Sure, there’s games on Monday, but the weekend has been so amazing that we just couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle for our reflections on the games of note. Plus, are we really all that excited about a game that’s all technical and stuff? I thought not. Obvious choice for this week’s soundtrack… happy Labor Day.
Whew… I’ve got to admit, I should have been working out with Coach Mick during the offseason. Saturday found me trying to knock the rust off of my college football regimen, although I can definitely say that I was well hydrated. I’m guessing that’s what happened during the livechat- I hadn’t prepared enough, and brought the jinxation. You can breathe a sigh of relief, though- when I caught the replay on Sunday, my presence made no difference in the outcome… Baby steps, right?
From the looks of things, a number of teams were still in “preseason” form, and didn’t have their moves down pat just yet. For instance, while I’m sure that Dabo Swinney’s mom is sure proud of him for leading his fellers to victory over North Carolina State, she certainly couldn’t have been too excited that his first steps leading the team onto the turf ended up in a faceplant. That, combined with this excellent display of exuberance are enough to remind Volunteer fans that their team still has some work to do. Which is good… no one likes to peak during the first weekend of games- well, no one outside of the B1G, that is (more later).
Some of the butterflies were even evident in the Southern Idaho State University trip to East Lansing. Sure, the B1G represented well, as Michigan State showed many why they are a favorite for the conference title… but the game turned out to be “off-script” for both teams. For instance, no matter how hard they tried, Rob Harley’s new squadron couldn’t “Sparty” the game away. Shocker. Oh, and SISU broke their streak of beating out of conference teams when they have a ridiculously long time to prepare… effectively ending their bid at a BCS bowl until they join a legitimate BCS conference in the Big Eas…. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t bring myself to type that. The game also gave us a pretty amazing interception- as always, Tim Burke has ALL the great screencaps and stuff from the weekend’s events.
Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Notre Dame pounding the living stuffing out of Navy in their game in the Emerald Isle… Brian Kelly, why you no like America? And then, your boys let this happen?
Man, back in my day, we fought revolutions for less <adjusts tricorner cap>.
Following this blatant lack of patriotism, things started getting crazy in the MAC. While typically “cannon fodder” for the B1G and other conferences, this season’s opener had a number of minor schools causing grief for their “we paid you a lot to play us” brethren. Iowa found their hands full with Northern Illinois up in Soldier Field, and Bowling Green gave Florida some concern in this year’s “Schools That Urban Coached” Bowl. Oh, not to fear, though- BGSU remembered who they were soon enough. In our “DeJaVu” game, Arizona’s Wildcats needed overtime to defeat Toledo… but at least Rich Rod was able to do it this time (never forget).
And, of course, while the Buckeyes were taking care of business against the RedHawks, the folks in “Formerly Happy Valley” were seeing their dreams of a “revenge season” come crashing in as a very good Ohio Bobcat team beat the Nittany Lions at home. I’d say that Joe Pa was rolling over in his grave, but a) that’d be incredibly insensitive and b) Franco Harris is doing everything he can to make sure that Joe gets to watch “his” team. I’m a big fan of justice, but I’ve got to wonder if Jason was right- can a team ever move forward if their fans continue to live in the past?
Other small schools who rose up this week included the Wolfpack of Nevada, who upset Cal (remember when they were a thing?). Texas State upended Houston, who were 30 point favorites. Oklahoma struggled against UTPE, although it could have been that they were distracted by the Miners’ Uniforms. Wisconsin looked iffy against Northern Iowa, and Indiana held off Indiana State. Proud, Hoosiers… proud.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the glory that is this week’s IAA upset, as the Penguins of Youngstown State defeated everyone’s new hotness, the Pitt Panthers. Sure, the Panthers have a new coaching staff and are benefiting from PSU’s struggles, but the fact of the matter is that Mark May is and alumni, and they continue to deserve scorn. May had the temerity to call Ohio State “liverwurst” on college gameday after they destroyed Miami’s RedHawks; he didn’t also say that OSU’s last games against the Panthers had a higher margin of victory. Yup, good weekend for the greatest state in the nation- Ohio Schools 2, Pennsylvania Schools 0.
Seems that Dabo’s issues with “gracefulness” were contagious throughout the S!E!C!, as the #HailState tweets reminded us that Mississippi State had a less than auspicious beginning to their season as well:
It even spread to the fans- Auburn couldn’t figure out how to celebrate in their close loss to Clemson, and Big Blue Nation couldn’t even rejoice in the small things as Louisville won the “Is It Basketball Season Yet?” bowl.
