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Monday, September 1, 2008

My Notes on Week 1

Pitt was supposed to be good this year because they have recruited well and they won the backyard brawl against West Virginia last year in shocking fashion. We learned on Saturday that Pitt is not good, Pitt had one very bad game, or Bowling Green has risen from the dust to become a top 25 team. Because Pitt has not yet been good, I would go with option #1: The Pitt Panthers are still not good at football.

We had questions about Clemson’s line and what kind of contribution Alabama would get from its host of incoming freshmen was a big unknown. We now have the answers: Clemson’s line didn’t matter because Alabama was also better at every other position. I realized 5 minutes into the game that the Tigers had no chance—Clemson’s Tommy Bowden seemed to get the hint pretty quickly, too. But before we sing the praises of the SEC, I need to see what Tennessee does against UCLA and I need an explanation for the performances of Mississippi State (lost to LA Tech) and Arkansas (4 point win over Western Illinois).

East Carolina has a solid team, and Hokey fans should not be embarrassed by that loss, but they should be embarrassed by the beatdown they received—on offense, defense and (gasp) special teams. The ACC can be scratched for this season and the rest of the decade—it will not again be a player on the national stage until 2010.

Utah beat Michigan. Watching the game I came to the following conclusions: 1) In the first half the Utah offense was decent, as was the Michigan defense. 2) In the second half the Utah offense was bad and the Michigan defense was decent. 3) Throughout the game the Utah defense was better than advertised (which shouldn’t be surprising since they were 5th in the nation in scoring defense in 2007) and even better than Michigan’s defense. 4) Rich Rodriguez must have used tapes of the 2007 Notre Dame offense to prepare his team—Michigan’s offense was atrocious. The scary thing about Utah is they usually get much better over the course of the season.

We learned very little about the top 5 teams in the country, except that Beanie Wells might have a stress micro-fracture in his foot. We also learned that Hawaii and Virginia have taken huge steps back this year from last year (which we expected). Missouri looked nigh unstoppable, but the Tiger faithful should be a little concerned that Juice Williams was throwing the ball around with ease against their defense (451 yards, 5 TDs). Or maybe Juice has evolved into a version of Peyton Manning that runs a 4.4.

Texas Tech again racked up a ton of yards, but their win over Eastern Washington did not fill anyone with fear and trepidation. There is a very good reason why Tech leads the nation in passing yards every year but had fewer points per game in Big 12 play than both Oklahoma and Missouri—it is very nice to be able run the ball in the red zone. Tech needs consistency, but they also need to be able to ground out tough yards in tight spaces to be an elite team.

And App. St.’s Armanti Edwards is quite pedestrian when he plays against elite college football talent.

Shocking state of the day: Arkansas State ran for 255 yards in their win against a Big 12 opponent.

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