Week one has come and gone and left us with a pile of unanswered questions, expectations, and bodies (the latter courtesy of one LeGarrette Blount). What week one really taught us was that preseason rankings mean absolutely nothing, squat, zilch, nada, and this may be one of those crazy seasons where anything is possible every week. But then again, so is almost every year.
The big story of the weekend is the condition of Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning quarterback, Sam Bradford and how long it’ll take for him to return to action. It is safe to say though, without Bradford, Oklahoma is a shell of the team they were last year (not to take any credit away from BYU, more on them a bit later on).
Sure, a Bradford-less Oklahoma can waltz over the likes of Idaho State and Tulsa, but a less than 100 percent Bradford-led Sooners may find bit more trouble going against the likes of Oklahoma St. and Texas, which is very bad news for the Sooners title chances. They can still get there if they run the table, but they need a healthy Bradford for it.
Now, regardless of who was under center, BYU deserves all the credit in the world for pulling the upset, their defense looked good even when Bradford was playing and seemed to turn it up a notch during the final quarter, when the game was on the line. The fact that Oklahoma was playing a Redshirt-Freshman during all of the second half means little the way the Cougars D was playing.
And America, meet Max Hall.
For two years all Hall did was help BYU to a 22-5 record, doing it all in relative obscurity. Saturday was his coming out party, and his 23rd win was his biggest. The last scoring drive was beautifully executed and showed the kind of player Hall is. The line of recent Quarterbacks from smaller schools leading them to national prominence is long (Colt Brennan, Nate Davis, Brian Johnson, among others) and Max Hall just joined it.
The Mountain West is quickly becoming the “other conference,” the one that is as good as a BCS conference, but is not one. Really, with the likes of Utah, BYU, and TCU, this cannot be considered one of the “small” or “weaker” conferences and if one of these teams goes undefeated, I see no reason why they should not be ranked as high as an undefeated team from, say, the Big Ten or the ACC. Once more, the BCS proves itself ineffective, and it’s only week one.
The week did begin on Thursday, with a snoozer between NC State and South Carolina, which doesn’t even merit a recap. Then ESPN promised an embarrassment of scoring between Boise St. and Oregon, and let’s just say that there was not much scoring (or even first-downs) but there was plenty of embarrassment on the Oregon side, during and after the game.
The Ducks were completely and thoroughly dominated all game long by a more disciplined, better coached and just better Boise State team. Afterwards Mr. Blount, who said they (Oregon) owed Boise St. an a**-whooping, and proceeded to back his comments by rushing for -5 yards, took matter into his own hands and dropped a Boise St. player dumb enough to mess with a 6’2” 240lbs. pissed off man with a single right straight, then went all Artest on the Boise fans and had to be contained by the police.
Sportsmanship week is kind of ironic now.
Jokes aside, Oregon did the right thing suspending Blount for the season and effectively ending his college career.
The next big piece of news has to be Oklahoma State and their performance against Georgia. We knew Mike Gundy was a man, we knew he was 40 (he kind of forced it on us) but now we know he has a defense good enough to go along with his high-powered offense.
The Cowboys’ D held Georgia to only three points after giving up a score in their first drive and did a great job while the offense was trying to get in rhythm. Now, it is true that this is a new Georgia offense, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless, and all the hype about Oklahoma State may be indeed justified.
Now, a little round-up of what I liked and what I did not from this first week
Five Things I Really Liked From Week One
1. Matt Barkley’s debut. If he is as good as advertised, and he sure looked like it on Saturday (15-19, 233, 1 TD, 0 Int.) we may be looking at a guy who has the potential of going down as one of the best. I know it’s early for this kind of talk (really early actually), but from a guy who has followed his career since his junior year of high school, I know one this for sure, he will not get nervous playing at the Horseshoe next week.
2. The Pac-10. Cal got revenge on Maryland big time, USC looked like USC does every year, even if their line-up is quite different from last year’s. Oregon State is my bet to being the biggest threat to USC (not Cal, as many people are predicting), and they began their season with an easy win over Portland St. Even Washington looked good; sure they lost, but it was to LSU and they looked good; Stave Sarkisian seems to be taking this team in the right direction.
3. Notre Dame and Jimmy Claussen. I still don’t think they can beat Michigan and I am sure they cannot stay on the same field with USC, but they sure looked good against Nevada. You can interpret that in whichever way you want; Claussen did look good, having time to throw all day, he picked Nevada’s defense apart and racked up big numbers.
4. Alabama’s offense. New pieces almost everywhere and not a beat missed by the Tide. The fact that they were losing the game until early in the fourth quarter was bizarre, given their dominance in the stat department. A barrage of scoring in the fourth quarter swung the game in their favor and gave them a much deserved win. The SEC West should be very, very scared, the Tide is rolling again.
5. Boise State’s defense. The Broncos D looks to be headed for another top 40 ranking and another BCS appearance. The schedule from now on looks like a cakewalk considered how much they embarrassed Oregon.
Five Things I Did Not Like From Week One
1. The Big Ten. I am seriously done with trying to defend them, this first week was truly not what the conference needed to help improve their image. From Minnesota needing overtime to beat a team led by a basketball player to Iowa squeaking by Northern Iowa blocking a field goal—twice—to Ohio State looking less than great against a Navy team that surely better than people think—just ask Notre Dame. Next week’s Ohio State—USC showdown will dictate how the Big Ten is seen by the rest of the nation, a poor performance and the conference will continue to be the laughing stock of the nation.
2. LeGarrette Blount. Do I need to say more? The worst part is that one NFL team will give him a free-agent spot on their training camp roster next year, no doubt. Hey, if Maurice Clarett was drafted in the third round.
3. Florida’s Schedule. Seriously, I know you guys play in the Almighty SEC but to open with Charleston Southern and then Troy next week is just like buying a win. Hey wait, they pay the small schools to come get their behinds handed to them at the Swamp, so it is buying a win.
4. Virginia Tech. Their offense looked like they had never practiced together before the game and the defense got tired at the end, allowing Alabama to take the game. Tyrod Taylor said he wants to show the nation he can throw the ball well, he apparently still can’t. Much like Clemson last year, Virginia Tech is supposed to carry the banner for the ACC, but one game showed that this is a flawed team that has a long ways to go.
5. Chip Kelly’s debut. Oregon lost for many reasons, but the biggest one was that they were out coached, which is not shameful to say when playing Boise St., Chris Peterson is a great play caller and he prepares his team very well. What surprised me was how badly out coached Kelly was, he panicked when things began not going his way and changed his offense scheme, turning Masoli from a dual threat QB into a shotgun pocket passer, which did not help one bit and led to the consequent final score of 19-8.