Sunday, September 03, 2006

College Football Hangover: Week 1

Notes following a day of immersing myself in all things college football in Gainesville, FL:

(1) Notre Dame ain't that good. It's not simply that Notre Dame isn't even CLOSE to the No. 2 team in the country; it's that I question if they're even Top TEN.

"But it was a road game" and "But GA Tech was better than people thought" aren't legit excuses. The oh-so-vaunted Notre Dame offense was a dud. Brady Quinn has no business being at the top of Heisman leaderboards today. Maybe down the road. But today? No way. (More on Heisman below.)

Quickie readers know I didn't have ND in my preseason Top 5, and I think that last night's performance justifies that. I hope voters don't simply keep them at No. 2 out of inertia -- just because you're No. 2 and win doesn't mean you EARNED the right to be No. 2.

(2) Colorado: Worst loss ever? Losing to 1-AA Montana State is, at least on the field, infinitely worse than anything that ever happened in the Barnett Era (and that includes last year's Big 12 title game 70-3 pasting). It's a sign of how low the expectations in Boulder are that fans and boosters haven't asked for Dan Hawkins' head already.

(3) Vols still stink: I'm biased, having spent the weekend among Gators fans, but Tennessee's win over Cal is overrated. For starters, and speaking of overrated, Cal was, period. Freaking Pac-10... it's like a rule. Second, UT had ALL OFFSEASON to prepare for this game -- it was, for Phil Fulmer, the must-win of must-wins. Wait until they have to get through the rest of the SEC, particularly on the road.

(4) Florida report: The Gators were not particularly impressive, though the benefits of recruiting were obvious, in the form of depth and team speed. True freshman stud (and consensus hs p.o.y. last year) Percy Harvin justified the hype; every time he touched the ball, it felt like he could take it to the house. That makes him CFB's Freshman Class heir to Reggie Bush.

(Ted Ginn is Reggie Bush's true heir this season, but Harvin is right in the mix -- particularly for a true frosh in his first game. And where Ginn seems to be mostly a threat receiving and returning, "Oh, Mercy Percy" (that's my instant nickname for him) showed skills as a running threat, too.)

(5) Ohio St-Texas preview. Speaking of Ginn, it's not too early to start promoting next weekend's Ohio St-Texas game in Austin, which -- rightfully -- will likely determine one half of the national championship game. (I'd actually argue that the losing team could even end up in the BCS title game vs. the winner, in a rematch everyone would want to see.)

I keep waffling back and forth about who I think is going to win, but after looking at yesterday's games, I think that Ohio State outscores Texas in a shootout to rival last year's national title game. OSU has an offense that rivals USC's from last season (but their defense is probably just as sketchy as USC's was).

1. Troy Smith
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Steve Slaton
(Out: Brady Quinn)

Last thought: By the end of the season, I think most experts and fans will agree that Peterson is a better NFL prospect than Reggie Bush. Maybe not with Bush' potential as a flashy game-breaker, but with the potential to be an awesome every-down back, which Bush doesn't look like he's going to be. How crazy would it be for Houston to end up with Peterson -- I think many people could argue they would be better off with Peterson (and Mario Williams) than Bush (and next year's draft's top defensive player). Of course, the Texans will find a way to screw this up; I'm sure Gary Kubiak thinks he can get away with the Broncos-style revolving door of RBs. If that's the case, I'm sure any of the other "dregs" teams -- like the Jets -- would be happy to have him. But if I had to put together an NFL draft board now, regardless of position or knowing the needs of the NFL team drafting No. 1, I'd take Peterson over Quinn, who looked solid but certainly not spectacular last night.

-- D.S.


Kevin said...

ND's schedule is too touch for them to make the title game, even if they were as good as people thought. Same goes for OSU and the SEC teams.

Aly said...

WVU National Champs baby...Steve Slaton is freakin awesome

Jake C said...

First game of the season with all of the hype and pressure can cause a slow start. ND dominated the second half and their defense play great more importantly (again in the 2nd half). That is what was supposed to hold ND back...and even when the offense faltered (again remember it should have been 20-10) they still won. A win in a strong opponents stadium for the 1st game does mean something.

Is ND #1, no, but several people also picked them to be upset. So just watch...calling ND overrated is the most impulsive, incorrect, judgement of the first weekend.

Oh, and no kidding about Harvin. Local product right here in VA Beach. His teammate and fellow WR wasn't that far behind either. Lucky dogs Florida is...he is a STUD!

Lastly...farewell Agassi. Great speech, great memories, great 1st two rounds. We'll miss you!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have seen Garret Wolfe against Ohio State. He's going to totally DESTROY my Redhawks down the road.

Ohio State fans are still expecting their D to shut down Texas. But Texas has 4-5 guys that can do what Wolfe did. You're probably right about a shoot-out, Dan, and the QB edge goes strongly to Ohio State.

Anonymous said...

Do I get banned on here if I take a 'wait and see' approach? ND did not look good, especially Brady Quinn. I think he'll be fine though...the thing I would be concerned about if I were an ND fan is their kicking game. That kid stinks. Maybe his awful kicking only cost my buddies who bet on them this weekend, but as the guy on Westwood One radio said during the game, you don't win a National Title without a kicking game. They will lose to Penn State next weekend if they continue to play like that.

