Notes from the First Week of College Football

By | September 4, 2014

Here are a few things that captured my attention in the first week of college football.

New Houston Cougars Football Stadium, August 24, 2014 (Attribution: "TDECU Stadium, empty interior" by Brian Reading - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TDECU_Stadium,_empty_interior.jpg#mediaviewer/File:TDECU_Stadium,_empty_interior.jpg)

New Houston Cougars Football Stadium, August 24, 2014 (Attribution: “TDECU Stadium, empty interior” by Brian Reading – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TDECU_Stadium,_empty_interior.jpg#mediaviewer/File:TDECU_Stadium,_empty_interior.jpg)

  • Wisconsin v. LSU in Houston – Regardless of the much discussed weak Wisconsin rushing game in the second half, the passing numbers for Wisconsin for the whole game were a losing stat.  Eight of 24 for 50 yards and two interceptions will win very few games.
  • South Dakota State at Missouri – The Jackrabbits won the 2nd and 3rd quarter 11-7 against Missouri.  The Tigers will have to play better at Toledo this week or there could be trouble.
  • Cincinnati – The Bearcats didn’t play last week and they don’t play this week.  They finally have a game on September 12 hosting  Toledo.  There are probably reasons for this, but this kind of scheduling does them no favors.
  • SMU at Baylor – The Bears opened their brand new stadium in the golden glow of a setting sun on national television.  It looks like they even bent the Brazos River to their will.  The Power 5 Bears have opened a significant gap on their former conference rivals to the north.
  • Utah State at Tennessee – Here is another game where a Power 5 conference member looked far superior to a very good non-Power 5 team.  Has the gap already begun to show?
  • Central Arkansas at Texas Tech – Well, maybe not, because this is an FCS game that the Red Raiders were lucky to win.
  • Villanova at Syracuse – The Wildcats should not have gone for two before it was required.  Stay alive as long as you can.  Don’t panic.  They looked like they could match anything the Orangemen threw at them in the overtimes.
  • North Dakota State at Iowa State – It may be a long wait for the Cyclones before they play at Kansas on November 8.  The rest of their games now look tough to very tough.  We will see how fast they can bail water.
  • Missouri State at Northwestern State – Springfield, Missouri, media is now discussing playoffs after virtually ignoring the Bears this summer.  Reality check one is at Oklahoma State this week.  On September 20, the Bears are at Central Arkansas which will directly impact their playoff chances.  Central Arkansas almost knocked off Texas Tech in Lubbock.
  • Texas-San Antonio at Houston – In stark contrast to the Baylor game, Houston christened their brand new stadium with a resounding loss to the in-state upstart Roadrunners.  Houston looked bad while being destroyed.  Texas-San Antonio gets Arizona in the Alamodome tonight in one of, if not the, biggest games they have ever played in their short history.  Could an upset be brewing?  Before getting too carried away, Arizona blasted UNLV in an offensive explosion last week.
  • Delaware at Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh destroyed the always respectable Blue Hens 62-0.  This inspires some confidence and good feeling going forward.  Missouri fans would have been more sanguine with this type of result against FCS opposition.  The same can be said for a number of others such as Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Texas Tech, Syracuse, South Florida, Oregon State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Old Dominion, Nevada, Wyoming and Central Michigan.  That is a pretty long list of near misses, not so near misses and struggles.  There were a few more also.  Iowa State and Florida International, however, can only hope their FCS losses were an abberation.  It goes without saying that a struggling or bad FBS team can have its hands more than full with a good FCS team.  This has been proven time and time again.
  • Temple at Vanderbilt – Yes, it was that bad.  And the Vandy score was a special teams score.  Anchor Down was more like Anchored Down.  Vanderbilt fans will not be happy to have the good old bad days return.
  • Colorado State v. Colorado in Denver – Offense was in short supply for the Buffalos.  Transfer back Dee Hart from Alabama gave Colorado State a real shot in the arm.
  • Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State – Another grudge match here.  Southern Mississippi fans are wondering where the good old days went.  Not to focus on quarterbacks too much, but I would take the Bulldogs’ Dak Prescott any day of the week.
  • Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky – A offensive blow-out gives the Wildcats fans hope that their spread offense will catch fire.
  • UTEP at New Mexico – The Miners started the season right against rival neighbor New Mexico.  If you are UTEP and you beat both New Mexico and New Mexico State in the same year, well, life is good.  Texas Tech and New Mexico State are the next two games and they are both at home.  Win those and Head Coach Sean Kugler never pays for dinner again in El Paso.
  • Troy at UAB – Perennial underachiever UAB has been mired down in losing ways so long their fans were probably shocked at this very impressive 48-10 win over the in-state Trojans who are always pretty respectable.
  • Austin Peay at Memphis – The same can be said for the Tigers.  To  paraphrase the words of The Doors, they have been down so long that it looks like up to them.  Fans along the big muddy have to love this 63-0 blow-out result even if it was against an FCS team.  There is some good young coaching on the Memphis staff.
  • Texas A&M at South Carolina – This result throws a monkey wrench in the whole SEC outlook.  The Gamecocks suddenly look vulnerable and Texas A&M looks way better than expected.  Regardless of quarterback, Aggies Head Coach Kevin Sumlin is a very cool guy who can flat coach football.
  • Washington at Hawaii – The Huskies escaped the islands with a win.  Sometimes it is hard to know what happens in Hawaii.  Was it island fever or a new system under Chris Petersen?  Most likely it was a perfect storm of both.  It also gives some hope that Norm Chow may be closer to finding a pot of gold to go along with his Rainbow Warriors.
  • Boise State v. Mississippi in Atlanta – One feature of Boise’s incredible run of the last few years, aside from Chris Petersen, has been great quarterback play.  Grant Hedrick threw for one touchdown and four interceptions.  On the other side of the field, Bo Wallace, the gunslinger for Mississippi who is mobile enough, threw four TDs and three interceptions.  It was an epidemic of interceptions.  Top notch recruiting by Hugh Freeze and company has the Rebels’ defense looking salty.

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