First off, let me apologize. I wanted to do my first "picks post" on Friday, but the website was down. Being that I missed making week one picks, we'll start with the official top 25 games + Notre Dame and Michigan picks next week. It'll work well because ND did not start this week anyway. Speaking of which, that drives me absolutely nuts. I know Notre Dame is holier then thau (no pun intended) when it comes to their college football doings. This is why they have their own television deal. This is why they make their own merchandise. This is why they aren't in the Big 10 (believe me, the Big 10 has tried). These three things make the Irish what they are. Notre Dame game are events no matter what their record is. For example, last year I was able to watch my 2-9 football team play at Stanford in the final game of the year on ESPN. There is no way this would ever happen. The draw was still Notre Dame. Stanford, despite a win over USC earlier in the year, was just as bad. Notre Dame beat them for goodness sakes. But what this feeling of ultimate superiority also does is make us fans wait. For the last few years, ND has started on the same day as the rest of the country. They didn't when I was a kid and they have returned to their "we'll wait one more week" ways. I don't know if its a sense of superiority or a "we don't play football in August" mentality, but Notre Dame has to stop it. This is the one weekend where college football takes center stage. This is the weekend where every football fan worth his salt is watching because its the first "real" action we've seen since the Super Bowl. Having a weekend as big as this go by without college football's marquee team playing is criminal. All the other "big time programs" accept the August start. Ohio State played yesterday. USC was on the field. Michigan showed up. So why not Notre Dame? They are already slipping in terms of national popularity to the likes of Ohio State, Florida, and USC. Further jeopardizing the popularity and relevance of the program is a dumb move. Plus, do you know how hard yesterday was for me? It was like I had the rickets on Halloween and couldn't go out trick or treating. I sat their in my costume and cried in my empty basket of candy.
Six more long days until San Diego State.
Now some quickies from the week that was number one:
Biggest surprise: Alabama. No one doubted that Nick Saben would get that program back into a position of national relevance. But it may happen a lot faster then we all thought. People overrate Clemson on a yearly basis. We saw last night that they are in no way one of the ten best teams in the country. But their no cupcake either. They may be horrifically overrated, but they still came into the game ranked ninth in the country. To roll over them by 24 is very impressive. At no point did you get the feeling that Clemson had a shot in the game. John Parker Wilson was very good, if not great. He completion percentage was good and he threw two touchdowns. Suddenly that 'bama/Georgia game on September 27th looks quite attractive.
Biggest Dissapointment: Pittsburgh. Remember the look Dave Wanstadt used to have on his face towards the end of his Miami Dolphin tenure? He's beginning to look like that again. Just a few years ago, Pitt was a program on the rise. They made a BCS bowl and looked to be on their way to years of glory. Now I think its a dead program. I'm sorry, you can't loose a 14-7 halftime lead slip away at home to Bowling Green. These are the teams you put on your schedule to help your resume, not hurt it. I thought Pitt was overrated headed into the year anyway. Sports Illustrated had them ranked 19 in their preseason preview. That was ridiculous. This is not a top twenty program. They are helped because they play in the weakest power conference but that doesn't mean much if you put up duds like yesterday. They should destroy Buffalo next week but I doubt Pitt is back in the top twenty five before week four, at the earliest.
What I'm Wondering: We know Missouri has an explosive offense. But do they have the defense to win a national championship? Illinois put up 42 against Mizzou yesterday. That was the bad news. The good news was Chase Daniels threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-42 win. But I still can't look past that 42 points given up. Juice Williams threw five touchdowns. Williams is a good quarterback, but not one that should throw five touchdowns against you. Furthermore, you would think this offense would have to go threw some kind of adjustment period after loosing Reshard Mendenhall to the NFL. The running game only yielded 81 yards yesterday, but what does it matter if Juice Williams is going to throw for 451 yards. That kind of passing attack doesn't need a running game. Two things will be interesting to see in week two. Can Williams keep this up (Heisman anyone?)? and is the Mizzou secondary really this bad?You may not get a good feeling on Mizzou for a few weeks. They have some cupcakers on the horizon, but its still something of note to watch. And how frustrated do you have to be if your Illinois? Score 42 on the road and loose. I don't care who you are, theirs no such thing as a good loss. Expect an Illini beat down next week on Eastern Illinois. Not to tip my pick...
The shock and awe award- Is Brian Brohm really gone? Louisville scored two points today in a 27-2 loss to Kentucky (remember them?) Cardinal quarterback Hunter Cantwell was 20/43 for 153 and had three picks. And he's a senior...ouch.
But wait! Week one is not done yet. Solid game tonight. The Rick Neuheisal era in UCLA begins when they host #18 Tennessee. The pick: Tennessee in a game that is uncomfortably close for Vol fans.