Opening Weekend Notes

– Dave Wannstedt death watch? – Pitt was ranked to start the season (for no good reason, but that’s another story), but they did what they have done in the entire Wannstedt era – they disappointed. Bowling Green is among the elite in an underappreciated MAC, and they delivered a real setback to a Big East conference that already struggles for respect. Surely Pitt won’t tolerate the ceaseless mediocrity of this coaching regime for much longer.

– Virginia Tech was my pick to win the ACC. That could still happen, but not if they keep doing what they did on Saturday. Nine point favorites do not lose to teams like East Carolina. Don’t get me wrong – I respect East Carolina. There’s just absolutely no reason why a supposedly legitimate team like the Hokies should get themselves in a position like this. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt good about trusting the Hokies. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that I ever really have.

– Speaking of the ACC, it is just not going to be a very good league this year. That’s the only conclusion to draw after seeing Alabama crush the life out of Clemson, a team that some thought would be in the national title picture. There’s a lot to take from this game, but the biggest question I have is when was the last time that a team coached by a Bowden lived up to its potential.

– Jim Tressel probably almost choked on his sweater vest when he saw Beanie Wells go down with an injury. The x-rays are negative and it appears that he will be fine, but that certainly won’t do anything to address the concerns about fragility that people have about Wells. If the guys from Youngstown State can make him break then what happens when he faces the beasts that USC has?

– Michigan. Ugh. I knew that there were going to be speed bumps on the road to a national championship under Rodriguez, but I’m not sure I was totally braced for that. It wasn’t that close, and it could have been even worse if Utah had have been more disciplined and had have avoided some of the costly penalties that they took. It could be a long year for me and the rest of us who bleed blue and maize. I guess I can take solace in the fact that the second half was much better, and we showed signs of life throughout. Mostly, it was just the continuous sacrificing of the big play on defense in the first half that was the problem. The silver lining in the dark cloud is that if we can play that troubled a game and only lose by two then there is hope. It will just take patience to realize that hope.

– I guess Florida, Ohio State, Arizona State, South Florida, and Georgia all looked good, but I don’t think that playing patsies can teach us anything at all. USC and others like them deserve credit for avoiding the temptation to schedule a pseudo-exhibition game or two.

– Missouri got a big win over Illinois, but this shouldn’t turn people entirely off of the Illini. Their defense wasn’t up to the test of the Tigers, but then few teams would be. What we did learn was that Juice Williams is certainly ready to take his game to the next level – he had 458 yards passing and five touchdowns. The team is coping with life without Rashard Menenhall, but if they can find a running game somewhere then they can make some noise in a Big Ten that is open for someone to claim number two.

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