Final Thoughts - Phil Harrison
Posted Aug 29, 2013

Phil Harrison's Final Thoughts Before Week 1 Gets Rolling

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

- The early season intersectional matchups this time of year are enough to make me wet my bed at night with excitement. I'm definitely planning on washing some bedding after Georgia at Clemson is in the books.

- There's no denying the fact that Steve Spurrier has been the next best thing in South Carolina outside of Myrtle Beach, but it's time to go from putting the program back on the map to winning a championship. It begins in earnest against the Tar Heels this week. Yes, statement-time is ringing the doorbell.

- Minnesota has had a steady climb in talent and performance under head coach Jerry Kill, but hosting UNLV smells a little like the type of game that the Gophers seem to lay an egg on in the past.

- Underrated: Utah State at Utah. It has all the ingredients to be a classic-casserole that looks bland on the surface.

- Underrated part deaux: Purdue at Cincinnati. Does anyone know what to expect with this game? New coach, up-tempo offenses, and optional defense means it should be entertaining.

- Overrated: LSU at TCU. Someone's getting exposed, and it isn't the Bayou Tigers.

- Who else isn't a fan of these week-one conference matchups that are becoming more commonplace with the expanded conferences? Ole Miss at Vandy can wet the palate, but ithe texture is just off enough for a bad taste in the mouth.

- The men of Troy would be well-advised to stay off the beaches on Oahu and keep the excursions to a minimum. Many teams have fallen prey to making the trip to Hawaii only to be shell-shocked by the time change and atmosphere. And with the ego of coach Lane Kiffin bruised, anything is possible -- nah.

- The new network Fox Sports 1 will be showcasing teams such as Utah, Utah State, Kansas State, Illinois, Oregon, Boise State, and Washington in week one. Yeah, I think I'm glad I've located this channel on the HD flat screen thing of beauty I have in several rooms of my house.

- Urban Meyer 2.0 is launching Saturday. Will it be an upgraded Braxton Miller and company, or is this team a bit overrated. My money is on the former but it'll be hard to duplicate an undefeated season. That being said, there will be no problem getting past Buffalo Saturday, and it'll be interesting to see how many more pages the playbook has.

- Keep at least an interested eye on the game in Gainesville. The Gators are replacing some key pieces on defense, and the offense had a problem moving the chains consistently last year. Toledo is the type of first-game trap that can get a brand-name program in trouble. I'm not calling an upset, but it has the makings of a courtroom drama.

- Can Illinois head coach Tim Beckmen make significant strides in year two? He'd better or his pants are going to be on fire from a seat as hot as a thousand suns. Show poorly at home against Southern Illinois and he'll be far from the toast of Champaign.

- So Johnny Manziel is reportedly suspended for the first half of the Rice game? Uh, okay. He still has shot at putting up 300 yards of total offense … Season on for Johnny Heisman.

- It'll be interesting to see how Mississippi State and Oklahoma State match up. If one of the best perceived teams in the Big 12 goes down to one of the less than stellar teams of the SEC, it'll be chest-thumping time for those where sweet tea knows no bounds.

- Welcome to the new era of Notre Dame football without Manti Te'o and all that comes with one of the strangest stories in the history of strange sport stories. In other news, don't discount the chance of Temple "catfishing" the Irish into a game.

- Congratulations Brady Hoke, you get to finally install your pro-style offense now that Denard Robinson has graduated. As good as "shoelace" was, he was the toy you just had to tinker with, and possibly the toy that morphed Michigan into a one-dimensional team. That won't be the case going forward.

- Is this the year that Penn State starts to feel the burn on the field from all that happened off the field?

- Oregon might just score an IQ type of score against Nicholls State. And I'm not talking a Mike Tyson type IQ score, more like Bill Gates.

- Virginia Tech is about to get hit by a tsunami called the Crimson Tide. The red flags are out on the beach.

- Has Bob Stoops lost his mojo? The game seems to have caught up to his way of doing things hasn't it? This year is not projected to be a great year for the Sooners, but maybe that's just the right time to prove everyone wrong.

- If Auburn is still suffering from a hangover from last year, not even an aspirin will cure the potential of things becoming a mess against Washington State and the laser light show of head coach Mike Leach.

- Is this the year Mack Brown gets things rolling again in Austin? Don't be surprised if the Longhorns surprise some folks in the 2013 campaign.

- Say what you will about Boise State, but they have never shied away from playing some early- season donnybrooks. It's BCS or bust at Husky Stadium against Washington on Saturday.

- If Northwestern is for real, it beats Cal at Berkeley. If Northwestern recent history is any indication, it'll be a heart-stopper either way.

- Upset alert: Ohio at Louisville. Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton and head coach Frank Solich have just enough firepower to put a scare in the Cardinals no matter the venue.

- Ahhh, much like opening a can of new tennis balls, I love the smell of breaking the seal on another college football season.