Well, that was one hell of a Saturday. Teams I thought were good weren't, and teams I thought were bad were good. Let's get to it.Side note - I started this column and had the working title well before this tweet appeared, but this is certainly the inspiration:
OK. I'll start the nonsense. FSU is overrated. Alabama is overrated. Ohio State is overrated. Auburn, sure, overrated, was tied with Ark. — Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) August 31, 2014
Better Than We Thought:
Navy – This much is obvious, Navy is pretty damn good. They gave Ohio State enough problems that when Ohio State was up the middle of the fourth quarter, no one was sure Ohio State had it locked up. Saturday's loss builds a solid base for the season, and Navy has nothing to be ashamed of. Many thought they'd come in and roll over against Ohio State and fought very hard for three quarters. The Middies typically commit very few penalties, but two cost them dearly yesterday along with two turnovers. Defensively, they only had one mental breakdown and that was on the long touchdown pass, otherwise they were pretty good. Navy plays Rutgers next week, and after that it’s only real competition is Notre Dame on November 1. At worst they should be 6-2 at that point. Texas A&M – The obvious concern was how good would the team be after Johnny Manziel left for the NFL, and to say everyone was shocked at how good they were is an understatement. They simply blew the doors of my dude Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks. The Aggies are certainly doing everything they can to remind us they're the best team in Texas. It seems like every time they might face a bit of adversity, they don't and win. The season is long, and their schedule is tough, but the SEC West is a quagmire, but after Week 1, they appear to be the class of the division. Two big questions for A&M: how Kenny Hill will perform in hostile environments outside of College State, and how consistent the Aggie defense can be this season. Todd Gurley - Gurley was certainly a man amongst boys last night. I have to tell you, it's been a long time since I've seen such a dominating performance by one person. I'm almost positive I saw 50 or a million tweets saying we should award Gurley with the Heisman after week 1, and considering there was no one as dominating anywhere, that's a tough proposition to pass up. A game which started close, finished with a route and Gurley was in the middle of it playing offense and special teams. Georgia is also better than we thought, but wouldn't get a mention if it weren't for Gurley. He'll be fun to watch all season, and if the defense plays as well as it did tonight, Georgia will control its own destiny this season. Honorable mention: West Virginia
Worse Than We Thought:
Alabama – I know, you have two quarterbacks, and one is good and the other is learning the system. I’m not sure if Sims is the right guy for the season, but he certainly performed well enough for today. Sure, there were some dropped passes, and some spots where he looked a little lost, but overall how can you complain about 72% completion rate? Right – I’ll complain about something else. The Tide will miss linebacker C.J. Mosley in the middle and let’s be real, no one really stepped up today. West Virginia had their way with the secondary. Sure, we can make fun of Lane Kiffin, but he did an admirable job, and his offense produced. It wasn’t pretty, but there must be some time for transition. The offense needs to get its legs, and the defense is questionable. Alabama probably should drop a spot or two in polls, but we all know how bad preseason polls are. They simply aren’t where we thought they would be and that’s because of the offensive line, and the porous secondary. LSU - call me a hater if you want, but to say LSU looked good being down 24-7 to Wisconsin is crazy. Wisconsin obviously did a lot of really good things yesterday, and it pretty much fell to crap after that, but LSU looked downright lost in parts of the game. Yes, the Tigers scored 20 points in four possesions, but where was that offense at the beginning of the game. The defense showed up when they needed to in the second half, but was nowhere to be found. The only thing that was impressive about LSU last night was the 17-0 run, and without Jalen Mills even that probably doesn't happen. Les Miles has a lot of questions to answer, and hopefully a home game versus Sam Houston State will bring some much needed direction be La. Monroe shows up on September 13th. Florida State - I'm not sure the saying "survive and advance" was meant to be used on opening day, but that's exactly what Florida State did last night. There was nothing pretty about this victory, and Florida State showed no signs of consistency throughout the game. The Seminole defense - which absolutely needs to repeat last years performance - was very average last night. Karlos Williams - not great, Jameis Winston - better than average, Defense as a whole - underwhelming and significantly unimpressive. Tune-up time comes next week versus the Citadel before Clemson comes in on September 20th. Yes, those uniforms were terrible too. Is the Oklahoma State team last night the best team Florida State has faced in the last two years? Dishonorable mention: UCLA, North Dakota State
Too Early To Tell:
Ohio State – I have to admit, I was surprised by the first half, and totally surprised at the second half. Ohio State has work to do, and I'm honestly not sure where Barrett ends the season, but if he plays the entire season like he played today, Meyer will be able to shift his attention to other positions. I think the Buckeye's looked significantly better in the second half than the first, but I'd like to see them apply that same tenacity to all four quarters. Is there a reason why the first half went as poorly as it did for the Buckeyes? Did they not have enough time to prepare for Navy? I obviously think Navy is better than we thought, but Ohio State needs to figure out what it's place is going to be this season. Virginia Tech IS better than Navy, and I cannot imagine (even with Frank Beamer) that they'll let Ohio State off the hook like the Midshipmen did. Chris Fowler (thought this was all about football?) – Chris is replacing a legend. It’s going to take time for him and Kirk to get on the same page, but by the end of the year the two will be magical. Fowler will need to get his own, “you are looking live” tagline, but I think they’ll be fine. He’s certainly professional, and having working with Herbstreit before certainly helps, but it isn’t the same flair that we’re used to with Brent Musburger. Fowler is professional, he’s too professional, and while that might work in the NFL or MLB, when I’m at home on my ninth Dewar’s and Water (@dewars_water), I need a little fun, and Brent provides that excitement, and Fowler doesn’t. I hope it changes…please. Honorable mention: Notre Dame, Auburn
Don’t mess with a mother and her sons’ name, Uncle Verne!
I agree with Bruce, but I think Holgersen has Charlie Weis syndrome and is a better coordinator than he a coach.
Win or lose today, Dana Holgorsen showing again why he's one of the sharpest offensive minds in all of football. — Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) August 30, 2014
This Todd Gurley dude is good. Is it too early to project him to the Cleveland Browns with the #1 overall pick?
White guys (me included) still can’t dance:
The weather is bad in Auburn:
The weather was so bad in Gainesville, that they had to cancel the game last night:
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