Huge win for the ACC and for Clemson. The Tiger's have now won two straight over LEGIT SEC teams and there is no question that this is 'the year'. Clemson may be able to replace Tahj Boyd in the future, but Sammy Watkins (on the heels of DeAndre Hopkins) will be impossible to replace. That is a problem for 2014........in 2013 Clemson has just enough 'spare parts' to be dangerous. Martavis Bryant joining Watkins and Charone Peake would be unstoppable.
The defense is definitely improved from a year ago and there seems to be upside down the road.
Miami fans have seen the opening game as a negative (in general), but there were far more positives at the end of the night. The DL and secondary are improved (although not 'great'). Like Clemson it appears that the defense's are at least on an upward trajectory.
Stacy Coley dropped a couple of passes......like Watkins muffing a punt tonight, an event like that just shows the true randomness of football. If he catches the passes, Miami scores 50 (at least). Duke Johnson is special. It was not Stephen Morris's best night, but there were three near perfect balls on tough throws.
Is Miami ready to win a game against a team like UF?
The Gator's played a similar game as Miami, but against a better team. The defense, particularly the secondary, was as good as advertised and there are just enough athletes up front (Easley, Fowler, Bullard, Powell).
Offensively Jeff Driskel had a good day and there was real improvement from a year ago. He is a gifted runner and just completing the 'easy' throws (which he did today) will go a long way. There was a Mack Brown sighting and he ran well. The wide receivers are still very underwhelming.
UF seems to have a similar team from a year ago. One where it is hard to see them winning several games, at the same time they are tough to beat because they don't beat themselves.
On the ACC
Clemson came through. North Carolina played a very typical ACC game against the SEC. They played 'even' for 97% of the game, but gave up just enough garbage to lose (and convincingly). Syracuse was not quite as bad in a loss to Penn State, but they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on more than one occasion.
Virginia Tech played a much better game than the score would indicate. The defense was light's out and they made a few plays on offense (against a great defense). Logan Thomas is still a bit of a wildcard and his lack of consistency may end of hurting their ACC chances.
Virginia showed signs of being the "2011 version" rather than a disappointing "2012 version" with a solid win over BYU.
GT (Elon), Maryland (FIU), BC (Villanova), Duke, (NC Central), and NC State (La Tech) all won games that they should. Only BC was not overly impressive in their win however.
On USF/UCF and the AAC
Can it get worse than opening the season with a HOME loss to McNeese State? The answer is "yes" because you can lose 53-21. Skip Holtz recruited that bad. Yes he did. It is utterly amazing he was immediately hired to coach some place else (La Tech). The Bull's looked bad, bad, bad.
As bad as USF looked........UCF looked good. Blake Bortles is the captain of an offense that features an exceptional RB and a deep wide receiver group. The defense was very good. The Knight's are dangerous and a real threat to win this conference......which might not be saying much.
Temple got shellacked by Notre Dame. Rutgers lost a heart-breaker at Fresno State. SMU got pounded by Texas Tech. Oh and UCONN lost to Towson. So the conference suffers TWO losses to 1-AA teams which basically makes them 'poison' the rest of the season.
Who does this hurt? Well really only Louisville as they are the only team that has National Championship aspirations. The Cardinals entered the season with a weak strength of schedule, it got worse this weekend.
On a QB......
North Dakota State is 1-AA 'powerhouse', but this is a Kansas State program that spent much of last year in the top 10. What is the difference? Collin Klein who willed that team to victory for two years. You don't replace that type of brilliance.
Cinderella won't find her slipper
Boise State lost to Washington 38-6. It is the second year in a row where BSU has gone on the road and lost to a BCS school.
Situations to monitor.......
Kirk Ferentz: A home loss to Northern Illinois is no way to open the season.
Dana Holgerson: Beating William and Mary 24-17 means you are still a poor team.
Lane Kiffin: He needs 9-10 wins and they looked a long way from that, particularly alarming was the poor QB play.