Our first weekend was a miserable one for most of those who suffered through stifling heat and humidity in The Swamp as well as some (but not all) former Gator coaches in their head coaching jobs. The first weekend of the season also gave us a shocking upset in Oxford and three games that have great meaning for the BCS busters. Here we go.
Chokie Chokie High ---- Virginia Tech was the darling of everyone in the country that didn't want to see Boise State cruise into the BCS Title Game playing just one ranked team all year. Early on it appeared those fears might be realized with the Broncos taking a 17-0 lead after 15 minutes. But the Hokies had other ambitions and battled back against the Broncos, taking a 27-26 lead into the final quarter. Virginia Tech was on the verge of victory when three huge events handed the win to Boise State. First, The Hokies idiotically threw the ball on third down with 2:06 and Boise State out of timeouts. That saved more than 40 seconds for the Broncos. After that a block in the back on the ensuing punt was mysteriously called no foul, even though the only official within 20 yards threw a flag on the play. Then, the Big Ten crew apparently felt it hadn't helped Boise State enough so they called a minimal personal foul on the Hokies to get Boise State even closer to a winning score. The two lousy calls not withstanding, the bottom line key to this outcome was Virginia Tech's decision to throw the ball late in the game and hand a ton of extra time to Kellen Moore and the Broncos and they paid dearly for that inane decision.
What about us? ---- All eyes were on Boise State as the non-BCS conference team with the best chance to crash the party and earn a spot in the BCS National Title Game. But two other familiar names made a case for themselves in the opening weekend. TCU took a big step forward with a 30-21 win over Oregon State. Utah meanwhile knocked off pre-season Big East favorite Pittsburgh in overtime 27-24 in what was a terrific ballgame. Those two results means the November 6 game between the two could have major BCS ramifications.
Temperature rising in Illi-noize ---- Former Gator coach Ron Zook really needed a win over Missouri to start his sixth season with the Illini, but he didn't get it. Illi-noize led the Tigers 13-3 at the half but was dominated 20-0 in the final 30 minutes of action. Zook is now 20-40 in Champaign and a seventh season seems all but impossible. Hey look at the bright side, Zooker. You made more than $12 million as a college head coach and never won 10 games in any of your nine seasons.
Time to change the Locks(ley)? ---- New Mexico came close to firing former Gator assistant Mike Locksley after a controversy marred first season that included lawsuits, a sexual harassment case and 11 losses in 12 games. Well, they stayed with him and must be regretting that choice. Locksley and the Lobos lost their season opener to Oregon 72-0. It was 59-0 at the half and the Ducks could have won by 100 if they wanted to.
Ole Miserable-ssippi ---- I have long respected Houston Nutt for getting as much out of his talent as anyone in the game. Not so much anymore. Ole Miss laid a gigantic egg opening day, blowing a 31-10 halftime lead in losing to Jacksonville State 49-48. Many want to blame the distraction of the Jeremiah Masoli fiasco, but Masoli doesn't play defense. Then again, apparently no one else in the Ole Miss locker room does either. Ole Miss was minus-3 turnovers on the day and it cost them in one of the more embarrassing losses any SEC team has had in recent years.
Reality check time ---- Florida State and Miami posted huge wins at the expense of Samford (59-6) and FAMU (45-0) respectively. Both traditional powers are trying to put lousy decades behind them, but those wins won't get it done. If either/both teams win this week it would be a different story. Miami travels to The Horseshoe to play Ohio State while the Seminoles visit Norman for a game with Oklahoma. Win a game this weekend and you'll make an impression on the nation. Come up short and it's another year of looking up at the big boys.
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College Football Musings – Week 1
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