Monday, September 07, 2009

Lost Money and Earned Regrets: College Football Recap Week 1

After watching my week one college football picks go up in flames, I finally decided on a snappy title for my college football recap. Hopefully no one actually bet on my picks (or even read them, for that matter). Here are some highlights from the first weekend of college football.


Tulsa 37 Tulane 13
Tulsa establishes an early C-USA lead with a beat down of Tulane. A few things of note: Tulane actually won the time of possession battle (32:44-27:16), Tulsa felt it was necessary to tack on another touchdown with 1:46 left in the game despite already leading 30-13, and who's idea was it to make this the Friday night ESPN game?


East Carolina 29 Appalachian State 24
Appalachian State almost did it again, nearly overcoming a 29-7 third quarter deficit with 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The game wasn’t over until East Carolina stopped the Mountaineers 4th down attempt with 16 seconds left. Some of these FCS schools are looking downright feisty.

Minnesota 23 Syracuse 20
College basketball fans rejoiced watching Greg Paulus, one of the most annoying players in any sport, ever, scramble around for 30 seconds before throwing the deciding interception in overtime. Minnesota has to be concerned the Orange even got it to overtime.

#6 Ohio State 31 Navy 27
Jim Tressel wins a lot of games, and he does beat Michigan, but at some point he has to show that he can actually coach. After Navy intercepted Terrell Pryor with 3:30 left in the game, two of the three plays they called were quarterback Ricky Dobbs runs up the middle (the second one scoring the potential tying touchdown). Now, on that second run that scored the TD, on 3rd-and-1 from the Ohio State 24, the announcers were screaming run up the middle, everyone in the stands was thinking run up the middle, I was screaming run up the middle, and every person alive who was aware of this game was thinking run up the middle. Jim Tressel, however, was thinking whatever mysterious play his patented spread-the-defense-play-the-corners-ten-yards-off-the-line-of-scrimmage formation is supposed to stop. Of course, with the middle of the field wide open and the defensive back in all of the wrong positions to make a play, Dobbs ran in untouched for the score. The Buckeyes are lucky Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo made an equally dumb play call on the two point conversion (why would Navy pick that moment to spread the field and pass for the first time in their history?). Luck won’t be nearly enough to even stay in the game against USC next week (let alone win).

#9 Penn State 31 Akron 7
This game could have been much worse, as the Nittany Lions led 31-0 at halftime and didn’t allow an Akron first down for the entire first half. Penn State looked like the cream of the Big Ten, while Akron looked like a team from the MAC.

Purdue 52 Toledo 31
Prior to kickoff, the Boilermakers and the Rockets apparently agreed to use this game to decide once and for all if a good running attack is more valuable than a good rushing attack. Purdue (315 yards rushing) and the ground game came out ahead of Toledo’s aerial prowess (423 yards passing).

#22 Iowa 17 Northern Iowa 16
Will this near-disaster for the Hawkeyes drop them out of the Top 25, or will the impressive feat of blocking back-to-back game-winning field goal attempts overshadow the fact that Iowa was out-gained (354-329) and deserved to lose?

Tennessee 63 Western Kentucky 7
I was going to write about how Lane Kiffin is apparently as big of a dick as his offseason behavior made him seem for running up the score, but apparently he pulled his starters in the fourth quarter when the score was 42-7. Western Kentucky is just that bad (Kiffin probably still is a dick, though. Vols starting QB Jonathan Crompton threw his fifth TD pass 5 seconds into the 4th quarter, when the score was already 35-7.)

#15 Georgia Tech 37 Jacksonville State 17
Jacksonville State is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, which makes geographical sense only to the same people who once put the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC East. Jacksonville State is also the former home of the first female athlete to score points in a Division I football game (placekicker Ashley Martin in 2001, who scored a touchdown on a fake FG pitch-and-run.*).

*Not really. She kicked a field goal.

Air Force 72 Nichols State 0
The Falcons must have the deepest backfield in the country. Fourteen players carried the ball, combining for 68 attempts and 474 yards. It was a balanced effort, too, with five players gaining more than 50 yards and leading rusher Connor Dietz gaining only 83 (on 7 attempts!).

#4 USC 56 San Jose State 3
Something tells me Coye Francies, Jarron Gilbert, and Chris Owens wouldn’t have changed the outcome of this one even if they were still in school. When San Jose State made it to the second quarter up 3-0, they should have loaded up the bus, cancelled the rest of the season, and had a parade.

#23 Notre Dame 35 Nevada 0
Notre Dame seriously impressed me with this win. I thought Nevada would make a game of it, but I was obviously mistaken. Notre Dame freshman linebacker Manti Te'o made one of the more impressive plays of the weekend (at the 5:00 mark) when he chased Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick down from 15 yards away to prevent a first down in the second quarter. Jimmy Clausen (15/18, 315 yards, 4 TDs) looked downright Brady Quinn-esque.

Michigan 31 Western Michigan 7
Want to snap an embarrassing two-game home opener losing streak that includes the biggest upset in college football history? Schedule a MAC team. Also, play Denard Robinson. That kid is sick.

Baylor 24 Wake Forest 21
The Bears took a big step toward their first bowl berth since 1994.

