>>> LaGarrette Blount’s “punch heard around the college football world” set the tone for what feels like it’ll be a strange season. For those who missed it – which is only possible if you don’t have ESPN – Blount went ‘thug life’ on Boise State defensive end Byron Hout after the Ducks fell to the Broncos, cold-cocking big boy right in the jaw.
Kudos to Oregon for acting quickly and suspending Blount for the season, inevitably ending the collegiate career of the JUCO transfer in his senior season. Still, that shouldn’t give the program a free pass. The Ducks and head coach Chip Kelly deserve some heat. This happened to their program and on their watch – game one for a new coach filling the big shoes of Mike Bellotti.
If the University of Miami was chastised for the FIU brawl – something that took place in the heat of battle, not after the game – then the University of Oregon needs to take some grief for one of their student athletes going postal on an opponent and fan base. The year long suspension was bold, but it doesn’t erase what happened.
>>> Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is down for the count. The verdict, a sprained AC joint with more to come. The Heisman winner’s injury coupled with the temporary loss of tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) doesn’t bode well for the Sooners… nor does the shoddy offensive line play, a unit in rebuild mode with only one returning starter.
There are no guarantees in this game and you better have the football gods on your side if you’re going to make a run. When this morning started, OU was penciled into the title game by some. By nightfall, upset by No. 20 BYU and their title dreams derailed.
For the Florida fans already booking their airfare to Pasadena… Texas fans who swear it’s Colt McCoy’s year, chill. There’s a lot of ball left to be played this season. Anything can happen.
Miami fans, takes notice as well. Those calling for x-amount of wins needed for Randy Shannon to ‘save’ his job, that’s bogus. See where 2009 goes. Pray these kids stay healthy and take this season game-by-game. Employ some logic. Don’t make it about emotion and knee-jerk reactions.
>>> I’ve received some predictions from friends and fans this week regarding Miami and Florida State on Monday night – all high scoring, all predicting a blowout. We’ll see.
Look at the scores we’re seeing early on. South Carolina 7, NC State 3… Boise State 19, Oregon 8… BYU 14, Oklahoma 13. The only real blowouts are coming where there are mismatches. Two quality teams – conference foes, big time rivals and both with solid defenses – aren’t going to blow it up game one.
I read today that Miami coaches are quietly confident that the Canes can offensively exploit the Noles’ defensive holes. I’d love nothing more, but I’ll believe it when I see it. At day’s end, this is Miami and Florida State. A hard-fought match up with a lot of pride on both sides of the ball. While I’m board and believe the Canes will win, I can’t picture a blowout and high scoring affair. If I were a betting man, I’d take Miami +6 and the under. We’ll see, though.
>>> For any critics ripping on the ACC, turn your focus to the Big Ten – a conference comparable to the Big East, these days. No. 6 Ohio State needs a mini miracle to knock off Navy – at home? Indiana 19, Eastern Kentucky 13? Illinois on the wrong side of a 37-9 beat down to Missouri? Wisconsin in a 28-20 battle with Northern Illinois?
Yeah, Penn State took down Akron, 31-7. Michigan State whooped Montana State, 44-2. Even Michigan got back to winning ways with a 31-7 beat down of Western Michigan… but let’s be honest, the conference is a slow, pasty joke.
Even with true freshmen Matt Barkley starting for Southern Cal next week, who in their right mind would put money on Ohio State – at home – in that one?
>>> … and as easy as it is to rip the Big Ten, the ACC is proving even worse (though expectations weren’t as high and No. 6 didn’t almost lose to a service academy.)
On Thursday night NC State didn’t show up against South Carolina. Today, Wake Forest falls to Baylor. Virginia loses to William & Mary. Duke got beat by Richmond. Virginia Tech hung tough, but was eventually out-muscled by Alabama.
The lone conference win; Clemson beat mighty Middle Tennessee and come Monday, the only two teams that can truly turn around this lackluster conference. Miami was brought on board to challenge Florida State annually for ACC supremacy. Since joining the ACC, the rivalry has been a watered down version of what it once was.
Will that change on Labor Day? Probably not. But it could set the stage for a potential ACC title match up in December if both teams have jelled. The conference is wide open and talent-wise, no one has more muscle than the Canes and Noles.
Let’s hope for a hard-hitting game that earns the ACC an ounce of respect week one.
>>> Virginia Tech held their own against Alabama, but Tyrod Taylor still isn’t setting the world on fire at quarterback. For all the recent success the Hokies have had, their offense remains elementary and they’re again relying on special teams and defense to carry them. Mindboggling how this team is ranked No. 7 and some in the media were pegging them as a title game dark horse.
If Mark Whipple is all he’s cracked up to be as a coordinator and play caller, Miami should be able to hang with anybody on their schedule. Especially with the holes Florida State has on defense, the lack of points Virginia Tech will put up offensively and an injury-plagued Oklahoma bunch whose season just went in the tank.
>>> Kudos to LSU for making the cross country trek to Washington for their season opener. Too bad the rest of the SEC is full of sissies who rarely leave home and instead choose to schedule the likes of Charleston Southern, Troy and Florida International out of conference – and all at The Swamp.
Same to be said for Georgia, heading to Oklahoma State for this year’s season opener – which they lost – and a trip to Arizona State last year.
>>> Speaking of dummy Gators, laughing at all the Florida fans who took the Florida -73 today. I hope you gambled away your trailer park rent checks. (I kid… sort of.)
Speed kills? So does greed. You don’t ever take a 73-point spread. That’s a horrible bet. Too bad Urban Meyer couldn’t tack on another late score like he did last year when Florida covered against Miami.