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College Football 2007 – Who Was Up and Down During College Football’s First Weekend
The first week of college football was full of surprises and disappointments; it’s what makes college football worth watching. College football is exciting, surprising and unpredictable all at once. There has been some very bad news for the Michigan Wolverines, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Florida State Seminoles.
The Wolverines first managed to get beaten by Division 1-AA Appalachian State 34-32 on their home turf as 110,000 fans watched in the big house in Ann Arbor. Michigan entered the game ranked No. 5 in both preseason polls. When the poll results came out Tuesday after Saturday’s game, Michigan dropped out of the poll altogether.
It was the first time a team this highly ranked had dropped out of the poll completely since the AP poll was expanded to 25 teams in 1989. Since the death of legendary Bo Schembechler, Wolverines have gone 0-3 and dropped 108 points. .
“I wouldn’t want to be on their training ground on Tuesday,” said victorious Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore.
To compare the two football programs, Appalachia’s football budget is $1.5 million and Michigan is in the midst of a $226 million stadium renovation. I would say forget the renovation and get real players in Michigan. The upset has already been dubbed by many pundits and sports fans as the biggest upset in college football history since an AA team has ever beaten a ranked team in NCAA play.
Next, Notre Dame got a whiplash from Georgia Tech 33-3. The game marked the most lopsided opener loss in Notre Dame history, and the first time the Irish have failed to score a touchdown in an opener since 1985.
Damn, where’s the offense? Charlie Weis is primarily attacking, but the Irish have clearly suffered from defensive weaknesses over the past two seasons. I’m part Irish and a Notre Dame fan. I want to see Weis succeed at Notre Dame. Weis is entering his third season and that opener loss doesn’t bode well for Notre Dame.
Last year, the Irish scored 31 points per game (16th best among 119 schools in Division IA) and conceded 24 points per game (67th best). Defense is a problem for the attack-minded Weis, and it will continue to be until he fixes it. It almost goes without saying that offense is a huge issue right now.
Late Saturday, No. 19-ranked Florida State took on way too much water in the swamps and was upset by Clemson, 24-18. Florida State was conspicuously absent from polls on Tuesday, and Clemson slipped into 25th place in the AP poll.
I wasn’t surprised by Clemson’s win because they were at home and last year Clemson allowed just 16 points per game (16th best in the nation).
Here are some ranked teams that showed how to take care of business in week one:
No. 2 LSU shut out Mississippi State 45-0.
No. 6 Florida outscored AA Western Kentucky 49-3.
Oklahoma’s No. 8 slapped North Texas, 79-10.
No. 10 Louisville turned poor AA Murray State into a road kill, 73-10.
No. 11 Ohio State didn’t give up a touchdown to AA Youngstown State in a 38-6 win.
The No. 16 Rutgers beat Buffalo 38-3.
Penn State’s No. 17 shut out the Florida International 59-0.
No. 20 Nebraska beat Nevada 52-10.
The No. 22 TCU shut out Baylor 27-0.
Hawaii, No. 23, beat 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 weren’t impressive or dropped too many points include No. 3 West Virginia, No. 4 Texas, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 14, No. 18 Auburn, No. 21 Arkansas and 25 Texas A&M.
At least three unranked teams shone in their opening games: Indiana outscored AA Indiana State 55-7, Kansas ripped through Central Michigan 52-7, and Cincinnati beat AA Southeast Missouri State 59-3.
I didn’t think Cincinnati could score 59 points over anyone; last year, the Bearcats averaged 21 points per game and gave up 20.
Three other teams did not shine with as much brilliance. Minnesota of the Big 10 was upset at home by Bowling Green 32-31 in overtime. Bowling Green led 21-0 at halftime against the Golden Gophers (what a terrible nickname for Minnesota in this game).
In-state rivalries are always unpredictable and Colorado proved it once again by barely slipping past Colorado State 31-28 at home in another overtime game. You could say that this proves that both teams have a certain attack. I would say that proves that both teams are lacking in defence.
In Oregon, many fans and pundits are calling the annual Oregon State vs. Oregon rivalry the Civil War. The same could be said for this year’s Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.
Six other game results that I have separated for special attention and comment.
Two of the six Pac 10 teams involved that saw the No. 12 California Golden Bears defeat the No. 15 Tennessee Volunteers 45-31 (many believe this is Cal Berkeley’s year 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, winning 52-6 over AA Western Carolina in the Crimson Tide home opener. The fortunes of the SEC in Alabama should increase with Saban.
New Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio led the Spartans past UAB 55-18 as his new offense scored impressive touchdowns in his first six possessions while sprinting to a lead 42-0 midway through the second quarter. Michigan State’s Big 10 fortunes are also expected to rise with Dantonio. I was happy to see two teams that I like win their first games. In a rather obscure game, Mike Price’s UTEP Miners defeated New Mexico 10-6.
I still believe Mike Price was set up to be hunted in Alabama before he ever had a chance to coach the Tide. There are still a lot of Southern boys who don’t like the Yankees this far south. Game 2 saw Wyoming beat Virginia 23-3 in their home opener. Few fans care about Wyoming, but I do.
I like the Cowboys because they play really hard at home no matter who lines up against them. Wyoming is proud of its Cowboys. Invade their territory and they just might clean up your clock and mark your behind.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
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