If week 1 of the college football season didn’t remind you of why this is one of the most exciting sports in all of America then you’re either not watching or have some kind of moral aversion to excitement. We had some meaningful upsets that happened to be high flying shootouts, a top 5 match-up that may have already knocked out a serious national title contender and another massive out of conference match up that once again proved why no one wants to see “Boise State” on their team’s schedule. Not to mention the fact that Texas A&M seriously upped the drama factor by deciding to be major d-bags leave the Big XII. This was only made more ridiculous when the rest of the Big XII, led by none other than Baylor (seriously!), decided to block the move in the same way NATO embargoes entire countries. If you’re a fan of the Big XII, or really any of its member institutions not named Texas or Oklahoma, you should be circling any home game against the Aggies on your calendar now (more on this later) just so you can call them assholes in person. And can we talk about Maryland?! As a massive supporter of their attempt to look like the Dallas team in Any Given Sunday I feel a need to defend how awesome Under Armour, the Terps and Randy Edsall are. So, now that we’ve had ample time to catch our breaths from last week, let’s review as we near week 2.
- Let’s get this out of the way: If Boise State goes undefeated this year they’re in the national title game. Period. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them with that evisceration of a ranked SEC team on the road in a primetime Saturday night game. This team is at least on equal footing with the major BCS powers not in the SEC. They’ve beaten Oklahoma. They’ve beaten Georgia. They’ve beaten Oregon. If 12-0 happens, it should put them on the other side of the bracket from the SEC rep and let them have at each other.
- This Big XII thing is a mess. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline is intriguing and the idea of Texas A&M moving to the SEC only to become its 12th best team is hilarious, but I still don’t have to actually like it. While A&M has done virtually nothing (save for a few upsets of Texas) to vaunt themselves into the national conversation during the past 10 years, the rest of the conference has been making moves into the national spotlight at various points. Nebraska, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Colorado and even Kansas (yes, that Rock Chalk Kansas) can all boast at least one season in the past decade that was better than any of A&M’s in the same time frame. Now A&M is crying over the Longhorn network (a deal Texas tried to partner with them on!), while making this the straw that breaks the conference’s back. This is all so that it can move to an SEC where it will be even tougher for them to break .500. The Big XII has arguably been the second best conference in the country the past 10 or so years. Oklahoma and Texas have played at as consistently high a level as any other team during the past decade and various other members have had their successful shots at the national stage throughout. What other conference (including the SEC) can say the same about any two of its members? The SEC is absolutely a better conference top to bottom, and its been stronger year in and year out, particularly as of late. But save for LSU, no one in the conference has been able to string together a decade quite like what the Longhorns and Sooners have done. It would be a shame to lose the last vestige of SWC and Big 8 power to the Big 10 (ugh…), Pac 12 (god no) or (oh for the mother of god!) ACC. At least the SEC kind of somewhat, sort of makes sense for a few of these teams. It’s just too bad that they’re getting about the 5th or 6th best team the Big XII has to offer (if that). So long Big XII. Thanks for (literally) nothing Texas A&M.
- Unless you’ve been hibernating inside a turtle shell for the last 4 days you’ve no doubt heard about Maryland’s epic week 1 win fashion statement. First things first, I loved the uniforms. As a guy who has spent the past 7 years begrudgingly becoming a Marylander I can finally grasp how unique the state flag is and thus the pride so many of the state’s residents take in it. For Under Armour (a Baltimore based company with a former Maryland football player as the founder and CEO) to so boldly splash that pride all over the state university’s uniform just makes it that much better. Not only did he and the university broadcast how proud they are to represent the state (and endear themselves to residents in the process), but they sent a message to local recruits (which are a formidable group in the DC and Baltimore metro areas) that this is what they can expect from Maryland football going forward. On the flip side I do understand people’s issues with the uniforms. They were loud and exceedingly outside the tradition of simple uniforms that established programs like Alabama, Texas, Penn State, Ohio State and USC have employed throughout their illustrious histories. But when you don’t have the history that those teams do, what do you have? You have a need to break in some other way. Nike and Oregon have managed to do this successfully due at least in part to their infamous uniform combinations. It looks like Maryland and Under Armour will try to do the exact same thing.
There are a few other things from week 1 to consider. Baylor’s win over TCU flew under the radar but it’s important for a couple of reasons. First, it shows how dangerous Baylor and Robert Griffin are one year after their first bowl appearance in ages. They could be the 3rd or 4th best team in the Big XII. It also showed how vulnerable TCU’s defense will be in 2011. Things will smooth over in conference play, but they need to plan now for Boise. Oregon’s loss certainly had a lot to do with how good LSU should be this year, but it also had a lot to do with a lack of polish on Oregon’s part. In the couple of years prior to 2010 the Ducks started slow with tough non-conference games only to turn it around for double digit win seasons down the stretch. Last year they started the season off by beating Portland State 72-0 in game 1, allowing new QB Darron Thomas, among others, time to acclimate to running Oregon’s complicated offense. LSU didn’t allow them that luxury, and four turnovers were way too much to overcome. Expect Oregon to regain its footing against a rebuilding Nevada team this week and still be a major threat to Stanford in the Pac-12 North.
Games to watch for in week 2: Alabama-PSU is an obvious one so we’ll go with a couple of others that might slip under the radar. Texas-BYU is a big non-conference match up for two teams coming off disappointing seasons. Look to see if Texas’ Garret Gilbert can get his footing against a tough Cougars defense. Wisconsin-Oregon State is still a big game regardless of OSU’s upset loss to Sacramento State. The Beaver’s tend to start slow, but they’re always good for an upset or two, albeit usually in Pac-12 play. Wisconsin would like to instill more confidence in Russell Wilson heading into Big 10 play, although he looked awfully good last week (as expected). The Oklahoma State-Arizona game is happening as I type this and OK State is running away with it in the first half. Still, I’ll mention it purely to showcase how much better the Cowboys have become over the past 3 seasons. With an actual defense stifling opponents in the first six quarters this season, this team should seriously threaten the Sooners for the Big XII crown.
That’s all for tonight folks. Tune in next time for; “If this NFL season even remotely resembles the first half of this Packers-Saints game I will literally make out with Roger Goodell,” “I have never been more happy about a 25 point win over Rice in my entire time rooting for the Horns…Shit,” “Eduardo Nunez Yanks? He needs to go…”