Monday, September 01, 2008

Back in the saddle

Alright things are sort of back to normal here in DC and I should be posting on a more regular basis from now on. However, as I'm posting now, the sky is bright blue on this beautiful day of labor and I don't really want to spend all that much time posting. But this was a big weekend for football, and I actually spent all of Saturday in front of a television watching football, so I'll give five quick thoughts on what went down:

1) Obviously, I'm a little bummed out about what went down at the Big House this past Saturday. Yes, the offense looked atrocious and Michigan had no business being in the game (thank you Utah penalties for making us look at least a bit respectable), but I think you would be wrong to draw too many conclusions after just one loss. As I watched Rich Rod play two different quarterbacks, give carries to four running backs, and play God knows how many wide receivers, I couldn't help but think back to the beginning days of the John Beilein era last season.

See, Beilein had no clue what some of the little-used players on last year's Michigan basketball team could do in game situations, and it was a season-long process to develop any sort of playing rotation. From watching this past weekend, I think it's pretty obvious Rich Rod isn't really sure what a lot of these players are capable of, so he's playing a whole bunch of them. It's going to take until midseason for this team to really hit any kind of stride. Expect some onerous growing pains in the coming weeks. I'm not calling for any doomsdays scenarios just yet since I'm looking forward to see the progress this team makes over the course of the season.

And frankly, I think Utah could go down as the second- or third- best team on Michigan's 2008 roster when everything is said and done.

2) The ACC blows and is top to bottom the worst BCS conference again this season. Va. Tech lost to ECU, Clemson blew chunks against Bama, Virginia got embarassed by USC, NC State made a mockery of the sport getting shut out by South Carolina, and Maryland barely squeeked by 1-AA Delaware. I think the conference should be particularly worried about Clemson, who was predicted to be a national power this season. Kirk Herbstreit spent much of the Saturday night broadcast praising Alabama, and they deserve some credit for demolishing the Tigers, but I was really shocked by how poor Clemson played. I've been reading about these playmakers C.J. Spiller and James Davis for three seasons now, and other than the occassional speed burst they haven't been able to produce on a consistent basis.

3) I think this weekend also proved just how much potential injuries could change the college football landscape. I'm sure most heard about Beanie Wells of Ohio State, Knowshon Moreno of Georgia, and jeremy Maclin of Missouri going down with what turned out to be relatively minor injuries. But it was a reminder to me how much things can change with one snap. I hate to say it, but I think we're going to see some injuries in the next week or two that completely alters the complexion of some teams.

4) I know it's only one game, but I think Penn State has a shot to be the second-best team in the Big Ten. They destroyed Coastal Carolina this weekend, 66-3. The Nittany Lions are back to the running quarterback thing aftet two years trying to fit the square Anthony Morelli into a round hole. If the defense holds, I'm expecting some big things (and that's not just because my brother began his freshman year there. Trust me, I normally hate this school).

5) having been a Duke basketball fan for so long, this just made me laugh:

Duke officials were a bit surprised when, at 6 p.m. Saturday, about an hour before the scheduled kickoff of their game against James Madison, two men parachuted into Wallace Wade Stadium and landed with a game ball. Problem was, the Blue Devils -- who were warming up on the field along with their guests from Virginia -- weren't expecting it. ...

North Carolina was scheduled to receive the game ball for its contest against McNeese State via an aerial team at about that time in Chapel Hill. According to UNC assistant athletic director for promotions Michael Beale, the plane was in the air but the jumpers from Virginia-based Aerial Adventures opted to cancel the leap into Kenan Stadium because of weather. Evidently, when the clouds eventually opened, the pilot thought they were over the correct stadium, and the skydivers jumped -- realizing only when they landed in Wallace Wade that they were in the wrong place.

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