The first week of the 2011 college football season is officially in the books, and while the January bowls are still months away, we did manage to learn quite a bit from opening week. Here is the CSF Breakdown from Week 1.
Another year, another over-hyped Notre Dame team: A lot of hype surrounded the hiring of former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. Because of the dismal state that Charlie Weis left the program in, the expectations were not too high last season. This season was a different story. Most preseason polls had the Irish in the top 25, and last weekend’s loss to USF in South Bend was proof yet again that the Irish are not a dominant program. Much credit needs to go to USF and Skip Holtz, but once again, Notre Dame folded in the face of pressure and played like a team that was afraid of losing, instead of a confident team that expected to win.
RG3 is good. Very good: While most people who watched TCU fall to Baylor are discussing the fall of TCU from the nation’s elite, we prefer to look at the unbelievable play of Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. The junior signal-caller did everything except park the cars and sell the popcorn in Baylor’s amazing 50-48 victory over the Horned Frogs. Griffin III has somewhat flown under the radar because of other NFL prospects in the Big 12 like Blaine Gabbert, Josh Freeman and Landry Jones to name a few, but last weekend was not a fluke. RG3 came into the season with 41 career touchdown passes, versus only 11 picks. This will not be the first time you hear from Griffin or the Bears this season.
Auburn could be in for a long season: The 2010 BCS National Champs had to recover an onside kick and score with less than a minute in their nail-biter against visiting Utah State last weekend. Much has been made of the Tigers’ holes vacated by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and 13th overall NFL selection Nick Fairley, and the cynics got it right this time. Auburn could not slow down the Utah State, who racked up 227 yards rushing and 448 total net yards. With a healthy dose of SEC West opponents, it is only going to get more difficult, and the Tigers will have to fight to be bowl eligible this season.
The SEC is still King. Just ask the Oregon Ducks: After Nick Fairley dominated the Oregon offensive line, this year was the Ducks’ opportunity to get respect for themselves and the newly expanded Pac 12, but LSU stood in the way of that, dominating Oregon in the first bigtime match up of the young season. Despite only getting 98 yards passing from Jarrett Lee, the Tigers stuffed last year’s leading rusher in all of college football, holing LaMichael James to an anemic 54 yards. Until Oregon can score against the SEC, they can rack up as many yards and points as they want–it just won’t get them back to a title game.
Maryland trumps Oregon in most hideous uniform challenge: If you watched the Miami vs. Maryland game on Monday night, you may have thown up your hot wings. The Terps’ uniforms rivaled the uni’s from “Any Given Sunday”–if you’ve seen that horrible movie, you understand the comparison. Previously, Oregon’s all-fluorescent yellow uniforms took the cake, but Maryland trumped those on Monday. If nothing else, new head coach Randy Edsall has people (including us) talking and writing about Maryland football, which hadn’t been on the radar since Al Davis, in his infinite wisdom, took former Terp wideout Darirus Heyward-Bey with the Oakland Raiders’ first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.