemed destined for bad things after losing to East Carolina, is now 2-0 in the ACC and will clearly be a factor, like always, in deciding who from the ACC Coastal makes it to Tampa and the ACC Championship game. UNC was hurt bad by second half turnovers. Tech will travel to Nebraska in a week.

Also early in the day, though not on my two main screens, Alabama was taking care of Arkansas very easily, and Miami was handling Texas A&M with little trouble. I had no clue Nick Saban could do what he has done at Alabama this quickly. He has brought back the confidence it takes to win at this game, and Alabama may be my favorite out of the West. That is saying a lot, but I see no reason the Tide can't beat LSU and Auburn.

Miami is certainly not "back", and Texas A&M clearly has some things it needs to work on, but if you cheer for the U, then yesterday was very encouraging. In the 41-23 win, Miami's young talented qb, Robert Marve, threw 2 touchdown passes, and Graig Cooper ran for 128 yards and two scores. The 'Canes really look strong as they get into ACC play next week against UNC.

The evening brought Wake Forest versus Florida State, Auburn versus LSU, and Georgia versus Arizona State. This football Saturday was a treat for sure. As my buddy fired up the grill, we chose to concentrate hardest on the Wake Forest-FSU game. After all, those are two of Clemson's biggest ACC Atlantic foes, and I wanted to see what's up with them. What I concluded after the 12-3 Deacon win, is that Wake has a very strong defense, and FSU has a really bad offense. The Deacons missed three field goals, the first time in the Sam Swank era, but fortunately for them made four field goals. WFU controlled this game, but nearly let FSU hang around long enough to pull something off. As I was saying, the Noles offense is horrendous, losing seven turnovers on the night. The FSU qbs divided up the five interceptions, with Christian Ponder throwing three in the first half and D'Vontrey Richardson throwing two more in the second half. If this and if that, blah, blah, blah, but FSU is one good qb away from being a top team. The only problem is that that is a huge if.

In the battle of the Tigers, LSU hit a late touchdown pass for the win. This game went exactly as you would have imagined it: hard-hitting, close, loud, big-plays...Auburn should not slip far in the polls, they played a very even game with LSU, who is in the thick of the national title picture once again.

Georgia handled Arizona State easier than I thought they would. I thought ASU would bounce back after losing to UNLV and give the Dawgs all they wanted. But Knowshon Moreno (see ESPN's plays of the week) and company took care of business and now head home to get into SEC play. Moreno provided one of the top plays of the season on an electrifying, flying touchdown score early in the game. This early in the season, it is tough to say who is number 1. But I know this: UGA is a top 5 team.

So that was a super Saturday, no doubt about it... Now, it's time for a little pro football and some Sunday R&R!

 

 

 

 

 

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