Well folks, it was a miserable week for me. The team I was closest to putting in this list, BYU, lost. Worse, Fresno State, a team that I so, so, so wanted to put in, but felt SDSU was a touch ahead, won. Making matters worse, Bowling Green – my second biggest omission – won. Worse still, the Falcons crushed one of the teams I included, Tulsa. Lastly and to keep it going, one of the MAC teams I did include was slaughtered in the opening week. I feel like Freddie May and Bernie Mac (that was the financial institution, right?) but at the same time Enron kept just plowing ahead (Side bar: did I just age myself with dropping an Enron reference? No it wasn’t a rap group, it was a company that made nothing yet had its name on a baseball stadium). Anyway, let’s move on to what these teams did. I picked all of them since I thought they could make a bowl, compete for a conference title, etc. Some just had really exciting players that I wanted to watch. Am I pleased with how this turned out? No. Am I going to give up after just one tough week? Please.
These teams are listed as high-yield, mid-yield and low-yield. High teams are the cream of the crop stocks. Your 1920s Ford stock, for instance. Your mid-yield are solid performers and the low-yield are great for long term investing like your company 401k. Now that you are done going on to Wikipedia to read about 1920s Ford … let’s hit it!
Boise State – “Okay, I’m done reading if he is leaving Boise here.” Hear me out for at least one more week with this Bronco team … first of all, we don’t know how good Washington can be. We know that if things went well for them this season the Huskies had a very high ceiling. As for Boise, remember last year? The Broncos lost its opening weekend showdown at Michigan State and Joe Southwick stunk up the joint. Well, that team went 10-2 (7-1) the rest of the way and then won a bowl game for an 11-win season. Let’s get off our high … er … horses on the Broncos and let Chris Peterson work his magic. After all, he is only 900-3 in Boise. My fact-checker says that isn’t right. My fact-checker’s resume is now on Monster. Week one grade: F
Notre Dame – Temple wasn’t great, but I think they were good enough to give Notre Dame a nice test before their College Gameday showdown against their kinda-sorta rival Michigan. We knew the defense would be good but if Tommy Rees can play even half as well as he did in that season opener, Notre Dame will be sniffing another BCS bowl. Week one grade: A-
Northern Illinois – I loved the way they started against Iowa. I loved how they re-grouped after the Hawkeyes punched them in the nose. I loved how they shut down Iowa in the second half. Lastly, I loved how they won the game. They did all of this while their star Jordan Lynch had a good, but not a usual Lynch-mode, great games. Week one grade: A
Kent State – Sure it was close against Liberty. You know what probably didn’t help things? Yeah, that would be all-everything burner Dri Archer going down with an injury after just three carries. Thankfully he is listed as day-to-day. If the football gods have any respect for my knowledge of the game, they will let Kent beat Bowling Green before their two tough road trips. Week one grade: C-
Louisiana Tech – Is NC State just that good or is Louisiana Tech just that bad? I’ll take good. After all, LT did manage net more than a five yard-per-carry average from the incredible Kenneth Dixon as he hit the 100-yard mark again in his young career. Tech has two laughers followed by Kansas – so three laughers – and then Army and wait, hang on. This can’t be their real schedule. This thing isn’t a schedule. It’s a joke. They’ll be fine. Week one grade: D-
Ohio – Probably my biggest reach of all these teams but I stand by what I said about quarterback Tyler Tettleton and about Frank Solich being a good coach. They had to play Louisville, for crying out loud. The Bobcats also had to do it with some players suspended. They’ll regroup. Its next three gamesare all at home and all winnable. If they can hit 3-1 entering league play that UL train wreck will be a distant memory. Week one grade: F
San Jose State – It wasn’t flawless but Jason Simpson rushed the ball well and the defense posted a shutout. David Fales is a tremendous quarterback and when 50-percent passing, two TDs, zero INTs and 225 yards doesn’t excite anybody because of your talent, you know you have a good club on your hands. The next five games feature four road games and Utah State so basically by October 26 we’ll know if they are the Spartans or the Spar-nots. The best way to describe my puns is to use a quote from Statler and Waldorf (the Muppet characters): ‘These puns aren’t half bad. No, they are all bad.’ Week one grade: A-
Tulsa – Bowling Green, and on the road no less, was going to be a tough one. Absolutely nothing went right for Tulsa but I still put this team at mid-yield. Why? Because somebody has to win C-USA this year. It is mathematically impossible for every team to go 0-12. Week one grade: F
Utah State – Chuckie Keeton! Now that that is out of the way, they actually outplayed Utah. I’m still a little dumbfounded that the Aggies pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory. They outgained the Utes, Keeton was on fire and they had a fourth quarter lead. Rather than do the sensible thing and wax poetically about the potential of this team and give conservative and vague opinions, I’m going all in. Utah State will be unbeaten from now until the Boise game. I make this statement knowing full well that USU comes here to LA to take on Southern Cal on September 21. It has been published and I will take as much blame if it goes wrong as I will gloat about if it goes right. Week one grade: B+
Louisiana-Lafayette – Not really a news flash, but you can still win the Sun Belt without winning your season opener on the road against a SEC team. They didn’t even get hammered that badly at Arkansas. I love their coach, Mark Hudspeth and I have a feeling the Ragin’ Cajuns will be fine. It just might not be next week since they are at Kansas State – and if any team is hungry for a win it is KSU. After that though, smooth sailing. Week one grade: D+
San Diego State – Clearly they read what I had wrote and was caught looking past Eastern Illinois (FCS squad…another one with a win, really?), since I said they could surprise people with a win against Ohio State. It wasn’t likely, but it was a sneaky-tough game for OSU. Well after that debacle they will now surely start 0-2. Oops. Worse, I said they had a fun offense. I don’t consider 19 points very fun. Hard to believe this team went 9-3 a year ago and co-champions of the Mountain West. Week one grade: ACADEMIC PROBATION
Buy These Kids Dinner (if the NCAA allowed it)
Tommy Rees (QB, Notre Dame) – 16/23, 346 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Jimmie Ward (S, Northern Illinois) – 7 solo tackles (13 total), 1 INT, 20-yard return. The INT came with 90 seconds to go in a tie game and the return got NIU down to the Iowa 30. Three plays later NIU has a three-point lead and the rest is history.
Harrison Waid (P, San Jose St) – This is what I call flipping the field: 6 punts, 249 yards, 41.5 average, 0 TB, 2 inside the 20 with a long of 55
The easiest and most deserving one of the week…me! Rather than simply adding BYU, Bowling Green and Fresno State for a still-manageable 14 teams to follow, I decided to cap myself at 10. Then I sold my self on Ohio to get to 11 and capped it again. I know the bosses at Gamedayr don’t want one of their lead writers saying this but, my friends, I am a moron.