5 Thoughts - It's Only Week One
Georgia QB Matthew Stafford
Georgia QB Matthew Stafford
Posted Sep 3, 2007

From overreacting to week one, to the issues at Notre Dame, to the speed of the Pac 10, to the reloading and resurgence of Georgia, led by star QB Matthew Stafford, here are 5 Thoughts from some of the CFNers after the opening weekend.

There's Still More Football To Play

By Pete Fiutak   

1.  People, we’ve only played one week of the college football season. One … week.

No, your team still probably isn’t better than Michigan. No, your team isn’t a lock for the BCS after blowing out some team from the Sun Belt, MAC or FCS. No, your season isn’t over even if you did lose to some team from the MAC or FCS. It’s week one of a very, very long season, and the Appalachian State upset isn’t going to be the only bizarre twist as it goes along.

There’s a common misconception that, like the pros, the college kids are ready to roll on opening day. The NFL types get three-plus weeks of intense training camp, several “voluntary” off-season practices, and daily training sessions and study followed up by five warm-up games to figure out the best combination of starters. Everyone gets to work on what they need to for the season. The college teams get roughly a quarter of the fall preseason practice time and film work (and that’s being generous) that the pros do, yet they’re supposed to hit the ground running. That’s why many teams schedule a supposed cupcake to start things off, and even if week one doesn’t go as planned, that doesn’t mean the year is over.

Michigan is still great, even if it's a national punching bag right now. That offense is going to hang up huge numbers all season long to make up for the issues on defense. The Wolverines are going to beat Oregon. They’re going to beat Notre Dame. I’m not sure about the Penn State game, but they’re going to beat Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State before playing Wisconsin. They’re going to be right in the thick of the Big Ten race all season long, and they’re going to be a serious threat to go to the BCS. Losing to Appalachian State changed nothing other than national title hopes, which were out of Michigan’s hands anyway since USC and LSU, thanks to how the system works, will play for the championship if they each go unbeaten.

So relax. In two weeks, ff your team still stinks, or if your team is still blowing the doors off everyone, then it’s time to react. Let’s wait and see how the teams that got crushed play this week to see if week one’s big win might not have been that big a deal. Don’t judge everyone quite yet.

Much Ado About Charlie

By Richard Cirminiello

. Now that Charlie Weis' grand Quarterback Shell Game did absolutely nothing to confuse or slow down the Georgia Tech defense, where does the Notre Dame coach's reputation go from here? Universally labeled as an offensive genius not long ago, Weis' Irish were dismantled by the Yellow Jackets, 33-3, amassing just 122 yards of total offense and setting the tone for what could be a major rebuilding year in 2007.  Dozens of programs lose starting quarterbacks every season, yet live to tell about it, so Brady Quinn's graduation alone isn't enough to justify a historically bad opener.  Can Weis coach?  No doubt.  Has the media built him up too high and too fast?  You bet.  The irony in all of this?  As Weis and Notre Dame embark on the highway to mediocrity this fall, they could cross Tyrone Willingham and Washington driving in the opposite direction. 

Roll Dawg

By John Harris

3. Lose almost an entire defense to graduation or the NFL Draft?  No problem.  Lose a potential All-American corner to ineligibility and then the NFL supplemental draft?  What, me worry?  Start an offensive line overflowing with freshmen and sophomores?  No sweat.  This is what faced Georgia head coach Mark Richt prior to a dangerous opener with potent Oklahoma State, but in the end, the Cowboys were the ones leaving with the lesson learned.  Behind a strong performance by quarterback Matt Stafford and that young offensive line, the Bulldogs put up 35 points on an OSU defense that must get better.  On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez’s defense sent the true shot across the bow, holding the Cowboys to only 14 points.  If you didn’t know the Bulldogs defensive depth chart in 2006 or in 2007, you’d have thought it was loaded with nine or ten returning players.  Richt and his staff were as prepared, on the field and in recruiting the past few years, for a night like this as any staff could possibly have been.  When you rank the great coaches in the nation, you’d better have this man up in your top five.

Speed Kills

By Michael Bradley

4. Speed Kills: Anybody who had the stamina to endure ABC’s four-plus hour presentation of the Tennessee-California game Saturday night was treated to a look at some serious high-octane football. Yes, it was at times tough to see the talent with a Brent Musberger soundtrack that included – among other gems – “He’s from Chattanooga, and he brought the choo-choo on that one.” But watching the Cal wideouts and the UT linebackers and D-backs was like checking out a flag-football contest between rival track teams. It’s still vital to have strength up front, the better to make sure the QB doesn’t end up in traction, but the need for speed is greater than ever before. Had Florida been on the field, instead of the Volunteers, viewers may have had to watch the game frame-by-frame, in order to slow things down enough to understand what was happening. From this point on, anybody voting in polls had better first look at the pace with which the team plays, the better to understand where it fits in the hierarchy. Plodders may win some games in the neighborhood, but if you want to step out of the area, you had better bring some blazers. Tennessee saw that last night, when it lacked the playmakers to stay up with Mr. Jackson and Co. California may not have enough to beat USC, but it showed Saturday that it has learned enough over the past few years to remake itself with fast athletes, rather than big football players.

Early Officiating Issues

By Matthew Zemek

Let's call this thought "Pet Peeve Central." A new season brings old problems with officiating.

Example A: Bogus roughing the punter calls (running, yes; roughing, no) in the Wake-BC and KSU-Auburn games. More refs getting seduced by Hollywood punters.

Example B: A play not being blown dead on a false start (early in the first quarter of LSU-Mississippi St.). Dangerous to the athletes, and generally irresponsible.

Example C: In the Utah-Oregon St. game, with about a minute left in the first quarter, the play clock stood at zero for about three seconds. No delay of game penalty called. Mind-boggling.


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