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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Week 1 Roundup

This may be premature considering that Florida State-Miami will be played tomorrow, but here's a quick breakdown of what happened in Week 1 of college football.

1. Notre Dame14
24. Georgia Tech10

Notre Dame hardly looked like the best team in the country in the first half last night. The Georgia Tech blitz schemes consistently beat the highly touted Irish offensive line, Brady Quinn rushed his deliveries and missed his targets often, and the vaunted Irish offense as a whole sputtered throughout much of the half. But trailing in a hostile environment, Notre Dame pulled together and fought its way to a gutsy 14-10 victory.

Notre Dame RB Darius Walker saved this game for the Irish, rushing for 99 yards on 24 carries (4.5 yards/carry). He didn't rack up enormous statistics, but Walker's carries opened up Georgia Tech's defense in the second half, allowing Notre Dame both to score the go-ahead touchdown and to put together long drives to keep Reggie Ball and Calvin Johnson off of the field.

And even though the Jackets lost, they should be encouraged by their performance, especially on the defensive side of the ball. If they could shut down Brady Quinn and Charlie Weis' offense, then they should fare well in ACC play. Don't be surprised if the Yellow Jackets manage to sneak their way into the conference championship game this year.

8. California18
22. Tennessee35

Lee Corso predicted yesterday that the California Golden Bears would reach the BCS National Championship game at the end of this season. That should have been the beginning of handwringing and panicking for Cal fans. The Bears looked completely overmatched by a Tennessee football team out to prove that last year was a fluke. The return of offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe seemed to lift the Vols' offense, which demoralized a California squad that led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 2005 (21.17 ppg allowed). Tennessee QB Erik Ainge went 11-for-17 for 291 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Robert Meachem caught 5 of those passes for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Either California is grossly overrated, or Tennessee has begun to realize its potential. Personally, I believe both may pan out to be true, which means good times might be returning to Rocky Top in 2006.

15. Oklahoma24

Speaking of overrated, for the second straight year the Sooners looked terrible against a mid-major school to start the season. This isn't all Rhett Bomar's fault. Oklahoma has been in decline for the past few years. After several seasons of dominance in the Red River shootout rivalry, Big XII supremacy is now the exclusive property of the Texas Longhorns. The Sooners will lose at least three football games this year.

Montana State (I-AA)19

I'm willing to bet that Dan Hawkins woke up this morning with nostalgic thoughts about a little town in Idaho called Boise. Hawkins' name had come up several times in recent years as a potential candidate to fill coaching vacancies, most notably at Notre Dame. But finally he was lured away by Colorado, a program whose recent transgressions put some of Miami's notorious misdeeds to shame. Losing at home to a Division I-AA school is no way to start the healing, Coach.

Football helmet images courtesy of The Helmet Project

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