Ten Things - Week One
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The first college football weekend brought us a ton of excitement, as expected. Several coaches got first career wins and several teams got knocked from the Top 25...Yes, after one weekend, exactly half of the fans out there are happy, and exactly the other half are mad!
1. Johnny Manziel is a Punk - The look on his face is enough for me not to like him. It is a smirk that says, "I am me, and you are not me." I don't know what it is about this guy - and quite seriously I do in fact think that punk look on his face is a big part of it - but The Top Fan is not a fan of "Johnny Football." Against Rice - after sitting the first half for his autograph fiasco "punishment" - Manziel recieved an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he taunted Rice players. Yes, Rice players. Manziel even included a double-armed point to the scoreboard as he was being told by the refs to return to the sideline. I don't like Manziel if you can't tell yet. He comes across as an entitled kid who has no respect for authority - and in this case, no respect for his opponent. The guy might be able to scramble well and lead an offense down the field, but this is not the kind of person I would have involved with my program.
2. Three plays from scrimmage, three Heisman candidates score - In the Georgia-Clemson game from Death Valley, Brent Musberger's iconic voice let out a sentence that will be famous in these parts for years. During a heart-stopping first quarter, QB Tajh Boyd scored on a 3-yard keeper to open the scoring, which was then immediately followed by a 75-yard burst from Dawg running back Todd Gurley on the next hike, which was then immediately followed by Tiger wide receiver Sammy Watkins scoring on 77-yard catch, plow and sprint for a score on the very next play from scrimmage. As Watkins was mobbed by teammmates in the end zone, Musberger had to catch his breath. "Oooooh myyyyy...." said the legendary broadcaster, "...Heisman Trophy candidates all over the field tonight!"...
3. The 70-point Club - Congrats to Indiana and Georgia Tech for passing the 70-point mark this weekend. In today's age of high-scoring offenses, the 70-point mark is still an impressive feat. Indiana put 73 on their in-state rival Indiana State, and Tech steam-rolled Elon, also getting a shutout in the game, 70-0. Other teams that came close were Oregon, who checked in with 66 points against Nicholls State, Houston, who put 62 on Southern University, and Arkansas State, who scored 62 points against Arkansas Pine-Bluff...Do I think scoring 70 points by one team in one game is good for our sport? Eh, not really. I think no defense exists at all if a team reaches that number. But college football is a weird game, and sometimes the snowball just gets rolling and it adds up fast...
4. The Shutout Club - Georgia Tech will be first mentioned here as they hit the 70-point mark as well as pitching a shutout. Also in the shutout club for week one are San Jose State (24-0 over Sacramento State), Arizona (35-0 over Northern Arizona), Wisconsin (45-0 over UMass), Duke (45-0 over NC Central), Oklahoma (34-0 over Louisiana-Monroe) and Tennessee (45-0 over Austin Peay). I realize that nearly all of the losers here are cupcakes. But still, if you do not give up a single point, it is a confidence builder for the defense, and a good sign for the coach.
5. Bad Losses - Several teams this weekend took losses that can only be described as ugly. Kansas State and Oregon State are the two teams that jump out first. In cupcake games, these two teams that were both in my Top 25 are now gone. The Wildcats lost by a FG to North Dakota State, 24-21, and Oregon State lost by the same spread to Eastern Washington, 49-46. In the conference standings, the losses won't hurt KSU and OSU, but in the national picture, it will...A couple of teams not so much in the national picture also took bad losses, and I speak of UConn, who lost to Towson (who?) by two TDs, and South Florida, who got stomped by McNeese State, 53-21. It was not long ago that UConn and South Florida were programs "on the rise," competing well in the former Big East...Ouch.
6. ACC woes continue - A couple of the OOC matchups were predicted losses anyway, but Alabama whipping Virginia Tech (35-10), and South Carolina beating UNC with ease (27-10) did not help the ACC's perception here in the South. Clemson saved face for the ACC with a close, electric win over Georgia, and Virginia had a surprising win over BYU, and the league also won four OOC games against pasties. But overall, in the meaningful games, not much changed. ACC newcomer Syracuse lost to Penn State, 23-17, to give the ACC a record of 2-3 this weekend in games with any kind of national significance.
7. Fresno's Big Win - For the last 14 years, the Bulldogs of Fresno State have been led by popular coach Pat Hill, famed mustache and all. Last night, the Tim DeRuyter era offically began, and it began in dramatic fashion! Fresno State QB Derek Carr (brother of David Carr) had 5 TDs on the night, his fifth one being in the first OT session. Rutgers scored a TD on the ensuing possession, and major hats off to them for then going for the two points. The Scarlet Knights 2-point attempt was unsuccessful and the Bulldogs are now 1-0.
8. Washington Makes a Point - We are yet to find out if Boise State is not as good as normal, or if Washington has really turned things around. But I do know this: Washington is better than Boise State as of right now. A 38-6 whooping will attest to that. 29 second half points allowed the Huskies to pull away from the Broncos, as the Huskies debuted a sparkling renovation to their stadium - a place that is now on my bucket list to see. The Huskies are a program on the up and up! See the new stadium here:
9. The Ole Miss Freshmen - Everyone in the Western hemisphere knows that Ole Miss had an unreal recruiting class this past fall, anchored by big, bad defensive lineman Robert Nkimdechi. But in the Rebels opener on the road at Vanderbilt, the most impressive of all of the famed freshman was La'Quan Treadwell. The wide receiver only had nine receptions for 82 yards and did not reach the end zone, but he did not play like a freshman. He is big and strong and fast, and has skills like a veteran. He will get his numbers with time...Ole Miss is young for sure, and the SEC schedule makes for a near-guaranteed two or three losses a year, but keep your eye on the Rebels.
10. Three to see (predictions to come out Thursday) -
* Notre Dame at Michigan - The Wolverines, who have won the last three at home in this series, pounded Central Michigan 59-9 in week one, so they are off to a pretty good start. Notre Dame is also 1-0 after beating Temple by 22 points. The history and tradition of this rivalry are as good as any in America, and in 2013 the stakes are high once again. Can Brady Hoke break through for a huge win? Or will Brian Kelly take ND back to the promised land again in 2013?
* South Carolina at Georgia - As a fan who is a rival of both of these schools, it is nearly impossible to pick this game each year. The Gamecocks have won the last three meetings over the Dawgs, and seem to have a darned good squad roling into Athens this Saturday. Despite the opening day loss, UGA is 0-0 in the SEC and knows a big year is still there to be had. This will be a battle as USC feels the East belongs to them, but Georgia is playing with their backs against the wall from here on out.
* Florida at Miami (FL) - The Hurricanes have gone from a national bully to a non-contender for the ACC crown over the last decade. They have a pretty good team now, and if they ever want to get the respect back, then they beat - at home - a respected program like Florida. The Gators, meanwhile, are out to make their home in the national scene. They played a cupcake in week one (Toledo) and only won by 18. With that, I am in limbo in who to pick for my Thursday article.
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