Week 1 Biggest Loser
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Q: The biggest loser of Week One is ... ?
Georgia QB Aaron Murray.
It was a costly weekend for Murray, who not only was on the losing end of the showdown with Clemson, but also saw his reputation for failing to win big games endure another hit. The senior fell to 1-10 as a starter versus top 15 opponents, a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be going away. In the eyes of NFL scouts, Murray also fell further behind QB Tajh Boyd, who outperformed his counterpart by every imaginable measurement; Boyd got the win and accounted for five scores, while Murray managed just a one-yard touchdown run.
Saturday night’s game in Death Valley was billed as many things. Murray vs. Boyd was certainly one of the key underlying storylines. Unlike the game itself, the duel at quarterback was a rout, with Murray now in a must-win situation this week against visiting South Carolina. No. 11 is going to leave Athens with a slew of records, but his legacy will be incomplete if he can’t engineer a marquee win at some point in 2013.
By Russ Mitchell
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Hard to argue against Mr. Aaron Murray. It's not for the 38-35 loss itself, as that had as much to do with first quarter injuries to his best tailback AND receiver, an inexperienced secondary that played to form, and a kicker that can't hold his whiskey. Rather, for the two turnovers he had in the game's second quarter, which cost the Dawgs at least 7, perhaps 14 points.
Murray's nickname as "A-game Aaron" is pretty safe at this point. His having one-to-three costly turnovers every big game is more predictable than...is it too soon for Whitney Houston jokes?
But the big looser this weekend was the Alabama offense, in particular the line. Yes, we know they won by 25 points...thank goodness Virginia Tech's offense was so inept its quarterback, Logan Thomas, could only muster five complete passes out of 26 attempts - which is unlikely to be the case the next time Alabama takes the field.
Did Bama tailback T.J. Yeldon and his running mates suddenly forget how to put foot before foot? No, the run blocking was anemic. And if it was VT stacking the box, then did Bama's senior, two time defending national champion quarterback AJ McCarron forget how to play? He was a paltry 10/24 passing for just 110 yards,
one touchdown and one interception.
No, it was poor pass blocking.
Coaches say that teams make the most improvement between weeks one and two. For the sake of Alabama's historic run at a third straight championship, we hope that's the case, as next up for the Tide is Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Aggies...IN College Station.
Russ Mitchell is the Lead SEC Columnist for CFN and Campus Insiders. Follow him @russmitchellcfb
By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek
The biggest loser from week one of the college football season is… college football itself. That sounds a bit like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who famously said that “The only thing we have to fear is… fear itself.” The parallel is an intentional one.
Eight teams from the Football Championship Subdivision beat FBS teams in week one. It’s pretty clear that the likes of North Dakota State and Eastern Washington are tougher for power conference opponents than, say, lower-tier teams from the MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference USA.
This is not an original idea. Other sharp minds in college football have suggested it in recent years. Nevertheless, why not try what the English Premier League does and use a relegation-promotion system? Why not have these quality FCS teams play their way into situations that give them the ability to compete with power conference FBS teams, instead of relying on also-rans from the lower tiers of the weaker FBS conferences?
The product of college football cries out for better, bolder, more imaginative scheduling. The sport loses in the absence of such innovations.
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Biggest Loser After Week 1 - Boise State
It was all there for the taking.
The team that is the poster-child for BCS crasher had it all set up perfectly for them again with a course that looked fairly easy to traverse in 2013. It had been a formula that had worked fairly well in recent years; win a tough out-of-conference game to start the year, then jog through a mediocre conference on the way to BCS glory. The trip to Seattle wasn’t even one of the perceived tougher non-conference slates on the schedule in recent years.
Then a can of comeuppance was opened up in a renovated Husky stadium by quarterback Keith Price and the rest of the Washington Huskies.
And it’s not like there was too much to take solace in for Chris Petersen’s crew. The defense couldn’t keep up with the new break-neck pace the Husky coaching staff employed, the offense couldn’t finish drives, and the coaching staff looked powerless to employ anything to stop the onslaught.
Boise State still might go on to have a very fine year by staggering its way through the remainder of the schedule, but it’ll do so while wearing a black-eye that will likely show some bruising to the ego and the poll-voters’ psyche the rest of the season.
By Terry Johnson
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That loud noise you heard in the background this weekend was the air coming out of the Big 12's balloon. After boasting in the offseason that the league was just as deep - if not deeper - than the SEC, the conference suffered two humiliating losses to FCS opponents this weekend.
What makes these defeats so embarrassing is the manner in which Kansas State and Iowa State lost. Neither defense was able to stop the opposing offenses, as Northern Iowa ran for 6.9 yards per carry, while North Dakota State held the ball for almost the entire fourth quarter.
Losing these contests in such dramatic fashion really hurts the Big 12's chances to play for a national championship this season. Unless the conference champion goes undefeated - a big if considering that the last time it happened was 2009 - it will likely find itself on the outside looking in when the top two teams are selected, thanks to its perceived strength of schedule.
It's tough to find a league that had a rougher opening weekend than that.
E-mail Bart Doan
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Pulling up Lane: USC should expect more from game 1
More than understanding the hypocrisy of naming the "biggest loser" of week one a coach who actually won their football game, I still pull up "Lane" and say it's the coach of the USC Trojans.
Whether or not you believe in "hot seats" coming in ... which I personally don't ... USC has been at the crossroads for years. The classy AD Pat Haden isn't going to publicly flog his football coach before the season, but this is probably a make-it or break-it year for wunderkind Kiffin, who seems to be George Costanza in The Millennium episode, who, in spite of his own failures, continues to get better job offers.
USC surely won 30-13 over a Hawaii team that's expected to contend for worst in their conference, but in the annals of the sport, it's probably one of the more uninspiring 17-point wins one could have. Hawaii QB Taylor Graham tossed 4 picks. And during game week, All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee publicly questioned why Kiffin hadn't chosen a starting QB, expressing hope that would be rectified before game time.
It was, but both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek combined for a flaccid 15-29. USC has talent. They're loaded. The jury has been out on whether Kiffin is a good interview ... or a good coach. The first weekend's audition wasn't definitive either way, but if it's a stock, you're probably selling. Left coast Lane closed if it doesn't get better soon.