Saturday, August 30, 2008

College Football Week 1 Roundup

So here's a short analysis of how my three teams did in Week 1 of the college football season. Two of the results were surprises to me, one wasn't. And the one that wasn't is, naturally, being treated as a surprise by everyone in the sports media right now.

Vanderbilt 34, Miami (OH) 13: To be honest, I didn't expect Vandy to win this game. I thought Miami was one of those dangerous mid-major teams that has the chance to knock off major-conference doormats. Guess I forgot Ben Roethlisberger is long gone. And I also thought that losing Earl Bennett and Chris Williams would pretty much kill our offense. Two things about this game give me hope that we could beat teams not named Duke and Rice the rest of the way. One, it was an away game. Granted, for Vandy they're practically all away games, but putting a smackdown on a decent opponent on the road oughta be a good sign. Second, Vandy was 8-15 on third down. Not bad for a road game, or for a team that didn't break the 100-yard mark passing.

East Carolina 27, #17 Virginia Tech 22: What the hell happened here? If you had told me that a team won on a fourth-quarter blocked punt for a touchdown, I would have told you it was Tech, since they always seem to come up with that stuff. Guess Beamer got Beamered. Anyway, looks like a) Tech'll really miss Brandon Ore, b) the defense, which is supposed to be Tech's specialty, can't be all that good if they're making Patrick Pinkney look like Joe Montana, and c) ECU's sneaky good. Watch out for them. I thought this would be a good year for Tech, but when they lost Ore they lost most of their offensive effectiveness. Glennon can't carry this team.

Utah 25, Michigan 23: The only thing that surprised me about this game was that it was that close. Utah is a far better team than Michigan, who is rebuilding with a young team and a new coach. There's good news and bad news for the Utes from this game. The good news is that the defense, which is supposed to be the weakness of this team, held up well, giving up only two short-field touchdowns after the first quarter. The bad news? Good teams don't yack away 15-point leads in the fourth quarter against inferior opponents. They made the plays when it mattered, though, stopping a two-point conversion that would have tied it, then holding Michigan without a first down on their final drive.

Even better news for the Utes, though? This game was probably their toughest test until the Holy War... which is in Salt Lake this year. There's a distinct chance they'll be 11-0 going into that game. The Brig took care of business against Northern Iowa, and I don't see a team that can beat them on their schedule until then, either. But if the Utes want to get past the Yners, they'll have to avoid those fourth-quarter brain farts that happened in this game...

Quick note on mid-majors in the BCS - if ECU can get past West Virginia next week (no small task, to be sure), I don't see another team that could beat them on their schedule. So what happens if ECU and the Utah/BYU winner both finish the season undefeated? Is there room for both in the BCS?

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nickson didn't look great in the pocket, but it seemed to me his mobility has increased and he's become more decisive. I'm optimistic about our chance to have a decent season. However, the way Rice's offense looked this weekend, that may be more challenging than originally anticipated. Still, it's quite clear where my loyalties lie in that one. (We're going to be at the Duke game, right? I mean, I'll be there, but not sure whether you're coming to the reunion or not.)

What the hell happened here? According to a Mr. Ricardo Castles, Esq., who attended said game, Tech didn't really belong in the rankings in the first place. He described this as a sort of rebuilding year (perhaps the reason they inexplicably redshirted Tyrod). Plus, ECU has a quality squad this year.

I knew you'd be pleased about Utah. I care not at all other than I enjoy watching the formerly mighty fall (at least in college football).