I can hear Paul Rudd asking me to “do less” as I labor on Labor Day, but, the opening weekend of college football arrived and there are important items to document. To better organize Labor Day reading I’ll give you the initial impressions in order of importance.
1. Alabama was downright frightening. Michigan isn’t as bad as the Crimson Tide made them look, and they made them look awful. Alabama is bigger, faster, stronger, and more aggressive at every position on every play. Alabama’s offensive line imposing its will and opening holes from Eddie Lacy was expected, freshman tailback T.J. Yeldon already being the teams best back wasn’t. Yeldon is very reminiscent of former Oklahoma tailback Demarco Murray in running style and shiftiness, and from initial impressions is every bit as good at the same stage. Additionally, the Alabama defense suffocated one of the best offenses in the country; only allowing a couple big passing plays over the top.
2. The Pac-12 will come down to USC and Oregon. Both USC and Oregon opened up with patsies, but neither struggled at all. Both teams could have likely won by more than 60 if their respective coaches were meaner. USC showed every facet of an offense that most experts viewed as the best in the country. My Marqueis Lee man crush went from impressed to obsessed, and Silas Redd made his USC debut with an explosive touchdown run. Meanwhile, to the north, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota led the Duck offense as well as Chip Kelly’s offense has been run (and that’s a mouth full).
3. Penn State is going to suck. I predicted them to go 4-8 in my preview, and after watching Ohio dominate a second half that saw Penn State’s lack of depth catch up with them I don’t believe I underrated them. Bill O’Brien is not a miracle worker, Tom Brady was pretty good while he was still toiling away at Duke.
4. Notre Dame may finish better than expected. I’m still going to look very hard at picking Purdue over Notre Dame this upcoming weekend, but after watching Michigan State, Michigan, Miami and Oklahoma – I don’t think any of those games is too daunting. Navy was horrible, and Notre Dame’s secondary didn’t look too strong, but the team has enough toughness and depth to deal a couple “upsets” through their early season stretch.
5. Mike Gundy moves along fine without Weeden or Blackmon. Oklahoma State was not playing around on Saturday beating Savannah State 84-0. Jeremy Roland and Desmond Roland ran for three touchdowns apiece in the horrible, terrible, extreme-blowout.
6. LSU defense has plenty of talent but lacks the edge without the Honey Badger. Tyrann Mathieu is gone, and with him, LSU’s defense has temporarily lost its cache. Les Miles might coach the bite back into the Tigers with some film review, but for the meantime, tough to see them standing up to Bama in 2012.
7. Florida State could be for real. It is very early, but this is initial impressions, and Florida State dispatched and dominated an inferior opponent. I haven’t seen them do that since Chris Wienke was behind center. The schedule becomes much harder from here, so we’ll see, but get behind the Seminole bandwagon early.