I used to run a Facebook group that discussed NCAA football, and what I thought of as the crowning achievement of that group’s short life was the Sunday morning post I wrote and dubbed The Hangover Cure.
It’s coming here, now, and belatedly. Enjoy.
It has to be Clemson laying an elephantine egg against Alabama. Tommy Bowden’s boys come in ranked in the top ten nationally, fail to score an offensive touchdown, allow ‘Bama to race out to 14-0 and 23-3 advantages, accrue just eight more total yards (188) than the Tide did passing yards, rack up zero total rushing yards, give just eight carries combined to C.J. Spiller and James Davis, and commit only one turnover in the biggest letdown of Week 1. Hell, they even got ‘Bama, which should still be no better than the second-best team in the SEC West, the cover of Sports Illustrated. An anti-game ball to you.
Burn After Reading
Those documents about how Florida’s Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps were custom-engineered by Germans for speed and comfort? Incinerated in a pile behind The Swamp, just like Hawaii’s defense. Filling in for Percy Harvin in the speed role, the duo split eight carries and rolled up 134 yards and two scores. UF’s offensive line and wideout blocking helped, certainly (stone-mitted Riley Cooper made the downfield block of the year so far on Rainey’s TD), but those holes only needed to be open for a half-second or so for the former sprinters who made Urban Meyer’s offense just that much more dangerous.
They also made it possible to talk about the University of Florida’s football team without Tim Tebow for a week. That’s phenomenal.
Oregon shouldn’t be this good a year after falling from the dizzying heights of 2007, losing Dennis Dixon first to every possible injury a leg can sustain and then, with wrecking ball Jonathan Stewart, to the NFL Draft. And yet, there the Quack Attack was, shredding a Washington team that allowed 30 second half points and almost 500 total yards and flummoxing Jake Locker into a 12-of-28 performance through the air that averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt. Theirs is a potent offense again, behind guru du jour Chip Kelly, and the secondary, led by Patrick Chung, will be the only one in the Pac-10 that can stymie the thoroughbreds who play in the Coliseum.
Kung Fu Panda
Speaking of, isn’t zen master Pete Carroll’s use-by date long gone? Shouldn’t his USC teams have plummeted to a hole of NCAA penalties and 3-9 seasons by now? Doesn’t karma work?
Virginia would say no. Victims of a 52-7 brutalizing that made Mark Sanchez’ star a little shinier, the Cavs yielded almost 200 yards to the weekend’s four Trojan Horses of the Apocalypse (C.J. Gable, Joe McKnight, Allen Bradford, and Stafon Johnson) and converted just two of twelve third downs in the face of the fearsome SC defense. The Trojans are again probably the deepest team in the country, and it seems like their offense has caught up to the perennially decapitation-friendly defense; with the Pac-10 down this year, and Beanie Wells likely to be diminished for their Sept. 13th clash with Ohio State, the Carroll Carnival could be back in Miami to win another BCS title in January.
After all, Oklahoma still has skidmarks from the last time the game was there.
There is no truth to the rumor that Rooms-To-Go locations throughout the state of West F. Virginia were sold out this week in anticipation of mocking blazes in Morgantown. But Rich Rodriguez’ Michigan debut, a lackluster 27-22 defeat to a good Utah team that, given Big Blue’s offensive awakening late in the game, could be cited by John McCain as a sign the war will be won, surely gave the folks who loaded up on pitchforks something to do.
Yeah, there’s something troubling about allowing almost 400 yards to renowned gridiron powerhouse Villanova, and yes, East Carolina over the ‘Neers is the trendy upset pick this week, but for one glorious stretch of fall, vindication came to the hills of Appalachia.
The Dark Knight
Isaiah “Juice” Williams is Illinois’ taker of souls, and despite his team’s 52-42 loss to the nitrous oxide-chugging Missouri Tigers, there is much to be proud of in Champaign.
Williams crammed what used to be half a season’s aerial work into his first game, throwing for 452 yards and five touchdowns, but the most important number he notched was 61.9, his completion percentage. While he’s still going to be knocked for being a more effective runner than passer, this was a strong first step in establishing himself as arguably the Big Ten’s best quarterback.
You know how the SEC is eternally slurped for being the toughest conference in America?
Well, disappointing performances by Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas aside, the SEC was damn impressive in Week 1, with all its Top 25 squads not coached by a large orange cream-filled donut schools winning impressively (Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Alabama) and South Carolina thumping NC State.
And though it’s technically from Week 2, Vanderbilt’s surprise win over Carolina makes the East look far deeper than it probably is. Not a bad week for a conference that is still suffering from whatever shamanic curse saddled it with the abomination of Raycom Sports, which, during the Florida-Hawaii game, displayed graphics that obscured the field of play, consistently mangled descriptions of play, and, in the coup de grace, posted a scoreline that left Raycom in the third quarter while the game moved into its last stanza.
If I had to pick a national championship matchup for Miami at this very second, it would be USC and Florida. The Gators look faster than any team in the country and much improved on defense, and the Trojans look like a juggernaut that could sweep through their schedule unblemished.
Why is Heisman voting so weird? Well, the guy topping my ballot threw just one TD last week.
- Tim Tebow: He’ll be here until another stellar performance unseats him or UF loses.
- Chase Daniel: Surgically lethal against Illinois.
- Mark Sanchez: Needs more big weeks against better teams.
- Pat White: Could only win if WVU goes undefeated.
- Knowshon Moreno: Georgia will continue to pound the ball.
There will be a Blog Poll, starting next week, I promise. Leave notes, suggestions, brickbats in the comments. And I’ll see you Saturday for magnificent live-bloggery.