College Football 2011: Yeah, They Won, but Should We Be Worried?
The first Saturday of college football is in the books and there were some surprises, but there was also some letdowns. Teams that most of the country were excited to see didn't quite live up to the hype, while others showed exactly why they were rated so high.
Then there were the upsets. Notre Dame and TCU are done and Oregon is out of the National Title picture, but the teams that barely squeaked by is what this article is about.
While the first game of the year doesn't always tell the story of how the season is going to go, it does give somewhat of an indication as either bad things to come, or improvements that need to be made immediately.
Here are seven teams that should be worried for the season ahead.
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Here's the truth: Out of all the teams on this list, Auburn played the worst, barely beating out Utah State. In fact, had they not recovered their onside kick, they would have lost to Utah State.
The defending national champions did not look good, plain and simple.
Their defense was terrible, their offensive line wasn't good, they were average at best and the only bright spot on the team was new quarterback Barrett Trotter.
Auburn won, but that luck is going to run out really fast, especially with their next two games against Mississippi State and Clemson; not exactly gimmes like Utah State.
The bad statistic is that Utah State out gained them in almost every aspect of the game. They had 27 first downs to Auburn's 17. 448 total yards compared to Auburn's 364, but they gave up 227 yards on the ground.
Auburn gave up all of those yards to a WAC at home. What are they going to do against teams in the SEC?
Auburn can be happy with the win, but they don't look like a team that is going to finish in the BCS hunt, let alone a bowl hunt.
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Missouri beat Miami of Ohio 17-6; not exactly the kind of score fans expected to see, but the worst part is that Missouri's offense stunk.
Blaine Gabbert is gone and everyone was saying that James Franklin is better suited to run this offense because he's more mobile and fits the offense better.
He could've fooled all of us yesterday.
Franklin finished with just 129 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. He added 72 yards on the ground with a touchdown, but he still failed to impress.
He certainly didn't prove the critics right.
Missouri is going to have a tough road ahead of them and if they are barely beating teams like Miami of Ohio, this is going to be a long year for them.
The Tigers next game is at Arizona State next Saturday, and in three weeks time, they have to travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma. They may be looking at a 2-2 record when it is all said and done, and the season won't get any easier for them from there.
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When the Michigan game got called due to the lightning in the third quarter of their game against Western Michigan, the Wolverines seemed to have things in order.
They were up 34-10 and seemed to be taking care of business.
Then again, the offense didn't really do anything to wow you. Denard Robinson passed for just 98 yards with no touchdowns and ran for 46 yards and no touchdowns. So basically he didn't impress anyone and those statistics were against Western Michigan.
Michigan plays Notre Dame next week and although Notre Dame lost, they are still going to be tougher than Western Michigan.
Michigan has potential to have a good year, but they have a tough road and will need to grow up fast.
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South Carolina was losing to East Carolina 24-14 at halftime.
They come out the second half and won 56-37, but that slow start was a big indication as to how they are going to play this year.
Conner Shaw was benched for Stephdn Garcia in the second half, which proved to be beneficial to the Gamecocks.
Running back Marcus Lattimore had 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns, and Alshon Jeffrey had 92 yards receiving on five receptions.
This team can put up a ton of points on offense, but they can't have slow starts like that when they get to conference play, which starts next week for them against Georgia.
South Carolina was supposed to be a darkhorse in the SEC this year, and they still have the chance to do that, but they didn't show why on Saturday.
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USC barely beat Minnesota 19-17, and that was at home. Minnesota isn't exactly a good team—in fact, they are a very bad team—but on Saturday against USC, they didn't look bad.
USC, however, didn't look good.
Matt Barkley threw all over the field for 304 yards and three touchdowns, but there was virtually no running game and Robert Woods stole the show with 17 catches for 177 yards and all three touchdowns.
USC has a lot of work to do, not just for this year, but to show that they can be a powerhouse again. Winning by two points against one of the worst teams in the Big Ten isn't a great way to prove themselves.
The Pac-12 is going to be a very competitive conference this season and USC will have to play newcomer Utah next week. Will they have a repeat-performance or will Utah beat them the way Minnesota should have?
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Michigan State beat Youngstown State 28-6, but the score doesn't quite reflect the game.
The Spartans didn't look good all game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 222 yards and a touchdown and running back Edwin Baker added 92 yards on the ground, but that's it.
Michigan State looked like they were still trying to get over their beat down from Alabama in last year's bowl game.
They play Florida Atlantic next week—which, on paper, is another easy win—but what team is going to show up?
Cousins is one of the best quarterbacks in college football and Baker is a solid running back. Will that talent help lead this offense—or will they be mediocre again this upcoming Saturday?
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Oklahoma State controlled every single minute of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette, but it was the mistakes they made in the game that lands them on this list.
Brandon Weeden threw for 388 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
That is the primary concern for the Cowboys. If Weeden is throwing that many interceptions against Louisiana-Lafayette, what's he going to do against a good defense?
Oklahoma State will take on Arizona next week and Arizona isn't going to be a push-over; in fact, they will give Oklahoma State a good fight and may even be able to upset the Cowboys.
If Oklahoma State is going to be competitive in the Big 12 and win it, Weeden is going to have to play more consistent and start making better decisions.