Snap answers after 1st hikes
The college football season is one week old and already we have some answers about what will happen this season.
1. Texas Christian, which is moving to the Big East next season and began the year as the defending Rose Bowl champion, is done as a Bowl Championship Series contender for the year. Losing a 50-48 decision to Baylor Friday night revealed flaws defensively, and the Horned Frogs don’t have the schedule to climb back into contention - although a win at Boise State would help.
2. Boise State is very much in the BCS mix. The Broncos’ 35-21 win over Georgia just verified their Top 5 credentials. And we don’t want to hear the talk that if the Broncos were in the Southeastern Conference they would lose a bunch of games. They’re not. But out-of-conference games against BCS power leagues (Virginia Tech, Oregon)? They win.
3. Despite Georgia’s loss to Boise State (which places Bulldogs coach Mark Richt’s job in even more jeopardy), the SEC is still the leader of the pack. Top 25 teams Mississippi State, Alabama, Louisiana State, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Florida all won their openers with relative ease. And even defending national champion Auburn showed it still had the right stuff at crunch time as it fashioned a wild come-from-behind win over Utah State.
4. We are not done with change in the conference landscape, as the latest rumblings from Oklahoma suggested. The new story line is that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech will move to the Pac 10, 12, 16, perhaps as early as next season. With Texas A&M and perhaps Missouri moving to the SEC, the Big 12 could be the Little 5 sooner than later.
5. South Florida, after its opening win over Notre Dame, looms as the new Beast of the Big East.
Playing ball Nice to see second careers taking off for former minor league baseball players Russell Wilson, Joe Bauserman, and Brandon Weeden.
Wilson, who had starred for two seasons as the quarterback at North Carolina State, made his debut as the Wisconsin QB Thursday night in a 51-17 victory over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows players to transfer if they have one year of eligibility remaining, have received their undergraduate degree, and the postgraduate course they are taking is not offered at their current school, Wilson emerged as a star against UNLV and could take the Badgers to the Rose Bowl or beyond.
Wilson was an infielder in the Rockies organization. Against UNLV, he was 10 of 13 for 255 yards and 2 TDs, with 62 yards on two carries, including a 46-yard TD.
Bauserman, 25, who started for Ohio State Saturday in a rout of Akron, was a pitcher in the Pirates organization and moved up in the Buckeyes’ depth chart when Terrelle Pryor headed for the NFL. Bauserman’s numbers for the day? He went 12 of 16 for 163 yards and three TDs.
Weeden, 27, was a pitcher in the Yankees organization, but he has received more notoriety for running the Oklahoma State offense. The Cowboys opened their season against Louisiana-Lafayette and Weeden completed 24 of 39 passes for 388 yards and 3 TDs in a 61-34 Cowboy romp.
Orange U glad Syracuse had a welcome milestone Thursday night when the Orange came from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Wake Forest, 36-29, in overtime. It was Syracuse’s first win against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in the Carrier Dome since a 31-13 rout over Rutgers in November 2009 . . . Weather played a key role in South Bend and Ann Arbor, where Notre Dame and Michigan prepared for their annual meeting this week in different manners. The Irish survived two lightning delays in their opener against South Florida, including a more than two-hour wait at halftime. What the Irish couldn’t get past was the overall talent of South Florida, which took a 16-0 halftime lead and held on for a 23-20 victory in coach Skip Holtz’s return to his alma mater. “It’s hard enough to come in here and play the tradition and for me [it was] a very emotional day to have the opportunity to come back,’’ said Holtz. The scary part for Notre Dame is simple. With a game at Michigan on Saturday, the Irish very well could start 0-2, which would kill almost all hope of getting back into the BCS hunt. The Wolverines also dealt with weather issues, with Michigan holding a 34-10 lead over Western Michigan in a game that was shortened to three quarters because of inclement weather. How long will it take Notre Dame fans to jump off the Irish bandwagon and on coach Brian Kelly’s back if the Irish lose to Michigan?
Bearing up well If there is a better way to start the season than Baylor’s wild win over TCU, we aren’t aware of it. It was the Bears’ first win over a ranked team since they beat Texas A&M, 35-34, in overtime Oct. 30, 2004 . . . How many lives does Auburn have? The defending national champion scored twice in the final 2:07 to come from behind in a wild 42-38 win over Utah State. The Tigers pulled off their fourth comeback from a double-digit deficit in 13 games . . . If Virginia Tech’s 66-13 win over perennial Football Championship Subdivision power Appalachian State is any indication, Florida State might have a challenge as the dominant ACC team . . . Houston QB Case Keenum, a Heisman Trophy front-runner last season before he was sidelined for the season with a knee injury, may be a candidate again. Beginning his sixth season of eligibility (because of an NCAA injury waiver), Keenum completed 30 of 40 passes for 310 yards and 2 TDs in Houston’s 38-34 win over UCLA.
Stats pack Stat of the week: Wisconsin’s win improved Badgers coach Bret Bielema’s nonconference regular-season record to 21-0 . . . Missouri’s 17-6 win over Miami of Ohio was the Tigers’ 22d straight nonconference triumph . . . LSU’s 40-27 victory over Oregon was the Tigers’ 34th consecutive nonconference win.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.