September 02, 2008

Thoughts from Week 1

- Nicholas Montgomery Saban. WITNESS. WOW. Talk about making a statement in the
first game of the season and the second year of the Saban era. They just plain dismantled Clemson in every way and pushed them around the field. Bama is for real, and they are going to be a load this year and going forward in the future.

Let's be honest, if you want to win in college football, you hire Nick Saban. He's become the Bill Parcells of college football. You bring him in, he'll recruit his face off, make your program mentally and physically tougher, and have your program rolling within a couple years.

I hope he stays in college football for the rest of his career and retires at Alabama. He is made for the college game, and he's got one of the most prestigious jobs in America. I hope he doesn't get the itch to try the pros again. It is good for college football when Alabama is good.

- I know we say this every year, but how good is the SEC?? Are you kidding me?? Florida looks like a top 5 team at least, Georgia is loaded, Alabama just blew out a preseason top 10 team, LSU's defense is just plain scary, Auburn probably would be one of the top 2 teams in any other conference, and that's before you start discussing Tennessee and South Carolina. If I was making my top 10, I'd have at least 4-5 SEC teams in it right now. That is ABSURD.

Why are the SEC teams so nasty?? I think it all starts up front for these teams. Alabama physically dominated Clemson on the o and d-lines. It was the same thing that happened in the last two BCS championship games. These SEC teams are so physical and also have the top line speed. Ohio State had similar speed with Florida and LSU in the skill areas, but they just got physically whipped up front. The defensive tackles in the SEC are blowing up every play, and their schemes are so aggressive. Where do all these SEC teams find these nasty defensive tackles?? The other schools outside the SEC just can't hang with those guys.

How sad is it that maybe the 4-5th best SEC team just destroyed the best team in the ACC?? College football these days is about USC and the SEC, and everyone else is a clear notch below.

- Speaking of nasty, USC looked equally scary. As Dan Hicks would say, "EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT??!" Good god, the USC machine keeps rolling along. Their defense is absolutely terrifying. Maybe as good as I've seen in a long time. The only question for USC is whether they can stay focused for 12 games. If so, there's no reason they can't run the table this year and get back to the BCS Championship game. With their defense and the skill players emerging, USC is as good as ever.

- I didn't get to watch any of the Michigan game . How did they look?? Sounds like they were awful for about 3 quarters. It's going to be an interesting season in Ann Arbor. If things get ugly, I wonder how much patience the fans up there will have for Rich Rodriguez. I would imagine that they will not be pleased to see a 4-5 win season even under the new regime. I wonder if a rough season would do any damage to their recruiting.

- Another tough week for the Big 10 with Illinois and Michigan State going down in nonconference games. Death, taxes, and the Big 10 coming up small in big nonconference games. It never fails these days. In a year when the Big 10 really needed to regain some credibility, the Big 10 did itself no favors in week one. I expect the problems of the Big 10 to continue over the next few weeks.

- Great start to the Bo Pelini era in Nebraska. Sounds like the locals are fired up. All of the sudden, that Virginia Tech game looks winnable. Shhhhh. Something special could be brewing in Lincoln this year.

- Is there anything funnier than seeing the two most overhyped teams of the preseason, Clemson and Pitt, both get spanked in their opening game?? Talk about deflating. At least Clemson lost to a team that was just better than them, but Pitt should be hanging their heads in shame. How do you lose to Bowling Green at home?? All that fuss about them, and suddenly they are right back to square one and the reality that they were 5-7 last year is setting back in. If they don't have a winning season, how could Pitt justify hanging onto Wannstedt?? Isn't the goal of a college football program to try to win games??

- Not a good start for the Big East at all. Pitt loses at home to a MAC school, Rutgers loses at home to Fresno, Syracuse gets pounded by Northwestern, and Louisville gets destroyed by Kentucky in a rivalry game. Steve Kragthorpe might as well start packing up his office. Louisville is a mess, and I can't believe how much they have regressed in only a year.

- Texas A&M lost at home to Arkansas State....holy crap! How is that even possible?? Isn't there something to be said for just lining up and spanking a team like that?? Arkansas State! Couldn't have asked for a worse start to the Mike Sherman era.

- Terrelle Pryor - STUD. He was a man among boys out there. Looks like Vince Young Part Deux from what I could tell. It will be interesting to see how much involvement he gets in the offense this year. Pryor is going to be a big time weapon with his legs. Beanie Wells...ouch. Backbreaking injury for Ohio State (and my fantasy team) if Beanie is out for an extended period of time. They are going to need Beanie to carry the load if they want to win the Big 10 and/or hang with USC.

- Taking a peek at ND's schedule, is it possible that we aren't going to play anyone with a winning record this year until the USC game?? Michigan State looks like they might struggle to finish .500, Pitt is obviously shaky at best, North Carolina barely got by McNeese State at home, Washington looks as bad as ever, and Michigan is clearly in transition. Just about every team on our schedule looks worse than expected. The only team that looks like they could be better than advertised is Stanford.

- Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ty Willingham. Dead Man Walking. When you lay an egg in a critical game in a season that will likely determine your coaching future, it's probably a sign that the team has packed it in. I'm not sure they could have played any worse. Their defense is slow and soft, their line literally does not block, and they have no receivers who can get open or make a play for Locker. And almost on cue, Washington throws in a second half meltdown with no adjustments at halftime. Classic Ty. The guy never fails to deliver. Washington is even worse than I thought they'd be.

I was out in Seattle over the weekend for a wedding, and talked a lot of Ty Willingham while I was out there. Washington is on the edge of downtown Seattle and has a pretty large following in the Seattle area. Fans are surprisingly passionate about the "U-DUB," and people have finally reached the boiling point with Willingham from what I could tell. I have to say that I'm not really shedding any tears for Washington fans. They never should have hired him in the first place and easily could have fired him after year two and year three when it became obvious that he wasn't cut out for rebuilding that program.

The only question now is when, not if, Willingham will be fired. The debate is officially over. I think he is going to be fired before the season is over, maybe even within the first few weeks of the season. Ty Willingham is a program cancer. Why would you keep him around when he is clearly doing long term damage to that program??

By the way, when did Ty start going so bald?? He is practically turning into a Mike Jarvis on that sideline. Is there something in that Seattle water??

- Power poll heading into week 2:

(1) USC
(2) Florida
(3) Alabama

Since most of the top teams in college football played I-AA teams, I'm only ranking the three teams that actually played a legitimate opponent. USC, Florida, and Alabama were the most impressive teams in week one, and they are the only teams I can legitimately put in my top 5 five at this point.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nice recap. In response to your Michigan query, they looked horrible and there was no reason that the game should been so close. The referees absolutely killed Utah with two specious pass interference calls on two touchdown drives (one of which nullified an interception). There were also multiple intentional grounding calls against Utah where the pass was batted down at the line- try to figure that one out. UM played better on defense in the second half, although they were a sieve in the first half.

As much as I like to mock the oft-repeated "SEC speed" line, there is no question that the SEC is the most dominant conference. They are loaded with great teams and great players at all positions.

Finally, I think the race is on between Willingham and Greg Robinson for first firing. UW plays a tougher schedule, so Ty won't have an opportunity for a truly embarassing loss, but who knows whether they will win a game all year? Robinson could seal his fate with a loss to Akron and/or Northeastern in the next 2 weeks.