Two weeks into college football season, and the unpredictability continues. East Carolina beats a ranked team for the second consecutive week. Ohio State struggles with Ohio. Notre Dame needs a fourth quarter comeback to beat San Diego State…the same San Diego State who lost to Cal Poly a week earlier. Arkansas and new head coach Bobby Petrino squeak have to out another win over a high school team, Louisville, who acted as if their endzone was covered in poison ivy in Week 1 puts up 51 points. And more Penn State players are arrested…ok maybe that’s not that crazy after all. Here’s a look at the day.
1). Count me among the surprised after ECU pulls off another upset. I thought Virginia Tech might have been ranked a little high this season – having lost a lof of their defense, most of their receivers and their running back – so that upset didn’t totally shock me. I figured West Virginia and Pat White would put ECU back in their places. Instead, the Pirates dominated WVU in every phase of the game. They took them behind the woodshed and pounded them. The high-powered WVU offense, led by White and Noel Devine? three lousy points. These Pirates are for real, and could cruise to the C-USA title. No team has started the season with more impressive wins.
2). Shame on the officials and shame on the rules committee after the debacle at Washington, when a celebration penalty moved the potential game-tying extra point back 15 yards, where it was blocked. I understand wanting to crack down on excessive celebrations (i.e. Georgia last year), but is the ultimate goal to take all the emotion out of the game? When Huskies QB Jake Locker banged his way into the endzone with 2 second left, of course he was a little excited. He threw the ball back over his head and celebrated with his teammates…as most anyone would have done in that situation. The celebration wasn’t showy, wasn’t taunting, wasn’t premeditated…so what’s the harm? It was pure adrenaline and emotion in the moment, and that’s one of the reasons college football is so great. I could care less about either BYU or Washington, and granted Washington still could have tied the game, but I just think this sets a bad precedent for taking the fun and emotion out of the game.
3. I just learned that after yesterday’s victory, Notre Dame has extended Charlie Weis’ contract 26 more years, at a rate of $15 million per. After all, he was able to win depsite the fact that Ty Willingham recruited mediocre players to South Bend about 9 years ago right? The man is a genius!! In all seriousness, Notre Dame looks only slightly better than last year. Jimmy Clausen is apparently just embracing his homosexuality with the new haircut, and Weis appears to have hit the buffet a few more time in the off-season. Their offense looked a little better yesterday than last season, but then again, it’s hard to be worse than they were a year ago. Were it not for a bogus fumble call on the goal line, SDSU very well should have won that game yesterday. But have no fear Irish fans. I’m sure as long as the team wins 6 games, they’ll get placed in a BCS bowl.
On a side note…Lou Holtz: Please stop talking about Notre Dame. We realize you coached them at one point. We realize you won a national championship there. Guess what? I was 6 years old when that happened. I’m now 26. Move on. Not every question to you has to include “When I was at Notre Dame” in the answer.
4). Look out for Miami in two years. The Canes are on their way to being back in the national picture. Despite starting a plethora of underclassmen and a true freshman QB, the Canes hung around #5 Florida for three quarters at the Swamp before the Gators finally pulled away. Miami has some great young athletes, and Randy Shannon appears to the right coach to develop them. On the other side, Florida’s O-line looked awful much of the night, despite returning several starters. Tim Tebow looked hurried much of the night before settling down in the fourth, and their offense was out of sync most of the game. They obviously have a ton of weapons on offense, and their defense looks as fast and athletic as ever, but if the poor O-line play continues, the Gators can kiss an SEC Championship goodbye.
Looking ahead to next week…I’m going to go out on a limb and say Ohio State beats USC if Beanie Wells is back. I’ve got no good explanation for this – just a gut feeling. USC has a lot of offensive weapons, but their receivers still don’t scare me. Ohio State will be able to run on them and control the clock. My early pick? OSU 17 USC 14. Mark it down.