What We Learned In College in Week 1
We all remember the first week of a new semester in college- here’s the syllabus, this is my attendance policy, this is when the exams are, these are the books you need. Not a whole lot of learning actually happened. The first week of college football was only slightly more enlightening, since a lot of the games yesterday were complete dogs (84-0 Oklahoma State over Savannah State? Really?). Here’s what we were able to take away from the handful of decent matchups:
1. It took South Carolina a good chunk of the first quarter to get going, but luckily for them, RB Marcus Lattimore is back. He fumbled on his first carry since knee surgery last season, but made up for it by scoring both of the Gamecocks’ TDs in a 17-14 win. However, scraping out a three-point victory over Vanderbilt has to be somewhat worrisome to coach Steve Spurrier, especially since…
2. It may have been premature to write off Tennessee with regards to the SEC East race. I still don’t like their chances of winning the division over both South Carolina and Georgia, but they looked much better than I expected in beating a North Carolina State team that was on some preseason Top 25 lists. Definitely a team to keep an eye on.
3. UCLA’s kicking game has some major issues. THREE missed extra points against Rice?
4. Penn State has some things to straighten out on special teams also. Senior LB Gerald Hodges was returning punts for the Nittany Lions yesterday, despite not having done so since high school. Understandably, his performance was less than impressive, including a muffed punt recovered by Ohio.
5. LSU sophomore WR Odell Beckham had a 70-yard punt return for a TD, and S Eric Reid had an interception. It was North Texas and it’s early, but I don’t think anyone missed the Honey Badger all that much last night.
6. We’ll learn something about Michigan later on, after they’ve played a defense that’s not Alabama’s. No one would look good against that D. Imagine if they had more than four starters return from last year? The depth Nick Saban manages to stockpile is just ridiculous.
7. Welcome to I-A football, UMass. The alma mater of Victor Cruz suffered a 37-0 beatdown by their neighbors to the south.
8. Minnesota needed 3 OTs to beat UNLV. The more things change…
9. Speaking of the Big 10, Northwestern-Syracuse was a thriller. Interesting that late in the fourth quarter, coach Pat Fitzgerald had #2 quarterback Trevor Siemian taking snaps instead of Kane Colter. The TV commentators confirmed that it was a coach’s decision and Colter was not injured.
10. I doubt I’ll mention DIII football in this column very often, but major props to Eureka (Ill.) QB Sam Durley, who set an NCAA record for passing yards in a game with 736 passing yards (34 of 52, 5 TDs). His Red Devils won 62-55.
And there you have your notes from a busy week one in college football. See you next week – same time, same channel.