The NOVA Report said...

Impulsive? What the fuck? THat's what Shanoff and the DQ are all about!

Notre Dame is going to the Gator Bowl at best, West Virginia and Ohio State are still my favorites to face off in the national title game (explanation-- no conference title games), and Virginia Tech is going to have a really rough year on offense.

Back to the Irish-- If they're not able to beat a middle of the pack ACC team with an entire off-season to prepare, what the hell is going to happen against Penn State and Meatchicken? Nevermind the juggernaut that is (still) USC.

Enjoy the Gator Bowl, domerz.

Qwagmire said...

I think West Virginia is playing my old high school next weak. I know I spelled weak wrong, but thats WVU's schedule. WEAK. Brady Quinn and 10 fat guys could give them a game, and Quinn didnt impress at all.

The NOVA Report said...

Also, the best running back in this year's class is Michael Bush. Think Lendale White with a mean(er) streak.

Anonymous said...

One of the more interesting things of the weekend, I thought, were the implications on a potentially hufge Week 3 matchup between Nebraska and USC.

Taylor is a tougher QB than Robert Johnson, he won't hurry himself into the kinds of mistakes Johnson did inside the 30 last night. We also have four starter-quality RBs in our stable, whereas Arkansas was missing their starter and had no backups the quality of our 2 and 3. Our defense won't tire as quickly as Arkansas' did, and the front seven will get more pressure, I think, than the 'backs did. And people can say that La. Tech has an average defense, but Tyrone Moss had whoever he was on covered up on most plays until the end. So I'll give USC two, sometimes three receivers that are locked up and ineligible to catch a pass per play. That still leaves, in my opinion, a 3rd option or maybe even two TEs if we keep bunching like we did last night. If our spreading the ball wasn't a fluke, we could just catch the USC offense in a state of not knowing where we're going to put the ball.

It might be Nicholls State, but our offense gets a chance to work out its kinks and our defense gets a shot to further establish its rotational rhythm. USC has no more gameday experience before we walk into Hollywood with something to prove.

I know it's bad to hype myself for a victory against the reigning dynasty of the decade, but if we have plenty of tiny pieces fit themselves into the's so possible I can taste it.

The NOVA Report said...

...and just like that:

Michael Bush: out for the year.

The NOVA Report said...

Here's the source:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Gators didn't look amazing, but then they never do in game 1, and at least the last couple years its been a decent team that first week instead of the usual UAB/Ohio/SDSU/FAMU whipping boy.

Re Percy Harvin, yes, the buzz among people I know is that watching he and Tebow for the next 2 years is going to be amazing. I think Harvin is going to be the guy who gets Gator fans on board with this offense--when they see a WR running the ball like that everything will seem so right.

Also, since there's no MQ anymore I have to say it here I guess: With Michael Bush out, Louisville is going to lose 2 Big East games, to WVU and to USF, setting USF-WVU up as the unlikely de facto Big East Championship Game. No, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Great weekend of college football!

The Gators always seem to do the same thing in these warmup games since the mid 90s.

The other team always Seems to score 1st and their visiting fans go batty thinking they have a chance to beat the Gators at the Swamp. Then they get stomped.

Southern Miss isn't an aweful program and hung with 10-2 Alabama last year and beat Nebraska the year before.

I think Notre Dame will rebound, but will someone slap Charlie Weis...1st ND isn't the New England Patriots...quit comparing. 2nd Don't act like you're the class of college coaches because you won a few rings as an offensive coordinator as the Pats. Pete Carroll was a dud in the NFL yet the guy rules the college game. Win against a legitimately ranked team then brag.

Terry_Kelly said...

I'm a CU student and I don't know if this loss is as bad as losing to Texas by 67, but it's close. It's just disappointing cause we were all so high on the Hawkins era, and then our team goes out and plays like they belong in 1-AA. All I know is that we will forget about this loss as long as we can beat Colorado St. this weekend in Denver. We can go 1-11 for all I care as long as we beat CSU (although it'd be nice to beat Nebraska too.)

Sports Nation said...

ND is sooo overrated !! Brady sucks

Is it just me or do we have some of the coolest QB names this year

James David Booty (no explanation)
Colt McCoy (fits Texas)
Troy Smith (If he was on USC , it would fit more)

Anonymous said...

"So just watch...calling ND overrated is the most impulsive, incorrect, judgement of the first weekend."

Can someone please, PLEASE tell me just how many ranked teams ND has beaten since the beginning of last season?

I'll give you a hint- the answer is ZERO.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would call you biased on the Vols call. I'm a TN native and after last year, I had grown entirely disgusted with the Vols. But the way UT players were playing every play like it was a bowl game, none of the lethargic half-hearted performance from last year. I was worried about Ainge, and still do some, but he did well and should have restored a good deal of self confidence. And the defense, they were swarming, nuff said.

Yes things will get tougher in SEC play, but even my buddies who are Auburn and Bama fans admitted the Vols are for real this year. Long road to an SEC championship, but the 8 wins mark looks very achievable now with 9 or 10 I think being more realistic.