Now wasn’t that fun? I do believe that was the best opening weekend ever or at least as long as I can remember. There were overtime wins. There were huge upsets. Three top ten teams lost. It was great. Well, as long as you are not a fan of one of those three teams.
It all began with Tennessee needing overtime to beat Appalachian State and Vandy blowing a ten point halftime lead to lose to South Carolina on Thursday night. On Saturday you could literally wake up, grab a cup of coffee and watch Georgia Tech beat Boston College in Dublin, Ireland before preparing for another 14 hours of college football.
At noon, Wisconsin scratched out a win over LSU holding the Tigers and Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette to only 257 total yards of offense. There are some issues in Baton Rouge and Les Miles needs to figure them out soon or he will be out at LSU.
The SEC overall had a rough opening weekend. Mississippi State lost to South Alabama suggesting that the post-Dak Prescott era might be tough in Starkville. Kentucky blew a big lead and lost to Southern Mississippi. Missouri got spanked by West Virginia. Arkansas barely squeaked by Louisiana Tech. It was not a great showing by the supposed best conference in the country.
Auburn played well enough on defense to beat Clemson but the offense was abysmal allowing Clemson to escape with the win. Wasn’t this supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t Gus Malzahn supposed to be an offensive genius? Wasn’t losing Will Muschamp to South Carolina going to be a setback for the defense? Isn’t….oh forget it, Auburn is Auburn again.
And then there is Ole Miss. The Rebels dominated FSU for a half and then seemed to completely forget how to play the game of football. The Seminoles abused Ole Miss in the second half scoring 30 unanswered points over one stretch. After leading 28-6 the Rebels lost 45-34 in embarrassing fashion. They made freshman Nole quarterback Deondre Francois look like a Heisman candidate. Francois ended up passing for 419 yards and 2 TD.
A few SEC teams actually did far well in week one. Alabama thumped USC 52-6. Yet another season where the Tide was forced to start a first year quarterback. Once again Bama had to replace a star running back. Once again, it appears to be a disgustingly smooth transition. Alabama looked very much like the best team in the SEC on opening Saturday. Doesn’t Satan eventually collect on those crossroad deals.
Unranked Texas A&M dispatched 16th ranked UCLA 31-24 to help salvage the SEC’s reputation. UCLA became yet another team to lose despite having an alleged Heisman candidate as Bruin quarterback Josh Rosen threw three interceptions. This was a much needed win for head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies. There were buzzards circling the program this offseason.
Georgia looked very good in new head coach Kirby Smart’s debut. I predicted a UGA win last week based on North Carolina’s suspect run defense but watching Nick Chubb churn out 222 yards on 32 carries was unexpected in his first game back from a gruesome injury in the Tennessee game last season. True freshman quarterback Jacob Eason looked better than his somewhat pedestrian numbers would suggest and it would not surprise me to see him take over the starting job for good by week three.
My Gators looked sloppy at times in a torrential downpour but pulled away late to coast to a win over UMass on the day that Florida Field became Steve Spurrier Field. It was not the offensive explosion Gator fans wanted against what should have been an overmatched opponent, but there were no turnovers and it was nice to see a quarterback that could check down through his progressions. Defensively the Gators held the Minutemen to only 187 total yards but UMass’ one scoring drive was helped by 40 yards of Florida penalties. The Gators really need to clean that up before they get into the meat of their conference schedule. The best news was that kicker Eddie Pineiro was as advertised. After the disaster that was placekicking last year for Florida that was a welcome sight.
I do realize that there is college football outside the SEC, though I cannot for the life of me fathom why. Texas upset Notre Dame in a double overtime thriller. Most of the nation was happy to see that outcome. Houston upset Oklahoma in a game where the Cougars made an excellent case for being one of the schools added when the Big 12 expands. Too bad on the field prowess isn’t really the deciding factor in those decisions. That is pretty much it for notable non-SEC games. Not a lot going on outside the big conference is there? Just kidding folks. Mostly.
Now we prepare for week two. There will not be as many marquis games this weeks as all of those teams that played quality competition in week one now play their cupcake game.
The big games this week include:
Tennessee-Virginia Tech at Bristol Speedway. Tennessee wins in a close one.
TCU-Arkansas. Arkansas with the upset.
Florida-Kentucky. The Gators make it 30 in row.
Mississippi State-South Carolina. The Bulldogs get their first win of the season.