It seems that college football starts earlier and earlier as the years go by, but it certainly never gets here fast enough!
This will be the first installment of a weekly series taking a look at the happenings in the weekend that was. I’ll be taking a look at who had the best showings and who graveled in their defeats. The preceding weekend couldn’t have been scripted any better for my debut column, so let’s cut the crap and get down to business!
Top 25 Results At-a-Glance:
1. Georgia def. Georgia Southern 45-21
2. Ohio State def. Youngstown State 43-0
3. USC def. Virginia 52-7
4. Oklahoma def. Chattanooga 57-2
5. Flordia def. Hawai’i 56-10
6. Missouri def. #20 Illinois 52-42
7. LSU def. Appalachian State 41-13
8. West Virginia def. Villanova 48-21
9. Clemson lost to #24 Alabama 34-10
10. Auburn def. Louisiana-Monroe 34-0
11. Texas def. Florida Atlantic (52-10)
12. Texas Tech def. Eastern Washington 49-24
13. Wisconsin def. Akron 38-17
14. Kansas def. Florida International 40-10
15. Arizona State def. Northern Arizona 30-13
16. Brigham Young def. Northern Iowa 41-17
17. Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina 27-22
18. Tennessee lost to UCLA 27-24 (OT)
19. South Florida def. Tennessee-Martin 56-7
20. Illinois lost to #6 Missouri 52-42
21. Oregon def. Washington 44-10
22. Penn State def. Coastal Carolina 66-10
23. Wake Forest def. Baylor 41-13
24. Alabama def. #9 Clemson 34-10
25. Pittsburgh lost to Bowling Green 27-17
The Big Weekend WINNERS
- Alabama’s Defense— From the opening kickoff until the Clemson boarded the buses home, Alabama’s defense gave fits to the Tigers. Most notably, the thunder-and-lightning combination of Davis and Spiller was reduced to nothing more than a rumble in the distance, gaining only a combined 20 yards of rushing the entire game. The brick wall that was the Bama ‘D’ shut down the Tigers on 3rd Downs, allowing just ONE conversion in nine attempts.
- UCLA Bruins’ Head Coach Rick Neuheisel— Former UCLA Quarterback and 1984 Rose Bowl MVP made a statement to mark his return to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. In a game where Tennessee was heavily favored, Coach Neuheisel found a way to keep his players motivated and their eyes on the goal. Case-and-Point: 3rd-String QB Kevin Craft threw FOUR interceptions in the 1st Half and Coach made it a point to take him aside during halftime and say ‘Hey, I threw four interceptions to start my career, too, and I turned out to have a decent career!’ What a way to begin the Neuheisel Era at UCLA!
- Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell— The folks over in Lubbock finally have something to get excited about! The years of being the red-headed step-child of the Big XII conference have officially come to an end for Texas Tech. Senior QB Graham Harrell threw for an astonishing 536 yards in a thrashing of Eastern Washington on Saturday evening completing 74% of his 58 pass attempts and tossing three touchdown bombs. A year like this could vault Harrell into the top of many people’s Heisman Watch List- after all, if he dishes out the 6,400+ yards he’s projected to throw for, who wouldn’t want him on their list?! A number like that would also earn him a spot in the record books for achieving the most passing yards in a season, passing fellow Red Raider BJ Symons’ record of 5,833 yards set back in 2003.
The Big Weekend LOSERS
- Michigan Wolverines— No doctor’s prescription can fix a disease as big as back-to-back home-opening losses in Ann Arbor. Coach Rich Rodriguez imposed his will on the traditions of Michigan and failed miserably at his debut. There are no other words for such a storied program struggling to gain yards on the ground (36 rushing) and a combined 167 yards through the air with TWO quarterbacks. Somebody tell this guy that this isn’t the same blue-and-yellow team he had last year!
- Texas A&M Aggies— This story is full of juicy irony; let me set the stage for you: Texas A&M hired Mike Sherman as the Head Coach last November, less than a week after then-Head Coach Dennis Franchione resigned following the season finale against Texas. Exactly five years ago Saturday, Franchione defeated Arkansas State 26-11 in his A&M debut. The Red Wolves won for the first time in 15 games against Big XII opponents and snapped A&M’s 20-game winning streak in home openers. The Aggies hadn’t dropped a home opener since a 17-3 loss to LSU in 1987, and this one likely will go down as one of the most embarrassing losses in school history.
- Clemson Tigers— After what has already been said about their pathetic attempts at gaining offense, everything else just follows suit. The team that many had picked to win the ACC fell flat on its face just like the rest of the conference did on Saturday. The looks of dejection did very little to motivate a very uninspired sideline. My question to the Clemson Tigers’ leaders and captains is how they could sit on their hands and not get their teammates fired up. As a leader, you’ve got to motivate the people under you and give them a reason to continue fighting for you. Saturday night, the men in orange had no reasons to put up a fight, no reasons to react to what transpired in those 60 minutes, and no reasons to remain on the football field as the number nine team in the country.
- You have to love what East Carolina did to Virginia Tech. Skip Holtz’s team knew that they would be in a physical battle and they answered the call. I can’t think of a better way to end that game than to Beamer-ball the Hokies!
- The Stanford Cardinal looked very impressive on Thursday night against the Oregon State Beavers. I’m happy to see Stanford has built upon their win against USC last year and can only hope that second-year Head Coach Jim Harbaugh restores a sense of pride in his program.
- Georgia Southern was able to hang up 21 points on the #1 Georgia Bulldogs in their defeat, but if you ask me, that’s quite a feat in itself. I haven’t concluded if Georgia Southern’s offense is just that good or if Georgia’s defense needs some work. I’m looking forward to a great season as an Eagle and wouldn’t be surprised to see us make the FCS Playoff picture.
- Note to Tennessee’s Coach Fulmer- Stay away from the West Coast! I know you want to open your season in a fun, exciting way but surely there’s got to be a better way! First it was Cal and now it’s UCLA- whatever you do, don’t press your luck against Stanford!! And on a more serious note, how embarrassed should the Tennessee offense be? They intercepted UCLA’s Craft FOUR TIMES in the first half only to lead to two missed field goals and a 1-yard drive! Even worse- Tennessee’s Sophomore kicker Lincoln went 1-for-4 in kicking field goals… field goals that would have ultimately won the game!
Like what you read? Have a different opinion? Let me know! Leave me a comment and let your voice be heard! And remember…
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”