and God does it feel good just to say that much. That SU is 1-0 (dare I say knocking on the door of 2-0 for the first time in ages), the Big East is 8-0 - I could not be much happier with this weekend's outcome. That being said, there was plenty more to see this weekend...so here's my observations of a few of the games I caught.
Auburn 42, Utah St 38
I actually kinda felt bad for Wake Forest when they lost to us. I mean, they played a respectable game vs our beloved Orange, but missed on some key opportunities that ultimately doomed them. That being said, I can't imagine a worse hangover than what Utah St. must be going through. They came out and played as perfect a game as could be expected for week 1 on the road, only to choke away a 10 pt lead in the final few minutes. It was pretty dissappointing to watch, and while I generally root for the underdog/hate Auburn, that game really has no effect on our season whatsoever. And Pat Dye is still a pussy, so there's that.
USC 19, Minnesota 17
Got to watch 3/4 of this game flipping back and forth between USF/ND. Believe it or not, I was rooting for USC to win. Only because I think it benefits us more to have both SU and USC undefeated when we face each other in a couple weeks. But I was hoping for an ugly, squeaker of a win and that's exactly what we got.
Lane Kiffin opted to keep his kicker on the sideline after the first two TDs, and almost paid dearly for it. Maybe Minn. wasn't much a threat to score on their last drive, but keep in mind USC was supposed to DOMINATE this game (21 pt favorites, I believe). Like every season, it is painfully obvious they have assloads of talent up and down the depth chart. Matt Barkley is as good as advertised and has me extremely worried, given how Price to Givens made our secondary look like a JV squad...I don't even want to think about what Barkley/Woods is like. USC is also bigger up front and appears to be the more physical team. But like last season also, they are still as inconsisent as hell, failed to put an inferior team away, and I'm as optimistic as I was a week ago that our Orange can give the Trojans a game on their own turf. Maybe USC is just unfocused and doesn't like to take anyone seriously these days, but give Minnesota tons of credit for hanging in there, and I'd say we're at least as good as they are, no reason not to expect us to hang with USC for 4 quarters (...right?)
I'm not going to predict an Orange victory in a couple weeks, but, mark my words USC will lose to a team it should beat handily this season, so I have to ask, why not us?
USF 23, ND 20
Got to watch the first half this game, the better half for USF. Give their defense all the credit in the world for pulling this out. USF still has tons of speed on both sides of the ball, and while BJ Daniels didn't play a perfect game, he didn't lose the game for them either. I see USF's offense still as a work in progress, but I'd agree you can't really call them a dark horse for the conference title either; they're as legit as anyone in the Big East. Definitely a great win for the conference this week and another great program-building win for the Bulls.
Bonani also looked good kicking FGs, missing a 50+ yarder but making all the rest, including a 49 yarder. In contrast, NDs kicker botched a makable attempt, which proved to be the difference in the final score.
But overall, I didn't see anything out of the Bulls that was totally unexpected. This was a great win and I take nothing away from that, but they simply took care of business where ND did not. That thought could also be applied to the Big East as a whole. There were a lot of great performances, but given the competition nothing I saw has me shaking in my boots...yet.
Cal 36, Fresno St 21 - This also falls into the category of games that have no affect on our season whatsoever. But Cal is the local team I follow...it's either them or Stanford, so yeah, I don't have any other option (hmm...maybe start rooting for Sac State though?). Either way, PAC-12 football is kinda like buying sports car. Tons of fun to drive for the first month or so, then the rush starts to fade away. Then you finally get caught speeding and you realize just how foolish an investment it was.
Anyway, the only thing of any interest to anyone here is that Cal's starting QB, Zach Maynard is a transfer from UB. Did you know that? Cuz I didn't know that. He made the game fun to watch.
Oh, and Cal's kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, aside from having the coolest name to say ever, is going to LOSE games for the Golden Bears this season. Just like he did last year vs Arizona. Makes me all the more thankful we have not one, but two great/reasonably good kickers on our bench...now about that long snapper...
Also, a couple other box scores that caught my eye:
Toledo 58, UNH 22 - Yeah, our game with the Rockets is starting to look more and more like a shootout to me. Maybe it was just UNH, but to put things into perspective this was more dominating a win for Toledo than Syracuse has had over anyone in 2 years under HCDM. Toledo also seemed to have subbed in plenty of reserves, resting their starters plenty, which is also something we didn't get to do vs our FCS competition last season. So this is a team, IMO, that needs to be taken VERY seriously.
Tulane 47, SE Louisiana 33 - In contrast to the above game, I suppose I am feeling much better about taking on Tulane later in the season. Maybe I give Tulane too much credit for beating Rutgers last season in Piscataway (by a slighly wider margin than we did, I might add). But as far as I can tell this game more closely resembled the Bourbon Bowl vs. the SCLSU Mud Dogs than an actual college game. And SE Louisiana actually outgained Tulane on offense, had 8 more 1st downs and overall was much more efficient on 3rd down. So they came to play, and Tulane let them. I suppose that means I'm a little more confident in taking the HCDM and Shafer show on the road to take on Tulane. But as with all things...we'll see.