Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/7: Week 1 In Review - Don't Panic, Gamecocks 2-0, Boise 12-0 & MORE!

Don't panic, keep calm.
It's only one week, so unless you are Ole Miss there is no reason to panic. Knee jerk reactions are going to be rampant in all directions, some even different directions on the same game (see: Boise State). A lot of things are still left to settle, and that's why I won't do a Top 25 until after Week 4 has been completed. So let's roll with some thoughts.

It's not often the Gamecocks are 2-0 (including 1-0 in SEC play) after a single week, but thus it is when South Carolina opens with a victory at home and Houston Nutt schedules the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

South Carolina 41, Southern Miss 13
Following the South Carolina Gamecocks (as an alum) it is often the non-conference opponents that provide the most headaches, and often they are in the game until the bitter end one way or another. This opener vs Southern Mississippi was different. The Gamecocks were able to continually gain yardage, and points, all throughout a game which was never really in doubt.
Stephen Garcia made all the swirling rumors about being outplayed by Connor Shaw a distant memory. This is as it should be, Garcia has been in the system for too long and showed a lot of promise last season. It appears more and more that motivation is just something that Steve Spurrier feels is always necessary with Garcia (perhaps the Blake Mitchell Experience is another reason for this).
The biggest surprise of the game for me was the contribution of Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders. Lattimore was such a heralded recruit that perhaps it isn't right to be so surprised, but scoring two touchdowns does seem a bit beyond the expectations of anyone. Sanders was more of a surprise as he was able to make a nice catch in the game and produce a huge play on a reverse he ran to the right side of the line. I saw Sanders in high school during the FHSAA State Championships, and he was small compared to other high school players. It's not unusual for a small guy with speed to contribute, but for Carolina this is something new.
A lot of confidence has to be felt going into this weekend's game at home vs Georgia, but really there is so little anyone truly knows about either of these two teams. It should be another classic game in an underrated rivalry between border states.

Jacksonville St 49, Ole Miss 48, 2OT
Houston Nutt must really have something against job security. I had already picked the Rebels to go 3-9 (0-8 SEC) before the season started due to what I perceived as overall uncertainty about the team that even the team itself had to feel. Then they blew a fourth quarter 31-13 lead vs the Jacksonville State Gamecocks of Div-IAA (or FCS, if you prefer).
It was embarrassing for the SEC, but can't really be considered shocking when you consider that Houston Nutt is a crazy person, between bouts of being really good at coaching. Consecutive Cotton Bowl berths followed by a home loss to a Div-IAA team, that's a trademark Houston Nutt moment.
That said, I now predict they will beat LSU again this year, because that would just make no sense at all (which in Houston Nutt Opposite World makes total sense).

BOISE 12-0
So I guess in one game Boise has clinched a berth in the National Title Game? Actually, not so much. Boise will have to go undefeated and hope that there are no more than one undefeated BCS conference champions and/or 1-loss SEC champion in the discussion. The strength of schedule will weigh heavily against the Broncos, but their resume in the last 5 years or so allows them to be in the discussion unlike any other non-BCS conference team.
Do they deserve it? I don't know for sure, but I also can't say for sure they don't deserve it. I know Boise gets months to prepare for their opener and bowl games, but so does the opposition. You're telling me Oregon, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma didn't take the Broncos seriously? I think Boise would be a 10-win BCS conference champion, but I also cannot state that as fact. You also cannot factually dispute my belief either.
Boise will have some tough games left. Oregon St is one of the truly underrated programs in the NCAA, and should give Boise a stiff challenge without weeks to prepare. Fresno St is always a respectable team that plays decent non-conference games where they acquit themselves well. Don't sleep on Nevada either, as they lose in Boise by a mere 11 points last season and now get the Broncos in Reno and off the Smurf Turf.
If they win all their games, most of the impressively, they deserve to be thought of in the same realm as an 11-1 Big Ten champion in my mind.

1. Florida State looked impressive, but against who again?
2. Even when he does nothing wrong Les Miles gets end-of-game disaster moments.
3. Virginia Tech will likely run off seven wins in a row before they play Georgia Tech.
4. Turner Gil losing 6-3 to North Dakota St is nothing to panic about. First game, new regime.
5. Oklahoma always seems to struggle out the gate, so lets not make anything of Utah St.
6. Michigan look good, still not buying it until they play someone, if they ever do.
7. Oregon won't put up 72 vs Tennessee, but it will be ugly this weekend.
8. Nike is totally screwing up college football with these awful jerseys so far.
9. Florida will beat South Florida, but if they struggle there'll be issues down the line
10. Best game no one will watch this week? Auburn at Mississippi St (on Thursday of NFL opener)

and now, your moment of zen...

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