Kick the Tires and Light the Fires: College Football Week 1
The appetizer course of the college football season, week 0, is passed us. Tonight marks the true beginning of college football season. Over the next three days, stadiums will be filled, bands will march, and touchdowns will be scored. For some schools, the years excitement will crest at the opening kickoff. For others, it is a jumping off point for a birth in the college football playoff. One things is for sure, that the results of week 1 often mean nothing, but sometimes, mean everything.
In 2003, the 6th ranked Auburn Tigers opened at home against 8th ranked USC. USC had a new quarterback, some guy named Matt Leinart, and Auburn's defense filled the newspapers with bold proclamations of an opening victory over the Trojans. USC,dominated Auburn 23-0. Auburn stumbled to an 8-5 season. USC would go 12-1 and would lose just a total of six games over the next five years.
On the flip side, the 2007 California Golden Bears looked essentially unbeatable as they thumped Tennessee to open their season. Cal stumbled to a 7-6 season and the Volunteers won ten games and an SEC East title.
There are a few trends of the opening week of college football that one should look out for. According to every program in the country, summer workouts have had their greatest attendance ever and everyone is in great shape. The dog days of summer are still gripping much of the country, and heat and humidity will play a factor. By the third quarter of most games, you will see players cramping up and defensive linemen with their hands on their knees.
With a new season comes a slew of new players, many of them seeing their first action on the big stage, especially on special teams. The first couple weeks of the season are a litany of blocked punts and muffed returns. Alabama often blows out talented teams in the opener by simply not screwing up.
Speaking of the Crimson Tide, they face Florida State in the premier matchup of the weekend. Florida State is one of the few teams that can compete with Alabama's talent and coaching The Seminoles run more of a pro style offense than much of college football, which is an offense Nick Saban has never struggled to stop. That said, Jimbo Fisher is one of the best offensive coaches, and best adjusters in college football. The chess match between Fisher and Saban will be a sight to behold.
Many of the other big games this weekend we go into further depth on our podcast which will be released tomorrow. It was recorded last weekend, which means we didn't know that Florida would suspend what seems like half their team. This further reinforces our feeling that Michigan will fillet them on Saturday.
One last thing, Wyoming beats Iowa. Book it.