BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Division I college football may lack a legitimate playoff system to determine a national champion on the field, but every week there are great story lines. During the fall, I'll be looking for the highlights that interest me and I encourage feedback from you readers as to what stood out in your mind.
1) I want to send a thank-you to Charleston Southern for making the odds makers look bad. The Florida Gators were 73-point favorites and they only lost by 59, dropping a 62-3 decision. Air Force came closer to this point spread by thrashing Nichols State 72-0.
2) I never thought I'd see an Ohio State coach stick-up for a Michigan man. But Jim Tressel did when he defended U-M's Rich Rodriguez last week about excessive practice time. Tressel pointed out he has to lock his players out of the building and all coaches around the country are dealing with this dilemma. I wouldn't be surprised if Rodriguez sent Tressel a thank-you e-mail and when these two squads meet in November, I wouldn't be surprised if there are hand shakes before and after the contest.
3) There is no doubt that the game of week two is going to be USC at Ohio State. The main question going into this contest is which team is better prepared after their respective openers. Was Ohio State's 31-27 win over Navy a wake-up call? Or was USC's 56-3 blasting over San Jose State a confidence builder for Trojans freshman quarterback Matt Barkley against the Buckeyes highly touted sophomore Terrelle Pryor. Should be fun to watch.
4) What makes the Michigan versus Notre Dame meeting in Ann Arbor interesting is how they both manhandled their opening week's opponents. Fighting Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen was 15-18, 315 and four touchdowns as Notre Dame cruised to a 35-0 win over Nevada in South Bend. Meanwhile, Michigan waxed Western Michigan 31-7 utilizing a pair of freshman quarterbacks which has undoubtedly given Irish Coach Charlie Weiss and his staff plenty to think about. Tate Forcier threw for three touchdowns and was 13-20, 179 yards, while Deerfield Beach, Fla's, Denard "Shoelace" Robinson had an impressive 43-yard touchdown run demonstrating incredible speed.
5) If there was ever a win-win situation, this was it. Texas led by Colt McCoy's 317 yards and two touchdown passes hammered the University of Louisiana Monroe 59-20 in Austin. The Warhawks athletic department received an $850,000 check to be the Longhorn's whipping boy. This payout is larger than those handed out by the smaller bowl games.
6) Week one's version of the "Boston Massacre" was watching Boston College's 54-0 blowout over Northeastern in this inter-city contest.
7) Speaking of Boston or the New England area, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick wins championships with his famous hood sweatshirt other wise known as "The Hoody" while Ohio State's Tressel is known for the "Vest." It's interesting to look for championship attire trends.
8) Despite throwing an interception in overtime, Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus looked solid in his debut by throwing for 169 yards and one touchdown in the Orange's 23-20 home loss to Minnesota. Paulus, who played four years for Duke's Mike Krzyzewski will be the latest two sport star where pro football could be an option. The last time Paulus played football was five years ago as a senior in high school. My favorite two sport athlete of all-time is by far Bo Jackson! Look for him in future blogs.
9) The North Carolina Tar Heels chose to handout the basketball team's championship rings at the opening football game versus The Citadel. It makes sense as 58,500 saw former Miami Hurricane's football coach Butch Davis team pound the visitors 40-6. The Dean Smith Center holds 21,750.
10) Some intra-state games can be dangerous as the host Iowa Hawkeyes found out. Iowa was the beneficiary of two late missed field goals escaping with a 17-16 win over Northern Iowa University.
11) On Monday Night, ESPN got it right the week before NFL Monday Night Football returns. The network featured another in state rivalry and this was a dandy. Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden was undefeated in home openers until his nemesis the unranked Miami Hurricanes delivered a classic 38-34 upset. It took a banged up sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris 386 yards performance to give Bowden his first blemish at home. Harris' 386 yards performance is the best ever in this storied rivalry passing Hurricanes legends Ken Dorsey and Vinny Testaverde. Both teams combined for 880 yards as Miami amassed 476 while the Seminoles had 404.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com
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