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College Football Review: Why You Start With Cupcakes

Posted on September 06, 2009 by Dean Hybl
The injury to Sam Bradford in the first half proved to be one that Oklahoma could not overcome in suffering a season opening loss to BYU.

The injury to Sam Bradford in the first half proved to be one that Oklahoma could not overcome in suffering a season opening loss to BYU.

Each Sunday during college football season we will look at some of the big games, stories, and events from the action of that week.

Why You Start With Cupcakes
While the Florida Gators, Texas Longhorns and Penn State Nittany Lions were opening the season with huge victories over cupcake opponents, some of the other high ranked teams opened with much tougher opponents and in at least one case may have ended any hopes at a national title before the season is barely a week old.

It was anticipated that the BYU Cougars would give the #3 Oklahoma Sooners a tough game, but very few actually thought they could beat one of the teams on the short list of national championship contenders.

However, the high-flying Sooners’ offense of a year ago was nowhere to be found in Dallas.

Defending Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was solid early in the game (10 of 14 for 96 yards and a touchdown), but left in the second quarter with a sprained shoulder and never returned.

With freshman Landry Jones running the show, Oklahoma managed only three points in the second half and BYU was able to pull out the 14-13 upset.

Since BYU was ranked #20 in the preseason, it isn’t exactly like losing to a I-AA program, but the loss by a top 5 team to a school from a non-BCS conference will certainly make things interesting come the end of the season when teams are jockeying for the multi-million dollar bids to the BCS Bowls.

Coupled with the loss by Oregon to Boise State earlier this week, the BCS conference schools are not doing too well against the top teams from non-BCS leagues.

Another team that got more than they bargained for was #6 Ohio State. The Buckeyes seemed to have their game against the Naval Academy well in-hand in the fourth quarter, but defenses lapses by the Buckeyes helped give the Midshipmen a chance to pull off the upset.

Navy rallied from a 29-14 deficit to line up for a two-point conversion that could have tied the game. However, the pass was intercepted and returned for a defense conversion to account for the final 31-27 Ohio State victory.

With the USC Trojans coming to town next week, Ohio State will have to be better in game two if they want to stay in contention for a spot in the national championship game.

Not All I-AA Games Are Cupcakes
While some of the matchups between Division I-A and I-AA teams (I know they go by different names now, but those acronyms are confusing and everybody knows what I-A and I-AA means anyway) were blowout wins, there were also some very tough games during the first weekend of the season.

Northern Iowa came very close to pulling an upset over the #22 Iowa Hawkeyes. In fact, it took two blocked field goals late in the game to keep Iowa from suffering an embarrassing defeat to an instate opponent.

The University of Virginia wasn’t so lucky as they lost to William & Mary 26-14.

William & Mary was one of two I-AA schools from the State of Virginia to defeat an ACC team on the opening weekend.

William & Mary was one of two I-AA schools from the State of Virginia to defeat an ACC team on the opening weekend.

While UVA was expected to struggle this season, losing decisively to the Tribe does not speak well for the ACC. Especially considering they were not the only I-AA team from Virginia to defeat an ACC team on Saturday.

Though probably not really an upset, it still does not help the national reputation of the ACC to have the Duke Blue Devils lose to defending I-AA champion the University of Richmond.

Considering that four other conference schools, North Carolina State to South Carolina, Wake Forest to Baylor, Maryland to California and Virginia Tech to Alabama, lost their openers, the ACC isn’t doing much to overcome their reputation as a basketball conference.

Top 25 Battles Are The Best
Even though #7 Virginia Tech wasn’t able to hold on to a fourth quarter lead against #5 Alabama in a 34-24 loss, the Hokies still looked like a solid team.

Like many others on the opening weekend of the season, they never got the offense going on all cylinders. However, they at least looked like they belonged on the field with the Crimson Tide.

Definitely a much better showing than what Clemson did in a similar opening game battle with Alabama a year ago.

Another good contest between two top 20 teams was the contest between #9 Oklahoma State and #12 Georgia.

Considering that they were looking to replace first round picks at both quarterback and running back, you have to give Mark Richt credit for not shying away from a tough opening weekend opponent.

This game was certainly big for both teams, but I think Oklahoma State needed the win a bit more than Georgia, especially since they were playing at home. With games later this season against both Texas and Oklahoma, a loss to Georgia would have made it hard for Oklahoma State to earn a mid-level or higher bowl appearance this season.

Also, in light of the loss by Oklahoma, the Big 12 needed the victory by Oklahoma State to maintain a higher conference power rating.

Is Football Easier Than Basketball?
There have been a number of college athletes who have played both basketball and football at the same time and even a few college basketball standouts who have gone on to play in the NFL.

Greg Paulus was solid in his first college football game after four years playing college basketball.

Greg Paulus was solid in his first college football game after four years playing college basketball.

However, you still have to be a little amazed with the quick transition that former Duke University point guard Greg Paulus has made from the hardwood to the gridiron.

For him to go four years without playing football and then emerge as a starting quarterback is quite impressive.

While Paulus wasn’t perfect in Syracuse’s overtime loss to Minnesota, he did have a solid first showing. Paulus completed 19 of 31 passes for 167 yards. His only interception of the game led to the winning field goal in overtime.

Now that he has his first college football game under his belt, you can expect to see Paulus continue to get better as he becomes more accustomed with his new role.


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