College Football Week 1: 4 Winners, 4 Losers Among Coaches, Heisman Candidates, QBs
Thursday night college football is fun. The Friday night ESPN game, at least under the magical watch of Joe Tessitore, has become somewhat sneaky over the years. But the college football season truly begins on that first Saturday.
Back to Ireland to get on track.
So when I fired up the television Saturday morning, then and only then did it truly feel like "football Christmas" morning. And this year there was the added bonus of an 8 a.m. kickoff over in Dublin, Ireland! Involving my alma mater no less! Could it get any more awesome?!? Seriously, there's something about live sports on television outside of normal "sports watching" hours that amplifies the excitement level. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it's the same hormonal reaction that one gets from a "nooner." An endocrinologist needs to run tests on this.
At any rate, with no Texans game to discuss until next week, let's allow college football to borrow "4 Winners, 4 Losers" this week, shall we?
Let's go with a winner and a loser in four highly critical categories. Here we go...
Winner: URBAN MEYER, Ohio State.
I think we all think it's just a matter of time before Urban Meyer does what he did at Florida, right? Restore a "should be" power to national title-worthy status within two years, put them on the playoff landscape every season starting in 2014, grow exhausted by about 2017, and then leave the program with a cruise-ship-sized wake of discipline issues and overhyped five-star players. With a 56-10 trouncing of Miami (OH), he's off to a good start.
Loser: TONY LEVINE, Houston.
Levine was the lock cinch to garner this paragraph, and that was before offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt "chose to resign" Monday morning. The Cougars were 35-point favorites to beat Dennis Franchione's Texas State whatever-they're-calleds, and lost to them by 17, which is the biggest upset in college football since Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal beat USC as a 40-point underdog in 2007. And, make no mistake, Franchione is no Harbaugh.
This could not have been a bigger disaster for Levine and the Coogs -- at home in Levine's first game. That result alone puts Levine in a spot where he's figuratively hitting like his seventh shot off the tee now with the alumni base. Depending on how the season goes from here, the upheaval in the staff (and I'm guessing Nesbitt's "resigning" is just a euphemism for how the whole process went down) will be viewed either as a first-time head coach panicking or as a bold stroke to get the season back on track. The real shock is not so much that Nesbitt resigned but that he ever got the job to begin with, given his choice of haircut and all.
Winner: EVERETT GOLSON, Notre Dame. After last season's Notre Dame opener against South Florida, which featured multiple red zone turnovers and Dayne Crist getting yanked for the season after two quarters in a 23-20 home loss to what ended up being a five-win USF squad, a 50-10 laugher against Navy was just what the doctor ordered for Irish fans.
Everett Golson was solid in his first start (12-18, 144 yards, 1 TD), with the only blemish a second quarter red zone pick as the Irish were trying to go up 27-0. The real story in this game was Notre Dame, without starting tailback Cierre Wood (suspended two games under the new iron-fisted version of Brian Kelly), getting two tailbacks near or above the 100 yard mark, Theo Riddick (107 yards) and George Atkinson III (99 yards).
(By the way, if we can overreact to Week One a little bit, does Notre Dame's schedule, considered before the season to be the hardest in the country, feel a little bit easier given Oklahoma's [24-7 over UTEP] and Standford's [20-17 over San Jose State] struggles against crap teams and Michigan's ass-kicking at the hands of Alabama? Can you give this to me for one week? Please?)