Three More Wins, and Other Thoughts from this Week
After last night, with FSU's new Jimbo Fisher made offense still falling flat and the resulting loss to Clemson, Joe Paterno is two wins (and two FSU losses) away from pulling even with Bobby Bowden for the winningest Division I-A football coach. 3 from claiming it outright again. And yes, I said Divison I-A. I don't believe in the new FBS/FCS nomenclature - if it were just a matter of opting into a bowl system or a playoff, that'd be one thing. But it's a difference between 85 scholarships and 63 scholarships, so I don't have any problem with the I-A/I-AA breakdown.
That being said, what a game between Michigan and Appalachian State. Before focusing too much on the divisional differences, this is not as big of an upset as Temple over Virginia Tech in 1998, or pretty much any Sun Belt team except for Troy beating any BCS conference opponent. Appalachian State is the two-time defending I-AA champion. It owned a 14 game winning streak going into the Big House, longer than the any Division I-A team walking into the season. 3 of its last 4 losses were to Division I-A teams. But wow. We've seen over the past two seasons more losses by I-A teams to I-AA teams than ever before, which is just a sign of growing parity between the divisions, let alone between the BCS and the non-BCS teams. Western Kentucky moving up to Division I-A? I think ASU, one of their primary rivals, is ready to make the jump to the Sun Belt with them. Imagine Middle Tennessee State going into the Big House and coming out with a win? You can't, can you? Anyway, kudos to the Mountaineers, and I hope you don't let this lead to a post-win ahngover, like TCU did with Oklahoma and SMU two years ago.
The first week of the season is funny. Experienced teams with experienced coaches sometimes fall flat, while teams that enter the season with a big question mark seem to shine. With the acknowledgment that you can only take so much from one week, here are my thoughts so far:
1. The underachievers of the week
a. Texas, beware of the Horned Frog. 117 yards rushing against Arkansas State? Really?
b. Auburn, desperately seeking offense. K State was up 13-9 so far into the 4th quarter that I actually texted my condolences to one of my fellow contributors to this blog. This could be a sign that Ron Prince has Kansas State back. It could be a sign that Auburn really missed Brad Lester, held out for academic reasons. Or it could be a sign that the Bulls of USF may be coming out of Jordan-Hare with a win.
c. Michigan. Nuff said
2. The "I don't know what it means cause the opponent was that bad" teams of the week
Penn State, Florida, Ohio State, Boise State, Louisville, Rutgers,Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC, Hawaii
3. Most overrated teams (I think)
Oklahoma State, Tennessee
4. Biggest surprises of the week (excepting Michigan)
a. ECU at Virginia Tech - whether it was due to all the emotion surrounding this game, Skip Logan doing a tremendous rebuilding job, or the supposed cream of the ACC being not all that impressive, no one expected this game to be as close as it was. If it was just emotion, hopefully that has passed. Otherwise, it may be a long year for the Hokies.
b. Wyoming over Virginia. Wow, bet the Cavaliers wished they had their $2 million a year back, huh? That's a lot of money for a string of 5, 6, and 7 win seasons, but starting off the year with a loss against a non-BCS opponent wasn't part of the deal, I bet. Yes, the Mountain West is probably the best non-BCS conference. And yes, Wyoming has been up and down but generally better the past couple of seasons. But 20 points? Wow - not looking good for the ACC this year.
c. UCF over NC State. Tom O'Brien - feeling nostalgic for Chestnut Hill now?
5. "I've got the first game at Div I-A blues", or, "Here's your wake-up call, sir"
a. Rice's David Bailiff, who lost to Div. I-AA Nicholls State. At least his team last year, the Texas State Bobcats, had the same result last year - a loss by two to Nicholls State.
b. UNT's Todd Dodge. 48 wins in a row at a high school? Well, at least that's within 22 of the margin of victory against the Sooners. Ouch.
c. Minnesota's Tim Brewster. No, the Gophers didn't get blown out. Yes, Bowling Green has the makings of being competitive in the MAC this year. But the Big 10 doesn't schedule MAC teams to lose to them. It's like losing to a Division I-AA team . . ., oh, never mind. For the all excitement and energy Brewster brought on board, there's going to need to be some results soon.
6. Coaching hot seat.
Lloyd Carr (though he shouldn't be, at least until he loses to Ohio State again). Mike Stoops (the Desert Spread isn't working). Sylvester Crooms (MSU will make history by also being the first SEC team to fire an African American head coach). Ted Roof (C'mon, Spurrier could win at Duke. Wait, that was before FSU, Miami, Virginia Tech, and BC were in the ACC, huh? Never mind - it is Duke, after all.)
Early predictions for Week 2
TCU over Texas, unless the Longhorns can find an offense.
PSU over ND, unless the Irish can find an offense.
LSU over Va Tech, unless the Hokies can find an offense. (Notice a theme here?)
Oregon over Michigan, unless the Wolverines can pull themselves off the floor after last week.
Upset special of the week
BYU over UCLA. I still don't buy into Karl Dorrell, and a win over Stanford and Motor Mough Harbaugh doesn't mean anything. BYU tuned up against the Wildcats, and will shock the Bruins this Saturday.