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NCAA Football Round-Up Week 1
by Brian Miller (NCAA Football)
Posted on September 11, 2009, 8:00 AM

I thought this year I would try something different instead of just compiling a computer ranking for your pleasure. So I went and found the other two best minds on the Oratory forums on the topic of college football to put together a top 25 ranking and to discuss the issues of the week. Just a note that the rankings below were compiled before last night's Georgia Tech versus Clemson game.

Rank Team (First Place Votes)

1. Florida (3)
2. Texas
3. USC
4. Alabama
5. Oklahoma State
6. Ohio State
7. BYU
8. Penn State
9. Cal
10. Boise State
11. LSU
12. Ole Miss
13. Virginia Tech
14. Oklahoma
15. Utah
16. Georgia Tech
17. TCU
18. Miami
19. Cincinnati
20. Nebraska
21. North Carolina
22. Kansas
23. Missouri
24. Georgia
25. Notre Dame

Brian: What team were you most impressed with on opening day weekend?

Andrew: I'll tell ya, there were a lot of impressive winners, but nobody left me feeling good about a new coach the way Steve Sarkisian had the Huskies playing against LSU. Jake Locker might make a difference- Hell he does make a difference- but this was the same team with Locker that lost by a combined 75 points to Oregon and Oklahoma last year, and you can already see the energy and confidence that Nick Holt has in that D. That LSU running game that is a staple was absolutely shut down, LaFell was shut down, and it simply was lack of talent at the moment at the second corner spot that kept them from possibly winning that game. Both sides of the trenches were just a different team, and if they keep their heads up and can maintain that energy there is no reason that they can't beat out an Arizona or UCLA for a spot in a bowl, and in a few years maybe even a return to the Don James era.

T.Cow: I had a limited weekend in terms of college viewing, but in the few games I did see, my pick goes to (and it pains me to say this as a Sooner) Oklahoma St. I can't think of another program in any sport that is as overhyped year in and year out as these Cowboys. Week 1 looked like the perfect game for OSU to fall into their own hype. I was for certain that even a Stafford and Moreno-less Georgia team would still be able to beat them. Georgia still had AJ Green who came off an excellent freshman year in the SEC. The shocking part of the game for me was OSU's defense which looked awesome the whole game but especially more so in the early beginning when the offense wasn't clicking. A +3 turnover advantage will give almost certainly give a team the win. Bill Young is off to a roaring start at defensive coordinator. Offensively, there's nothing new to be said. It's a pick your poison with this team. Contain Dez Bryant, and Kendall Hunter will burn you. Contain Hunter, and Bryant will get the big plays. Georgia chose the latter. Right now, they're the #2 team in the Big XII south just behind Texas (and it pains me to say that too).

Andrew: Q: Did you see anything from the opening weekend that may have changed your BCS bowl predictions?

T.Cow: Yeah... there's this team from Norman that I really like and thought could have gone to the national championship or at least an at large berth. They had with a returning Heisman winner and the best NFL tight end prospect. Oops. They'll be lucky to get a Holiday Bowl berth now. I'll pencil in Oklahoma St as an at-large team now probably in the Sugar Bowl since I got Texas going to the Fiesta. I agree with Brian on Alabama. They'll be the Cowboys' opponent for the Sugar Bowl. As for the non-automatic qualifier schools, it's still too close to call, but you have to have BYU as the frontrunner although the Mountain West big 3 may knock each other out of contention leaving Boise St to sneak in. Miami looked good, but I don't know if that's enough to surpass them over VT or GT in the Coastal division.

Brian: A few, Alabama came out and played an extremely solid game against Virginia Tech. I expected their offense to have some issues with a new starting quarterback and replacing two All-American on the offensive line. But outside a cold streak from QB McElroy from the second drive through the middle of the second quarter the offense was very productive. Iíve got Alabama winning the SEC West now instead of LSU and while I expect them to fall to Florida again in the SEC Championship I also expect them to earn an at-large BCS bid. I also was extremely impressed with Cincinnatiís offense and defense as they completely blew the hinges off Rutgers. Previously I had the Big East as a complete question mark, but after this week I view Cincinnati as the presumptive favorite to earn their BCS bid.

T.Cow: Following the Oregon/Boise St postgame fiasco, LeGarrette Blount has been suspended the rest of the season ending his collegiate career while Byron Hout will not get any suspension. Is this a fair punishment for both sides?

Brian: Yes, you simply do not strike a player in a non-football context; just ask Woody Hayes and just like Hayes Blountís college football career is effectively brought to an end. Conversely, while what Hout did was stupid and juvenile smack talk is just another part of the game and any officially sanctioned punishment would look silly the next time the cameras catch players jawing at each other and nothing was done. I do imagine Coach Petersen will have a talk with Hout about how not to look like an idiot on national television and the defensive lineman might end up running a fair amount of extra sprints this week.

Andrew: This is tough for me cause the fandom of Blount makes this hard to be impartial, but at the same time I really do think his punishment is fair. Not because of the punch- it was NCAA sportsmanship weekend, Hout knew what he was doing and the coach and team knew what was happening, that alone...probably 6 games. But this is a guy who is not on a first offense basis. He was disciplined multiple times this summer for fighting and snubbing coaches and drills. He actually may have provoked the issue by going into the local papers and guaranteeing victory before the game. He not only hit Hout but swung at his own teammate who tried to restrain him and then- provoked or not- tried to go into the stands. The entire spectacle coupled with his history (remember this is a guy who signed with Auburn out of high school, was placed in JUCO and his reputation there reached levels that Tommy Tuberville opted to not re-extend the scholarship)...let's just say he's had chances, and the question becomes when is the line drawn. For a first-year coach, it absolutely was a message that Chip Kelly had to send and while I do hope Blount gets an opportunity to try out with an NFL franchise and work his way into the league, he'd really worn himself thin on the collegiate level.

As for Hout... no I don't think knowing the brawl between the two teams last year, the existing bad blood, and again with the NCAA's whole emphasis on "sportsmanship weekend" that he got a just punishment. I think there's a guy who could've used a few game suspension- it's not like Boise is playing anyone that will require them needing him- to try and simmer the bad blood between the two schools, to try and set things aside. It may just be smack talk, but if not for Blount escalating it to unstoppable levels on its own it well may have been a game suspension.
But at the same time, I think the embarrassment of forever being knocked the fuck out on film and across the web is at least a consolation.

I hope you enjoyed the column. If you have any questions, concerns, or issues feel free to contact us via the Oratory Forums or e-mail Brian at bdmiller @ vt.edu, and T. Cow at tangcow @ gmail.com.

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