Opening Weekend of College Football puts Spotlight Back on the Field
By Cabrone Brewer
College football’s kickoff weekend is never without its surprises on the field, but this season most of the opening day mischief came from the clouds above. Michigan and West Virginia had their victories cut short in the rain, while games at Notre Dame, Iowa and Tennessee all had serious delays due to severe weather near the stadiums.
And a media storm has begun to surface over Oklahoma and Texas as rumors place both programs looking at a move to the infant Pac-12.
Two of the weekend’s biggest surprises, however, came from the north Texas region. In a Friday night opening battle, defending Rose Bowl Champ TCU scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, but that wasn’t enough to keep Baylor from their first win over a ranked opponent since 2004, as kicker Aaron Jones booted a 37-yard field goal with 1:04 left to give BU a 50-48 edge over the #14 Horned Frogs. Bears’ quarterback Robert Griffin III threw for a career-high five TD passes.
From the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, a game that many thought would go down to the wire, turned into a rout. Turnovers and inexperience at several positions put third-ranked Oregon in the hole as fourth-ranked LSU kept the pressure coming to catch the Ducks’ off-guard 40-27. It was the first season opening game of two top-five teams on a neutral field since 1984 and the 34th consecutive nonconference game won by the Tigers — the longest nonconference-winning streak in the nation.
Top-ranked Oklahoma — looking past conference rumors and an emotional off-season — quietly dominated the field in Norman with a 47-14 victory over Tulsa. Walk-on running back Dominique Whaley had a breakthrough performance as the Sooners look to prepare for a tough showdown with FSU in Tallahassee in two weeks.
The number-two ranked Alabama Crimson Tide coasted in their meeting with Kent State, 48-7 while fifth-ranked Boise State was fearless in SEC country, escaping the Georgia Dome with a 35-19 win over #19 Georgia and giving the Broncos their first ever victory over a SEC opponent. Sixth-ranked FSU looked strong with a shutout against Louisiana-Monroe 34-0 in the Seminoles home opener.
Rounding out the top-ten this week: Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck utilized seven different receivers to keep seventh-ranked Stanford on record-setting pace as they flew past San Jose State 57-3 in the Silicon Valley Series; eight-ranked Texas A&M showed us that they’re not leaving the Big XII quietly by dropping SMU 46-14; ninth-ranked Oklahoma State put up 61 points, blowing past Louisiana-Lafayette 61-34; and tenth-ranked Nebraska entered its inaugural Big 10 season with a 40-7 victory over Chattanooga.
Now that the season’s in full swing, next week can only mean more of the same surprises. Check with us later in the week for a preview next weekend’s gridiron activities.