There is one thing that we all learned in week 1. We learned that we know nothing.
Florida State almost lost to an Oklahoma State team that returned only 9 starters, and Alabama didn’t look too sharp against a WVU team that went 4-8 last year. UCLA effectively lost to Virginia, but got a W in the record books thanks to 3 TDs by the defense. Western Kentucky hung 59 points on a MAC champion Bowling Green team that was the favorite for a repeat title due to their outstanding defense, and UTSA dominated Houston in the opening of Houston’s new stadium.
It’s safe to say that many of the things we came to expect for week 1 simply weren’t so. Here’s a look back at some noteworthy items to take with us as we look forward to week 2.
Brandon Doughty for Heisman? – Some kid from WKU who threw as many interceptions as he did TDs last year is now very well known in the college football world by anyone who covers all FBS football (not just the 10 games that ESPN showcases). He put up video game numbers, going 46-56 (82.1%), 569 passing yards, 10.16 YPA, with 6 TDs and 0 INTs and a QBR of 202.9 / Raw 93.5. If he keeps that up, WKU has a bright future in the post-Petrino era.
Baylor’s defense might still be good – despite returning only four starters on defense, the Bears shut out SMU. Sure, they aren’t the toughest of competition, but come on. They gave up 67 total yards. On the offensive side, nothing needs to be said because it’s the same old pitch and catch routine from last year between Petty and a depth of fast WRs.
Texas has Strong D too – UNT passed 3-17 (17.6%), 0.9 YPA, 0 TD, 4 INT for a passer rating of -40. Yes, negative 40. Again, the level of competition wasn’t too high after UNT lost the majority of their starters from last year, but stats like this highlight Charlie Strong’s coaching discipline, especially on defense.
TCU might have an offense – Maybe, just maybe, coaches Cumbie and Meacham are putting an end to the dark era of impotent and outdated offense at TCU. Their switch to an air raid attack appeared to be successful as the Frogs ran 96 plays and gained 555 total yards — numbers that seemed unheard of in the post-Rose Bowl era. On the defensive side of the ball, the Frogs allowed 4 rushing yards and 9 total yards in the second half. Apparently Gary Patterson found out that TCU had allowed 83 rushing yards in the first half, and told them they’d all by practicing in pads if they let Samford pass the 100 mark. I guess the motivation worked.
Oklahoma State: No depth, no problem! – Gundy has an uncanny way of replacing his starters. In three of the past four years we’ve always said “OSU is losing a ton of starters; this year they will regress.” Yet they never do, and they sure gave Florida State a run for their money.
K-State has receivers other than Lockett. All we’ve heard about is the Waters-Lockett duo. They’re great, but K-State has a depth of WRs and showcased it in their opener. He targeted five different receivers for 3+ passes (Robinson, Cook, Burton, Trujillo, Sexton).
NDSU is still a giant killer. Or maybe Iowa State is just bad. Either way, the Bison look like they’ll still be a playoff contender after Brock and Bohl left the team.
UAB hired the right guy. Alabama native Bill Clark brought his success from Jacksonville State and implanted it right into the DNA of the UAB Blazers, as they shocked Troy in a 48-10 win. We knew the passing offense was always there (and apparently so is their rushing offense too), but the defense looked much improved.
Buffalo’s defense is already showing holes. I was highly concerned about Buffalo’s defense after losing not just Mack, but many other stars on the defensive line and in the secondary. Giving up 8.7 yards per pass attempt to Duquesne in an ugly 38-28 win shows that they still have some work to do, as it looked like the pass rush and the secondary could use some serious work.
Watch out for Toledo. They overcame a slow start to rout New Hampshire 54-20. But it’s just New Hampshire, so we shouldn’t take this too seriously right? Not so fast my friend. UNH is ranked #4 in the FCS poll and is by no means a pushover. The Rockets showed they have some serious offensive firepower, and are going to give Mizzou a run for their money next week.
It can’t get any worse for FIU. I’ll just make a list of sad things, and you can decide that’s the worst.
1) They were outgained by FCS Bethune-Cookman in total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, yards per play, third down conversion rate, and total points.
2) Despite losing at home to an FCS team, they still covered the spread. FIU was a 4.5 point home underdog.
3) FIU was 1 for 16 on third down conversions.
4) The Miami-Herald stopped covering FIU football because they’re so bad.
UTSA has the experience. This year will be a last hoorah for UTSA before they rebuild next year. For now, look for them to be an ATS favorite and a C-USA title contender.
Old Dominion’s defense is bipolar. Taylor Heinicke and the offense looked just fine against Hampton, so let’s talk about the defense. The pass defense was absolutely terrible. They gave up 8.8 yards per pass and 407 passing yards to a mediocre FCS squad. On the flip side, they allowed 9 rushing yards on 26 attempts (0.3 yards per rush). ODU’s turnovers luck helped win the game, but the pass defense will need to improve if the Monarchs are going to reach bowl eligibility.
Eastern Michigan’s cinder block is a metaphor for their team. As you may have seen, EMU’s intro included them smashing a cinder block wall. It sounds cool, and sounds like it would work in theory. But in real life, it’s way too difficult and not nearly as cool as you’d expect. In a depressing 31-28 victory for the Eagles, every single error that could possibly made in a football game happened. If you want to see how not to play football, I’d recommend this one for the tapes. Both teams were equally poor at defending the run, but Morgan State smoked EMU in the passing game (9.6 yards per pass vs 3.3). One positive for EMU was going 2 for 2 on fourth down conversions, though we’re still unsure what the purpose was for going for it in those situations. Thanks to Morgan State’s two lost fumbles, blocked punt, and 80 penalty yards, the luck dragons helped EMU pull out a victory.