VETTEL: Lessons Learned In Week One

The first weekend of the college football season brought the normal collection of results. A stunning upset, a coach on the hot seat getting a needed win and a coach on the hot seat not getting that win. We saw great individual performances in both wins and losses and we saw debuts that were both incredibly successful and hugely disappointing.

We also learned some lessons about football, about appreciating all wins and appreciating things a lot more important than college football.

Never Take Winning for Granted

Bobby Stoops took a freakish 67-12 record into his seventh season at Oklahoma. He had a team everyone listed in the top ten with a Heisman candidate in sensational sophomore Adrian Peterson. His Sooners had never lost in September and had not lost a home game in the last three seasons. So Oklahoma promptly goes out and falls to TCU, 17-10. Mark down Gary Patterson (33 wins in four years plus one game) as a guy likely to get a better job soon.

Sooners' fans, like most, get greedy and focus on winning it all or else. Despite the blowout loss to Southern Cal in the National Title game they were looking for another contender this year. They may have to instead learn to appreciate each win they can muster.

Auburn had won 15 straight under Tommy Tuberville and justly felt they deserved a share of the national title last year. Despite having a ton of talent returning on defense and a solid offensive line, the Tigers fall to Georgia Tech at home.

Tennessee was a big favorite with their number three ranking against UAB but had to hold on for dear life to claim a 17-10 win. The Blazers had the ball deep in Vols territory but couldn't get the tying score. Tennessee played both quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Rick Clausen but neither distinguished himself. Each threw one TD pass, Ainge was intercepted twice, Clausen once. Ainge started but Clausen played more. Not the ideal situation heading to Gainesville in two weeks. And the Vols have much work to do with its pass defense. Darrell Hackney of UAB was 27-38 for 282 yards.

Never Forget the Risk of Playing Young Quarterbacks

One thing both Oklahoma and Auburn had in common was playing a new quarterback after a senior leader had moved on. Before you try comparing Georgia in the same way, fuhgettaboutit. D.J. Shockley had played an awful lot of football over the past three years and his stepping in for David Greene was seamless. And he was facing a team with no defense to speak of.

Florida State and Miami both had newcomers behind center and their play Monday night was truly offensive. Kyle Wright made far more plays than did Drew Weatherford, both good and bad. Wright made some tough throws leading Miami into position for a winning touchdown, but made a bone-headed decision to take a sack rather than throwing the ball away on the final series. That led to the muffed snap and FSU's first win in the series after six consecutive losses.

By the way if you're wondering where FSU got the game plan for the Miami game, they stole it from UF. It sure looked like Whitey Jordan's game plan against Auburn in 1989 when they were determined not to ask new quarterback Donald Douglas to try and make any plays with his arm (1-6, 5 yards).

Zook is Great When Getting Clobbered

The new coach at Illinoize once again demonstrated that his hyper, go-go-go mentality can really help a team that's in bad shape. Florida had several comebacks under Zook, some that won games (Kentucky, South Carolina '03) and some that didn't (FSU '03, Michigan '02), but the man was great at staying positive and keeping guys in the game.

Saturday the Zooker struck again, urging his Illini to a come-from-behind win over Rutgers in overtime 33-30. Illinoize trailed by 20 in the third quarter but kept after it and got the win.

Now how you fall behind Rutgers by twenty points is anyone's guess, but it was a helluva comeback.

Charlie Weis' Brady Bunch

I'm not ready for hear the Notre Dame Coach asking Alice for a piece of cake, but there's something about the former New England Patriots Offensive Whiz and "Brady". First, Weis turns sixth-rounder Tom Brady into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, now he follows up getting Brady Quinn to light up the scoreboard opening day for the Fightin' Irish. Quinn passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns and ran the offense beautifully as Notre Dame whipped Pittsburgh 42-21.

We'll never know what might have developed if Charlie had crossed paths with Brady Ackerman back in the day.

It shows Notre Dame made the right move replacing the vastly overrated Tyrone Willingham when they did. Willingham landed on his feet at Washington where he promptly lost the season opener to Air Force. By all accounts the man is a first class individual with integrity to spare. But now in his eleventh year as a head coach, his record stands at 65-62-1.

Don't Take Life, Family for Granted

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst things I have even seen or ever hope to see. There is reason to believe the death toll may never be completely calculated. But officials now fear that the storm and resultant flooding will take three times as many lives as did the horrific attacks of 9/11. My heart sure skipped a beat or two at the news that Auburn freshman defensive tackle Alonzo Horton lost a cherished aunt and two little brothers in the disaster.

We get so caught up in rivalries and competitions and the like we often lose sight of things that really matter. This poor young man's life will never be what it could have been because of a gaping hole in his heart that can never fully heal. Do yourself a favor and hug your kids extra tight tonight, and then call a loved one you've not spoken to in a while.

Keep those emails coming!

Don't forget to email me your questions and comments, but please do not include attachments! My email address is: .

I look forward to you joining me on the radio, Sunday nights from 6:00-to-8:00 on Gainesville's WSKY-FM 97.3 (877/975-9825 toll free)

Have a great week.

Fightin Gators Top Stories