The first week of college football was full of surprises and disappointments; it is what makes college football worth watching. College football is exciting, surprising and unpredictable all at once. There was some really bad news for the Michigan Wolverines, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Florida State Seminoles.
First the Wolverines managed to get beaten by Division 1-AA Appalachian State 34-32 on their home field as 110,000 fans watched in the Big House at Ann Arbor. Michigan went into the game ranked No. 5 in both preseason polls. When the poll results came out Tuesday following Saturday’s game, Michigan dropped out of the poll completely.
It marked the first time that a team ranked that high had completely dropped out the poll since the AP Poll was expanded to 25 teams in 1989. Since the death of the legendary Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines have gone 0-3 and given up 108 points.
“I wouldn’t want to be on their practice field Tuesday,” said victorious Appalachian State Coach Jerry Moore.
To compare the two football programs, Appalachian State’s football budget is $1.5 million, and Michigan is in the middle of a $226 million renovation of its stadium. I would say forget the renovation and get some real players at Michigan. The upset has already been called by many sports pundits and followers as the biggest upset in the history of college football since a AA team has never beaten a ranked team in NCAA play.
Then Notre Dame got a prime whipping from Georgia Tech 33-3. The game marked the most lopsided opening game loss in Notre Dame history, and first time the Irish have failed to score a touchdown in an opener since 1985.
Geez, where is the offense? Charlie Weis is all about offense, but the Irish have clearly suffered from defensive weaknesses the past two seasons. I am part Irish and a Notre Dame fan. I want to see Weis succeed big time at Notre Dame. Weis is starting his third season and this opening game loss does not bode well for Notre Dame.
Last year the Irish scored 31 points a game (16th best among 119 Division I-A schools) and gave up 24 points a game (67th best). Defense is a problem for the offensive-minded Weis, and it will continue to be until he fixes it. It almost goes without saying that offense is a huge problem at the moment.
By the end of Saturday, No. 19-ranked Florida State took on way too much swamp water and was upset by Clemson, 24-18. Florida State was conspicuously absent in the polls Tuesday and Clemson snuck into the 25th spot in the AP Poll.
I was not surprised by Clemson’s win as they were at home and last year Clemson gave up only 16 points a game (16th best in the nation).
Here are some ranked teams that showed how to take care of business the first week:
No. 2 LSU shut out Mississippi State 45-0.
No. 6 Florida rolled past AA Western Kentucky 49-3.
No. 8 Oklahoma slapped North Texas around, 79-10.
No. 10 Louisville turned poor AA Murray State into road kill, 73-10.
No. 11 Ohio State did not give up a touchdown to AA Youngstown State in a 38-6 victory.
No. 16 Rutgers beat Buffalo 38-3.
No. 17 Penn State shut out Florida International 59-0.
No. 20 Nebraska beat Nevada 52-10.
No. 22 TCU shut out Baylor 27-0.
No. 23 Hawaii slammed AA Northern Colorado 63-6 and led 49-0 after three quarters.
No. 24 Boise State hammered AA Weber State 56-7.
Other ranked teams that won but were not impressive winning or they gave up too many points included No. 3 West Virginia, No. 4 Texas, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 14 UCLA, No. 18 Auburn, No. 21 Arkansas and No. 25 Texas A&M.
At least three unranked teams shined in their openers: Indiana topped AA Indiana State 55-7, Kansas ripped Central Michigan 52-7, and Cincinnati drubbed AA Southeast Missouri State 59-3.
I did not think that Cincinnati could score 59 points on anybody; last year the Bearcats averaged 21 points a game and gave up 20 points.
Three other teams did not shine as brightly. The Big 10’s Minnesota was upset at home by Bowling Green 32-31 in overtime. Bowling Green led 21-0 at the half against the Golden Gophers (what a terrible nickname for Minnesota in this game).
In-state rivalries always are unpredictable and Colorado proved it again by barely sliding by Colorado State 31-28 at home in another overtime game. One might say this proves that both teams have some offense. I would say this proves that both teams lack defense.
In Oregon many fans and pundits call the annual Oregon-Oregon State rivalry The Civil War. One could say the same about this year’s Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.
Six other game results I separated out for special attention and comment.
Two of the six involved Pac 10 teams which saw the No. 12 California Golden Bears take down the No. 15 Tennessee Volunteers 45-31 (many think this is THE year at Cal Berkeley to challenge USC), and redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies past Syracuse 42-12.
New Alabama Coach Nick Saban did what he was hired to do, notch a 52-6 win over AA Western Carolina in the Crimson Tide’s home opener. Alabama’s SEC fortunes should rise with Saban.
New Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio led the Spartans past UAB 55-18 as his new offense scored touchdowns in its first six possessions-that is impressive-while sprinting to a 42-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Michigan State’s Big 10 fortunes should also rise with Dantonio.I was happy to see two teams I like win their openers. In a rather obscure game Mike Price’s UTEP Miners slid past New Mexico 10-6.
I still believe that Mike Price was set up to be driven out at Alabama before he was ever given a chance to coach the Tide. The are still many Southern boys who do not like Yankees that far south. The second game saw Wyoming beat Virginia 23-3 in their opener at home. Not many fans care about Wyoming but I do.
I like the Cowboys because they play very tough at home no matter who lines up against them. Wyoming takes pride in its Cowboys. Invade their territory and they just might clean your clock and brand your backside.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley