College Football’s First Day

It is so, so, so great to have college football back underway. I never really realize just how much I miss it until it is back again. As I said yesterday, I went to the Buffalo-UTEP game. It wasn’t an all-time clasic, but it was thoroughly entertaining. My quick notes:

1. Parking was free at the stadium, it wasn’t that far away, and it was easy to get into and out of. All of those things were a first for me.

2. Buffalo is going to be tough in the MAC this year. Drew Willy passed for four touchdowns, including two long beauties right on the mark. He was very accurate and very solid last year, and he seems to have moved forward this year. James Starks is a ferocious running back who just keeps finding ways to get open. This team is going to be able to score a ton, and their defense has potential. I am surprisingly bullish on them.

3. Mike Price came out of the tunnel about four feet from our seats and tried to fire his team up at the start of the second half. It didn’t work – they scored three points in the half and lost 42-17. Price looked like a guy who was sick of being a coach and just wasn’t into the game. I think his days are numbered in El Paso and perhaps in the game. The team certainly doesn’t look to be benefitting from his experience.

4. There are few things simultaneously more frustrating and stimulating than sweating a close total. Though it eventually dropped to 56.5, I had the total in this game at 58.5 because I had to get it before I traveled. With less than five minutes left UB was up 35-17 and was just killing the clock by running on every possession. They started well within their own zone. They moved it okay, but always took three downs to get the first. The game was long since over, but I desperately needed that last meaningless score. It was the kind of fun only a sports bettor can understand and love.

5. UTEP lost badly on the field, but they won the cheerleader contest so easily that t wasn’t even fair.

6. Turner Gill might as well put his house on the market now, because there is no way he will still be in Buffalo next season. Much bigger fish will be beckoning him.

There were, of course, lots of other games on the schedule last night. As I perused the stat sheets to see what I had missed, a few things popped out:

1. How the mighty have fallen – Last year Ryan Perrilloux was the MVP of the SEC championship game. This year his unknown, irrelevant team got crushed by Georgia Tech and their new, annoyingly gimmicky offense.

2. South Carolina crushed NC State 34-0, but that score doesn’t tell the real story. SC looked pretty scary at times, wth four interceptions and some sloppy play. They benefited from playing a terrible team, but they have some work to do before they are ready for prime time. This score will inflate their line next week thanks to the public, too, so I will be especially careful in dealing with them.

3. Vanderbilt at Miami of Ohio was an odd one. The Rehawks were favored by 3.5 at home against an SEC team, and obviously they shouldn’t have been. The Commodores destroyed them, winning every facet of the game including the score, 34-13. I don’t think I will overreact on either side on this one – I still don’t think that Vandy is any good, and I think that Miami was overappreciated in the MAC by a lot of the preseason experts I saw.

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