As much as I love having friends in town for the kickoff of the football season, it usually impedes my ability to watch as much football as closely as I'd like. But that's a small price to pay one week each year, no?
Below are some quick impressions from the other games that I took in over the weekend. As a reminder, I try to provide these overviews as a means for other BlogPoll voters and the general public to partially understand my rationale for voting. Comments are always appreciated.
Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech - I am as inclined as anyone to see this game as proof that the Notre Dame hype that festered like cancer during the offseason was completely baseless and just another example of the media being lazy. And yet, I can't help but feel as though this was one of those games that will ultimately just be a bad thing for Penn State. The offense sputtered but still put up enough points to win, and if you are a fan of a team that usually turns good players in Heisman contenders, you can't be happy that Rhema McKnight looked really good. I am not ready to say that the Notre Dame defense is some next level isht, but I also think it held up much better than I thought it would--second-half shut out on the road? That's impressive. And if Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt had a coaching contest, does anyone else think it would be fair to arrest both men for crimes against humanity?
Ohio State Joke of a University vs. Northern Illinois - The Work Release All Star offense looked as good as advertised, and the game was over after the first 15 minutes. I suppose that surrendering 343 yards to Northern Illinois is cause for concern, but I also think that Tressel Corleone's track record of defense development should be a reason to believe that the D will improve as it gains some experience. Relative to Michigan's, the OSJU offense looked like it was something out of the NFL, and that's already a little discouraging.
USC vs. Arkansas - Arkansas looked very sloppy, and despite keeping the game close early on, you could tell that it was a smoke-and-mirror job. USC didn't operate on offense with the precision of the Leinart-Bush era, but that was to be expected. The Trojans, though, still have an insane amount of athletic material to work with, a great coach, smart players who are mentally prepared (e.g., the discipline consistently displayed by the wide receivers as they shielded the ball from defenders using their bodies), and a certain confident enthusiasm that emboldens their execution. It's admirable. Some might watch the team--which committed 7 penalties--and say that it was too loose and brazen, but I prefer that style to the ultra-scared, play-not-to-fuck-up mentality that so many other teams seem to cherish as though it were a precious metal. I was really excited about the chance to hate John David Booty, but Mike Patrick and Todd Blackledge made him sound like a decent kid, so that was a bummer. Also, the SC defense looked pretty fast, and it still hurts to watch Brian Cushing making plays all over the field.
California vs. Tennessee - I was someone who really wanted to love Jeff Tedford, and suddenly, I'm not so sure. Are you kidding me?
Florida State vs. Miami - Others have already discussed how ugly and boring this game was, so I won't pile on and pick apart the mess. But I will say that Jeff "Nepotism Rules!" Bowden and Larry Coker and every other coach who was involved in this offensive abortion should be fair game for fan bases that surely would like to see more encouraging signs. I mean, once both Miami and FSU lose three times or so, it won't be as though everyone can traipse around explaining that these were the two premier defenses in the sport.