Week One: What we learned (I think)
What we learned — I think — from the first week of college football…
• The gap between Southern Miss and the SEC teams with which it once competed has widened considerably. Mississippi State, which walloped USM 49-0 Saturday night, could have won with its 2s and 3s. Dan Mullen says he believes Todd Monken has USM headed in the right direction, and he might be right. But Monken and USM have a long, long way to go in that right direction.
• The Davis-Wade Stadium addition and renovation is first class in every respect.
• Boy, the turf at Scott Field really does drain well — remarkable that it was in that condition after Saturday afternoon’s gullywash.
• “Why not us?” should be the mantra at both State and Ole Miss this year. Bama looked beatable; so did LSU. Auburn? Well, Auburn looked really, really good, and so did Texas A&M, but this could be the year one of the Mississippi teams wins the West because State is big, fast and deep, and …
• …Ole Miss has a chance to be extremely good, too. People keep harping on three first-half interceptions and all those silly false starts. Bottom line: On a neutral field, Ole Miss, playing less than stellar, defeated Boise State by 22 points.
• Best win on a national scale? Got to be Georgia over Clemson, 45-21 That was huge. In a toss-up game of two Top 20 teams, Georgia ran away from Clemson.
• Best player? Georgia running back Todd Gurley looked like Herschel Walker all over again. Man… you want numbers? Try these: 198 yards rushing on 15 carries. Throw in a 98-yard kickoff return and four touchdowns.
• SEC depth and stamina matter. Alabama outscored West Virginia 13-6 in the second half. LSU outscored Wisconsin 21-7 in the second half. Ole Miss outscored Boise State 28-7 in the fourth quarter. Georgia outscored Clemson 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt… oh, never mind. (Did I read that right? Temple 37, Vandy 7? Really?)
• About Alabama: Either West Virginia is really improved or Alabama is not quite what it usually is. Mountaineer quarterback Clint Trickett completed 29 of 45 passes for 365 yards (without an interception). The thought I kept having was this: What if Trickett played for Bama? QB Blake Sims had his moments for Alabama but the Tide will have to get better at that position to do what Nick Saban wants to do, which is win a national championship of course.
• Trickett, by the way, is the son of Florida State assistant head coach Rick Trickett, whose lengthy and impressive career includes offensive line coach stints at both Southern Miss and Mississippi State. His kid can play.
• Biggest surprise of the first week? Got to be Texas A&M’s 52-28 dismantling of South Carolina at Carolina. The Gamecocks’ new 3-4 defense was helpless. Said Steve Spurrier, the best post-game quote machine in history, “I’ve been reading like you guys have about our 3-4 defense. You guys like our 3-4 defense? . . . But I don’t know if it would have mattered if we played a 6-6 defense. I don’t think playing 12 would have mattered…” Scary, but he might be right. A& M piled up 680 yards of total offense, playing on the field of a team that had won 18 straight home games. Scary, indeed.
• At Houston, quarterback Case Keenum got all the credit for the gaudy passing and scoring statistics. For the past two years at A&M, Johnny Manziel got all the credit for the same. Now, Kenny Hill throws for 510 yards and three touchdowns in his first game as a starter. Might be time for Kevin Sumlin to get most of the credit. Right?
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