The first weekend of college football sure was a long one, wasn’t it? It started on Thursday and didn’t end until darn near midnight Monday. Still, a lot happened over the span of five days that altered many of the perceptions and misperceptions many of us had going into the campaign. Here are some of the most notable ones, for me anyway.
Bring back Scoop —– The Gator defensive line is the strongest and deepest unit on the team, but it didn’t look that way Saturday night. Without Marcus Thomas, Florida lacks the big play potential on the inside that creates opportunities for Moss et al on the outside. The Gators need “scoop” out there to make things happen.
Hold on to the Heisman —– Many were ready to award the Heisman trophy to Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn before the first snap of the season. After watching most of the Notre Dame/Georgia Tech game I would say that is definitely premature speculation. Quinn is a big-time talent, but he didn’t do much against Tech in Atlanta. He’s not out of the running, but he’s no lead pipe cinch either.
Cutcliff having impact —– The return of offensive coordinator David Cutcliff has done wonders for Tennessee quarterback Eric Ainge. The talented junior struggled mightily last year, but connected on four long scoring passes in the Vols 35-18 win over California. What remains to be seen is whether Ainge is that much better or if he was simply benefiting from facing a typically inept Pac-Ten defense.
Colorado can’t play opening day —– If college football was like Broadway, the University of Colorado football program would cease to exist. No production company on the planet could survive this many opening night disasters. Year in and year out the safest prediction in football is that the Buffaloes will stink in their first game. That was proven again with Saturday’s loss to Montana State. No kidding, they lost to Montana State. The Gators opened with the Bobcats back in 1988. The Gators won 69-0.
‘Noles offensive line needs work —– FSU is celebrating a 13-10 win over Miami and with good reason. The ‘Noles had not won in the Orange Bowl in a long time. Still you have to wonder about this team’s potential if they can’t block well enough to run the ball at least a little. Who would have believed the winning team last night would run for ONE yard?
Rich Brooks can plan his retirement —– There is no coach in the south, and maybe no coach in the entire country under more scrutiny than the fourth-year Kentucky coach. Early looks are not encouraging for his long-term prospects in Lexington. The MildKats were destroyed by Louisville 59-28 Sunday night. The Cardinals jumped out to a 31-notrhing lead and the game was never closer than 17 points the rest of the way. Brooks is now 9-and-26 with Kentucky, which should come as no surprise. In 18 years at Oregon, Brooks posted a 91-109-and-4 record.
Where’s the Fun and Gun? —– Steve Spurrier posted an opening win over Mississippi State, proving once and for all he’s not jinxed by the turf at Scott Field in Starkville. But the offense of the Gamecocks was pretty ugly. South Carolina scored all of one touchdown and did that on an improvised play, not by design. Spurrier went 7-and-5 last year despite scoring fewer than 20 points six times. It looks like it’ll be that kind of year in Columbia.
Gator fans show class —– Oh there was some saber rattling on this site and others about booing the Head Bal Coach when the ’96 team was introduced but it was just blather. Spurrier got his much deserved ovation not once, but twice Saturday. It was a goose-bump moment for most who attended one or both of the ceremonies in Gainesville. And mega-kudos to the UAA for the video introduction. THAT was a very nice touch.