College Football Roundup: Week One

College football has arrived, and week one provided us with plenty of story lines. There were some close calls, and some blowouts, but most of the top teams that were supposed to win advanced to the 1-0 mark to start the season. One team that was supposed to win, and didn't, was Mississippi, who was hosting the FCS team Jacksonville State in Oxford on Saturday. Mississippi was sitting on a 31-13 lead at the start of the 4th quarter and wound up being taken to overtime. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the highlight package from that game, an instant classic, and likely to be one of the top games of the year:

Jacksonville State Pulls off the Stunning Upset of Ole Miss In 2OT (via ESPN)

More recap after the jump, including the Top 25 breakdown, and analysis on this week's games.

Coachespollroundupwk1_medium

As you can see, no ranked team lost to an unranked team this weekend, and that will be assured to be the case with only the Boise State and Virginia Tech game remaining in Landover, Maryland on Monday Night. Since a lot of teams won, don't look for a whole lot of movement among the ranked teams. You might see some teams that didn't impress (*cough* OU *cough*) drop a couple places in the rankings, and some teams that impressed move up a couple spots. However, usually there's a lot of inertia in the pollsters to move teams around much - especially when they get the desired result - a win. This I think is especially true in the Coaches Poll, as coaches tend to be less reactionary than the media. The reason I used the Coaches Poll for the breakdown rather than the AP is that the Coaches is used in BCS calculations .

Teams That Impressed

Any time a team puts up 72 points, it grabs your attention, no matter the quality of the opponent. Admittedly, New Mexico is not what you would call a "quality opponent" for the #11 Oregon Ducks. However, you can't deny the Ducks a bit of appreciation. They seriously pumped the brakes after going up 59-0 at halftime. Overall, they amassed 720 yards of offense, 35 first downs, and held the Lobos to only 107 yards of offense. Kenjon Barner had 5 touchdowns and 225 all-purpose yards.
The Crimson Tide had some haters after they lost a lot of good players to the draft. People felt like they were just getting the benefit of the doubt because they took home the crystal football at the end of last season. However, the Tide had a dominant 48-3 win over a team that they were supposed to dominate. Simply put, they took care of business, and they looked like a legitimate top team in a year where there may be a lot of chaos. They out-gained the Spartans 591-175 and were 7-11 on 3rd down, while their 3rd down defense was stifling (1-13 for SJSU). It was important for them to start the year hot, as they'll be facing 3 ranked teams in the next 4 weeks, including #14 Penn State next week.
This was less about the team impressing, and more about a particular player impressing. Cameron Newton looked like an absolute stud running the Auburn offense as their new signal caller. For those of you who don't know about Newton, he got into some trouble at Florida, transferred to Blinn College in Texas where he won a championship in 2009, and then transferred to Auburn for this season. The guy has some serious wheels. He's 6'6" and 250 lbs. Against Arkansas St. he was 9-14 for 186 yards, 3 TD, and a rating of 246.60. He also ran for 171 yards and 2 TDs, including a 71 yard gallop.
I'll give some props to the entire Mountain West Conference on this one. It started with TCU winning a hard-fought game against a solid Oregon State team on national television. Say what you will, but they validated their high ranking, and Andy Dalton just wins. Utah defended its home turf and knocked off higher-ranked Pittsburgh. You've got to give them credit, they're a scrappy team with a coach who knows how to win. BYU also took care of a fiesty Washington team, Air Force blew out Northwestern State, and San Diego State beat Nicholls St. 47-0. There were some embarrassing performances (see: New Mexico), but the top half of the conference looked great.

