Saturday, September 8, 2012

College Football Week 1 Review

(AP Photo/LM Otero)
It will be extremely difficult to dethrone the reigning BCS champs. The Alabama Crimson Tide
defeated Michigan with ease last Saturday by a score of 41-14.

College football has returned. Will this be the year the SEC is finally dethroned as BCS champions?Will this be the "Year of Return" for USC? How will Penn State play this season after the darkest offseason in their history? Impressions have been made, expectations have been set, so sit back, relax and enjoy the show! 

As typical first game traditions go in college football, most Top 25 teams blew out unranked opponents. The only two teams to lose in the Top 25 were to higher ranked teams. (8) Michigan lost to (2) Alabama 41-14 at Cowboy Stadium while (24) Boise State lost to (13) Michigan State by a score of 17-13.

New AP Top 10:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. USC Trojans
3. LSU Tigers
4.  Oregon Ducks
5. Oklahoma Sooners
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Georgia Bulldogs
8. Arkansas Razorbacks
9. South Carolina Gamecocks
10. West Virginia Mountaineers

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide- The defending BCS champions started off their year with a big win against (8) Michigan. Everyone knew their defense would be incredible, but who knew their offense would score 41 points against a team ranked in the Top 10? The Tide shut down Denard Robinson from the start, forcing him to throw two interceptions. On the offensive end, it was a team effort in scoring 41 points. Returning junior quarterback, AJ McCarron threw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns while the combined running effort rushed for over 225 yards and two touchdowns of their own. It's gonna be tough to dethrone the reigning champs this year.
2. USC QB Matt Barkley- The preseason Heisman favorite stepped up to the task in his first game of the season. Despite playing unranked Hawaii, Barkley still put up impressive Heisman-esque numbers. On just the first play of the game, Barkley hit wide receiver Marqise Lee for a 75-yard touchdown. Barkley would go on to throw three more touchdowns and ended the day with 372 passing yards. Not bad for a first impression.
3. Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell- If it weren't for the "Bell-dozer" at running back last Saturday, the Spartans may have had a rough night. Bell rushed for both of the teams' touchdowns and accounted for more than half of their total yardage. Boise State traditionally has a pretty solid defense and doesn't lose too often, so it is says a lot when a running back can rush for 210 yards and can pick up an additional 55 receiving yards.

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. Michigan Wolverines- It is a tough task to start off your season by playing the reigning BCS champs, but Michigan didn't even put up a fight. The Wolverines were demolished by the Tide at Cowboy Stadium, and before the first quarter even ended, it was 21-0 Alabama. A lot of teams may learn from the way Alabama shut down quarterback Denard Robinson. Hopefully Brady Hoke and Michigan can turn it around.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions- Yes, no one expected Penn State to have a good season, but no one expected the Nittany Lions to lose their first game in front of nearly 100,000 fans to a mid-major school. A 24-14 defeat to the Ohio Bobcats is definitely a red flag. Does Bill O'Brien realize what he signed up for yet?
3. Sportsmanship- I know this isn't a player or team, but an exception has to be made. I understand that it is important to give your starters reps in order to prepare for bigger games later in the season, but certain teams crossed the line last week. Did Oklahoma State really need to put up 84 points on a team that had no business playing them? Did Oregon need to score 50 points before the first half even ended? I know this may not be that big of a deal, but certain teams definitely crossed the line of sportsmanship last week and I hope that will change.

Game of the Week: (16) Virginia Tech vs Georgia Tech

This Monday night thriller definitely lived up to expectations, unlike other highly anticipated games last week (cough, cough Michigan). Each of the last five years, the winner of the "Tech Bowl" has gone on to win the ACC Coastal division. Virginia Tech struck first when junior quarterback, Logan Thomas, found Eric Martin for a 5-yard touchdown. The Yellow Jackets answered just 26 seconds into the second quarter though, when Robert Godhigh scored on a 12-yard run. The third quarter was scoreless, which meant that the two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at seven. Trailing Virginia Tech late in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Deon Hill with just 44 seconds remaining in the game. The score shocked fans packed into Lane Stadium, home of the Hokies. The Hokies shockingly marched up the field, and were able to tie the game at 17 as Cody Journell kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired.This led to the first overtime game ever at Lane Stadium. Luckily for Virginia Tech fans, the Hokies were able to come out on top after Journell drilled another field goal in the first OT to win it, 20-17.

Next Week's Five Intriguing Matchups:
1. (7) Georgia vs. Missouri- How will Missouri do in it's first in-conference SEC game?
2. (6) Florida State vs. Savannah State- Will the Seminoles cover the ridiculous 70.5 point spread? 
3. (2) USC vs. Syracuse- How will Matt Barkley and the Trojans play at MetLife Stadium?
4. Penn State vs. Virginia- Will the misery continue for the Nittany Lions?
5. (4) Oregon vs. Fresno State- How many touchdowns will Heisman hopeful De'Anthony Thomas score?

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