Ramblings of a college football junkie! (Week one)
War Eagle everyone!! I am so grateful that college football has finally arrived. Isn’t it funny how college sports give us something that we can all have in common? You don’t have to attend college to enjoy the camaraderie of the competition.
The state of Alabama is an excellent example of this fact.
Thank God we get to renew our passions each and every year! The beautiful thing is right now almost every team is as pretty as a new born babe! Unblemished! But that is starting to change; some more drastically than others.
This week’s games were actually pretty good. Aside from poor commentating and the fact I had to remove my child from in front of the television once or twice the only other thing I had to complain about was poor officiating. Well that and the fact there were so many injuries.
Still, for me and my clan the food came off the grill just like I wanted it too… smiles were seen all around! I hope the same can be said at your house!
Which conference was the worst?
There was a significant illustration of poor competition being reinforced in both the Big Ten and Pac-12.
Yes, the Big Ten really stunk up the scoreboard on Saturday. It’s hard to believe but true. We know that Minnesota and Wisconsin lost, but so did Penn State (to Temple), Purdue (to Marshall), Michigan (at Utah) and Nebraska (to BYU at Lincoln on the last play of the game). Perhaps it’s too much to say that Indiana was nearly upset by Southern Illinois. This is just flat out embarrassing!
The Pac-12 wasn’t that much better. We all know that Arizona State and Stanford lost, but so did Colorado, Washington, and Washington State. I realize that the last three are perennial losers, but it should be noted that Washington only lost by 3 due to a faulty field goal kicker. While these teams won – Arizona beat Texas San Antonio by ten points, and Oregon beat Eastern Washington by 19 points.
The point here is that these two conferences – even though one has the defending national champion – have major issues when it comes to competitiveness. If I had to pick right now – I think it’s quite obvious to say that Ohio State is very much for real and will likely repeat as Big Ten champions based on what I saw on Monday night. For the PAC-12 the eventual champion will probably be a tossup between USC, UCLA and Oregon.
So which conference was the best?In successful conference openers the SEC over achieved, and the ACC and Big 12 both did slightly better than just alright.
Starting with the ACC the teams that lost their opener were Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Louisville and North Carolina lost to SEC teams. Virginia lost to the PAC-12. Virginia Tech lost to last year’s defending National Champion. From an outsider’s perspective this conference still appears very competitive. But time will tell.
The Big 12 teams that lost their home openers were Kansas and Texas. These two programs have seemingly lost their way. Kansas lost to South Dakota State while at home by three points, and Texas was obliterated by Notre Dame in South Bend.
What can anyone say about Kansas’s head coach David Beaty? He is pretty much an unknown. I don’t even think he has served as an offensive coordinator for more than a year. Can’t explain the thought process that was used when he was hired, but perhaps it will be the Kansas AD that is looking for a job at the end of this year if the coach is left in place.
Say what you want about Charlie Strong’s discipline, but maybe something should be said about his ability to win? This Texas team hasn’t gotten better; in fact, it is pretty obvious that the situation has gotten worse. Ask not for whom the bell tolls Charlie Strong… it tolls for thee.
Who do I think is going to win the Big 12? It’s anyone’s guess. TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma are my best guesses!
That leaves us with the SEC. The only SEC team that lost its opener was the “backslidden” Vanderbilt that lost by two points when it failed to convert a two-point extra-point attempt. It was the only blemish for the SEC. Vanderbilt lost to Western Kentucky at home. Coach Derek Mason is now 3 -10 at Vanderbilt. It’s hard to explain what happened to Vanderbilt when Coach James Franklin departed. He said when he came to Vanderbilt that his team would be competitive. I am not sure when the official time starts but know it hasn’t happened yet. Call me silly but somewhere there is a jet engine starting to whine…
For the SEC East Georgia seems to be the alpha dog. However defending division champion Missouri and South Carolina both are vying for this title. One could argue that Tennessee and Florida won their season openers as well and are vying for the title as well. Are any of them as good as Georgia? I don’t know yet. But we will know soon enough!
For the SEC West Bama is the team to beat. It was obvious on Saturday night when they pummeled a ranked Wisconsin team. Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M are very good teams. Go in to the game flat or have a bad day against these teams, and it could cost you the season! Another SEC west team that didn’t get much press for Saturday’s win was Mississippi State. They have a proven quarterback and will surprise some this year.
