As you probably know, yesterday was the first Saturday of the College football season. I believe there were 53 division 1 games played yesterday, and out of those 53 only 18 were shown here on my television. Unfortunately for me, because of the fact that usually about 5 games were playing at the same time, I was only able to watch three games from whistle to whistle. I watched Virginia Tech vs East Carolina, which was probably the game of the day; Michigan vs Utah, a game that could a preview for the rest of the season for both teams; and the Missouri vs Illinois game, a performance that should make fans from any other Big 12 teams nervous. Unfortunately the Alabama-Clemson game was not shown here in Lawrence, Kansas, which was very disappointing as it was one of the games that I was really looking forward to.
Either way, as many of you know, I recently had surgery on my wrist and from the elbow down my arm is immobile, which obviously makes it very difficult to write a post so this time around I’m not going to write a full post. Thinking ahead, I took notes while I was watching the games yesterday, just jotting down things that jumped out at me. So what I will do is give a very brief overview of the game and then type up my thoughts from that game and put them down as bullet points and just make a list of key things that I think could prove to be important over the course of the season. With the things I list I will also try to look up an extra piece or two of information on the subject of the point.
Let’s start with the Virginia Tech vs East Carolina game:
Virigina Tech came into this game with a preseason ranking of 17th in the country, but East Carolina came into the game ready to play. In this game there was a fumble returned for a touchdown, a blocked extra point returned for a touchdown, and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. This was a very exciting game to watch and as I mentioned before was probably the game of the day. The opening score of the game came a few minutes into the second quarter and was the fumble return when Virginia Tech’s Stephan Virgil scooped up an East Carolina fumble and returned it 30 yards to the promise land. However the final score of the game came with a minute-52 left in the 4th quarter when East Carolina was trailing 22 to 20, and had just forced Virginia Tech to go three and out and were planning on running a two-minute drill to get in field goal range when Wham! T.J. Lee blocks Brent Bowden’s punt and grabs the ball and sprints 27 yards to victory. The better team clearly won this game, East Carolina had more rushing yards, more passing yards and all but dominated the time of possession. Really the only area of the game that VT clearly did better was in terms of discipline, having 0 penalty yards, while ECU had 60 penalty yards.
-The only note that I wrote down for this game is to look out for East Carolina’s quarterback, Patrick Pinkney, who had a phenomenal game and could put together an equally as impressive season. Pinkney completed 19 of 23 pass attempts, throwing for 211 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another, without throwing a single pick, which gives him an NCAA passer rating of 174.02, which is a 119.38 by the NFL rating system.
Okay, moving in chronological order I will now do the Michigan vs Utah game:
This game wasn’t quite as exciting despite the fact the the final margin of victory was only two points, with Utah winning 25 to 23. Both teams only had 36 rushing yards, Utah dominated in terms of total yards and time of possession. Both teams had three turnovers and Michigan had significantly less penalty yards. It was 25 to 10 going into the fourth quarter and it looked like Michigan was going to come back after they scored a touchdown, making it an eight point game, then they scored another touchdown and were down by two so they went for the two point conversion but failed, and neither team scored again.
- My first note on this game again concerns the winning team’s quarterback, Brian Johnson of Utah had a really good game. He struggled a little in the second but still put up good numbers, going 21 of 33 for 305 yards a TD and a pick for a NCAA passer rating of 145.21 or 91.10 with the NFL rating. If it weren’t for the one ill advised interception it would have been a much higher rating. Keep an eye on him, he could put together a good season.
- I just wanted to draw attention to Obi Ezeh, the Michigan linebacker. He could be very very good. He had Michigan’s only interception. I tried to dig up his stats from yesterday’s game but failed to find anything that I think is accurate; ESPN.com says that he had zero tackles which I’m sure can’t be right.
- It looks like Michigan really misses running back Mike Hart, who is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Michigan had six different people rub the ball yesterday, and only one of them, Brandon Minor, had total rushing yards in the double-digits.
- I saved this note as the last one because it’s the most important and I want you to remember it. The Utah kicker/punter, Louie Sakoda, a senior from San Jose, California, is ready for the NFL right now and I want the Colts to draft him just as a backup and future replacement for Adam Vinatieri anf/or Hunter Smith. He’s my early pick for First-Team-All-American and easily had the best performance out of all the players I watched yesterday. He hit all 4 of his field goal attempts yesterday, 3 of which were over 40 yards (something Vinatieri didn’t do all of last season) and one of those was a 53-yarder, which he hit not from the center of the field, but from the right hash mark, and it was dead center with plenty of clearance over the cross bar. He also had six punts with one that was a 59-yard-bomb, with a 47-yard average, Hunter Smith’s best season average is 45.2 so, yes, I’m being serious when I say I want the Colts to get him.
Finally we move on to the Mizzou vs Illinois game:
As you may have seen, Bryan has already written a full post covering this game. With that said, I will jump straight to my notes on the game:
- Mizzou’s running back, Derrick Washington, is a beast. You probably won’t hear his name as much with a large percentage of the attention being focused on Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin but this kid is good. 19 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns – don’t forget about him.
- The Illini defense annoyed me. They seemed like a bunch of cocky/annoying idiots. They seemed like they were jawing a lot, and trying to start stuff after plays were over, it was good to see that the Mizzou players just walked away from this. The Illinois defense just seemed to have bad attitudes. I also noticed this about the Michigan defense; once they started losing they seemed to come in late on some hits and they didn’t look unintentional. I suppose what’s more bothering is that the refs weren’t calling.
- Missouri tight end, Chase Coffman = WOW. Nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown… as a tight end. Thats mind boggling. He’s 6’6, 245 and has athleticism that doesn’t even make sense. There’s one play I’m thinking of in particular where he broke like a hundred tackles and then jumped clear over a defender, it was insane.
Alright my final thoughts for you guys is that there are currently four non-BCS schools that I could see sneaking into a BCS bowl, and they are East Carolina, Utah, BYU and Fresno State. I don’t see any more than one of those teams making a BCS bowl, nor am I necessarily saying that I think any of those teams deserve to make a BCS bowl, I’m just saying to keep them on your radar. I’d also like yo point out that I picked both the East Carolina over Virginia Tech upset and the Bowling Green over Pittsburgh upset as well as the Utah over Michigan win.
PS: I realize that at the beginning of the post I talked about how this was going to be a short post but I got a little carried away. What can I say? It’s the opening weekend for college football, how could I have ever expected myself to hold back?