Often the expectations don’t always meet up with reality when you’re a college football fan. The opening weekend proved that right. We find it easier to watch games than most fans as we don’t have a dog in the hunt. However, a few performances even left us scratching our heads on how we were so far off in our evaluations of teams.
For the moment, as it was the first game of the season for all involved, our perception is that there was far more good than bad.
Only a handful of teams underperformed as opposed to some nice surprises from others. To say this is going to be an interesting season is a gross understatement.
Time to jump into the video highlights and do some ‘Tuesday’ morning quarterbacking.
College Football Rewind – Play That Beautiful Bean Footage
It feels like an eternity ago (Thursday) that Wake Forest headed to the Big Easy to take on Tulane. No one and we bet Dave Clawson included, had any idea how things would play out for the Demon Deacons. With a suspended starting quarterback and a roster begging for more seasoning it would simply be, ‘let’s see how things turn out’ time. It took an OT to grab the win but the future looks bright for one rookie quarterback.
What’s the first sport you think of when the name Duke is mentioned? Alas, part of the issue of knowing just what the Blue Devils have when it comes to football. The other is a rather low-key and wily coach named David Cutcliffe who we wouldn’t want to play poker with as he is very good at not showing his hand. This is a team to watch and their performance against an always tough Army gave us a snapshot of what the season could produce.
Dino Babers is slowly but surely moving Syracuse toward the machine that it could be. On the offensive side of the sticks watching Eric Dungey connect with his wide receiving corps is a thing of beauty. He is one of the underrated quarterbacks in the conference. Packing on the points is an exciting thing for fans. The amount of anxiety that comes from watching opponents do the same to your defense is a whole different story.
College Football Rewind
Clemson gave just a snap shot of what they can achieve on the field against Furman. Dabo Swinney’s crew is just getting warmed up. The game gave the Tigers an opportunity to test drive two quarterbacks and both looked, well, stellar. The defense illustrated why they are going to push opponents hard and give no quarter. Not to dismiss Furman but it was a warmup for Clemson. Watch the well-oiled machine at work.
Few teams ever have a solid answer for Georgia Tech’s offense. It can be very hard to defend against and more often than not leaves somebody open to deliver a punch. You’ll see that Paul Johnson has a well rounded offense that can deliver the points. The defense has stepped up their game as well. The Yellow Jackets are to be contended with this season.
Don’t let anything fool you about this next game. NC State didn’t go the cupcake route when scheduling James Madison. A team that has won or been in contention for the FCS Championship title is by no means a walk in the park. The takeaway from this game should be that Dave Doeren’s team executed when and where it needed to for a good home win. The Wolfpack will be an exciting team to watch this season.
College Football Rewind
Steve Addazio must be thrilled to death to have a multi-pronged attack on offense. Start with the arm of quarterback Anthony Brown who stands tall in the pocket and delivers deadly strikes. Next a backfield featuring AJ Dillon who can bulldoze his way through lines or take a pass as easily. The defense, as always is looking good but now Boston College has an equally dangerous offense. What’s not to like?
Pitt may have found the right combination on offense. Between Pickett and Araujo-Lopes the Panther offense was humming. The defense appears to be stepping up their game as well as would be expected under a defensive minded coach like Pat Narduzzi. The third prong of Pitt’s on-field game, special teams, also had a nice showing.
North Carolina has had a number of off-field issues that left them short handed. This contributed to the grim view that the Tar Heels weren’t going to have a very good day against California. It started out rough but Larry Fedora fired up his guys and they went looking for a win. Unfortunately, the scoreboard didn’t end up on their side. Their performance and never say die attitude right up until the final minutes delivered a moral victory. Never, ever dismiss the impact of a moral victory in making a team dangerous.
College Football Rewind
This isn’t your father’s Virginia anymore. Bronco Mendenhall continues the rebuild of the Cavaliers. The addition of Bryce Perkins at quarterback just took the team to a whole new level. An interception by Richmond on the opening drive that went for a touchdown must have let the air out of Scott Stadium. What followed would pump up the fans though. Between Perkins, Ellis out of the backfield and the receiving threat of Zaccheaus the Cavaliers have the makings of an exciting offense. The defense stymied their old opponents from Richmond in ways that hasn’t been seen in Charlottesville for years.
If you started out the next game thinking that Louisville was going to win it just proves you love your team. The reality is the Cardinals didn’t stand a chance against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are essentially ‘pro lite’. Here is what you should take away from the game. Louisville is good. Jawon Pass is a superb quarterback that will only get better. From a passing perspective this team has more weapons to work with than they did with Jackson. That’s good news. The defensive performance was far better than expected. It’s the first game and things will get better. Not a win but certainly the tape doesn’t lie. It’s what’s to follow that fans will enjoy.
We’ll cut to the chase. Even for an impartial observer this game was a head scratcher. Off night? First game jitters? We’re more inclined to say that Miami shouldn’t have been ranked at #8 in the preseason polling. Take from that what you may. The front end of this game showed promise and then everything went down hill. Lots to work on in Miami. We feel for the fans who thought the ‘U’ was back.
College Football Rewind
No reminder needed that Notre Dame isn’t part of the ACC football family but they are (because of scheduling) a close cousin. That’s why we like to keep an eye on the Irish as well. There’s no doubt that Michigan fans had a hard time swallowing this loss. Notre Dame’s offense found their stride early and threaded the needle when needed. This was a much needed win for Kelly while Harbaugh may be looking at a much warmer chair in his office this week.
The final game of the Labor Day college football weekend offered up another surprise. Florida State, loaded on offense taking on Virginia Tech where it appeared they’d have a struggling defense. Turn all of that on it’s head and that’s where this game ended up. The Hokies defense was aggressive and made it almost impossible for Deondre Francois to get his game going. The Seminoles defense faced a ground and pound attack that opened them up to some strategic air attacks. Overall, the winner is Virginia Tech’s defense and special team play that kept Florida State at bay. Write either of these teams off at your own peril.