Well, since we’re talking about the “Conference That Prides Itself In Half Spelling Words“, it’s time to take a look at the freakishly familiar 41-14 loss of a B1G team to the tops of the Southeastern Conference. As you know, I was again cheering for an asteroid strike when Saban’s Oversigners met with Satan’s Minions… and, judging from some of the reactions of the Sun and Blue, an asteroid would have been preferrable to what happened. While perennial September Heisman favorite Denard Robinson was getting drilled into the turf, the real damage happened in the defensive secondary, where DB Blake Countess is out for the season after the ‘Bama Beating, and Lewan’s injury has not been clarified for the media. I’m not the type to want anyone to be injured, although I’m a big fan of “hurt”. That being said, you’ve got to wonder if this dose of reality might just slow down ol’ Shoelaces “spoonin’ arm” a bit.
Here’s something that will slow you down a bit- the hit of the week, from the in-state Marshall/WVa rivalry:
One thing that happened quite a bit during the first weekend, and was highlighted by the Michigan Massacre, was the new rule about helmet loss. Several times, in important games, players had to sit out a play once their headgear left their craniums. While I appreciate the safety overtures, and think that it’s not a bad idea to take a moment to assess the player’s wellbeing as well as their equipment’s stability, it seems to me that this rule creates an easy loophole for folks to take key players out of games. My suggestion: If a player rips a helmet off, they need to miss the next play as well. A facemask penalty is a good start, but “half the distance” doesn’t exactly help a team who just lost it’s main offensive weapon for one play- particularly late in a game where a comeback is underway.
Since it’s obvious that the dreadlocked one won’t be hoisting Michigan’s proudest hardware at the end of the month, who’s the logical candidate to replace him? Well, look no further than another mobile QB with a bit of an “arm-punt” issue, Taylor Martinez. The Husker threw for 5 TDs on Saturday, and completed 70% of his passes. They’ll need his expertise in the near future, as it looks like runningback Rex Burkhead may be out for a while with a knee injury. I have the pleasure of watching Big Red square off against UCLA this Saturday, so I’ll be able to update you about how the team responds… although, given who else they have on their squad, I’m not worried.
And then, there were the schools that took care of business. TBPU was a 60+ point favorite over Savannah State, and managed to win by hitting 80 on their side of the docket. Let that sink in- they covered the biggest spread in the history of spreading things. Gotta’ wonder how well that fracking business is going, don’t ya.
Out here in LaLa land, the number one team faced off against an old nemesis, as Norm Chow’s Hawaii Warriors came to the Coliseum for their matchup. They certainly didn’t get to see it prior to the game, given Southern Cal’s decision to limit walkthrough opportunities for the Warriors; and it showed- Barkley’s first play from scrimmage was a touchdown pass, on route to a 49-10 win. While new Trojan Silas Redd was effective in the game, you’ve got to wonder how much of USC fandom will be celebrating given Saturday’s other big news. Southern Cal also had an injury to their kicker, which “forced” them to use a backup or to go for it in normal kicking situation.
At least they had an excuse. Also on the Left Coast, the Oregon Nikes decided to go for two early against Arkansas State, one of the traditionally more haphazard schools in the NCAA. In addition, up big, they chose to go for a 4th and short rather than punting the ball away. Again, I believe that it’s not a coach’s responsibility to stop their own team, and I realize that Urban Meyer scored with less than a minute in the game to go up 46 points. That being said, file this away in the “why do people hate Oregon” folder for future reference when the inevitable Duck loss occurs.
Speaking of Phil Knight, it’s time for “What in the heck is Oregon wearing this week?”. As you can see, they’ve gone back to the “shiny wings” look on the helmet, and added some sort of sponsorship from, as my wife put it, “John Deere“. It also reminded me of another entity that prides itself on speed, although I was sure that he was a Puma guy… maybe we should ask Denard to be sure.
Matchups to watch for the coming week: Couple of early season trophy games, as Cincinnati and Pitt square off for the River City Rivalry, and Utah plays Utah State for the Beehive Boot. Seriously. I’ve heard that the PSU/UVa game might be “interesting”, Mich1gAAn looks to rebound against Air Force, and the SEC welcomes it’s newest members, as Florida meets aTm and Georgia faces Mizzou. Charlie Weis gets as close as he’ll ever get to Rice this weekend, while TBPU tries to go for an even hundred against Rich Rod. We’ve got a “Double Brainiacs Battle”- Duke at Stanford and Vanderbilt at Northwestern this Saturday, and as I mentioned the Missus and I will be headed to the Rose Bowl for the Husker/Bruin game.
This would be as good of a time as any to remind our readers to send us photos from games you are attending. We love to see friends across the nation showing Buckeye pride in enemy territory… particularly if you can get some other fans to help with an O!H!I!O! photo. Just shoot us an email, and we’ll post your best work!
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend… and stay tuned to tBBC for coverage leading up to this week’s matchup with the Central Florida Knights.