2011 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 1
Who's Not ...
While the Tigers weren't supposed to threaten Mississippi State on Thursday, showing up would have been nice. Playing at home, Memphis put forth no signs of progress from last season's 1-11 misery, falling 59-14 and yielding a Mississippi State-record 645 total yards. Larry Porter's team did break the seal on rookie QB Taylor Reed, who was forced into action when starter Andy Summerlin injured his ankle.
Is this the progress that David Cutcliffe has been talking about? If the Blue Devils are ever going to get serious about football—and making a postseason run—they'll have to handle the likes of Richmond when it visits Wallace Wade Stadium. Surprisingly, on a night when the defense overachieved, the offense and special teams failed to deliver, generating no touchdown passes and missing a chip-shot field goal attempt late in the final quarter.
8. The Kentucky Offense
Yeah, a win's a win, but by struggling to get past Western Kentucky, 14-3, the Wildcats exposed more cracks in the foundation than building blocks. The attack was the primary offender, producing just 75 yards of total offense through the first three quarters. Morgan Newton completed almost half as many passes to the Hilltoppers as to his own guys, and the team averaged only 3.4 yards per play. Those numbers can be overcome versus a middling Sun Belt team, but will haunt Kentucky once SEC play begins.
7. The Pac-12
It was a rough debut for the swelling conference. UCLA came up short against Houston, Oregon was tamed by LSU, Oregon State fell to Sacramento State, Colorado got spanked by Hawaii and USC and Washington nearly blew games to Minnesota and Eastern Washington, respectively. Adding a few Big 12 powerhouses, such as Oklahoma and Texas, might not be such a bad move after all.
6. Boston College
Here we go again. Playing at home versus a Northwestern team that was without star QB Dan Persa, the Eagles still couldn't get off to a fast start to 2011. The Eagles offense was once again the culprit. Yeah, it produced 479 total yards, with help from RB Andre Williams and QB Chase Rettig, but only scored a pair of touchdowns in a deflating 24-17 defeat.
5. Kansas State
The Wildcats authored what was likely the ugliest victory of the entire weekend, needing a fourth quarter rally to defeat an average visitor from the Ohio Valley Conference. K-State turned the ball over five times, needed 77 plays to produce 303 yards and went the first 58 minutes without reaching the end zone. Even worse, it was getting whipped at the line of scrimmage, which needs to be addressed quickly because there isn't another Eastern Kentucky on the schedule.
4. The TCU D
Sure, going into Waco with a reshuffled D was going to be a tall order on Friday, but allowing 50 points and 564 yards was a chilling reminder of just how far the unit has to go to approach its 2010 level. The Frogs produced just one sack all night, and were utterly powerless versus the pass, yielding almost one-third of their point total through all 13 of last season's games.
3. Bama's Quarterbacks
AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims did little to allay the concerns about the Tide's inexperience at quarterback, throwing four picks and one touchdown in the rout of Kent State. Sims looked like a rookie when he got his chances, lacking the pocket poise to unseat a more experienced teammate. McCarron flashed potential as the successor to Greg McElroy, but needs to improve on his decision-making before Alabama travels to Happy Valley for next Saturday's showdown.
2. Oregon State
Inexcusable. Sure, the Beavers played without a couple of key weapons on offense, but you simply cannot lose to Sacramento State, especially in your own building. Oregon State needed to rally from a 21-6 fourth quarter deficit, only to lose in overtime on a gutsy two-point conversion from QB Jeff Fleming to WR Brandyn Reed. For a team that's looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 campaign, this was the worst possible way to kick off the season.
1. Notre Dame
The Irish spent the entire month of August preparing for this? Geez. No disrespect to South Florida, which earned its signature win, but the headline in South Bend was more about the epic collapse and all the mishaps than USF's performance. Notre Dame played in the first half like a JV squad, eventually finishing the evening with five turnovers. It put up a valiant effort after the first of two storm delays, but was never quite able to overcome a hideous display over the first 30 minutes.
Who's Hot ... Week 1