 

Teams With Work To Do
(I'll Leave OU Off As This Article Is About The Rest of the College Football World, But Clearly We Are One Of These)

If you would have told me on Friday that the Gators would only be up by 9 on Miami (OH) in the 4th quarter, I would have laughed in your face. And, a lot of people probably would have laughed in your face. The Gators didn't look at all themselves, only converting 3 of 12 third downs, losing the possession battle, battling to even at yardage (212-212), and losing 3 fumbles. John Brantley was 17-25, but only for 113 yards. In fact, the Florida offense was so bad that they only had 26 yards entering the final quarter, already having lost their 3 fumbles, and having failed to convert on 4th down twice.
Yes, another SEC team makes this list. The Tigers escaped with a win, but they were up 30-10 late in the game and allowed an under-manned North Carolina squad (marred by suspensions) come back and get in position to win the game. Late mistakes allowed North Carolina to get back in it - allowing a receiver to run free for a 97 yard touchdown and fumbling when they should have been running out the clock. The "Mad Hatter" can't be happy at all, even though he seemed to shrug things off a bit in the post game interview with Erin Andrews.
In what had to be the most boring upset of all time, Kansas fell to North Dakota State 6-3. Yes, the team that plays in a place called the "Fargodome". I'm pretty sure Turner Gill knew he had an uphill climb, but this is a pretty embarrassing result for the Jayhawks. Thankfully, OU doesn't play Kansas this year, so it can't hurt our strength of schedule.
USC was omitted from the Coaches Poll (another reason I chose to use that in the recap), because of recent sanctions from postseason play. However, they still get a regular season, and they opened up against Hawaii. While their offense looked good, their defense gave up 36 points. It was the 5th most points they've allowed since 2001, 2nd most total yards, most first downs, most yards per pass, and 2nd most yards per play. Luckily, USC is playing an extended "preseason" this year, so they'll be able to sort things out without any real implications. Thanks Reggie Bush?

 

And now, the Quick Slants:

Michigan began its "Road To Redemption" campaign in 2010 under Rich Rodriguez with a successful 30-10 victory over Connecticut. Call me skeptical, but I'd like to see them prove that against a more talented squad...I think that this may be the year that a non-BCS conference school gets the the National Championship. TCU and Boise State are both in the Top 10 and will have the ability to play their way in because of their position in the polls...Don't sleep on the Badgers. They are an experienced squad with a guy on the Heisman Watch (Clay) and their defense came to play against UNLV...The same goes for Arizona, who had a 41-2 thumping over Toledo...I don't care what you say, the Irish will always be overrated.

Big Game on Monday

No Monday Night Football this week, with the NFL not starting until next weekend, but Boise State will take on Virginia Tech on Monday on ESPN at 7pm CDT. Would you consider rooting for the Broncos, ever? I know that a lot of OU fans still hold a grudge against Boise State, but you have to admit that they're enormously successful, they are there at the top of the rankings every year. I know that they run a lot of trick plays, but winning is winning (as we can be happy about after our game against Utah State).  There's a lot on the line on Monday Night. If Boise State can slip past Virginia Tech, there's literally nothing else standing in their way for another undefeated record other than a matchup with Oregon State in Week Three. 

Don't Forget - Another Big 12 Team In Action Sunday

At 2:30pm CDT, Texas Tech hosts SMU. If you're interested in scouting out future opponents, here's your next chance.

Mark Your Schedules

The early games next week are pretty terrible, and OU plays Florida State in the afternoon slot, but here are some other games next week that should be pretty interesting:

  • Miami (FL) at Ohio State - the Canes travel to the Horseshoe. Can they get it done against a much tougher team after obliterating FAMU 45-0? Will Jacory Harris be a cool customer so Brent Musberger can adore him? Only time will tell. This game will be aired on ESPN at the same time as the OU game.
  • BYU at Air Force - another game coinciding with the OU game. This one will be aired on Versus. You can preview Air Force, who OU will play this season, against a quality opponent.
  • Oregon at Tennessee - this is the late game on ESPN2. Oregon smoked New Mexico this week, but it will be interesting to see if they do the same thing against a Tennessee team known for defense, away from the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium.
  • Penn State at Alabama - the prime time game on ESPN. Most people will be watching this one. We get to see Alabama have a good test, and find out whether or not Penn State will be able to challenge Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown.
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