Sunday, September 3

College Football - week 1 in review

I'm apologizing in advance that this isn't going to be my most in-depth analysis. Then again, given most of these matchups through yesterday, I'm not sure if there's much point at looking too much into this...

My impressions of the AP Top 25:

1. Ohio State - For the first 15 minutes of the game, they looked like the runaway #1 in the nation. The defense got burned a few times but didn't yield any points, and the offense put up 28 almost effortlessly. The rest of the game, they didn't look too impressive. 0-2 on field goals doesn't bode well if they get into close games, as OSU has a habit of doing under Tressel.

2. Notre Dame - Weak outing all around. I'm tempted to say overrated (well, I think they are at #2, but they're possibly a legit top 10 team), but they did pull out the win and the defense did shut down GT in the second half. In fact, outside of Calvin Johnson, nobody on GT's offense did anything all game.

3. Texas - This performance was everything Longhorn fans were hoping for. McCoy looked good enough at QB to let the rest of the team win games against anybody. The defense, save for the opening drive of the second half, was fantastic in all aspects of the game, giving up just over 1 yard per play and less than half a yard per rush. Selvin Young looks like he's gotten faster, and Jamaal Charles was what we'd expect. At receiver, Sweed looked great but some of the other players didn't step up. A possible injury to center Sendlein could figure into the game against Ohio State.

4. Auburn - Started out the game failing to capitalize, the Tigers settled for 4 FGs on their opening 4 possessions, and so despite dominating they were up only 12-7. On the plus side, Vaughn appears to have regained his confidence after missing numerous field goals in a loss to LSU last season. Of course they would wake up to win this game 40-14. The backfield was great, defense solid particularly against the pass. Irons was a beast.

5. West Virginia - Slaton and White torched the Herd in the spread option, but what might be particularly frightening to opponents is how good White looked passing. If this offense becomes two-dimensional, the Mounties should end up undefeated.

6. USC - What looked like it was going to be a close game quickly turned into a blowout in the third quarter, as USC continued their tradition of turning games around at halftime. Booty was great in his first start, and while a dropoff from Bush/White, Washington, Moody, and Gable appear to be a strong backfield trio. The defense again appears to be geared towards forcing turnovers, giving up 5 yards per play but with 2 fumble recoveries and 3 interceptions. The extent of this blowout also may have proven premature any speculation that Arkansas was climbing the SEC ranks.

7. Florida - Despite the 34-7 victory, this did not look like the #7 team in the nation. Leak settled into the game in the second quarter, the running game was an improvement over last season, but the defense gave up nearly 5 yards per play and benefitted from 3 picks and a missed FG.

8. LSU - Perhaps most importantly, the Tigers seem to have settled on Russell at QB and will not be doing a rotation. This was every bit the blowout you'd expect in this matchup.

9. Cal - The first team to be badly overrated. Cal surrendered 35 points in 35 minutes, with three touchdowns coming from would-be short plays combined with missed tackles. The equally touted offense was held scoreless until the game was all but decided. Longshore may have lost his starting position, though Ayoob was not much better. I still think this team needs Levy at QB for their offense to work. Marshawn Lynch looked nothing like a Heisman contender, and Forsett was completely shut down.

10. Oklahoma - You don't have to go much further to find the second team to be badly overrated, though this was a little more expected with Thompson at QB. OU inexplicably went away from Peterson in the first half, and the offense appeared better when they went to him in the second. But again that will make it difficult for them to keep up with high-octane offenses or to score against better defenses. And speaking of defense, this did not look like the #1 unit in the nation against UAB.

11. Florida State - playing tomorrow

12. Miami FL - playing tomorrow

13. Louisville - The team dominated Kentucky in every aspect of the game, scoring at ease and shutting down UK's offense. But the team probably lost Bush for the season due to injury.

14. Michigan - The defense was beastly, allowing just 2.5 ypp and 7 points off a trick play. The offense, however, was sporadic with Henne completing just 48% of his passes, Grady coughing up a fumble, and Rivas missing a FG. Hart was a workhorse, but he cannot carry this offense alone as the schedule gets more difficult.

15. Georgia - The Bulldogs dominated this game as expected. The defense and special teams were showcased and both came up with strong performances. That combination has proven deadly for Georgia, with opponents repeatedly starting at or inside their own 20 vs one of the conference's best defenses.

16. Iowa - About what you'd expect vs a non-div IA opponent. Tate could have been better and Young did cough up a fumble, but the defense was solid.

17. Virginia Tech - Glennon was a monster at QB. It's not just that he completed over 80% of his passes against a pathetic defense, but his mechanics and arm strength were impressive. I'd like to have seen the running game perform a bit better, and Davelli did miss a FG.

18. Clemson - Despite a 54-6 score, I felt that the team could have played better. Dean missed both a PAT and a FG. The defense gave up 200 yards through the air, and Proctor threw a pick and gave up a fumble.

19. Penn State - Though a solid performance, this is obviously not the team they were a season ago. The defense held the Zips to barely over 200 yards and forced two interceptions, but the offense was held under 300 and gave up two fumbles. Morelli looked solid at QB but won't be what Robinson was a year ago. Only two plays went for over 20 yards.

20. Nebraska - The Huskers looked great in all aspects on offense and against the run as well, though the secondary may be the weak spot.

21. Oregon - The offense looked scary in both facets, with Johnson providing good spells for Stewart at RB and Dixon running the spread option very well. Defense was a little more shaky, but ultimately surrendered just 10 points.

22. TCU - The Horned Frogs trailed Baylor 7-0 at halftime before rebounding to win 17-7, an unimpressive victory considering the opposition. Both teams gained 330 yards, and had the Bears not had two untimely red zone turnovers, the result may have gone in their favor.

23. Tennessee - Though aided by poor tackling, the Vols offense nonetheless looks revitalized from an awful 2005 campaign. Ainge was very sharp in the pocket and the backfield was able to pound on Cal with three solid backs. Questions at linebacker appear to have been answered, and the secondary was very impressive, particularly Wade who jarred a handful of would-be completions loose.

24. Arizona State - The Sun Devils continue to be a team that can throw the ball very well, and that's about it. The secondary was shredded by NAU, though the running game did get going once Carpenter started rolling at QB. Though losing Keller hurts, Carpenter was the correct choice for starting QB.

25. Texas Tech - Harrell had the kind of game you'd expect from a Texas Tech quarterback, proving that it is indeed the system. WRs looked good and the running game had some life. The secondary played well but I'd be concerned about SMU gaining so many yards on the ground.