|by David Hood|
This weekend of college football was fun and….interesting.
Because I cover Clemson, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to sit at home and channel surf and watch multiple games on a given Saturday afternoon. At TigerNet, we go on all of the road trips, so my chances to watch other teams play occurs when I DVR a certain game, when Clemson plays an early game and I can get home in time to watch a late game or two, or the Tigers play late and I can watch some of the early games.
Instead of appetizers, however, I got the full buffet Saturday, and I think I wore out the keys on my remote.
This is the time of year when we start to find out what kind of teams are out there, and several of the nation’s best were on display. For Clemson, it was a chance for the coaches to catch up on recruiting, see their kids play in some games and exhale a little bit before the conference grind begins Thursday at N.C. State.
For we internet writing wretches, it was a chance to be a fan. Here is some of what I saw Saturday.
*I started the day by watching Akron almost upset Michigan in the Big House. Akron head coach Terry Bowden has his brother Jeff on his staff, as well as former N.C. State head coach Chuck Amato and former FSU standout and Green Bay Packer Terrell Buckley. If Michigan had lost, I was going to start a campaign to have “pulling a Clemson” officially changed to “pulling a Michigan.” Michigan lost to Appalachian St. several years ago, and seemingly struggles with lesser foes.
*Homefield advantage is a good thing if you have a crowd that really gets into the game. In the Texas A&M and Alabama contest, I never really thought the crowd affected Alabama’s offense or brought a lot of energy after midway through the first quarter. Of course, Alabama scoring 35 straight points at one point will do that to a crowd. In Lincoln, Bo Pelini got out-coached by Jim Mora for a second season, and the home crowd was desultory at best.
The Huskers jumped out to a 21-3 lead and led 21-10 at the half, but Mora and company made adjustments at intermission and Pelini and his staff never recovered as UCLA ended the game on a 38-0 run. Yep, 38-0. Most of the boosters in Nebraska grew up watching Tom Osborne obliterate opponents on Saturdays, especially at home, and losses like Saturday’s put Bo on the hot seat. Can anyone truthfully say that Big Red is that much better than when he took over?
*Speaking of the hot seat – Mack Brown’s fanny is on fire. Texas was embarrassed by BYU in week two, and Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and brought in Greg Robinson. The Longhorns then went out and lost to Ole Miss – at home – and now it seems like little more than a formality that this is his last season. I know a lot of people down that way – hey I was raised down Texas way – and a lot of people say that Stanford’s David Shaw is high on the list. Other candidates would include Nick Saban, Les Miles, James Franklin, Charlie Strong and Art Briles. Nowhere have I heard the name of Chad Morris, although that could change by season’s end. But Texas will need to hit a home run with his hire, and they will go out and get a big name to excite the fan base.
However, one name that might surprise some people is Will Muschamp. He was once named head coach in waiting at Texas, and then took the job at Florida. Hey, he could at least fix the defense, but might need a big name offensive coordinator to go along with him.
*Virginia Tech has issues. Real issues. They have Marshall this week, but then start a stretch of games where they play Georgia Tech, UNC, Duke, Pitt, Boston College and Miami. Would anyone be surprised if they went 2-4 during that stretch?
*Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe and his players all seemed enthused at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro back in July, and there was talk that the Demon Deacons could be the third-best team in the ACC Atlantic. Well, they managed to give up 424 total yards to UL-Monroe and lost at home, despite getting 16 receptions for 177 yards from wide receiver Michael Campanaro. However, the Deacs rushed just 15 times for 15 total yards, and currently stand 115th nationally in rushing. Could be a long season in Winston-Salem. They are at Army this week (they lost 34-20 to No. 5 Stanford) and then play at Clemson the following week.
*I watched Oregon’s blowout over Tennessee, and I got tickled when the sideline reporter said that Oregon’s offensive linemen looked “stunned” after tangling with Tennessee’s defensive linemen – meaning the little guys were having trouble with those big ole SEC linemen. Looked to me like they had zero trouble. And for all of the love that Johnny Manziel gets, I would rather have Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who makes better decisions. I’m biased towards Tajh Boyd, but Mariota is a player. If Clemson can’t make the national championship game, Oregon and Bama would be fun to watch.
*During the Georgia and Clemson game, I had one South Carolina fan who was hitting me and TigerNet up on Twitter, and making fun of the points and yards. One statement said that “real teams play defense” and that “Georgia would find that out in week two.” That was followed by “Alabama would never allow 400 yards” to a team and that “real SEC teams” don’t allow 35 points. I wonder how he feels after watching Georgia’s win over South Carolina and Alabama’s 49-42 victory over the Aggies?
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org