It’s not every weekend you see what we just saw. Heck, it’s not even every year, maybe every decade. This weekend was nothing short of a spectacle that showcased the greatest sport in the world for the heart-stopping drama that it is. Be it Penn State-Purdue, App State-UNC, the Backyard Brawl, or the lunacy that was FSU-LSU last night, the long-awaited start of the season gave us an incredible show.
1) The Noles acquitted themselves well last night with a big win in a spot that few people gave them a chance. They’re obviously significantly better than last year, and Jordan Travis is pretty solid. Still below Tyler Van Dyke and Anthony Richardson in the state pecking order, but pretty good nonetheless. That offense could be a bit of a handful, if their offensive line can repeat that kind of performance the rest of the year. And my goodness, how sad was LSU until the fourth quarter? #7 for the Tigers looked like my six-year old when he doesn’t get his way several times during the game. They were totally dysfunctional on special teams, which clearly cost them the game. Terrible way for Brian Kelly to kick off his tenure in Baton Rouge. They look like a 6 or 7-win team this year. Maybe.
2) The Gators had maybe the best weekend of any team in college football. Richardson looked like an absolute monster with the ball in his hands. If he and his wide receivers continue to develop in the passing game, Florida could be significantly better than folks think this year. Make no mistake: that was a good Utah team they beat on Saturday. Beat them on a freak interception some might say, but I’d say they made a play when they had to. Credit where it’s due.
3) It’s hard to tell what you are or what you have when you play an opponent like Bethune-Cookman who’s totally outclassed. I mean, it was great to see the Canes’ offensive line bully the Wildcats’ defense, which was the number one thing I was watching on that side of the ball, but again, that’s not saying all that much. And my man crush on Henry Parrish, Jr. is increasing. Love how he runs. What was concerning was to see the BCC quarterbacks get the edge and gash the defense down the field. The pass rush on the edge was also underwhelming. I was hoping to see more there. Hopefully the defense will perform better against Southern Miss this weekend, which will be a significant step up in talent.
4) The Backyard Brawl returning reminds me of what’s the greatest thing on earth about college football - the rivalries. The stands were shaking at Heinz Field (I’ll always call it that) more than I think I’ve ever seen when the Pitt defense returned that game-winning pick six. And WV fans filed out in their “Eat S—t, Pitt” shirts, which made me cackle, as I hadn’t seen them in quite awhile. Just an incredible atmosphere, it seemed. I also need Texas A&M-Texas and OU-Nebraska back, among others.
5) Miami is looking good for College Gameday against A&M. Looking at the schedule, I don’t see any other games even close as far as featuring highly-ranked teams. If A&M can avoid disaster this weekend against App State and Miami wins, then I don’t see how the show doesn’t end up in College Station. Being on Gameday is always a good thing.
6) Prediction: Miami 42, Southern Miss 23. It won’t be pretty at times on the defensive side of the ball, with Frank Gore, Jr. ripping off some longer-than-we’d-like-to-see runs on the way to a solid game. But the Golden Eagles won’t be able to handle Miami’s offensive line, and the Canes will roll up over 200 rushing yards and 275 passing yards on the way to a solid overall offensive output. Defense will cause us all to drink Pepto Bismol next week though.