If I had to pick right now – I would pick Bama and UGA playing for the conference championship with Bama winning the SEC championship and the national title against Ohio State.
Games to be discussed!
Virginia Tech versus Ohio State1: This game looked like it was going to be a blowout with Ohio State scoring 14 unanswered points. And just as suddenly Virginia Tech found its offense and scored a field goal and two quick touchdowns, one of them off an Ohio State turnover right before the end of the half. Ohio State came out getting the ball in the second half , drove the field and scored quickly in its first possession. Ohio State didn’t stop. They scored another 21 points. This game got quickly out of hand. Virginia Tech was outmatched – even before it lost its QB to a devastating injury where he will be out 1 – 2 months. Let’s face it – Ohio State has too many offensive weapons.
Ohio State deserves its number one ranking.
Minnesota versus TCU2: Talk about playing down to your opponent. TCU had the most egregious start of any team in the top five. Gary Patterson is obviously a good coach. But the lackluster play of the Horned Frogs left this game in doubt until the end. TCU had a hard time getting their offense moving. First week jitters? Maybe. But from what I saw, they are over-ranked.
Look for TCU to move down in the AP poll to somewhere around #10- 15. They may get better… but as of today they are out of their class.
Alabama3 versus Wisconsin20: Kudos to Nick Saban and Bama. They came out of the gate on fire. They even traveled to a neutral site outside of the state of Alabama. This game was the only ranked game over the weekend, and Bama absolutely demolished a decent Wisconsin team. The game was never in doubt. Bama’s defense was predicted to be good, and they didn’t disappoint. Bama’s offense was probably even better. They have a strong offensive line. They have good receivers. And here is a news flash – there isn’t a QB controversy in Tuscaloosa from what I saw. That transfer from FSU was pretty dang good! He throws a tight spiral and seems to be able to read his progressions. And what can you say about Henry? They guy is a human battering ram! I believe he is the best back in the SEC.
Bama deserves to move up into the #2 or top spot!
Western Michigan versus Michigan State5: Michigan State was never in danger on Saturday. They led 20 to 7 in the first quarter. However, their defense was atrocious against the Western Michigan Broncos. They allowed 24 points to be scored. The good news for the Spartans was that this was an away game. And I would bet nearly every person got to play that dressed out. Still, based upon their play the Spartans need to drop down to 9 or 10 based upon their lack luster performance.
Auburn6 versus Louisville: This game had a lot of hype riding on it. Some predicted Auburn would be the power from the West. Well, the jury is still out on that prediction. Based on what I saw Auburn is in a good place, but are we the best in the conference? Heck no. Not yet. The good news was AU led at the half 17-0. In the second half we had some noticeable injuries and folks were sat down. Louisville continued to fight and climbed back in the game. Kudos should be given to Louisville as well. They aren’t a slouch ACC team either. In fact, they were pretty dang good. They had an extremely mobile quarterback. For those that were disappointed with the game’s outcome – that’s what happens when you decide the season before a single game is played… someone is bound to be disappointed. Auburn had a lot of positives coming out of the game. They dominated early. But they had a lot of penalties. And our offense was nowhere near the caliber it was last year. But you know what they say… teams progress the most between the 2nd and 3rd games of the season.
We have so many freshmen playing that it’s hard to predict that AU will win it all. Still, our defense was an improvement from last year. Dependent on what our offense is able to do – it could put us in a place to compete for championships. That’s all we can ask.
AU stays the same at the same rank or moves down a position or two.
The point of these ramblings in week one is that this season is just getting started. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs. The only team that looks like it might go undefeated is Ohio State because they play no one in their schedule until Michigan State. Bama, on the other hand, has the tough sledding of the SEC West. While the SEC appears to be the best conference yet again at the start of the year, each team could lose one or two games during the season. The conference is just that good. But if you pressed me today based on what we saw this weekend – I’d say the only one that has a remote chance of going undefeated is Bama.
Big 12, ACC, PAC-12 and Big Ten could all do the same. So far the least competitive conference would appear to be the Big Ten. But that can change with the bounce of a ball or a turn over or injury.
We will talk again soon. I hope you have enjoyed this week’s edition of ramblings of a college football junkie!