#9 Oklahoma State 24 #13 Georgia 10
The maligned Cowboys defense came through in a big way, holding Georgia to 257 total yards. If performances like these become the norm, Oklahoma State could be making a surprise BCS bowl appearance.

Missouri 37 Illinois 9
Big Ten fans have to be concerned about the strength of the league when the team picked to finish fourth or fifth in the conference gets absolutely blitzed by a team that is in a rebuilding year.

#21 North Carolina 40 The Citadel 6
I hate Butch Davis.

Clemson 37 Middle Tennessee State 14
Clemson stud running back CJ Spiller left the game with an injury, but team sources say it isn't serious, which has to be a relief for the Tigers. Clemson's return game (a 96-yard TD return on the opening kickoff by Spiller--who also a had a 50-yard punt return--and a 61-yard punt return for a TD by receiver Jacoby Ford highlighted the day) pretty much won the game by itself.

William & Mary 26 Virginia 14
Coming into the season, Al Groh was expected to show some big improvement over last year to keep his job. Losing to William & Mary, a team my friend Bob would pick every week as a goof and get big laughs every week, is not a good start.

Stanford 39 Washington State 13
The Cardinal are my sleepers in the PAC-10. For some reason, I think they're going to cause some trouble for the conference favorites. I mean, they already have a half-game lead on USC!

Auburn 37 Louisiana Tech 13
Are we certain Auburn sucks? Sports Illustrated had them finishing last in the SEC West. Are the Tigers really worse than Mississippi State?

#1 Florida 62 Charleston Southern 3
Upset of the week! The Gators failed to cover the mythical 73-point spread, embarrassing themselves and bringing great shame to the entire SEC. Seriously, though, what benefit did this game serve to Florida? Is their self-confidence higher now? Are they warmed up and ready for Sun Belt juggernaut Troy? I still don't get it.

Richmond 24 Duke 16
I guess all of that preseason talk about Duke potentially ending their bowl drought was just talk, huh? If only they could have held on to Greg Paulus.

#24 Nebraska 49 Florida Atlantic 3
I'd say it was looking like 1995 all over again in Lincoln, except for the fact that the Huskers allowed 358 total yards, which was a three game total for the '95 team.

#20 BYU 14 #3 Oklahoma 13
The most important game of the day. BYU joins Boise State in the BCS buster conversation, and Oklahoma has their title dreams put in jeopardy with the injury to Sam Bradford. Bradford is supposed to miss at most 4 weeks, so Oklahoma should be able to start Big 12 play with just this one loss (assuming Miami isn't playing like it's 1987).

Houston 55 Northwestern State 7
Guess where Northwestern State is located.*

*Natchintoches, Louisiana. If asked to think of a place less northwestern, I would be hard pressed to beat Natchintoches, Louisiana. Wikipedia also has this interesting blurb about Northwestern State:

"In recent years, Chaplin's Lake, which is an oxbow of the Red River, has been home to sporadic anaconda or python encounters. It has been surmised the reptiles might have been pets kept by students in the adjacent fraternity house or Natchitoches residents living on the other side of the lake. Doubt has also been expressed that these sightings might be alcohol-fueled figments of the student population's imagination. It has been speculated that the sightings might actually be misidentified alligator or nutria. The sightings have failed to deter the university rowing team from using the lake. However, use by the general student population has declined in recent years. "

#2 Texas 59 Louisiana-Monroe 20
Sure, they lost by 39 to the Longhorns, but at least Louisiana-Monroe can rest easy knowing they don't have pythons and anacondas in their lake.

#25 Kansas 49 Northern Colorado 3
Northern Colorado may have lost the game, but at least none of their punters stabbed each other.

#5 Alabama 34 #7 Virginia Tech 24
So much for the 10-7 defensive battle I expected. I was at Dave & Buster's when this game was on, so, as you can imagine, I was having a pretty shitty Saturday night.

#12 California 52 Maryland 13
Heisman darkhorse Jahvid Best: 137 yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries! With Sam Bradford out, it's up to Best and Colt McCoy to prevent a Tebow hell from descending upon earth.

#11 LSU 31 Washington 23
At least Washington showed a little pride in losing their 15th straight game.

#8 Ole Miss 45 Memphis 14
Javean Snead, whom Steve Spurrier thinks is better than Tim Tebow, struggled mightily through three quarters, going 8-17 for 102 yards and 2 INTs. Although he rebounded to throw 2 TDs in the 4th quarter, Snead's struggles have to give pause to those who picked Ole Miss to contend for the SEC title.

Colorado State 23 Colorado 17
Colorado coach Dan Hawkin's seat just went from hot to sizzling. If things don't turn around in Boulder, he can always go coach intramurals, brother.


Cincinnati 47 Rutgers 15
I guess Bearcats coach Brian Kelly really was angry about having to play Rutgers on Labor Day. For future reference, don't jerk around with that man's holidays.

Miami (Fl.) 38 #18 Florida State 34
If you would have told me that the Canes and 'Noles would engage in a shootout that would go down to the final play and have more exciting plays than 90% of the weekend's other action combined, I would have told you that the new Linkin Park album Hybrid Theory was off the charts.

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