Yes sir! The college football season is under way. Last year we looked at specific games and would inevitably shortchange some, so we are going to try a new format this year to start out.
Many would probably go with Boise State vs Virginia Tech here, but I am going TCU vs. Oregon State. The Boise game was full of bad penalties, some shaky tackling throughout a good stretch of the game, and while the skill level was very high, I was less impressed by it than the TCU game. Both teams executed extremely well for much of the game, and if not for that bad snap that effectively ended the game, we may have had a game winning drive put together by Oregon State’s newcomer QB Ryan Katz. TCU looked like a legitimate title contender, and Oregon State was right there with them thanks to some outstanding defense and timely offense.
The Rodgers Brothers had a hard time getting things going for big stretches of the game, but that had much more to do with the quality of TCU’s 4-2-5 defense than anything else. Quizz, a player I think will be like Jahvid Best this year, ended with a very respectable 18 rushes for 75 yards, but they needed a lot more if they were going to upset the Horned Frogs, who really shut the Oregon State offense down for good stretches of the 4th quarter.
Ultimately, the best team won, and the team with the best uniforms won. Couldn’t have been a bigger fan of the “Til Hell Freezes” unis. The only downside of TCU is Andy Dalton’s hidden ginger mane. However, Boise had better look out when the Beavers roll into town because that is a very good football team that has got to be one of the dark horse favorites to win the Pac 10.
Player of the Week
I could go a lot of places here statistically. I could go with QB Denard Robinson of Michigan running for 197 yards and throwing for 186. I could go with TJ Yates’ 410 passing yards to nearly lead an undermanned UNC squad past LSU, or Jheranie Boyd for having 221 yards as Yates’ main target. No, I am going with Austin Pettis of Boise State. Yup, the guy with 6 catches for 73 yards and 2 TDs. Why does he deserve it over the amazing statistical games listed above? How about for being clutch. See, those 2 TDs were huge, and one of them was on the game winning TD, but he also blocked the kick that got Boise their first touchdown. He is certainly not alone as far as big performers in that game, but he was incredibly clutch, and came up with big plays when Boise needed them.
Austin Pettis is the first winner of the OTC Player of the Week.
Clown of the Week (Team)
This one is all about Ole Miss, though Kansas deserves some mention as well. Ole Miss invited a patsy to Oxford so they could open the season in style by letting Jeremiah Masoli and the Rebels walk all over some school called Jacksonville State of the FC. Oops. Jacksonville State was down, but not out and came back to stun Houston Nutt’s Rebels in overtime. That’s right. Ole Miss lost to Jacksonville State. I dare you to tell me where Jacksonville State is. No, you can’t google it. No, it isn’t in Jacksonville, FL.
Ok, you can google it..
Coming in a close second is Kansas, who lost 6-3 to FCS team North Dakota State. Yes, 6-3. Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.
Clown of the Week (Player)
There was no obvious winner here from what I have seen, so we are going with Mike Pouncey for repeatedly failing to snap the ball correctly. More on Florida later, so Mike gets a little bit of a break this week.
Three Things That Impressed Me
- Notre Dame looked like a well-coached team. Purdue is not nearly as bad as they looked this weekend, and Notre Dame was able to run the ball win an efficiency Irish fans haven’t seen in a long time. The Count of Monte Crist-o (pending approval, my nickname for Dayne Crist. The Count for short) also impressed with his arm strength in executing Kelly’s offense pretty damn well for a first-time starter. Lots of reason for optimism in South Bend, albeit in moderation.
- North Carolina‘s ability to fight back despite being undermanned was very impressive. Without a doubt, some blame goes on LSU for not playing well enough, but tons of credit go out to UNC, who was missing 8 starters and almost beat a very talented team with 2nd teamers. Lots of teams would have just rolled over after going down while undermanned, but I think that UNC has a lot to work with going forward. We all know they are talented, but now it looks like they have heart on their side too.
- Mark Herzlich was back on a football field this weekend, and it was great to see. The one-time ACC Defensive Player of theYear and Cancer survivor made his triumphant return to BC this weekend. There is really not even room for comedy here as it is really just a great story. No word on if Al Skinner’s mustache was in attendance to welcome him back.
- Analysts assumed Pitt would roll into Utah and take care of them. There is no such thing as an easy road game in college football against a FBS team. None. Kyle Whittingham has a pretty good team up there and assuming that a good, but overhyped Pitt team will roll up and roll out with a win in the stadium with the longest home winning streak in the country is crazy. Deon Lewis is still really good, but come on analysts.
- Oklahoma looked pretty bad in the 2nd half against Utah State in continuing their tradition of sucking in week 1 every year. This is a team that people are somewhat unsure of coming into the year and now we know that they are just like every other Oklahoma team without elite talent and will probably disappoint.
- Florida looked very bad. They couldn’t get the center-QB exchange right, and even when they did, the offense looked anemic at best. The defense and special teams set up most of their points, and John Brantley did not make the splash many were expecting of him to. I took a while deciding how to sum up how Florida looked this week. Do I go with some witty reference to an ugly sports star like Ronaldinho? Do I open up the can of worms that is the Oakland Raiders? Do I go with an awful movie, like any movie with Nicholas Cage, to explain it? Or do I make a list of rhetorical questions so I can make an excuse for using them all? Sorry, went a little high brow there.
Water Cooler Game
Maybe a little nitpicky, but definitely different from “Best Game” and this one goes to the Boise State vs. Virginia Tech game. It was not at all the Boise State team we expected to see (not many mistakes, trick plays, and just generally solid play), but we got something potentially scarier. True, the defense gave up 30 points and was far less stout than we were expecting, but this Boise State team was just pushing Virginia Tech off the ball in the first quarter, and had all the athletes and then some that VT did. This was not some overachieving team made up of unknown guys; this was an athletic, talented, well-coached group of guys. They lost the Uniform War to VT, but Boise should no longer be considered a Cinderella. However, the rest of the schedule would imply that they are just that, and I do not think this team is good enough to play for a national title. They might end up in the National Title game, and they might not, but this particular Boise State squad, although they are the grind-it-out type of team you need to be to win as a smaller school, is not deserving of a national title shot. If they had come out and shut down VT and won 20-7 or something, I may be singing a different tune, but they missed many key tackles and were not as crisp as they would have needed to be to get the OTC stamp of approval. It might be unfair that we are judging them in week 1 about deserving to play for a title, but they play no one else after Oregon State next week.
However, you would think that Boise was the only team participating in the game from reading the above paragraph. VT played pretty well, although they got out-Beamerballed early in the game and missed too many tackles at bad times to deserve to really win. Ryan Williams was a beast yet again and could help that team go a long way in the rejuvenated ACC, and Tyrod Taylor, while not always pretty with his arm, was pretty effective for the last 3 quarters. I was not expecting VT to put up 30 points, and that has got to be considered a success for them, even though the defense did not quite do its job for long enough stretches. Not a bad showing by VT, especially considering that very few thought they would win this game, so while they cannot be happy with a loss, they showed some promise.
Pretty good start to the year, so get ready for next week. Ohio St. vs Miami should be one hell of a clash, so stay tuned.