Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ronler Pick-Em: Week #1 Wrap

Isn't college football great? I mean come on, how do you get through the other seven months of the year? Sure there is controversy here and there. Seems like in today's modern age scandals are everywhere. No game is perfect. But if you know the game at all or get to know it a little better over the next several months, you'll come to the same conclusion as I do - there is no better game in the land. Wow, what a first week of CFB. If you missed any of it, my sympathies in advance. I'll do my best to bring you up to speed.

So many stories emerged out of week 1. Where to begin. There's only one place to start. The Hokie tribute to the 32 who lost their lives last April that senseless waste of human potential- was moving. Man can be evil. He can be wasteful, full of hubris, and an ugly representative of God's master plan. But, occassionally we can be positive ambassadors of goodness and hope. Sure VA TECH looked bad in their opening win over ECU (a bowl team from 2006, BTW). But yesterday in Virginia wasn't just about X's and O's. There wasn't a dry eye in my house as the F16's flew over Lane Stadium before kick-off. Yet another reason to love this game. CFB isn't just a sport; it's a richer way of life.

OK, on to the grid-iron action. Hmm, what else happened yesterday? Let me think. Yes, that's it. Hawaii beat Northern Colorado - 63 to 6 in another cupcake massacre. Oh, and the Mountaineers from Appalachian State squaked passed the Maize and Blue 34 to 32.

Yes indeedy my friends, down went one of the GIANTS in the game - and I for one couldn't be happier. It was supposed to be another cupcake massacre of the Mountaineers by the Wolverines in front of Cesar and the other 110,000 Roman Senators wearing their blue and maize robes. After all, you don't get paid $400K to actually compete in a cupcake affair - mainly just show-up, get whacked, and go home to Boone, North Carolina. Problem, somebody in the Michigan athletic department forgot to tell head coach Jerry Moore and his team.

Wow, never before has this happened. It will go down as one of the biggest upsets every in CFB. No DIV 1-AA (now FCS division) team has ever beaten a ranked 1-A squad before dating back to at least 1978 when the levels were created. I don't think the Wolverine nation will handle this stunning defeate very well. Likely, they'll struggle with trying to figure it all out for months to come. And, what happens to Lloyd Carr in the long run? Too bad they can't be ranked in the AP top-25 since they're not in DIV 1-A. And what to make of Michigan? With hopes of another BIG-10 title and a chance at a National Championship coming into this season, where does BIG BLUE go from here? So many questions and so few answers right now. Quote of the day: "We were not a well-prepared football team," Carr said. "That is my job, and I take full responsibility." Hell yes.

And how 'bout those ILLINI? I know we lost another close game yesterday (40-34 to Missouri), but hey - closer than the experts thought. That had to be one of the most exciting and competitive games of the day. And it all came down to a last second interception by the TIGERS at their goal line as we were about ready to take the lead for good. Ugh! Pain and heartache for the Chief. In the end just too many turnovers and special teams mistakes to overcome. But we did most of our damage under the leadership of red-shirt back-up QB Eddie McGee. Juice was knocked out early in the game after a vicious blow to the head. Oh, what could have been. He looked good early too. And so did the team most of the game. Zook did a good job in preparing during my squad during fall camp. We just didn't show up as in years before. We came ready to win. Expected to win. And just about did.

Illinois actually accumulated more total yards than the high-powered Missouri offense (435 to 429). We also had more fumbles and lost more of them than Mizzou (5 fumbles - 3 turnovers). Then there were the intercpetions (we had two, they had none). What could have been. We should have won this game. Coach Zook after the game, "First of all I just want to say this, they're a very good football team. The good thing is that we played them through the second half. I felt like it was a game that could go either way and in the fourth quarter our guys hung in there and kept fighting. There is no question in my mind that we are an improved football team. We are going to continue to improve and get better as the season goes on."

I agree.

Well, as I scan some of the final scores from around the land I can see a few other interesting outcomes. Some teams actually played real competition in their openers and should be congratulated for it. Others like Penn State - shame on you. Beating Florida International 59-0 at home does nothing to impress me. So, who looked good and who didn't? Here's the rest of big news in WEEK1. CFB Roundup.

WHO LOOKED GOOD (regardless of outcome):
  • ILLINOIS - see above.
  • BYU - good home opener for the COUGARS.
  • Georgia Tech - maybe, hard to tell given the sub-par competition. Long year for the IRISH.
  • Oregon - too early to tell. It's not November yet either. Let's just wait and see.
  • Oregon State - same as above. It was a good game until Utah lost its two superstars.
  • Nebraska - not bad, struggled early - but not bad.
  • Georgia - who said this would be a close game or a win for the Cowboys between the hedges?
  • Oklahoma - sure it was against North Texas. Did you see the final score?
  • CAL, and Tennessee - not a bad game. Tight until late in the 4th.
  • Washington - good road win in Syracuse. I know, it's Syracuse - but still.
  • Wisconsin - especially late in the game against a game Cougar squad.
  • BC - yes, kudos to the Eagles. Tough ACC clash against Wake.
  • Michigan - see above.
  • Texas - uh oh, barely squeaked by Arkansas State at home.
  • Notre Dame - somebody tell me where the first win is in that schedule. Long year.
  • All you cupcake eaters - you know who you are. Pathetic. Shame on you!
MY TOP - 10 (it's still early):

1) USC
2) LSU
3) West Virginia
4) Florida
5) Oklahoma
6) Louisville
7) CAL
8) Wisconsin
9) Georgia
10) Texas / Rutgers

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