Each and every week during the college football season, CN's founder Steve Deace will be breaking down his top 25 and delivering his thoughts on Iowa State as well. Check out what Deace had to say about week one of the college football season right here at CN.
(1-0)…Colt McCoy looked like he
belonged and passed his first test, although the one looming this week will be a
much more difficult one and he'll have the national spotlight on him for the
(1-0)…The dynamic duo of Pat White
and Steve Slaton just picked up right where they left off in the Sugar
(1-0)…I know Arkansas has slipped
below mediocrity, but that was still a very impressive opening for the young
Trojans on the road.
State (1-0)…Garrett Wolfe has already exposed the young
Buckeye defense, and you must pack a defense when you go on the road, especially
against the reigning national champions.
State (1-0)…The Seminoles impressively held the Hurricanes to
less than 200 yards of total offense despite having to replace four NFL first
round draft picks on defense.
(1-0)...Looked sharp and
methodical on both sides of the ball against a game opponent from the
Pac-10. Starts SEC play this week.
7. Notre Dame (1-0)…It appears that Charlie
Weiss didn't reinvent the sport and Brady Quinn doesn't walk on water after
all. However, the Irish have to be
happy with the way their defense played in a tough road opener.
Tennessee (1-0)…Easily the most impressive team of the week was the
Volunteers, who completely dismantled a top-10 team and proved that last
season's struggles isn't a lingering problem in Knoxville.
(1-0)…Don't know that we gleaned
anything from that win over Louisiana-Lafayette that we didn't already know.
Florida (1-0)…Not surprised the Gators didn't dominate
Southern Mississippi, a proud program used to
playing in bowl games and playing teams from the SEC on the road.
Louisville (1-0)…Although it had
no bearing on the outcome Sunday night, the season-ending injury to Michael Bush
could have ended the Big East title to the Mountaineers already.
(1-0)…The new defense looked like
the old '97 national championship model.
The new offense looked like the old, sluggish, lack-of-a-killer instinct
Oregon (1-0)…Now that's the way to start the season against a
conference foe, but a sneaky road trip to Fresno State looms.
Miami, Fla. (0-1)…Have the Hurricanes lost their mojo? Or was the loss of four regulars to
suspensions just too much to overcome?
(1-0)…A workmanlike effort for the
Hawkeyes against a Division I-AA opponent.
Will they get tested this week at Syracuse?
Clemson (1-0)…Not sure what there
is to glean from a blowout of Florida Atlantic, but a road game at Boston College this week will tell us more.
Georgia (1-0)…Not sure what there is to glean from a blowout of
Western Kentucky, but a road game at South Carolina this week will tell us more.
(1-0)…The second Paul Thompson era
didn't look much better than the first one did last year.
South Carolina (1-0)…That was a sneaky solid shutout win on the road at
State for the Gamecocks.
Virginia Tech (1-0)…Sean Glennon
looked solid in his first start under center, and the Hokies' defense began the
season where it left off last year.
(1-0)…No Taurean Henderson and no
Jarrett Hicks was no problem for the Red Raiders.
Arizona State (1-0)…Not sure what to make of the talented Sun Devils'
shaky opener against Northern Arizona.
(1-0)…The Huskers showed balance
on offense in blowing out Louisiana Tech, but there are injury concerns on
(0-1)…So much for the Golden Bears
making a run at the BCS National Championship, right Lee
(1-0)…That road win at Baylor is
better than it looks, especially since the Horned Frogs had to do it without
their starting quarterback.
Mention: #26 Pittsburgh, #27 Penn State, #28 Georgia Tech, #29 Texas A&M, #30 UCLA
The Good, The Bad, & The
Good—The offense, when it was
unshackled, was unstoppable and lived up to the hype it's been generating in the
preseason. I thought the opening
game plan was aggressive and the quarterback draws were well conceived and
called at the right time every time.
That aggressiveness needs to be sustained for a full 60 minutes
considering the current state of the ISU defense. I also thought the offensive line played
its best game since the 2004 Independence Bowl. The Cyclones also showed some testicular
fortitude in taking Toledo's best shot and not wilting, even when
they were down by seven in the second overtime and facing a
3rd-and-14. The defense
was exactly what was expected: young, fast, and inexperienced. However, Reshawn Parker made the two
plays at the end of regulation that likely saved the game for ISU. Without those
two quarterback sacks, we may not get to see any overtime heroics from Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe. Speaking of
Meyer, how was he not the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week? There's a big difference between what he
did against a consistent bowl team and what the Missouri kid did against a Division I-AA
foe. Special teams made some big
plays and Bret Culbertson made every kick he had the chance to kick. However, as
is customarily the case at ISU, special teams giveth and special teams taketh
away. More on that
Bad—The defense was, in a word,
bad. Time and time again it didn't
get off the field on third down. It
to control the ball offensively for long stretches of the game. Time and time again it was just a step
slow in getting to the ball to make a play. That will come with experience, and
they'll get a baptism by fire given ISU's first half schedule. But keep this in mind when considering
the ISU defense, when you do the math the Cyclones are actually replacing 12
starters. They graduated eight
seniors from last season's unit.
Then they lost returning starters Jason Berryman and Matt Robertson to
disciplinary measures. Then they
lost expected new starters Kurtis Taylor and James Smith to injuries in fall
camp. That is a test of depth for a
team like Texas, let alone ISU. That's why I was telling anyone who
would listen right up until kickoff that any game that gives the Cyclones one
more point than Toledo should be considered a good thing. The reality is that ISU is going to have
to be consistently more aggressive on offense to compensate for the youth and
lack of depth on defense. On
special teams, the botched block kick was a mental error and the bad snap on the
field goal were two plays that stopped ISU from winning this game in
regulation. Luckily, a dropped snap
on a punt that led to a block didn't come back to bite ISU in the posterior.
Ugly—Never, ever, ever, never go
for a two-point conversion until you absolutely have to. The reason Toledo was able to force
overtime is not because it got that quirky two-pointer off the blocked PAT. The Rockets forced overtime because ISU
didn't kick the extra point on its first touchdown of the second half, meaning
that it actually gave away three points.
Had the Cyclones just kicked the PAT there they would've won the game,
24-23, in regulation. ISU's
dismaying inability to put the boot to the throat and finish off opponents at
times reared its ugly head again against the Rockets. Up, 23-15, late in the third quarter the
Cyclones forced a turnover in Toledo territory. But instead of going up-top to its
All-American caliber wide receiver Todd Blythe for the kill-shot, the Cyclones
instead stalled their own momentum by running twice in a row against a loaded
defensive front. The drive went
nowhere, the turnover went by the wayside, and the momentum went right back to
Toledo. I have yet to see a collegiate secondary
that can stop Blythe. It appears
the only thing that can stop Blythe is ISU's scheme at times. And Blythe shouldn't have to call for
the ball when it's winning time, especially since Toledo loaded the box to stop the run in the
second half leaving ISU's receivers with man coverage on several
Deace founded Cyclone Nation in 2002.
He can be heard on the radio each weekday from 4-7 p.m. on 1040-WHO, and
seen each week on television on Mediacom's "Cy-Hawk Talk: State of the