The college football season is off to a rousing start with enough good, compelling games scattered among the cream puff openers to make for at least a mini-feast. Following is a summary of the emerging storylines as the season gets started.
BCS BUSTERS ARE OFF TO A GREAT START
A curious thing has happened lately, in that the BCS busting conferences (Mountain West and WAC) have started scheduling big opening day games with BCS conference teams in an effort to strengthen their chances of getting into a BCS Bowl Game at the end of the season. It’s a risky strategy, but it seems to be paying off. UTAH got past a tough 15th ranked PITT team on Thursday night 27-25 in overtime. Then FRESNO STATE fell behind Big East defending champ CINCINNATI 14-0 but came roaring back for a 28-14 win. TCU then downed #24 OREGON STATE 30-21. And BRIGHAM YOUNG got past WASHINGTON 23-17. The BCS busters can get a fourth big win if #3 BOISE STATE can get past #10 VIRGINIA TECH on Monday night. So watch out for the BCS busters — they’re for real this year.
MICHIGAN , OHIO STATE, AND NOTRE DAME LOOK STRONG IN OPENERS
Traditional powerhouses Michigan and Notre Dame have fallen on lean times of late. In what is considered to be a “win or you’re done” season for Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, MICHIGAN took on a tough CONNECTICUT team whom many thought had a great chance of coming away from the big house with a win, and to the surprise of many Michigan rolled to a very impressive 30-10 win, with first time starting quarterback Denard Robinson throwing for 186 and running for 197 yards. All of a sudden things are looking bright in Michigan. Rival Big Ten powerhouse OHIO STATE looked equally impressive in its 45-10 win over Marshall. And finally hapless (recently) NOTRE DAME in its first game under new coach Brian Kelly came away with a solid 23012 win over intrastate rival Purdue.
FLORIDA LOOKS WEAK AND SEC GETS EMBARRASSED BY JACKSONVILLE STATE
Forida began the post Tim Tebow area against Miami of Ohio, a team who won all of 1 game last year, and looked ragged to say the least. The Gators gave up 8 fumbles and while they won 34-12, it was far from impressive and it’s clear that there is much work to be done in Gainesville. But the biggest slap in the face for the SEC came in Oxford, Mississippi where OLE MISS lost an overtime thriller to Division 1-AA (or whatever they call it now) JACKSONVILLE STATE, 49-48. Jacksonville was down by 21 points and came roaring back, tying the game and taking it into overtime before some last second heroics including a 4th and 15 touchdown pass and a two point conversion gave them the victory. In what was almost another embarrassment for an SEC power, #10 LSU barely scratched out a narrow victory against suspension depleted #18 NORTH CAROLINA in a game that ended with North Carolina throwing two incomplete passes into the LSU end zone from the 5 yard line, both of which should have been caught. North Carolina was playing without 9 starters who were among 13 players suspended indefinitely for “irregularities” involving a tutor.
SOCAL TEAMS GET A SPLIT
USC gave new coach Lane Kiffin a 49-36 victory at Hawaii in a game which left many questions unanswered, particularly regarding the state of USC’s defense, which was porous. AndUCLA lost a close one to Kansas State.